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The most important instrument in an orchestra is the tuning fork.

~ Marc Ian Barasch


“I am building a mandala in my front yard, and I am asking each of my friends to contribute a rock.” Ruth Broyde Sharon is known by many as the single most inquisitive person alive. Her interest in what lies in between the liminal seams of your story may derail you, but she is mastered in the art of unpacking the real story. There is a rarity to Ruth. Her candid curiosity is deeply rooted in a sincere intention to understand the very essence of the gifts she is excavating. Ruth is a unique example of the saying, “Look and you shall find,” and Ruth is looking for the heart of every story, situation, and place. This quality enables her to manifest the events and initiatives she produces with a depth that is thought-full and stretches the edges of what is possible for world peace, like her 2-volume masterpiece, Interfaith, the Musical.  She has been my friend, confidant, truth-teller, advisor, and a spiritual mentor for nearly 20 years. She has also been a model of interfaith community building and has served in leadership at S.A.R.A.H. since we began our journey.

“I can do better than that!” I said, and off I went to the rockiest beach in Southern California to find “the one.” While my husband parked himself on a blanket with a bag of Cheetos, I started at the waterline.


About two years earlier, my then 10-year-old son Matthew emerged from around the bend where our boat was anchored in a cove on Lake Mohave with a gift of hearty proportions. We spent every summer playing on the lake, including long days of either jet-skiing, inner tubing, or just sitting in a secluded cove doing nothing together. The quiet never got old. We had a radio but rarely turned it on. Matthew took off around the corner on an exploration and returned with a gift for me; a stone that was a perfectly symmetric-shaped heart.

I took it home, found a small plate holder for it and placed it on the shelf, right in-between two awards I had received for my community work. But this was the greatest of all awards; an expression of love from my son who saw a heart and thought of me.

Later that summer while on vacation, I decided to see if I could find my own heart-shaped rock. The chant came to me, “Look and you shall find,” until finally, there it was, my own discovery. I found a close-enough resemblance to a heart-shaped rock and put it in my pocket, feeling accomplished and having no idea what Matthew had begun.

Before I knew it, I had bowls filled with heart-shaped rocks in our family room. Most of them came from family or friends, or simply appeared in front of me as I was on a walk. When a friend was traveling and asked if I wanted anything from that country, I said, “Yes, please take some time and seek out a heart-shaped rock.” I was hoping to receive such a souvenir to add to my collection as much as I was giving them the same thrill of seeking out and finding. Asking someone to think of me in the shape of a heart was an added motive.

Ghada, my fiery, hand-flaring bundle of passion and compassionate friend whom I had sat next to years earlier in that square-shaped circle in the mosque, had picked up what appeared to be a dime-sized heart-shaped rock while on a beach in Lebanon, only to turn it over to find it had a perfect heart-shaped fossil-like image on the other side.

When Mormon missionaries came to my home and I invited them in for lemonade and pita chips, they noticed my collection and I proceeded to share my well-rehearsed story of “Look and you shall find.” Two weeks later those same young men reappeared at my door, with their bikes parked on the sidewalk, each of them with a heart-shaped rock they found for me. They only asked me not to tell anyone because they were supposed to be out doing their missionary duties. However, I reminded them that those duties included seeking and learning about the world. Mission accomplished in my book of Mormon.

They were outed anyway when my dear friend and Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) Bishop Tom Thorkelson heard about this story and wrote an article for the Los Angeles Times about a Jewish woman who welcomed in two missionaries and the journey I inadvertently sent them on. He shared that soon afterward I had submitted a collection of those rocks to the County Fair and won a blue ribbon. Each rock was labeled with where it came from, including “Mormon Missionaries.” More than 10 years later, Tom is still sharing that story with anyone within email radius.

It is important to know that I am Tom’s favorite person on the planet, but he makes every single person he meets feel the same way. Tom typically introduces himself in interfaith meetings we are both at as, “A follower of the Worldwide Church of Sande”.

Years later Tom and his wife Sheila were on an Alaskan cruise and while on a tour of a glacier, Tom insisted everyone in their excursion group find their friend Sande a heart-shaped rock. The consummate leader that he is, Tom assigned everyone a mission to seek and find. And they did. That stone is proudly on display in my entryway shelf. Taped to the back of it in Tom’s handwriting, “Tom and Sheila.” In writing this book, I reached out to Tom and Sheila and asked if they remembered the name of the glacier. Sheila responded, “Sure do! It was St. James Bay, July 13, 2018, at 10:40 AM!” Was Tom the Crazy Dancing Guy in the group? Or the First Follower? Did Tom start a glacier wave?


Ruth’s request was received as an invitation to show off my talent of discovering a heart wherever I made up my mind to find it. I was on it and overconfident, at that. Bent at the neck, I began my chant, intentionally and slowly walking for half a mile up the beach, chanting and strolling, strolling and chanting. I believed, and that meant it shall come, right? Maybe not, but I did not stop believing. I found myself back where I began, near the place where my husband had now been napping. My neck was sore. I felt defeated. Then I remembered where I was and who I was standing in front of. She hadn’t let me down before. So I turned and said, “Grandmother Ocean, please bring me a heart-shaped stone.” As if waiting for me to ask, a small wave slowly approached, covered my feet up to my ankles, and slipped back quietly. I looked down. To the right of where I stood, there it was: a shiny, wet, perfectly shaped heart-shaped stone, just like the sand dollars and other assorted gifts she laid at my feet over my lifetime. I picked it up and held it in front of my eyes and proclaimed, “Thank you!”  

In that moment, a little boy, probably around 10 years old, came bounding out of the ocean right in front of me. His eyes focused on this article of amazement I was holding up with an outreached arm and said, “Wow!” I asked him what he was referring to, wanting to know if we were thinking the same thing. Did he understand the majesty of it all? Was he looking at me, or beyond me to something else? He proclaimed, “A heart-shaped rock!” with an excitement as if this was the newest toy on the market and he wanted to be the first on his block to have one. I handed it to him. He held it in his hands and examined it closely. His face lit up. Who is this kid? I thought. I told him to give it to his mom, whom I assumed he was heading back to, and off he went.

I lowered my shoulders, sighed, and resumed position, bent at the neck, and the chant and exploration continued. Only this time, almost immediately, I found a heart-shaped rock, then another and another, all within a 5-foot radius of where I received the first. I pulled up my t-shirt to make a kangaroo pouch to carry 13 heart-shaped rocks back to where my husband was patiently waiting. About a month later I handed Ruth a gift bag filled with heart-shaped rocks for her mandala. I heard she never did get around to making one. It did not matter. I trust my angels put her up to asking the question anyway.

I never did ask my son where he found that heart-shaped rock.


Our awareness, assumptions, attitudes,

attention, alignment, actions and allowing

determine our frequency. They are our request to the Universe.

~ Andrew Cameron Bailey and Connie Baxter Marlow

The Trust Frequency: Ten Assumptions for a New Paradigm

See images of the stone's mentioned throughout the book.

(I have buckets of hearts so now I love leaving them for others to find.)

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