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The Grace of the Universe

   Shadows Fall at Day's End in the Sangres

Shadows Fall at Day's End in the Sangres

You live by the grace of the Universe interacting with you. You do not live by yourself alone. … The Universe always magnifies your action. Gregge Tiffen (The Language of a Mystic: Change – May, 2009)

There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness. Dalai Lama

The grace of the Universe presents the challenge of our times. May we rise to meet it in kind.

Whether we are aware of it or not, the Universe is interacting with us 24/7, magnifying each and every action we take in its own way.

Think about that. Let it sink in for just a moment. Everything you do is magnified. EVERY THING!

Say a kind word, offer a smile to someone experiencing challenging times, listen deeply to another view, share an uplifting post on social media. MAGNIFIED!  Take action on a project; choose to eat healthy, nourishing food; call or write your elected representatives. MAGNIFIED!

The Universe is benevolent (at least that’s my belief), but it is not selective in what it magnifies (everything – remember?). We humans were given the gift of free will, the power of choice that the Universe did not keep for itself in this grand design called Life. Make a snarky remark. MAGNIFIED!  Engage in an act of violence. MAGNIFIED!  Protest in anger toward others. MAGNIFIED!  Shut down in fear. MAGNIFIED! 

I’ve been reflecting on this law of magnification in terms of what I want more of in my life as well as the kind of world that I’d prefer to live in.  That reflection brought me right back to where I live, the simple choices I make each day. If I want to be a writer, WRITE. Give the Universe words strung together into ideas and step back to allow the magnification. Know that magnification is happening even when I don’t see it. I’m making adjustments in how I create each day to do just that.

If the world I envision is one of peace, kindness, compassion then my responsibility is to choose thoughts, words, and deeds that are peaceful, kind, and compassionate. Give the Universe THAT to magnify.

Of course, the Universe does not magnify alone.  We are its agents, little magnifiers one and all. My words each week are a magnification of something I read, experienced (usually both!), or am in the midst of considering. You read those words and are inspired to make a change in your life, or to share the post with others, or to delete. Whatever your choice, your action magnifies mine and it offers your own to be magnified.  

The meadowlark sings its cheerful song each morning in the meadow where we walk. The president tweets. Both are magnified by a Universe that magnifies everything. But we, you and I, have the freedom and the power to choose what we magnify. Imagine a world where the meadowlark’s song or the Dalai Lama’s quote is the ‘breaking news’ of the day, and the president’s tweets go mostly ignored. Do the words peaceful, kind, compassionate come to your mind’s eye?

That world is possible if we have the will to choose to put our attention on peace over conflict, kindness over anger, and compassion over judgement. It’s already emerging daily in the thousands (perhaps millions) of thoughts, words and deeds that are peace-filled, kind, and caring. May we choose that path – moment to moment, when the choice is easy and, especially when it’s not.  The grace of the Universe presents the challenge of our times. May we rise to meet it in kind.

   Old Tree Greets Another Day

Old Tree Greets Another Day

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React!!! Or Not?

   A Fishy Surprise in Cottonwood Creek Nearby

A Fishy Surprise in Cottonwood Creek Nearby

You’re always in a position to decide if you want to have any reaction to what’s going on. Gregge Tiffen (Open Secrets: An Air of Optimism – May, 2011)

I fell asleep last night with this quote on my mind, sensing that it would guide the muse this week, a week of choices about reacting to events – right here at home and events in the world.  In the midst of having a crew here working on the house (cracks repaired, a new coat of stucco she’s receiving), I’ve been observant of my sense of being surrounded and of the sounds (voices, sanding, scraping, hammering, etc.) and of how I respond, both internally and externally.

I’ve been challenged to keep my cool and react with care in trying to have the crew understand that they can’t smoke outside due to a fire ban in our county (not because I’m a b____ who doesn’t like cigarettes).  I created a place for them to smoke and ditch the butts, so they wouldn’t inadvertently drop one in the dry grass.  They aren’t smoking on the property, but I don’t think they get the danger or understand the ban. So, I’ve practiced letting go. That’s challenging given that fire is a fear I’ve experienced for much of my life.

This week I also experienced a small set back in my breathing practices. I was bummed and, upon a bit of reflection, realized that I was pushing too hard (in total contradiction to the point of the work, which is to breathe less) and making up a story about what my daily ‘pause times’ should be.

And, then there are events in the world:  breaking trust and agreements, seemingly endless armed conflict and inhumane treatment of life on many fronts and in many forms, threats to the future of the internet that I depend upon … and so much more.

As if to confirm today’s topic, first thing this morning, I cut my finger while slicing a lemon for my first of the day cup of warm lemon water. There was a time in my life when such an event would have triggered an angry outburst (directed at nobody but me, of course), huffing, puffing, and wasting loads of energy. How could I be so careless …? While I’m sure that I haven’t lost the ability to react in that way, this morning I smiled.  With thoughts about today’s post swimming in my head, I felt no emotional outburst – inside or out. I grabbed a towel to stop the bleeding and squeezed lemon in the cup before pouring on peroxide on my finger and applying a bandage.  As I sat down to let my thoughts flow onto paper, warm lemon water at my side, I had a sense of knowing, of gratitude, and of peace.

Little events like my cut finger show us where we are in relation to life, if we dare look. Seemingly insignificant, they offer clues to our relationships with ourselves, with others, and with the world we’re navigating.  With each event there is the possibility for awareness and learning.  Willingness is the ingredient that each of us must add.

That awareness and learning can take us to recognizing points of choice.  I and only I choose my reaction to a cut finger, noisy construction, setbacks in projects, and the decisions of our elected officials.

I’m discovering more and more that the foundation for these choices is squarely placed in my relationship to myself.  The bedrock of that relationship is my growing understanding and sense of peace about how the universe really works. When I embrace the concept that every event is here for me, there is no room for being the victim or at the effect of these events – even though I have no control over them.  My challenge is to be at choice.  Sometimes that’s ‘easy, breezy’ and seems to happen quite naturally.  When fear and anger creep in, choice can seem limited.

Three questions I find especially helpful in getting to a place of choice when my ability to choose seems illusive are these:

  • What is the meaning I am making of this?
  • What am I afraid of?
  • What is the outcome I desire?

What about you? How are you maintaining your sense of choice about reacting (or not) to events in your world?

   Sunday Visitor - First Western Tanager of the Season

Sunday Visitor - First Western Tanager of the Season

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Much Ado? Or Not?

   A Blessed, Snowy, May Day!

A Blessed, Snowy, May Day!

Nothing is hidden from the Universe. … We cannot hide anything from anyone else whether we think we can or not. Gregge Tiffen (The Journey Continues: Sight Seeing – May, 2010)

Until each of us digs down deep, diminishes our fear and our personal greed, they will dominate our lives and allow us to be dominated by others.

I have a theory. It’s contrarian, not what most people seem to be thinking and saying (surprise!). And, it’s a theory. It might be accurate. It might not. It might be both, or neither. Here goes:

We are putting way to much attention on what technology giants (Facebook, Google, and the list goes on) and others (government, business, etc.) should be doing to protect us and too little attention on the choices we make (about what we read, engage, believe etc.) and what we do individually as a result.

Said another way: the ‘ado’ or fuss we put on ‘them’ might be better placed (or at least its distribution shared) on ourselves and our choices. Yes. (Gasp!) I’m suggesting that there is a different way to look at this and other situations in life. What if we looked at each event as an opportunity to consider (gasp, again!) our role in the situation’s creation and our individual responsibility for the choices we make. Our true power lies there – not in what ‘they’ say or do to compel us to behave in ways that benefit ‘them’.

We might also consider that the ‘Facebook breakdown’ is one of many symbols of things falling apart. Our systems are crumbling under the weight of greed, fear, dominance, and confusion; failing because their foundations are not naturally aligned with Universal Law. The pine trees out my window are not fighting over the moisture in the snow that’s gently falling. They are simply there, receiving what is being offered. (I add the gratitude.)

With our thoughts and our actions we contribute to our world. We are a part of and we use the very systems we blame. Life is tricky, it is. I contribute to the culture of greed when I have a thought about lack and trigger fear about not having enough. I contribute more when I act from that fear. In a culture steeped in more ‘stuff’ than we need, we find ourselves wanting it to be cheap or even free.

If it’s accurate metaphysically that nothing can be hidden, what do we gain by putting so much attention on events like this? What are we allowing ourselves to be distracted or diverted from? Most importantly, what is the best choice for each of us individually in how we navigate these events in our chaotic world? What choices will help us build a society and systems that are true to our nature?

Our true power is swirling in this muck. Until each of us digs down deep, diminishes our fear and our personal greed, they will dominate our lives and allow us to be dominated by others through events aimed at stoking the fire of fear. Competition to establish who dominates will continue between nations, businesses, interest groups and individuals. Confusion and chaos will continue to reign.

The exciting part is – the choice is ours with every choice we make. I’m deepening my curiosity about how to live more aligned with the pines – receiving what is offered and being generous by allowing my bounty  to simply fall to the earth.  Live like a tree! What’s yours? How might we do THAT?

   Snow Resting in the Pines

Snow Resting in the Pines

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Soul Speed

   Snow! Blessed Snow - A Spring Storm Brings Moisture to the Peaks

Snow! Blessed Snow - A Spring Storm Brings Moisture to the Peaks

Honoring the tempo of our lives makes us more productive, less stressed and happier. Rev. Sally Robbins (Science of Mind Magazine - April, 2018)

Let us look to Nature for guidance as our code book for everything we need to know or to understand. Gregge Tiffen (Tax Time: Are You Taxing Yourself? – April, 2007)

In last week’s post (here if you missed it - http://cindyreinhardt.com/blog/listen-up) I shared that I’m learning to listen to my breath and respond to the messages it provides. One message has been to ‘slow down’ what I thought was my already slow pace. To become more aware of my breath required that I move more slowly and deliberately. And, on our daily walks and hikes, I needed to slow down in order not to over-breath.

You won’t be surprised that I resisted at first. Hey, I’ve got things to do, and if I slow down there might not be enough time. Yikes! Scarcity. Our fast paced culture thrives on our fear that there is and never will be enough – time, money, ideas, love, opportunities, food, etc. The culture tells us to speed up, chase, grab what we can – not what we need.

Nature operates differently. Fast is necessary in some cases - think coyote chasing rabbit for dinner. Before the chase, coyote ambles slowly across the terrain, waiting and watching. Chase successful, coyote gets what it needs, eats, and takes a nap. The trees in the woods out back don’t rush to grow tall to get more light than they need. They grow slow and steady – their pace like that of the tortoise in a famous race.

Rev. Sally Robbins quote above comes from a daily message in which she shared a story about a South American tribe on a long journey. They walked several days then stopped and camped for several days, explaining that “we need to stop and rest so that our souls can catch up with our bodies.” 

Perhaps the turmoil of these times is a reflection of just such a separation. In our race for ‘success’ have we left our souls behind? Perhaps this tribe understood something that we’ve lost in our modern, 24/7 connected culture. Perhaps reflecting more of nature’s ways in our daily lives could help our souls ‘catch-up’ with our bodies and make this world a kinder, gentler place.

For me, I sense that at long last, I’ve found my true pace, the one that’s just right for me: my soul speed. There’s plenty of time and energy for all that’s important in my life. My thinking is clearer, deeper; my energy, stronger. And, I feel my natural gentleness shining through. Could this be the soul’s way of saying ‘thank you’ for inviting it (me!) to catch-up?

  Sacred Blanca Peak Glistens This Spring Morning

Sacred Blanca Peak Glistens This Spring Morning

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Listen Up!

  A View from Down the Street

A View from Down the Street

In fact, the voice box was not intended to be a communicative device for language. Originally all communication was telepathic, and the basic use for the voice was to communicate sound through mantras and chants. Gregge Tiffen (The Language of a Mystic: Application – April, 2009)

I’m in the midst of a humbling experiment: listening to my breath. And, I’m learning to discern what the sound of my breath is saying. For instance, when my breath is noisy, I’m likely breathing in too much.  My experiment in proper breathing is busting several long held understandings, but that’s a story for another day (when the experiment is further along and I’ve learned much more, but if you’re curious, check out this website https://www.breathingcenter.com/).

Perhaps the experiment is what led to a stream of consciousness in my journal about listening yesterday morning. It started with a big question (another story for another day J), but quickly led to the observation that success, by the world’s standards, requires that we speak, write, ‘play bigger’, all of which seems to translate into share more, share louder, stand out above the crowd.  Much to my surprise, the stream continued like this:

“But, what about LISTENERS? What would happen in the world if everyone stopped for a moment or an hour, or a day to simply listen?”

Several questions emerged: What does it mean to listen? What/who do I/we listen to? What do I/we need to listen to? For the sake of what do I/we listen?

As my day unfolded, listening became a theme. An email ‘Sit Down and Please Stop Talking’ landed in my box. Although it was from someone I didn’t recognize, I was curious and clicked on the podcast to listen. The podcaster shared a recent incident about a well-known male workshop leader’s failure to listen to a woman in his audience who had been a victim of sexual abuse. Rather than listening with a commitment to hear, the podcast suggested that the leader was cramming her experience into his lens rather than expanding his view.

We have this habit of doing just that, at least I do. ‘If you could just see things the way I do, all life’s problems and conflicts would be handled.’ Who among us hasn’t had that thought in the midst of our relationships or looking out at the world’s chaos? I observed it listening to a webinar later in the day. As the host of ‘HEARTLAND SECURITY -- Discovering and Cultivating Our Sane and Sacred Center’ and his two guests were talking about the value of listening and engaging in deeper conversations, especially with others of differing views, participants were posting in the chat box questions that were essentially, ‘how do we get people to see things this way or that?’ I chuckled at the irony.

Listening is defined (by Webster) as “to make a conscious effort to hear; attend closely so as to hear” and “to pay close attention”.  Just now as I write this, I hear wind moving the trees and rattling windows in the house. I’m not listening to that. I’m listening, not to a vibratory, audible sound, but for what my consciousness wants to bring to my awareness and to share. Sometimes I do listen to the wind or to the silent voices of the pines in the woods. For me, they have more knowledge and wisdom to share than much of the babel labelled as ‘news’.

It seems as if we’ve forgotten that we have two ears and only one mouth, and that we use that mouth at least twice as much as we use our ears. We look for sources that support our views and share them widely.  We look for how to win, not how to live peacefully together on this beautiful planet that we share.  Perhaps it’s time I/we listen and look for other ways to inhabit this life. What could happen in the world if everyone stopped for a moment or an hour, or a day to listen – really listen?

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Buoy Your Buoyancy

   Stormy Weather - A Bit of Blessed Snow

Stormy Weather - A Bit of Blessed Snow

If you realize that your strength is in knowledge, which is your experience and the resiliency of your consciousness, no one can affect you. Not even the Universe can diminish that one whit.  Gregge Tiffen (Open Secrets: Mystical Longings)

Let us strengthen our resolve to bring the natural resilience of consciousness into our lives – moment to moment, step by step, each and every day.

In a world that seems hell bent on destruction, some days it seems hard to stay afloat. We need to buoy our spirits to operate above the fray of negativity that encompasses the world.  We need buoys to mark our way in the chaos that constantly tries to pull us off course – our individual path of learning, experimentation, and personal development.  Let us strengthen our resolve to bring the natural resilience of consciousness into our lives – moment to moment, step by step, each and every day.

As a result of experiencing a lingering ‘bug’ that zapped my energy for a couple weeks and prompted by a discussion about resiliency in a weekly publication I receive, I’ve been reflecting on the foundations of resilience and how to strengthen it – physically and energetically.

In that exploration I discovered three interconnected keys: health, habits, and beliefs.  When one key is shaky, calling forth another stabilizes and strengthens. Failure to use one key to buoy the others weakens my capacity to bounce back and navigate life with at least a modicum of grace and ease (translation: I’m neither tolerant nor tolerable, so best I snuggle under the covers until I recoup and can regroup).  I don’t know about you, but sometimes that’s simply the best I can do.

Being resilient after all doesn’t mean perfection or even unreasonable self-expectation. We are human. We are navigating a world swimming in chaos and negativity. Most of us have a ‘bad’ day now and then. When we’re resilient, ‘bad’ days are rare. We don’t get stuck in the energies of apathy, anger, fear or conflict.  We take responsibility. We don’t blame.

Being resilient requires health, the energy and commitment to engage in habits that increase our capacity to bounce back. Habits or practices of self-care strengthen health. Habits of thought strengthen our beliefs. Each action we take and every thought we entertain either builds our resilience or contributes to its (and our) destruction.

Resilience requires resolve, a clear purpose to stand firm on our convictions as we encounter life’s challenges. Our capacity to recover quickly asks that we be mindful of what we are receptive to, to close the gates to sources that feed despair, and to seek out those that uplift our spirits. This doesn’t mean being ignorant of what’s happening in the world, for we do live in it. Resilience invites us to learn to be ‘in’ the world without being ‘of’ it.

The universe has given us the opportunity to tap into the natural resiliency of consciousness.  Maintaining our physical health, along with the health of our habits and beliefs supports that resiliency and strengthens our capacity to navigate life with clarity, awareness and choice. 

   And, Beyond the Stormy Weather ...

And, Beyond the Stormy Weather ...

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Smart Cells

   Gentle Observation

Gentle Observation

The universe does not make ninnies. The universe has created you in Its image as strong, dependable, creative, self-assured, intelligent, harmonious, and complete. This is true for everyone. These qualities reside in every cell of everyone’s body!  Gregge Tiffen (Tax Time: Are You Taxing Yourself? – April, 2007)  

No, this isn’t a post about smart phones or any other ‘smart’ technology – other than the ‘technology’ of you and every other human being on the planet. You – yes YOU – are imbued with each and all of the qualities that are this universe! So are your family, your friends, those you love, and those whose behaviors you loathe.

This week as I began my 68th sojourn around the sun has been a reflective one, looking back at the cycle just completed to celebrate victories and to acknowledge where I want to invest in growth this year. So, I wasn’t surprised when today’s quote leapt off the page both as a reminder of how blessed I am/we are and a way to identify growth areas for investment.

Like apps in technology, these universal qualities are in our cells available 24/7 for us to tap into and use. The key is to sync ourselves with our cells. We listen. We observe. We choose. We act.

Unlike those same apps, these gifts of the universe never go out of date. The only upgrades required are those we choose as our own individual understanding deepens, expands, and grows. These upgrades flow naturally as we call forth, experiment, and apply each quality. How we define and express them changes as we change.

As the world presents us with new opportunities to use our ‘apps’, we have the Free Will to apply them – or not.  We choose whether to be bound by the culture’s standards or to define each quality in a way that expresses our individual highest and best.  ‘What are the culture’s standards,’ I wondered. And, more important, what is my aim?

'Strong’ in much of our culture means physical strength and/or weaponry to show force. The strength I aim for is the internal strength to stand with courage in the face of force. ‘Dependable’ often means doing what society thinks you ‘should’ do. The dependability I aim for is the discipline to follow through on my commitments to myself and to others. Our culture tends to think of ‘creative’ as artistic or talented. The creative I aim for is remembering my status as co-creator with the universe of all my experiences; thus, recognizing in every moment that I am creating that moment.

‘Self-assured’ can look like ego driven self-aggrandizement. The self-confidence I aim for comes from within, from applying what I’ve learned about how the universe and the world work. It then manifests outwardly in calm clarity that is both intelligent and harmonious.

In the world ‘complete’ is often measured by how much we have, we do, leading to a sense of incompleteness, scarcity and never enough. The complete I aim for is comfort in knowing that there is always ‘enough’. Right where I am is the perfect place in this moment, and it will lead to the next and the next, infinitely.

This week I invite you to tap into the ‘apps’ granted you by the universe. Embrace them. Define and sync each to YOU. Then, step into the world each day as the unique and beautiful you that you are.

   An Old Stump in the Woods -- What wisdom does it hold?

An Old Stump in the Woods -- What wisdom does it hold?

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Unity IS ALL That Is

   Blessed Snow on the Peaks!

Blessed Snow on the Peaks!

If there is one thing that causes the downfall of mankind in all forms (consciousness, mind, body, spirit, soul, or what have you), it is human’s great desire to separate or divide. Within the statement ‘United We Stand; Divided We Fall’ is the whole key to spiritual awareness. Gregge Tiffen, The Collected Works of Gregge Tiffen: Earth and Second Earth 

Sadly, even spiritual truth is used to divide, set apart, separate. United We Stand has its roots in the American Revolution, when a band of colonists separated from the British Empire and went on to colonize what is now the United States. In doing so, they tromped over any indigenous peoples’ ‘rights’ by virtue of their presence in this land for thousands of years. The colonists separated themselves as ‘better than’ the so-called savages.

Throughout history, man has declared unity in many ways. And, throughout history, mankind has fallen short of experiencing the unity that somewhere deep inside we each know as potential because it is the Law, Universal Law.  In an effort conquer, our institutions, laws, systems, habits, thoughts, divide everything. Divisions of time separate us from the reality of infinity. Divisions of money separate us from the abundance and wealth that is imbued in this amazing universe. Political subdivisions (cities, counties, states, countries) attempt to unite in order to control within and conquer beyond their borders.  All defy the truth that Unity is ALL that is.

In unity there is truth, pure, infinite truth. Unity is the foundation for mutual understanding, cooperation, acceptance, peace. Unity calls forth the best in us, our authentic selves as one critical part of the One. In unity we understand and accept responsibility for what we experience on this sojourn called life, understanding that there is no ‘other’ to blame. In unity we are strong within, not needing to flex our muscles to prove that strength.

Clinging to separation, we suffer conflict, competition, conquest. We create a win-lose world where there is always someone to blame so we can avoid taking responsibility.

Separation is a construct of man. Unity is of the universe. With every breath we take and decision we make, we are choosing one or the other.

Separation is in our face, constantly asking us to choose this product or the other, this candidate or another, this friend, this belief over that. Separation wins wars, but has no potential for lasting peace. Unity lies patiently (or perhaps not) within each of us as potential.

As the curtain falls on my 67th sojourn around the sun, I’m aware of how much of my life has been lived in that trap. I’m also aware of moments, sometimes fleeting, where I’ve experienced unity with every fiber of my being.

As I prepare to raise the curtain on a new trip around the sun, I’m aiming to expand my capacity to experience that I am ‘one of the One’ and to live and write more fully from that foundation of truth.

Unity is infinite, forever. Unity is everywhere, yet nowhere. Unity is, whether we choose to be aware or not.

   A Cheerful Mountain Bluebird Greets the Day

A Cheerful Mountain Bluebird Greets the Day

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The Political IS Personal

  The Dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park on our Welcome Spring hike to the Zigurat

The Dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park on our Welcome Spring hike to the Zigurat

We are in a constant battle by trying to stay alive as a mental individual who is capable of thinking, while our society is basically trying to keep us from thinking by overloading our circuits. This keeps us from identifying our target areas and computing the information that is important to us individually. That is dangerous and that is what is going on. Whatever causes us to shut down is our enemy. Gregge Tiffen (The Collected Works of Gregge Tiffen: Earth and Second Earth)

I’m taking a turn toward politics in this post, something that I rarely do directly. Yet politics as a force in our culture is never far from my thinking. Political decisions at every level of government create policies that impact every area of our daily lives. These policies either empower us or not. Sadly, mostly they do not.  

This morning I woke with chilling clarity about the current blatant attacks on education, on people who are educated, in short on those who dare think for themselves. Perhaps triggered by yesterday’s story about the University of Wisconsin proposing to end degree programs in several liberal arts/humanities areas of study in order to teach things that lead to a “clear career path”, I saw a tapestry of current attacks piling on to long running ones on teachers, public schools, so-called ‘intellectuals’ (I call them people who think!), and more.

I saw clearly the weaving together of dark, dense threads to smother the independent thinking and acting that, I believe, was envisioned by our nation’s founders (both fathers AND mothers!). Some threads scream ‘fake’ news in one direction. while manufacturing such news in another. Threads that tear down from within federal departments charged with education, diplomacy, environmental protection, and justice. These are the areas with the potential to empower (and, yes, it’s debatable how good a job they’ve done up to now) individuals and build a free and just society.  Other threads build up departments that aim for ‘power over’ – homeland security, military, and police as examples.

These attacks (and I use words of war intentionally – especially after last week’s post http://cindyreinhardt.com/blog/bucking-the-culture-aint-easy) are not new, nor is my awareness of and concern about them.  Yet today, I’m taking them personally. These actions attack the freedom of individuals to think, learn and grow as we each choose (and as we are designed to do in the grand scheme of things universal). They are aimed at numbing, shutting down, and directing our minds to do someone else’s bidding. And, they are right there with all the other noise screaming for our attention.

Political decisions ARE personal in their impact. And, no impact is greater than distracting our mind from its most important task: learning what it/what we each came here to learn.

Yes, we need to pay attention and be involved in those matters that we most care about. But even more, we need to be vigilant, alert, and discerning in directing our attention, our minds to what is important to each of us on our unique learning sojourn. Focus. Discover. Focus again.

   Cool Hand Luke takes a look at the landscape from the Zigurat

Cool Hand Luke takes a look at the landscape from the Zigurat

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Bucking the Culture Ain't Easy

   Of whims and harmony ... that is our way.

Of whims and harmony ... that is our way.

In silence, man and shadow met face to face, and stopped. Aloud and clearly, breaking that old silence, Ged spoke the shadow’s name and in the same moment the shadow spoke without lips or tongue, saying the same word: ‘Ged.’ And, the two voices were one voice. … Light and darkness met, and joined, and were one.  Ursula K. LeGuin, A Wizard of Earthsea

The truth of the matter is self-honesty in all things. Gregge Tiffen, Open Secrets: The Nature of Feminine Truth (March, 2011) 

Practicing oneness requires the self-honesty acknowledge the darkness within.

Slowly the light is returning. Soon the day will be equal in its light and darkness, and the darkness will give way to more hours of light. A cycle: one of many cycles within cycles that is the natural order of the Universe.

We humans though think we know better than the order of the Universe. We create tools of separation and control: calendars, clocks, daylight savings time and build a culture that honors such tools over the wisdom of the Universe.

This week, though I sprang my clocks forward, I chose to ignore them as much as possible. As is generally my habit, I’ve risen upon waking and allowed each day to flow from there. Even with few timed commitments, I found myself noticing the time and correcting thoughts about being ‘late’ as I went about my day. The exercise reminded me how deeply imbedded ‘time’ is in our culture.

Our culture also holds ideas about how we ‘should’ use our time. Since closing the B&B, I’ve felt a strong pull, guidance if you will, to ‘read, write, connect more deeply in nature, and empty’. I’ve followed that guidance less than I’d like to admit. After all there are taxes to prepare, firewood to stack, and – oh, yeah, shouldn’t I be doing something to generate income?

But these little things (yep, in the grand scheme they are but tiny blips despite how I allow them to interfere with my peace) pale in comparison to bucking the violence that pervades our culture. Violence is monetized (and, not just by the ‘war’ machine, but also in medicine, pesticides, and more). It is deeply imbedded in our language and our history.  Sadly, our cells know much about violence.

I’d like to believe that I’m not a part of this violence. But alas, there is a mirror that, in Oneness, reflects right back to me. In that mirror I see the justifications that I claim for my own acts of violence: if I don’t kill the mice, they will …; my blood type is ‘O’ so my body needs meat; my curiosity takes me to violent movies like Black Panther and Star Wars; mosquitos carry disease (and are sooo annoying!). These are only a few of the mindful choices I make. Sometimes I squish a spider before I’ve given it a thought.  And, so it is in our culture.

Creating a new culture requires facing up to my contributions to the culture we have. Practicing oneness requires the self-honesty acknowledge the darkness within.

As I look to the courageous students who walked out of schools yesterday calling for an end to gun violence, I’m filled with encouragement for the world they envision and the world that is theirs to create. I’m proud to march with them whether in spirit or body.  And, yet I wonder if I have the will to buck my own violent habits as a contribution to ending violence on our planet? For if I don’t, how can I expect others to do the same?

This is the challenge of our oneness with all things and with one another. I am all the beauty and the light in this world.  I am also the darkness. I am That, I am.

   A Hazy Mountain Morning

A Hazy Mountain Morning

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