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NO LIMITS!

   Early morning beauty as we blaze a new trail.

Early morning beauty as we blaze a new trail.

Will is the means by which consciousness exercises itself. (Are you getting enough exercise?) Gregge Tiffen (The Language of a Mystic: Awareness ­– July, 2009)

When you use your energy to control conditions or elicit guarantees you give away your power and limit the ways in which the Universe can support you.

I’m fascinated by this concept of free will.  As a result of exploration and experimentation, I’m coming to better understand how to use its power, not as a force over something or someone, but as a divine gift that we’ve each been given. It’s also a paradox and a challenge in a world designed to control – but that’s a musing for another day.

This day I want to share the insights and deeper understanding that I’ve experienced this week, mostly from the nearby fire (click here if you missed last week’s post - http://cindyreinhardt.com/blog/facing-fear-exercising-will). This tragic event has proven to be a gift for me personally, and it continues to offer insights and new awareness.

While I’m heartbroken for those who lost property or were evacuated, I’m thankful for the courageous fire fighters who have this monster (almost 108,000 acres) at 83% containment and for all the agencies and individuals who have stepped up to provide information and support to those directly impacted. My wish for all is that in time each can look inside to discover the knowledge, insights, and wisdom that surely is within.

When I take time to be fully present and aware of my senses, I discover the multitude of choices that present themselves in each and every moment. They come in many forms each in its way calling for my attention: Luke nuzzling my leg suggesting that it may be time for a break, the smell of smoke inviting me to close windows and to worry about the danger of fire, basil about to bloom telling me it’s time to harvest, thoughts about future direction and finances inviting me to worry, social media posts suggesting anything imaginable and some that are beyond my imagination. The list is endless, infinite like the Universe. Where will I focus?

I’m grateful for my growing understanding that where I put my attention is an act of will to which the Universe then responds and magnifies. Last week when I experienced fear of fire in our drought stricken woodlands, I was able to direct that energy to learn more about the nearby event itself, how such events are managed, and the terminology and technology used to communicate conditions to those in harm’s way. As my knowledge grew, my angst eased. I now had information and knowledge to call on if ever it’s needed.

There’s no one ‘right’ way to exercise will of course. Another local woman took on educating the community and visitors about the fire bans in place. Noticing a dearth of signage about the bans she printed posters and cards to distribute to local businesses and lodging providers. She had large banners made to post at key locations throughout the community, far more visible and informative than the meager signs put up by local government.

That’s what exercising will looks like. And, this one was a pretty good workout.

As is Its Way, the Universe continues to respond. The community rallied in support of this citizen initiative financially and in other ways.

And, I’ve been gifted with insights, ‘ah-ha’ moments that have application far beyond my fear of fire. Enjoying the morning coolness and beauty that surrounds me on a walk with Luke, I experienced such a moment that led to this insight:

When you use your energy to control conditions or elicit guarantees, you give away your power and limit the ways in which the Universe can support you.

The insight came as I recognized a pattern of expectation – dependence is a more honest word – that certain people would do certain things to help me in the event I found myself in need. That is, I would be helped in a particular way. In that moment a series of thoughts converged to show me that seeking promises and making deals about the future limit how support can come.

Bam! I was placing finite limits on an abundant, limitless, infinite Universe.

From that awareness my will has a new base from which to operate: No Limits!  Now let’s give that some exercise.

   World's Best Trail Dog!

World's Best Trail Dog!

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A Thread of Self-Satisfaction

   From the Inside Out

From the Inside Out

You are an unquenchable flame. There is nothing you can do to yourself that will eradicate you from the Universal fabric. … Be happy with yourself. The joy you experience provides an indestructible armor against any misfortune. Your voice was meant to be a lullaby giving comfort to the weary and security to the young. You were meant to be the giver and the gift. Do not attempt to take that from yourself. It cannot be done any more than you can take the stars from the heavens. You have your place in the Universe. Accept it with grace and good humor.  Gregge Tiffen (The Journey Continues: Economical Rates of Progress - August, 2010)

What bright, cheerful thread will you weave into the fabric of life today?

All too often in life we forget to be happy. It’s easy to overlook our personal satisfaction in a world that seems ever more vitriolic, chaotic, and demanding. This week in the midst of washing windows I experienced self-satisfaction serving as a powerful motivator.

The awareness came as I was about to ‘throw in the towel’ on a project that I’d actually looked forward to doing: washing the outside of the windows my home that were splattered with residue from recent stucco work. I had the tools, plenty of time with no other pressing demands, and I’d save some money. Getting an early start, I gathered my tools, set myself up, and climbed the ladder for the first window.

Before it was complete, I began to question my DIY decision. The task was more challenging than I remembered (it’s been years since I washed the outside of windows and I’d not done them in this home). I felt a bit uneasy on the ladder, even though it was quite solidly placed. The woe is me line “I’ll never be able to do this” was coursing through my body, mind and spirit. I felt inadequate, frustrated, and ready to stop to call the local window washer.

I did stop. I took a breath. I asked myself what I wanted. The answer surprised me. Yes, I wanted clean windows. And, I wanted the satisfaction of doing the job myself. I took another breath to look beyond my feeling of failure.

In recognizing that I wanted more than clean windows and being clear that ‘more’ was the satisfaction of experiencing me doing the work, my energy shifted. I understood in a delightful new way just how motivating being satisfied with ourselves, our choices, and our actions can be. I knew too that the topic for this week’s post had revealed itself.

As I breathed new life and lightness into the project, I gave myself permission to take as long as needed to do the job well and with ease. I let go of ‘getting it done today’ and embraced not knowing how the energy and time would flow to completion. I moved from one window to the next and within a couple hours 12 of 14 were spic and span. After a bite of lunch, a rest, and a short walk with Luke, I tackled blinds and windows inside which I’d planned to do much later.

By the mid-afternoon of the second day, I’d completed the remaining two outside windows on the ground level, along with three small upstairs windows (in and out). The energy flow then carried me to other projects on my list: installing a fan in the office window, cutting insulation for several windows, and patching a water-damaged wall. 

I was reminded that this is the flow we create with clarity, awareness, and intention. I’d added a bright, cheerful thread into the fabric that is life.

Of course, there have been times when I did choose to quit. I’ve learned there is rarely, if ever, a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ decision. Rather there is an outcome and what we learn (or not) from the experience. Deciding to engage someone to do the work might have yielded an insight of equal value (and, for sure, some unused muscles that are a bit sore would be silent today).

But, had I taken that road, I would have missed the joy and satisfaction of looking out this morning knowing that I’d accomplished the ‘clean window’ task. More importantly, I would have missed adding the question ‘what will cultivate my personal satisfaction in this event?’ to how I evaluate choices in life.

What about you, what will bring you a sense of personal satisfaction today? What bright, cheerful thread will you weave into the fabric of life today?

   The vast San Luis Valley and San Juan Mountains Greet Us in Early Morning.

The vast San Luis Valley and San Juan Mountains Greet Us in Early Morning.

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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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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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Turn OFF The Sound

   Aspen Grove

Aspen Grove

One of the greatest areas of breakdowns in our society, individually and collectively, is our communication process. We honestly do not understand the basic communication procedure. … We have a way of communicating that does not communicate. We talk but we do not say what we mean. … It is true, we talk a lot and say nothing. Gregge Tiffen (Deeds Are Fruit, Words Are Leaves – October, 2008)

An unintended experiment this week has me reflecting on all the noise in our world, especially the empty words we all hear and that, sadly, most of us speak from time to time just to fill space.

Nowhere is this more evident to me than in television. Even though I mute most commercials, I find myself mindlessly watching pundits blather endlessly often making no sense. Sportscasters do the same, mixing statics, history and their biases into nonsensical run-on sentences. Noise, peace disrupting noise, (and a reason I watch so little TV).

But this week finds my beloved Houston Astros in the World Series. At the same time, I have guests here at the Dragonfly House (lovely, interesting poets from Wisconsin) who don’t share my passion for the team I once followed closely.  How could I fulfill my desire to watch the games and honor that my guests were here in part for the quiet beauty of the southern Rockies?  The obvious solution: watch without sound AND keep my cheering (and jeering) to myself.

In doing so, I discovered a most enjoyable experience (well, except for not cheering wildly when the ‘stros scored and won game 2). Turning off the sound required that I watch the screen to see what was happening. And, as the game unfolded that framed how I felt and how my body responded. I discovered a much lower, calmer level of intensity. Without the babble of the commentators to incite my nervous system, I could simply watch the game and observe my reactions to what I was seeing.

Late in the game messaging on Facebook with a Houston friend who was watching there, didn’t ramp up my adrenaline flow, even as Houston took then lost the lead and finally won the game. With this lower level of intensity, I found that I could truly enjoy watching these men perform their craft. I also happily discovered that it was relatively easy to get to sleep when the game was finally over.

My unintended experiment opened my eyes to the high cost of over-reliance on sound and demonstrated for me in a new way just how distracting the noise of the world can be.  It reminded me that some things are best enjoyed with a single sensory focus. In not allowing myself to be over-stimulated, the peace and satisfaction of the quiet hike in the mountains stayed intact as the highlight of my day.

In these days when we seem to be swimming in a sea of intense events, the experiment also offered a reminder to be self-observant and to choose carefully the quantity, quality, and sources of input and types of stimlus we allow in.  And, for all of that, I am most grateful.

   Creek Flow Contrasts

Creek Flow Contrasts

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Self-Honesty

   Fueling up for the journey south ... which will be coming up soon.

Fueling up for the journey south ... which will be coming up soon.

To accept an event as your opportunity to reveal more self honesty is the issue for effective and efficient rates of progress. Gregge Tiffen (The Journey Continues: Economical Rates of Progress – August, 2010)

So often we think of self-honesty as a drag. And we forget that the events of life – no matter how big or how small – are simply there for us as learning opportunities. It isn’t especially hard to remember, yet vigilance and practice are required.  This week provided opportunities for both vigilance and practice.

I don’t respond well when someone engages in behavior that annoys me (those who know me are nodding in agreement about now). Having people in my home (most of them strangers whom I’ve never met other than via email or perhaps a telephone conversation) provides frequent events where I have the opportunity to choose not to allow others to disturb my personal peace. As people come and go and interact, I have numerous opportunities to remember that we are all different AND we are all the same.

Sometimes I forget. I get hooked by something a guest says or does. I forget to choose peace and find myself in a (cess)pool of internal thoughts, indignantly criticizing their behavior and imagining just what I might say to set them straight (are you laughing yet?). I forget that these thoughts are a gross misuse of my energy. And, I fail to be aware of the damage they inflict, personally and in the world beyond.

Then, at some point, I remember. I stop. I breathe. I acknowledge that I’ve veered off course, invoking self-honesty sans guilt and self-criticism. I breathe again. I invoke curiosity to discover what different thoughts will shift me and the situation. I breathe. I forgive myself. I find gratitude for the event and the person who brought it forth as a learning opportunity. I remember that they too are on their own unique learning journey. I breathe. I acknowledge how far I’ve come on this journey to build my tolerance of others’ choices.  I smile. I breathe. And, I remember too that my learning in this domain is not complete, for while sometimes this is a quick and easy road, for other events I may need hours or days to come to his place. I breathe again with a smile.

We are ONE is a popular theme today. For me this theme overlooks what Gregge Tiffen spoke of as ‘diversity within unity’. Each of us is an individual being with our own unique expressions in life. At the same time, we are each a tiny, integral part of consciousness, the infinite universe.  To make the whole work, we need to respect and honor all of the parts. We have countless, if not infinite, opportunities in life to experiment and, hopefully, gain wisdom about how to do so.

Like me, you may get discouraged when you look beyond your immediate environment to the chaos, negativity and disrespect that fills the air waves. But the issue at hand, though it relates to that greater whole, is the events that are in front of us moment to moment, day to day and how we handle them.  This is what matters in terms of our individual learning and progress toward knowledge that becomes wisdom through the ages.

   Can you spot the faint end of the rainbow? 

Can you spot the faint end of the rainbow? 

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Only Good Karma

   Eclipse Effect

Eclipse Effect

Karma is not some debt you pay. Karma is a system within the Law of Resistance. Would you believe that the karmic condition is one of the best things you have going for you? That’s right. For every degree of positive energy you put out, you will bring back an equal and positive effect. The opposite is also true. Therefore, since you can’t run from the conditions set in motion, you’d better learn to love them.  Gregge Tiffen (Open Secrets: Karmic Identifiers – August, 2011)

There is no such thing as ‘bad’ karma. There is only cause and effect, an infinite cycle of co-creation.

I’ve been thinking about cause and effect this week on many levels.  At the global level, I muse about the conflicts and divisiveness present in our culture.  I catch myself casting aspersions and blame.  Then I remember that my thoughts matter. They become a part of mass consciousness, and my negativity does nothing to raise that consciousness.  On the contrary, negativity keeps me stuck in beliefs about right/wrong, good/bad as if those are real.  And, it contributes to keeping mass consciousness stuck in that which perpetuates conditions of discord.

Up close and personal, I found myself labelling several issues around the house and Luke’s annual August allergies as ‘problems’ that I needed to ‘solve’, burdens to handle so I could get on with ‘life’.  I noticed that I was snappy with myself and my beloved pet. I caught myself barreling toward victim mode, just short of casting a strong dose of self-blame and sentencing myself to hours (or days) of self-inflicted misery.  

And, then I remembered I could choose differently.  

Choosing differently doesn’t mean putting on a fake smiley face and pretending that ‘all is right with the world’. It isn’t.  For me it means maintaining consistent awareness of my thoughts about current events and mindful of how I respond, both internally and externally. I notice the huge learning opportunity that presents.  When, where and how do I express my care and my values in ways that make a positive contribution?  Without clear answers, I can only listen within, follow my inner-guidance, notice what shows up, and do my best to maintain peace within along the way.

The ‘stuff’ that presents itself in daily life and business maintenance likewise presents what Joan Borysenko calls the choice “to practice stress or to practice peace”.  

Each choice is a karmic one. Moment to moment, day to day we are choosing, consciously or not, how to be in life. We are choosing whether to engage positively or negatively with life conditions. With each choice we are putting out energy that will bring back an effect. At the surface, our choices are simple. But, like so many simple things, implementation is not always easy.   Choosing to practice peace and to put out positive energy requires attention, awareness, intention and the courage to buck the world’s call to join its pity party.

This week I invite you to join me in consciously and courageously choosing peace and positivity.

   Days End - A Beautiful Sunset in the San Luis Valley

Days End - A Beautiful Sunset in the San Luis Valley

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Deepening Your Conviction

  Twists, turns and shadows are a part of nature. We humans didn't invent them.

Twists, turns and shadows are a part of nature. We humans didn't invent them.

Understanding that the Universe is forever moving in perfect form, we can suffer the mean and the ugly by reinforcing our own conviction that right and love WILL prevail.  Gregge Tiffen (newsletter re retrograde planets)

Despite so much evidence which seems to contradict Gregge Tiffen’s statement, do you believe that the Universe is unfolding in ‘perfect form’ and that (though perhaps not in your lifetime and maybe not even on our planet) that ‘right and love WILL prevail’?  I do.

More and more I’m appreciating that what I believe about the Universe – the infinitude of which we here on earth are but a tiny part – matters. Although we’re just a dot in the vastness that is the Universe, we are important as are all the other dots. Deeping my conviction about the nature of the Universe has become an important anchor for me in these times. I’ve stopped trying to make sense of current events, remembering that we humans are constantly co-creating learning opportunities for ourselves and that all that I observe on this mundane plane is just that, a vast array of learning in this school called Earth.

That doesn’t mean I accept or condone any individual or collective acts of violence, hatred and the like.  I don’t. It doesn’t mean that I look the other way (as tempting as that may be) or ignore the choices made by elected, so-called ‘leaders’.  And, it doesn’t mean that I don’t stand in admiration and gratitude for those whose role it is to stand strong and vocal for their beliefs.

I’m taking these events as opportunities to explore how to be informed and make informed choices without getting pulled into the world’s dramas.  As I understand more and more about energy, I understand the importance of being mindful of my thoughts, my words, my actions.  I think more and speak and act less. I’m aiming to avoid reactions, especially internal ones, which only serve to fan the flames of these dramas.

Celestial events such as the coming solar eclipse along with several planets being in retrograde offer each of us opportunities to stop (or at least slow down), reflect, inquire and find clarity about our convictions.  Irregardless of the world and what we are witnessing at ground level, it’s helpful to remember that human consciousness is evolving as a part of a Universe that extends far beyond that ground level humanity.  As we individually tap into that, we are nurturing a collective consciousness of greater understanding and helping call forth the true nature of the Universe so that ‘right and love’ DO prevail.

This week take a breath, disconnect from the world’s hype for a bit, and connect with what you believe. Attend to the best in your nature and seek to nurture the best in human nature. Breathe it in. Call forth ‘right and love’. Breathe them in.

   The forest floor is alive with new growth. 

The forest floor is alive with new growth. 

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Nothing Is Hidden

   Curious Deer: Gentleness and Innocence - Gentle Luring to New Adventure    ( Ted Andrews,  Animal-Speak )

Curious Deer: Gentleness and Innocence - Gentle Luring to New Adventure (Ted Andrews, Animal-Speak)

Symbols serve as a true roadmap to assist us in getting through life with the minimum amount of difficulty and upset. … our life is ordered, not directed, but ordered by symbols. … Your power comes from what is represented on the unseen level not from the symbol itself.  …by design, the Universe keeps nothing hidden. Gregge Tiffen (Do The Angels Take A Vacation? – August, 2007)

In every choice we make, there are symbols. And, we are symbols of the choices we make.

We’re surrounded by symbols. Some support and guide us as we navigate the physical realm of our planet. Some distract us, screaming for attention when our best interest is served by looking the other way. Some resonate with us, while others bring forth resistance. Many symbols invite us to a deeper place – an examination of our beliefs or a look for the deeper meaning of some event or experience in life.

Awareness is a necessary ingredient for accepting an invitation to explore the deeper meaning of a particular symbol. I need to discern whether or not a symbol is useful so that I can be at choice about what symbols I allow in my life. Otherwise, I can be overwhelmed and, thus miss the learning opportunity of deeper exploration. In every choice we make, there are symbols. And, we are a symbol of the choices we make. Nothing is hidden unless we decline to look.

At first glance, the idea that nothing is hidden seems to fly in the face of all that we claim we don’t and can’t know. We make that claim falsely. We can know. We can learn. We can peek behind the curtain that separates the seen from the unseen. To do so requires curiosity, commitment, as well as willingness to direct our energy to the exploration. We must also be willing to discard thoughts and beliefs that no longer serve us and to try on new ones, accepting those that fit. 

I’m in the midst of several events that have evoked curiosity about what they might symbolize for me. As I began writing, the lyrics of the 70’s hit, Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLm3HMG8IhM) came to mind. The lyrics seem apropos in the current political climate around the world, reminding us to be at choice about the symbols we adopt and follow. That is where our true power sits – waiting for us to claim her.  Could it be that examining our beliefs and learning to stand in our power is the opportunity of the divisiveness we witness throughout the world?

On a more personal level, I’ve been experiencing discomfort in my shoulder and arm for a while, especially when reaching for something. Addressing it at the physical level with acupuncture, arnica and rest has helped, but this week curiosity kicked in and I began to wonder: what’s underneath the ongoing discomfort? Louise Hay (You Can Heal Your Life) suggests that arms and shoulders represent how we hold and carry out life. That knowledge led me to inquire: Where am I reaching? Where am I holding life with something other than joy?

Nature consistently offers opportunities for exploration of deeper, unseen meaning. During summer bears are active here in the mountains, feeding themselves and teaching their cubs about life. Bears are usually rarely seen, but this year is different (it seems we can say that about many things these days). There have been many bear sightings and reports of them entering homes in search of food, creating quite a buzz in the community and on Facebook. Opinions of what we should ‘do’ about the ‘problem’ abound. Absent from the conversation is an awareness that nature is ever responding to we humans. How is angst and chaos in mass consciousness impacting nature, in particular wildlife? What might the bears be trying to awaken in us?

Musings and explorations like these bring joy and meaning to the events in my life.  The details of my discoveries offer expanded possibilities and choices for what (if any) actions I take. That I engage in the process is the true gift. What are you experiencing in life that may symbolize something deeper than what you see on the surface? I invite you to dive in and see what may be there to discover.

  Bear: Awakening the Power of the Unconscious (Ted Andrews,  Animal-Speak )

Bear: Awakening the Power of the Unconscious (Ted Andrews, Animal-Speak)

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The Spiritual Cost of Disposability

   Cool Hand Luke on our Solstice Trek to the Ziggurat

Cool Hand Luke on our Solstice Trek to the Ziggurat

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. Mahatma Gandhi

We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals. Immanuel Kant

Because it is inherent within nature to stay in balance with the harmonious frequency of the Universe, when we do something that sets things off balance, nature must respond by trying to put things back in balance. Our disharmonious administration of the planet causes us all – humans and the rest of the earth – to lose that balance. And nature ever operates to put things right. Gregge Tiffen (Life In The World Hereafter: The Journey Continues)

Earlier this week two viral posts crossed my path and made my heart ache.  The first was a short clip from a surveillance camera showing a puppy being abandoned by his family. The second was an article saying that pet abandonment is highest with the approach of holidays and vacation time. An accompanying photo showed a long line of people and their pets outside of a shelter where the people were about to “surrender” their pets. (Note: I’ve not verified the veracity of either, but a quick check of statistics on the number of pets arriving in shelters nationwide it heart wrenching in and of itself.)

In the midst of my anger and sadness, I wondered how it is that we came to this. How is it that so often our convenience beats our care? Up close and personal, what habits do I practice and beliefs do I hold that contribute to this darker side of our culture?

It dawned on me as I took out the trash this morning that we’ve created a culture of disposability. Despite my best efforts to reduce, recycle and reuse, I generate waste (hopefully far below the national average, but waste none-the-less).  That waste needs to be disposed of for practical reasons. But as we generate more waste and accept disposability of ‘stuff’ more, is it a leap to think that disposing of life could become more acceptable? Is it possible that our all too frequent disregard for life can be traced back to the boom in creating things that are ‘convenient’, thus disposable?  If so, how did we make that leap? And, more importantly, how can we restore our understanding that all of life is sacred? How can I conspire with nature to improve life on the planet rather than working against her (and, therefore, against myself)?

I don’t know. But this week I’m going to sit with these questions. I have a hunch that I won’t like everything I discover. I have a hunch that there will be some new possibilities, new choices, along with opportunities to reconcile past and future choices with my understanding of the dominion over the planet we humans were granted.

I invite you to reflect and adjust with me.

   The sun is ready to peek over the peaks.

The sun is ready to peek over the peaks.

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