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Curiosity

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Reclaiming Softness

   Prickly Labyrinth Path

Prickly Labyrinth Path

Your voice was meant to be a lullaby giving comfort to the weary and security to the young. Gregge Tiffen (The Journey Continues: Economical Rates of Progress – August, 2010)

The Eco-Heroine’s Journey … is a path to understanding how deeply enmeshed we are in the web of life on this planet. … it is an antidote to the swashbuckling action-adventure that is the Hero’s Journey: it is a woman’s journey, based on a woman’s way of being in the world. Sharon Blackie (If Women Rose Rooted: The Journey to Authenticity and Belonging)

I just finished reading a book. I didn’t want it to end. And, I wanted it to end so I could begin to discover what it will come to mean in my life.

Sharon Blackie’s If Women Rose Rooted changed me – with my permission, my invitation in fact – in ways that today I only sense. I know few, if any, words that would do justice to how this book touched my soul. Read it!

For a while now my muses (surely I must have more than one!) have guided me to reflect on the nature of the feminine, a part (and only a part) of which is the softness so missing in today’s harsh world.  Blackie’s book arrived right on time to deepen that reflection, shining light on ideas I’d not yet considered and deepening my understanding of familiar themes.  

Having a sense of roots in a (geographic) place is a key point woven throughout the beautiful stories Blackie tells. My love this place from the vastness of the valley to the stunning beauty of the 14,000 foot peaks is no secret to anyone. I feel at home here, consistently nurtured by nature, and sometimes challenged by her harshness. From time to time, I’ve had a hunch there was more to know – really know at the deep soul level. Blackie’s book has inspired me to discover not only more of the stories about people and place, but to listen – really listen – to the land, the trees, the furry and feathered inhabitants. Perhaps, an awareness of the unseen, unheard beings in these woods and waterways will grace my knowing.

“Step out of and more deeply into your habits, your routines. Deepen your awareness.” I feel the subtle nudge of this message. And, I respond.

This morning, Cool Hand Luke and I forged a new route on our morning walk. When we returned home I walked the labyrinth as I often do. Today, though, I walked it barefoot. After dozen or so steps, each slow and gentle my feet seeking any softness they could find on ground made prickly with dried pine needles and broken pine cones, I sank first one foot, then the next under the surface. Softness! I found the softness of sand beneath the brambly surface. Softness! Like the crab soft under its hard shell. In the softness of the sand I experienced the softness of crab, symbol for the zodiac sign of Cancer, and this on a day when the moon is transiting that sign. Softness!

My journey continues, reclaiming softness and bringing my soft side more fully into the world. Not a particularly new or different journey, but the path has new illumination. I carry the beam, fueled with gratitude and joy and curiosity for this moment, the next, and beyond.

   Come on Mom. It's not that prickly!

Come on Mom. It's not that prickly!

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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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The Power of Directing Attention

   Oh what a beautiful morning!

Oh what a beautiful morning!

To expect the Power of our Potent Force to be handed to us by some physical person, situation or experience is to deny acceptance of our own Universal Power. By failing to see where the Source of our potential lies, we end up suffering the impotency of empty experiences that exist without energy and without the power to make pathways for development. Gregge Tiffen (Deserve Success and You Will Command It – March, 2008)

When we put our loving attention on the person not the problem, we harmonize humanity.

This week as I held my intention to ‘harmonize with the good in the world’, I experiencedmoments when any ‘good’ seemed to have slipped away.

I lost sight of my intention, let go of curiosity, or allowed an external force undue influence. My attention went to problems – my own and the world’s – noticing those things that I judge as ‘bad’ or ‘lacking’. As you might guess, I found more than enough to drag me down. 

And, I declined to allow them to keep me there.

As soon as the slightest hint suggested I was putting my power in the hands of someone or something outside of me, I stopped. The clues that suggest my attention is misplaced include: feeling angst, angry, impatient, or lethargic; ignoring my daily self-care habits; worrying about things about which I have no control. I’m sure that it will be a lifelong learning opportunity to refine, notice and pause when I’m in this place. It IS the pause that refreshes!   

In the pause, I take a breath (or two or three or even a walk), doing my best not to pass judgement (‘you know better than …’). I put each distraction aside. I’d like to say that I do so gracefully and with gratitude for the learning and the energy redirected. What’s more accurate is that I snuffed them out, putting my attention, my focus where it can best serve. Only in hindsight did I truly feel gratitude for the experience.

The pause is my opportunity to redirect. I asked: what is in front of me that deserves my attention right now?

Then, I had the ability to attend to those things – several mundane tasks that come with the season (love checking each off of my ‘to do’ list!), reading and research to support my goal of writing, a nice long visit with a dear friend who is moving from the community, and – of course, long walks in nature with my ‘Harmonizer in Chief’ Cool Hand Luke.

More and more I’m deepening my understanding that personal and spiritual development isn’t somewhere ‘out there’ to be completed by attending a workshop, reading a book or listening to a guru – though each of these can make a positive contribution. Rather, our development depends on where we put our attention moment to moment, day to day.

When we do so with the slightest acceptance of our true Power, our growth can be exponential, inspiring quantum leaps in our capacity to navigate life on the planet and plant the seeds of wisdom that we will carry with us into eternity.  And, we do our part to harmonize humanity.

   Harmonizing with Mom while awaiting a treat.

Harmonizing with Mom while awaiting a treat.

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Learning: Questions & Curiosity

  The Woods Out Back -- Grateful for SNOW!

The Woods Out Back -- Grateful for SNOW!

Here is where your people have lost the path. You have spent too much time thinking that we humans are at the top of everything. You have spent too much time trying to learn about things and not enough time trying to learn from them. You have thought too much and honored too little. Dan, the Lakota elder speaking in Kent Nerbern’s the Wolf at Twilight: An Indian Elder’s Journey through a Land of Ghosts and Shadows -- https://www.betterworldbooks.com/product/detail/The-Wolf-at-Twilight--An-Indian-Elder-s-Journey-Through-a-Land-of-Ghosts-and-Shadows-9781577315780

Every point in the Universe is a point of experience. There is no void, and no point lacking in any experience. Consciousness moves from very definitive points of learning linked by other experiences that are also learning experiences. … Welcome the next moment with love and excitement. … The only means for growth is to observe, to analyze, to create, to experience. Gregge Tiffen (Fanned Fire and Forced Love Never Did Well – February, 2008) -- https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Gregge+tiffen+Fanned+Fire+and+Forced+Love&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3AGregge+tiffen+Fanned+Fire+and+Forced+Love

I begin writing this post without clarity about where to begin or, honestly, what I want to share beyond the quotes above.  Perhaps it’s that I don’t have words or even thoughts that seem adequate for expansion.

During this past week I’ve been deeply touched reading the second book in Kent Nerbern’s trilogy of stories that emerged from his association with a Lakota elder. My words feel lacking in their description as Nerbern shares the oral tradition of native peoples, telling their story using the wise elder’s voice.

Not only wisdom, but experience is shared. Not only lightness and humor, but the darkness and anger from a history lived, experienced. It is not the glossy, sanitized ‘Indian’  history I learned in school.  I’ve long believed that our treatment of those who were here when we Anglos arrived was, at best, unjust. But, I simply (and sadly) was not aware of the depth and breadth of the atrocities my ancestors perpetrated on those who had long made this land their home. 

I wonder, now that I begin to learn ‘about’ this side of history, how will what I’ve learned inform me going forward? What can I learn ‘from’ these stories to contribute to my growth?

I find myself with many questions and curiosity; few answers. A portal has opened to a point of learning from which to explore new territory. What experiences are on the path? What wisdom may be hidden in the depths and how might it contribute to my foundation, my capacity to hold a steady, loving course in the midst of the world’s chaos? What is being revealed to become a part of my expression in the world?  I hope you’ll stay tuned and, as always, share your thoughts.

P.S. Perhaps a new pattern for my weekly posts is emerging. Or, maybe it’s simply the nature of this time ending one phase (the bed & breakfast) and opening another that is just beginning to reveal itself. As I drafted this post and looked back to last week’s, I notice they end with questions – questions I’m in at these moments in time. Being in questions is familiar territory for me, sometimes keeping me from jumping in too quickly with what I know. Perhaps the joy of not knowing is a skill that we need to grow.

   Before the snow, gentleness and evening light in the woods.

Before the snow, gentleness and evening light in the woods.

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Step By Step

   On The Road ...

On The Road ...

Whatever step you choose will take you closer to where you want to be.   … Creative force is the energy necessary to begin a new experience. … Energy is always in motion.  Gregge Tiffen – Life: The Staircase of Many Steps – January, 2008

Happy New Year! The page has turned, and here we are with the blank canvas of a new year to paint. 361 more days to engage in life - to live, to love, to experiment, to learn, to grow - before we complete the cycle of this calendar year.

Traditionally we set goals, make ‘resolutions’ and plans, to start a new year. And, all too often ‘life’ steps in with other ideas. Or, resistance in some form rears its head.

Overwhelm happens when we forget that all we need to do is take a step. Then another and another, continuing on step by step allowing each step to reveal the next.  When we do this moment by moment, day to day we have the potential to make huge progress on our journey.

   The Beauty of Exploration - Hoar Frost on The Palouse - Pullman, Washington

The Beauty of Exploration - Hoar Frost on The Palouse - Pullman, Washington

It’s oh so simple, yet from time to time most of us find ourselves stopped, stuck, resisting anything resembling movement.  For me, that’s the time to remember that my body doesn’t give a hoot about love, life or learning. It sees the new, the adventure, and growth as dangerous threats to its sole concern – survival.

Clever in its ways, the body throws out all manner of reasons to not participate in life.  I’m tired. It doesn’t matter. It’s not worth it. I don’t know how. These are the cloaks my body wears to hide what I’m coming to understand is simply resistance. They are clues that I need to step up, challenge, and command my body to MOVE, to take a step, to be in action.

In responding to these clues I’m strengthening my ability to call forth my will.  It helps me to remember that the journey of 1,000 miles begins with turning on the ignition and that the journey is complete mile by mile. The 2656 mile road that I took in December is a fresh reminder as I look ahead to what I want to accomplish in 2018.

I also find that engaging curiosity counters the lethargy of resistance. The simple shift from ‘I don’t know how’ to ‘I wonder how/what I can learn’ is powerful fuel for moving into action.

As I practice these skills, I notice that the creative force needed to engage in new experiences comes forth more naturally and that a gentle flow of life’s events seems to emerge. Step by step through these events I live, I love, I learn, I grow.

Step by step we can accomplish much in this year that is just beginning. May we each step fully into the energy that is always in motion!

   Almost Home ... Sangres in the Distance

Almost Home ... Sangres in the Distance

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Coming To My Senses

   A little cone that caught my eye on a branch in the woods out back.

A little cone that caught my eye on a branch in the woods out back.

We progress by experiencing what is happening with our full awareness. We should never go through any condition or event without perceiving the full essence of that experience through our own senses. (Gregge Tiffen – a selection from Life in the World Hereafter: The Journey Continues found in The Journey Continues: The Legacy for Generations – November, 2010)

This post could just as easily be titled ‘What the World Series & Two Lovely Brits Taught Me About Life’.  Beyond being extremely happy that the Houston Astros won (5-1 in Game 7 of a history making series – in case you haven’t read anything but The Zone), I learned and was reminded of how much our senses have to tell us.  I also learned about grace and embracing life. Who knew that the World Series and two British women guests could do that?

Beyond signaling that something may be amiss (food tasting spoiled, smelling fire where there should be none, seeing a car coming before we cross the road) it is through our senses that we experience life. We choose whether to experience it fully, noticing sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and how something feels to our touch, or to move through life doing one thing after another without that awareness.

There are times when we move through life mostly unaware of what our senses are telling us. We operate robotically through much of daily life.  The World Series reminded me of just how often I do so.  That started last week when I turned off the sound for  game 2 and noticed the effects on my other senses (http://cindyreinhardt.com/blog/turn-off-the-sound).

I was curious to continue the experiment in the games that followed – not just having the sound off, but rather intentionally being aware of the sensory experience while at the same time simply enjoying that ‘my’ Astros were playing in the Series (and trying not to obsess over the possibility that they might not win). Watching several games with different levels of sound (or no sound at all) and having B&B guests here for some games and not for others made for interesting self-observation and awareness.  As the series continued on, I was aware that the emotional roller coaster and tension was heightened with sound just as I noticed last week.  And, I noticed other senses as well.

During the final two games with the Championship on the line, I had the added bonus of two lovely British guests here at the Dragonfly House. I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to watch the games here (yes I had a plan b!), as these guests had come early to prepare for going into a two-week spiritual retreat at a nearby center. I explained my interest in the games and asked if they would mind quiet TV in the background. They graciously said ‘yes, of course’ and became curious about this thing called baseball. Their grace had me wonder if I would be the same were the roles reversed and I was preparing for a spiritual retreat.

They joined me to watch, and one was especially curious about the game and how it’s played. Responding provided a direction for my energy, dissipating some of my tension. And, it was a joy to share.

Despite my intention, I’m aware that I didn’t taste much of the dinner I’d prepared and ate as game 7 began. But, I do believe that I tasted victory in the chocolate consumed as the game neared the end and the win seemed certain. I definitely felt the tingling in my body as the tension released and I reveled in the celebration unfolding on the screen. My British guests retired before game’s end, but one came out this morning with her ipad to show me the British newspaper Guardian headline ‘Astros Win World Series’ and noted that she probably wouldn’t have noticed or had a clue what it meant.

Their curiosity and grace highlights for me the importance of embracing what life brings as these lovely women did. Combined with coming to greater awareness of my senses, I opened the door to gratitude, not just for the Astros victory, but for my heightened awareness of how much our senses have to offer and a newfound commitment to sustain that awareness as I navigate through this journey of life.

Color me grateful!

   Patterns in life

Patterns in life

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Points of Reflection

   Flowing Reflections

Flowing Reflections

In principle, ideas, people, and events reflect back to you, according to your individualized consciousness, through the life you live. … The benefits you derive in life are the influence of frequency vibrations. The idea is to erase limitations through new points of reflection. Gregge Tiffen (Echo - September, 2010 in The Collected Works of Gregge Tiffen)

With a break of several days between having guests here at the Dragonfly House, I turned my attention to other things. Beyond the personal satisfaction of beginning to work through that list, I discovered a deeper understanding of the universal law of reflection, especially the power of new information and insight when used as points of reflection with awareness.

We each have some understanding that major life changes – new careers, new jobs, new relationships, changes in any one of these, moving, marriage, death, birth – create new points of reflection. We observe. We learn. We adapt to the new. We fight change or we embrace it. When we resist, we create struggle and stress. When we embrace an event as a learning opportunity, we create greater ease and flow – yes, even in the most challenging situations.

I notice that in my reactions to the world. For example, what do I experience when hearing the words and tone thrown recklessly out by politicians and further stoked by media reporting. When I observe with curiosity (What is this saying about the world? What can I learn about how the world works? What do I need to know about this to inform my choices?) I hold the possibility of learning something new and useful for my life. But, when I watch for entertainment or to be distracted or with no sense of why I’m watching I find myself agitated (or worse).

Do I have new information, insight, or a new point of reflection that may be useful? Or, am I taking in garbage (and we know the output from that!).  Either answer provides valuable insight a presents a pivot point to shift. So don’t go shaming on yourself for going through the garbage. Take a moment to consider what you’re looking for. Then decide the best place to find it.

Among the things I’m attending to this week are health – both mine and Luke’s. (We’re both fine, but the change of seasons is presenting some symptoms that I felt deserve attention.) In the process I’ve discovered new information for each of us that resonated as accurate and useful – new points of reflection to support us both.

Points of reflection can drag us down, or they can lift us up. They can provide magical insights that protect, heal, and spur our growth. Points of reflection are abundant. Anytime can be harvest time. We simply have to wake up and see the rich potential in whatever is in front of us. But, harvest with care. Like mushrooms, some varieties can be hazardous to your health.

   Moon, Blue Sky, and Leaves Ready to Fall

Moon, Blue Sky, and Leaves Ready to Fall

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Energy Management: Our Inside Job

   Season's first snow on the peaks

Season's first snow on the peaks

Energy management has to issue forth from the inner you before you can do anything about the outer conditions in your life. Gregge Tiffen (Deeds Are Fruit, Words Are Leaves – October, 2008)

It’s late this Thursday, hours after my weekly musings are usually drafted. By this time most Thursdays, my blog is written, posted on my website, and I’ve hit the ‘send’ button to my email list. Luke has taken me for my second doggie walk of the day, and I’m ready to engage in the day’s other tasks.

Each week has its own unfolding. Sometimes I wake knowing what wants to be said. Sometimes more reflection time and/or reading are needed before clarity comes, an idea forms and the words follow. That’s how it is this day.

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve paid attention to my energy with a particular focus on my physical energy. I haven’t felt up to par (whatever the heck ‘par’ is – I’m sure that I expect mine to be high). I haven’t felt that I was getting things done efficiently or that I was getting the support needed to do so. (Woe is me L)

So, it was no surprise when the quote above finally leapt off the page, bringing clarity for this week’s post.  Gregge’s words offered clarity about my sub-par energy AND how to address it: look within to discover what’s going on. In reading further, I was reminded that my thought patterns are feeding my cells 24/7.

This year, this autumn, this time feels different. I’ve felt different – more weary than energized, more dull than curious, more grudging than grateful. And, I feel more sad than hopeful for my fellow humans and the planet. And, all those thought patterns have been dragging me down. No wonder I felt pooped!

Time for a shift!

Often I experience that simply remembering to look inside and discover what’s going on there is an adventure that turns the tide. At least it begins the process. This day I didn’t find a cesspool of dark, smelly muck at the root (Whew!), and the internal click of awareness lifted my spirits.  I’m lighter and more energetic than when the day began. I’m curious how several ‘balls in the air’ will unfold and what I need to do to direct that unfoldment. I’m grateful for the guest who departed earlier today and for those that will arrive tomorrow and over the weekend. And, I’m looking forward to the satisfaction of completing the array of many winter preparation tasks yet to be done before winter weather arrives to stay.

Beyond the end of my nose, with so much chaos on the planet and discord among we humans, these days may be the most important time for us to look within, to be clear about our individual paths, our bodies, our health, ourselves, and to care about all of that from the inside out.

   The turning of the leaves is in full swing here on our daily path.

The turning of the leaves is in full swing here on our daily path.

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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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Life As Creative Endeavor

   A place to awaken the senses and be curious about nature's ways.

A place to awaken the senses and be curious about nature's ways.

Creative force is the necessary energy to begin a new experience. … Creative momentum leads you to the kind of experience that leads to knowledge. That is what the whole story of life is about. … Nuances are the creative opportunities to get into the experience.  Gregge Tiffen (Open Secrets: An Air of Optimism – May, 2011)

What do ‘creative force’ ‘momentum’ ‘nuances’ have to do with the activities of maintaining life? You know the ‘darn dailies’ required to sustain our existence on the planet?

I’m discovering more and more that there is opportunity for living life as a creative endeavor.  I don’t need to set aside a block of time and have all the necessary supplies to “be creative”. Opportunities abound to invoke the creative force in most everything I do. Curiosity and awareness are the keys. I can choose to become aware of what I don’t know and curious to find out. That’s the root of creative force.

So, each of us – you, me, everyone – has the capacity to be creative.  Being creative isn’t dependent on having the skill to make music or art. Those are clear creative acts, but so can be most any action in life – when you make the choice to BE and to tap into discovering what you don’t know about whatever activity you’re engaged in. That awareness and curiosity hold the potential to bring light, joy and wonder to most any task. And, that’s truly living.

We each have routine tasks that we do daily. We rise, we brush, we dress, we eat, we walk the dog, we work … and the list goes on. We can do these tasks with awareness or not. We can view them as burdens or not. We can look for the creative opportunities right there, subtle though they may be, or not.  And, those choices that we make moment to moment determine the quality of that moment, the next one, and extend beyond to the overall quality of our lives. Yep, those little choices add up to a really big deal – you.

Most days Luke and I walk the same route each morning. When I’m aware that I don’t know what will be different today, I can choose to engage my curiosity to find out. Our walk becomes a creative endeavor of discovery, not a boring ‘chore’ that must be done.  My awareness is in the senses: eyeing Luke as he sniffs his way from place to place; noticing how the light is filtering through the trees; feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin; hearing water make its way over rocks and around bends; and, just this morning noticing the fresh pine scent that permeated the air along our route (I thought of how fresh cut boughs brought indoors invoke the winter holiday spirit). Each day is different, and from these observations I learn little bits of nature’s ways.

I don’t limit this awareness and curiosity to walks in nature. Now that the ‘busy’ season has arrived at the Dragonfly House, I’m engaging in the daily maintenance requirements in much the same way. I observe guests – what they eat, what they use, what they are interested in – from curiosity. I wonder what I can learn about how to make their time here more enjoyable and how I can be more efficient. I engage in cleaning, making beds, preparing each room and the like with curiosity as well. Yes, I know how to do these tasks, but I don’t know what new look and feel I might create or how I might be more efficient. That wonder invokes the creative force giving each routine task its own sense of being new.

So often we look at the tasks of life as chores that we must ‘get through’ so we can get on with our ‘real’ work or some fun, creative project. Yet, when we take a moment to inquire, just below the surface we find creative opportunity abounds, creating momentum for lightening the load of what we once considered the heavy, boring burdens of life.

   Aware, curious ... I'd say this is what creative engagement looks like!

Aware, curious ... I'd say this is what creative engagement looks like!

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