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Earth: Our Difficult Home

   A Path In The Woods Nearby

A Path In The Woods Nearby

Planet Earth is a very difficult proving ground, training ground, and a test laboratory. The condition that affects our planet is a changeable vibration level that comes at all times as a matter of testing. Gregge Tiffen (The Journey Continues: Mysterious Investigations – October, 2010)

I doubt that I’m alone in my need to be reminded that I’ve chosen to live on a planet where life is difficult. Life on Planet Earth requires us to learn to adapt on not just one level, but three: physical, mental, and spiritual. Gregge frequently reminded clients and students at his lectures that Earth is a difficult ‘post-graduate school’ in the universe and that it’s definitely not for sissies.

I needed this reminder as I reflected on events of the past few weeks, those in my life and those I’ve observed from a distance.  For the most part, life has felt intense, ripe with opportunity to reflect, consider, and adapt. 

It’s interesting, perhaps amusing on some level, that we chose this planet to learn the art of recalibrating ourselves, yet often we cling to the familiar and the comfortable (even when it’s not so comfy). We decide what’s acceptable (or not) often with little consideration, allowing ourselves to be swayed in by the opinions of others. We experience this in our individual lives and in society as changing conditions confront us.

Some conditions such as the change of seasons here in the mountains present routine annual rituals of preparation. Moving plants indoors and splitting/stacking kindling and firewood are two of many on my fall ‘to do’ list. Physically, I get a great workout in the beautiful fall weather when it’s not too hot, not too cold. Mentally, I’m challenged to make my list, check it twice, and maintain focus. Spiritually, the change of seasons reminds me that there is order in the universe, everything in its time. The seasonal change uses my re-adjustment ‘muscles’ and keeps me tuned into the requirement to constantly adapt.

I’m grateful that I maintain this perspective. Some folks prepare (or not) for winter grudgingly, grumbling that they wish the change wouldn’t come at all. ‘How do thoughts like this contribute to climate change?’ I wonder, allowing a slight detour in my train of thought. I notice that weather conditions consistently give us the gift of adapting. Perhaps that’s why many people complain about it so often. What difference might a subtle shift to embrace changing weather conditions make in mass consciousness? Or, in our individual lives?

Severe weather events like the hurricane currently raging across the southeastern United States, test our capacity, providing greater challenges and opportunities to adapt. In their wake, lives are lost, homes destroyed or severely damaged, basic services are lost. It’s not easy, yet we humans find ways to adapt. We help one another. We move on or we rebuild. Somehow we adapt. But I wonder, what is the deeper message of these events that we need to hear and adapt to?

Beyond changing weather and extreme weather events, collectively and individually, we are being presented with intense conditions in our communities and our countries around the globe. Our willingness and our ability to adapt are being tested and they will continue to be tested. That is the nature of life on our planet.

How will we/I rise to these tests? Will we cling to, even fight for, outdated ways of how we think things should be? Will I? Or, will we open ourselves to new thinking, new ways to call forth long-held ideals of justice, equality, fairness, and basic human decency? Will I?

   Snow on the Peaks and a Morning Glimpse of the Great Sand Dunes just above the treetops.

Snow on the Peaks and a Morning Glimpse of the Great Sand Dunes just above the treetops.


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Fierce Softness: Life IS Sacred Service

   A Teyuna Mamo with    Mary Gaetjens of Harmony with Earth Mother Initiative in Columbia

A Teyuna Mamo with Mary Gaetjens of Harmony with Earth Mother Initiative in Columbia

You carry your worth in your heart. Complete, constant, and impartial love radiates through you to all creatures. Gregge Tiffen (The Collected Works of Gregge Tiffen: Echo – Sept. 2012)

Teyuna mamos and zagas exist in deep communion with every living thing, a state they’ve preserved and grown since what is for most westerners time immemorial and what is for them easily recalled through living tradition. (Earth Law Center Website - https://www.earthlawcenter.org/blog-entries/2018/6/teyuna-foundation-launches)

Have you ever been in the presence of fierce softness? I imagine that in being with the Dalai Lama or Thich Nhat Hanh one might experience a sense of ‘fierce softness’. Historical figures such as Jesus or Ghandi likely held fierce softness in their presence. Gregge’s quote above begins to describe what I think fierce softness can be.

I’ve been with people who are fierce. Heck, sometimes I’ve been fierce in ways that are not so positive. I’ve also been with individuals who radiate love and softness. I aim to do the same (and, being human in our culture, I often miss the mark).

Until last week, I’d not experienced the two together: fierce AND soft. Perhaps the seed was planted by Sharon Blackie’s book which I wrote about last week (http://cindyreinhardt.com/blog/reclaiming-softness). For sure, the book opened me to what I was about to experience here in Crestone at a ceremony for three Teyuna mamos and, two days later, at a healing ceremony that they offered.  

I don’t yet (and may never) have words to fully describe my experience. Powerful, healing, amazing, transformational are each accurate, but they miss the mark of complete expression. I’m integrating their words, the exercises we did, and their presence to make meaning and apply it my life.

For now, ‘fierce softness’ best describes the energy I experienced and received as these elders guided us through a powerful exercise to connect with the earth.  In both of my encounters with the Teyuna every word, every action, every step was clear, gentle and showed heartfelt and powerful intensity.  It was clear to me that they listen deeply to Mother Earth and respond with exactly what is needed in each moment.

The intense care for people, the planet, and for every living thing was palpable. I felt that I witnessed life as it is meant to be lived: in reverence and deep communion. That is ‘fierce softness’. That is service to life.

The Teyuna understand that as caretakers of the planet, we humans must take care of and heal ourselves in order to fulfill our sacred responsibility. No one can do it for us. The journey is an individual one, unique for each of us. As we heal ourselves, we heal our relationship to Mother Earth. We begin to live life as sacred service to our home rather than as a race to see who can collect the most toys and do the most harm.

Fierce softness. I’m exploring what it means to live from that place. Where is my softness needed – in my life, in the world? Where do I have the opportunity to soften? How might it look to be fierce in my softness? This week I invite to learn more about the Teyuna – here https://www.earthlawcenter.org/blog-entries/2018/6/teyuna-foundation-launches or watch the movie Aluna (available on Amazon.com) about their journey. And, I invite you to reflect on bringing ‘fierce softness’ to your expressions of life.

   The Fierce Softness of Grandmother Pine lives on.

The Fierce Softness of Grandmother Pine lives on.

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Living True To Our Roots

   Bull Elk and His Harem

Bull Elk and His Harem

Every celestial body has definitive root characteristics. The root characteristic of this particular planet is that it is a receptive womb. Planet Earth is female and produces a mothering, nurturing base. Gregge Tiffen (Learning Without Experience Is A Bell Without A Clapper – September, 2008)

We ARE the Planet. The Planet is US.

The visual beauty of the earth here in the southern Rocky Mountains where I’m blessed to live lies in stark contrast to the visual appearance of the devastation we’ve witnessed over the past month. Forest fires, hurricanes, floods, drought have ravaged the earth and seriously impacted millions around the globe.

Here, it’s easy to experience the nurturing touch of the Planet through my senses. Some days the smell of the pines is so strong that I can taste it. To touch a tree is to feel its strength and at the same time its vulnerability. The gentle flow of a mountain stream has been one of my favorite sounds for decades – long before I moved to these mountains. And, the landscape – from the valley floor to the top of the soaring 14,000 foot peaks – is a visual feast every day, every season. Here, even on the coldest, windiest days, I feel the receptivity and nurturing that is the way of Earth.

Likewise that same root – receptivity, mothering, nurturing – is present in the midst and wake of so-called ‘natural’ disasters. Beyond the sense that something old is making way for something new, we witness some of the best in ourselves. Neighbors help neighbors. Strangers help those in need, both up close and personal as well as from afar. These expressions represent the best of our living true to the root characteristics of our planet.

And, that - living true to our roots - is a requirement. It is necessary if we are to ever have a chance at creating lasting peace among all peoples of the planet. It is necessary if we as a species are to continue to inhabit Mother Earth. A sturdy pine does not grow from roots of tender grass. Only grass grows from those roots.

   Grassroots

Grassroots

Here are the root characteristics that I believe we are meant to live from:

We are meant to have dominion – loving, nurturing, receptive dominion – over the planet. We are not meant to dominate the planet or one another.

We are meant to be fed from the abundance that the earth provides. We are not meant to be gluttonous or to attempt to nourish ourselves with fake food or man’s laws disguised as laws of the Universe.

We are meant to manifest and to understand that everything we think, say and do manifests. From that understanding we can align ourselves with the true nature of the planet. We are not meant to suffer, rather we are meant to learn.

We are meant to adapt, to embrace change as a natural characteristic of the planet. We are meant to evolve. We are not meant to keep things, including ourselves, as they are or to try to return them to something that we or they were in the past.

As you go about your week, consider the roots that Mother Earth gifted you with when you came to the Planet.  You ARE the Planet. The Planet is YOU. Are you aligned and living true to your roots?

   Treetops and Mountaintops - Fall Beauty Abounds

Treetops and Mountaintops - Fall Beauty Abounds

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Earth Day: Harmony For The Planet Every Day

  Getting Ready for Earth Day at the Dragonfly House!

Getting Ready for Earth Day at the Dragonfly House!

God is the great mysterious motivator of what we call nature, and it has been said often by philosophers, that nature is the will of God. And, I prefer to say that nature is the only body of God that we shall ever see.  Frank Lloyd Wright (quoted in Life In The World Hereafter: The Journey Continues)

Nature is intimately partnered with us in this physical experience, and that is perhaps the greatest boon of our incarnate existence, as nature is directly connected to and informed by the Universe.  Gregge Tiffen (Life In The World Hereafter: The Journey Continues, 2006)

   You can knock me over, but I'll still grow up.

You can knock me over, but I'll still grow up.

I’m profoundly blessed and deeply grateful to live surrounded by nature’s beauty and bounty. I step outside my door into a veritable feast for my senses. Seeing the flow of Cottonwood Creek bringing the snowmelt from the peaks reminds me of the natural flow of life. The smell of freshness in the pines tells me that experiences in life are always new. The distinctive buzz of the season’s first hummingbird signals the joy of spring awakening. The warm touch of the sun says that coats and hats and gloves can soon be put away. With a bit of awareness and imagination, I can taste the freshness of spring.

   'Scout', first hummer of the season, making sure everything is in order before the charm arrives here at their summer home.

'Scout', first hummer of the season, making sure everything is in order before the charm arrives here at their summer home.

Daily I hold the intention to live in greater harmony with nature and to hear and understand her messages more clearly.  I almost never leave home without my little camera and I never know what visual treat the flora or fauna or rocks will provide.  Sometimes I simply enjoy the beauty of what is offered. Other times I wonder and reflect on what message nature is sending. What can I learn from what I see?

Yesterday, feeling a bit of a funk and choosing not to force myself into putting energy into one of several projects on my list, Luke and I set out to wander through the woods out back. No trails to stay on. Luke followed his nose. Mom set out to let visual wonders lead the way. Our paths rarely drifted far from one another despite the denseness of the woods and our different interests.

   Two Trees ... growing together, growing apart amidst the curves and tangles of life.

Two Trees ... growing together, growing apart amidst the curves and tangles of life.

Our wandering reminded me that the Universe is designed in harmony and our dominion over the Earth is to maintain and restore that harmony. With every thought, every word, every deed we are making a contribution of harmony that supports nature on the planet or of disharmony that puts nature in the position of taking action to rebalance.  Our thoughts matter. Our words matter. How we maintain our bodies, our homes and care for our pets and our plants matter.  Even how we sleep matters.  

   Accepting death as a part of the natural cycle helps us harmonize with nature and ourselves.

Accepting death as a part of the natural cycle helps us harmonize with nature and ourselves.

Harmony matters. This earth day, I’m rededicating myself to my own personal harmony, within and without. What about you?

   Simple Beauty ... my version of eye candy and found in every direction.

Simple Beauty ... my version of eye candy and found in every direction.

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Emptiness At Solstice

   Magical, Mystical, Pre-dawn Moon

Magical, Mystical, Pre-dawn Moon

What I would exhort you to, what I would give as a gift to you, what I would lay down a soul for, would be for your awareness to recognize that this is a personal event for your life. It is the time that has been set up on this planet for you and Heaven to be with each other without interference. Gregge Tiffen (The Winter Solstice: Giving To Yourself – December, 2007)*

Emptiness seems like a strange word to ascribe to the season of winter holidays with their bright lights, joyful sounds, and festivities to match.  And, yet, giving yourself the gift of emptying is an important part of being prepared to receive the new that is sure to come as the sun begins her journey back to the north.  After all, the full glass cannot receive more wine.

In the Christmas Story, we are told that the inn was full. And, yet a receptive place for the birth was found. So it is for each of us.

We too need to empty and make ourselves receptive to the new.  Solstice is a time to declare one cycle complete, making way for another to begin. It is a time to embrace the realm of spirit and turn our backs on the material world, if only for a brief time. It is a time to bless and release all who have crossed your path in this cycle, knowing that those who are meant to return will be there in the new one.

And, perhaps most important of all, it is time to let go of who we were in the cycle that is completing.  The ‘you’ of that cycle is complete as well. And a new you of your design and making awaits.

As our planet prepares to celebrate her birthday, let us honor her by taking time to reflect this gift of the time when heaven and nature sing as one. May we each sing along in our own unique and harmonious way.

* The Winter Solstice has become my personal spiritual holiday over the years. You can read more about that here - http://cindyreinhardt.com/blog/the-gift-of-solstice

   Magical, Mystical Moon at Sunrise

Magical, Mystical Moon at Sunrise

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Matriot For The Planet

   What a difference a day makes ...

What a difference a day makes ...

Once you acquire planetary loyalty, you are loyal to everybody. You are way out of line if you try being loyal to people before you are totally loyal to the planet.  Gregge Tiffen (The Language of a Mystic: Universality – November, 2009)

It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.” Baha’u’llah

   Yesterday ... 

Yesterday ... 

Some years ago in a personal musing about the planet and my country I had the idea that we would be better served by embracing being ‘patriots’ for the planet rather than continuing to maintain the unsustainable patriotism that pits one (country or group) against another.  That idea circled back this morning as I considered the universal law of reflection and how I might expand my capacity to express a softer, gentler me and, thus be better able to see the same in others.

I thought that I was creating a new word when ‘matriot’ appeared on the page.  However, a trip to the dictionary quickly revealed its existence and this definition: “Hometown, school, or parish pride or loyalty, as opposed to nationalism or patriotism. Love or celebration of a woman's influence upon society; a women's equivalent to male patriotism. Love of the motherland, as opposed to patriotism as love of the fatherland.” 

I appreciate the first definition, as it reflects what I’ve been aiming for this week: staying close to home, staying present with myself moment to moment and avoiding the fray of ‘what if’ scenarios rampant all around.  It’s a time to not get ahead of myself, to make no plans, and to look to nature first.

The Urban dictionary online offered the meaning that is closest to what I was thinking:  

A person who loves, supports, and defends the earth and its interests with devotion.  Of country, patriot. Of earth, matriot

What occurs to me as I muse to see how the law of reflection fuses with being a matriot for the planet is that we need to nurture the language needed to bring forth the change we seek in the world. This is of course not a new idea. ‘Change your language. Change your life’ is a staple meme in self-development circles.  

Bringing this back home from we to me, how will I nurture new language for me?  The immediate opportunity is carefully observing the language of my thoughts and the words I speak. In taking care with my words, I can nurture and grow the divine feminine within. At the same time, I can be super selective about the language I choose as input, what I listen to and what I read.  That’s a start on growing my capacity to be a Matriot for the Earth.

How about you?  

   Sunday Night's Super Moon

Sunday Night's Super Moon

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Mother Nature, Planet Earth

   The early morning sun begins to shine on the peaks

The early morning sun begins to shine on the peaks

Mother Nature, planet Earth, gave us our power, our life, our energy. Ideally, we learn and teach fidelity for the land. We are to take care of the planet and to take care of the body that birthed us. It is everything to us. Take care. Do not destroy it. Do not turn your back on it. That is taking dominion. Gregge Tiffen (Mother Nature – May, 2007)

Years ago when I lived in the city, it was an effort to escape the concrete jungle and put myself in the woods or on the beach of the Gulf of Mexico. I always preferred the woods. After an interim move to a small canyon on the West Texas plains, I now find myself at home in the quiet woods of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Here appreciation, gratitude, and love for nature and for my physical body grow.

Here I am nourished by what my five senses take in:

  • The distinguished song of the meadowlark and the gentle sounds of Cottonwood Creek as she flows down the mountain and through the foothills
  • The beauty of snow-capped peaks by day and clear, vast starry sky by night
  • The solid, yet uneven earth under my feet and chill of the morning air on my cheeks
  • The freshness of the earth and the pines after a rain
  • The flavors of produce fresh from a friend’s garden or greenhouse and of pine pitch when my hand is sticky and I lick to clean it

Here I notice how my senses work together: sight and touch keeping me upright as I walk on rocky trails.

Here my ‘sense’ beyond my senses becomes more known.  I deepen my connection to the earth and come to know her as the source that sustains me.  I aim for my choices to reflect this knowing.

Here I take care of the earth and of this vehicle that consciousness has chosen for the ride this sojourn.

Here as I plant the seeds that know they are carrots, beets, beans, and squash, I scatter seeds reflecting what I know about the Universe and what I’m curious about.

   The seeds are sown. Let the growing begin!

The seeds are sown. Let the growing begin!

And, here knowing now what I didn’t know when I lived in the city, I see that I can honor Mother Nature, planet Earth, my true family wherever in the world I find myself.

I invite you to join me in the experiment to embrace the dominion we were given. In the weeks ahead, wherever you are, take time to notice and honor the ground that you walk on.  See, hear, feel, smell, taste the planet that is your home. Remember that you are not separate from her indeed you are integral part of the play.

Learn your lines and play your part well.

   A friendly junco greets the day

A friendly junco greets the day

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