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Gratitude

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An Avalanche of Gratitude

   Grateful Every Day to Live in this Beauty!

Grateful Every Day to Live in this Beauty!

Dear God, I sit quietly in appreciation for You as the Source of omnipotent Abundance manifested everywhere through every thing and every one. I give thanks, albeit too infrequently, to You as the Source that brings people and events into my life at exactly the right time and place. Gregge Tiffen (The Power of Giving Thanks – November, 2007) 

So begins Gregge Tiffen’s letter to God in his November, 2007 booklet, one of five years of monthly booklets, each a potent mystical musing containing guidance on navigating life on this planet from a practical metaphysical perspective.

That short opening paragraph prompted my awareness of two important things. First, give thanks more often. Heck, I aim to make gratitude a way of life. Gregge’s words also prompted deep gratitude for the people in my life.

There’s little, if any, question that evoking feelings of gratitude positively impacts our health and well-being.  A quick Google search yields hundreds of sources and studies that measure and document just that.  

Our task is to use that knowledge moment to moment, day to day, no matter what we face. Individually and collectively we need to generate avalanches of gratitude. We need to allow ourselves to be overwhelmed with gratefulness for our blessings, those that are obvious and those that may hide in disguise. We do so with practice, moment to moment, day to day.

As I reflected, I felt guided to begin making a list of the people I’m grateful for. It began something like this:

  • Cousin Marty, James Michael and his family

  • Neighbors who shared their bountiful garden harvest much of the summer

  • Another neighbor who installed insulation in the crawl space under my mudroom

  • A community member who recently said to me ‘as a woman who also lives alone, you can call me anytime, 24/7, you need help’

  • Friends who shifted their plans to have me over for dinner and brought dinner here so I could take care of an ailing Cool Hand Luke

And, on my list went, soon going beyond my local community (colleagues worldwide, activists on the front lines of change, etc.).  My avalanche of gratitude had begun. Like a tiny movement that can create an avalanche of snow and ice in the mountains, my list kept growing, leading to vast, deep, heartfelt gratefulness.

As my heart opened, my list expanded to include those who ‘push my buttons’ whether it be posting snarky comments on social media or expressing negativity in conversation. It encompassed media as well as elected officials whose words, tone, and decisions I loathe. I’m grateful for each and every one because in their aggravation of me, they push me to define my boundaries, my standards, what I will stand up for, and what I will stand in opposition to.  We are living in a time when that will become more and more important, but for today I’m simply grateful for them all. What about you? Will you add some gratitude to life today?

   Grateful for my neighborhood!

Grateful for my neighborhood!

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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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The Energy of Love

   Morning Clouds Bring Blessed Rain!

Morning Clouds Bring Blessed Rain!

There are billions of molecules of energy entering your aura all of the time. They are being attracted by the magnetism of your vortex. Gregge Tiffen, Deeds Are Fruit – Words Are Leaves ­– October, 2008

at whatever point we place our mental attention at that point the firm of God and company establishes a branch which is certain to be successful. Ernest Holmes Your Invisible Power quoted in Science of Mind, October, 2018

I woke to the sound of rain gently falling on the roof, its aroma wafting through an open window. I imagined for a moment how clean the rocks and trees will look and how soft the earth will feel under my feet when Luke and I venture out for our morning walk.

Rain is a blessed event here in this mountain desert, parched in drought conditions deemed “extreme” by experts who measure such things.

I take a few moments to feel gratitude deep in my bones and I speak a quiet, heart-felt ‘Thank you!’

This is where I place my attention as I begin this day.  I don’t do so with the intention of strengthening the branch of gratitude in my tree of life, yet I know that it will have that effect.

I allow, no I invite, Gregge’s words to sink in. I remember that we are energetic beings. The quality of the energy that we attract is determined by the qualities of our thoughts. Fear (and there is plenty of it ‘out there’ in our world) begets fear. Love magnetizes love. I choose love, expressing gratitude as one of love’s highest expressions.

I think about our world and my heart suggests that our greatest challenge in these times of chaos, cruelty, hostility aimed at making us fearful is to find loving ways to respond. I wonder how I might express my strong convictions about the current nominee for the Supreme Court to my senator from a foundation of love.

For love to inspire we need to invite it in with our attention, our thoughts and our gratitude. The energetic force of love deserves – no demands – our attention in these times. We need to call love forth as never before. Not as a superficial, airy/fairy concept, but as how we live – moment to moment, day by day.

Love does not cower in a corner waiting until it is safe to come forward. Love finds ways and words to express outrage and anger with care. Love invents approaches to navigate chaotic, even dangerous, events cautiously, yet without fear. Love fuels and finds ways to express strong, solid conviction. In the midst of darkness, love brings forth light. In the midst of drama, love is calm. In the midst of confusion, love seeks and finds clarity.

The conditions in our world need our attention but most all they need for that attention to be firmly grounded in love. As we each choose the messages and forms that best express our concerns, even our outrage, let the energy of love fuel us. As we make demands on elected officials to hear and respond to our voices, let us not seek to be the loudest, but the most loving. That is how we will build a world that we want to live in. Love is the answer.

   Peek-A-Boo Showering Love on You!

Peek-A-Boo Showering Love on You!

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Taking Pause

   Love that Prickly Feeling of a Niggling Thought

Love that Prickly Feeling of a Niggling Thought

Here is your educational mission: (1) Find the very best in you each day and use it; (2) Show the world your beauty, your courage, your understanding, your awareness, your creativity, your love. … If we are to live in joy and in accomplishment, we must release our cells from self-imposed restrictions so they can sense, interpret and move with us in the changing times. We need to be ready to respond, and to use experiences to our advantage. … there must be a willingness to let your cellular structure respond to the immediate event. Each day should be looked upon as the entrance to an adventure … Gregge Tiffen (What You Should Get From Education – September, 2007)

 Yep, I know that I’m using Gregge’s quote for a second week (http://cindyreinhardt.com/blog/answer-the-call. Some concepts and ideas bear repeating, especially when their meaning expands and deepens.  That’s what I experienced this week as I began to recognize that I’d said ‘yes’ when ‘no’ would better serve this mission in my life.

 Recently, I made a decision without listening to my cells/myself completely, responding ‘yes’ based solely on business considerations in response to an opportunity. Being ‘practical’, I stepped past questions that gently niggled: ‘What about your soul?’ ‘What about your commitment to write?’

 But, as I began to engage in the project, my body tensed and my creativity vanished. Feeling a bit like the deer in the headlights, I paused. I observed that this is not bringing forth the best in me. I felt blocked from those qualities I want to express in the world.

 I’ve learned (or at least hope I have) the cost of ignoring the gentle nudges of niggling thoughts. So, I began to reassess, reflecting on the questions above. Other questions gently followed. ‘What about the flexibility and flow that makes your heart sing?’ ‘What does this opportunity hold for you?’ ‘Are you feeling joy and excitement about that?’ ‘What are you feeling?’

 As I reflected, I saw clearly that my ‘yes’ had been grounded in fear. It was taking me off course, away from my dance with life. The niggling had invited me to examine my fear, to see beyond it and to renew commitments about how I want to live this life.

 With that, new questions – ones filled with joy, excitement and possibility – have begun to emerge:

  • ·        What possibilities and choices are aligned with this ‘educational mission’?

  • ·        What do I need?

  • ·        What thinking needs to shift?

  • ·        What choices don’t serve me now?

  • ·        What new habits, routines and practices need to be put in place?

Niggling thoughts invite us to pause and allow our cells to inform our ‘selves’. When we honor these thoughts with a pause to reflect, we can find the best within us and discover how to express that best in the world that so badly needs our very best.

Color me grateful for the rapid wakeup call. Add in a splash of curiosity plus a dash (or two) of excitement as I pause, respond to myself and my cells, and once again, begin again discovering and expressing my best.

   Finding the Road to Our Best

Finding the Road to Our Best

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Answer The Call!

   Hints of Fall!

Hints of Fall!

Here is your educational mission: (1) Find the very best in you each day and use it; (2) Show the world your beauty, your courage, your understanding, your awareness, your creativity, your love. … If we are to live in joy and in accomplishment, we must release our cells from self-imposed restrictions so they can sense, interpret and move with us in the changing times. We need to be ready to respond, and to use experiences to our advantage. … there must be a willingness to let your cellular structure respond to the immediate event. Each day should be looked upon as the entrance to an adventure … Gregge Tiffen (What You Should Get From Education – September, 2007)

This week a deeper understanding and appreciation of my willingness to respond to what’s in front of me to is unfolding. I’m experiencing the joy and satisfaction of having responded to the flow of life in the moment rather than putting it off for a ‘more convenient’ time. And, I’m examining some habitual responses to life’s daily events.

Since closing the B&B, I often answer the phone only if I know who’s calling, and if it’s convenient, and if I want to engage. The unanswered calls go to voicemail to be checked later … sometimes much later. When I’m engaged in a focused project or conversation with someone else, this approach is great for maintaining flow, focus and concentration – necessary elements in business and life.

But, an event this week has me questioning my approach other than when it’s absolutely necessary.

A missed phone call on Monday morning – I didn’t reach the phone until the call had rolled to voicemail – and, not recognizing the number, I finished the task I was engaged in before checking to see if the caller left a message.

Yes, they did. “Hi, it’s ____ (a friend whom I’ve known for 10+ years). I’m in jail and … . Please call this number and let the sheriff know you got this message and whether you can help. Thanks!”

It took a few moments to get my head around what I’d heard. My heart kicked in as well. “Yes, I can bring money for your bond …” I said when I quickly returned the call and the sheriff brought my friend to the phone. I moved into action – calmly and clearly much to my surprise – transferring funds and stopping at the bank to withdraw cash (filled with gratitude that I was able to do so and knowing that I’d be repaid immediately). Cash in hand, I drove across the county, feeling calm, curious and aware of the opportunity to embrace and learn from a totally new experience. No, I’d never bailed someone out of jail before.

I had no idea what to expect in the process, why my friend was there, or what their state of mind would be. The process was straightforward and the sheriff on duty was one of the kindest, most professional public servants I’ve ever met. In sharing what had happened my friend said, “well, that’s an experience I’ve never had!” showing calm and courage in the midst of stressful conditions coupled with recognizing the event as a learning opportunity.

The day unfolded with several related events and adventures. In reflecting later I wondered ‘what if I’d not listened to that voicemail and responded fairly quickly?’ How would I feel and what opportunities might I have missed? What if the situation was reversed and I was the one in need of assistance?  In these reflections, I concluded that ‘it’s good to answer the call’.

My willingness to go with the flow, to “let my cellular structure respond to the immediate event” was reinforced as I recognized that a chance introduction on a morning walk several months back when I’d taken time to engage in a brief conversation manifested a friendship that expanded into a collaborative business opportunity taking shape just this week.

With our daily routines, our habits, jobs, responsibilities, etc. etc. it’s challenging to embrace each day as an adventure, an opportunity to “find the best in ourselves and use it” to show the world (and ourselves) our beauty, our courage, our understanding, our awareness, our creativity and our love. But in this week of surprising events and new awareness, I’m deepening my commitment to do just that.

What/Who is calling you right now? Pick up the call!

   Evening Shadows In the Sacred Sangres

Evening Shadows In the Sacred Sangres


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Novel Experiences

   When a tree falls in the woods …

When a tree falls in the woods …

Your body is always looking at the planet through its five physical senses. It never looks beyond the planet. It looks at physical action only. … You find living here easier and a lot more fun when you respond to the planet and nature as you are designed to do. You understand that experience is here to increase your awareness at a certain point and for a certain reason. Gregge Tiffen (Learning Without Experience Is A Bell Without a Clapper – September, 2008)

 If the only prayer you said was ‘thank you’, that would be enough. Meister Eckhart

 It’s often said ‘the reason is love’. In this week of two ‘novel’ experiences, my reason is gratitude, feeling grateful and expressing my thanks.

The two experiences were vastly different, each novel in its own way. The first was a project occurring over several days with concentrated focus for a few hours each day. It was planned and orderly with the beginning, purpose and completion clearly defined at the outset. The second experience was an event that occurred instantly, no advance planning and ending in less than a minute.

 The project was ‘novel’ because I was reviewing the manuscript of a yet to be published novel. The event was novel because it was a first for me: a tree falling in the woods within arm’s-length of where I was standing. Only in hindsight do I connect them beyond the word ‘novel’. Upon reflection, I see how each brought me to gratitude.

 The project, being a beta reader for the forthcoming sequel to Rivera Sun’s fabulous novel, The Way Between, brought to awareness my gratitude for writers and activists who, like Rivera, are on the ‘front lines’ of change, working tirelessly to manifest social justice, equality, and non-violence in these times lacking all three. I’m grateful too for the opportunity to support this work doing something that I enjoy.

 The falling tree gifted me with an instant of simultaneously not knowing whether Luke and I would be alive in the next moment AND absolutely trusting that we would.

The adventure started with an afternoon break, heading out for a short hike on a beautiful, calm afternoon.  We’d reached our ‘turn-around’ point and were about to head back down the trail when I heard the unmistakable (though I’d never heard it before) sound of a tree cracking, breaking, about to fall. With no time to think, I made and executed two snap decisions – don’t call Luke and get face-down on the ground. In the next instant, I felt a thud as the tree hit the ground. Realizing that it hadn’t hit me, I called for Luke. He appeared quickly, a bit shaken (heck, we both were!), but otherwise just fine.  

 “Thank you!” I repeated several times, thinking in that moment only that both of us were safe. But as we walked back – on a road, not the trail - my shakiness gave way to a deeper, expansive gratitude. I felt gratitude to be alive in this body, on this planet, at this time, as well as gratitude for all life in all forms, formlessness, and infinity.  

 This week and beyond, may I not forget gratitude. May I feel it, and remember to say a heartfelt ‘thanks’.

   Coming Soon to a Bookseller Near YOU …

Coming Soon to a Bookseller Near YOU …

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The Source of Aha Moments

   A Sudden Burst of Fall!

A Sudden Burst of Fall!

… there is an inner beauty within each of us that is hungering to be matched in outer experiences. When that moment happens in truth, some great affirmation leaps up within us and for a moment out of time we move beyond hope and belief to the conviction of certainty. Patrece, From Concept to Conviction: Experiment, PS 52, Series 10 Week 50 (Post Scripts is a weekly series written by Patrece on behalf of P Systems, an independent 501(c-3) non-profit corporation she established in 1983. www.p-systemsinc.com

The source of your aha moments is YOU!

The moment I read the above quote, it resonated deeply. Isn’t life about bringing forth what lies dormant in each of us, creating experiences that do just that: matching what Patrece suggests is our ‘inner beauty’ with our ‘outer experiences’.

My own ‘aha moment’ was recognizing this light within as the source of insights we call ‘aha moments’. The source of my aha moments is me, just as the source of your aha moments is you.

We tend to look upon ‘aha moments’ as those times when an insight comes to solve a problem or to see our way through a challenging situation. While that is certainly the case, the real beauty of an ‘aha moment’ is that it reveals more us to ourselves. And, in discovering more of self, we discover more about others, our world, and our relationships with both.

Perhaps we would do well to savor our flashes of insight by taking time to express our gratitude and to reflect on what our new awareness has to offer beyond the current concern it appears to address. What is the wider, deeper message of this insight? Where is its application in my life?

Beyond recognizing (remembering to be more accurate) inner beauty seeking expression as the source of insights (and for that matter, inspiration), I put attention on the words ‘within each of us’.  I invited that to settle in … each of us: all inclusive, each and every one. Not just some. Not just those with whom I agree. EVERYONE.

Aha! We each hold a piece of the Universal ‘puzzle’ that is beauty waiting patiently (or not) to be expressed. Those who make choices and take actions that I loathe are part of this great unfolding. Yes, even ‘him, her, them’. And …

NO! This awareness does not mean I give them a pass or that I look the other way, rather it reminds me that a part of my expression is compassion and care. It reminds me that diversity creates unity. It reminds me that polarity is a requirement for creation. It moves me ‘beyond hope and belief to the conviction of certainty’ that life in this chaotic time is but a blip in the eternity that is our infinite Universe.

My job, and yours, is to express the inner beauty that is ours and ours alone in everything we do moment to moment, day to day with love, not fear; with clarity, not confusion; with trust, not doubt. These expressions are our contribution to feeding the collective hunger for a world whose outer manifestation reflects what our hearts most desire.

   A Shroud of Clouds and Blessed Rain in the Sangres!

A Shroud of Clouds and Blessed Rain in the Sangres!

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The Antler

   The Antler of Wisdom & Awareness

The Antler of Wisdom & Awareness

Shedding is nature in action, the easy, effortless flow of life. Clinging upsets this natural flow, creating suffering, stress, and dis-ease.

The whole object of pruning is that it improves your growth, it regenerates your brain, and it opens up new opportunities. Experiences that are no longer being used in a positive manner should be cut from the creative tree inside of you and taken away. Gregge Tiffen (Give Nothing, Get Nothing – August, 2008)

 

Take a moment to imagine a male deer resisting shedding his antlers (my first thought was a beautiful buck dashing into the market looking for super glue) or a snake holding on to its outgrown skin (duct tape anyone?).  Imagine an autumn walk in the woods if the leaves weren’t falling from the trees. Or what we humans would look like if we didn’t constantly shed cells of our skin.

While no deer, snake or tree was interviewed for this musing, I’m quite certain that they don’t resist this natural process. And, I’m hardly aware of the daily loss of my skin cells.  Shedding is nature in action, the easy, effortless flow of life. Clinging upsets this natural flow, creating suffering, stress, and dis-ease.

Yet we humans cling. We hold on to ‘stuff’ – so much stuff that our garages have no room for our cars and ‘storage’ is a thriving business. We hold on to jobs, relationships, as well as to ideas, habits, and beliefs that, at best, we no longer need. Sometimes in our busy-ness we simply aren’t aware of what we are holding on to, much less its toll. For the most part we don’t look at events in our lives to discover their meaning, their gifts, and their clues to what we need to change.

One morning tending to my garden on the deck, I discovered several beautiful, almost ripe tomatoes had been partially eaten. Argh!!! I suppose the pesky pack-rats I later trapped (and relocated several miles away in an open field) concluded I didn’t need them since there was a box full in the house awaiting the dehydrator.  

Harvest time brings allergy season – itchy eyes for me, shedding and itching all over for Cool Hand Luke. In my angst over his apparent discomfort (and my annoyance at the almost constant biting, licking, scratching) I lost sight of the fact that shedding is natural, normal, and that I know how to ease Luke’s discomfort.

I was ‘dealing with’ these events without much thought and no reflection. Then, I found ‘the antler’.

Shed sometime in the late fall or winter by one of the many bucks that hang out here in our woods, ‘the antler’ woke me up, cueing me to the theme of ‘shedding’ present all around me and inviting me to that thoughtful, reflective place. I accepted the call.  As I walked home with the antler, I understood that I’m in a shedding period of my life. I’ve ‘shed’ the bed & breakfast creating the spaciousness for something new to emerge.

I became aware of Luke’s shedding as a normal part of canine life. I was aware of an eating habit that contributes to my itchy eyes and that now can be ‘shed’. And (ugh!) I was aware that the pack-rats, which come by that name quite honestly, were suggesting it was time to complete the culling of ‘stuff’ that I began several months ago (yep, what I culled in the house, is in the garage!).

I wondered, what else would it serve me to shed? Perhaps it’s time to shed my habit of using my ‘critical eye’ to judge the actions of others and aim it lovingly on my own actions.  

What other thoughts, beliefs or ideas no longer need to reside in me? Perhaps it’s time to banish thoughts that undermine my conviction that the Universe is a friendly place, unfolding as it must despite so much evidence to the contrary.

What distractions are blocking the emergence of something new? Perhaps my protective reaction to signs of growth and change popping up in our community provide a clue.

As I go about life, these questions are alive in me. No push. No rush. No clinging. Open heart to discover what to shed and prune next. And, simple gratitude for the space to receive these gifts.

   Signs of Growth, Signs of Change in The Woods

Signs of Growth, Signs of Change in The Woods

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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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Breaking Free of Comparison

   Evening Thunderheads - Bring On the Rains

Evening Thunderheads - Bring On the Rains

You are not separate from creative Source. … the creative Force of the Universe is creating without any evaluatory bent. … your greatest creative defeat is often that you have set yourself up in some kind of comparative mode that is working against you. Gregge Tiffen (Open Secrets: Creative Power Released – July,2011)

Comparison is a trap that has us believe that we are separate from Source and from one another.

Comparison and competition are antithetical to the Universe. Just look at nature. In the woods out back the pines don’t compete or compare themselves to one another or to the cottonwoods nearby. They simply (or not so simply if you dive deep into the science of these woods) live, breath, and grow with the season. They do so without regard to standards the world sets about how a pine tree should be. Likewise, they don’t give a wit about how they grew last week or last year.

It’s tempting to say pine trees have an easy life, but in a year of drought, I doubt the pine would agree. They deal with such challenges in their authentic way, honoring the pattern of the seed from whence they broke through the ground. They are tapped into the creative power that is the Universe without the blocks and barriers to that Source that we humans create with our awareness and our intelligence. (Yep, I find that humorous too!)

Universal humor aside, our awareness and intelligence are the ground from which the gift of free will is called forth. We say that we’re connected to Source, but the truth is we ARE Source. Free will is the right and responsibility to choose how we direct that energy. The more we know about and honor our uniqueness, our blueprint, our ‘seed’ if you will, the more ease we experience.

Sadly we live in a world that operates under the false belief that comparison is beneficial and that good, better, best are real measures of success. We compare our lives, our work, our financial wealth, our health (and the list goes on) with others. We’re surrounded by messages – some of them very well-meaning - that success means measuring up to whatever the world declares as standards (and it keeps us in chaos by constantly, often subtly, changing those standards). Rather than learning from what we’ve experienced, we often compare our experience today with that of last week or last year.

Personally, I unconsciously gravitate to comparison when I’m feeling a little off, having lost awareness of the reality that I’m not separate from Source. From this place, I simply don’t measure up to what others have done/are doing or to the world’s standards or to what I’ve done in the past.

Comparison is a trap that has us believe that we are separate from Source and from one another. Breaking free and staying free of the trap requires practice and awareness. From the point of awareness that you’ve fallen into to the comparison trap, here are some useful techniques for breaking free:

  • Move (stretch, shake it off, or better yet, get outside for a walk)
  • Touch the earth (a few minutes with my feet in the sand is a great elixir)
  • Remind yourself that you are not separate from creative Source and feel into that energy
  • Return to gratitude
  • Engage curiosity (how can I live more fully into what I know?)
  • Laugh (and the world laughs with you! – how silly of me to forget who I AM)

Enjoy a comparison free week!

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