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Three Legs of the Stool of Life

Warm, spring weather gives way to snow …

Warm, spring weather gives way to snow …

Freedom awaits on the other side of self-awareness and self-love. (Rev. Jane Beach - Science of Mind Magazine, Daily Guide for April 5, 2019)

These words caught my attention one morning last week as I read the SOM Daily Guide, part of my morning ritual.  They’ve stayed with me, aligned as they are with my beliefs and understanding about their importance to living a good life. Yet, despite that alignment, I sensed something to be missing. A solid stool needs three legs.

I hadn’t given the idea much thought until this morning as I began to put attention on this week’s post. What’s been my focus this week? What’s had my attention? The answer came quickly: self-care and rest.

 As I generally do on blog day, I opened one of Gregge Tiffen’s booklets to see what would catch my attention as a starting point. I opened it to the last page.

The spiritual purpose of sleep is to refurbish in order for you to create. … Life responds to you! (Gregge Tiffen - The Language of a Mystic: Application – April, 2009)

Hmm, I thought as I turned to the preceding page.

Ask your body what it needs in terms of stamina and maintenance. (Gregge Tiffen - The Language of a Mystic: Application – April, 2009)

Although I knew this post would flow from what I’d read, I didn’t sense the direction. I felt empty and tired so I set aside my journal, curled up and dozed in and out of awareness and with a sense of going deep within.

When I woke a short while later, I gulped. Self-honesty was the missing ingredient that I’d sensed. For some time I’ve ignored the awareness that my body will be healthier and happier if I eliminate sugar from my diet.

Honesty has become a premium in our time. Self-honesty has become like a lode of uranium. To the person who is willing to dig for it and carry it to the surface, the life rewards are abundant. (Gregge Tiffen - The Journey Continues: The Legacy for Generations – November, 2010)

I want a strong, healthy body, and I love chocolate.  The internal conversation around sugar is the same I experienced more than three decades ago when I (finally) quit smoking: I want to stop, but … I want to be healthy, but …. I discovered that the truth was I only desired to ‘want to stop’.

I needed to shift: from ‘wanting to want to stop’ to truly desiring to do so. Making that shift gave me the clarity to prioritize my health and to honor the request of my precious (and at that time precocious) young step-son who clearly saw the hypocrisy of smoking while saying and doing other things to be healthy.

In hindsight, I see how the three legs of self-awareness, self-love, and self-honesty were at play in coming to that choice. From that awareness and the dose of self-honesty that fell in my lap this morning, can I summon the self-love to fuel my will and honor what my body so clearly needs? Will I stop the game I’ll stop when _____ (this batch of cookies is eaten, this chocolate bar is gone)? Will I leap from ‘wanting to want to stop’ to ‘truly desiring  eliminating sugar’?

What are you ‘wanting to want to’ do or to stop? Are you ready to join me in making the leap?

Interesting shapes  naturally mark this trail in the woods.

Interesting shapes naturally mark this trail in the woods.



Our Wise and Humbling Body

Woof!Woof! Happy to be on the trails again!!!

Woof!Woof! Happy to be on the trails again!!!

Any part of your body has a lot to tell you. Gregge Tiffen (Open Secrets: Invisible Action – November, 2011)

When we use our will and choose to listen, our cells provide valuable information that supports us to make choices that result in our being vibrant, healthy, and strong; not just physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. The body is wise and, as I’ve recently experienced, listening deeply can be humbling.

Experiencing a bout of discomfort and low energy along with an intuitive sense that something internal wasn’t working optimally, I sought to identify the source.  As quickly as I described these symptoms to a local DCM (Doctor of Chinese Medicine), she suggested ‘gallbladder’. Ugh! Before I could rein them in my thoughts were racing to thoughts of gallstones, surgery, bland food … Whoa!!

I paused.  I listened. First to the doc and her recommendations for dietary changes (no, it doesn’t have to be bland, but do curb the hot sauce and greasy fries for now), a formula of Chinese herbs, and, eventually a GB cleanse.  Whew! No need to call 911 and race to the hospital.  Her suggestions felt right on target.

As I made the adjustments and began to feel a bit more energy, my curiosity kicked in. What in my thinking – conscious and not – could be underneath these physical systems?  Louise Hay’s Classic You Can Heal Your Body quickly confirmed my hunch that pointed to bitterness, disdain, irritation, rancor, audacity …

What is and/or was so galling to me that my gallbladder sounded the call to attention?  Gulp. Dare I look at my sometimes harsh judgements and the language that follows when I observe the news, read Facebook posts, or even in conversation with someone whose views differ from my own? Dang, I thought I ‘that’ under perfect control. What audacity to think so!

I scratched a little deeper and found that part of me that loathes how the world conspires to pull me into its darkness, the part of me that fears I might respond, and the part of me that sometimes, when my will is weak and my awareness not strong, does pull me in.  Self-honesty is a (rhymes with) stitch, a humbling one, but her rewards are vast, going beyond to gaining self-knowledge that refines to wisdom someday. And gallbladder care, indeed care for the whole body, doesn’t stop with addressing physical symptoms.

We live in a world that aims to distract us from deeply listening to the knowledge and wisdom of our bodies and nature and one another. For example, ads for all manner of drugs break up segments of mind numbing programming, each suggesting that they know best what our ‘problem’ is and what we need to fix it.

The world and its systems would have us believe that they and it know us better than we know ourselves. Perhaps, but for me, I’m aiming to listen to my body first. I’ll call on the world when that seems like my best course of action.

High Above Town in the National Forest

High Above Town in the National Forest



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 -

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 ( 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 or watch the movie Aluna (available on 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.



Organizing From Within

A morning cloud cap as the sun hits the mountains

A morning cloud cap as the sun hits the mountains

When you are organized from within, you are allowing your central nervous system and all your interior functions (even the things we call spiritual) to operate at an efficient level. Gregge Tiffen (Deeds Are Fruit, Words Are Leaves – October, 2008)

As I garner more years under my belt, efficient operation becomes more and more important to me.  The cost of inefficiency is simply too high.  Efficient operation can’t co-exist with chaos.  Awareness is required and adjustments need to follow.  

In a world that seems to become more chaotic daily, initiating my day from a calm, grounded place sets the stage for efficiency. To do so requires me to give myself plenty of time each morning for reading, writing and reflection before I plunge into my day.  When I fail to do so, I find that I’m unfocussed and accomplish little despite lots of action.

Cool Hand Luke, who, when getting up, always stretches always stretches before he moves into action, reminds me to give myself this time and to take breaks during the day to check in and make adjustments.

When I’m in the midst of busy-ness or chaotic, stressful events, taking time to organize from within is even more critical.  It’s also more challenging as thoughts about the event and other players easily dominate my awareness unless I use discipline and strength to put them aside.

That’s a difficult task, requiring awareness and commitment to reach a calm, grounded place before jumping into action (or, more accurately when I fail to take time, costly reaction).  Yet it is just that commitment to organize from within that brings clarity to what my right action is, while remembering that my right action may not be what’s right for another.

Operating efficiently is critical to my well-being – my health, my wealth, my happiness, and the quality of life itself. With that commitment, it’s easy to make choices, to discern what activities and events I will participate in and which ones will be left behind.

Is efficient operation important to you? How do you maintain it?

Luke - stretched out and on the move this beautiful autumn day!

Luke - stretched out and on the move this beautiful autumn day!