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The Political IS Personal

  The Dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park on our Welcome Spring hike to the Zigurat

The Dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park on our Welcome Spring hike to the Zigurat

We are in a constant battle by trying to stay alive as a mental individual who is capable of thinking, while our society is basically trying to keep us from thinking by overloading our circuits. This keeps us from identifying our target areas and computing the information that is important to us individually. That is dangerous and that is what is going on. Whatever causes us to shut down is our enemy. Gregge Tiffen (The Collected Works of Gregge Tiffen: Earth and Second Earth)

I’m taking a turn toward politics in this post, something that I rarely do directly. Yet politics as a force in our culture is never far from my thinking. Political decisions at every level of government create policies that impact every area of our daily lives. These policies either empower us or not. Sadly, mostly they do not.  

This morning I woke with chilling clarity about the current blatant attacks on education, on people who are educated, in short on those who dare think for themselves. Perhaps triggered by yesterday’s story about the University of Wisconsin proposing to end degree programs in several liberal arts/humanities areas of study in order to teach things that lead to a “clear career path”, I saw a tapestry of current attacks piling on to long running ones on teachers, public schools, so-called ‘intellectuals’ (I call them people who think!), and more.

I saw clearly the weaving together of dark, dense threads to smother the independent thinking and acting that, I believe, was envisioned by our nation’s founders (both fathers AND mothers!). Some threads scream ‘fake’ news in one direction. while manufacturing such news in another. Threads that tear down from within federal departments charged with education, diplomacy, environmental protection, and justice. These are the areas with the potential to empower (and, yes, it’s debatable how good a job they’ve done up to now) individuals and build a free and just society.  Other threads build up departments that aim for ‘power over’ – homeland security, military, and police as examples.

These attacks (and I use words of war intentionally – especially after last week’s post http://cindyreinhardt.com/blog/bucking-the-culture-aint-easy) are not new, nor is my awareness of and concern about them.  Yet today, I’m taking them personally. These actions attack the freedom of individuals to think, learn and grow as we each choose (and as we are designed to do in the grand scheme of things universal). They are aimed at numbing, shutting down, and directing our minds to do someone else’s bidding. And, they are right there with all the other noise screaming for our attention.

Political decisions ARE personal in their impact. And, no impact is greater than distracting our mind from its most important task: learning what it/what we each came here to learn.

Yes, we need to pay attention and be involved in those matters that we most care about. But even more, we need to be vigilant, alert, and discerning in directing our attention, our minds to what is important to each of us on our unique learning sojourn. Focus. Discover. Focus again.

   Cool Hand Luke takes a look at the landscape from the Zigurat

Cool Hand Luke takes a look at the landscape from the Zigurat

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Influencers Revisited

   Cool Hand Luke Skywalker & A Hike to the Zigurat - Influencers That Remind Me of My Path

Cool Hand Luke Skywalker & A Hike to the Zigurat - Influencers That Remind Me of My Path

The degree that you allow someone or something to affect your thinking and therefore your life is the degree to which you are influenced. Gregge Tiffen (Open Secrets: One Original Thought – September, 2011)

On its surface, Gregge’s quote seems simple, obvious, and perhaps, even superficial. That’s the way with truth ‘simple but not easy’ and always, in all ways inviting us to be aware right now, in the present moment.  

When I first shared about influencers in a post (http://cindyreinhardt.com/blog/influencers), I wrote about the people who’ve most influenced me in life. I found a common thread among them: they did not follow the pack. Each in their own way lived life on their terms.  They didn’t choose a path that the world suggested was what they should do. 

And, that is what we are each here to do: discover and follow our individual path, despite the pulls and prompts of family, friends, gurus, politicians, corporations and many other things competing to influence us.  To do so demands that we sharpen our awareness of external influences and that we make choices that affirm our path.

Stop for a moment. Inquire and notice who or what is influencing you right now?   Then explore. Are those influences supporting you, blocking you, or thwarting you in what you are aiming to accomplish? Did you consciously choose to allow it, or did it creep in without you choosing?

Our challenge is to be mindful and at choice about who and what we allow to affect us.

   I love being under the influence of the visual and audible beauty of a mountain stream ... 

I love being under the influence of the visual and audible beauty of a mountain stream ... 

As I’ve aimed to rise to that challenge, I’ve worked at being able to stay informed of news events without getting caught up in the drama and negative pull that so many in the media tend to project.  I’ve explored various media and observed how each impact me. When I overload or discover that I’m influenced in ways that go beyond being informed, I stop and turn to nature (including Cool Hand Luke) to remind me to be at choice.

This week as I’ve experienced a number of breakdowns – appliances stopping in the middle of a project, repair folks not responding to my calls – I’ve aimed to simply handle what needed to be handled, to take the next step, and to let it go. Rather than relying on the world, I’m engaging my trust in the unfolding of life to influence and guide me.  Simple, but not always easy.

In the midst of those, a friend called to tell me about something that they want to change in our community.  As I listened to the concern and noticed the intensity with which it was being shared, I was grateful for the awareness that I could choose whether to engage AND whether the conversation would influence me after the call ended.  I chose ‘no’ on both.

I’ve also experienced calls to ‘come out and play’.  A frequent guest at the Dragonfly House who’s in town for a house sitting gig elsewhere invited me to lunch at a time when I was thinking about emailing him to inquire if he would house-sit for me later in the fall.  That’s an influence to say ‘yes’ to!

This week I invite you to notice external influences and to make conscious choices about who and what you allow in – moment by moment, day to day, and beyond.

   ... and the influence of the profound beauty of nature ...

... and the influence of the profound beauty of nature ...

 ...   and the sound of music from amazing artists (Yes, that IS Carlos Nakai!)

... and the sound of music from amazing artists (Yes, that IS Carlos Nakai!)

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Claiming Independence and Individuality

   Individuality & Independence at Crestone's July 4th parade.

Individuality & Independence at Crestone's July 4th parade.

Dependency is a basic violation of Universal law. The Universe operates on independence. The Universe operates on individuality. It operates on separation in every shape and form. … The minute you become dependent upon anyone in any way you no longer have any power to move forward in your own pattern, in your own blueprint, and on your own behalf. You come to a halt. Gregge Tiffen (Finding Freedom: The Meaning of Independence, July, 2007)

Reflect on this for a few moments and you may come to discover a key to why we so often feel stuck and experience the frustration that accompanies that ‘stuck-ness’.

Another Independence Day has come and gone here in the USA, the 241th since a small band of visionary revolutionaries, some of whom had deep mystical understanding, declared independence and set a course for a new nation.  We’ve celebrated our freedom once again. But I’ve come to wonder if we/I really know what freedom is. Do we/I know the importance of exercising our independence? Do we/I even know how?

As I observe the political landscape, I see and hear demands for freedom. Fear that someone who is ‘different from me’ will take our freedom away is rampant.  It seems we have lost our understanding that the source of freedom and independence is not man or government. Rather, free will is our gift from the Universe. Independence is Universal law.  Dependence is a violation of that law.

And yet we have created and continue to support dependence in our systems of government, education, business. We give life to these systems when we depend on them as our source. We’ve become dependent on bosses, clients, government agencies and circumstances for our happiness and well-being.  And, in doing so, we give away our freedom, our power to choose.

When I’m deeply honest with myself, I can see dependence imbedded in personal relationships and friendships as well.  We expect others to ‘be there’ for us and we may even be dependent on them needing us as well.

It’s no wonder that the level of frustration, angst, and fear has reached revolutionary proportions. We aren’t being true to our nature. We desperately want to find our way back. So we revolt. Many lash out at the ‘powers that be’ as if they are the source. Others wisely recognize that change starts within and that responsibility is key to the exercise of freedom.

A first step in taking responsibility is the recognition that the tyranny of dependence is in part self-imposed. From that awareness we are in a position to declare our own, personal independence. I’ve discovered that ‘unlearning dependence’ requires the willingness and self-honesty to look inside to what motivates my action. When I help out a neighbor am I simply using the opportunity as expression of my best self or do I have a hidden (mostly to me) agenda to fill an unmet need?

We restore our independence by our willingness to look honestly step by step and choice by choice. We learn from experience and commitment that our independence is mostly an inside job. That job is made more challenging in a culture that fosters dependence as a means to control.  Yet, in the final analysis we and we alone are the authors of our own freedom.

NOTE – this post was originally written and posted on 7-7-2016.  It still seems apropos today as I reflect on the sad state of governance not just in the United States but in many corners of the world.  http://cindyreinhardt.com/blog/breaking-the-chains-of-dependence

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Light In The Darkness

   A New Day Dawns ... 

A New Day Dawns ... 

The Universe did not send you here to match you up with the puzzle of society. What you do with you is your contribution. … Picture what it would be like if you were at your ultimate advancement. The power vibrating from you at that point boggles the mind. It would be like a bright light in a dark room. The world as we know it today is a dark room.  Gregge Tiffen (Pleasure Is Short, Wisdom Is Infinite – May, 2008)

This quote was written in response to a question about how to contribute to the world almost a decade ago and, it rings especially true for me today. That’s the way of Universal truths. They don’t change. And, the ways in which we can apply them are infinite.

I’ve grappled with the question ‘what does the market need/want?’ throughout the 30+ years I’ve been in business. It’s ‘the’ question that comes early in every marketing ‘how to’.  No matter how the question is posed, to this day it stops me cold.  I literally freeze when I think about defining my ‘target market’ and what ‘they’ need/want? Heck, it’s a full time job knowing what I need/want. In the many courses I’ve taken over these years, I’ve guessed, faked answers or simply ignored the question.

Instead, I’ve put most of my attention on finding ways to express me in the best ways I can whether coaching, or writing, or welcoming guests to my bed & breakfast.  I want to learn to be in the world on my terms, not the world’s. That’s the only path I see to be true to me. And, if I’m not true to me, then there’s little chance I will offer any light in the darkness.

I’m not sure what my “ultimate advancement” would be like. But, when my feet hit the floor each day, using my energy to be the best expression of me I can be seems like a path worth following. And, one that puts at least a little beam of light on the path with each step I take.

Imagine the light that could be brought to this world …

   Nature Doesn't Ask What The Market Needs, Yet Harmony Abounds ...

Nature Doesn't Ask What The Market Needs, Yet Harmony Abounds ...

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Dream A Little Dream

   Yes. That IS snow.

Yes. That IS snow.

We are here to dream our part of the Original Dream. Gregge Tiffen (The Journey Continues: A Taste of Devotion - April, 2010)

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. Mahatma Gandhi

What do you dream of that you know comes from deep inside? Do you notice when you are following that dream that you are Gandhi’s very definition of happiness – your thoughts, words, and deeds are in harmony? Isn’t that where happiness lives? Isn’t that how humanity thrives?

We are individual entities, each an integral part of the greater whole that unfolds moment to moment, day to day. We were granted free will as a part of our sojourn. Moment to moment we have the power to choose.  You and I and every human on the planet is included (those with whom we resonate AND those who see and experience things differently than we do).

The Dream knows none of the artificial barriers humankind has created. There are no walls or fences or boundaries of any kind. Ethnicity, wealth and other measures of man matter not in The Dream. Our access is limited only by our individual commitment and willingness to be aware. EveryONE is a thread in the fabric of The Dream.

The Dream is available to one and all that we might each discover our part, write the script, and play it with aplomb. Our part is our dream. Our part is that in which we experience our thoughts, words, and deeds to be in perfect alignment. Life is just that simple.  

We make it complex in our efforts to control that over which we have no control. One another and the future are prime examples. What others think, say, do is none of my business. Manipulating life’s events toward a guaranteed outcome is both exhausting and futile. 

I find comfort in remembering that The Dream exists. My curiosity is peaked and I want to expand my awareness of my dream as a part of it.  I imagine the hit song Dream a Little Dream of Me (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYek278jx2U) as a love song from the Universe calling us to The Dream and inviting us to (re)discover our part.   

What lies within – deep, yet within reach – that is ready to emerge and to play its part?

   Green ... the promise of Spring!

Green ... the promise of Spring!

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Power From The Source

   Symbols abound when you walk in love and wonder.

Symbols abound when you walk in love and wonder.

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. … If we refuse to take our proper and rightful place, it will be filled by someone or something to exert power over us. Whether we like it or not, we will have to live with the realization that we have abdicated our throne. We will have turned our potent forces over to the negative forces of the world that will use that power to keep us in bondage. We must never forget that a rightful force unused will, by the law of its own character, become a force misused.  Gregge Tiffen [Deserve Success and You Will Command It – March, 2008]

As I observe politics these days and make choices about my participation, I’m aiming to do so from my position of power. Not from anger. Not from fear. Not from impotence. Even though, from time to time, I find myself feeling them. At those times, I’m aiming to remember to go within to remind myself that true power, Universal Power, comes, not from man and the world’s systems but from Universal Source.

As I seek to understand what I observe, I wonder where and how ‘we the people’ have abdicated that Power. It seems that we must have done so to find ourselves where we are: divided in oh so many ways and continuing to believe that by force (the antithesis of power) we can control. History tells us otherwise. The illusion of control is just that, a fleeting illusion.

Force and its allies are not characteristics of the Universe.  Power and its allies (abundance, beauty, harmony, joy, peace, love, light, life) are.

While the political science major (yes, I was) in me is fascinated by current events, the ‘me’ that I’ve come to be cares more about the learning opportunities these events present. As messy as the world seems there must be gazillions. Or, as the optimist digging in a pile of manure said when asked ‘why’, “with all this sh__ there must be a pony in here somewhere”.

In the midst of all the behaviors, words, bills, policies that I find troubling – what might I learn? How do I navigate this world from my Power?

I sense we have vast opportunities to do just that: participate knowing the Source of our true Power. From that awareness and with each of us participating in our own unique ways, a different world is possible.

I’m looking for the pony. What about you?

  Snow and ice cover Cottonwood Creek today after a snow ...

Snow and ice cover Cottonwood Creek today after a snow ...

   What a difference a day makes!

What a difference a day makes!

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Resistance With LOVE!

  As the snow melts, the gentle flow of Cottonwood Creek comes to the surface.

As the snow melts, the gentle flow of Cottonwood Creek comes to the surface.

Love is long suffering and kind. Suffering does not mean endurance but rather the willingness to permit and allow the kind of person someone is. Love recognizes individuality and respects individual freedom. If I love who I am, then my love for you will include the tolerance to let you be yourself without censure or critique.  Gregge Tiffen (The Numerology of Love – February, 2007)

When fear is used to control us, love is how we rebel. Rivera Sun (The Dandelion Insurrection - http://www.riverasun.com/)

Love is the most potent, powerful force on the planet. It is a characteristic of the Universe. Love’s power can guide us to create a world of peace and plenty. And, as history shows us, love misplaced or misunderstood, begets fear, fighting and scarcity.

In forgetting that we are each created as unique individuals with our own characteristics, strengths, foibles and lessons to learn, what have we lost in terms of awareness of the individual contribution we are each here to make? Have we forgotten that EVERY ONE has THEIR story? That we are all different and we are all the same?  Even, especially perhaps, those with whom we disagree.

Across the ages, right up to this very moment our ignorance has led us to fear the ‘other’ and to engage in cruelties beyond my comprehension. And yet, in quiet, reflective moments I wonder ‘is there a line, some circumstance or event that would provoke me to physical violence?’ I pray that the answer is ‘no’, but I know that I am capable of thinking and speaking harsh words and that I can suddenly find myself in a stream of consciousness that is far afield from recognizing and respecting the individuality of those with whom I disagree. That is especially so when their decisions appear to have the ability to impact my choices, my lifestyle. I noticed that a sort of ‘how dare they …’ attitude is often what spurs me to act. 

Recognizing that this attitude is grounded, not in love, but in fear, led me to begin to explore how to pour love into the acts of resistance I choose to take. After all, why pour gasoline – acting out of fear – on a fire that is already raging? 

I hit the ‘pause’ button on taking action and realized that before joining the crowd in reacting to the latest outrage (of which there are plenty), I need to tend to my heart. It’s important to connect with what I am FOR even as I speak out against those things with which I disagree. What I am FOR is, I believe, grounded in love – justice, human rights, free speech (indeed freedom in all its forms!).  I’m aiming to engage from love.

Whether I’m signing a petition, writing a letter or email, or making a call I’m aiming to take time to infuse it with love. Love that “recognizes individuality and respects individual freedom”. Love that speaks what is true for me in the moment and, hopefully, opens the door for the other to consider. Love that opens me to other points of view – deeply, honestly.

I don’t know all the ways to make this shift, but I’m up for the learning. Whether you’re actively engaged in either ‘side’ of the current political divide or simply observing, I invite you to join me in exploring and experimenting how to pour love into your action.

One by one, let us deepen our love of self so that we can pour love into all that we do.

Give yourself a little treat and enjoy “All You Need Is Love” The Beatles:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsxtImDVMig

   Sunrise lights up the San Juan Mountains across the valley.

Sunrise lights up the San Juan Mountains across the valley.

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Rhythm & Blues

   Demonstrating Dog Rhythm

Demonstrating Dog Rhythm

Everyone and everything has a different rhythm. Gregge Tiffen (The Journey Continues: Time Travels, July, 2010)

No, I’m not changing my focus to commentary on music. Whew! I was musing about a title for the topic as it emerged this morning, realizing that being out of my rhythm in my daily life makes me blue (at best, but honestly it makes me cranky and downright disagreeable to which others can attest). 

I wonder if the simple answer for many of life’s conundrums isn’t for each of us to get into our unique rhythm, not the one that the world and its systems have imposed, but the one that is unique to us. What if angst and conflict in relationships is rooted in nothing more than that our individual rhythms clash?  What if the anger and fear that we witness daily in the world is growing from those same roots?

This musing comes from self-observation through several recent experiences. I’ve experienced the cellular constriction (I personally feel it in my shoulders, neck and stomach) of stress and the internal chaos that ensued as I attempted to meet what I perceived as a demand from someone I’m working on a project with.  I realized that the stress was my body’s reaction to being taken out of its natural rhythm and flow.  As I looked deeper, I also found that there was no demand imposed by another at all, rather what I believed to be an expectation that I didn’t take time to check out.

I’ve also experienced the joy and ease of flow spending several days with a friend with no plan, no schedule and no expectation.  We each honored our unique individual needs, desires, and rhythms coming together with minimal planning for meals, conversations, and an entire afternoon and evening watching movies and loving on our pups.

The later represents what an easy flow life holds the potential to be.  We find that ease reflected all around in nature. Each tree grows in its rhythm. Baby birds hatch. They are fed by parents. They grow and fledge in their unique rhythm. The rhythm changes in response to weather, food, and surrounding conditions. The rhythm of the flowing creek changes from season to season: slowing in the winter cold, moving with more velocity the temperature warms and ice and snow melt.

   Growing Up ... When Will They Fledge?

Growing Up ... When Will They Fledge?

Perhaps as we navigate the complexities we’ve created in our relationships and the systems of the world, one of the basics that we might return to is discovering and honoring the individual rhythm that is uniquely ours. Perhaps some of the ‘blues’ (and worse) that we experience can be remedied by letting go of that which is not compatible with our rhythm, including beliefs, habits, other people, projects, jobs, and the list and the beat go on.

What’s your experience?  What do you think?

   The Sun Has Her Rhythm Too!

The Sun Has Her Rhythm Too!

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Power Source

   Stormy weather ...

Stormy weather ...

The Power of potential is not the power of humans, but rather the spiritual Power invested in us on a Universal level. It is the Power of consciousness being aware of its omnipotent force in the Universal scheme of things.  Gregge Tiffen (Deserve Success and You Will Command It – March, 2008)

The planet is a friendly place. The world is hostile. It has never been otherwise. It is designed for mass subjugation of the populace. The laws of the system are designed to keep you in check. However, every single individual is powerful. Patrece on behalf of P-Systems (Self Enhancement Series for Cindy, April, 2007)

The first several hours of this day found my mood matching the weather: unsettled and stormy.  The day is gray. The wind is howling. Rain and sleet have fallen periodically since before dawn. It’s a snuggle-in sort of day, and I’m grateful that my only need to go beyond the back door is to take the canine pack out to stretch their legs.

As I get quiet to ask for clarity, I find two things tugging at my heart: one personal, one global. Personally, I’m missing home and wanting to be back in my own environment. Four plus weeks is a long time away, and my body is weary from pounding pavement rather than the mountain roads and trails of home. Although he’s adapted to a very different life here, I’m guessing that Luke too longs for the leash-free life of home.

Beyond my own personal desire, as I observe the world, I’m struck by the intensity of the discord. It’s not new of course.  It occurs to me that real change requires not just a political revolution (though perhaps that’s a start!) but an evolution of the spirit where every individual has the awareness and courage to operate from their spiritual power. This power is not from the mundane world, but rather the gift to each and every one of us from the Universe.

We’ve been disconnected from awareness of this true Power, unplugged from Source. This is the way of the world and its systems, made by man to serve man, but not mankind. Humanity suffers.

   Despite the world, spring dawns ...

Despite the world, spring dawns ...

So, it’s no wonder that there is so much angst and anger. We’ve been duped into believing that this world is our source and that the pie is not big enough for all to share. Some can have. Others cannot. 

We blame. We fear. We fight.

On this path, we lose.  Momentary victories of one group over another do not sustain any of us over the long term. We need look no further than the vitriol in our national political discourse or that of radicals of all persuasions to see this today.  History is replete with examples of winning and losing. Even the “war to end all wars” didn’t.

We are hungry for leadership that understands and is not afraid to acknowledge the Source of individual power. We need to harness that understanding to build systems that do the same.

Sometimes real change happens only after we’ve hit bottom.  Perhaps that is the good news. As I survey the global political environment and take in the daily news (or so it is called), I wonder “are we there yet?”

   ... and Spring blooms. Onward!

... and Spring blooms. Onward!

 

 

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