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Adaptability: A Pot of Gold!

There is definitely a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow!

There is definitely a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow!

In this planetary school where adaptability is one of the key teaching assignments, making adjustments is a constant demand.  Gregge Tiffen (The Language of a Mystic: Cycles – July, 2009)

This 313th post begins a new annual cycle, year seven for The Zone. I wonder what adjustments are ahead in this new cycle?  This week also finds me in the midst of adjusting to life without the heartbeat of my canine companion nearby.

My capacity to adapt is being engaged once again. Adapting to ‘life without Luke’ has evoked tears and laughter, sadness and relief, the stillness of reflection and movement into action.  As with all events in life these days, I aim to see my journey with Luke and this loss as an opportunity to learn and grow.

A beautiful rainbow here in the mountains late last week, reminded me what a blessing the need to adapt is. In the stillness of reflection, I came to see making adjustments, adapting if you will, as an abundant pot of gold, IF (and only IF) we embrace it with love, not fear.  For, if we face change with fear, it will be a molten pot of lead, heavily weighing us down, evoking struggle and pain.

In the presence of love, I discover that laughter accompanies tears and that sadness lives concurrent with relief. In the presence of love, the stillness of reflection brings clarity to the rearranging needed – inside and out.

In the presence of love, I discover that rearranging is mostly an inside job. I allow waves of sadness to wash over me as they appear and let them find their expression in tears. I want grieving to have its time, though I won’t allow it to drive the bus. I smile at a moment when some past time playing with Luke crosses my awareness. Without guilt, I embrace with gratitude the sense of relief and freedom I now feel. 

In the presence of love, I’m simply being with what is. I open myself to new possibilities and questions: what’s next? how do I want life to be now? what changes will serve me?

In the presence of love, being gives way to doing: putting away things not currently needed, packing some up and delivering to canine friends nearby, rearranging furniture, reviewing a manuscript, attending to projects set aside while Luke was ill, planning a short trip away.

In the presence of love, I experiment with new routines, allowing old habits and paths to give way to the new.

In the presence of love, I experience the grace of ease in the flow and I find heart rocks most every day.

Mined with love, I know that the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow brings forth abundant blessings. What else could be at the end of such beauty? Love Lives!

This week’s heart rock finds!

This week’s heart rock finds!



The Gift of Retrograde Planets

On the trail out back as the sun peeks over the peaks

On the trail out back as the sun peeks over the peaks

The need for adjustments within our personal life cycles exists for the same reason that galaxies are kept from bumping into one another; both are a consequence of some extremely intelligent avatars somewhere in space having created and continuing to create planet Earth within the whole scheme of the harmonic flow of energy often heard in the music of the spheres. (Patrece on behalf of P Systems –

The more we are aware of retrograde conditions and their possible influences, the more we are able to navigate through our life experiences with greater control and clarity. (Gregge Tiffen -

First, a disclaimer: I’m no expert in astrology. What I’m sharing comes not from decades of studying the planets and their influence. Rather it comes from considering what Patrece and Gregge Tiffen have shared on this topic and from observing my own life’s conditions and events. It also comes from my conviction that, despite so much evidence to the contrary, we live in a universe that is divinely ordered and anchored in love, a universe in which we are not victims unless we choose not to receive the gifts the universe offers.

What inspires me to share is that the planet Mercury went retrograde earlier this week as it does several times each year. It reminded me of the prevailing attitude when planets go retrograde: life is disrupted, ‘bad’ things happen, and that we just need to suffer through. Such an attitude casts us as victims, putting attention on the disruption and ignoring the opportunities planets in retrograde offer: gifts from a benevolent universe.

Planets do not go retrograde without purpose. Their doing helps maintain order in the cosmos, ensuring the universal “harmonic flow of energy”. Adjustments are required. Planets adjust.

As above, so below. As a part of this intelligent universe, we are given the opportunity to use the cycle of time when a planet is retrograde to do the same: adjust. Taking time to assess and to make changes during these cycles can help us avoid bumping into ourselves, one another, and the events life brings our way. (Imagine a world where we each did that, including our leaders!)

When it went retrograde this week, Mercury joined four other planets that were already in retrograde. Yes, your math is correct: five planets are currently in retrograde. Perhaps you’ve wondered why the world (and maybe your life) seems crazier and disrupted to the extreme.  Rather than looking at the chaos, I’m choosing to look to the opportunities to slow down and consider what adjustments might serve me.

Mercury (Ruler #2*) is the planet that influences decision making and communication, including all of the technology we use in both. In retrograde it presents opportunities (indeed more than one!) to slow down and pay close attention to detail in all communication, that coming in and that we’re sending out. (I’m doing my best to practice this message as I focus on this post.) This is also a time to identify and make adjustments to communication habits or patterns that aren’t working well, to examine how you manage time and energy, to assess projects underway and adjust to get/keep them on track. Notice what puts you on edge as a guide to where adjustments are needed. Mercury’s retrograde is short – ending on July 31 – but it’s potential is powerful.

Saturn (Ruler #7) retrograde invites us to look at how we use our minds. This is a good time to observe and eliminate clutter in our thought processes and to bring forward mental qualities that may be dormant. Exercise your mind and explore what keeps you from manifesting the results you’d like and refine your operating style. This retrograde ends on September 19.

Pluto (Ruler #8) influences money and success. When in retrograde it invites us to review and make sure our financial house is in order. A key question to ask is ‘what needs to be reworked to put myself on a more solid financial footing?’ This opportunity exists until October 4.

Jupiter (Ruler #6) retrograde provides opportunities to look at health and relationships, including your relationship with you, and to explore how your home environment supports you (or doesn’t). Jupiter ends its retrograde cycle on August 10.

Finally, the influence of Neptune (Ruler #9) retrograde is mostly beneath the surface, offering the opportunity to look deep within to what inspires us and what gives life meaning. It’s a time when deep reflection and solitude can serve us well. We have this opportunity until November 27.

How will you unwrap, receive, and put the gifts of these retrogrades to use? Start by slowing down, paying attention, and being curious.

* Gregge used a numbering system rather than the customary planet names in his work, as you’ll see if you visit his website for more detail on these retrogrades. Here’s the link:

Cool Hand Luke pauses for a photo op on an early morning hike to the Zigurat

Cool Hand Luke pauses for a photo op on an early morning hike to the Zigurat



Passion, Consciousness, Life

In the Woods with Cool Hand Luke

In the Woods with Cool Hand Luke

Little children listen to consciousness before the age of five, and they are passionate about a lot of things. They have not developed the personality of restrictions. We need to make this a way of life, not just something that comes around every twenty or thirty years. Gregge Tiffen (The Journey Continues: Sex, Lies, and Assumptions – June, 2010)

 Yesterday morning a curious stream of consciousness emerged when pen met paper during my journaling time.

Activism starts in the heart

Nothing to prove

Only conviction to express

With art.


The art of living

Full out

Not busy


As your unique

Expression of the divine.


Live wisely.

Only you know the meaning

To you, for you, of YOU

Revealing herself

In events

Around every corner

Opportunities to awaken.

Be present

Gifting self

Gifting others

Your gifts to life.

 Hmm, I thought as the stream ended. I smiled. Although I was curious about its meaning for me now, I set my journal aside and headed out for my early morning walk with Cool Hand Luke.  I had a vague sense that the stream might be intended for this week’s post, but no clarity until this morning when I picked up one of Gregge’s booklets in search of inspiration and direction.

 It opened not to page 1, but to the page that began with the quote above. The page ended with this additional wisdom from Gregge: Consciousness recognizes Life not society. It recognizes that knowledge is not hidden under rocks, but is right there in front of you. All you have to do is to see It, study It, and learn from It. I’d found meaning along with inspiration and direction.

 Ah, living a life guided by consciousness and passion, not by the world’s standards and demands. How do we do that? We wake up. We break free of the ‘personality of restrictions’ that those standards and demands try to impose. We discover our values and live in alignment with them. We examine our beliefs and let go of those formed by limitation, replacing them with an understanding that we live in an abundant Universe. We make choices and practice ways of being that are aligned with our beliefs and values.  We experiment. We observe. We experiment again.

 And, as we do these things, our faith deepens. We live more at ease; artful, perhaps. We discover the many faces of passion from quietly hugging a tree or enjoying a stream’s gentle burbling to marching on the front lines of change for causes our heart cares about. We hear consciousness speak quietly above the roar of the crowd. We embrace life with passionate abandon and put the ‘personality of restrictions’ in its proper place as a vague, shadowy relic of where we’ve been on this journey of life. We live! 

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? Mary Oliver

Burbling Cottonwood Creek

Burbling Cottonwood Creek



The Grace of the Universe - A Rerun

Looking Ahead  Through the Portal

Looking Ahead Through the Portal

This week I’ve been reflecting on change and how I respond to events that life presents, especially events which I didn’t see coming and that present challenges.  Those reflections led me back to the basics of life and law (Universal law that is) and to what is important each day:  choosing how I want to be present and how I want to respond to life.  Employing the law of magnification supports me to remember the importance of my choices and, hopefully, to choose wisely moment to moment, day to day.  May this rerun bring light to your day!

You live by the grace of the Universe interacting with you. You do not live by yourself alone. … The Universe always magnifies your action. Gregge Tiffen (The Language of a Mystic: Change – May, 2009)

There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness. Dalai Lama

The grace of the Universe presents the challenge of our times. May we rise to meet it in kind.

Whether we are aware of it or not, the Universe is interacting with us 24/7, magnifying each and every action we take in its own way.

Think about that. Let it sink in for just a moment. Everything you do is magnified. EVERY THING!

Say a kind word, offer a smile to someone experiencing challenging times, listen deeply to another view, share an uplifting post on social media. MAGNIFIED!  Take action on a project; choose to eat healthy, nourishing food; call or write your elected representatives. MAGNIFIED!

The Universe is benevolent (at least that’s my belief), but it is not selective in what it magnifies (everything – remember?). We humans were given the gift of free will, the power of choice that the Universe did not keep for itself in this grand design called Life. Make a snarky remark. MAGNIFIED!  Engage in an act of violence. MAGNIFIED!  Protest in anger toward others. MAGNIFIED!  Shut down in fear. MAGNIFIED! 

I’ve been reflecting on this law of magnification in terms of what I want more of in my life as well as the kind of world that I’d prefer to live in.  That reflection brought me right back to where I live, the simple choices I make each day. If I want to be a writer, WRITE. Give the Universe words strung together into ideas and step back to allow the magnification. Know that magnification is happening even when I don’t see it. I’m making adjustments in how I create each day to do just that.

If the world I envision is one of peace, kindness, compassion then my responsibility is to choose thoughts, words, and deeds that are peaceful, kind, and compassionate. Give the Universe THAT to magnify.

Of course, the Universe does not magnify alone.  We are its agents, little magnifiers one and all. My words each week are a magnification of something I read, experienced (usually both!), or am in the midst of considering. You read those words and are inspired to make a change in your life, or to share the post with others, or to delete. Whatever your choice, your action magnifies mine and it offers your own to be magnified.  

The meadowlark sings its cheerful song each morning in the meadow where we walk. The president tweets. Both are magnified by a Universe that magnifies everything. But we, you and I, have the freedom and the power to choose what we magnify. Imagine a world where the meadowlark’s song or the Dalai Lama’s quote is the ‘breaking news’ of the day, and the president’s tweets go mostly ignored. Do the words peaceful, kind, compassionate come to your mind’s eye?

That world is possible if we have the will to choose to put our attention on peace over conflict, kindness over anger, and compassion over judgement. It’s already emerging daily in the thousands (perhaps millions) of thoughts, words and deeds that are peace-filled, kind, and caring. May we choose that path – moment to moment, when the choice is easy and, especially when it’s not.The grace of the Universe presents the challenge of our times. May we rise to meet it in kind.

The River of Life often flows like the spring snow melt on Cottonwood Creek …

The River of Life often flows like the spring snow melt on Cottonwood Creek …



A Reflection on Awareness


Life is awareness. Gregge Tiffen (The Journey Continues: A Taste of Devotion – April, 2010)

Consciousness equals awareness. … When you begin to enjoy life, you begin to learn, but you can’t learn under pressure or negativity. … Consciousness sees everything as joy and harmony. Gregge Tiffen (Open Secrets: The Hidden Worth of New Wealth – April, 2011)

I’m drawing a blank this morning as I reflect on and open to what wants to be shared this week. Sometimes when I’m not aware of the topic as I begin my day, our morning walk calls it forth. Not on this day.

While I appreciate the emptiness and spaciousness of not knowing, I yearn to honor this weekly commitment and to be in the rhythm that’s evolved since I launched ‘The Zone’. It’s Thursday, and that’s blog day in my world.

Early this morning as I began to read and think about the post, the quotes above from Gregge Tiffen drew my attention. I typically see a connection to some experience I’ve had or observation I’ve made and the post flows from there. However, this day there’s a gap between my experiences and Gregge’s wisdom. What awareness am I missing? Surely that holds the key.

Late last week, I traveled to visit a friend to celebrate a new year, the beginning of the last year of my seventh decade on the planet (you do the math!).  I scheduled a couple activities, had a list of things I wanted to do, and trusted the trip would unfold perfectly. It did, although not exactly as planned.

The weather forecast (high wind and snow in the mountains) along with an awareness that my energy was lagging on the day before we planned to meet friends for a hike in the mountains, led me to suggest an alternative. That choice worked perfectly for all, the canines who got to run, romp and get plenty dirty and for their peeps who took great joy in observing the purity of their play. Once again, Cool Hand Luke fulfills his role as teacher, having much fun in the process!

Other activities, including time out to rest, fell beautifully into place. I was honored to help a friend make some adjustments to the beautiful labyrinth (a complex, heart-shaped one with amazing energy!) she recently built. We laughed, talked, and enjoyed great food and a bit of March Madness with another friend. We shopped, discovering an unannounced sale just getting underway (a sale we would have missed had we kept to the original plan). I departed at a perfect time to miss heavy urban traffic and enjoy and easy drive home.

It’s easy to grasp life’s joy and harmony when life seems to be going our way.  It’s not so easy to trust that all is well and to look for the harmony when life throws us curveballs. And, yet, I’m discovering more and more that life is about just that: awareness not just of conditions that we’re a part of, but awareness of what consciousness knows as the perfect unfolding of our lives in all their conditions and forms.

Our human task as we learn to navigate our bodies through life on this physical plane is to remember what consciousness knows:  joy and harmony are present in the very essence of life. We do that step by step, day by day, experience by experience. Another week, another blank filled in. Awareness. Life.  Joy. Harmony. Color me grateful!

@ Sam's in Erie 012.JPG



Keep Your Faith!

And there was light!

And there was light!

Evil thrives in darkness. We must let our courage and conviction shine, so that not even the smallest shadow shall find a doorway in which to hide. … No sacrifice is too great. No undertaking is too demanding. No commitment is too excessive, in order to maintain faith. Gregge Tiffen (It’s Springtime: Flow With The Power of Nature – March, 2007)

Light! Light! Light! The world needs our light, the light of our faith, the light of understanding, the light of knowing that we are here in this moment in time as a small, yet integral, part of an unfolding Universe. The darker the world seems, the more brightly our light is needed. The more we sense fear, the greater we need to love.

That is how we change the world. That is how we learn and grow.

Reversing its letters, ‘evil’ becomes ‘LIVE’. LIVE! Live is life. Life is light. In Universal terms, life is also abundance, beauty, harmony, joy, love, peace, power.

Evil is none of these. Indeed it is their absence. From ancient times to this moment, history is replete with the horrors of evil. Hence, the conviction of faith and strong beliefs along with courage are necessary for us to say ‘no’ to evil and ‘yes!’ to live life in its truest sense.

History is overflowing with examples of this choice as well: the love exuded by the man known as Jesus; the sage wisdom of the Buddha; and in more recent times the sacred, loving activism of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and elders who the peaceful ‘Water is Life’ movement at Standing Rock.

While we know these names, it is wise to remember that throughout history countless others have taken a stand for light as well. You have. I have. Each of us in our unique ways dared to shine a light to break the darkness where evil dwells. 

Daily we have innumerable opportunities to do the same. We do so when we choose kind thoughts and speak words that match them. A patient smile while standing in a slow moving line radiates light as does a sincere, quiet ‘Thank you’ when we are served.

We shine light in the darkness when we receive and return the love of our pets and of all the flora and fauna of nature. And, who among us has not experienced the shift of a good belly laugh (or, even a slight chuckle)? We shine light when we sing, whether alone in the shower or in harmony with others.

These seemingly small acts are, in fact, huge. When taken collectively, they have the power to crack open hearts and shift mass consciousness to a higher vibration from which evil gets no support.

Up close and personal, choosing light is important as well. Each of our seemingly small acts of light strengthens our personal capacity for compassion in the face of evil. Each builds our conviction and our courage to be bold in choosing light, to keep the faith. We hold the power to shine the light of life in the darkest shadows where evil dwells. May we do so moment to moment, step by step.

Need of a little inspiration to shine? click here -     

Morning Light Filters Through the Woods

Morning Light Filters Through the Woods



Elk, Meadowlark and the Setting Moon

Almost Full Moon Setting on Spring

Almost Full Moon Setting on Spring

Springtime.  It is the season to shake out the metaphysical carpet and throw off the heavy, winter blankets that may still seem so cozy even as the fresh breeze calls us outside. It is time to let our mind and spirit, still groggy with winter stories and pictures, move out to embrace the fun of spiritual adventure and inner blossoming. Gregge Tiffen (It’s Springtime: Flow with the Power of Nature – March, 2007)

Happy spring! Although snow is in our forecast overnight, today is the first full day of spring for those of us in the northern hemisphere. I may throw off the heavy winter blankets, but it will be a while before I pack them away. And, yet spring is in the air: warmer, longer days and the first hints of green grasses and wildflowers breaking through the ground into the light of day. The hard, frozen ground is giving way to the softness of sand and soil.

I too am opening to spring’s softness, breaking through my own cozy wrap of winter and beginning to envision how I’d like to see the next few months unfold.  As I do so, several tweaks to my home as well as business ideas have my attention – all in the planning stages now, but activity will soon ramp up.

And what, you might be wondering, does that have to do with elk, meadowlark and the setting moon?

Yesterday an early morning drive to take a friend to catch the daily bus to Denver gave Luke and me the opportunity to hike a trail that we love, but only do so occasionally.  Although the morning was cold (a chilly 13 degrees Fahrenheit) and the sun had yet to crest the 14,000 foot peaks, I was happy to have a special walk on this day of spring’s arrival.  I was curious to discover what would get the attention of my senses so that I might later reflect on any meaning and messages to consider.

On our trip to the bus stop we were heading west, observing the almost full moon as it gently moved toward the horizon. By the time Luke and I reached the trail, it was hazy and just beginning to meet the treetops. I sensed that this beautiful, almost full moon was setting on winter and calling forth spring.

Strength, Power and Nobility Embodied

Strength, Power and Nobility Embodied

As Luke and I set out on our walk, our first encounter was a large elk herd 200 yards or so from the trail. I stopped, watched and listened as they became aware of our presence and began to chatter. Their high pitched voice belies the strength and power of these amazing creatures. We watched them as they watched us. Those closest moved away, closer to the rest of the herd.  Luke sat patiently as ‘mom’ snapped pictures.  The herd settled, seemingly judging that we were not a threat, and I assessed that it was safe for us to continue.

A bit further along the trail I heard the unmistakable cheerful song of meadowlark.  Again, I stopped, listened and looked, but never spotted this cheerful character whose voice never fails to give me a smile. As the loop trail turned and we were headed back toward the car, a ray of sunlight hit the snow on one of the peaks. Such beauty!  I suddenly realized how cold I felt in the early morning shadow of the mountains. I picked up my pace and Luke happily followed suit as we trotted toward the car and its promise of warmth (and, for Luke, a treat!).

I felt deeply blessed by the presence and gifts of the moon, the elk and the meadowlark song, knowing that as I reflect more deeply over the coming days, the spiritual part of the journey will continue as the gifts of inner blossoming will show themselves ever more clearly. For now, I’m content with my curiosity – wondering how this experience will inform me as I spring into the projects ahead. Happy spring!

First Rays Hit the Peaks

First Rays Hit the Peaks


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Using These Times to Benefit YOU!

Gleaming Peaks in the Morning Light

Gleaming Peaks in the Morning Light

If there is anything you don’t want in life, it is to plateau out. You want life to challenging. You want it to give you all sorts of elements which allow you to use yourself in a variety of ways. … Humans have the opportunities to move within events and gain something from them. Gregge Tiffen Down to Earth as quoted in Open Secrets: Revealing Habits – February, 2011

Over my years of coaching I frequently heard ‘I just want to retire, stop, get out the rat race, do nothing’. I see it today in social media posts and in financial institutions advertising their services to lure people in to get to the so-called ‘good life’.  Like the side effects of drugs that seem, at least to me, to outweigh their benefits, stopping for anything other than a respite to restore is not in our interest. Doing so removes us from the flow of life and the energy of learning, our prime purpose on this sojourn.

In these, shall we say interesting times, we may find it easy to want to retreat from where the flow of life seems to be heading. For many it’s easy to fall into despair, anger, fear, overwhelm, or faithlessness when looking only at the surface of events globally. This is especially true when we forget that we are here to learn and that, indeed, we learn from the experiences provided in the events that engage us. The magnitude of those events matters not. We can learn from them all – from the ginormous life changing ones right down to our daily walks with the dog and taking care of ourselves.

Without a doubt, these are intense times. In the midst of such intensity we may forget that there is no ideal end state that we’re aiming to create (then everything will be hunky-dory) or that ‘if I just do this’ then ‘that’ suddenly everything will be okay (whatever the heck that means). 

This week I began to ask myself:

  • How are you using these intense times?

  • How do you want to use them?

  • What do you want to learn?

  • What do you want to contribute?

  • What more do you want out of this sojourn?

Questions like these bring me back to my center. That’s my purpose in reflecting on them.  I’m not aiming for enlightenment level ultimate answers, rather for a simple guidepost to my next step or two. Importantly, such questions remind me that I’m not a victim to the extremes at work in all aspects of life.

Remembering that I am an integral part of an infinite, intelligent, kind Universe moves me forward rather than into destructive patterns of thought. Coupled with remembering that I am here, now, on a brief learning journey – just one stop in the infinite journey that is my individual consciousness – puts the world in perspective. That world, crazy and hostile as it may seem, is merely the environment of the campus on this current school called ‘life’. From this place I can choose how and what I want to create and contribute.

Without a doubt, these are intense times. And, they are but a teeny, tiny blip on the infinite timeline of the Universe. Systems are crumbling and we know not what will be created in their place. Whether or not we are front and center on the lines of creating what is to come we are contributing, consciously or not, to their form and their qualities with every thought we think. Ponder on that. What are your contributions?



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There Is No Bliss In Ignorance

Morning Greetings from Venus, Moon and Jupiter

Morning Greetings from Venus, Moon and Jupiter

It is your immediate experience that provides you knowledge. Gregge Tiffen (Life – The Staircase of Many Steps – January, 2008)

 …no knowledge can be stuffed away and not have an effect in terms of the living of the individual. Gregge Tiffen quoted in P-Systems’ PS 52, Series 11, Week 19.

The familiar phrase ‘ignorance is bliss’ suggests that bliss is the absence of worry. If we know, then we worry. If we don’t know, we don’t worry and, thus we are blissful. Really?

The idea may sound nice and cozy, even a quick path to living in bliss, except it can’t stand. Ignorance is contrary to the purpose of life: acquiring knowledge that can be distilled to wisdom.

We ignore this truth to our peril personally as I suggested last week ( when I shared the result of ignoring clues indicating a problem with my wood stove. Likewise, we are witnessing the effects of ignoring facts of history, science, current events on many fronts in our world today.

In exploring the words – ignore, ignorance, ignorant – all having roots in the Latin ignoratia, not knowing, I discovered that the latter two (ignorance and ignorant) were widely used in the 1800s, but are minimally used today while the verb, ignore, was rarely used back then, but is widely used today. Hmmm. Perhaps we’re ignoring too many things that need our attention these days. Perhaps we’re paying a price for what we’ve ignored in the past. Perhaps it’s time for correction, personally and globally.

 If we’re in pursuit of personal bliss (and on some level aren’t we all?) and, if we envision a world that works for all, ignoring is not an ingredient to add, an action to take (yes, to ignore is an act, conscious or not). Questioning, researching, studying, expanding, learning, listening, exploring, thinking, along with practicing openness and curiosity are just a few ingredients that support us on the path of living a life of joy and personal satisfaction and creating a more peaceful, hospitable world that works for all.

And, what could be more blissful than that?

A Cold, Clear Morning Looking Across the San Luis Valley

A Cold, Clear Morning Looking Across the San Luis Valley

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More Than Paying Attention

Snowshoeing in the woods out back!

Snowshoeing in the woods out back!

More Than Paying Attention [#284 – 1-24-2019]


If you realize that your strength is in knowledge, which is your experience and the resiliency of consciousness, no one can affect you. Not even the Universe can diminish that one whit. … The smallest of your learning experiences should never be ignored. Gregge Tiffen (Open Secrets: Mystical Longings – January, 2011)

 It isn’t enough to simply be aware, we need to ACT on our awareness, FLOW with what we KNOW.

Reflecting back on an event this week – one that could have been dangerous – I realized that along the way I’d been aware of some clues. But, not knowing their meaning, I didn’t recognize them as clues. More importantly, I didn’t act. I didn’t consider applying my curiosity to explore what they might indicate. I simply noticed and quickly moved to something else.

One evening last week as I was adding logs to a fire in the wood stove, a back draft created some smoke in the house. I didn’t give it much thought, and when I checked weather conditions later, I noticed there was a temperature inversion (the temp was rising after it had dipped lower) about the same time. So I attributed the experience to that, and checked in with an experienced friend who has 30 years of wood stove experience. She agreed that was the likely cause.

Then it happened again, a bit more smoke this time and a slow burning fire. Concerned, I called our local wood stove expert who installed my stove just after I bought the house.  He shared that I was not the first call reporting this (whew! I’m not alone!) and that my good, dry wood was most likely absorbing moisture from the unusually high humidity this winter (did I mention we’ve had snow on the ground for several weeks now?). He suggested bringing wood indoors for a few days before burning and offered a couple other tips to try.

Using the wood that had been in the house the longest, I managed to get a decent fire going with only minimal smoke, but when I tried to rekindle it later, the smoke instantly came into the house rather than flowing up the chimney. I suspected something more than the wood was at play, and woke the next morning with the clear guidance ‘don’t try to build a fire … call the local chimney sweep’.

And, so I called. He was able to come the following morning. A trip to the roof to inspect the chimney revealed that it was clogged with creosote build-up. I was and am still baffled by how that happened AND, I’m now aware of a clue I missed along the way that indicated the build-up was occurring. Several times this winter, I noticed the absence of small black flecks which I’d seen in previous winters on the snowy ground under the chimney. But, I didn’t act on the awareness. I didn’t know that those flecks were telling me that creosote was burning off not building up, AND I didn’t consider exploring to find out what their absence might indicate. Where was my curiosity?

I’m grateful that the chimney is clean, and that the stove is again providing warmth and coziness to this cold, snowy winter.  I’m grateful for the chimney sweep, his knowledge and willingness to tackle a high, steep, snowy roof on a cold, windy day. I’m grateful for the snow, the moisture so needed by the earth and the depth enough to don the snowshoes for a trek in the woods (and for a dog who loves to romp in the white beauty!).

 And, I’m grateful for the learning! Not just about the stove itself and the clues it communicates, but for the clarity that it isn’t enough to simply be aware, I need to ACT on my awareness, to FLOW with what I KNOW!  The gifts of life’s experience abound!

Cool Hand Luke LOVES the Snow!

Cool Hand Luke LOVES the Snow!

And, so do I!

And, so do I!