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In The Flow of Life

Leaves on the Trail: The Flow of Life

Leaves on the Trail: The Flow of Life

The whole concept of life is flow, flow and more flow. Gregge Tiffen (The Language of a Mystic: Innovation – October, 2009)

The flow of energy in the Universe is constant, as it is on our precious planet and for each of us. We see this all around whether we are in nature or in the midst of urban life. Nature flows in her cycles. We humans do likewise. As energy flows, change occurs.

Witness the flow of light from night to day and, through the day, the return to darkness. The earth is in motion. Night fades and the gentle light of day comes forth: dawn.  As the earth spins, the sun appears to rise in the sky bringing the bright light of day. We witness this flow of life daily: change, flow, constant, consistent.

We are not mere observers. We participate in the flow of energy as well. The same raw, pure energy that moves the earth is ours to use in whatever ways we choose, or whether we choose or not. That energy is the flow of life.

Yesterday I found myself in the midst of feeling the energy of deep sadness. Tears flowed and, though I had other plans for the day, I didn’t want to stop them. Something needed to flow out, to be released and returned to source. Something wanted to be cleansed.

I cried for Luke’s passing, discovering indeed that tears remained to sooth that loss. I cried because our vet is retiring and won’t be available to provide her loving care for my next canine companion, while shedding tears of joy for her courage to follow her heart’s desire. I felt the curious energy of paradox, of both/and: delight for her, sadness for what feels like a loss to me. I was reminded once again that nothing stays the same. Flow, change, growth are the natural flow of life.

As I felt into the depth of my sadness, I realized that I was shedding tears for others: families who lost their homes and four-legged companions in a nearby community; canines in need of loving homes at the shelter I visited earlier in the week; the creatures in the forest that has been burning some 40 miles north since early September and the humans impacted in so many ways by that same fire.

And, I cried for humanity, for the pain and suffering that we perpetrate on one another and on our planet. I wept for our ignorance which in no way is bliss.

When darkness came, I put my head on the pillow with gratitude for the day’s cleansing tears. As I embraced the day, the grace of wondrous curiosity began to bubble: What else is possible? How might I direct my energy now? What can emerge in the spaces created by what I call ‘loss’ and with the dawn of each new day?

Dawn: How Will I Use the Energy of This Day?

Dawn: How Will I Use the Energy of This Day?

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Strike!

Day breaks in the woods out back.

Day breaks in the woods out back.

So many of us believe that we’re impotent when it comes to solving the larger problems of the world. Yet there is nothing impotent about the human mind. Even if you’re not the type of person to write letters or join protests, if you feel deeply about an issue, you can dedicate a period of time every day – five or ten minutes, sixty seconds even – when you sit still and send out your objections in a thought process. Then hold in your mind a feeling of appreciation of, respect for, and harmony with the Earth. Gregge Tiffen (Life in the World Hereafter - The Journey Continues)

I started to do something, take action, try to make a difference instead of sitting in despair. That changed my life. It gives your life meaning... To know you can have impact, it makes you feel a lot better. Greta Thunberg

Among other reflections, experiments and adventures this week, I’ve continued to consider how I will cooperate more fully with Mother Earth.  I started to write ‘how can I’, but that’s a cop-out. There are unlimited ways that I ‘can’, but what ‘will’ I do gets to the heart of the matter.

‘What will I do?’ is a question for each of us to ask. It matters not how big or how small our actions are. EVERY action we take, EVERY thought we think matters.

While Gregge Tiffen imparts the wisdom of the ages, Greta Thunberg inspires with her youthful caring and wisdom. She’s turned despair, fear, and anger into love in action. Listen! I chuckle as I notice that both share the initials GT. Then, I return to what really matters: their calls to action. And, to the Global Climate Strike, a focused week of action beginning tomorrow, September 20, 2019, and continuing across the globe through September 27.

How will I honor, not the event as an event, but the heart (and the future) of these young people, who are boldly challenging the establishment (and each of us enabling that establishment) to take action?

The nearest climate action event is some 60 miles away, so it would be quite incongruent to drive 120 miles to participate. I don’t have a ‘job’ and I’m not in school, thus I can’t walk out. So, how will I strike?

I begin to design my actions, starting with Day 1, September 20. I’ll unplug from all electronic connection for the day (no email, no Facebook, no phone).  I’ll spend time (at least two hours) in the woods out back, listening to the trees, the rocks, the land. I’ll thank the Earth.  I’ll return to reading Charles Eisenstein’s Climate: A New Story. I won’t shop or engage in any business activity. So far, it’s a pretty easy list. I add that I’ll eat raw (no cooking on the gas stove), and I’ll turn in when the sun sets.

Then, as I decide that I won’t use the car, I remember a physical therapy appointment scheduled weeks ago. I find myself face to face with how my schedule, my habits, my consumption, conflict with my desire to participate and to be more collaborative with the Earth. I’m reminded again that my choices contribute to Mother Earth’s stress. EVERY thing matters. We hit such conflicts whenever we aim to change. They are the places that can stop us, and the places where we get to choose what we value most.

In this case, I choose my health and well-being. I recognize that today, it’s a conscious choice, while most days I choose based on habit and convenience and with little awareness. I wonder about possibilities for future choices that honor both my well-being and the planet.

I’ll add this to my reflections in the week ahead. I’ll spend time each day reflecting on my commitment to collaborate with Mother Earth. I’ll find more places to shift, where I ‘will’ act. I’ll participate virtually in this event created by Listening to the Earth [Listening to the earth meditation] just before the UN Climate Summit begins. You can learn more about this group here.

Most of all, I’ll aim to make choices with greater awareness, doing my best to mitigate the negative impact and expand the positive.  However you strike (or not), hold in your mind a feeling of appreciation of, respect for, and harmony with the Earth. That’s a positive contribution no matter what other choices we make.

Grateful for the water, the trees, the rocks, the sky … the beauty along the Arkansas River

Grateful for the water, the trees, the rocks, the sky … the beauty along the Arkansas River


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You, Me, and the Planet

Pines in the Woods Out Back

Pines in the Woods Out Back

I want you to consider Nature and your body as being one thing. Gregge Tiffen (Learning Without Experience is a Bell Without a Clapper – September, 2008)

 What if we totally embraced and acted from this place? Today I’m visiting a reflective place, not looking back to explore the meaning of recent experiences, rather looking ahead and asking ‘what if?’

 Gregge’s quote strikes me as catching the essence of, yet going beyond, the concept of ‘oneness with all things’.  It inspires me to experiment. I want to carry it in my heart into the woods. Discover the feeling when I speak ‘I am you; you are me’ to the pines in the woods out back. How will that differ from the peace I feel when I offer them daily thanks?

Surely I won’t deepen my connection with Nature, since I am it and it is me. We aren’t merely connected. We are one. How will my awareness shift? What possibilities will open? What changes may spring forth requesting consideration or, perhaps, demanding action?

The power of the planet is the power you have available to you in totality. Your body is representative of the planet, comes from the planet and belongs to the planet. Gregge Tiffen (Learning Without Experience is a Bell Without a Clapper – September, 2008)

Our planet is demonstrating her power to restore balance. Weather extremes, flooding, storms, earthquakes, raging fires are part of her modus operandi. Like the mother giving tough love to nurture and guide her child, Mother Earth speaks. How well will I listen? And, more importantly, how will I respond? After all, my Mother and I, we are one.

Your body’s relationship to nature is to give fidelity and protection to Mother Nature, the very mother that birthed your body. Fidelity is your first action, your first commitment, and that is the law you recognize at the instant of your birth. Gregge Tiffen (The Language of a Mystic: Completion  – September, 2009)

How might I deepen my devotion? Which of my daily habits support systems contrary to exercising dominion and loving kindness to the planet/to me? What’s possible if we collectively ask, not from guilt and fear, but from love?

Much of the wisdom you seek comes from taking the responsibility to care for your own body. Gregge Tiffen (The Journey Continues: In Search of Wisdom – September, 2010)

Home. Come home. Come home to me, to my body that is of this earth, a microcosm of the macrocosm that is the planet, Mother Earth. What does this body need, not to survive but to thrive? What ‘less’ becomes ‘more’ in caring for the planet/for me? What does truly thriving look like?

We each have a role to play on the stage of our planet’s well-being, for her well-being is our well-being, yours and mine, our children’s and our grandchildren’s, our neighbors, our friends, and those with whom we disagree.

Whether we are activists demanding change or scientists and technologists developing solutions or simply individuals going about this thing called life, we are impacting our planet/ourselves. Every thought, every word, and every deed impacts Mother Nature’s well-being/our well-being. How will I collaborate with her/with myself today? How will you?

The Planet, My Home, Me

The Planet, My Home, Me

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Cycles, Symbols, & Letting Go

Love, Light & Treats - Honoring My ‘Ol Buddy, Ol Pal’ Luke

Love, Light & Treats - Honoring My ‘Ol Buddy, Ol Pal’ Luke

Cycles produce constant change. Gregge Tiffen (The Language of a Mystic: Cycles  – August, 2009)

This 312th post marks the completion of the sixth annual cycle of sharing these weekly mystical musings, a ritual that is one of the great joys in my life.

This post also marks a new cycle: the first written without the gentle, patient physical presence of my beloved canine companion, Cool Hand Luke Skywalker Reinhardt.  Last Thursday afternoon CHLS rested his head on my lap one last time.

Nature is intimately partnered with us in this physical experience, and that is perhaps the greatest boon of our incarnate existence, as nature is directly connected to and informed by the Universe. … Some of our most endearing partners are our pets. … they are there waiting for us, ready to fulfill our desire to feel all-giving and unconditionally accepting energy. Isn’t that what love is all about? They accept our tears, soothe our angst, and make us laugh. … Animals are here as companions and stabilizers. Having a direct connection to the earth, they serve the important function of being able to ground and stabilize our energies by taking our excess energy and feeding it back into the earth. They – along with plants – absorb a lot of negative energy. As we nurture and care for them, they leave us calmer in the midst of our sometimes chaotic incarnate experience. … When they die, all elements of nature are returned to the nature pool, where their energy can be used for whatever needs to be generated.  Gregge Tiffen (Life in the World Hereafter: The Journey Continues)

In my almost nine years with Luke at my side (or leading the way on a trail through the woods), he demonstrated nature as Gregge describes it. He was (and IS!) one ‘helluva’ teacher.

Leading the Way - One Last Time

Leading the Way - One Last Time

Like his human, Luke was private and stoic. When our vet discovered a large growth on his spleen in mid- May, he asked that I share the news sparingly. I honored his request, sharing only with a few close friends (“No mopers!” he directed.) and subtly suggesting that I was facing a ‘personal challenge’ in some recent posts.

Committed to knowing and honoring what Luke wanted, I reached out to Miranda Alcott, the Animal Communications Counselor and medical intuitive who helped us several years back.  (https://mirandaalcott.com/).  Agreeing with our vet’s recommendation, Luke didn’t want to fight with surgery or aggressive treatment. He needed relief, and was open to ‘seeing how alternative treatment would help.’  The protocol was effective, easing his discomfort and increasing his energy. We were blessed to have two and a half months to walk daily, take a few short hikes, play, laugh, and hang out. 

During that time, Luke let me know that maintaining dignity was important to him. Both Miranda and our vet suggested that he would likely ask for help leaving his body before it seemed like the ‘right’ time (little did I know that this is common in dogs, a sign that we humans often miss in our quest to cling for life).  As best I could, I prepared to ‘hear’ and to honor the request when he made it. I was as ready as I could be when he asked to move on to the adventures in the nature pool across the rainbow bridge. Summoning all the conviction and courage I could muster, I wanted to show my love by letting go.  

Nature’s beauty is infinite, but the trail is empty without CHLS.

Nature’s beauty is infinite, but the trail is empty without CHLS.

Symbols serve as a true roadmap to assist us in getting through life with the minimum amount of difficulty and upset. Gregge Tiffen (Do The Angels Take a Vacation? – August, 2007)

Although my heart is heavy, I’m filled with love, peace, joy, and gratitude for the love, lessons, and laughter that we shared in our all too short (at least for me), yet divinely perfect, time together.  And, although this cycle is complete, Luke’s lessons and gifts live on.

After our final ‘goodbye old buddy, old pal’, the dear friend who accompanied us on that final journey and I decided that we needed to eat and ground ourselves for the hour drive back home. We went to a burger stand nearby, ordered burgers, and chose a remote picnic table. As I approached, I noticed something lying on the table and, when I arrived, I found a heart-shaped rock at the place where I planned to sit. LOVE lives! The table was damp, and we blotted it with a paper towel. When we turned it over, we found the image of a paw print. LOVE lives!

Parting is sweet and sacred. Luke is free from pain. And, I’m free from the worry and anticipation of saying goodbye.  The cycle of physical presence is complete. Yet, my learning from Luke continues since, in spirit, there is no end. LOVE lives!

Symbols - LOVE Lives!!!

Symbols - LOVE Lives!!!

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Happy Solstice!

Summer is bursting into bloom!

Summer is bursting into bloom!

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

A cycle ends. Another begins. Here, north of the equator, spring gives way to the summer season at 9:54am Mountain Daylight Time tomorrow, Friday June 21.  At the same friends south of the equator will bid adieu to autumn and celebrate the Winter Solstice.

Nature, quiet and restful in winter, began her slow awakening in late spring here in the Rocky Mountains of southern Colorado. Right on time, she is now bursting forth toward full bloom. Bird songs and the buzz of hummingbirds fill my listening heart with joy and gratitude for our planet and for where I’ve landed on it. The roar of Cottonwood Creek, just past peak flow from the snow melt, and the howl of coyote add their voices to morning’s song.

The cycle we call summer begins. It is a time of action, activity: planning, planting, having fun. Projects that languished in winter find new energy and focus. New opportunities present themselves abundantly, offering outlets for our attention. How will we choose to expand, to learn, to grow?

Summer Solstice is a sacred time to remember our partnership with nature. It is a time when heaven and nature sing ‘joy to the world’, not with ‘chestnuts roasting on an open fire’, but with the clear voices of birds and beasts responding to the renewal that the cycle of summer brings. Bountiful blooms and with the burbling Cottonwood Creek add to the chorus of auditory and visual delights. It is a time to remember that cycles of life move with nature, and that nature knows nothing of the clocks and calendars of man’s world.

As I write this morning, a mere 24 hours of spring remain. Having experienced a couple weeks with more scheduled, timed events than are usual for me, I look forward to celebrating the longest day of the year quietly here in the woods, enjoying the warm of the sun and allowing the flow of the day to inform me whether to move or not.

My celebration begins unexpectedly when, midway through writing, I open the door to check on Luke. New sounds entered the soundscape: clip-clop, clip-clop, the clip-clop of a horse’s hooves and a sound that I can’t describe, yet I knew it was my neighbor’s buckboard coming up the road. As she passed, I hollered a cheerful ‘good morning!’, and she invited me for a short ride. I accepted the gift as a reminder of the flow that is present always, in all ways. An auspicious beginning!

As I do in December with its partner, the Winter Solstice, I will use the Summer Solstice to recalibrate, syncing myself to the new cycle: the light that nature, my intimate partner on this journey, brings forth right on time. I invite you to give yourself some quiet time in nature to do the same.  

Flow! An unexpected start to my Solstice celebration!

Flow! An unexpected start to my Solstice celebration!

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The End of Time: A Fantasy of Possibility

New Rock Stacks on a Morning Walk

New Rock Stacks on a Morning Walk

The proper use of cycles is to evolve to a natural manifestation. Deadlines give pressure. Task-masters are brutal “Father Timers” who use time as a weapon. In our current society, this is being intensely perpetuated under the guise of progress. Gregge Tiffen (Father Time – June, 2007)

No, this is not a post about the end of the world. Rather, it’s about what emerged from stress I experienced in the midst of working with two synergistic professionals who I’ve engaged to support me in navigating a current challenge. 

Their work is invaluable to me. They helped with a gnarly event a couple years ago, so it was natural to reach out when a similar situation arose recently. Although their work is synergistic, how each deals with scheduling and time is different, and it’s guided by the nature of their work with clients. After working individually with each, I found myself caught in a dissonance between their two approaches when we came together. 

In dancing with that dissonance and, especially in exploring a way forward that will work for each of us (that part of the journey is still in process), I was reminded of my vision of a world that works for all. As I immersed myself in the vision, I saw ending the abusive, controlling concept of time as a key aspect toward real progress. Yikes!  

Make no small visions! Stay with me and let’s envision together how this might unfold …

Open your mind and your heart, and imagine a world without time. No clocks to measure the seconds, minutes, and hours. No calendars to command your presence at some pre-set event.  If you manage to get beyond ‘no ____ way’, you’ll likely imagine chaos, confusion and the craziness of a world out of control. What? We have that already you say? Yep, we do. Hey, maybe our ‘progress’ isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Stretch yourself and envision that time as we know it does not exist. Rather that we (me, you, EVERYone) are deeply in touch with ourselves and our purpose on the planet. We are aware of our place in harmony with nature and others. We learn from nature how cycles work and how to dance in harmony with the cycles of life and the events in those cycles. We trust that in making choices that are true to our individual nature, events will unfold perfectly for our highest good and the good of all. Could this be what ‘natural manifestation’ looks like? Did I mention that trust and faith are key ingredients?

This is a vision, a fantasy if you like, that I’ve held for a very long time: perhaps for my entire life but only with awareness for the past four decades or so. This possibility is what engages my curiosity about mysticism and metaphysics, spurred my interest in personal and spiritual growth, and guided me toward coaching.  

More than a possibility, this is how I believe the Universe in general and life on our planet in particular is designed to be.

Like being on a long road trip still far away from the destination, we aren’t there … yet.  I’m not ‘there’ yet. But I am on the journey, and, heck, a few million millennia and lifetimes from now, I might just seize the elusive brass ring.

Posing on a Beautiful Morning

Posing on a Beautiful Morning

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Harmony Matters - Earth Day & Every Day

Dunes at the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Blanca Peak greet me this day!

Dunes at the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Blanca Peak greet me this day!

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

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

I’m profoundly blessed and deeply grateful to live surrounded by nature’s beauty and bounty. I step outside my door into a veritable feast for the senses 365 days a year. From a windy, overcast day yesterday to the clear blue sky of this morning nature reminds me that nothing stays the same on this planet, our home.  Nature is always seeking the harmony that IS the Universe. We contribute with our own harmony.

The flow of Cottonwood Creek, frozen just two weeks ago, brings snowmelt from the peaks and reminds me of the natural flow of life. The smell of freshness in the pines tells me that experiences in life are always new. The warm touch of the sun says that coats, hats and gloves can soon be put away and that the wood stove will soon rest until fall. Soon, I’m sure to hear the distinctive buzz of the season’s first hummingbird, and the itch to put seeds in the ground will need to be scratched.

After feeling a bit ‘under the weather’ yesterday, I was delighted to discover a clear, crisp morning as Luke and I set out for our walk. I planned a route – long enough for me to enjoy and for Luke to take care of business – as we headed out into the beauty of the day. Along that planned route, I was drawn off trail to a ridge that we rarely hike. Curious, I veered in that direction.

My first discovery was a disturbing one: off-road vehicle tracks and damaged flora. I checked my judgement and anger and reminded myself to walk gently on the tender vegetation, since I too was not on a designated trail. Reaching the top of the ridge, I was greeted with the vast expanse of the San Luis Valley, and morning shadows on the dunes at the Great Sand Dunes National Park some 20 miles away with gleaming Blanca Peak as their backdrop.

Daily I hold the intention to live in greater harmony with nature. I aim to hear and understand her messages more clearly.  Sometimes I simply enjoy the beauty of what is offered. Other times I take time to reflect on what message nature is sending. What can I learn from what I see, hear, smell, taste, feel?

This morning’s visual feast along with the warming sun reminded me yet again that the Universe is designed in harmony and our dominion over the Earth is to restore and maintain that harmony. With every thought, every word, every deed we are either making a harmonious contribution that supports nature or we are putting nature in the position of taking action to rebalance with our disharmonious  actions.  Our thoughts matter. Our words matter. How we maintain our bodies, our homes and care for our pets and our plants matters. How we walk through life moment to moment matters.

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

The vast, beautiful San Luis Valley

The vast, beautiful San Luis Valley

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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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Make Every Day NEW!

Green grass, green leaves, and a fascinating museum in Biloxi , MIssissippi

Green grass, green leaves, and a fascinating museum in Biloxi , MIssissippi

Nature is always moving forward and manifesting that which is truly new!  … By failing to make an experience new, we recycle ourselves into stunted growth patterns. By making such choices, we fall out of synchronicity with the Universe and produce boredom instead of development.  Gregge Tiffen (It’s Springtime: Flow With the Power of Nature – March, 2007)

I just returned from the warmer climates of Mississippi and Texas where spring is popping out in all her glory: green grass, green leaves, colorful camellias and azaleas in bloom and even a few early bluebonnets along a Texas roadway.

It was good to leave the snowy landscape and daily tasks of winter behind even though I love the cold, the snow and find joy and satisfaction in living at 8000 feet. Yes, I did miss Cool Hand Luke who stayed behind.

When I was invited to make the trip, I was a little wary. Who would care for Luke and the house? Did I want to step into the hassles of travel?  What about  _____?

Despite my reservations (or perhaps, excuses), I felt a deep, strong nudge to say ‘yes’. I yielded to that guidance, and the experiences along the way made me grateful that I did.

Starting with my decision to ride the bus and rail to the Denver airport, each day held new experiences. In Mississippi, I met new people and was treated to the best in southern hospitality and cuisine. I walked on and later drove along the beach, discovered new artists, enjoyed colorful Mardi Gras decorations galore, and saw many remnants of Hurricane Katrina, the deadly storm that devastated much of the Gulf coast in 2005.

The Texas leg reconnected me with family and a friend from college that I don’t see often. On a mission to savor some great Texas barbeque, I visited the small town where I worked in my first post-college job. The small ‘joint’ I remembered had moved and expanded, but the rustic ambiance and amazing quality remained four decades later. As we drove away (stuffed and happy), I saw a ‘municipal park’ sign and rediscovered the city park that I helped build in that first job. The park too has grown and changed, but the beauty of nature remains its centerpiece. I found new in the old.

When it was time to head home, I was full and ready to return to the mountains I love. In experiencing the new (including the new in the old), I was reminded to make each day’s tasks a new experience – EVERY day.

I’ll recycle paper, glass, plastics, cans and such, but not the experiences that make my life, MY LIFE. While Luke and I frequently walk the same paths, I aim to notice what is new, what is different each day. How much snow has melted? How does the earth feel under my feet? Where is Luke roaming?  When I build a fire each morning, I do my best to remember that, when I listen deeply, each piece of wood lets me know when it’s ready to burn. Each fire, each day has a different character.

I aim to put the same attention and intention on EVERY task I undertake and event I engage in. Sometimes I speed up and forget and find myself out of sorts and out of sync, gentle reminders to slow down and make what’s familiar new.

If you find yourself weary, bored or out of sorts this week, pause and consider ‘how can I make this new?’

Enter here for GREAT barbeque in Lockhart, Texas

Enter here for GREAT barbeque in Lockhart, Texas


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Harmony Is Our Nature

Listen to the wood …

Listen to the wood …

Nature cannot step up and act upon us, except as it must respond to its basic need to be in balance. We have the power either to create a flourishing cornucopia of life to nurture and support us or to create hurricanes, melting polar ice caps, and swarms of locusts. … Every thought we have has an effect on us and our planet as well. We can be mindful of our thoughts. Gregge Tiffen (Life In The World Hereafter: The Journey Continues)

Listen to the wood.

I ‘heard’ those words one morning recently just after adding logs to my early morning fire, wondering afterwards whether I’d added too many too fast to get a quick hot burn going in the wood stove.  It reminded me that all of nature speaks her gentleness, consistency, stability, strength. In these mountain woods, I’m surrounded these gifts.

Nature also has the quality of harmony. Harmony is central to nature’s existence and she will do what is necessary to reach and maintain her harmonious state. If nature’s harmony is upset, she will respond, violently if necessary, in order to bring harmony back to the planet. Yes, those so-called ‘acts of God’ have a purpose.

Mother Nature will prevail. Our beautiful blue/green planet will exist as long as she has a purpose in the heavens, though we humans may not always be along for the ride. We have plundered too much, exploiting natural resources as commodities to be used up, sold for profit. We dominate and attempt to control rather than practicing the dominion of the planet we were granted: loving and listening to mother earth and considering her needs and her care as part of the equation of an abundant life.

We do so not just with destructive deeds, but with our negativity as well: fearful thoughts that in their angry expression forget the truth of our being, angry thoughts that in their fearful expressions resort to war and violence in both words and deeds.

This is not just ‘the other’, it is us – me and you – for none of us are yet free of anger and fear as sometime motivators and guides. And, that’s another gift, for planet Earth provides us the place to learn, to experiment, and to nurture the seeds of our infinite sojourn through an infinite and energetic universe.

May we do so as reflections of nature’s highest and best qualities!

Gentleness on the road out back.

Gentleness on the road out back.

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