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Kindness (Revised, Reprised)

Wintry Breakfast for the Hummers

Wintry Breakfast for the Hummers

The Universe always magnifies your action. … You are to recognize … that as you act, you are responsible for the validity of your actions in a positive spiritual mode. Gregge Tiffen (The Language of a Mystic: Change – May, 2009)

As I settled in to write this morning I experienced a striking sensory contrast: as I gazed out over a snowy, wintry landscape, I heard the summer sound of hummingbirds buzzing around the feeder. Like seeing photos of my new grandson earlier this week and hearing the news that everyone in the family is doing well, the contrast brought a smile.

I’m aiming to smile a lot these days. Not sneering, snarky ‘yeah, right’ smiles (though I notice lots of stimuli for that!). I want to offer genuine, heartfelt smiles for the Universe as it does what it does: magnify everything.  I want to speak and act in ways that are kind:  kind to me; kind to Luke; kind to family, to friends, to neighbors, to strangers, and beyond. 

That’s what I want to see and experience more of in our world: kindness, miles of smiles of kindness.

What we see in the world each day is a reflection and magnification of our individual actions. The Universe doesn’t distinguish good/bad, kind/unkind, loving/hate-filled. It simply magnifies our action, ALL of our action.

Distinguishing and choosing is our job – mine and yours. When I remember that my actions will be magnified, I’m better equipped to choose more wisely.

I wrote about this idea that the Universe magnifies in a post here last May.  In that post I suggested that

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

I continue to hold that thought as a prayer in my heart each day as I aim to be my best expression of me in a world that seems ever more chaotic and unkind.  I dream of a world where kindness leads, a world suggested by my friend, the prolific author Rivera Sun in her awesome novel, The Dandelion Insurrection

THIS!  Clear, Simple, and Requires Consistent Practice

THIS! Clear, Simple, and Requires Consistent Practice

Did I mention that it’s a snowy May morning?

Did I mention that it’s a snowy May morning?

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It's Time To Reclaim Our Personal Power

Spring Snow in the ‘Hood

Spring Snow in the ‘Hood

There is nothing impotent about the human mind. Gregge Tiffen (Life in the World Hereafter: The Journey Continues)

Let that sink in for a moment … or two. There is n o t h I n g impotent about the human mind! That includes you, me, each and every one of us humans on the planet.

It seems though that over time (a very, very long time) we have forgotten that we were given this power by design and by a benevolent (I believe) Universe. Our ‘forgetfulness’ is not accidental. Though that’s a story for another time, let’s just say that individuals created institutions (both secular and not) that have chipped away at this fundamental truth through the ages. After all, much better for ‘them’ if we think ‘they’ hold the power. Much better for ‘them’ if we come to rely on their power, rather than the potent power we each have.

That’s where my thoughts about this week’s story of corruption involving dozens of wealthy individuals and several so-called ‘ivy-league’ universities took me. As I reflected more on this and other current events, I sensed (more than saw) a pattern: people with power derived outside of themselves (money, position, etc.) fear losing that power. They will do ANYthing to retain it (cheat, lie, got to war … just to name a few). 

They have no sense of the personal power of the mind or its (and, thus their) connection to an infinite, powerful Universe with which they co-create.

When we believe that power is external to us fear is a prime motivator. One need only read a bit of history to see where that path has taken and is taking us.

When we understand the power of the human mind, the personal power that we have each been given as humans on planet Earth, a different motivator emerges: love.  We come to view the world from a kinder, gentler perspective, one grounded in compassion, care, cooperation, collaboration. We listen to inner guidance rather than being led by fear-mongering ‘leaders’.

Reclaiming this power and learning to use it is not just our right, it is our responsibility. We each have to do this in our unique way, in our own time, at our pace. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ formula. Our job, yours and mine, is to embrace our personal power and, then to take the next step – wherever that leads.

This isn’t a new idea. Indeed it’s as old as time. I’ve written about this power directly and indirectly in most every blog post for almost six years. But the context today feels different. We are in the midst of massive breakdowns of systems we may have thought were solid forever. Daily we are making choices about how to respond. We are waking up, taking blinders off, and, sometimes, seeing a side of humanity that’s not so pretty.

Humanity and the planet, indeed our own learning throughout time, invite us to step up and step in anew, embracing the power we’ve been given not grasping for power sourced outside ourselves.

I’m in (even if I don’t know what that looks like from one day to the next). What about you?

Cool Hand Luke Loves to Follow His Own Path

Cool Hand Luke Loves to Follow His Own Path

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Conviction, Conviction, Conviction

Cool Hand Luke says ‘A run in the snow is always a good aim!’

Cool Hand Luke says ‘A run in the snow is always a good aim!’

To take each step in the direction of your goals, you will need these three things:

  1. A conviction in yourself and in your uniqueness as an independent individual.

  2. A conviction in your cause, and that Life is better than you are experiencing it. And,

  3. A conviction in your outcome as worthy and powerful. Gregge Tiffen (Life: The Staircase of Many Steps – January, 2008)

 According to many experts, this is the week that people tend to veer off the track of the ambitious goals and resolutions made to start the new year.  You can find seemingly endless advice about avoiding the pitfalls and staying on track. So, in the spirit of the week, I’ll add my perspective – short and sweet:

 Your conviction is the key.

 As Gregge suggests, you need conviction in yourself, your cause, your outcome to provide the incentive to move toward your goal step by step. If your conviction isn’t present and strong, your opportunity is to grow it. Otherwise, you fall prey to the world and its distractions, finding yourself in overwhelm and feeling like a victim.

You can evaluate your conviction with questions such as:

  • When I look in the mirror, do I love and appreciate the person looking back at me? Do I know and value her/his uniqueness? Do I live fully into my individuality (or does the world determine my choices)?

  • Do I accept myself as the cause of how my life unfolds, not as blame, but as a sense of taking full responsibility? Do I appreciate the events in my life as opportunities presented for my benefit and my learning (yep, including the ones that ‘suck’)? Can I dance with the paradox of loving the life I have while knowing that as I learn and grow my experience of life can only get better?

  • How deeply do I care about what I’m aiming for? Does it consistently inspire and call me forth into action? Is it worthy and powerful, not as the world measures worth and power, but by measures of my understanding of my worth and my power.

As these questions unfolded, I notice areas that invite me to reflect and explore more deeply. Doing so is one of my aims this week. What about you?

And, for me, a gentle walk in the snow woods keeps the world in perspective.

And, for me, a gentle walk in the snow woods keeps the world in perspective.

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Fierce Softness: Life IS Sacred Service

A Teyuna Mamo with    Mary Gaetjens of Harmony with Earth Mother Initiative in Columbia

A Teyuna Mamo with Mary Gaetjens of Harmony with Earth Mother Initiative in Columbia

You carry your worth in your heart. Complete, constant, and impartial love radiates through you to all creatures. Gregge Tiffen (The Collected Works of Gregge Tiffen: Echo – Sept. 2012)

Teyuna mamos and zagas exist in deep communion with every living thing, a state they’ve preserved and grown since what is for most westerners time immemorial and what is for them easily recalled through living tradition. (Earth Law Center Website - https://www.earthlawcenter.org/blog-entries/2018/6/teyuna-foundation-launches)

Have you ever been in the presence of fierce softness? I imagine that in being with the Dalai Lama or Thich Nhat Hanh one might experience a sense of ‘fierce softness’. Historical figures such as Jesus or Ghandi likely held fierce softness in their presence. Gregge’s quote above begins to describe what I think fierce softness can be.

I’ve been with people who are fierce. Heck, sometimes I’ve been fierce in ways that are not so positive. I’ve also been with individuals who radiate love and softness. I aim to do the same (and, being human in our culture, I often miss the mark).

Until last week, I’d not experienced the two together: fierce AND soft. Perhaps the seed was planted by Sharon Blackie’s book which I wrote about last week (http://cindyreinhardt.com/blog/reclaiming-softness). For sure, the book opened me to what I was about to experience here in Crestone at a ceremony for three Teyuna mamos and, two days later, at a healing ceremony that they offered.  

I don’t yet (and may never) have words to fully describe my experience. Powerful, healing, amazing, transformational are each accurate, but they miss the mark of complete expression. I’m integrating their words, the exercises we did, and their presence to make meaning and apply it my life.

For now, ‘fierce softness’ best describes the energy I experienced and received as these elders guided us through a powerful exercise to connect with the earth.  In both of my encounters with the Teyuna every word, every action, every step was clear, gentle and showed heartfelt and powerful intensity.  It was clear to me that they listen deeply to Mother Earth and respond with exactly what is needed in each moment.

The intense care for people, the planet, and for every living thing was palpable. I felt that I witnessed life as it is meant to be lived: in reverence and deep communion. That is ‘fierce softness’. That is service to life.

The Teyuna understand that as caretakers of the planet, we humans must take care of and heal ourselves in order to fulfill our sacred responsibility. No one can do it for us. The journey is an individual one, unique for each of us. As we heal ourselves, we heal our relationship to Mother Earth. We begin to live life as sacred service to our home rather than as a race to see who can collect the most toys and do the most harm.

Fierce softness. I’m exploring what it means to live from that place. Where is my softness needed – in my life, in the world? Where do I have the opportunity to soften? How might it look to be fierce in my softness? This week I invite to learn more about the Teyuna – here https://www.earthlawcenter.org/blog-entries/2018/6/teyuna-foundation-launches or watch the movie Aluna (available on Amazon.com) about their journey. And, I invite you to reflect on bringing ‘fierce softness’ to your expressions of life.

The Fierce Softness of Grandmother Pine lives on.

The Fierce Softness of Grandmother Pine lives on.

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Independence Requires Letting Go Of Dependency

The Freedom to Be Tree

The Freedom to Be Tree

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)

… we and we alone are the authors of our own freedom.

Reflect on Gregge’s quote for a few moments. You may discover a key to why you sometimes feel stuck, frustrated, or impotent. You may discover a deeper source of the pervasive angst in society. If you dig deep enough, you may discover as I have that breaking the bonds of dependence requires vigilance, courage, and commitment. Freedom isn’t a free ride. It’s not for the faint-hearted. Yet, it is your divine birthright.

Another Independence Day is approaching here in the United States, the 242th since a small band of visionary revolutionaries, some of whom had deep mystical understanding, declared independence and set a course for a new nation.  As we make plans to celebrate once again, I 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’ve lost our understanding that the source of freedom and independence is not man or government. Rather, freedom is our gift from the Universe. Independence is Universal law.  Dependence is a violation of that law.

And yet we’ve created and continue to support dependence in our systems of government, education, business, as well as in our personal relationships. We give life to these systems and to other people when we depend on them as our source. We’ve become dependent on jobs, clients, government agencies and circumstances for our happiness and our well-being. We expect others to ‘be there’ for us, and we may be dependent on them needing us as well.  In doing so, we abdicate our freedom, our power to choose, and to express our authentic selves.

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 individual responsibility is key to the exercise of freedom.

A first step in taking responsibility is 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 and begin to ‘unlearn’ dependence. This unlearning requires courage, awareness, commitment, self-honesty, and trust. It is not a project, but rather a life-long process.

We restore our independence by identifying dependencies we’ve allowed to creep in: awareness by awareness, step by step, choice by choice. We learn from experience and commitment that our independence is mostly an inside job, 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.  With a bit of refreshing, it still seems apropos today as I reflect on the sad state of governance and on our misunderstanding of the true source of our independence. http://cindyreinhardt.com/blog/breaking-the-chains-of-dependence

Thanks for Letting Me Roam Free on Our Walks Mom.

Thanks for Letting Me Roam Free on Our Walks Mom.

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Much Ado? Or Not?

A Blessed, Snowy, May Day!

A Blessed, Snowy, May Day!

Nothing is hidden from the Universe. … We cannot hide anything from anyone else whether we think we can or not. Gregge Tiffen (The Journey Continues: Sight Seeing – May, 2010)

Until each of us digs down deep, diminishes our fear and our personal greed, they will dominate our lives and allow us to be dominated by others.

I have a theory. It’s contrarian, not what most people seem to be thinking and saying (surprise!). And, it’s a theory. It might be accurate. It might not. It might be both, or neither. Here goes:

We are putting way to much attention on what technology giants (Facebook, Google, and the list goes on) and others (government, business, etc.) should be doing to protect us and too little attention on the choices we make (about what we read, engage, believe etc.) and what we do individually as a result.

Said another way: the ‘ado’ or fuss we put on ‘them’ might be better placed (or at least its distribution shared) on ourselves and our choices. Yes. (Gasp!) I’m suggesting that there is a different way to look at this and other situations in life. What if we looked at each event as an opportunity to consider (gasp, again!) our role in the situation’s creation and our individual responsibility for the choices we make. Our true power lies there – not in what ‘they’ say or do to compel us to behave in ways that benefit ‘them’.

We might also consider that the ‘Facebook breakdown’ is one of many symbols of things falling apart. Our systems are crumbling under the weight of greed, fear, dominance, and confusion; failing because their foundations are not naturally aligned with Universal Law. The pine trees out my window are not fighting over the moisture in the snow that’s gently falling. They are simply there, receiving what is being offered. (I add the gratitude.)

With our thoughts and our actions we contribute to our world. We are a part of and we use the very systems we blame. Life is tricky, it is. I contribute to the culture of greed when I have a thought about lack and trigger fear about not having enough. I contribute more when I act from that fear. In a culture steeped in more ‘stuff’ than we need, we find ourselves wanting it to be cheap or even free.

If it’s accurate metaphysically that nothing can be hidden, what do we gain by putting so much attention on events like this? What are we allowing ourselves to be distracted or diverted from? Most importantly, what is the best choice for each of us individually in how we navigate these events in our chaotic world? What choices will help us build a society and systems that are true to our nature?

Our true power is swirling in this muck. Until each of us digs down deep, diminishes our fear and our personal greed, they will dominate our lives and allow us to be dominated by others through events aimed at stoking the fire of fear. Competition to establish who dominates will continue between nations, businesses, interest groups and individuals. Confusion and chaos will continue to reign.

The exciting part is – the choice is ours with every choice we make. I’m deepening my curiosity about how to live more aligned with the pines – receiving what is offered and being generous by allowing my bounty  to simply fall to the earth.  Live like a tree! What’s yours? How might we do THAT?

Snow Resting in the Pines

Snow Resting in the Pines

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