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Self-honesty

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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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React!!! Or Not?

   A Fishy Surprise in Cottonwood Creek Nearby

A Fishy Surprise in Cottonwood Creek Nearby

You’re always in a position to decide if you want to have any reaction to what’s going on. Gregge Tiffen (Open Secrets: An Air of Optimism – May, 2011)

I fell asleep last night with this quote on my mind, sensing that it would guide the muse this week, a week of choices about reacting to events – right here at home and events in the world.  In the midst of having a crew here working on the house (cracks repaired, a new coat of stucco she’s receiving), I’ve been observant of my sense of being surrounded and of the sounds (voices, sanding, scraping, hammering, etc.) and of how I respond, both internally and externally.

I’ve been challenged to keep my cool and react with care in trying to have the crew understand that they can’t smoke outside due to a fire ban in our county (not because I’m a b____ who doesn’t like cigarettes).  I created a place for them to smoke and ditch the butts, so they wouldn’t inadvertently drop one in the dry grass.  They aren’t smoking on the property, but I don’t think they get the danger or understand the ban. So, I’ve practiced letting go. That’s challenging given that fire is a fear I’ve experienced for much of my life.

This week I also experienced a small set back in my breathing practices. I was bummed and, upon a bit of reflection, realized that I was pushing too hard (in total contradiction to the point of the work, which is to breathe less) and making up a story about what my daily ‘pause times’ should be.

And, then there are events in the world:  breaking trust and agreements, seemingly endless armed conflict and inhumane treatment of life on many fronts and in many forms, threats to the future of the internet that I depend upon … and so much more.

As if to confirm today’s topic, first thing this morning, I cut my finger while slicing a lemon for my first of the day cup of warm lemon water. There was a time in my life when such an event would have triggered an angry outburst (directed at nobody but me, of course), huffing, puffing, and wasting loads of energy. How could I be so careless …? While I’m sure that I haven’t lost the ability to react in that way, this morning I smiled.  With thoughts about today’s post swimming in my head, I felt no emotional outburst – inside or out. I grabbed a towel to stop the bleeding and squeezed lemon in the cup before pouring on peroxide on my finger and applying a bandage.  As I sat down to let my thoughts flow onto paper, warm lemon water at my side, I had a sense of knowing, of gratitude, and of peace.

Little events like my cut finger show us where we are in relation to life, if we dare look. Seemingly insignificant, they offer clues to our relationships with ourselves, with others, and with the world we’re navigating.  With each event there is the possibility for awareness and learning.  Willingness is the ingredient that each of us must add.

That awareness and learning can take us to recognizing points of choice.  I and only I choose my reaction to a cut finger, noisy construction, setbacks in projects, and the decisions of our elected officials.

I’m discovering more and more that the foundation for these choices is squarely placed in my relationship to myself.  The bedrock of that relationship is my growing understanding and sense of peace about how the universe really works. When I embrace the concept that every event is here for me, there is no room for being the victim or at the effect of these events – even though I have no control over them.  My challenge is to be at choice.  Sometimes that’s ‘easy, breezy’ and seems to happen quite naturally.  When fear and anger creep in, choice can seem limited.

Three questions I find especially helpful in getting to a place of choice when my ability to choose seems illusive are these:

  • What is the meaning I am making of this?
  • What am I afraid of?
  • What is the outcome I desire?

What about you? How are you maintaining your sense of choice about reacting (or not) to events in your world?

   Sunday Visitor - First Western Tanager of the Season

Sunday Visitor - First Western Tanager of the Season

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Smart Cells

   Gentle Observation

Gentle Observation

The universe does not make ninnies. The universe has created you in Its image as strong, dependable, creative, self-assured, intelligent, harmonious, and complete. This is true for everyone. These qualities reside in every cell of everyone’s body!  Gregge Tiffen (Tax Time: Are You Taxing Yourself? – April, 2007)  

No, this isn’t a post about smart phones or any other ‘smart’ technology – other than the ‘technology’ of you and every other human being on the planet. You – yes YOU – are imbued with each and all of the qualities that are this universe! So are your family, your friends, those you love, and those whose behaviors you loathe.

This week as I began my 68th sojourn around the sun has been a reflective one, looking back at the cycle just completed to celebrate victories and to acknowledge where I want to invest in growth this year. So, I wasn’t surprised when today’s quote leapt off the page both as a reminder of how blessed I am/we are and a way to identify growth areas for investment.

Like apps in technology, these universal qualities are in our cells available 24/7 for us to tap into and use. The key is to sync ourselves with our cells. We listen. We observe. We choose. We act.

Unlike those same apps, these gifts of the universe never go out of date. The only upgrades required are those we choose as our own individual understanding deepens, expands, and grows. These upgrades flow naturally as we call forth, experiment, and apply each quality. How we define and express them changes as we change.

As the world presents us with new opportunities to use our ‘apps’, we have the Free Will to apply them – or not.  We choose whether to be bound by the culture’s standards or to define each quality in a way that expresses our individual highest and best.  ‘What are the culture’s standards,’ I wondered. And, more important, what is my aim?

'Strong’ in much of our culture means physical strength and/or weaponry to show force. The strength I aim for is the internal strength to stand with courage in the face of force. ‘Dependable’ often means doing what society thinks you ‘should’ do. The dependability I aim for is the discipline to follow through on my commitments to myself and to others. Our culture tends to think of ‘creative’ as artistic or talented. The creative I aim for is remembering my status as co-creator with the universe of all my experiences; thus, recognizing in every moment that I am creating that moment.

‘Self-assured’ can look like ego driven self-aggrandizement. The self-confidence I aim for comes from within, from applying what I’ve learned about how the universe and the world work. It then manifests outwardly in calm clarity that is both intelligent and harmonious.

In the world ‘complete’ is often measured by how much we have, we do, leading to a sense of incompleteness, scarcity and never enough. The complete I aim for is comfort in knowing that there is always ‘enough’. Right where I am is the perfect place in this moment, and it will lead to the next and the next, infinitely.

This week I invite you to tap into the ‘apps’ granted you by the universe. Embrace them. Define and sync each to YOU. Then, step into the world each day as the unique and beautiful you that you are.

   An Old Stump in the Woods -- What wisdom does it hold?

An Old Stump in the Woods -- What wisdom does it hold?

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Bucking the Culture Ain't Easy

   Of whims and harmony ... that is our way.

Of whims and harmony ... that is our way.

In silence, man and shadow met face to face, and stopped. Aloud and clearly, breaking that old silence, Ged spoke the shadow’s name and in the same moment the shadow spoke without lips or tongue, saying the same word: ‘Ged.’ And, the two voices were one voice. … Light and darkness met, and joined, and were one.  Ursula K. LeGuin, A Wizard of Earthsea

The truth of the matter is self-honesty in all things. Gregge Tiffen, Open Secrets: The Nature of Feminine Truth (March, 2011) 

Practicing oneness requires the self-honesty acknowledge the darkness within.

Slowly the light is returning. Soon the day will be equal in its light and darkness, and the darkness will give way to more hours of light. A cycle: one of many cycles within cycles that is the natural order of the Universe.

We humans though think we know better than the order of the Universe. We create tools of separation and control: calendars, clocks, daylight savings time and build a culture that honors such tools over the wisdom of the Universe.

This week, though I sprang my clocks forward, I chose to ignore them as much as possible. As is generally my habit, I’ve risen upon waking and allowed each day to flow from there. Even with few timed commitments, I found myself noticing the time and correcting thoughts about being ‘late’ as I went about my day. The exercise reminded me how deeply imbedded ‘time’ is in our culture.

Our culture also holds ideas about how we ‘should’ use our time. Since closing the B&B, I’ve felt a strong pull, guidance if you will, to ‘read, write, connect more deeply in nature, and empty’. I’ve followed that guidance less than I’d like to admit. After all there are taxes to prepare, firewood to stack, and – oh, yeah, shouldn’t I be doing something to generate income?

But these little things (yep, in the grand scheme they are but tiny blips despite how I allow them to interfere with my peace) pale in comparison to bucking the violence that pervades our culture. Violence is monetized (and, not just by the ‘war’ machine, but also in medicine, pesticides, and more). It is deeply imbedded in our language and our history.  Sadly, our cells know much about violence.

I’d like to believe that I’m not a part of this violence. But alas, there is a mirror that, in Oneness, reflects right back to me. In that mirror I see the justifications that I claim for my own acts of violence: if I don’t kill the mice, they will …; my blood type is ‘O’ so my body needs meat; my curiosity takes me to violent movies like Black Panther and Star Wars; mosquitos carry disease (and are sooo annoying!). These are only a few of the mindful choices I make. Sometimes I squish a spider before I’ve given it a thought.  And, so it is in our culture.

Creating a new culture requires facing up to my contributions to the culture we have. Practicing oneness requires the self-honesty acknowledge the darkness within.

As I look to the courageous students who walked out of schools yesterday calling for an end to gun violence, I’m filled with encouragement for the world they envision and the world that is theirs to create. I’m proud to march with them whether in spirit or body.  And, yet I wonder if I have the will to buck my own violent habits as a contribution to ending violence on our planet? For if I don’t, how can I expect others to do the same?

This is the challenge of our oneness with all things and with one another. I am all the beauty and the light in this world.  I am also the darkness. I am That, I am.

   A Hazy Mountain Morning

A Hazy Mountain Morning

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Self-Honesty

   Fueling up for the journey south ... which will be coming up soon.

Fueling up for the journey south ... which will be coming up soon.

To accept an event as your opportunity to reveal more self honesty is the issue for effective and efficient rates of progress. Gregge Tiffen (The Journey Continues: Economical Rates of Progress – August, 2010)

So often we think of self-honesty as a drag. And we forget that the events of life – no matter how big or how small – are simply there for us as learning opportunities. It isn’t especially hard to remember, yet vigilance and practice are required.  This week provided opportunities for both vigilance and practice.

I don’t respond well when someone engages in behavior that annoys me (those who know me are nodding in agreement about now). Having people in my home (most of them strangers whom I’ve never met other than via email or perhaps a telephone conversation) provides frequent events where I have the opportunity to choose not to allow others to disturb my personal peace. As people come and go and interact, I have numerous opportunities to remember that we are all different AND we are all the same.

Sometimes I forget. I get hooked by something a guest says or does. I forget to choose peace and find myself in a (cess)pool of internal thoughts, indignantly criticizing their behavior and imagining just what I might say to set them straight (are you laughing yet?). I forget that these thoughts are a gross misuse of my energy. And, I fail to be aware of the damage they inflict, personally and in the world beyond.

Then, at some point, I remember. I stop. I breathe. I acknowledge that I’ve veered off course, invoking self-honesty sans guilt and self-criticism. I breathe again. I invoke curiosity to discover what different thoughts will shift me and the situation. I breathe. I forgive myself. I find gratitude for the event and the person who brought it forth as a learning opportunity. I remember that they too are on their own unique learning journey. I breathe. I acknowledge how far I’ve come on this journey to build my tolerance of others’ choices.  I smile. I breathe. And, I remember too that my learning in this domain is not complete, for while sometimes this is a quick and easy road, for other events I may need hours or days to come to his place. I breathe again with a smile.

We are ONE is a popular theme today. For me this theme overlooks what Gregge Tiffen spoke of as ‘diversity within unity’. Each of us is an individual being with our own unique expressions in life. At the same time, we are each a tiny, integral part of consciousness, the infinite universe.  To make the whole work, we need to respect and honor all of the parts. We have countless, if not infinite, opportunities in life to experiment and, hopefully, gain wisdom about how to do so.

Like me, you may get discouraged when you look beyond your immediate environment to the chaos, negativity and disrespect that fills the air waves. But the issue at hand, though it relates to that greater whole, is the events that are in front of us moment to moment, day to day and how we handle them.  This is what matters in terms of our individual learning and progress toward knowledge that becomes wisdom through the ages.

   Can you spot the faint end of the rainbow? 

Can you spot the faint end of the rainbow? 

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Count on THIS!

   Reconnecting With Nature's Beauty Right Around the Corner!

Reconnecting With Nature's Beauty Right Around the Corner!

Progress is the self love we exhibit in our daily activities. It is the abundance we embrace as a natural, Universal gift. What is significant is the personal power that we recognize and accept within ourselves as co-creators with an omnipotent and infinite Universe.  Gregge Tiffen (The Significance of Beginning – January, 2007)

I’m in the midst of an experience that, thankfully, is a rarity in my life: illness, slowly recovering from a nasty flu/cold bug that knocked me flat about 10 days ago.  For the first few days, everything I ‘know’ about how to care for myself and even caring at all went out the proverbial window.

And, so I slept. As best I could, I slept without fretting about Luke, the list of what I’d planned to accomplish, or about the state of our world.

Over several days with little awareness, that is all I could muster.  In fleeting moments of awareness over those days, I wondered whether I would ever remember who I am in the universal scheme of things.  Would I again feel my deep connection with nature and how a walk in the woods returns me to deep peace? Would I long to observe and reflect and share my discoveries?  Would I again revel in those winter activities that bring me a sense of personal accomplishment and satisfaction as shoveling snow and stacking wood do?  Would I return to my powerful, fun-loving, peaceful self?

As my body slowly recovered and I began to restore my capacity to take care of the basics, my sense of self, my personal power, and my awareness of my status as a co-creator with the Universe returned.  They did so slowly at first and with a need to be nurtured and reassured.  Challenging as it was, I honored what seemed to be needed and, somewhere inside, I found a morsel of trust that all was well.

Like the Chinese herbs and other nutrients that were healing my physical body, that morsel of trust was just the seed I needed to restore my spirit and to give me the courage, curiosity and conviction to reengage by observing world. 

And, what a show the world was providing for me to observe! An inauguration, seemingly angry words from a new president, ‘alternative facts’, and the creative spirit of millions peacefully marching to have their voices heard.  We do live in interesting times!

While a part of me yearned to march with kindred spirits, I honored the physical need to take it slow. In my heart as Luke and I took an afternoon walk nearby, I walked in solidarity with the millions filling the streets world-wide. I was reminded that each and every action I take whether in solitude or with others matters as an expression of my personal power as a co-creator with the Universe.  That’s what I know I can count on, today, tomorrow, and every day beyond – no matter what!  You can count on THIS too!

   Thanks Mom for Shoveling!

Thanks Mom for Shoveling!

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Count On THIS!

  I can always count on Luke's 'Treat Please!' shadow

I can always count on Luke's 'Treat Please!' shadow

No matter what the outcome, the sun will rise tomorrow … President Barack Hussein Obama, November 8, 2016

We have an abundant Universe. We have an infinite Universe. We have an omnipotent, creative Universe, and all these things are available to us. We are willing to receive and willing to give thanks as an integral part of creation. Gregge Tiffen – The Power of Giving Thanks – November, 2007

Yesterday I grieved. I allowed the sobs and tears to flow each time they rose from deep within. The tears of joy seeing moms and dads with their daughters and sons placing “I voted” stickers on the grave of Susan B Anthony and my expectation that election day would bring the shattering of a thick glass ceiling,  became sobs of grief as the results of election night rolled in. If the results landed differently for you, I honor that our choices diverge.

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning when I finally put my tearful head on the pillow, President Obama’s words, “the sun will rise tomorrow …” offered a measure of comfort and a reminder to return to my wisdom, my core beliefs. I’d even found a surprising touch of hope in the tone and words of President-elect Trump’s victory speech.

After a few hours of restless ‘sleep’, I woke to the quiet and allowed the depths of my sorrow to rise with me. Through the sorrow, I realized indeed that the sun had risen. In nurturing myself in nature, I found solace. Like the sun, the mountains were in their place as beautiful and majestic as ever. The trees seemed to hold me in their care, embracing me before I reached out to hug them. And, Cool Hand Luke was his unconditionally loving self. Ah, This, This I can count on.

   In nature, I count on the gentle, sweet presence of deer giving me a watchful eye from time to time.

In nature, I count on the gentle, sweet presence of deer giving me a watchful eye from time to time.

Throughout the day I sought wisdom and understanding, mostly within on my ‘inner-net’, the receptive heart and soul of my being.  Receive and give thanks.

I ventured outward with cautious, selective curiosity seeking very little input yet wanting to know whether Hillary had spoken and what thoughts a few select colleagues and friends were sharing. I listened to a replay of Hillary’s message and found her generous, clear, consistent, committed, humble and grateful. Following that I listened to President Obama’s steady, graceful words reminding us of the fundamentals of our democracy and reaching out to wish the new president well.

How many among us can reach out after being as viciously attacked as the President and wish our attacker well?  I think of and am inspired by the Water Protectors at Standing Rock reaching out to the police who have attacked them. Could I be so graceful, so courageous?

How many among us could suffer a stunning setback and, within hours, stand tall publicly to gracefully wish our opponent well as Hillary did?

I looked in the mirror and reflected on how I’ve engaged in recent conflicts. Perhaps ‘grace in conflict’ as a learning opportunity doesn’t resonate for you, but I know that it is a part of my learning path as I seek to navigate ‘in’ this world without being ‘of’ it.  I aim to muster the courage to put my feet in the water of that muddy pond, and to experiment, up close and personal.

Deep in my soul, so deep that sometimes it is out of reach, I know that a divine plan is unfolding. It does so in ways I don’t expect, sometimes don’t like, and frequently don’t understand in human terms. My cells know this, but my awareness in this body and with this mind has not fully reached that level of acceptance. But the words of a mentor and friend yesterday reminded that I have eons of time and as many lifetimes as I need to experiment and to learn.

   And I count on the nourishing beauty of the mountains and the trees.     

And I count on the nourishing beauty of the mountains and the trees.

 

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The Humbling Side of Awareness

   May All Your   Paths Be Paved With Gold!

May All Your Paths Be Paved With Gold!

The whole technique, in terms of living, is the means of being aware, curiously aware and questioningly aware.  Gregge Tiffen (The Language of A Mystic: Innovation, October, 2009)

Being aware brings a great deal of excitement, interest and joy to daily life. It can also bring moments of humbling truth.

In the midst of exploring a gnarly, conflict-filled situation with my coach, she asked a question with implications far beyond the event we were discussing. “Do you need the extremes, the conflict?” she inquired.

The answer in that moment for that event was a clear resounding ‘no’.  Yet, as I suspected, the question had legs and would stay with me as I observed my thoughts and actions afterwards. Over the next several days as I put the event behind me, I was quickly aware of and mostly able to manage judgmental, conflict-oriented thoughts about the situation.  And, I also noticed something else: other thoughts (more that I would like to admit) that engaged the themes of extremes, conflict and judgement.  Ugh! 

Beyond the ‘ugh’, I mustered some curiosity and began to notice even more. Some of my interest in conflict was energizing in a positive way. For example, seeing the extremes in the current Presidential race here in the U.S. can move me into action supporting the views that I believe in.  That kind of engagement is rewarding in terms of self-expression and satisfaction.

But I also noticed a ‘dark’ side, other thought patterns that, while they may energize in the moment, actually drain my energy. These are thoughts that put my attention on others, on comparison, and judgement in a way that creates an atmosphere of conflict where none exists nor is it needed.

Discovering these stories and acknowledging that some offer the illusion that I am ‘better than’ another has been humbling. Seeing that they energize in ways that don’t serve me is a gift of that awareness.

From these discoveries I can release any dependence on this form of conflict to energize me. I can choose when to engage and explore ways to do so in alignment with my true nature. I can notice when these thoughts arise and create different ones. I can experiment and practice; then rinse and repeat.

I can be ‘curiously and questioningly aware’ and THAT is LIVING!

   Nature's Beauty Abounds ...

Nature's Beauty Abounds ...

Challenge for the week:  Engage your curiosity and questioning to discover what among your many thought patterns serve you and which ones do not.  Share your discoveries over on the blog site.

   Early Morning Light and Beauty with Luke

Early Morning Light and Beauty with Luke

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What's In It For Me?

   Autumn in The Rockies

Autumn in The Rockies

The obligation for each of us is that we must have a sense of doing what we believe is right. Gregge Tiffen (The Journey Continues: In Search of Wisdom – September, 2010)

I’ve been sitting with this wisdom from Gregge for a couple weeks around several opportunities presenting themselves for my consideration. I’ve been asking questions such as ‘what values am I considering as I think about what is ‘right’?  Do I/will I like myself as I engage in this?  What might I learn? How might I grow? And, ultimately ‘what’s in it for me?’

Does the question bring a shudder of judgement suggesting it’s selfish to ask?  It did for me when I was first challenged to consider it.  It’s a very different question than ‘what’s important about this to me?’ and many of the other questions that we ask when making choices both large and small.  Rather than being a selfish question, I’m finding it one that opens me to new discoveries about what motivates me and what I care about. It brings me gently to identify and consider agendas that may be hidden.  It helps me bring clarity to my intentions.  

Rather than being a question that skims the surface merely identifying potential material gain, asking what’s in it for me?  takes me to a deep, reflective place. It helps me define what I need and want as I make choices about where to invest my energy. Discovering this helps me feel a sense of satisfaction at day’s end when I lay my head on the pillow.

As I reflect on the question itself, I sense that it leads me to a more authentic expression me. It keeps me or puts me on paths that best fit my personal design. It brings a sense of ease and flow to life and erases any need for struggle.

   Happy biker ... I'm guessing she know 'what's in it for her'.

Happy biker ... I'm guessing she know 'what's in it for her'.

   A Beautiful Fall Day in the Rockies

A Beautiful Fall Day in the Rockies

              

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The High Cost of Competition

   Sometimes life seems as rocky as, well, THE Rockies.

Sometimes life seems as rocky as, well, THE Rockies.

The first thing school teaches you is to compete which is the worst influence in the world because it is anti-spiritual, anti-metaphysical, and it is anti-spiritual. Gregge Tiffen (Open Secrets: One Original Thought, September, 2011)

I woke one morning this week with the thought that ‘the essence of competition is separation’. The thought caught my attention from both personal and global perspectives. On the personal side, I’m navigating a situation where, from my perspective, competition has overtaken collaboration.  Self-honesty requires that I own a part in that.

It seems in our culture today that speaking one’s conviction sets up competition. Rather than curiosity about other points of view and looking for common ground, we’ve been taught to win. When someone wins, another must loose.  What is society loosing as a result?

When we take the position that we are ‘better than’, then the other is seen as ‘less than’. Honest, pure communication cannot exist in this condition. Conflict thrives in this environment. We posture. We strategize. We waste energy and lose sight of the common good and our common humanity. I’ve found myself doing just that, in total contradiction to what I want and to who I know that I am.

The evidence (or perhaps carnage is a more apt description) is all around: cheating in sports, manipulation in business, rancor in politics, military conflicts around the globe, anger in the streets and threads of social media. And sadly, that only names a few of the consequences of competition being so deeply embedded in our consciousness, our culture. 

At the personal level competition can breed fear, lack of trust, lack of self-worth and self-confidence. And, at least for me, it wears me out and distracts me from the simple joys of life. Cool Hand Luke can testify to that!

I plead guilty to contributing and I long to find a different way forward.  Renewing my commitment to that path – NOW!

   Fall is in the air!

Fall is in the air!

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