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Self-observation

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Taking Pause

   Love that Prickly Feeling of a Niggling Thought

Love that Prickly Feeling of a Niggling Thought

Here is your educational mission: (1) Find the very best in you each day and use it; (2) Show the world your beauty, your courage, your understanding, your awareness, your creativity, your love. … If we are to live in joy and in accomplishment, we must release our cells from self-imposed restrictions so they can sense, interpret and move with us in the changing times. We need to be ready to respond, and to use experiences to our advantage. … there must be a willingness to let your cellular structure respond to the immediate event. Each day should be looked upon as the entrance to an adventure … Gregge Tiffen (What You Should Get From Education – September, 2007)

 Yep, I know that I’m using Gregge’s quote for a second week (http://cindyreinhardt.com/blog/answer-the-call. Some concepts and ideas bear repeating, especially when their meaning expands and deepens.  That’s what I experienced this week as I began to recognize that I’d said ‘yes’ when ‘no’ would better serve this mission in my life.

 Recently, I made a decision without listening to my cells/myself completely, responding ‘yes’ based solely on business considerations in response to an opportunity. Being ‘practical’, I stepped past questions that gently niggled: ‘What about your soul?’ ‘What about your commitment to write?’

 But, as I began to engage in the project, my body tensed and my creativity vanished. Feeling a bit like the deer in the headlights, I paused. I observed that this is not bringing forth the best in me. I felt blocked from those qualities I want to express in the world.

 I’ve learned (or at least hope I have) the cost of ignoring the gentle nudges of niggling thoughts. So, I began to reassess, reflecting on the questions above. Other questions gently followed. ‘What about the flexibility and flow that makes your heart sing?’ ‘What does this opportunity hold for you?’ ‘Are you feeling joy and excitement about that?’ ‘What are you feeling?’

 As I reflected, I saw clearly that my ‘yes’ had been grounded in fear. It was taking me off course, away from my dance with life. The niggling had invited me to examine my fear, to see beyond it and to renew commitments about how I want to live this life.

 With that, new questions – ones filled with joy, excitement and possibility – have begun to emerge:

  • ·        What possibilities and choices are aligned with this ‘educational mission’?

  • ·        What do I need?

  • ·        What thinking needs to shift?

  • ·        What choices don’t serve me now?

  • ·        What new habits, routines and practices need to be put in place?

Niggling thoughts invite us to pause and allow our cells to inform our ‘selves’. When we honor these thoughts with a pause to reflect, we can find the best within us and discover how to express that best in the world that so badly needs our very best.

Color me grateful for the rapid wakeup call. Add in a splash of curiosity plus a dash (or two) of excitement as I pause, respond to myself and my cells, and once again, begin again discovering and expressing my best.

   Finding the Road to Our Best

Finding the Road to Our Best

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Let's Do This!

   Robin signaling the spread of new growth ... a sign to me that YES! We Can!

Robin signaling the spread of new growth ... a sign to me that YES! We Can!

In effect, negative levels of earth consciousness will contribute to defeating the positive levels of non-physical consciousness. … when we have someone who is nasty, or when we get depressed, we are in league with the devil. … The battle between good and evil can increase to enormous proportions commensurate with the mass attitude of humans at any given point in history. Gregge Tiffen (Do The Angels Take a Vacation? – August, 2007)

Amidst a week of ‘more than usual’ activity, the message flow that came through yesterday seemed right on target. That was affirmed on our morning walk when a car speeded by, kicking up dust on our dirt road. I was trying to signal ‘please slow down’ but I was thinking and feeling ‘slow down ____’. My signal evoked an angry sign back.

That’s not the way I want to start my day. And, it’s now how I aim to feel about and interact with the world any time of day. So, today’s message is for me. Possibly it will resonate for you as well – as always that’s my wish.

Yesterday’s ‘download’ started with “Having the right, doesn’t make it (or you) right.” Hmm, I thought, not a new idea; it resonated. And then it continued something like this:

Since everything we do is magnified by the Universe; and

Since we are each one cell in the whole that is the Universe; and

Since we humans inhabit and depend upon this planet for our physical survival …

We need to exercise our ‘rights’ with care.

We need to know and understand that this body, this life is but one little dot in the infinite journey of our spirit. THIS is NOT ‘all there is’!

We need to live and make our choices knowing understanding the law of karma.

This is true for EVERY thought we think, EVERY word we utter, EVERY action we take.

EVERY thing is subject to the law of cause and effect.

Because we don’t always witness or experience immediate effects from our thoughts, words and deeds, I wonder if we’ve forgotten that everything we think, say and do contributes to the quality (or lack thereof) of life on this planet, both the incarnate and discarnate sides of the planet (and beyond into the entirety of this infinite Universe).  Yes! WE are THAT powerful!

Think about the power that YOU (yes YOU!) hold. Then take a moment to acknowledge the world, its chaos, cruelty, harshness, unkind words, poverty, climate extremes … any and all of those things that worry you, break your heart or cause anger to rise from the core of your being.

Now – with NO blame, shame, or judgement – ask yourself: how am I contributing to ‘this’? Consider others. Consider yourself, your life. Take some private, personal, quiet time to examine the thoughts you feed about each.

Ask yourself, what comments do I make about others? Yep, the words I uttered about the speeding driver this morning count and, sorry, so do the snarky comments that most of us have made on social media at one time or another.

Identify and consider the comments you make about yourself, your body, your life? Do your thoughts and comments contribute to creating the life, the health, the environment in which you can be healthy and thrive? Consider how you begin and embrace (or reject) each day – each moment for that matter. Do you worry about what ‘shoe will fall’ next? Do you wish that you weren’t on the planet? Those thoughts matter. The words you utter matter.

There is no thought, word or deed that isn’t energy, and this energy counts when it comes to cause and effect. Indeed all energy (and everything is energy) ‘counts’.  In this system, there is no shame, no blame, no judgement – only the Universe, perfect in its design, responding to the energy that issues forth from each of us 24/7.

What a beautiful thing that we are contributing to, creating the quality of life on our planet! Remember this truth when you feel powerless to impact the world: YOU ARE CREATING IT EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY. There is no time in which you are not impacting the world with your very being. 

Today, in this moment and each one thereafter, each of us individually, all of us collectively, our planet and, indeed, the Universe need for us to come to this awareness, to understand our power, and to think, speak and act accordingly. Let’s open our hearts. Let’s open our minds. Let’s open our arms. Let’s do this people!

  'Come On People!' We'll show you the way!

'Come On People!' We'll show you the way!

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The Antler

   The Antler of Wisdom & Awareness

The Antler of Wisdom & Awareness

Shedding is nature in action, the easy, effortless flow of life. Clinging upsets this natural flow, creating suffering, stress, and dis-ease.

The whole object of pruning is that it improves your growth, it regenerates your brain, and it opens up new opportunities. Experiences that are no longer being used in a positive manner should be cut from the creative tree inside of you and taken away. Gregge Tiffen (Give Nothing, Get Nothing – August, 2008)

 

Take a moment to imagine a male deer resisting shedding his antlers (my first thought was a beautiful buck dashing into the market looking for super glue) or a snake holding on to its outgrown skin (duct tape anyone?).  Imagine an autumn walk in the woods if the leaves weren’t falling from the trees. Or what we humans would look like if we didn’t constantly shed cells of our skin.

While no deer, snake or tree was interviewed for this musing, I’m quite certain that they don’t resist this natural process. And, I’m hardly aware of the daily loss of my skin cells.  Shedding is nature in action, the easy, effortless flow of life. Clinging upsets this natural flow, creating suffering, stress, and dis-ease.

Yet we humans cling. We hold on to ‘stuff’ – so much stuff that our garages have no room for our cars and ‘storage’ is a thriving business. We hold on to jobs, relationships, as well as to ideas, habits, and beliefs that, at best, we no longer need. Sometimes in our busy-ness we simply aren’t aware of what we are holding on to, much less its toll. For the most part we don’t look at events in our lives to discover their meaning, their gifts, and their clues to what we need to change.

One morning tending to my garden on the deck, I discovered several beautiful, almost ripe tomatoes had been partially eaten. Argh!!! I suppose the pesky pack-rats I later trapped (and relocated several miles away in an open field) concluded I didn’t need them since there was a box full in the house awaiting the dehydrator.  

Harvest time brings allergy season – itchy eyes for me, shedding and itching all over for Cool Hand Luke. In my angst over his apparent discomfort (and my annoyance at the almost constant biting, licking, scratching) I lost sight of the fact that shedding is natural, normal, and that I know how to ease Luke’s discomfort.

I was ‘dealing with’ these events without much thought and no reflection. Then, I found ‘the antler’.

Shed sometime in the late fall or winter by one of the many bucks that hang out here in our woods, ‘the antler’ woke me up, cueing me to the theme of ‘shedding’ present all around me and inviting me to that thoughtful, reflective place. I accepted the call.  As I walked home with the antler, I understood that I’m in a shedding period of my life. I’ve ‘shed’ the bed & breakfast creating the spaciousness for something new to emerge.

I became aware of Luke’s shedding as a normal part of canine life. I was aware of an eating habit that contributes to my itchy eyes and that now can be ‘shed’. And (ugh!) I was aware that the pack-rats, which come by that name quite honestly, were suggesting it was time to complete the culling of ‘stuff’ that I began several months ago (yep, what I culled in the house, is in the garage!).

I wondered, what else would it serve me to shed? Perhaps it’s time to shed my habit of using my ‘critical eye’ to judge the actions of others and aim it lovingly on my own actions.  

What other thoughts, beliefs or ideas no longer need to reside in me? Perhaps it’s time to banish thoughts that undermine my conviction that the Universe is a friendly place, unfolding as it must despite so much evidence to the contrary.

What distractions are blocking the emergence of something new? Perhaps my protective reaction to signs of growth and change popping up in our community provide a clue.

As I go about life, these questions are alive in me. No push. No rush. No clinging. Open heart to discover what to shed and prune next. And, simple gratitude for the space to receive these gifts.

   Signs of Growth, Signs of Change in The Woods

Signs of Growth, Signs of Change in The Woods

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Facing Fear, Exercising Will

   From a distance of 12 miles or so, the fire looks like an afternoon rainstorm. It's not.

From a distance of 12 miles or so, the fire looks like an afternoon rainstorm. It's not.

There can be no exercise of will when there is fear. Fear traps you …  If you ignore your fear there is no way for you to activate your will … You cannot afford to go through life fear oriented. You will not be in control of yourself and your life. …You operate beyond negativity when you are in control of you and not attempting to control conditions. Gregge Tiffen (The Language of a Mystic: Awareness – July, 2009)

I’m in the midst of facing a long running, perhaps life-long, fear at a new deeper level: fire and possibility of my home being destroyed as a result.  I’m prepared to take any action required as events warrant (and I’ve kept a ‘go kit’ and prep lists at the ready for several years). But this week I experienced a lack of readiness to exercise my will to be calm and positive. I found myself on the edge of a feeding frenzy of fear, and I don’t want to step over the edge or into the frenzy. Yet, I know that our safety requires keeping informed and being vigilant. Let the dance with self begin.

I needed to step back, breathe, and look within. I needed to face the fear beyond the level of physical preparation. I needed to remember who I am and what I believe. Beyond remembering the crippling and negative impact of fear, I needed to remember consciousness, that part of me beyond the physical.

We live in an ocean of consciousness that is boundless. All things in the ocean have available to them the same things. All of love, happiness, and freedom are available in the ocean of consciousness. … Your consciousness is connected to the Universe is the Universe! G.Tiffen

Beyond remembering, I now need to let that knowing sink into my being. Simply being present to my own senses and keeping abreast of relevant information about the nearby Spring Fire is providing daily practice in doing just that.

We’re not in any immediate danger. As the crow flies, the fire that has raged for eight days and as of yesterday has burned over 95,000 acres is 30-40 miles away. But pillars of smoke are visible daily just beyond the mountains to the south. This morning there is a thick haze over the peaks here. Peaks to the south and west are totally obscured. Overnight I heard doors and windows rattle as strong winds blew smoke into our community. I smell the smoke, and I feel the heaviness when I step outside. At times this week, I’ve tasted fear – my own and the fear I witness in others.

My senses remind me to be observant and to tap into the energy flow of consciousness, directing my own energy to operate naturally and easily no matter what – that’s a full time job in itself.

In the midst of readiness and awareness, this seems to be a time for extra kindness to myself and others, for listening, and for responding to opportunities to serve. It’s also a time to imagine gentle rains falling on the parched earth, protecting, healing and nourishing our planet and all life.

   A river respite along the Rio Grande, 30 or so miles from the fire.

A river respite along the Rio Grande, 30 or so miles from the fire.

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The Open Door of Missed Opportunity

   Here Comes The Sun ... Sunrise in the Sangres

Here Comes The Sun ... Sunrise in the Sangres

You contribute to the situation by what you say. Gregge Tiffen (Open Secrets: An Honest Performance – June, 2011)

There is no small thing in life. Antsand their hills hold the potential to teach us how to climb life’s mountains, including the peak of creating peace in our world.

In our world that needs all the kindness and compassion we can muster, I missed an opportunity to be compassionate yesterday. Although I’m not beating myself up, I’m aware that an opportunity to be more of who I am is a terrible thing to waste. In noticing the miss, the door to greater awareness opened.

In hindsight I observed that when I’ve made a decision and am on a mission, I loose awareness of all else (focus is good and, like everything, has its shadow). That’s especially true, I discovered, if my decision is at odds which what I value. In this case ‘non-violence and honoring all life’ is what I say I value.

Yet, my mission was to purchase a ‘natural’ product to destroy a colony of ants. On some level, I set aside the fact that I wanted to kill, and I rationalized that using a commercial chemical formula was worse than my ‘natural’ approach. In my heart – the heart I ignored – I know that is false. Killing is killing regardless of method.

Negotiation so far had failed (Yes! I talked to the ants) but my missed opportunity suggested to me that perhaps I’d given up too soon (or perhaps my ant-speak needed to be clearer). Why are the ants an issue? I don’t want to experience the pain of another bite (they aren’t called ‘fire’ ants for nothing). I want Luke to enjoy his favorite outdoor napping spots without being attacked. And, I want the same for all my visiting two- and four-legged friends. But is killing the only answer?

As I write this, I’m aware of my ants as metaphor for viewing others whom we fear as ‘pests’ that need to be controlled. We try to dominate or conquer that which is different from us and those who we don’t understand. Oh life’s ‘little’ challenges! They have so much to teach us if we dare to be aware. But, I digress from yesterday’s missed opportunity that opened the door to this awareness.

I’m grateful to the Buddhist nun whose presence while I was on my mission to the local market provided the gifts of this reflection and the missed opportunity for compassion. She too was on an ‘ant mission’, going for the same product as I. While I was navigating around her to grab a box and go, she was standing in the aisle thoughtfully inquiring whether the product would kill or just deter them. She was aiming for the later: harm no thing. I quickly shared that the information I had was that the product would kill them. My missed opportunity for compassion continued as I responded to her question about what would deter without death in a somewhat frustrated tone, “I don’t know” and walked away.

I didn’t like what my voice and its tone contributed to this encounter. In hindsight I see that I didn’t want to confront my internal conflict. Heck, I’d made up my mind, let me buy the box of Borax and get on with my mission. Oh what a different conversation we might have had if I’d been aware and willing to engage.

The missed opportunity though gave rise to a deeper insight, to a commitment to pause and go back to the drawing board of the internet for a non-lethal alternative, including reopening ‘negotiations’ with these industrious beings. That’s the gift of aiming to honor my values, of being willing and aware, and of taking time for quiet reflection.

There is indeed no small thing in life. As part of the natural world which has so much to share, ants symbolize industriousness, order, and discipline. ‘Why would I want to kill THAT?’ is perhaps a story for another day. For sure it has my attention.

Ants and their hills hold the potential to teach us how to climb life’s mountains, including the peak of creating peace in our world.

  Sunset on a Smokey Day in the Valley

Sunset on a Smokey Day in the Valley

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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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When The Roast Is Done

   Finally, some snow on the peaks!

Finally, some snow on the peaks!

... consistency establishes a vortex, and that is your responsibility to yourself. Take the information in, and distill it into your own knowledgeable terms because it is your essence that makes the system work for you. You then become strong in your conviction of who you are and what you are doing. No matter what the world says, you stick to it. Gregge Tiffen (Earth and Second Earth, a volume in The Collected Works of Gregge Tiffen)

When the roast is done, take it out of the oven.

I wavered this week. As I moved toward implementing my decision to close my bed and breakfast business (yep, I made that decision since my last post!), I hesitated. ‘Well, maybe it would work if I …’ I thought. ‘That last insurance quote wasn’t too bad, perhaps I should …’ On the surface, each thought was a good idea worthy of consideration. But they didn’t fit with what I know deep inside: I’m done with this.

I recognized the thoughts as doubts sourced in the all too pervasive scarcity consciousness perpetuated to control using fear. Recognizing the source helped.

But what tipped the scales and moved me into action was a keen awareness based in self-observation over the past several months. My enjoyment of hosting was waning, despite the lovely people who visit. When I received a very expensive insurance quote that simply didn’t work financially, my soul cheered. Every cell in my body knew it was time to end this chapter. Yet my gut clinched at declining to accept reservations as I weighed the decision carefully. ‘Maybe I can find a better insurance option’ I thought. One did emerge that made a bit more financial sense. In the end that didn’t shake the knowing that I was done and the soft calling of some new focus.

Remembering the high cost of continuing when something is done helped. Whether it’s a roast in the oven, a job that no longer inspires (or is barely tolerable), a stale relationship, done is done. Keeping a roast in the oven not only burns the roast, it leaves no room for the chocolate cake that you yearn to be bake. And …

Pouring water in a full glass wastes water and makes a mess.

Operating the B&B had become a ‘full glass’. Observing the energy I expended with a guest here recently confirmed that. This roast is done. To continue wouldn’t serve me or future guests. And, I’ve ridden in this ‘rodeo’ before, ending chapters (jobs, partnerships, relationships, housing, etc.) not knowing what the next would bring. Without exception each brought what I needed and, they’ve all turned out just fine.

As with changes past, I discovered that I changed, grew, expanded from the B&B experience. My future growth requires something new, and that’s not yet clearly defined. After a fantastic four year ride, that ‘something’ is calling for my focus, my energy, my interest and attention. I’m closing with much gratitude and the conviction that my decision to do so is as ‘right’ as the decision to dive in four years ago. That time too was one of questioning, not knowing, and being open to what’s next. Guidance and clarity brought the path. I stepped on it and began the walk, step by step. What a journey!

Each step (and the missteps too!) brought learning. With learning, a deepened understanding of who I am continues to emerge.

So, let the next chapter begin! And, let me stick to living life confident in what I know and in learning even more.

What about you? Is there a ‘roast’ in your oven that’s done? A chocolate cake yearning to be baked? This week, I invite you to take a look inside. Discover what may be complete. And, bake a new cake!

   End of the Bed & Breakfast Chapter of the Dragonfly House

End of the Bed & Breakfast Chapter of the Dragonfly House

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Coming To My Senses

   A little cone that caught my eye on a branch in the woods out back.

A little cone that caught my eye on a branch in the woods out back.

We progress by experiencing what is happening with our full awareness. We should never go through any condition or event without perceiving the full essence of that experience through our own senses. (Gregge Tiffen – a selection from Life in the World Hereafter: The Journey Continues found in The Journey Continues: The Legacy for Generations – November, 2010)

This post could just as easily be titled ‘What the World Series & Two Lovely Brits Taught Me About Life’.  Beyond being extremely happy that the Houston Astros won (5-1 in Game 7 of a history making series – in case you haven’t read anything but The Zone), I learned and was reminded of how much our senses have to tell us.  I also learned about grace and embracing life. Who knew that the World Series and two British women guests could do that?

Beyond signaling that something may be amiss (food tasting spoiled, smelling fire where there should be none, seeing a car coming before we cross the road) it is through our senses that we experience life. We choose whether to experience it fully, noticing sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and how something feels to our touch, or to move through life doing one thing after another without that awareness.

There are times when we move through life mostly unaware of what our senses are telling us. We operate robotically through much of daily life.  The World Series reminded me of just how often I do so.  That started last week when I turned off the sound for  game 2 and noticed the effects on my other senses (http://cindyreinhardt.com/blog/turn-off-the-sound).

I was curious to continue the experiment in the games that followed – not just having the sound off, but rather intentionally being aware of the sensory experience while at the same time simply enjoying that ‘my’ Astros were playing in the Series (and trying not to obsess over the possibility that they might not win). Watching several games with different levels of sound (or no sound at all) and having B&B guests here for some games and not for others made for interesting self-observation and awareness.  As the series continued on, I was aware that the emotional roller coaster and tension was heightened with sound just as I noticed last week.  And, I noticed other senses as well.

During the final two games with the Championship on the line, I had the added bonus of two lovely British guests here at the Dragonfly House. I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to watch the games here (yes I had a plan b!), as these guests had come early to prepare for going into a two-week spiritual retreat at a nearby center. I explained my interest in the games and asked if they would mind quiet TV in the background. They graciously said ‘yes, of course’ and became curious about this thing called baseball. Their grace had me wonder if I would be the same were the roles reversed and I was preparing for a spiritual retreat.

They joined me to watch, and one was especially curious about the game and how it’s played. Responding provided a direction for my energy, dissipating some of my tension. And, it was a joy to share.

Despite my intention, I’m aware that I didn’t taste much of the dinner I’d prepared and ate as game 7 began. But, I do believe that I tasted victory in the chocolate consumed as the game neared the end and the win seemed certain. I definitely felt the tingling in my body as the tension released and I reveled in the celebration unfolding on the screen. My British guests retired before game’s end, but one came out this morning with her ipad to show me the British newspaper Guardian headline ‘Astros Win World Series’ and noted that she probably wouldn’t have noticed or had a clue what it meant.

Their curiosity and grace highlights for me the importance of embracing what life brings as these lovely women did. Combined with coming to greater awareness of my senses, I opened the door to gratitude, not just for the Astros victory, but for my heightened awareness of how much our senses have to offer and a newfound commitment to sustain that awareness as I navigate through this journey of life.

Color me grateful!

   Patterns in life

Patterns in life

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Turn OFF The Sound

   Aspen Grove

Aspen Grove

One of the greatest areas of breakdowns in our society, individually and collectively, is our communication process. We honestly do not understand the basic communication procedure. … We have a way of communicating that does not communicate. We talk but we do not say what we mean. … It is true, we talk a lot and say nothing. Gregge Tiffen (Deeds Are Fruit, Words Are Leaves – October, 2008)

An unintended experiment this week has me reflecting on all the noise in our world, especially the empty words we all hear and that, sadly, most of us speak from time to time just to fill space.

Nowhere is this more evident to me than in television. Even though I mute most commercials, I find myself mindlessly watching pundits blather endlessly often making no sense. Sportscasters do the same, mixing statics, history and their biases into nonsensical run-on sentences. Noise, peace disrupting noise, (and a reason I watch so little TV).

But this week finds my beloved Houston Astros in the World Series. At the same time, I have guests here at the Dragonfly House (lovely, interesting poets from Wisconsin) who don’t share my passion for the team I once followed closely.  How could I fulfill my desire to watch the games and honor that my guests were here in part for the quiet beauty of the southern Rockies?  The obvious solution: watch without sound AND keep my cheering (and jeering) to myself.

In doing so, I discovered a most enjoyable experience (well, except for not cheering wildly when the ‘stros scored and won game 2). Turning off the sound required that I watch the screen to see what was happening. And, as the game unfolded that framed how I felt and how my body responded. I discovered a much lower, calmer level of intensity. Without the babble of the commentators to incite my nervous system, I could simply watch the game and observe my reactions to what I was seeing.

Late in the game messaging on Facebook with a Houston friend who was watching there, didn’t ramp up my adrenaline flow, even as Houston took then lost the lead and finally won the game. With this lower level of intensity, I found that I could truly enjoy watching these men perform their craft. I also happily discovered that it was relatively easy to get to sleep when the game was finally over.

My unintended experiment opened my eyes to the high cost of over-reliance on sound and demonstrated for me in a new way just how distracting the noise of the world can be.  It reminded me that some things are best enjoyed with a single sensory focus. In not allowing myself to be over-stimulated, the peace and satisfaction of the quiet hike in the mountains stayed intact as the highlight of my day.

In these days when we seem to be swimming in a sea of intense events, the experiment also offered a reminder to be self-observant and to choose carefully the quantity, quality, and sources of input and types of stimlus we allow in.  And, for all of that, I am most grateful.

   Creek Flow Contrasts

Creek Flow Contrasts

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Influencers Revisited

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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