Posts in Category: 2024

Be Of Good Cheer

"What is planted in each person’s soul will sprout.” ~Rumi
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ~Rumi

Magnificent Male Kudu

"Joy is the ultimate insurance for life. To be happy is not the ultimate aspect of life. It is the fundamental aspect of life. If. You are not happy, what else can you do with your life? Only if you are happy, can other great possibilities arise in your life.” ~Sadhguru

If you have been studying with me for any length of time, you know my love for Chapter 15 from “The Untethered Soul” by the Buddhist author, Michael A. Singer. Chapter 15 is a transformative chapter exploring the possibility of ‘unconditional’ happiness. Happiness without conditions or happiness despite conditions.

“The Untethered Soul” is such a great title for a book and an incredible idea. Can you imagine your soul unfastened, disconnected and free from the restraints of your past, conditions in the world and our own limited thinking!  I know we get to do this when we lay these bodies down --- but wouldn’t it be awesome to do it now?  I read this chapter almost 5 years ago and I would say that my over-arching commitment to persistent and unfettered happiness has proven worth it --- Happiness despite losing my job during covid, my sisters health challenges, euthanizing both of my animal companions, my own health challenges, and so on and so on. The world did not stop being what it will be – but something in me shifted my perspective and capacity to hold adversity without losing my stride.

Singer says, “You only have one choice in this life and it’s not your career or who to marry, or whether you want to seek God.  In the end, you can throw all of that away and just make one underlying decision.  Do you want to be happy or do you not want to be happy?  It’s really that simple.  Once you make that choice, your path through life becomes totally clear."

He goes on to clarify that the question doesn’t include conditions.  ..  For example, I want to be happy if nothing bad happens.  Or I would like to be happy but I lost money in the stock market today. 

 He continues:  “Do you want to be happy or not…. If you decide that you are going to be happy from now on for the rest of your life, you will not only be happy, but you will also become enlightened. Unconditional happiness is the fastest path to awakening.”

Several of the spiritual teachers that I have studied over the years emphatically express the idea that happiness is the path to higher consciousness. How can you live fully, with an open and generous heart if you are mired in sorrow, anger, resentment, low self-esteem, or any kind of mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual unhappiness. There are many  occasional life circumstance which bring normal and unavoidable temporary sadness, grief, mourning or malaise. Our predominant state of being can be contentment and happiness anyway.

 Most of us have been taught that there is something unnatural or ungodly about being so happy. We have been trained by well-meaning people to lean more into unhappiness than happiness as we navigate our lives. Not merely unhappiness, but dissatisfaction and discontentment. We are slow to acknowledge the state of having, doing or being enough. Always wanting more, better or different. The media has been working on us since we were babies, convincing us that more is better, bigger is better and that we are not ‘okay’ without ‘their’ deodorant, beer, and pharmaceuticals.  It is not a mystery why we are so heavily dependent on outside resources having no awareness that our inside resources are sufficient unto all things – health and happiness. We really are okay just the way we ware.

Imagine a spaceship landing on earth in the United States and the aliens learning all about us by watching 24 hours of prime-time television. Can you imagine the stories they would take home to their people? After those 24-hours the conclusion would have to be that as a people we are violent, sick, angry, constipated, and depressed!

  You and many others might pose the argument against the possibility of ‘unconditional’ happiness by providing evidence of a miserable world. Who would have the audacity to claim happiness when there is so much that seems wrong? Everywhere we look, people are suffering from not enough money, love, friendship, food, or possibilities. There are so many of us that live in miserable and truly awful situations.

But there is a metaphysical problem with the argument. It ignores the relationship between us and the world.  Does the world reflect misery because we are miserable or are we miserable because the world is inevitably miserable? I would submit based on my knowledge of metaphysics, consciousness, and the creative power of our minds, we cannot separate what is happening on the inside of us and what is reflected on the outside of us – true both individually and collectively. The idea that our inner state is wholly dependent upon outer circumstances is living from the ‘outside in”. This orientation to life and living will keep happiness elusive as we wait for the right person, amount of money or circumstances.

Innate happiness and joy are qualities of the Spirit, and these qualities are imbedded within us.  A change in how we experience the world and ourselves in the world, requires an internal adjustment not an external one. Living from the “inside out” affords us the greatest possibility of living an authentically good life.

Think about the people in your life. Can you spot the ones who lift you up, enhance your experience of well-being, cause you to feel glad to be around them? And can you spot the ones who drain you of energy, having nothing good to say about anyone or anything, worry about everything and then spew all that negativity and you find yourself wanting to run away – even if that someone is your mother or your spouse?

Abraham-Hicks said, “In your pain you offer the world pain. In your joy, you offer the world joy.”

Jean Huston, author, and human potential worker says, “You are not just an encapsulated bag of skin dragging around a dreary little ego.  You are an evolutionary wonder, a trillion cells singing together, an organism; a symbiosis of cell and soul.”  This quote strikes a chord of jubilation inside of me.

Our path as ones who seek to live a good life, , is a path of transcending the ego’s way of viewing the world and rather practice dominion over our capacity to create our lives using the power of our minds. It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “I reckon people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

I am not really a bible person, but I love the quote from John 16:33

“In the world you shall have tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Tribulation means trouble and suffering. I don’t think there is an argument that living in the world does provide its share of trouble and suffering. Your cat dies, the world experiences a pandemic, you lose your job, your wife leaves you, or you have a bad hair day. “I have overcome the world” simply speaks to the idea that there is within us, an omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient something that is the Spirit of life and is that which makes us whole, perfect and complete regardless of that which occurs in the world. We are built with the capacity to rise out of diversity.

This striving for your life to be happy, content, excited, accepting, generous, peaceful ----- is not only good for your life – it is crazy good for your health – and crazy good for serving others as a generative and generous force in the world. This means we can be among the side of those who uplift and make glad, rather than one who sucks energy and happiness out of a room. Let us each be a positive influence on those around us. Doing so over time will establish new patterns of being together on this dust-ball hurling through space. It is the part each one of us can play to make a true and lasting difference. Commit to and practice “unconditional” happiness and see what happens for you as well as the people around you.

These ideas are not about turning our backs on suffering and pain. They are not about pretending life is better than it is. It is about choosing where to focus our attention. We always choose one thing over another thing. Love or fear. Happiness or unhappiness. These ideas merely acknowledge the awesome responsibility we have to direct the course of our lives – from birth to death. And as we do this with our eyes and hearts firmly gazing inwardly, we provide the foundation for being a living contribution to the raising of consciousness in the entire world. Perhaps the entire cosmos. Remember the quote, “In your pain, you offer the world pain. In your joy, you offer the world joy.” Which will you offer?

“Unconditional happiness is the highest technique there is. You don't have to learn Sanskrit or read any scriptures. You don't have to renounce the world. You just have to really mean it when you say that you choose to be happy." ~Michael A. Singer





 

The Next Chapter

“Never allow anyone to convince you into believing that your weren't brought into this life to experience a life of massive success and unconditional happiness.” ― Edmond Mbiaka
“That state of joy, hidden at the very center of consciousness, is the Eden to which the long journey of spiritual seeking leads. There, the mystics of all religions agree, we uncover our original goodness. We don’t have to buy it; we don’t have to create it; we don’t have to pour it in; we don’t even have to be worthy of it. This native goodness is the essential core of human nature.” ~Eknath Easwaran

I am a 73-year-old woman living in America.  Not that long ago, I was a 20-year-old woman living in America. Then 30, 40, 50 and 60. It is unlikely I get another set of numbers like 80, 90, 100 and 110. I know that statistics don’t define possibility, but as a point of reference, in the U,S. the average man will live 73 years and the average woman 80 years. Doing the math, if I live to be 90, my last quarter began at age 67 and leaves me with about 17 years remaining to do and be. You can count on me to unceasingly argue with what the ‘world’ says I can or cannot do with those 17 years!
Most of us do not want to talk about these things much. But because of the inevitability of the situation, we must not be afraid to talk. I personally desire open-hearted, meaningful conversations with others about how to approach and execute these years with optimum everything. It is a fact that in 150 years,100% of us alive today will have left and another 8 billion of us will have arrived for the glorious ride that we call life on earth.
I have spent most my adult life striving to live with conscious and intentional awareness, experiencing and expressing authenticity, satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness. I also desire to forever remain relevant in conversations about raising consciousness and doing my part to create a world that reflects increased emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual health. The world we inhabit, though awesomely beautiful is also a hot human mess. I would love to see a time when the elders of our world are invited to contribute all of that accumulated wisdom and compassion in meaningful and appreciated ways.
As most of you know, my spiritual awakening occurred when I was 45. It was a time of radical growth and self-awareness which permanently altered the course of my life. I am not exaggerating when I say that these last 28 years have been exciting, real, true, and profoundly rewarding. I can say that I am happier now than I have ever been even with the myriad of trials and tribulations. I would not go backward even if I could. Do I want to get even older and die? No. Is it a bit scary to think about how that transition might come about? Yes.
But the philosophy, faith, and way of life that I live asks me to embrace the inevitable changes in my body and life circumstances with elegance. I know my body is merely the vehicle for my soul. The body is temporary while the Spirit is outside of time.  We think of this life as having a start and an end. I think it more a process of experience and a journey of growth.
In America, aging is quite difficult for most people. We don’t take very good care of ourselves so by the time we reach the last quarter we suffer from many lifestyle dis-eases; heart disease, obesity, diabetes, addiction, and depression to name a few of the most popular. We are fundamentally a society without a significant spiritual foundation so the experience of meaning and purpose gets confused with materialism and consumerism.  We are a society that reveres youth, beauty, and money and two out of three of those melt away with age. We don’t honor and respect our elders and lack family and community systems that many other cultures have in place.
So many of us will end our lives in silence, shuffled into some back room –  perhaps in your children’s house, a nursing home, or a memory care facility. Maybe nothing that dire but merely feeling ignored, invisible or irrelevant. Regardless of the version, it isn’t right.  We ought to be able to create a new possibility for what it means to live happy and meaningful lives until the very end and then slide out of these bodies with dignity, peace of mind and some degree of anticipation for the good that is yet to come.
I believe that the good that is coming is not about a rewarding after-life in some mythical place called heaven or some long-suffering destination called hell. Rather, that part of us that is included in eternity, is a unique slice of consciousness, an ever-evolving spiral of becoming the more of who we are – never less. Energy cannot disappear.
So, this exploration of the last quarter of life is about making peace. With your life, your people, and yourself. It is about relinquishing the ego’s need to be rich, pretty, powerful, and influential in the worldly landscape. The earlier we do this in our life, the happier and more profoundly meaningful life can be. Every day a brand-new baby day, offering opportunities for love, interaction, and soul-blending with others. No matter how young or how old we are, we can learn to care for the holy temple that is our body, with sufficient, nutrition, water, and exercise. We nurture our Spirit with silence, nature, and meditation.
You are going to to die.  Why not do it the best you can do it.
You might even be facing a diagnosis or some ‘dis-ease’ in the body itself.  Even though the YOU of you is not your body, it can still be quite awful moving through pain and never-ending medical treatments. Speaking as one who knows. Fortunately, we live in a time where the management of pain is good and knowing that God is in the medicine, we can avoid the severity of untreated agony.  We are also living in a time where we can leave our bodies on our own clock should we desire to do so. 
Enlightened masters appear to leave the body with a kind of gentleness which I aspire to. The absence of resistance to death or pain, allows for the process to be easier.  Stephen Levine in his book, “Who Dies?” speaks about the correlation between how we live and how we die. The more open and yielding one is in life, the more open and yielding one will be in death. The more clutching and fearful in life, the more clutching and fearful in death.
Wayne Dyer said the awareness that our essence remains as our bodies are recycled is a great source of liberation; it is your ticket to eternity.  It allows us to not fear death. And to not fear death will allow you to live in an entirely new way.
The question I ask every day of my life is what is needed for me to stay on the green growing edge of my own evolution? I retired my position at Unity Church in Naples December 31st of this past year. Almost immediately, the universe blessed me with a beautiful home in Fort Myers and then I came to South Africa for two months. Asking myself, of course, what next, now what? I am glad to report that I have received the guidance to move me into the next chapter.
As the founder of of A Life of Spiritual Power, I have spent many years talking and teaching vision, commitment, and congruence. What does it mean to live as the captain of your own ship, as the creator of your own destiny? What does it mean to enter our lives living fully from the inside out rather than from the outside in? When practiced and lived, this culminates in a life lived with bodacious authenticity, peace of mind, joy, and meaning – at any age.
Carl Jung was right when he said he had never seen one single permanent healing from any kind of neurosis without a restoration of spiritual faith, and that it is impossible to get the most out of life while we are alive unless we believe in our own immortality.
My interests have changed over the past 25 years. In the last quarter of my life, I am blessed with relatively good health, sufficient energy, and the desire to do what I am inspired to do. And I am inspired to engage with people in meaningful conversations about what it means to live better, grow older gracefully and die consciously. I am giving some creative space to the idea of “A Life of Spiritual Power: Conscious Living, Aging and Death.” This idea fills me with zeal when I imagine what is possible for my next decade with this as the context for my life.
I am also feeling called to embrace the role of a Death Doula, also known as an End-of-Life Doula.  This involves working with individuals and families as they prepare for their own end-of-life or that of a loved one. This is a real job similar to  a Birth Doula which is the person who helps women to navigate the birth of their baby.  A Death Doula helps people to navigate the release of the body while providing love, comfort, and support to the one who is dying as well as the community of people in their lives. My experience in ministry, chaplaincy and hospice makes this a perfect fit.
I return home on April 11th and after taking time to move into my new home, I will begin the work. In addition to securing a Death Doula Certification, I will be conduct classes and workshops on Conscious Living, Aging and Death and create partnerships with local Hospice organizations. I hope you will engage in the conversation with me - for yourself and for the 20% of the population currently in this stage of their lives.
In the meantime, love your life. Draw a line between you and the world that allows for full engagement but not full entanglement. It is possible to have the news, politics, family, work, and wars swirl around you but not rob you of your right to peace, happiness, and joy. As a soul, your, natural state is a state of serenity. Why? Because the Spirit of you knows that it is birthless, deathless and eternal. Every single experience on this planet, in this body, is fodder for growth and soul-fulfillment.  It is why we came.





 

A course in miracles says that birth is not a beginning but a continuation, and death is not an end but a continuation.  Life goes on forever.  It always was always will be. 
A Few of This Trips Favorites

Lombardi Chameleon and Lessons on Life

Pay attention to Life. Something tremendous is happening every moment. ~Sadhguru: Inner Engineering
“This place is a dream. Only a sleeper considers it real. Then death comes like dawn, and you wake up laughing at what you thought was your grief.” ~Rumi
“The whole effort of the spiritual process is to break the boundaries you have drawn for yourself and experience the immensity that you are. The aim is to unshackle yourself from the limited identity you have forged, as a result of your own ignorance, and live the way the Creator made you-utterly blissful and infinitely responsible.” ~~ Sadhguru: Inner Engineering

Love to you. I have been in South Africa for exactly one week and finally feel like a normal person!  Even with jet lag It is wonderful to be back in nature with the backyard menagerie of Warthogs, Kudus, Nyala, Guinea Fowl, Franklins, Hornbills, Monkeys and of course, Bush Babies. No Lions, Elephants, Leopards, Hippos or Cheetah yet, however we are going out on safari this coming Sunday and Monday, so tune in next time!

Each week while I am here in South Africa, it is my goal to experience and share at least one spectacularly inspiring idea. My first inspiration, surprisingly occurred on the plane ride from Miami to Dubai. It was a segment from the BBC special, “Big Little Journeys”. The series covers the epic lives of 6 tiny creatures which includes the Lombardi Chameleon from Madagascar. To summarize, the entire population of the Chameleon’s mate and lay eggs during the first rains of November. Immediately following the laying of the eggs, the entire population of adult Chameleons die. In March, all the hatchlings emerge at the same time, and begin their 5-month journey to find a mate so that they can lay their eggs in November. Once the eggs are safely planted in the soft soil, this entire generation of adults, male and female, go out in a blaze of vibrant color. Each year an entirely new global population of Lombardi chameleons are born and die. Remarkable!

My inspiration begins with the question - why? Why would the creator of all that is, create a species whose life, outside of the egg, would be a mere 5 months?  For what purpose? Being one who believes in an infinite something that we call Creator, or God, or the Quantum Field – I can’t help but muse about the purpose of such a life. Why?

After days of contemplation, I think for me it might be self-evident that maybe there isn’t any meaning or purpose – maybe LIFE is its own purpose. No matter how short or how long. Every living thing in nature knows this and lives it without any emotional, mental, or spiritual baggage. It is natural. There are no religions, no dogma, no anti-depressants, residual anger, resentment, guilt, or shame. Life for the sake of life.

If you have ever seen a herd of antelope prance and dance in a downpour after a long hot dry period – you will know there is an ecstatic celebration going on. Life for the sake of life. A pride of lions greeting one another after a long separation with nuzzling, soft growls and such obvious happiness at being together again. And of course, the Lombardi Chameleon, happy to hatched, to be in the world, ecstatic to find her mate and happy to have laid her eggs – and in that burst of color, apparently also happy to die.

If only humans could be so in the moment, so alive and so open?

All humans have two distinct aspects of the self.  A psychological identity developed through the process of learning, experience, and knowledge. This is referred to as the ‘conditioned’ self, the personality, or the ego.  For As long as we occupy these gorgeous bodies, this will always be the case.  Regardless of how ‘spiritual’ you become, the ego is still an ever-present asset or ‘hindrance’ to your life experience.

However, we have another relatively underdeveloped aspect, which is our real, true, or natural self.  That part of us which has been created by Creation. It is the larger container for the totality of our living experience in this dimension. Though it eludes most of us at this time in our human evolution, it is always accessible to discover, get acquainted with and ultimately identify as to a greater degree.  This is a very good thing because this spiritual aspect is our hope of unconditional happiness, personal and global peace, and higher states consciousness, which bring us the experience of bliss and joy.

. What if we are just confused? What if life is amazing all by itself without anything added, like money, power, prestige, or stuff?  What if it doesn’t matter one bit whether life expresses for 5 months or 100 years.  What if life knows how to live, lives what it knows and then, in a state of completion, dissolves back into the all-that-is?

As humans, we are unique in that we, unlike animals, find all kinds of ways to avoid experiencing the life that we are by thinking, planning, strategizing and the endless, perhaps pointless, search for meaning and value. Do we not have an incessant need for these as well as the compulsion  to acquire, accumulate, accomplish?

Of course we are different than insects, reptiles, birds, animals, and plants. We are a sophisticated and complex life form, capable of directed thought, designed to solve problems, build futures, and create into our world through the power of our minds. We are also capable of imagining ourselves in self-imposed prisons while mired in worry, doubt, and fear.  We are capable of incredible violence towards ourselves and others. We are addicted to almost everything from sugar to television and through our misguided behaviors and stress, seldom give our bodies the opportunity to express natural health and vitality.

Who you are as a unique expression of life is whole, perfect and complete right now. How you are called by your natural self to live your life, regardless of how long or how short, is perfect.

Every spiritual teacher I love and respect says that our purpose in life is to be full of the joy of life. Express. Express. Express. Create, create, create. And do all of that expressing and creating from a place of joy and love! What if we could just be satisfied with what is at any given moment?  Moving through our lives with the same kind of clarity and certainty that every other life form exhibits?

“Every moment there are a million miracles happening around you: a flower blossoming, a bird tweeting, a bee humming, a raindrop falling, a snowflake wafting along the clear evening air. There is magic everywhere. If you learn how to live it, life is nothing short of a daily miracle.” ~ Sadhguru: Inner Engineering

As a spiritual teacher and someone committed to living on the green growing edge of my own evolution, as well as being a conscious contributor to the human landscape, I absolutely love the big idea of releasing the constraints that keep us seeking and never finding. All stories about animals are about a life form striving for the fulfillment of its existence. Though the elephants, the chameleon and the rose bush might not be as sophisticated a form as we are, we are inherently like every other living thing. Like all of nature, from the moment of our birth something inside of us is willing us forward to express life into life.

Our sophisticated form plays in life by creating. In this process you will eat, wear clothes, buy things, own things. You might pick up a rolls Royce along the way.  The trick is to let these activities be like the antelope prancing in the rain, the lioness greeting her family or the Chameleon going out in a blaze of color and fulfillment.

The purpose of life is life. The meaning of life is to live. It matters very little if that life endures in physical form for 5 months or 102 years. Whenever your final moment comes – and it will come – let us be satisfied with our experience of life. Be happy.





 

“Your life is just about craving and making something else tremendously more important than you.” ~Sadhguru: Inner Engineering

A Year of Wonder

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” ~ E .E. Cummings
Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed... Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Blessings everyone,

I resigned my position at Unity of Naples on New Year’s Eve and boldly stepped into 2024 with my declaration and an unequivocal YES to this year being the best one so far. It takes effort to continue to have the 'best year so far' because there is a lot of thinking in the world that in our 70's and 80's the best years are behind us and were we to believe what 'they' say --- in my 73rd year, I should be winding down - not winding up.  I say, let us use every ounce of passion, intention, commitment and vitality we have in us, to continue to create amazing years. They may be different than the 40th year but can definitely be equally as satisfying.

Every year during December, I open myself to what the next year needs to be about for my soul.  My 2024 word came to me on 12/2 at the Levi Kreis concert at Unity. The platform for 2024 is WONDER. I love the meaning of the word which is a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar or inexplicable.” 2024 has been a whirlwind of wonder thus far – a mere 31 days.

I leave for South Africa in just 10 days for a glorious 60 days at Bush Baby Haven at the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estates..  I can’t really describe the level of peace, happiness, and contentment I experience on African soil.  I don’t really know if it is bounty of natural beauty and beings, or because the continent of Africa is the original home of humans. But whatever it is, is profound.

You can join me on this soul safari by signing up for my “Zoom Safari Connection” which will be a face-to-face zoom connection every Saturday morning at 9am EST.  The Safari Connection will be 60 minutes of spiritual centering, life affirming discussion on some spiritual topic and my sharing  the sights, scenes and the encounters of the week - animal and human.

African Zoom Safari - Click Here To Register

The other wondrous happening is that I have purchased a new home back in Del Tura in North Fort Myers.  As a reminder, I spent six month  in South Africa during 2022 to heal from my hip replacement. When I returned, I ended up renting a house in Del Tura for 5 months.  The owners of that house have purchased another home and sold me that beautiful house for a GREAT price.  This is such a life changing and unexpected turn of events.  Yet another inexplicable demonstration of how creation supports, maintains, and sustains us.  I believe that the universe is always conspiring for my greater good and it proves to me repeatedly that my belief is justified.

My prayer for your 2024 is that every longing you have for living your life reveals itself to you with grace and ease.  Don’t hesitate to give voice to what you desire, what would complete your life, all of those bucket list things and every other good thing you can think of. You say yes first and then people and Gods will follow. If what Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu and the others tell us is true, which it is, we have every reason to move into the year with positive and joyful expectation.  Even if you are moving through some unpleasantness – fear not. Whatever it might be - it came to pass not to stay.

As Ernest Holmes said in his beautiful book, This Thing Called You:
"In some way which you know not of, through some process which never reveals its face, life has entered you, and with it the irresistible impulse to create. Divine Intelligence has willed it so, thus you, nor any other person, nor all the wit, science, or philosophy of man, nor the inspiration of Saints or sages can change one bit of it any more than man can arrest the eternal circuits of time, the revolutions of the planets, or the desire of the fledgling to leave its nest.

You belong to the universe in which you live, you are one with the creative Genius back of this vast array of ceaseless motion, this original flow of life.  You are as much a part of it as the sun, the earth, and the air.  There is something in you telling you this – like a voice echoing from some mountain top of inward vision, like a light whose origin no man has seen, like an impulse welling up from an invisible source.

Your soul belongs to the universe. Your mind is an outlet through which the creative Intelligence of the universe seeks fulfillment.

I hope you choose to join me in Africa but if not, watch out for the written blogs and the return of Sunday Night Alive in the summer! My phone and email will continue to work seamlessly while I am 8,500 miles away so don't hesitate to stay in touch. It matters to me.

Love and more love, Rev. Denise





 

What is sacred is what is worthy of our reverence, what evokes awe and wonder in the human heart, and what, when contemplated, transforms us utterly. ~ Phil Cousineau