When nature demands to be seen.

Words and pictures can barely do justice for Nature’s display tonight.

The glory of the present moment can sometimes take you by surprise.

My friends like to tease me for all of the sunset pictures I take. Throughout the winter, the Colorado skies are pretty spectacular. Tonight was one of those nights and, of course, I had my camera at the ready.

Tonight, nature asserted herself through a surreal display of awesome colors, textures and emotions. So vast, so vibrant and so moving was tonight’s sunset, it demanded to be seen.

I was talking with a neighbor, returning from a walk with the dog, when we both looked up to the sky at the same time. His voice stopped mid-sentence. There was no longer a need for words. Together, we experienced nature fully, basking in its glory and living supremely in the present moment. That’s the power of nature–when it can stop you dead in your tracks, sit you down figuratively and show you how moving, special and inviting the present moment can be.

We forget about living in the present moment. There’s Christmas presents to buy, floors to vacuum and emails to send. So when nature affords us a chance to unplug from the grind and reconnect to source, we’d be fools not to stop and take notice.

There will be other stunning sunsets. I’ll continue to take pictures of them. But tonight, nature’s demands have been met. I’ve sipped at the cup of the present moment and my heart and soul are pleasantly full.

Life doesn’t always give you answers

In times of tragedy, it seems like all we have are questions, the most prevalent being simply: why?

In Colorado today, we’re finding ourselves burdened by that oppressive question as we come to terms with the details of a gunman who opened fire in a crowded movie theatre, killing 12 people and injuring more than 50. As the media dissect the story and as witnesses post to social media platforms, the images and emotions of the late night shooting are making their way outward into the world. And with every news story, every status update and every graphic image shared, the question arises again: why?

Why would someone kill innocent people? Why would this happen to innocent people? Why would the shooter booby trap his apartment knowing law enforcement would find it? Why? Why? Why? Like a song stuck in your head, the question of why is always just under the surface of your consciousness, poking its head up every so often, demanding to be heard and answered.

Faith often provides a framework for the question of “why?” but usually seems to only strengthen its hold on your awareness. For every rationalization and for every small bit of understanding gained, the “why monster” only gets bigger and hungrier. It wants more information, more clarity and more understanding. It doesn’t understand that no matter what your religion, your belief system, your view on life, some things in life simply are unanswerable on a level that makes any sense.

I firmly believe that All That Is (or whatever term you use for God) understands events like this and that ultimately there is a reason for them. But right here, right now, I’m locked into an ego-bound consciousness; and, that consciousness simply cannot process such tragedy. The ego interfaces with physical reality and therefore is subject to a limited range—that which it can see and hear and feel. The ego doesn’t have direct access to that part of me that’s connected with the divine and so it feels shut out and abandoned. What the ego cannot understand, it cannot accept.

So for the time being, I simply must rely on my faith in All That Is. I must trust that tragedies such as this morning’s shooting serve another purpose that I’m not yet privy to. I must trust that everyone involved directly with the tragedy is ultimately being led to something bigger and better, even if I can never see it in my lifetime. My own faith in All That Is tells me that my limited ego doesn’t need to know the answers. All of the “why’s” aren’t my concern and that by releasing my need to know why, I’ll actually feel more serenity.

To quell the “why? Monster,” I find I must turn my attention to the things that do make sense and that feel good. Already we’re seeing people come together in prayer for those affected by the shooting. I’ve witnessed parents hugging their kids and spouses reaffirming their love for one another. Like we had a few weeks ago with the forest fires that ravaged Colorado, there is an outpouring of love and concern for our state.

Narrowing our concentration to love and compassion for others and ourselves helps quiet the “Why? Monster.” It’s a monster that cannot be defeated during our time on earth so we must learn to work with it, to understand it, and release it when it gets too big.

For now, I hope you’ll join me in quiet reflection on those thoughts we can control: love for one another and compassion for those that were affected by the tragedy. Those actions and thoughts we can purposely direct and the intent to do so will be felt by everyone involved.



Denver, CO


Peyton, Tim and the rest of us

Denverites are football crazy. This is nothing new as Denver has always been a huge football town. However, all eyes this past week have been on the impending–and now complete–acquisition of Indianapolis Colts Quarterback Peyton Manning and the subsequent trade of Denver’s Quarterback Tim Tebow. So what does this have to do with spirituality?

During the trade talks, I sat back and watched social media and the thousands of posts written on the subject. If you’re not a football fan, you may not know the background of the two men involved. Peyton Manning is a veteran quarterback, having taken the Colts to a Super Bowl win in 2007. For the past year he has been on injured reserve and was let go by the Colts in early March. Tim Tebow, on the other hand, is a rookie back-up quarterback who got his big chance mid-season 2011 when he helped turn around the Broncos’ dismal season as the starting quarterback. Tebow is equally known for his religious views, openly displaying affection and admiration for God and the Christian faith. The short story: they’re both good men, on and off the field.

Fan reaction to the trade talks shouldn’t surprise me or anyone else. There’s a reason why both Peyton and Tim are admired. They’re great athletes and good guys—a rare combination in today’s professional sports world. Both players exhibit the desired qualities in sportsmanship: they’re humble, they give credit to the entire team, they take their jobs seriously and they approach each day with an enthusiasm that gets others around them fired up. Its no wonder people are impressed.

But what strikes me the most in watching fan reaction to the trade is the height of the pedestals fans have put both of these men on. There’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself—people do it all the time with athletes, actors and celebrities. Still, people’s reactions at times seem out of proportion to their own spiritual significance. When will people start to see their own magnificence and their own contribution to society as much as they do their heroes?

When we look to others for fulfillment, we diminish ourselves. The constant search for meaning in others’ careers and accomplishments is then no longer intrinsically good, it instead becomes an unattainable model for existence. It was easy to see this with the trade talks as people were more attuned to what was happening with the Broncos and the Jets than they were with their own lives.

Interestingly, it’s the very qualities of Peyton and Tim that people should emulate to help garner a more fulfilling existence. Both quarterbacks love what they do. They obviously enjoy playing football and being part of a team. They have clear ideas about how they want their careers to go; yet both have been malleable in allowing the universe to take them in new directions this past week. They have stayed away from negativity and openly praised each other for their individual contributions to the sport. They are both looking forward to the next chapter of their careers and not publically crying about loss. And at the end of the day, each are still playing football and being greatly compensated for it. That’s a pretty sweet deal.

Every single one of us on this planet has strengths and qualities that make us undeniably unique. Each of us, simply by being ourselves, affects the world in known and unknown ways. We are powerful forces that shape and better the world through our contributions. To put it another way, we are all a Peyton Manning or a Tim Tebow. It’s time we raise our individual pedestals up a notch and meet these men on equal footing.

When we take time to celebrate our selves, we actively promote a healthier climate and we grow our own fan base. As we begin to see our own heroic qualities, we automatically create space for other heroes to come into our lives and help complete our spiritual selves, rather than work against them. And as each of us begins to honor our own spirit, we return to the safety and beauty of All That Is. What team wouldn’t like that?

This isn’t mean to be an anti-sports rant. It’s about marveling in our own self-worth as much as the people we love to cheer. It’s about idolizing ourselves equally with our favorite athletes and realizing that the whole of the universe is enhanced when we appreciate each other for our own uniqueness. That’s a tall order but one which we can certainly start to fulfill.

Oh, yeah: go Broncos!