Tag - Marlene Buffa

Step into my Phase

By Marlene Buffa

We move through our Spiritual and work lives through several phases.  With perseverance and attention, and to a great extent reflection and action, life moves with us as years progress.  Along the way, we ponder our purpose, our impact, our affect on loved ones, our community and the world.  As we expand our thinking to imagine that our life experience follows a flow and pattern similar to others, we learn that moving through these phases results in a dynamic symbiosis between the Spirit within and the resonance of what we experience.

Phase 1 – What you Do

Effort, labor, stamina, and work epitomize this initial phase in our lives.  During this time period, we gather information and knowledge through a variety of learning opportunities.  The rigors of daily school tasks, followed by tests and requirements of academia occupy our youth in demanding ways.  Here, we explore the various methods of receiving information and assimilating it (learning) and with any luck, discover which delivery method works best for us.

Many Phase 1 “entry-level” jobs are labor intensive and require onerous physicality for little pay.  Often, they are repetitive, menial and tiresome.  Remember, this type of work is fact-gathering, information accumulating and not meant to be your life’s purpose or the end of the employment vista.  The back-breaking jobs are the “paying your dues” jobs that serve to bolster us in years to come.  We’re paid for what we do.

In the spiritual Phase 1, we gather information about the unseen.  We learn about various approaches to God, dogma surrounding worship and assess what feels right in our hearts.  Studying, listening, engaging in ritual, all serve as channels through which we explore our relationship with the Infinite.

Phase 2 – What you Know

Learning never ends.  Phase 2 is the time to apply all we’ve accumulated in the world thus far and capitalize on it!  It’s the glorious time for creativity, expansion, insight and the application of knowledge.  When we embrace learning, our light shines in the darkness for all to see.

In our career path, Phase 2 is the time we see recompense for all the effort expended earlier in life.  Acquired skills coupled with the ability (and most importantly, the desire) to continue learning, pay handsomely during this large portion of life.  In this phase, we are paid for what we know.

Our spiritual Phase 2, is the practice and example-setting phase of all earlier explored beliefs.  We begin to look at life and our place in the world through the eyes of our beliefs and often turn to the Infinite for advice or comfort.  During this time of life we develop friendships and set boundaries and look for deeper meaning.  We wrestle with concepts such as judgment, acceptance and free will.  Here we learn what works for and with us in our chosen spiritual path, and what does not.  We learn to make decisions with God in mind while solidly living the human experience.

Phase 3 – Who you Know

While Phase 3 isn’t the “end,” we see it as a pinnacle of our active lives.  Think of Phase 3 as the corporate CEO of your life.  He’s probably flipped burgers (Phase 1), worked hard to achieve success in his profession and establish a kinship between his work life and spiritual nature (Phase 2).

In this phase our value to others is measured by the ability to bring together the relationships we established along the way.  While this phase rarely requires or expects manual labor, it does demand a special insight into the ways of the world and how to get things done.  The best – and sometimes only – way to ensure forward success is knowing who holds the knowledge, wherewithal, and desire to accomplish a task, then assembling a team of those individuals to perform specific functions to reach a goal and keep them all in balance and happy.  In Phase 3, we are paid for who we know.

In Spiritual Phase 3 we receive gratification from our relationship with God.  We’ve worked hard to discover God in our lives and practice our beliefs and now we actualize the essence of Spirit and enjoy how it relates to every aspect in life.  When we begin to see God everywhere because of understanding inter-relationships, we bask in a little magic and contentment.

It’s Just a Phase

No matter where we stand in life, it’s only temporary.  We move forward and backward between various stages of our life.  Life patiently and generously offers up the same lesson until we learn it and move on.  More importantly, we learn the lesson, learn from the lesson, and learn to avoid the circumstances in the future.

The Infinite stays with us, ebbing back and forth like the rolling tides of change, as we swim to the shore then dare to venture into the ocean of the unknown.  Quietly providing buoyancy, Spirit patiently waits until we learn enough to move on.  And if we don’t, Spirit loves us anyway.

In the world of “be-do-have” all that remains is who you ARE.

About the author

Taking a quiet sideways glance at life, Marlene offers insight through her words from experiences.  A student of new-thought teachings, Marlene finds practical spirituality around every corner and seeks wisdom through observation of life’s inter-relationships. Sometimes playful, sometimes poignant, always thought-provoking, her writing inspires readers in meaningful ways.



Keep Your Fork

by Marlene Buffa

A chain email circulating around these days tells the story of a woman planning her own funeral.  In her directions to the undertaker, she mandates that her right hand hold a fork.  When the inquisitive mortician asks why, she answers, “My mother always said to ‘Keep Your Fork,’ so I’m going to do just that!”  Those oft-told clichés and truisms from childhood and culture provide practical as well as spiritual advice for both the moment and the rest of our lives.  Our interpretation of them provides colorful insight as well as acknowledgment that those who cared about us as children had our best interests in mind.

Good things come in small packages

As children, we associated small packages with gifts of little value. The larger the wrapped box, the more desirable – or so we thought.  Anticipating gifts at both Christmas and birthdays, as children we wondered and imagined what the large packages held inside for us.  We shook the box, listened intently as the contents shuffled around.  If no sound arose, we assumed the package contained clothing – a safe yet disappointing assumption if we really wanted toys.  Depending on the rattle or noise inside we guessed with minimal points of reference for such a young age, yet happily speculated what treasures lie within.

Just as our parents cajoled, “Good things come in small packages,” the Universe presents its treasures to us not only in the grandiosity of the planet and stars, but in precious little gifts, as well.  A sparkling example of a tiny earthly treasure, a diamond is the result of years of perfectly compressed carbon atoms, and is one of nature’s strongest bonds and hardest materials.  More personally, our parents referred to their children as the small packages in which the priceless gift resided, further affirming our value and their love for us.  As we move through life when we meet others, we attempt to get to know one another by listening to what they say and who they are (proverbially shaking the box), before making assumptions based on outward appearances.

Save room for dessert

Hand in hand with “don’t spoil your dinner,” many of life’s colloquialisms revolve around food.

Our parents reminded us life didn’t consist of solely the main course and that other things – more desirable things – were on our plate for later on.  They taught us to pace ourselves, to plan ahead and to look forward knowing fully that better things awaited us.  Always saving room in our soon-to-be-filled tummies for the sweetest part of the meal, we learned that all of life offers us a delectable reward – we need only to know it exists and to make room for it in our lives.

Life offers us countless depictions of holding a space for good.  When we are joyful and happy and fulfilled, we can’t imagine any more good could come to us.  (Many of us doubt we deserve more good, but that’s another issue entirely!)  Alternatively, when we experience fear, anger and resentment, we can’t imagine there is any good that could come our way!  Nonetheless, if we allow for the probability of a “cherry of top” of life’s dessert, we hold a space for the spiritual possibility and invitation for life to serve us even more.

Keep your Fork 

Just as the woman planning her final ceremony, as children we heard, “keep your fork” at the dinner table.  Looking back, the practical direction often meant there weren’t two sets of silverware to go around, so in order to eat dessert without having to wait for the first set of flatware to be washed, you should keep your fork.  It also indicated that dessert was a fork-event.  Unlike a spoon event (ice cream or pudding) a fork usually meant cake or pie or something baked.  So many unsaid interpretations of “keep your fork” ran through our minds and we ultimately knew it meant good things were imminent!

When Spirit offers us tools to use in the feast of Life, we make use of them every day.  Internally or externally, our observations and processing thereof, provide us with many tools and often implied meanings and insight.  By holding on to the tools we learned to use throughout our life, we can master the use of them and also know that more, quite possibly the best part, is yet to arrive.  Life gives us the place setting of relationships, consciousness and communion with Spirit by which to fulfill our needs and desires.  Our experience on the planet may be quickly gobbled or slowly savored, yet the tools remain the same.

As American as Ben Franklin’s “Poor Richard’s Almanack,” proverbs, truisms, ‘old wives tales’ and family sayings pervade our childhood memories.  Popping into our heads at the most appropriate times, we hear our parents and elders in our memory, remind us about the little things in life which turn out to be major components if we pay attention.

We heard “Never judge a book by its cover,” and coupled with dimensions, they remind us not to judge one another based on physical appearance or merely by how the person presents himself – there is usually more to each of us than meets the eye!  When we save room for dessert, we learn to plan ahead for the good that life offers us.  Allow for the probability that Spirit brings gifts to the party of your life and you simply need the capacity to receive it.

So, Keep your Fork – life isn’t done with you yet!

Marlene Buffa:  Taking a quiet sideways glance at life, Marlene offers insight through her words from experiences.  A student of new-thought teachings, Marlene finds practical spirituality around every corner and seeks wisdom through observation of life’s inter-relationships. Sometimes playful, sometimes poignant, always thought-provoking, her writing inspires readers in meaningful ways. www.wordsofmind.com.


Mother Earth Alive and Well

By Marlene Buffa

The month of May joyfully reminds us of the rebirth of nature.  In acknowledgment, we celebrate Mother’s Day – honoring our birth mothers, and ultimately our spiritual mothers.  Symbolizing the greater gifts of the earth as Mother to all living things, we dedicate one day to recognizing our origins by honoring she who gave us life, and the earth which sustains our life.  This month, take a look at your own walk on the planet, and see the many different forces which give birth to your potential.

Safe and secure

From the moment of conception to birth, our life depends on our mother for development.  Not only do we grow in the biological sense, but Mother sets the precedent for her role as nurturer and protector.  We flourish at an alarming rate of cell duplication and soon, enter the world as a complete physical being.  We take for granted Mother is there for us, tending to our basic human infant needs and offering love and support for our emotional growth, as well.  Mother taught us to adapt and improvise, demonstrating overcoming obstacles and making way for better things.

Mother Earth, as we experience her, always existed.  From the day of our birth to our last day, the constancy of our world never waivers.  We depend on gravity and the tides, sunrises and sunsets as the natural and normal courses of each day.  We go through each day silently grateful for such support, and if something shakes our foundation, Mother Earth heals herself rather quickly, or she changes entirely in response to the occasion, usually producing a shift greater in magnificence than what suffered the loss.


Savvy mothers allowed us to make mistakes.  While the lessons often eluded us, Mother pointed out that we learn from errors as well as successes.  In short, our Mothers provided a sense of direction as well as buoyancy on the rough waters of life.  We value her opinion, her steadfastness and her willingness to navigate while we steer the ship ourselves.  While patient or not with our explorations, Mother helps us to set goals ourselves while giving us the space to change course and consider different directions.

North and South, East and West, Mother Earth grounds us in geography and geology.  We learn our limitations in conquering mountains, rough waters and ocean depths, yet the challenge remains to find an inside passage which best suits our goals.  Encountering the inevitable heights of difficulties, or diving deeply into despair, Mother Earth stands unmoved by our machinations and simply “is.”  With so much to see and explore, we uncover parts of ourselves as depicted in earthly landscapes.  The patient giant, Earth gives us unending opportunity to make mistakes and try again.  When our direction becomes clear with all obstacles removed, we advance to even higher ground of who we truly are in the wind of our achievement; we transform into a spiritual being even better than before!

Birth to potential

At the time of birth, no one, including Mother, knew our future.  Perhaps her newest bundle of joy would grow to cure cancer, write a symphony or free a nation.  Rarely would Mother desire anything negative for her baby.  Doing her best with her given conditions and circumstances, Mother nurtured, loved and taught us to develop and pursue our dreams.  She provided what loving support possible and released her umbilical hold on our sovereign consciousness so we could venture into the world to experience and achieve our finest potential.

Our Earth Mother provides us with soil to grow our food, oceans and animals to harvest for our nourishment.  Learning from her and from one another, we make our way through life by discovering new edible food or methods to improve our chances in hunting and gathering.  Mother Earth provides us with a canvas by meeting all our basic needs and freeing us to explore what we do with the palette of pure potential.

Birth to ourselves

As an infant – and more importantly as an adult – we exist as pure potential.  As we age, we learn and acquire cynicism and doubt, and many times long to revert back to a womb of protection to shield us from the hazards of the rocky life we befell.  When we separate from mother, in the physical and emotional sense, we realize our glory as an autonomous individual and discover the greatness within us.  Giving thanks to Mother for all she provided, especially life itself, we expand our horizons and explore possibilities separate from her.

Mother Earth, too, gave birth to man’s potential. In space exploration, we separated from the earth and atmosphere to explore the unknown, moving further and further away.  Like a child whose distance-radius expands with confidence, our daring missions away from Earth grow larger with each effort.  And, like the child who returns to mother, we return to the earth, compelled by the need for grounding and the pull of gravitational force. When reunited, we share our discoveries with our fellow travelers in the hopes that one day they, too, reach far only to find themselves.

We give thanks to our Mothers and to Mother Earth for nurturing and sustaining us throughout our lifetime.  Understanding that direction and guidance give way to discovering our own path, we strive to make the most of our talents and gifts.  In separating from the gravitational pull of Mother Earth and the loving connection from Mother, we realize our individuality creates our potential.  This month we may share flowers or a meal with Mother, giving her gifts of Earth itself, for they are one, as are we all.

Marlene Buffa

Taking a quiet sideways glance at life, Marlene offers insight through her words from experiences.  . A student of new-thought teachings, Marlene finds practical spirituality around every corner and seeks wisdom through observation of life’s inter-relationships. Sometimes playful, sometimes poignant, always thought-provoking, her writing inspires readers in meaningful ways.









Go Mother Yourself!

By Marlene Buffa

In the month of May, we traditionally honor the woman who gave us birth and/or the woman who nurtured and cared for us – our Mother.  The second Sunday brings us crowded restaurants, over-worked florists and candy manufacturers working on overtime. It also allows us a day to reflect, with gratitude, on our Mother’s love.  In acknowledging the love showered upon us by Mother, our spiritual path calls us to take loving care of ourselves in ways that allow us to blossom and grow and bring us to a fulfilling life.

Mother Earth

Arguably the most powerful force we’ll ever encounter, Mother Earth fiercely reminds us of her unending power and presence.  From earthquakes to floods, hurricanes to landslides, the force of nature, slow and persistent as well as eruptive and volatile, provides us with the backdrop for our existence.  The winding, meandering stream created by centuries of resistance and erosion, and the fields of smoldering volcanic rock makes fertile soil demonstrate correlations and similarities to our personal journey.

If we view the Earth as our external environment, our bodies serve as vehicles to move around the planet.  We’re born into circumstance with a body of certain height, coloring, abilities and more, to walk on the earth and experience the gift of life.  Like Mother Earth, our physical existence goes through personal evolutions of slow and persistent change as well as volatile reactions to the world around us.  Slow growth of bone, muscle and tissue occur over time, and the quick responses to life experienced in the sneeze or the itch or the sting impact us.  With the Earth as our macrocosm, the microcosm of our physical bodies undergoes transformation and sustains us for the duration of our lifetime.

Give birth to your new self

In a state of constant movement, Mother Earth both confers and terminates life.  From the brief lifespan of a sparrow to the epic glacial drift, our planet evolves in the glorious cycles of ebb and flow and growth and decomposition.  In a state of never ending birth, our attitudes towards death may change if we learn from our earthly examples.  While the death of wildlife may appear finite, nature in turn gives birth to other creatures in the cycle.  If an eagle swoops down to catch its prey, the prey gives its life as the nourishment for new life to come.

Similarly, we humans experience cycles of rebirth by way of our ideas and attitudes, our practices and behavior as we learn and grow.  While change takes flight either as a reaction or lesson, we nonetheless leave the roost of the status quo to venture into higher levels of understanding.  Leaving behind old ways of being, we give birth to possibilities and soar to new heights.  Just as nature receives sustenance from the corpse of the no longer living, give birth to your ideas by feasting on what you learned before and enriching your life from the body of experiences you left behind!

Love Yourself

Mother Earth provides us with all we need to sustain our physical bodies.  From the loving lull of ocean waves that rock us to sleep, to the rustling leaves that remind us of our earthly community, we find water, food and air in abundance.  We enjoy the blessings of a sunny day to grow our food, as well as the gift of rain and cold to further the growth process.  Our earth Mother is in a constant state of flux yet generous with her gifts and provisions for a healthy journey.

We in turn must remember to provide ourselves with complementary gifts of love.  We may choose healthy food, enjoy exercise, and take good care of our bodies.  In addition, we may also offer ourselves the “creature comforts” of a nap on a sunny (or rainy) day, the indulgence in sensual delights such as touching the cheek of a child or patting the head of our pets.  Often we neglect our spiritual needs, however.  Remember to take time to listen to that still, small voice within who cries out for understanding and encouragement.  Take the time to acknowledge your achievements and reflect on your goals.  Accept yourself as you are, right now, just as Mother Earth accepts you.

Release is Love

The greatest expression of love from both the planet and one another, is release.  Just as mothers in wildlife love their progeny enough to prepare them with skills necessary to leave the nest or pack or pride, love yourself enough to set yourself free!  Get free from the constraints of negativity, worry, doubt, fear.  Terminate all notions of “I’m not good enough” and rise from the ashes of old thinking and bad habits.

Mother Earth has time on her side.  Mountains, rivers and even the continental drift, all occurred without you and will continue to evolve long after your earthly experience is complete.  While few of us remember the everyday lives of spiritual teachers passed before us, we recall with sentiment what they left behind in the scope of their ideas and essence.  Love yourself to enjoy the dichotomy between knowing your brief time on earth means nothing to the planet, and your self-actualized life can mean everything to those who succeed you!

To our chagrin, Mother Earth never stops evolving and no one gets off the planet alive!  Your life is a gift – enrich others through your example of loving the highest expression of your spirit.

Marlene Buffa

Taking a quiet sideways glance at life, Marlene offers insight through her words from experiences.  . A student of new-thought teachings, Marlene finds practical spirituality around every corner and seeks wisdom through observation of life’s inter-relationships. Sometimes playful, sometimes poignant, always thought-provoking, her writing inspires readers in meaningful ways.