Not long after I met my Elder, Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha she came to some of us living in the Ottawa region of Canada. She spent the evening telling us intriguing stories and making us laugh with her wonderful humor. I remember being quite pleased with myself at all the brilliant questions I was

thinking up to ask her. No sooner had she answered my question than another one leapt from my lips without even allowing her previous words to sink in.  I wanted to gobble up every possible opportunity with her to get the answer to everything that had ever felt curious about. (I believe they call this having a huge “ego!”)

After many more events like this one I began to notice when there was a large number of people participating I did not always have the chance to ask my questions, yet somehow they were answered. For a while I tested what would happen if I made a point of not asking anything, and then I tried to not even think about what I would like to ask. I practiced keeping an open mind and found the discussion inevitably came to a place where I had a profound realization, giving me precisely what inspired me the most in my current circumstances.

stillnessThen one day, Grandmother talked about asking questions, and how doing this was like having blinders on that did not allow a person to see the many possibilities.

Watch the process of your mind next time you ask a question. Do you already have an answer in mind? I can tell you that most of the time we do and if the answer given does not agree with the one in your head, there a conflict. We create an argument in our thoughts, and tend to express it aloud.  The argument locks us into what we already know and does not allow us to see the broader horizon.

Here’s a friendly hint…

When you have the opportunity to be in audience to someone that has more expertise on a particular subject than you, I suggest you allow a generous portion of your time to be in silence. It is respectful to give the expert the choice of the subject matter they wish to teach. An effective teacher usually provides a question and answer period after they have addressed the needs of the moment. It is highly likely you will learn more by practicing silence in the presence of a Master than you would if you used up the atmosphere with a bunch of your own words.

“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck”. ~ Dalai Lama

~ Agi’sti Tis’stu

Rivers Knows

I was with Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha the first time I met my friend Rivers. He was very small, just being born in fact. Now he is a young man – brilliant, witty and gregarious.


Rivers Knows

Rivers is eight. He knows what matters. Here’s a recent conversation…

Rivers: (Wearing his cool shades like Neo, in The Matrix.) “Did you know that someday there’s going to be a big city built there?”

Me: “Where?”

Rivers: “You know – um – that place.”

Me: “Meadview?” (A town we had recently visited in Arizona.)

Rivers: “No, not Meadview! It’s – um – what do you call it – SPACE!!” (Points to the night sky where we can see a sliver of the moon.)

Me: “Are you going to live there?”

Rivers: (Serious expression.) “Only if there’s a good view. A good view of all the planets.”

Got the picture?

~ Agi’sti Tis’stu

Meeting the Grand Canyon


The first time I went to the Grand Canyon in 1989 was with Pa’Ris’Ha Taylor and some of my other friends. We flew into Phoenix and rented vans for the drive up to Sedona. It was late afternoon when we got to the canyon. We came upon a roadside lookout and pulled over. I walked to the railing and was so overwhelmed by the splendor of the canyon, all I could do was weep. It was not sadness I was feeling, it was sheer joy and the recognition of the greatness of life.

We hurried up and got back in the vehicles so we could check into our hotel. We returned to the rim of the canyon just before sunset. We all sat down on the rock near the edge to watch the sun go down. It was spectacular beyond description. I was sitting cross-legged, looking out into the distance. I watched as the velvet darkness took over the magenta/turquoise sky, and stars began to appear. It was magical.

A bit later when there was no sunlight remaining in the sky, and the midnight blue had stretched over the world in an infinite expanse, she told us stories of the time she has spent there as a younger woman.

We were filled with laughter and wonder. Pa’Ris’Ha told us to look up and try to count the stars. There were uncountable billions in the heavens, more stars than I had ever seen anywhere at once. She said, “Do you see how many stars are in the sky beloveds? As many stars as you can count – that is how much I love you.”

This was my introduction to the Grand Canyon. It pulled me out of my habitual way of thinking the world is a small place that exists inside the rooms of a house, the back yard, the street, the car or the places commonly traveled. The canyon began to teach me about the expansive, infinite nature of my own spirit and it is all about love. There is more love in the world than we could ever use up, we are surrounded by it, saturated with it. There is so much love, we could give it to everyone we meet every day of our lives and still have more to give. The reason we can experience the majesty of the wondrous places in the Earth is simply this; as human beings we contain within us the beauty and the majesty from which all great things are created, it is who and what we are.

Thinking back to that experience I realize how it has given me the courage to reach out to people now that I meet, and invite new friendships. I do not feel the need to limit my relationships to a handful of familiar friends and family. There is enough room in my life for many friends, to expand and include more people. As my circle of friends grows, my horizons expand. When I have moments where I feel the world is closing in on me, I think of the love, as boundless as the space from the base of the Grand Canyon to beyond the starlit heavens. I allow it to take me into the all-inclusive vastness to knowing that all things are possible.

~ Agi’sti Tis’stu

Love is the Silver Ladder


Love is the Silver Ladder

If my body was a beautiful palace of many rooms,

my heart would be one of those fine, spacious rooms

located about chest-height, comparatively speaking.

The room my heart occupied would glow warmly with soft, golden light

emanating from the floor,

made from the boughs and trunk of the white pine of peace,

polished to a high shimmer.

The walls would be the gentle white of adobe, reminiscent of the

inviting homes set in the Arizona desert,

whose heat is the fire that melts away all that is not of purity

and beauty.

The walls of my heart’s room would be bare except for the presence

of many expansive, crystal-clear windows,

providing an excellent view to all that is beautiful and awe-inspiring

not only in this world, but in a multitude of worlds.

There would be no furniture other than luxurious heaps of brilliantly-hued cushions

and woven rugs collected on journeys through exotic lands,

One could nestle comfortably amongst these cushions and rugs, and be tantalized

by the hint of spice and aromatic oils.

And oh, the bounteous pots of glorious green plants that would

thrive in the room of my heart,

Verdant tropical trees and palms, luscious flowering plants

native to the jungle and south-sea islands.

The room would be alive with health and vitality.

My heart place would be the most harmonious and holy room imaginable,

uniting the myriad textures of experience

into an orchestration of musical genius.

On the outside, one of the windows would be decorated with

vibrant red paint.

The fiery red of life-force and vitality.

The fiery red of sexual combustion.

The fiery red of birthing blood.

Leading up to the red-frame window would be a silver ladder,

like the silver umbilical river

the soul rides through this universe and beyond.

The silver ladder studded with the crystalline stars

of the Milky Way.

This ladder would reach to the open window of my heart,

inviting my lover to enter,

My lover would be, and is, all that moves on the wind of beauty,

the divine wind of joy.

My body is a beautiful temple of many fine rooms,


Love is the silver ladder reaching to the red-frame window

of my heart.


~ Agi’sti Tis’stu

Inspired by Grandmother Pa’Ris’ha