From Having to Experiencing & Colonization to Community

Cindy Reinhardt
4 min readAug 23


Morning Clouds over the Sangres

The heart and the soul have no possessions. They simply experience life.

Two seemingly diverse streams of thought emerged early one morning this week. First, was a question: how does colonization play out in me as an individual? As I began to explore that query, the idea of pivoting from ‘having’ to ‘experiencing’ rose. ‘What’s the connection?’ I mused.

Beyond the common understanding of colonization as the “settling among and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area” (a definition that seems sterile in the face of eons of atrocities committed against indigenous peoples around the globe), colonization is “appropriating a place or domain for one’s own use”.

Colonization is rooted in and grows out of the idea of separation: we are separate from each other and from Nature. ‘I’ am better, smarter, stronger, etc. than you are. In separation conscious we aim to control and possess — land, others, ideas, material things, — and we fight to the death to maintain what is ‘ours’.

We see this playing out across the globe today in a politically polarized world where each ‘side’ is intent on colonizing the other. ‘Be the way I am or else’ is an all too frequent message. Blame is one of the games used to stoke the separation.

Continuing to reflect, I wondered, ‘how does this play out in us — you, me, and our daily lives?’

When we pay attention to mainstream mudslinging … err ‘news’, do we feel compelled to choose one side or the other? I sometimes do, and I’d venture a guess that most of us resonate with one side more than another. In doing so, we lose sight of our common humanity — the commUNITY that is life.

And that, perhaps, is one door through which a subtle shift in language from ‘having’ to ‘experiencing’ will support us to enter a new humanity: a humanity living from wisdom of the heart and soul.

The idea of this linguistic pivot isn’t new to me. For some time, I’ve aimed to ‘experience’ more and ‘have’ less in my thinking and speaking. ‘Having’ for me suggests possessing, fixed, and permanence; while ‘experiencing’ suggests flowing, transitory, impermanence, perhaps even evolutionary. ‘Having’ is of the physical realm, while ‘experiencing’ is of body, mind, and spirit.

The heart and the soul have no possessions. They simply experience life.

Do we ‘have’ a body? Or do we experience our soul’s presence in this physical form? Do I ‘have’ a cold? Or am I experiencing the symptoms of a cold? Do I ‘have’ a friend or a community of friends? Or do I experience friendship with another?

Do these simple shifts seem different to you? Does ‘experiencing’ open possibilities that ‘having’ does not?

How might it serve us to be more precise in this way with our thinking and our speaking given that on this our planet home everything manifests through sound? In the beginning was the Word …

Throughout so much of our recorded history — especially the history that dominates our Western education systems — language has been used to separate, to divide, to conquer. As I witness growing efforts to ban books and topics in our schools and libraries (indeed in our culture), I wonder what histories of cooperative cultures, grounded in wholeness, the truth of Oneness, and reverence for ALL Life have been lost? Suppressed?

In a sense ‘having’ seems to be colonization at a very personal level. I ‘have’ a house, a partner, a dog, a friend, a farm is different only in scale to I ‘have’ an empire. We tend to cling and even engage in violence to ‘protect’ our possessions.

What might be possible if we chose to simply experience the presence of these blessings in our lives, letting the flowing, transitory nature of Life take its course? Trusting the deep knowing of our hearts to guide.

Is this subtle shift one that will move us away from colonization on all levels and toward community? Is it a step in the giant leap in human consciousness that will bring harmonious Life to ALL beings, including our planet home? I think that I’ll continue to ‘have’ less and ‘experience’ more of this precious life.

Cindy explores the practical application of mysticism, reflects on life, writes, takes long walks with canine companion Zadie Byrd, and stewards a small property at 8000 feet in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Southern Colorado. In the midst of the changing environment of a chaotic world, each week Cindy invites Muse to explore how to navigate these uncharted waters and how to live a life aligned with our highest values in her blog at



Cindy Reinhardt

Life is learning to navigate on the planet. Experimenting is key! Master Coach-Writer-Mystic-Dog Lover-Nature Lover.