1 (a): delicate, elusive; (b) difficult to understand or perceive: obscure
2 (a): perceptive, refined; (b) having or marked by kee insight and ability to penetrate deeply and thoroughly
3 (a) highly skillful: expert; (b) cunningly made or contrived: ingenious
4: artful, crafty
5: operating insidiously



Subtle (adj.): c. 1300 (mid-13th century as a surname), sotil, “penetrating; ingenious; refined” (of the mind); “sophisticated, intricate, abstruse” (of arguments), from Old French sotil, soutil, (12th century, Modern French subtil) “adept, adroit; cunning, wise; detailed; well-crafted,” from Latin subtilisfine, thin, delicate, finely woven;” figuratively “precise, exact, accurate,” in taste or judgment, “fine, keen,” of style, “plain, simple, direct,” from subunder” + –tilis, from telaweb, net, warp of a fabric” (related to: texture).

From early 14th century in reference to things, “of thin consistency;” in reference to craftsmen, “cunning, skilled, clever;” in depreciative sense “insidious, treacherously cunning; deceitful” is from mid-14th century.   Material senses of “not dense or viscous, light; pure; delicate, thin, slender; fine, consisting of small particles” are from late 14th century sotil wares were goods sold in powdered form or finely ground. Partially re-Latinized in spelling, and also by with subtile.



“A confused and weak man hides his weakness and uncertainty with fiery speeches.”

Rick Perlstein (b. 1969, American historian, journalist and author of “Before The Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus,” “Nixonland,” and “The Invisible Bridge”)

Bio Source:

“Pride is not all of one kind.”

Charles Dickens (1812-1870, English Victorian author whose epic stories include, “Great Expectations” and “A Christmas Carol”)

Bio Source:

“Under (Lyndon) Johnson, the Senate functions like a Greek tragedy. All the action takes place offstage, before the play begins. Nothing is left for the participants but the enactment of their prescribed roles.”

Bobby Baker (b. 1928, former political adviser to Lyndon B. Johnson, and an organizer for the Democratic Party; was also Senate’s Secretary to the Majority Leader)

Bio Source:

“People fail to realize there's a difference in kinds of money. There is old money and there is new money. Old money has political power but new money has only purchasing power. (1963)”

LIFE Magazine

“But the relationship of morality and power is a very subtle one. Because ultimately power without morality is no longer power.”

James Baldwin (1924-1987, the quintessential writer and activist, who never ceased to reflect on his experience as a black man in white America)

Bio Source:

“For me, a great fantasy is real people, a world I recognize, human struggle and magic. You’ve got to have magic to make a fantasy work. But, I like magic to be subtle. I don’t want magic coming out of the hands of wizards. I want it to be pervading, sinister somehow.”

Fiona McIntosh (b. writer and master storyteller of popular romantic fiction)

Bio Source:

“Like acting, sales works best when hidden.”

Peter Thiel (b. 1967, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and self-made billionaire; author of “Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future”)

Bio Source:

“I woke to the sound of rain.”

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963, American poet, novelist, and short story writer, best known for writing the one book of poetry, “The Colossues and Other Poems” and the novel, “The Bell Jar”)

Bio Source:


“People fail to realize there’s a difference in kinds of money. There is old money and there is new money. Old money has political power but new money has only purchasing power. (1963)” — LIFE Magazine


Being conscious is being alert to Life’s subtleties.  It’s the ability to be aware of the spectrum of visibilities and to assess subtle degrees of advantages, especially of money and power.

After I graduated from college, I was fortunate when I entered the workforce and worked at prestigious New York City hospital in northern Manhattan.   One of my positions was to work as an office manager for an oncologist in his private practice.  Dr. Oster was the most compassionate and empathetic bosses I ever worked for.  I was not only a part of his professional staff, but I became part of his family.  I knew his wife, his father, and mother-in-law, and they were as loving as my boss was.  His wife, for instance, would show her appreciation for my work by remembering every one of my special occasion like my birthdays and my wedding anniversaries.

The office building we worked in was next to the construction of a huge state-of-the-art medical center.  NYC hospitals in the 1980s were investing in huge capital projects to upgrade their infrastructures.

Dr. Oster, a very successful doctor, had a diversity of patients from all works of life, from young adults to the elderly.  Some came from lower-income communities, some were middle class, and others were famous and wealthy.

There were a number of wealthy patients who came from new money.  One could easily tell this, because these people could be very ostentatious when they arrived for their doctor appointments.  One wealthy elderly woman from the Philippines had to be draped in a mink coat while she waited for the doctor.  As a young woman, I marveled how the nouveau rich attracted so much attention.

It was much harder to tell those folks who came from old money, however, because they often looked like everyone else and flew below the radar.

There were a number of patients that stood out, because they were enormously kind and loving.  One of those patients was Mr. Sager.  He was quiet and never treated me rudely like some of the other patients, who were angry and confused.

One day, Dr. Oster brought Mr. Sager into the office to look outside of the window at the construction of the new hospital.  They conversed for a couple of minutes and then went on with their day.  In a few days, Dr. Oster came back into the office, looked outside the window again and marveled that one of the pillars of the construction had been straightened out completely.  Apparently, Mr. Sager had the political clout to make a couple of calls and the buildings structure was tweaked.

That is the gift of experience.  One gets to slowly notice Life subtleties through all of its various colors, degrees, and dimensions.

Let us stay awake, sojourners, and enjoy every subtle aspect of our journeys!

Miraculously Yours, Tonya














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