Memorial Day: Earn it!

Memorial DayThis post was first published in May 2012.

“James, earn this… earn it.” Dying words of Capt. John Miller to Private James Ryan in the film, Saving Private Ryan

Officially, Memorial Day in the United States is a day for remembering and honoring all Americans who died in any war.

Unfortunately, Memorial Day weekend also marks the beginning of the summer holiday, with people focusing on shopping, family gatherings, picnics and sporting events. So we sometimes forget the real meaning of the Day.

I suggest that each of us take time out from this holiday weekend to say a prayer of thanks for those that gave of their lives so that we could live ours in freedom.

My Uncle Frank

One day during World War II, my grandmother, Nana Sue, was shopping with her oldest daughter when she suddenly felt very weak and had to be helped to the car.

It wasn’t a heart attack; she had a strong premonition that one of her sons had just died.

Moon time teachings: why they’re not for women only

moon time

This posts takes a look at the traditional indigenous teachings around the moon time [menstruation]. I used to share moon time teachings with women’s groups, but I’ve decided that men need this information, too. 

For my women readers, this is information that has been lost in our society, but it can help us in achieving the life balance we all seek.

To my male readers, please read this in the spirit of gaining a better understanding of female mysteries! Learn to appreciate the women in your life as energetic beings in tune with the cycles of nature.

When I started attending Native American ceremony 30+ years ago, there was one guideline that caused me considerable confusion:

Women were not permitted to participate in most Native American ceremonies if they were on their moon time [that is, menstruating].

No other explanation was given other than that women were “sacred” at this time.

This taboo was a great mystery to me. My first reaction was the same as that of most women: anger, suspicion and indignation. — it was hard for us to see this prohibition as anything other than one more example of men excluding women from the cool stuff.

But wait! What if there were more to it than that?I’m a researcher at heart and I like to know the why, what and how of things. I’m like a cat that way – always curious.

So I undertook the task of learning everything I could about moon time teachings and what I found surprised, enlightened and transformed me.

It was life-changing, really – a glimpse into the world beyond the mundane. A look into the magical realms of the energy of the natural world.

“Part of aligning with Divine Order is aligning with the natural cycles of the earth and the cosmos.” Christiane Northrup, M.D. in Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being

How to overcome your limiting beliefs

limiting beliefs“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

That goes for how we treat ourselves, too.

I just listened to a talk by one of my mentors, Brendon Burchard. He made an interesting point about ending our focus on limiting beliefs and instead focusing on what works.

Brendon related the following email conversation he had with one of his coaching clients:

Client: “But what about my doubts and fears?

Brendon: “What of them? They’re not going to go away. The question is, are they winning the day, or are you? What of your greatness and power? When you connect there, finally, after all this time, your insecurities will be irrelevant.”

We’ve heard it before: what we focus on expands.

Do you want to focus on your problems? Or what works?

Many people tend to focus on disorder, abnormalities or what’s holding them back.

Focus on virtues and strengths, instead of your weaknesses.

Brendon went on to say, “Some people say, ‘My limiting beliefs are sabotaging me.’ It’s not your limiting beliefs, it’s your limiting vision of who you are and what you’re capable of.”

Everything can be reframed, everything. Even the most difficult circumstances we go through.

I attended a seminar many years ago in which a woman was bemoaning the fact that her mother never wanted her, and, while pregnant, tried to abort her.

The seminar leader’s remarkable response was, “Your mother tried to abort you, and you’re here anyway. Look how powerful you are! You’re clearly here for a purpose. Find it and live it.”

The Japanese Tea Ceremony – the sacred in every day life

japanese tea ceremonyI love to look for the sacred in every day life. And there may be no better example than the opportunity offered by mindfully drinking a simple cup of tea, as in the Japanese Tea Ceremony.

Whether gazing out the window, or going through the formality of a Japanese tea ceremony, there is tranquility and grace to be found there.

I only became a tea drinker very recently, which is interesting since I’m Irish and they are great tea drinkers.

But I try to stay up do date on all health news and when I learned that a cup of green tea a day was good for us, and someone gave me a box of tea for my birthday a few years ago, I was off and running.

Ironically, once I started having a cup of green tea a day, I learned the latest prescription was four cups a day! Oh, well.

I don’t really want to drink four cups a day, but have been pretty steady at having one cup a day of either green, white or red tea, all of which are said to have great healing properties.

The Japanese are reputed to have the lowest rate of heart disease in the world. Diet is a big part of that, but also, 50% of Japanese drink three cups of green tea day!

And there are over 1000 studies showing that green tea helps prevent heart disease.

 The Japanese Tea Ceremony

The Japanese tea ceremony, also known as The Way of Tea, is a beautiful example of finding the sacred in every day life.

Sacred Fire: the manifestation of Spirit

sacred fire“The Sacred Fire used to heat the rocks represents the eternal fire that burns at the center of the universe.” Dr. A.C. Ross, Lakota

I don’t believe I have ever been to a Native American ceremony that did not incorporate Sacred Fire.

Fire is a gift from the Creator. It is spirit made manifest.

It is untouchable yet touches us with it’s warmth and light.

When we learn how to communicate with it, our lives are enriched.

Just as the sun provides warmth and light, and allows growing things to flourish, fire warms our homes and cooks our food, and lights our way in the dark.

Even without looking for deep, spiritual meaning, fire is certainly mesmerizing. What is more relaxing than sitting and watching a fire?

Does fire have a consciousness?

I think the answer is, “yes.”