Archive for the ‘Human Potential’ Category
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Do you know where you come from?

where you come fromDo you know where you come from?

I’m not talking geography here, I’m talking about our ancestors – those who walked before us and paved the way for our life today.

Learning about your ancestors can give your life a whole new meaning.

Know your ancestors, know yourself

In 1992, I accompanied a Native American elder to Australia for a conference including Maori and Aborigine elders.

Maoris are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand, but the group traveling with us was living in Australia at the time.

Known for their warrior culture, Maoris are also known for their traditional haka war dance. If you’ve ever watched New Zealand’s rugby team, the All-Blacks, you’ve likely seen them perform the haka before the game. It’s meant to intimidate their opponents and raise their own energy and is quite a sight to behold and feel. You can find quite a few videos of it on YouTube.

But Maoris are also very friendly and fun loving and loved to sit around camp singing and inviting people over for coffee and laughter.

Because they were living in Australia at the time, the Maori family invited our group to come and stay at their home in Adelaide for a few days in between teaching events. It was here that I got the most powerful life lesson of that trip.

Is the invisible world the real world? 

invisible worldHow many do you see when you look at this picture?

In most of my classes I hold up my hand and ask this question: “How many do you see?

I always get one of two answers: “five fingers” or “one hand.”

But a traditional Native American might say, “nine,” because they count the spaces in between.

To them, the invisible world is as real as the visible. And it’s the invisible world we want to connect with in order to maintain the magic in life.

What’s in the invisible world?

What we cannot see is usually depicted in Western society as the stuff of horror stories or science fiction, but that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with reality.

And, yes, the invisible world is real.

Native American spirituality – three myths laid to rest

native american spiritualityIn my years of “walking the red road” as well as well as living in the non-Indian world, I’ve come across a few misconceptions about Native American spirituality that I’d like to lay to rest.

Here are the most common misconceptions I’ve heard:

  1. Native Americans idolize things such as bison [buffalo] skulls and nature.
  2. Native Americans don’t believe in God.
  3. Native Americans believe in ghosts.

None of the above is true. Here’s what is true as to what Native Americans believe in:

One: Respecting, appreciating and protecting all life

That includes the natural world and animals. And not just four legged animals, but

two-legged [humans],

wingeds [birds],

swimmers [fish],

creepy crawlers [insects],

the tall standing brothers [trees] and

the green nation [everything else on earth].

While a bison skull may be seen in Native American ceremonies, it is not being worshipped any more than the statues of the saints in a church are worshipped.

On snakes, transformation and “crushing it”

crushing itUpon finding a road-killed snake last week, “crushing it” took on a whole new meaning for me.

According to urbandictionary.com “crushing it” means: “Being in severe shape, looking good, being better than others, looking hot, feeling positive, having more than others, having relations with other attractive people.”

Or put another way, “doing it all…. well.”

But can we really “crush it” in everything we do?

Not according to television screenwriter/producer Shonda Rhimes in her June 2014 Dartmouth Commencement Speech. Ms. Rhimes is the creative force behind the hit TV series Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal and had this to say:

“As a very successful woman, a single mother of three, who constantly gets asked the question, ‘How do you do it all?’ For once I am going to answer that question with 100 percent honesty here for you now.

“Shonda, how do you do it all?

“The answer is this: I don’t.

“Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means I am failing in another area of my life…

“Anyone who tells you they are doing it all perfectly is a liar.”

I love her honest answer, and this is why I want to take a look at how we really “crush it.”

How do we teach children?

fed upHow do we teach children?

By example, our words and our actions.  That seems pretty obvious.

But how do we do it well?

If we are living our best possible lives, we will teach by example and the teaching becomes easy.

I found a great example of it in my own family during a recent visit.

A few weeks ago, I walked into my kitchen and discovered my three-year old grand-nephew standing in front of the open refrigerator precariously holding my great-grandmother’s antique glass serving bowl with just one hand.

The bowl was full of fruit and fruit was what he wanted.

Two thoughts raced through my mind simultaneously: “please don’t drop that” and “wow, three years old and he’s choosing fruit as a snack!”

I made every effort to stay calm because I didn’t for one moment want him to think he’d done something wrong by choosing fruit.

I was delighted, and gently said, “let me help you” and took the delicate bowl from his hands and helped him to a serving of fruit.

My hat goes off to my niece and her husband: healthy vegetarians, who have passed good food choices on to their son.

How Indigenous people teach children 

Children only know what we teach them. And we need to teach them well because they are the future of our country, planet and species.

Among indigenous people, raising  children is the highest calling, for exactly the reason I just gave – they are our future.

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