This excerpt from “The Wind Is My Mother” reveals how Native American mothers introduce their children to the natural world. It is also the key to their children growing up learning to respect Mother Earth, live balanced lives and walk in beauty.
Bear Heart speaks:
“When I was just three days old, my mother took me to a hill top near our home and introduced me to the elements.
“First she introduced me to the Four Directions — East, South, West and North. ‘I’m asking special blessings for this child. You surround our lives and keep us going. Please protect him and bring balance into his life.’
“Then she touched my tiny feet to this Mother Earth. ‘Dear Mother, Grandmother Earth, one day this child will walk, play and run on you. I will try to teach him to have respect for you as he grows up. Wherever he may go, please be there supporting and taking care of him.’
Being a single, self-supporting woman for most of my adult life, I have mastered the art of taking good care of myself – whether at home or on the road. But an experience with European hospitality taught me I may have gone too far to the independent side.
Some years ago I went on a horseback tour of the Connemara region of western Ireland with Willie Leahy, master horse breeder and quintessential Irish storyteller.
A week of riding fine Irish horses through bogs, up green hillsides, around lakes and back roads where cars couldn’t go was a great way to see my homeland for the first time.
There were 14 in our group: 7 Americans and 7 Europeans and we had a choice of staying in 4-star hotels or charming bed and breakfasts. I chose the bed and breakfast because I felt it was the best way to get a feel for the people of Ireland.
As it turns out, I was the only American who chose a B&B – all the others stayed in hotels! And only one European chose a hotel – all the others stayed in the B&Bs.
For dinner the entire group ate together in a local restaurant; lunch was a picnic in a field along the way and breakfast was at our respective lodging. So I had breakfast every morning with the European contingent.
One of the great miracles of nature is a starling murmation. Have you ever seen one?
A flock of starlings moving as one through the sky in a tight formation is called a murmation.
My first glimpse of a murmation was a small flock over the Santa Monica Mountains, seen from my office window years ago.
At the time, I likened it to “turning practice” — they’d fly in one direction and then turn in unison to fly in another direction. Over and over and over.
I didn’t get much else done that morning. I hadn’t yet heard of murmations. And didn’t see it again until I came upon the video below, captured by wildlife photographer Dylan Winter.
It turns out that murmations can range from a small group of a few hundred starlings, to millions of starlings blocking out the sun.
Scientists don’t know how two birds separated by hundreds of feet and hundreds of other birds can move as one. They say the answer seems to be rooted in physics.
I prefer to think of it as rooted in the Lakota prayer, Mitakuye Oyasin – we are all related. We are all one, connected by an invisible web of unity.
This year the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is Thursday March 20, at 16:57 UTC [coordinated universal time].
It’s a day of equal balance of the hours of light and dark before the sun continues its journey towards longer daylight hours and warming temperatures.
The equinox energy is strong for four days before and after March 20th, giving us time to bask in the opportunities and lessons it brings.
The Spring Equinox is not just another day
Ancient cultures throughout history have celebrated this time of rebirth of Mother Earth. But what does it mean for us?
The earth is comprised of 70% water and, on average, so is the human body. That alone is a giant clue as to how interconnected we are.
What happens to the earth’s energy also happens within us, therefore we can experience more harmony if we work with the earth’s cycles instead of ignoring them. It’s not just another day.
Here are some of the aspects of the Spring Equinox and how we can incorporate it into our own lives to help us better communicate with the spiritual forces of the earth.
Do you keep your word? Or are you an “Indian Giver?” Do you even know what that means?
When I was a child, the term “Indian giver” was thrown around as a derogatory term when someone gave something and then wanted it back.
At the time, I thought it meant that Native Americans used to do that: give gifts then take them back.
But I was wrong.
The origin of the term is a bit murky: there are references back in the 1790s of Europeans complaining about Natives asking for remuneration for things they gave the Europeans.
Why would the Europeans complain about that? Why wouldn’t they expect to give a fair exchange?