Molly Larkin

Author Archives: Molly Larkin

Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller "The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman.” She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com

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The Importance of listening and tomatoes in Zambia

Do you know how to listen? I meet new people all the time through my work and travels and I’m amazed at how many of them just don’t listen to anyone else.

Having been taught good manners by my parents, and being Irish, who are a hospitable people, I always attempt to strike up a conversation when I meet someone new.

I ask their name, and where they’re from and what they like to do. Whatever it takes to build rapport and learn something about them.

But I have noticed how many people just talk about themselves and show no interest in learning about me. It’s astounding to me how many people just don’t seem to know how to listen.

Read on to find out what can be learned from listening and how to do it.

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The Power of Observation

Native American youth were taught the power of observation from an early age. Good observation can have many benefits in our life, as demonstrated in this lesson from Muskogee Creek Elder Bear Heart in The Wind Is My Mother.

“As part of my training, one of my teachers had me spend an entire day doing nothing but observing from early morning to evening. I had to sit in a field all day long without moving my body — he told me to just move my eyes very slowly from side to side.

“What was I observing? What direction is the wind coming from? Does that cloud seem to contain any large amounts of moisture? Is it dark on the underside and light on top? If so, perhaps it’s going to rain.

“If you see birds flying, are they circling or going in a straight line? Are they water birds flying to where there might be some water? If you’re looking for water, perhaps you should head in that direction.

“There didn’t have to be any particular significance to all the things I observed — the point was not to let anything escape my awareness, to master the difference between looking and seeing.

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Elephants never forget

Did you ever wonder where the saying, “elephants never forget” comes from?

A 2000 PBS documentary presents a striking example of elephant friendship.

The documentary “The Urban Elephant” brought viewers the touching story of Shirley and Jenny, two crippled elephants reunited at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee after a 22-year separation.

Shirley, a former circus elephant, had lived for two decades in a zoo without the company of another elephant, and with a chain around her leg.

Her reunion at the sanctuary with her old friend Jenny is an astounding example of the way our four-legged friends can experience friendship, love and compassion as profound as that of humans.

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Competition and the pink ribbon

Quite some time ago, when I subscribed to Horse illustrated, I read a letter to the editor that brought home the lesson of how much children have to teach us about competition.

It never fails to bring a tear to my eye; I hope you enjoy it, too.

Here it is, in its entirety, as written by Rhonda Goddard of Louisville, CO:

“Competition is essential. We learn from it, our characters are shaped by it, and we crave the rivalry. This competitive spirit is quite evident in the horse show world; few participants are unaffected by its influence.

“I am one of many who experience the thrills, woes and obsessions that accompany showing. Like my competitors, I coordinate my season zealously, selecting the right judges, attending the correct shows, and accumulating the most points in order to achieve my self-imposed goals – high point awards, year end placings, regional and national show qualifications.

“I am driven to attain these accomplishments by nothing more than my own desire to ‘succeed’. It took a child to remind me, however, that participation, good sportsmanship, and just plain enjoyment must always be my highest priorities.

“For several years I have judged the annual show for the Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center in Lafayette, CO. The show hosts a variety of events, including English and Western Equitation, Trail, and Dressage, as well as fun classes such as Egg in Spoon.

“Each time I judge this show I am reminded that I do not have problems, but rather minor inconveniences, in comparison with the difficulties these students must overcome.

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If we could see inside other people’s hearts

“If we could see inside other people’s hearts” is a moving 4-minute video from the Cleveland Clinic, one of the most renowned medical centers in the United States.

I see it as a visual version of the Native American saying, “Don’t judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their moccasins.”

Enough said. Have a hankie ready.

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The nature of wolves and the nature of man

The nature of wolves is something the average person doesn’t usually give any thought to. And yet most Native Americans are very aware of the wolf nation, their gifts and their nature.

So I thought it would be worth a blog post. Because wolves are in great danger now, and they need our help.

My first introduction to the nature of wolves

Years ago, my very favorite TV show was “The West Wing” — a fictional show about what goes on behind the scenes in the running of the presidency and our country.

One episode that stands out in my mind was the fictional workday during which senior staff met with fringe special interest groups. Not the kind of special interest groups that have expensive lobbyists behind them. Special interest groups that have no money but a forward-thinking idea.

One might call them “seventh generation” ideas.

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What is the 7th Generation principle and why do you need to know about it?

Whenever I mention the 7th Generation principle to most people, they think I’m talking about laundry detergent. I’m always surprised that more people don’t know the origin of the term, so I felt it deserved a post.

The “7th generation” principle taught by Native Americans says that in every decision, be it personal, governmental or corporate, we must consider how it will affect our descendents seven generations into the future. So that the pristine sky, field and mountains in this photo will still be here for them to enjoy.

A generation is generally considered to be 25 years, so that’s 175 years.

It is clearly not embraced by most governments and corporations in the world today. I mean, when was the last time any of us thought about who’s coming along seven generations from now?

The 7th generation principal was so important to Native American cultures that it was codified in the Iroquois Great Law of Peace. To my knowledge, all Native American and indigenous tribes throughout the world embrace this teaching.

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Earthing: why even astronauts need to do it

Do you know what you have in common with astronauts? You both need to be in touch with the energy of Mother Earth in order to be healthy. And “Earthing” [also known as “grounding”] is an easy way to do it.

KEEPING ASTRONAUTS IN TOUCH WITH THE EARTH

We are so dependent on the earth’s energy, also known as her electromagnetic fields [EMF], that when we leave the planet for prolonged periods, we suffer.

The first Astronauts in space for long periods experienced what was called “space sickness” – nausea and disorientation.

The cause was a mystery until one scientist, Prof. Winfried Schumann, theorized it was because the astronauts, upon leaving the earth’s atmosphere, were deprived of the earth’s “song” or electromagnetic resonance.

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Beltaine — the celebration of the green

In the Celtic calendar, May 1 is Beltaine, the first day of summer: the time to celebrate life, growth and love. The word “Beltaine” derives from the ancient Celtic words for “brilliant fire.”

Our Gregorian calendar says its still spring. But who cares? It’s what’s going on outside our window that’s important. Mother Nature doesn’t follow calendars, as we well know.

And again, this is not the post I had planned for this week. But as I sat in meditation this morning, listening to the birds, frogs and crickets sing their songs, I suddenly realized it was May 1 and the perfect day to write about what’s going on in the natural world.

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It can’t happen here. But when it does…. 5 ways to find the silver lining in natural disasters

There’s a saying that everyone knows they’re going to die, but no one believes it. The same is true of natural disasters – everyone knows it could happen in their town, but no one believes it will.

And then it does. And the big question will be: were you prepared?

This is not the post I had planned for this week. I was going to write about “Earthing” – the healing benefits of standing barefoot on Mother Earth.

But this week, my life got interrupted by a natural disaster, and I felt there would be more benefit in a post on the unexpected lessons that occur when Mother Earth seems [emphasis on the word “seems”] to turn against us.

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Forest therapy: why a walk in the woods may be just what the doctor ordered

Once again, scientists are proving what indigenous people and nature lovers have always known: being outdoors is healthy! Specifically, new research shows that being surrounded by a forest environment, or “forest therapy” can improve your health. And may even help fight cancer.

In Japan, forest therapy, or shinrin-yoku, is standard preventative medicine. It’s not about being alone in the wilderness or extreme outdoor sports, it’s about allowing your body and psyche to hang out in the peace of the woods.

The term shinrin-yoku was coined by the Japanese government in 1982, but is based on ancient Shinto and Buddhist practices. [There’s that ancient wisdom again!] It’s also known as “forest bathing.”

It was just a few decades ago when people made fun of “tree huggers” — as a former “tree hugger” myself, I now feel thoroughly vindicated!

THE RESEARCH ON “FOREST THERAPY”

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8 reasons why I don’t text. And a few reasons why others should

Over 8.6 trillion text messages are sent across the world each day. And not one of them is from me.

I don’t text. And it’s not because I’m a technophobe.

As a writer, I spend most of the day on the computer and thank God regularly for the convenience it brings me.

And even though I love my iPhone, I have had texting disabled on it. Here are my reasons:

ONE: When one of my favorite T.V. character was asked why he doesn’t text, he replied “It’s for teenage girls.” I’m inclined to agree.

The average teen sends over 3000 texts per month. But the average teenage girl sends 4000. And these texts have a 100% open rate. How does that leave time for anything else?

TWO: People don’t talk to one another enough. Pick up the friggin’ phone and tell me what you want me to know.

THREE: Receiving texts interrupts you and keeps you from being in the moment. We live in a world full of distractions and it’s harder and harder to focus.

FOUR: In my opinion, texting is no easier than phoning now that smart phones can understand voice commands and make phone calls for us: “Siri, please call Jane” and, voila, I am connected to Jane.

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How to Feel Fulfilled by Prayer

Last week’s post was on the power of prayer. And one of my readers raised the excellent point that “sometimes it’s hard for me to feel fulfilled when I pray. I don’t know how to fix that.”

And she is in very good company. Mother Theresa, of all people, also felt unfulfilled when she prayed!

In September 1979, she wrote a letter to the Rev. Michael Van Der Peet, saying: “Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.”

The book “Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta” (Doubleday, 2007) consists primarily of correspondence between Mother Teresa and her confessors and superiors over a period of 66 years.

The letters reveal that for the last nearly half-century of her life she felt no presence of God whatsoever. And yet her works with the poor are so famous she has been beatified on the road to sainthood.

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The Power of Prayer

The power of prayer can take many forms. Bear Heart said, “Let your every step be as a prayer.”

What does that mean to you?

To me it means walking the earth each day with respect. And it means being ready to offer a prayer at a moment’s notice.

And prayer can take the form of acts of kindness, because that carries the same energy as prayer.

LEARNING HOW TO PRAY

I was raised a Catholic and prayer was something one memorized: the Our Father or the Hail Mary were the two most popular prayers I learned.

When I started attending Native American ceremonies, I was in awe of how people prayed from their heart, in their own words. It took a year or so of being in that environment before I felt comfortable praying out loud in ceremony. Now it’s second nature.

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The First Day of Spring – A Time for Balance

What does the first day of spring mean for us?

This year the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is Wednesday, March 20, 7:02 a.m. Eastern Time: 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.

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The Adventures of an Irish Setter on St. Patrick’s Day

The Irish are known for being clever, particularly when it comes to getting out of a sticky situation. So it’s only natural they have such a glorious celebration on March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day, celebrating all things Irish.

And it’s not just the humans who are clever. So are our animals, as this story demonstrates.

Many years ago a wealthy Irish man decided to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by going on Safari to Africa. And he took along his faithful Irish Setter for company.

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How to Improve Your Self-Esteem

In my work as healing practitioner, there is a consistent pattern I’ve discovered when people don’t get well, or don’t achieve a goal: They have low self-esteem and don’t believe they are worthy of health, wealth or success.

And I’m here to encourage you to get over that right now. You absolutely do deserve everything wonderful in life. You are indeed worthy of all good things.

I can think of a few reasons why low self-esteem is so pervasive in our culture:

First, we are surrounded with advertising that inundates us with the message that we have to be slimmer, taller, blonder or better dressed in order to have value.

We’re constantly being compared to supermodels. It’s humiliating. And it’s just plain wrong.

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Checklist for A Perfect Day

How does one start a good habit? Particularly the habit of having a perfect day?

I admit that a checklist for anything, particularly a perfect day, might sound too unspontaneous to be a spiritual undertaking.

But to accomplish anything, we have to be intentional, and really work at it. And work takes time without interruptions, which means being organized. And checklists help with that!

This is my checklist for a perfect day [work day; days off are not so scheduled]. I am a person who finds routine productive and comforting. If you are, too, you may find this checklist helpful. By doing them in order, it guarantees they get done.

Change it to accommodate your lifestyle.

A tip:

If you have a commute to work, put commute time on your schedule. And I highly recommend doing something peaceful or productive during that commute. Listen to a motivating CD, do breathing exercises, or, if you’re a passenger, meditate. Commute time doesn’t have to be wasted time.

THE PERFECT DAY CHECKLIST

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Commitment

I have always believed that commitment to a goal or cause is essential to its success. One can’t be lackadaisical about the intended result.

For 30 years I have carried around in my personal organizer a statement on Commitment written by W.H. Murray in “The Scottish Himalayan Expedition” in 1951.

It seemed about time to share it. Because every word is true:

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Guided Meditation: You Are Light

Why listen to a guided meditation?

Meditation is one of the most beneficial methods of reducing stress and improving health. It has been proven to:

reduce anxiety

bring deep relaxation

lower blood pressure

improve sleep

strengthen the immune system

If you do not have a regular meditation practice, guided meditations are an excellent place to start. Best of all, it’s effortless.

Let this seven minute guided meditation bring you peace of mind today.

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