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Goal setting: how to make 2017 your best year yet!

The concept of making “new year’s resolutions” has been a bit of a joke in our society for about as long as I can remember — the joke being that people never follow through so the “resolution” will never come to fruition. And for reasons that escape me, very few people talk about the key to success, which is “goal setting.”

And that’s a shame because the start of a new cycle [of anything, not just a year] is a chance at a new beginning.

“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”Fitzhugh Dodson

How often in our lives have we wished for a “do over?” Well, we can “start over” any old time. And setting specific goals, instead of making resolutions, is an excellent way to do it.

But you have to know the right steps.

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Whose God is it, anyway?

Whose God is it, anyway?

That’s the question I asked myself when I received a letter from a reader who was concerned that her prayers to God might be rejected because she’s not a Christian.

Whoah!

That’s a heavy thought, but I immediately reassured her that her prayers would not be rejected by a compassionate, wise, good and just God just because she isn’t a Christian.

The reason is that God is not Christian.

God is not Muslim.

God is not Jewish, or Buddhist or Native American…

There is just one God and whatever your beliefs, your prayers are heard. Period.

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My heart broke Tuesday night

My heart broke Tuesday night, as I watched the unthinkable happen. Hillary Clinton, the most qualified presidential candidate ever to run in my lifetime, was defeated by a racist, sexist, mysoginist, bullying, pathological liar.

Of course, it didn’t help that Clinton was a woman.

Ironically, she won the popular vote, but our antiquated electoral-college system gave it to the other guy.

What has happened to our country? What is happening in the world?

I have always known the U.S. was a racist, sexist country, but never knew just how racist and sexist until now. Yet when there is an infection, a festering wound, the puss that comes out also leads the way to healing.

Hopefully that is what will happen here. Seeing what is wrong in our country is the first step to fixing it.

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Native American Wisdom from Bear Heart

We live in a world full of stress, war, ecological disasters, and financial upheaval. Sometimes it even seems that the world situation may be hopeless.

But the fact is that we don’t have to look far for solutions. Indigenous peoples from around the world have much to teach us about living a balanced life.

Decades ago, as I struggled with fear of an uncertain future, money woes and a high stress job, I turned to the simple teachings of my spiritual mentor Marcellus “Bear Heart” Williams and they have transformed my life.

Here are twelve life tips from Bear Heart:

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How to celebrate the Autumn Equinox

This year, autumn officially begins on September 22, 2016, at 10:21 a.m. EST.

Our ancestors celebrated all equinoxes and solstices, but the autumn equinox seems to have been a little less celebrated than the others. I’m not sure what the historical reason is, but for myself, I’m sad to see summer coming to an end and am not quite ready to say goodbye to summer and welcome in the fall.

But it happens. It’s part of the cycle of life, and to be in tune with the natural world, it’s important to honor these special “natural” events.

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The Sacred Art of Smudging: Sacred Smoke, Sacred Life

Many people have heard of “smudging,” and may even practice it, but there’s great value in knowing its history, and understanding the true sacredness of it.

There are three primary herbs used in the Native American tradition for smudging: sage, cedar and sweetgrass.

Sage is used to dispel negative energy.

Cedar is used for an overall blessing or to cleanse where there has been illness.

Sweetgrass draws in positive energy.

I have been taught the importance of burning only one herb at a time for smudging, otherwise you are giving mixed messages.

Sage is the most commonly used for cleansing the energy field of a person, place or thing, so I will focus on it for this post.

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2

What if our leaders would marry the land?

In ancient Ireland, the ceremony of crowning a king included a marriage ceremony in which the king would marry the land, or more accurately marry the Goddess of the land.

This marriage meant that the King swore to protect the land and the people, and be a caretaker of the earth. In return, when a King was favoured by the Goddess:

• he would rule with wisdom,

• the land would be fertile and prosperous,

• the country would always be victorious in war.

When that sacred contract was broken, the land was no longer fertile.

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Water is Sacred. Why are we poisoning it?

It is the first thing we use every morning, and the last thing we use every night.

It allows us to thrive, and plants, trees and our food to grow. It is essential to all life.

And yet we poison it at every turn:

It’s reported that at the Rio Olympics, swimmers need to ingest only three teaspoons of water to contract a virus. Rio de Janeiro waterways are contaminated with raw human sewage teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria.

14 billion pounds of garbage, mostly plastic, is dumped into the ocean each year, killing sea life. In January, 2016, thirteen sperm whales washed up dead in Germany, their stomachs full of plastic and auto parts.

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Summer Solstice: your new beginning

June 20, 2016 is an auspicious day: both the Summer Solstice and a Full Moon – it’s the first time these two events have coincided in 70 years!

The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the time to celebrate life in all its aspects.

It’s also the time to call in all the positive things you want in your life, and release what no longer serves you.

The Full Moon also brings in powerful energies for manifestation of what you want.

Read this post to learn how…

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Shamanism and personal healing

Quite a few years ago, during a routine medical exam, my doctor found some abnormal cells – pre-cancerous, or what today would be called Stage Zero cancer.

She recommended laser surgery to remove them. Even back then, I was very holistic and didn’t want surgery of any kind, even laser surgery, so I considered my alternatives.

As part of my Native American studies, I had heard of prayer fetishes: objects that are created, personalized, and prayed over, to bring about a particular outcome. Taking a leap of faith, I decided I would make a health fetish as my path to curing my condition.

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The Truth About Cancer can save your life!

I’ve recently watched a documentary series that is brilliant – and can save your life. It’s called The Truth About Cancer.

In it, medical doctors and scientists present well-researched studies about the numerous holistic therapies that have successfully treated cancer – with or without chemotherapy.

We all have friends or family members who have succumbed to this disease. In fact, 21,000 people around the world die from cancer each day.

Why not get educated on the many alternative therapies that work and do not destroy the immune system the way chemotherapy does?

Or that can support the immune system while undergoing chemotherapy?

Did you know that cancer cells feed on sugar? Yet many cancer centers have bowls of candy available for their patients to eat. And oncologists rarely tell their patients to avoid sugar. How is that taking care of our health?

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The magic of a home altar

Would you like to jump-start your meditation practice? Or have an instant dose of serenity? A home altar might be just the thing to help you.

Many people may think of altars as something only found in a church, but they don’t have to be limited to that.

WHAT IS AN ALTAR?

Altars are built to hold focused energy, and help you to feel calm and centered when you approach them. It represents your intention to create more serenity, peace and love in your space and your life.

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Are you willing to do the work to change?

In 2003 and 2013, I went to Brazil to see the medium Joao de Deus [John of God] at the Casa de Dom Ignacio de Loyola.

The Casa is a place where miraculous cures regularly occur. It’s also a place of kindness and acceptance of people from all over the world.

So I was surprised to read an interview with John of God in which, when asked what determines if a person gets cured, his answer was “merit.”

I had to think long and hard about that. Surely possible cures would not be intentionally withheld.

So my interpretation of “merit” was that the patients do the work they need to do to achieve and maintain health:

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