Tuesday morning I arrived at 8:27 a.m. for my 8:30 yoga class and found all the students standing outside in the parking lot.
I live in Michigan, and it was snowing and the wind chill temperature was 3 degrees. I couldn’t have been more mystified to find everyone outside!
I was told the outside door was locked and the teacher wasn’t there.
One student said she had a key and we could go in and practice yoga on our own, or at least get out of the cold. No one moved.
And no one checked the door to make sure it was really locked. We all just relied on the report of the first person to try it.
While I texted the studio owner, someone else called her to see if she knew where our teacher was. The owner in turn called the teacher, who was actually inside and hadn’t realized the door had locked behind her!
She immediately popped her head out the door and let us all in!
Now, this all took place over the course of just five minutes. But, at 3 degrees, it was a very long five minutes.
I reflected during class on the irony of the fact that we all readily assumed we were locked out when one of us even offered to unlock the door, and the teacher was inside the whole time.
No one even double-checked that the door was really locked.
This was a prime example of assumptions leading us astray.
Clearing clutter. We read about it all the time.
But it’s more than good housekeeping. It’s a key to self-healing.
When I was in graduate school working on a Masters Degree in Economics [yes, I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s true], I got tired of Economics [that seems much more believable] and instead took film courses.
This was at the University of California at Los Angeles [UCLA], which at the time had one of the best film schools in the country. [It still does].
The film classes were excellent, covered a variety of topics, and were like balm for the soul of true film lovers like me.
One of the best lessons I learned was from a casual comment by our teacher about the Alfred Hitchcock film, “Psycho.” It was a lesson that has served me in work and in life.
How is the “Washington Redskins” team name still in use in this day and age?
Most of us have heard the term, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?”
Did you ever believe it was true?
Not likely, because we all know words have power and can hurt.
In fact, there is ample evidence that negative thoughts, feelings and words, can be harmful to the body.
It follows that everyone, be it an individual or a national sports team, should be more conscious of their use of words.
THE HISTORY OF THE TERM “REDSKINS”
The Washington team has tried to defend its name choice by saying that the term “Redskins” honors Native Americans. But that view doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.
I was recently asked by a reader how to maintain positive thinking. He said, “every time I’m positive, or at least I think I’m positive, then negative things happen.”
Having struggled with that very issue, I promised him an answer.
I agree that when stuck in negativity, it can be hard to pull yourself out. But not impossible.
First, accept that we all go through negative thinking some of the time; the trick is to not dwell there. Like driving through a bad neighborhood, you want to get out as soon as possible!
Here are some of the things that have helped me:
As we begin a new year, many bloggers are writing about goal setting for 2015.
I have done that before and you can read my previous post.
But aside from setting goals and intentions, if we want to bring about something new in our lives, we have to change what we are doing, or how we are doing it.
If you keep doing the same old thing, you will get the same old results.
Today I’m going to propose one change to your life that may make a surprising difference: more rest.
WHY GOD RESTED ON THE 7TH DAY
We’ve all heard the phrase from the Bible, “And God rested on the 7th Day.” But what does it mean, really?
Winter Solstice is the day when light is reborn out of the darkness of winter. Our days start to become longer and lead us back to the beauty of spring and the warmth of summer, stretching towards their peak at the Summer Solstice.
Most ancient cultures celebrated this return of light and life with feasting, music, light and fire, and for many, it was the true beginning of the New Year.
It was so important to the pre-Celt ancients of Ireland that they spent over 30 years building a monument to the returning sun: Newgrange.
Older than Stonehenge and the pyramids of Giza, it was designed so that on the Winter Solstice, the rising sun shines directly along the long passage into the inner chamber and for 17 minutes illuminates the chamber floor and the symbols etched on the back wall.
WHAT DID THE ANCIENTS KNOW THAT WE DON’T?
I have published this prayer for the past two years during Thanksgiving week. It is timeless and appropriate at any time of year, but particularly now.
Thanksgiving prayers are common to most religious groups. Native Americans had entire ceremonies just for the purpose of expressing thanks – sometimes the ceremonies lasted for days.
This Thanksgiving Prayer comes from the Seneca Nation and is at least 500 years old.
It is traditionally done around a fire, with spiritual food on the altar. I have adapted it to be used as a Thanksgiving Prayer on our national holiday:
SENECA THANKSGIVING PRAYER
And now we are gathered together to remember the Great Mystery’s first instruction to us: to love one another always, we who move about on this earth.
And the Great Mystery said that when even just two people meet, they should first greet each other by saying: “Nyah Weh Skenno” which translates to “thank you for being” and then they may take up the matter with which they are concerned.
[Nyah Weh Skenno more literally means: “thank you for being alive in the here and now and not adding to the confusion of the world.”]
The Great Mystery gave us our lives and requires in return only that we be grateful and love one another. The purpose of this prayer is to pass on those instructions and give us the opportunity to express our gratitude.
So the first thing we will do is give thanks for our lives.Continue reading
“What to do when life hands you lemons” is not the post I had planned for this week.
But I got handed a bunch of lemons – figuratively – by being stranded for three days [going on four] just three hours from home due to a blizzard.
When life throws us curves [the proverbial lemons] we have choices: to fret and moan and sulk, or make the best of it.
I thought I’d share the lessons I learned, which can be applied to most any surprising situation.
Well, I’m embarrassed to report that, after posting three weeks ago about my great start, I now get to report on lessons learned failing the “30-day no sugar challenge.”
Technically, I wrote about a 10-day no sugar challenge proposed by the documentary Fed Up, but I was undertaking 30 days of no sugar.
But whether 10 days, or 30, I failed.
However, I did learn a lot [about myself and sugar] which I felt was worth sharing.
The goal, set by my friend Gary, was to avoid anything with sugar in it for 30 days.
HERE’S WHY I FAILED
Like many people, I’ve always been uncomfortable with anger.
I don’t like to get angry, and I don’t like to be around angry people.
True to my Irish heritage, I’m slow to anger but when I do, watch out!
And over the years as I’ve meditated more, and done more self-healing, I’ve been rather pleased with how calm I usually am.
So imagine my surprise at finding myself angry quite frequently over the past month.
Mind you, there have been things going on in my life that many people would say justify being angry about.
But that is not an excuse for someone like me who is trying to live her life at the highest vibration possible.
Healing from our anger can be one of the most powerful ways to move our lives forward.
WALLS BUILT OF ANGER
Best-selling author Wayne Dyer, Ph.D., tells the story of holding onto anger toward the alcoholic, abusive father who abandoned him and his family when Dyer was just an infant.
Do 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.
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.
How 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.
How 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.
“We” versus “I” – which you say the most may determine your success in life.
As a Keith Urban fan, I make a point of listening to interviews with him. Something caught my attention earlier this year when he was being interviewed about his duet with Miranda Lambert on their hit song, “When We Were Us.”
Urban said “Miranda used to open for us…”
Note that this megastar musician who is backed up by his own band said “us” not “me.” He considers his band as important in the equation of success as he is.
And it also shows a high consciousness.
“Us” and “we” consciousness is what makes the world go around in a good way.
“I” and “me” – not so much.
NO SUCCESSFUL PERSON SAYS “I”
Ernesto Sirolli in his September 2012 TED talk has this to say on the subject:
There are five questions I suggest people ask themselves to steer their life in the right direction.
These are questions I’ve asked myself to bring about powerful change.
Questions are motivators: we can’t help but start working on an answer.
In fact, in studying copywriting, the writer is encouraged to phrase statements as questions– because people naturally want to know the answer! Humans are problem solvers at heart.
QUESTION ONE. “IF YOU WON THE LOTTERY AND NEVER HAD TO WORRY ABOUT EARNING AN INCOME AGAIN, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?”
This was a question asked of me by a career counselor many years ago. And the answer is a key to revealing what you should be doing with your life — even without winning the lottery.
“Did you ask the turtle?”
That’s a question Gloria Steinham was asked in college after helping a turtle to the other side of the road.
It’s a cautionary tale about wanting to help people who don’t need our help.
That can be a hard lesson to learn.
Gloria Steinem, writer and leader of the women’s rights movement, gave a talk to Smith College alumni about impacts from her education, about how seemingly small incidents can have very big impacts.
At Smith, needing to fulfill her science course requirements, Ms. Steinem admitted she took a geology course because she considered it the least scientific of all the sciences.
While on a field trip in the wetlands of New England’s Connecticut River, she saw a giant turtle which had climbed out of the river, crossed a road and was in the mud of an embankment of another road, seemingly about to crawl up and get squashed by a car.
Never think about your age! I learned that from a horse. When I started riding lessons as an adult, the horse I rode most often was a Quarterhorse gelding by the name of Bug. Bug and I got along quite well together and, as a result, my teacher usually paired me with him. He was […]Continue reading
Bear Heart was a traditionally trained healer of the Muskogee Creek tribe. What outsiders would call a “medicine man.”
But the real ones don’t call themselves “medicine men” as Bear Heart explains in this video. The medicine is already here – healers just put things together to facilitate healing taking place.
If you’re like me, I learned in grade school that the U.S. Constitution was based on ancient Greek democracy. Which was a creative stretch of the truth, since ancient Greece was not a democracy.
My research as to what children are taught today about the origin of our government is also disappointing, although there are some states that have updated the teachings to include Native American influence.
Apparently the Founding Fathers simply created it out of thin air, or were influenced by European governments even though there was no democracy anywhere in Europe at that time.
Most of us have heard about using affirmations as a way to bring about change in our lives. In fact, many coaches, counselors and motivational teachers recommend using them.
Unfortunately, affirmations are often taught incorrectly or misunderstood.
In this post I’ll teach you the 7 steps to using affirmations to evoke powerful changes in your life.