Who’s your cheerleader?
And by cheerleader, I mean someone who has believed in you when no one else did.
Someone who encouraged you to act in spite of your being surrounded by obstacles.
The person who saw your potential, the diamond in the lump of coal.
The person who told you, “Yes, you can” when you weren’t so sure you could.
“Bear Heart has a wisdom in his words that I use daily to further my spiritual growth. My copy of The Wind Is My Mother lives right there on my nightstand and gets referred to on a regular basis. I have bought about three dozen copies of this book to share with friends and family trying to get their spiritual lives in balance.”
The above is a review on Amazon.com from a reader of The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman, which I had the privilege of co-authoring with my spiritual teacher, Bear Heart.
There are dozens more reviews like it, such as “Any time that I’m feeling depressed, I reread this book,” and “This book changed my life forever.”
In 1988, Colorado was experiencing a snow drought.
I know that seems hard to imagine after the winter we just went through, but that was the case back then.
The Copper Mountain Ski Resort was in danger of having to lay off staff and close, so the owner, a friend of Bear Heart’s, flew him to Colorado to pray for snow.
Before Bear Heart finished his ceremony, a heavy snow storm came in; one that the meteorologists had not predicted.
When I work with clients in my healing practice, I ask them to set an intention as to what they want to get out of the session.
They don’t even have to tell me what it is. But an important part of healing is to take an active role and let the universe know what you want.
Intention can be expressed as simply stating, “I am ____________.”
The “I am” is a statement of how you want to live your life, what you’re here for.
Steve Jobs was once quoted as saying, “Everyone has a cell phone, but no one likes their cell phone. I want to create a cell phone everyone loves.”
Where would we be if he came up with that thought and then said, “naa, no one can make that” and gave up?
Steve Jobs stated a goal, “I want to make a cell phone that everyone loves.”
But his intention was to improve our lives through technology. That was his reason for being.
Are you thriving? Or merely surviving?
The first is not as hard to achieve as you might think.
LESSONS FROM A CACTUS GARDEN
In 1999 I bought my first house – in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California.
Earth lover that I am, I was excited about landscaping and, since the San Fernando Valley is a bit of a desert, that meant using native plants that would grow with the rainfall and sun usual for that area. Or so I thought.
My friends Bob and Laura were professional landscapers and offered to give me a landscaping consultation as a housewarming gift.
When I told them I wanted drought-tolerant plants and a cactus garden, the last thing I was expecting was the suggestion to put in a sprinkler system. But that’s exactly what they recommended.
In 1988, reporter Mike Watkiss interviewed Muskogee Creek elder Marcellus “Bear Heart” Williams for the television show A Current Affair.
This first segment is Bear Heart’s answer to the questions: What is it that you do? How do you help people?
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 charming Irishman.
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.
Starling murmationOne 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 this video 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.
And there is much we can learn from them.
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.
Do you know how to talk with Mother Earth?
I know we all talk about the earth all the time, but that’s something different. I mean talking directly with her.
There’s a lot of talk about taking care of the environment, stopping pollution, growing organic food, preserving forests, etc.
But again, that’s just talking about her. It’s like talking about someone who’s right in the same room with you while you otherwise ignore them. Sort of rude, isn’t it?
This is a guest post by my friend Cynthia Rosi. Because February has been such a challenge for us living here in the northern United States, I thought many of us would benefit from her wisdom:
If you can’t sleep, if your dreams are continuous and crazy, if you feel like you’ve put in a hard day’s work at night — that’s par for the course in February.
There’s something very sleepy, almost stagnant, about the lack of light in the northern hemisphere and the cold, rainy, snowy weather. But under the surface it’s all churned up. As the subconscious cleanses itself, up come the old hurts and regrets and confusing emotions.
According to Norm Shealy, M.D., research shows that human beings are born with only two natural fears: loud noises and falling. All the rest are learned.
And very likely instilled in us by adults as we grow up.
As a result, we are allowing the fears we learned as little children to influence our decisions.
Or, in the words of Emotional Freedom Technique expert Brad Yates, our adult lives are being run by kindergartners.
It’s time to stop letting the kindergartner inside us run [and ruin] our lives.
Bear Heart used to joke that, “It’s hard to have humility because you can’t brag about it – if you’re really humble.”
That’s true. But of course, the truly humble person wouldn’t even want to brag.
What’s the opposite of humility?
I have occasionally met people who loved to talk about their accomplishments to the point that a conversation with them is a conversation about them.
A simple, “How are you?” can lead to a 5 minute monologue on their recent achievements.
I can only assume that stems from a deep-seated lack of self-worth; why else would a person feel a need to work so hard to validate themselves in your eyes?
It shows that they don’t understand the simple tenet that people will judge you by your actions, not what you say about your actions.
It’s been snowing for weeks here in southwest Michigan. And while dangerous to be driving in it, the snow itself is beautiful, bringing to mind the term “winter wonderland.”
What also comes to mind is the Native American teaching about winter, snow and making new tracks:
“The white of snow represents purity, and when snow comes we say it covers your path. If you have had difficulties in your life, all that’s covered up – you begin to feel good and sound again, and you can make new tracks.” Bear Heart in The Wind Is My Mother
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American pastor, activist, humanitarian and leader in the Civil Rights Movement who was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968.
He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
This past Monday in the U.S. commemorated his life and Facebook was full of quotes from him.
Frankly, I hadn’t heard many of them before, and they are very inspiring.
If you subscribe to my blog, and received my thank-you gift of “What Lies Within You; Inspirational Quotes to Lift Your Spirits”, you know I am passionate about inspiring quotes.
Often just a few well-phrased words can be deep with meaning and advice.
We can never get too much inspiration, so I felt a post filled with his words would both honor Dr. King and be the best inspiration I could give my readers this week:
I heartedly encourage you to take some of these words into your heart as guidance to live by.
My post for last week was: “It’s a new year. Are you getting better or standing still?” Here’s another piece of advice on how to avoid standing still: live like you were dying.
Country singer Tim McGraw sang a great song on the subject called, “Live like you were dying. “
The song tells the story of how someone dealt with getting a diagnosis of a terminal illness. Here are some of the lyrics:
I was in my early forties
With a lot of life before me
When a moment came that stopped me on a dime
I spent most of the next days, looking at the x-rays
Talking ‘bout the options, and talking ‘bout sweet times
I asked him when it sank in, that this might really be the real end
How’s it hit you, when you get that kind of news?
Man, what’d you do?
Most first week of January posts deal with goal setting or resolutions or turning over a new leaf or letting go of what no longer serves us.
I’ve written such posts in the past and you can find one of them here.
But I want to write about just one thing on this first day of January, 2014:
Are you getting better, or are you standing still?
In Mutant Message Down Under, author Marlo Morgan reported that Aborigines of Australia celebrate birthdays much differently than we do here in the west. The birthday person will announce how they have transformed or grown in the past year so that the whole tribe can celebrate together.
If there was no improvement, there is no celebration!
What can you celebrate today? And what do you want to celebrate a year from today?
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?
It’s hard for the modern mind to imagine spending 30 years building something to celebrate a three-day event. Yet, that’s how important the Winter Solstice was to the ancients.
There are still traditional cultures around the world today that believe that the ceremonies they conduct on a daily, monthly and yearly basis keep the earth spinning on its axis. I share their belief.