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.
Did you know the world’s largest garbage patch is in the ocean?
And that it consists of what was once hailed as a great future?
In the 1967 film, The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman, the new college graduate is cornered by a friend of the family with advice for his future:
Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?
Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?
[Note: the bolded line is ranked #42 in the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 movie quotations in American cinema.]
Little did we know that the great future of plastics could turn out to be The Great Pacific Garbage Patch – and a persistent tragedy on our planet.
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?
Is there a way to save the earth from home? With vinegar and baking soda?
Taking action in saving the earth should be a priority of us all.
And sometimes big changes are the result of many people taking small steps.
Can one person change the earth with vinegar and baking soda? Perhaps not. But what if everyone stopped using toxic cleaning products? Read on.
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.
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.
How is your breathing? Did you know good breathing may be a key to the Fountain of Youth?
It doesn’t take particularly great psychic powers to guess that you might be sitting in a chair as you read this, and it’s likely that you’re slouching or perhaps leaning in over the desk.
And it’s also a good bet you’re breathing shallowly.
And all that is not so good for your health!
Sitting up straight and doing deep, slow breathing is one of the healthiest things you can do, yet few people do it!
In fact, most people need lessons in how to breathe correctly!
Children breathe fully and naturally until about the age of seven. That’s when they start to take on stress and awareness of what adults are doing and they lose their natural ability for healthy breathing.
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?
Molly LarkinMolly 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.comContinue reading
Dr. Mehmet Oz caused quite a stir with his December 2012 Time Magazine cover story on conventional versus organic produce.
In “Give (Frozen) Peas a Chance – and Carrots Too,” he shocked many organic food fans, myself included, by saying organic food is no healthier than the frozen conventional vegetables in the supermarket.
Oz said, “nutritionally speaking, there is little difference between the farmer’s- market bounty and the humble brick from the freezer case.”
Nutritionally, he was right. But in terms of overall health, he was wrong. Why? Because he didn’t look at the right studies.
Cicero, the 1st Century Roman orator once said: “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”
The U.S. Holiday of Thanksgiving took place last week, but hopefully we’re not expressing thanks just one day of the year. Daily gratitude is a key to happiness, health, success and balanced living.
So I get to write about it again.
Sometimes people get dejected, or have suffered great loss and find it difficult to find anything to be thankful for.
One of the best spiritual practices I know is to list at least 5 things you are grateful for every night before you go to bed and every morning when you wake up. That can help lift our spirits no matter what is going on.
Thanksgiving prayers are common to most religious groups. Native Americans had entire ceremonies just for the purpose of expressing thanks – sometimes these ceremonies last 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.