True Power

There is so much we don’t know about life, including, and perhaps most importantly, that we really are all children of the Light. To us, the light is the sun; the moon is our light at night. But what if, as our bodies are physical symbols of our souls, the sun and the moon are physical symbols of the Light of Love, the force that animates the universe?

Is it crazy to wonder if the sun and the moon are great beings that make light for the great being that shelters, clothes, waters and feeds us–our dear Earth Mother? With all the advances in science, there is still so much we don’t know about the cause of all that exists and our relationship with the cause. How many of us remember to be grateful that the sun continues to shine every day, or give thanks for our nourishment that comes from the Earth? We would very quickly starve without our motherly source of food. If ever a mother gave unconditional love, it is Mother Earth, but how much poison can the Earth’s body–the soil, water and air–absorb before our planet can no longer function in the way God meant her to?

When my mother was a child, two of her older brothers went off to World War II. She and the rest of her siblings worked the farm with their parents. I don’t in any way envy them their outhouse or that there was no running water, which meant they hauled in, heated and shared the same bath water. But I do envy their sturdiness, their connection to the land, their ability to produce from it what they needed to survive. They were bonded in the truest sense of the word and back then, they knew from whence their sustenance came (it wasn’t the grocery store), and they gave thanks for the light that spurred everything to grow.

I once heard a teacher say it’s important to take children to live concerts so they can see where music comes from. The same thing could apply to electricity and running water. We’ve had them for so long now, we forget they are generated/corralled and carried to us from somewhere else. It’s no great mystery to us—we just flip the switch and turn on the faucet. I forget to be grateful for them every day. How about you?

War, on the other hand, represents the dark forces, and the misuse by those in power of the dedication and lives of the honorable, hard-working men and women on the front lines. Greed is of the dark forces. Power is a mighty call away from the Light, but this kind of power is also an illusion. It’s not real because everything comes from God and everything belongs to God. We own nothing that is of the physical world; if we did, we could take it with us when we leave these bodies behind. True power is the Force as in “May the Force be with you,” and the old saying, “God gives and God takes away,” has never been more true.

Even now the “financial masters” brainstorm, devise, toss and turn, grasp, and manipulate to prop up that which cannot be propped. Balance is not about how much profit any individual can make (or steal). A true economy is built by those providing genuine services and products of quality, and by the business owner showing gratitude in meaningful ways to their customers, their employees and to earth for her resources and inspiration.

This is a powerful way to honor our Creator.

The Path of Non-Violence

Path of Non-ViolenceThe great spiritual teacher, Paramahansa Yogananda says–I’m rephrasing here–that we humans create our environments with our thoughts, literally. An aggravated mood might bring mosquitoes to us. Fear or anger overtaking a city can stir up tornadoes, or draw a hurricane. (Prayer and meditation have the opposite, calming, effect.) Large-scale acts of violence such as the events of 9/11 can lead to war. The acts themselves do not cause war—our reactions to the events, our thoughts and fervent emotions, lead to war. And, who among most of us doesn’t love payback? I find it difficult to resist the revenge-stories where a father goes after the perpetrators who killed his wife or child.

My children are familiar with the teachings of the Bible because they were raised in Catholic school. Jesus’ words, ‘If a man strikes you, turn the other cheek to him,’ were in a reading at mass one day, and that night my eldest (as a fourth-grader) asked, “Mom, do we really have to just take it if someone punches us?” At the time I said, “You have to protect yourself. You can’t stand there and let someone beat you.” I thought ‘turn the other cheek’ had no practical application in our world.

I didn’t understand then that Jesus’ words are about forgiveness, not cheek punches. I still believe we have to protect ourselves if someone attacks us, although I did once ask myself, “What would Jesus have done if punched?” I was reminded that He offered no resistance when arrested, beaten and forced to carry heavy wood on His back to His own death. “Ohhhh,” I thought. “I see.” To this day, I can’t comprehend the totality and impact of His sacrifice.

There have been others who gave their lives to the path of non-violence, such as Martin Luther King, whose great life we remember today, but it is certainly not natural to us. Think of the Protestants and the Catholics, Muslims and Christians, or the people of Israel and Palestine. You killed my daughter, my wife, my mother, my son. You will pay. Just when we believe a compromise/solution has been reached, a crazed retaliator starts everything up again, and the families of the latest victims commit to retribution until their dying breaths.

So, will our world ever be a peaceful world? Something would have to shift in our consciousness. We’d have to commit to non-violent solutions and to action. We’d have to expand our minds to realize every soul on Earth has the same hopes and dreams we do: to live in a loving family in a safe home, and to find fulfilling work within a cooperative, positive society. We’d have to plan to secure a future for our grandchildren and their grandchildren, and show great care now for Mother Earth in the choices we make. If our consciousness expanded, we’d choose the path of non-violence. We’d be the one who says, “I’m listening. Please tell me your side of the story. Let’s work this out together. I forgive you. Can you forgive me?”

Related Post: Man of Peace

To Turn Around and Look Up

yellow flower  blue sky hdrEvery breath we take is a gift, a gift granted and monitored by a Force so inexplicably generous and kind, we can’t even imagine it. Every moment in the here-and-now is a gift so grand, it cannot be measured. We move about in our lives: We go to bed and rise, we work and play, love and fear, we try to be good or try to be bad–whatever—but we are ill equipped to fully realize the grace we’ve been given.

Even when we give thanks to God for our lives, really meaning it, it is a small thing in relationship to the gift. We are like characters in a play, in which we struggle with not knowing who we are, where we come from, or how the heck we got here. And life itself seems to suck up the very time we are given for seeking our answers. We can’t even get enough sleep.

There is more, though, hidden beyond a window with the shade pulled down. We notice it every so often because a very bright light pours in from around the shade’s edges. Sometimes we decide we’re going over there to check it out, but the phone rings, or our eldest shoves her brother off the top bunk, or our report is due at 7:30 sharp and if we know what’s good for us, we’ll get it done!

Thus is life. It’s busy. But it is meant to be more. When things get really hard, we need to know that God is with us. We may feel lost in the crowd, but our Creator holds each of us in the palm of His hand. All we have to do is turn around and look up. God is always with us, ever present, never absent, but because He gave us the power to choose our own path, we have to ask for help. Sometimes the problems are bigger than us, the losses too great, and we simply have to let the shade up.

Drawing Native Wisdom Cards and Review of the Book “MEDICINE CARDS”

I’ve written about love and compassion here quite a bit, so it’s to be expected that I would have to face my own fears and shadow self, and see my own doubts and then, to be honest with myself and you, share them along the way. Though my childhood in this life would not be called easy, I sense that I brought some darkness with me, a darkness that has shown itself as nagging doubts about my self-worth, my spiritual commitment and whether or not I am truly loved by God. In the past, the feeling has come as an overwhelming wave of self-hate. I’m writing about this because this blog is a part of my journey.

The blue box of Medicine Cards

Years ago I made a necklace that came into being looking like a simple Native Indian work. It prompted me to pull a box off my bookshelf book called Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson, which includes a wisdom-book and a smaller box of Medicine Cards, painted by Angela Werneke, of a variety of animals. Drawing the cards from the deck with a spiritual purpose, I am tapping into Native Indian philosophy and wisdom.

The authors of Medicine Cards explain,

“Our intention, as shamans and healers, is to begin a process for many people who have never understood their connection to Mother Earth and her creatures … [and] of what it means to walk in balance on the Earth Mother. Our dream animals have asked for our assistance in spreading the understanding that all life is sacred.

When calling on the power of an animal, you are asking to be drawn into complete harmony with the strength of that creature’s essence. Gaining understanding from these brothers and sisters of the animal kingdom is a healing process and must be approached with humility and intuitiveness.”

I had used this book before and looked through a bunch of files and I found my notes, dated April 24, 2001. That day, I found my nine Totem Animals (guides that remain the same for a lifetime); used the Pathway Spread to learn about life-lessons patterns; and the Moon Lodge Spread, to learn the state of my personal unconscious, to uncover the lies and self-deceptions I had been using to thwart my spiritual growth. I guess that explains why I didn’t pick up the book again until ten years later. Chicken wasn’t one of the totem animals, but, cluck-cluck, it applies here.

I looked inside the book and found another spread called the Medicine Wheel. ‘Medicine’ in the Native Indian way is defined in the book as:

“Anything that improves one’s connection to the Great Mystery and to all of life…Medicine is also anything that brings personal power, strength, and understanding. It is the constant living of life in a way that brings healing to the Earth Mother and all associates, family, friends, and fellow creatures…it is an all-encompassing ‘way of life,’ for it involves walking on the Earth Mother in perfect harmony with the Universe.”

Wow–walking on the Earth Mother in perfect harmony with the universe. How many of us walk in this manner, giving thanks to the Great Spirit for everything in our lives and to the animals and plants who give their lives to become our food? It is a worthwhile goal, one I hope is not impossible.

The Medicine Wheel spread is used to reflect on the personality and to see how we learn from ourselves, other people and animals. Sounded good to me. After shuffling, I drew five cards and placed them on a table in the four directions, East, South, West and North and one in the center, which is the Sacred Mountain Card. Each direction has its own meaning.

There are two messages for each card, one if the card is right-side up when you pull it out and one if the card is upside-down, which the authors refer to as ‘Contrary.’ My shadow-self doesn’t want to share the cards I drew, but my Higher Self does:

**The first card, East, represents where our spiritual strengths lie and the challenges to seeing clearly in the present situation.

EAST: Moose. Is about not needing approval, and experiencing the joy of a job well done, about the joy in giving encouragement but also in warning. Moose is about a new sense of self and accomplishment. Contrary Message: Ego can ruin a sense of accomplishment. It is about tooting my own horn and failing to be interested in others. It is a need to recognize that everyone is a teacher for everyone else, and there is a need to grow quiet for a while to let wisdom enter my heart.

**Second is South, with the animal guide helping our inner children learn what we need to nurture and to trust ourselves.

SOUTH: Blue Heron. Blue Heron indicates an unawareness of who I am and where I belong. Follow intuition and begin the journey of self-realization. Low self-worth and self-pity means I will never truly understand my true potential. A lack of courage in facing the critical enemy within. See my motives, actions, feelings, dreams, goals, strengths and weakness. Contrary Message: Too much self-reflection can lead to self-obsession. If criticizing self, watch out! It is imprudent to drown the sense of joy that accompanies the journey of self-discovery. Perfection leaves no room for being human. Our most valuable lessons are learned from our mistakes. Balance the desire to change with gentle discernment. Dive deep into feelings and emerge renewed, not judgmental, rigid, and flat, which breaks the spirit. Do not expect to find the many layers of truth and wholeness in one dive. Don’t hold my breath for enlightenment or let the collective feelings of humanity drown me.

**Third is West, showing the internal solution to present life challenges and what we need to reach our goals.

WEST: Dog. Serving others or humanity in some way. The guardian embodies the loving gentleness of the best friend with the protective energy regarding territory. Delve deeply into my sense of service to others. Have I forgotten that I owe allegiance to my personal truth? Have the opinions of others jaded my loyalty to a friend? Have I ignored someone who is trying to be my friend? Have I been loyal and true to my goals?

**Fourth is North, which integrates the other cards and is the key to walking in wisdom by connecting to our highest purpose and intentions.

NORTH: Antelope. Knowledgeable action. Symbolizes the antenna of the hair, which attaches us to the Great Mystery. Action is the key and the essence of living. Antelope medicine gives strength of mind and heart. Call on antelope when balled up. Antelope sends ingenious solutions. Antelope indicates a higher purpose and forces action for self, family, clan, nation and Mother Earth. It is time—do it now.

**Fifth is the card in the center of the spread; it shows how to see the present as a crossroads of spiritual and physical realities and how they have melded, to show whether or not we are in balance and what to do about it.

CENTER: Deer. Deer is the gentle spirit, filled with love and compassion for all. With love, deer moves the bullies away from the door to the Great Spirit. Creates safety. Contrary Message: Means I’m courting my fears by fighting the internal demons of negative ideas. Need to love myself enough to deeply feel my fears and let them go. The balance to power is the love and compassion of Deer, who teaches unconditional love, accessed from the heart space of the Great Spirit who loves us all.

I really love these cards. With them, for whatever the reasons, I can count on honest guidance from the Divine, even if it’s hard to face. This is a priceless gift and I give my gratitude to Jamie Sams and David Carson, their mentors and all of dear Mother Nature’s Creature-Teachers. Thank you, Friends.

Medicine Cards is a book of sincere and profound wisdom, for all who want to see the truth of our personalities and our spiritual natures; and to make more meaningful relationships with nature.

The Beautiful Glowing Man

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! May the Spirit of Love bless you and yours in 2016.

Photo courtesy of kimberlydefining.files.wordpress.com

Photo courtesy of kimberlydefining.files.wordpress.com

P.S. — This is how I think of the great and loving Being of Jesus, the Christ:

God, he was beautiful. His skin almost glowed; his features were perfectly symmetrical. It was impossible to look into his eyes without your heart skipping a beat. Was he a magician? Some thought so, because he looked into their souls and they felt it, a measuring of sorts. “Who are you?” his eyes asked. “What is important to you? How have you lived?”

He was a teacher of Life–of the things of permanence. Oh, he loved his family, even had a profession and friends, but only a small group really wanted to be with him. He was from another world and sometimes things got spooky, like when he read their minds. It took courage to stay with him, and a desire to see beyond what we humans experience in our bodies.

Life was hard, but he wouldn’t listen to rants. He talked about love and forgiveness, healing and wholeness. “Let me show you,” he’d say, and they’d sit together around a fire and listen to his stories. He seemed to be asking them to ignore their problems, to live and think in a whole new way, to express thanks to God for everything, even their suffering. That’s when people stomped off. “I will not!” they’d shout. “If God loved us, these things wouldn’t happen!”

“This world,” he would say with a sweep of his arm, “is not the real world. This is only a play, created by your desires and thoughts. Only those aligned with this world are born here, for we are what we think, what we believe. How could you be born elsewhere when this is what you believe?”

“Close your eyes for a moment.” He spoke and stories unfolded in their minds’ eyes. “Love and peace are gifts of your Father in Heaven. Once you open your minds and hearts to His gifts, you will go and share them with others and they will do the same. My great Love for all of you is now your Love to spread. My work to heal the warring within you and in the world is now your work. In this way, the world will one day be healed of war.”

“The world will be healed of war?” a man said, astonished. “That’s impossible!”

“Divine Love is irresistible, as is my Father’s invitation to come Home. Your hearts long for this more than any other desire and they are being made anew, changing the light in the world. Does this answer your question?” he asked.

“It is an answer, but I’m not sure I believe it.”

“Stay with me,” the beautiful, glowing man said, smiling, “and you will see it.”