Sitting at my computer this evening watching the news I was contemplating what I want to share with you this week. As I turned my head to speak with my husband, the sight of him and our dog Sophie cuddling was all the inspiration I needed. Here’s is the picture. He’s sitting in his recliner, Sophie is curled up on his chest like a little baby, sound asleep. Bob is gently petting her head, his own tilted down toward her, his eyes gently closed, their breathing in perfect sync. It is the picture of Love…perfect, complete, and unconditional. The utter softness of it was enough to bring my to tears.
So tonight I am mindful of the unconditional love and trust our little furry family members place in us. The sweetness and gentleness of the love they give and the fact that they ask nothing of us in return. I am mindful of the fact that these little (sometimes not so little) creatures give Love generously, without attachment, simply, and joyfully. And when I look at Sophie curled up on Bob’s chest I feel humble and grateful. And through my tears of gratitude, Sophie inspires me to be just like her. Trusting, Joyful, Generous, and Unconditionally Loving.
STRETCH: Ask yourself, “How can I share love without attachment?”. Take time to notice how you are loved and how you can offer love unconditionally.
Tomorrow is Earth Day. Each year I’m reminded of one that my husband Bob and I celebrated in Washington DC in 1990. It was the year Earth Day went “global” and people all over the world were celebrating our Mother by raising consciousness about how we treat her. We stood in an amazing circle with strangers from all over the country and the world and danced in celebration. We listened to magical stories told by Native Americans; we got up-close and personal with a huge American eagle. We never forgot that day. Today Bob had the opportunity to offer a short presentation on Earth Day to his workmates. He spoke of the history of the day and how it developed, how it caught on in the rest of the world. and how other cultures observe it. Then he spoke of our friend and teacher, Frank Menusan, and of how he speaks of our Great Mother. Frank teaches that in Native American tradition we live in harmony with the natural world; that we are in relationship with all of creation; and not just the two-legged humans but the four-leggeds, the winged ones, the ones that swim in the waters, the ones that crawl on the earth, the tree people and stone people – rocks and minerals as wisdom keepers and living beings – and tree people and plant kingdom living on the earth reaching up and out toward each other. That said we are in Relationship with all of these beings. When we understand that relationship we also understand that we have a Responsibility to our “relations” – our family of brothers and sisters – to take care of each other. When we understand that responsibility we understand that Reciprocity is incumbent on us – to give back, support and sustain all of our “relations”. Earth Day is the perfect time to honor the The Three “R’s” – Relationship, Responsibility, and Reciprocity.
STRETCH: In honor of The Great Mother, the planet Earth, make it a point to keep the “Three R’s” in mind. If you see trash, pick it up and dispose of it. Minimize waste. Recycle. Re-use. Give thanks for the bounty the Earth provides and honor her gifts. Honor the trees, the birds, the fish, the waters, and the rocks. Honor each other.
As spring continues to unfold itself this week in a most unusual way…snow, rain, sun, warmth, wind, more snow…and today sunny and warming again…I’m aware of how my own emotions have been running the identical gamut. Along with turbulent weather changes come some turbulent emotions that can be challenging. What I’ve learned, though, is that eventually it all smooths out and the season and my emotions find their groove again. I am inspired to share this poem from one of my favorite writers with you:
May you awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
May you respond to the call of your gift and find the courage to follow its path.
May the flame of anger free you from falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame and may anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.
May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.
May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.
~ John O’Donohue
I will be preparing for Passover in the coming week, one of the holidays I adore. Passover celebrates freedom and nothing is more precious than knowing we are free from “bondage”. So many of us are in “bondage”…to our past, to our finances, to relationships, to our thoughts, to things that don’t serve us or the greater good. During this week of preparation for telling the ancient story of liberation I am conscious of how I am limiting my own freedom and have chosen to look at ways in which I can liberate myself. And while I do that I will be envisioning freedom for all people in every corner of the world.
STRETCH: Make it a priority to notice how you are limiting your freedom. Ask yourself, “How can I free myself from bondage?”; “Where am I enslaved in my life?”; “In what ways have I given my power away and how can I reclaim it?”. Celebrate your birthright to be free!
We had the occasion to spend time with one of our most beloved teachers this weekend. We don’t see him often, but his influence is felt in our lives daily. He is learned man; a wisdom keeper; a man of great integrity and deep spiritual connection. He is a Native American of the Creek Nation whose people come from the southeastern part of our country. His name is Frank. He is a Pipe carrier and he has mentored my husband who is now also a Pipe carrier. In the Native American traditions The Pipe is a living being that is a direct manifestation of The Creator. One who “walks behind the pipe” must be one who holds no anger in his or her heart. I can honestly say that Frank (whose Creek name translates to “Generous Bear”) holds no anger in his, and my husband Bob (who was given a name that translates to “Friendly Bear”) holds no anger in his. I will NOT be a pipe carrier…admittedly I hold all sorts of anger in my heart. But I’m working on it and have two amazing examples in these two beautiful men. They give me hope. (I’m proud to share that I have been given the name “She Holds The Sun In Her Branches”. I wear this name with great humility.)
Frank spoke about the blessings of Mother Earth and the oneness of all things. He speaks of the “tree people”, the “rock people”, the waters, the sun, and all of Nature. He speaks of the medicine we all bring into our lives when we are drawn to collect things from the natural world like seashells, rocks and crystals, leaves and feathers. These things are gifts from Creator and assurance that all things on Earth are connected. I am always inspired and renewed when I hear Frank speak of these things. And I am always grateful to have this venerable teacher and friend in my life.
STRETCH: Earth Day is April 22nd. Take time to honor our sacred planet. Commit to recycling, picking up trash, conserving water, minimizing your carbon footprint.
Everything is blooming!!! Suddenly all I see are blossoms and delicate soft color everywhere (and pollen, but I’ll stay with the good stuff). The freshness of spring is upon us fully this week in the northeast and I intend to enjoy every moment. In fact, in the spirit of Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way”, I plan to grab my camera and take a drive to one of the beautiful gardens in our area for an “artist’s date” of photography. I had the thought to have this date with myself during the fall color display but never made it. I vowed I wouldn’t miss the spring show so next week my camera and I will be heading out. I might even take myself to lunch.
STRETCH: Think about how you can take yourself outside for a springtime date. Maybe a walk in the park or an outdoor game of frisbee with your dog. Make time for yourself to get out in nature and allow it to refresh your energy field. Breathe in the freshness of spring.