I was remiss with mentioning the precautions in place to follow the health guidelines and ensure a safe environment for our community and their families.
The Pipe Ceremony: A basket of sanitary wipes, tissues and hand sanitizer will be passed with the Pipe. Disposable gloves are available for those concerned about holding and passing the Pipe. Be certain to pick up a pair before taking your place in the circle for the ceremony. It is your choice how you choose to participate.
Potluck: In addition to your own eating utensils, bring a serving spoon to use with the various dishes others bring, and, of course, your lawn chair. There will be a washtub for cleaning your dishes after the meal. Again, use your personal discrimination and bring any sanitary methods you use to stay healthy. While we will have what is listed above, there may be others items for which you are comfortable.
Fire Ceremony: If case of inclement weather, we will forgo the fire, and return to a circle in the barn. With the assistance of the drum, we will do a dreaming. In preparation for this portion, consider what your heart would like to bring forth in your life and community. Call to the energy of the Summer Solstice to help you reflect on and realize what you need to do to meet your long-term goals and honor what feeds your heart. The summer solstice is the highest point of energy for the year and is represented by the elements of fire, passion, will and drive that can help catapult you toward your goals. If there was ever a day to honor all the love, light and pleasure of our existence, it’s the summer solstice.
Remember to RSVP by noon on Friday. Looking forward to sitting in ceremony on this Summer Solstice evening.
The Gift of Storytelling offers both the one telling the story and the one listening the glorious opportunity to grow. While most of us have similar life experiences, no two people have complete understanding of precisely how a story will be interpreted by the another person. Very much like watching a debate, those in attendance may literally hear the same words and have a completely different perspective of what was said. The skill needed to expand our understanding is to simply listen, without adding our own interpretation as they are telling the story. In most cases, this is quite a challenge since it is almost instinctive to begin interpreting what the person is saying and even more, to begin "painting a picture" of their words. The problem begins when we fill in the rest of the story while the storyteller is still speaking.
Seeking to understand someone requires active listening rather than active head chatter. To develop active listening, try telling the "personal interpreter" in your head his/her's job is simply to remember the details of the story. And, be kind to that personal interpreter, because most of the time it merely wants to identify with the speaker in order to assist the one speaking with whatever story they are sharing. Unfortunately, often the personal interpreter wants to tell their own story; either to shift the focus to them, or to their story they may feel has more relevance or is more important. Of course, the later does little to understand another person; rather, it creates a separation and rarely offers the opportunity to build a meaningful relationship.
As we move through the current situations before us, now would be the perfect time to practice really listening; to really hear what emotions, concerns, frustrations, excitement, or funny situation someone is sharing. When the person is done with their story, reflect back to them what you heard. Doing this provides the speaker the opportunity to clarify whatever you heard that was different than they intended.
This is how we will truly begin to understand others, and ourselves. While we may be very much a like, we still have our own sacred way of viewing life. What an enriching opportunity to learn a new perspective that may deepen our understanding of another human being, who, like each of us, wants to be seen, loved and valued. We really are more alike than we are different, and with respect and trust, relationships can be expanded into a new paradigm that just might change the world!
Memorial Day is May 25, typically this day offers us the opportunity to recognize and thank those that served and protected our country through the military. It is a day to remind us that, “Freedom is not Free,” someone unselfishly laid their life on the line for their country. It was and continues to be through the devotion and dedication individuals step up and willingly risk their lives to keep us safe.
In light of the current pandemic, this year consider all the truly amazing and unselfish people who have stepped up to keep our country safe. There really are no words to acknowledge the tremendous kindness and sacrifice so many have shown. Truly they have displayed what Gandhi meant when he said, “Be the Change you wish to see in the World.” This virus is frightening, however, the emerging acts of kindness and unselfish sacrifice offers hope this world has returned to the basic Truths required to create an abundantly rich, loving community we all wish to see.
There is much to be said about Being Active. Most of the time we hear that phrase we conjure up activities that require physical activity; however, Being Active may be simply sitting still. Try sitting in silence for 5 minutes and see how active your mind becomes. The mental gyrations our mind goes through in an attempt to be still is, well, exhausting. Somehow when the body is not in motion the mind seems to take it as a cue to take over and help us "stay fit."
This fitness is one that offers us a plethora of ideas for what to do, how to improve, what to make of what someone said and why they said it. Our mind is in motion to seemingly help us understand life, our partner, children, parents, neighbors, government, boss, coworker and the list goes on and on. It wants to know how to get more of what we want, and why someone else seems to get everything they want so easily.
Of course, one of the most exhausting and often self-defeating exercises is when our mind wants to let us know everything that we did "wrong," condemn us for setting goals and then giving up on them so quickly, and other pertinent information it wishes to bring to our attention that we could have done better. No doubt about it, Being Active can be a futile feat with regards to helping us gain confidence; whether it pertains to our physical, mental and/or emotional wellness.
Try this the next time you sit for even 5 minutes, when you first sit down, ask your mind to use it's brilliance to remember what silence sounds like, and ask it to listen to your heart and remember what you heart has to say. That's it! Just have an intention, pay attention and no doubt you will discover that in addition to physical exercise, your heart can be greatly strengthened by the stillness and silence of Being Active.
If you are receiving this the Tech Magician (Victoria) has once again performed a feat for which I have little knowledge. I have become most grateful through this "stay at home" order for the gifts the tech world offers. I actually get to physically see my family; that's the best medicine yet.
This Zoom meeting offerings have opened the door to satisfying the basic need of love and belonging to the world. To put your eyes on those that touch your heart, beats any medication the medical field can prescribe for lonely and the lack of heart felt connection.
Hopefully, the weather will warm and we can venture out of our homes for a walk in the woods. That, too, offers tremendous connection. To be among the steadfast security of the Standing Ones, and to witness the growth of the foliage guarantees our hearts will be warmed. It further can provide a sense of security that will offer our hearts the opportunity to feel loved and recognized for our presence among these sacred beings.
Life offers a much richer connection when we have the opportunity to actually use our sense of smell, vision, and touch to "feel" that connection. The sound of the wind and touch of its breeze on our skin actually brings the cells on our skin alive! From my experience, our heart will open and offer us the ability to embrace the teachings of hope, resiliency and an unquestionable acknowledgement, that our presence also satisfies a need of the forest . . . to be respected and honored for their gifts.
So, thank you, Victoria, for your innate ability to bring light and love to the world in so many ways, thank you for your willingness to participate in life. Your gifts are many! From my heart to yours, I say, "Thank you!"
On this eve before Easter, now is a good time to consider what you would like to Rebirth in your life. Is there something that you always loved to do and were pretty good at doing, and for some reason that "something" got trumped by something new? Perhaps your commitments and schedule got filled with a new task or responsibility? Life has a way of getting in the way of what special interest or gifts that are put on the shelf for when you retire or have more time. In light of the current situation that has us homebound, perhaps that something could be brought off the shelf.
That something could be a talent, special skill, new book you bought and never opened up or simply a desire you secretly held in your heart. My hunch is you already know what that something is that waits. Perhaps now would be a good time to reach back in your memory bank and consider that something that used to bring joy to your heart. With all the time at home it can't be blamed on not enough time, too many errands or any other excuse. I'm talking about something really near and dear to your heart; perhaps it was a relationship that faded away for all the reasons relationships often do.
Now is always a good time to revisit an old dream, a left behind relationship, or some sort of unfinished business. Maybe you've always dreamed of writing a book, picking up a paint brush, pulling out the old keyboard, or maybe you loved playing in the dirt when you were young; try planting a garden, that's sure to bring new life to your life! Maybe you miss that positive attitude you had many years ago, that some how got lost during a disappointment in life; try looking yourself in the mirror and having an honest talk about changing your perspective. After all, what do you have to lose but that "chip on the shoulder," "expect the worst" face in the mirror. Whatever you choose to re-connect with, or finally get around to, let this Easter Sunday help you rebirth something that enriches your body, mind and soul! And remember, even things that die can be resurrected back to life. Just ask Jesus! You got this!
April Showers bring May Flowers...
Most of us learned that phrase when we were very young. For those of us that live in the North, the showers are a welcomed promise that warmer days are ahead. It is a Joy to witness the blades of green burst through the Earth as the bulbs planted last season begin their journey upward. The sounds of growth can almost be heard as nature offers us the opportunity to learn about the natural cycles of Spring. In light of the current spread of a new, unknown virus, now would be a good time to remember that nature has a way of recycling, regenerating and restoring the natural order of life despite all circumstances. It certainly offers us a reminder that everything in life does find a balance if we will stay calm, hold the light of faith and trust that a divine essence lives in all things. Our task is to remember that Truth and hold it in our hearts. When our minds get into panic, worry, concern, it adds a dark, untrusting energy that will only serve to slow the process, whether it is in our heart, our family situation, our country, or our world. The only remedy is to stand in Faith.
As we witness the growth that is fed and nourished by April Showers, perhaps we can learn to Trust the natural order in our life to rebalance. Maybe we can make the connection with nature and know that given the nourishment of unconditional love and forgiveness every situation we confront will unfold into something beautiful. The Clan Mother, She Who Heals, is the teacher of how to “Serve the Truth.” She states, “Faith is the Robin who sings of spring when the Earth is blanketed in snow.” Let us join together to help this virus be weakened and dissolved by holding to the knowing that just as the beauty of flowers will appear in May, we will begin to witness the restoration of health
to all on Earth Mother.
Gifts of the Moon Cycles
One of the Gifts of this social distancing is the time to learn about topics and mysteries you may have wondered about and not had the time to explore. This is one of mine:
Teachings of the Moon Cycle: This is my abbreviated version of the Moon Cycles. Bear with me as I humbly present what I am just beginning to learn and understanding of their cycles and gifts.
April 7 is our second Super Moon in 2020 and is being called the Super Pink Moon. She will not be pink in color, since her name actually comes from the phlox subulata, a pink flower that blooms in the east of North America. It is said to be the brightest, biggest and best Super Moon this year....imagine the energy she carries! The Full Moon offers us a high energy to consider what we are excited about, what we want to celebrate in our lives. It is a time to “Reflect and Release in order to Receive” what we put into motion with the New Moon, March 24. April 8, the Waning Moon immediately follows the Full Moon; which is the last phase of the lunar cycle. The Waning Moon asks us to slow down and acknowledge what was brought forward, what we let go of and what we want to make room for with the upcoming New Moon, April 22. It is a time of non-action in order for us to assess our emotional and physical space to perform quiet tasks. The Waning Moon follows asks us to “loosen our grip, accept what is, and Trust! Finally, the Waxing Moon follows the New Moon on April 23 and will carry us up to the next Full Moon. The Waxing Moon is a time that will assist seekers with growth and inspired action. Tune into your heart and ask: “What is the universe whispering in my ear?” Remember, actions must be inspired not hard or done rotely.
Hey, FaceTime has a new "Face!" Quarantine has offered even "old people," like me, the opportunity to open up to the world of video chatting. Somehow, seeing someone's face adds a bit more charm and personality to the simple voice calls, which, in my book is better than just texting. With a phone call you can connect to a person's energy; the tone of their voice. While I very much enjoy the promptness of texting, (which helps me write something down when I think about it) it also opens up words to the receiver's interpretation of what we are saying. Of course, most of us realize communication is all about how each person the other's interprets words, however, with audible conversation we hear the tone in which the message is delivered. Texting opens up words to whatever frame of mind the receiver is in at the time in which they read it. In reality the message may have been intended completely different than it was interpreted, and that may create unnecessary stress on both sides.
Well, now we have the gift of video chatting. What a treat it has been to see my grandchildren and great grandchildren face to face. My great grandchildren are 18 months and 10 months, I certainly want to keep my face in front of them so they remember what Granny looks like! I have a friend that lives alone and he had not seen another human for 10 days since he is honoring the quarantine. No one! Now, that can play with one's psyche! So, I walked him through how to do video chatting via he's Android. Since I have an Android it works. FaceTime is for those that have iPhones. Of course, I'm probably showing my lack of understanding such matters, and that's OK. I know many technology savvy people who can walk me through what I need to know. Truth be told, a 6 year old could probably help!
My FB account was hacked some time ago and since I rarely used it, I simply closed it. Well, because of this quarantine, I signed up again in order to use Messenger to video chat with my friends and family that own iPhones. With that said, I'm certain many new faces are appearing on FaceTime that, like me, have the markings of wisdom. It's a joy to share in the 21st century technology that enables all of us to stay connected. It is a gift, I am certain few of us will ever take for granted again. Perhaps this means of connecting human to human will help us also feed our relationships heart to heart. That's the best medicine for any virus, disease, pandemic, addiction .... the list goes on. Perhaps someone will come to your mind that lives alone, or you haven't spoken to in some time that would love to hear from you. You just might find it adds a sweetness to you life as well. Even if they just got out of bed or put a mud mask on their face. Such experiences can lighten our day and offer us the opportunity to shift the focus of fear and concern to one of humor. It just may help all of us to know that we are never completely alone, that is, unless we choose to be! And that is precisely what this pandemic offers us, the opportunity to examine how we move through our lives. What's your Face look like? Hopeful or Fearful? It's your choice.
This morning I am reminded that every event that brings a "disaster," also offers a gift. With the panic and fear we are also offered the opportunity to deepen our understanding of Life. Consider, if you will, much like this toxic virus, those toxic stories we tell ourselves about relationship conflicts; whether they are with family, friends, coworkers, bosses, or people we meet in a grocery store who are taking more than they need for 14 days or even 30 days during this time of social isolation due to the coronavirus. How quickly we begin a story in our head about what might happen, how someone over reacts, misinterprets, misjudges our motives, or whatever communication word we use when a conflict occurs.
Most likely the story does not begin with, "Once upon a time," nor does it have an happy ending. Instead, not so pleasant descriptive words of the person generally begin our story, and end with some sort of judgment word that is less than favorable about the person's actions and character.
As we confront what is in front of us with this current unfolding of a new and unfamiliar virus, now might be a good time to consider looking in the mirror at your personal reactions. Is your story adding a positive, hopeful spin on the situation or is your view one of despair, fear, and pointing the finger at who is to blame for the situation? Or, how we're ever going to recover from the financial devastation, and who's going to pay back all the federal money being offered to support those in need? Such questions are important to consider since having our head in the sand and our rear exposed does little to find realistic and solvable solutions; however, the issue to examine is our reaction, our story we create in our head.
Perhaps if we choose to focus on all the tremendous love being shared by our neighbors, churches, employers, employees, government and charitable organizations will help us pause to consider the often overlooked kindness that underlies the actions of the masses. IF we will "begin within" to examine our contribution to the environmental energy being emitted while confronting and witnessing this mysterious virus, we might find the gift this virus offers. We have the personal isolation time to reflect on our priorities, examine the stories we create in our heads and discover the underlying energy we carry towards our family, friends, communities and government. We all need each other. All of us love someone and want their lives to be rich and full; including our own. We all want our world to be safe.
When I learned to type in middle school, the practice sentence was: "Now is the time to come to the aid of our party." I offer this practice sentence to carry through the next few weeks and/or months (or perhaps your life), "Now is the time to come to the aid of our world!" May our hearts open to the opportunity put before us to re-examine the stories we create in our head and ask ourselves if it carries a message of hope, faith and a knowing that we are more alike than we are different! It is then we will see and feel the gift such "disasters" offer for us to re-member our heart's purpose. With that remembering we will know precisely what we have to contribute to the world we wish to see.
What an absolute delight to see Grandfather Sun's face visible in the sky! It seems to me those of us in Indiana have had an abundance of gray days this Winter. The gray days can offer us an opportunity to notice and really feel the gray areas of our hearts and lives, if we take the time. I used to think gray was so "blah" and being a person who absolutely loves color, consecutive gray days meant . . . well, "blahness!" (If there is such a word!) Black and white offer a contrast; and gray, well it's just so neutral. It took a really gray winter this year to help me understand and appreciate the gift this color can add to our lives, IF, we are open to taking a closer look at the emotions and feelings this neutral color offers.
The Sun shine of my heart literally shed light on all the emotions I felt this winter. And, with the brightness of the Sun, I see more clearly that through the "neutral" days this Winter, many hidden hurts and really old wounds were brought through the light of my heart. That is to say, all my "pick me up" tools came out of the tool box, were cleaned, oiled, sharpened, polished and used during this long gray, neutral Winter.
What a gift sadness can be if we choose to use it to uncover its presence and give it the quality and quantity of time to remember what happened that placed it in our hearts. Most importantly, during those carefully examined sad times, hold respect for the strength it took to summons the courage to bring light to what we learned from that old wound. All too often we squirrel away such painful memories only to have them linger in our subconscious mind, waiting to be of used. Unfortunately, we often ignore such memories, even though the rear their head from time to time to remind us they are still there. From this hidden place, they serve to remind us to, "Trust no one," "Be cautious and suspicious of everyone," and this list goes on.
Whatever words and phrases that are uniquely ours that we use to keep our hearts safe from further being hurt, identify them; why they are there and what they serve in your life. Unfortunately, these words and phrases keep us from the very thing we all want and need to fully experience life . . . to live with Love, self-worth, pursuing dreams and an unyielding appreciation for the beauty all types of relationships have to offer.
There is much we can learn from the squirrel family. They instinctively gather and stock pile morsels of leftovers left on the grounds and safely store them away in hidden places until such time they need the nourishment. They bring forth these treasures of goodies to share with their families, and those in need, to assist them through the often unpredictable Winters.
As Grandfather Sun promises his face will be in full view very soon, now might be a good time to accept the next gray day as an opportunity to look more closely at what "neutral" experience may be "squirreled" away in your heart. Perhaps the wisdom of the squirrel will remind you that someone close by may be willing to share what they have gathered during such times as you are experiencing. Just remember, other people's experiences may be different from yours, so if their words don't seem to fit what your heart needs, simply thank them for sharing their heart's experience with you and appreciate the courage it took for them to share such a personal heart felt experience.
Be like the squirrel and store their words of support into your tool box. It just might be their morsel of wisdom will prove to be the precise tool you need when another situation comes up in your life. "Let the Sun shine in" from the words that were shared with you, that you might bring them forth on the next gray, neutral, day that you courageous step toward a squirreled away experience!
Vicky Kelm Williams
I find people absolutely fascinating!