I've been pondering how best to bring some calm into the current state of affairs in the world. As I often mention, the first step is to look within. That is precisely what I do every day. I cannot change the world, however, I can change what I see in myself that needs attention: more love, forgiveness, hope, clarity, joy, whatever word fits the reflection in front of me is what needs attended.
Some days it easier to see what I need, other times what I see doesn't feel so good and a sense of sadness may linger in my heart. I mean, I'm only one person on a planet of millions of people, what makes me think I can do anything to bring peace in Ukraine? And, on a more local level, how can I correct the upheaval that exist in our country? How can I discern possible options? I mean, what reporting is the most reliable source? It is at those times I look in the mirror and take a really good look into my own eyes. At 73 my view of the world has seen many changes, no, the more accurate word is massive changes! Some days I can hardly recognize the world I live in. While I have always been curious about other people's perspectives, I have always listened with an "ear" for the underlying theme. That is, what common thread am I hearing from the various viewpoints might contain some of the basic philosophy that I have? Better yet, perhaps something they share may move me in a deeper appreciation and understanding of myself and the world.
It takes time to sift the "wheat from the chaff," in order to find that common thread. Because every person has their own unique way of viewing life, one conversation is merely a beginning point. If we are to begin healing the wounds of our bleeding culture, if we are to help those in Ukraine, we must take an honest look in our mirror every day and ask ourselves what we see. "Am I happy?" If the answer is "no" or "sorta" follow that up with, "What do I need?" If the answer is "yes," smile at that reflection., and state the things that have contributed to that happiness. Whatever the response is, have an honest conversation about what in your life contributes to that "yes" or "no," and follow it by asking why or how that can be changed or continued.
Look in the mirror each morning and ask yourself how you're doing. Some days may not be so pleasant, and those days are tremendously important to your growth. We are human beings, every day provides an opportunity for us to get to know the person in the mirror. We cannot help others until we have love and respect for our reflection.
Ukraine has been on my heart since the onset of this devastating war, and the feelings I have had most definitely influenced my actions. Some days I felt such a depth of despair for those children and parents, it consumed my day. It was then my heart told me, to look for the common thread, and you know, I found it. It's gratitude! Gratitude for the many blessings, privileges and opportunities all of us have living in a free country.
We are in a great time of change on our planet, and it seems the conflict is largely due to the "personal rights," rather than "the rights of all." That old saying, "United we stand, divided we fall," is being demonstrated through the actions all over the world. It's a "me" rather than a "we" point of view. I believe in speaking up for what is important; however, consider the energy in which you are taking action. Is it from a place of peace or strife?
Maybe, just maybe, we can send love, respect and the spirit of cooperation to the reflection in the mirror as way to help bring "united" back to our country rather than wasting our time pointing the finger as someone to blame. I can think of no better way to help Ukraine, then to sincerely see the loyalty, dedication and commitment to honor, respect and love their country than to begin within to see the part we play in the state of affairs of our heart, our homes and our country.
And, a big P.S. The Wisdom Circle is this Thursday, May 19 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Lodge. It takes all of us to grow in strength, courage and wisdom! Bring an open heart, cover for your lap, your favorite cushion and a friend and join us. To honor the women who came before us, we ask that women wear a skirt, or bring a sarong. ( We have plenty of cushions and sarongs if needed.)
From my heart to yours, Vicky
This Sunday offers each of us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the one that brought us into the world. She was the "space ship" we inhabited while our physical form took shape for life on planet Earth. It was a warm, moist place that offered us our first experience with love. And then the space became cramped and we found our way to a new location that was bright, noisy and filled with busy energy. People fussed with us, measured us, weighed us, and finally wrapped us tightly in a blanket, complete with a hat! Can you imagine our first impressions outside our mother's womb?
It was our mothers that first taught us about love. Whether that "mother" took the shape of an aunt, grandmother, or adopted mother, we first learned about the world from our mother figure. Indeed, mothers can be gentle, kind, stern and often demanding, and yet, that first connection while in our mothers womb became our first "soft place" of comfort. It is our mothers that can "kick us in the rear" and help us learn how capable we truly are. And, whether we liked how she did it, deep down inside we knew we were loved.
This Sunday, might be the perfect time to remind our mothers how grateful we are they brought us into existence. Despite the trials and errors here on Earth, there is beauty, adventures and a never-ending opportunity to know more about love, resiliency and an unshakeable belief that Earth offers us a fabulous place to learn and play. If your mother resides in heaven, be assured she hears your prayers and still offers assistance when your requests are made. And, let's remember our daughters or daughter-in-laws who gave us our grandchildren. A simple note, basket of flowers, box of chocolates, or gift card to a spa are a few ideas that offer a note of gratitude for the love they offer to their families.
Another gift idea is to drive down to the Morgan County Library in Martinsville, this Saturday, May 7 from noon - 2:00 p.m. and purchase, "Head to Heart Talks: Walking a Sacred Path." If the mamas in your life enjoy a good book, they'll love this one! It offers a wealth of teachings that will assist the reader through the cycles and stages of life. It also provides simple ways to reflect on our life with "gentle eyes" at the choices we have made, in order to see what we learned. It is then we can forgive others and ourselves, move on, and carry those wisdoms forward as we grow and move through our lives.
From my heart to yours, Vicky
Have you ever experienced a profound betrayal by someone you cared deeply for; or perhaps, you betrayed someone? Whether you are on the receiving end or the one wounding another, once the harm is done, recovery from the experience takes a great deal of time and effort. Suffering is the consequence of a betrayal for both parties and the first step is to take responsibility for your actions.
When betrayal is among close friends or intimate partners both parties have to begin the healing by looking in the mirror and asking, "What part did I play in this situation?" It takes great courage to be that honest, especially when you were the one betrayed. When a heart is broken, trust is lost, and that takes time to move through experience. Whatever underlying reasons for the betrayal, both parties will move through the grief process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Yes, the betrayer will move through this process as well. They will have to witness the loss and pain their friend or loved one experiences and accept it was their actions that created their pain. Most generally, they will also experience a great deal of shame and guilt that will need to addressed for the healing to move forward. A piece of each person's soul is damaged when betrayal occurs, and the only way to move through the healing process is conversation and a commitment for both parties to be truthful and honest with their feelings that led up to the offense. Psychologist generally define forgiveness as, "A conscious, deliberate decision to release feeling of resentment or vengeance toward the person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness."
First and foremost, each party must look within their own heart. This is best done with a mediator, counselor, or trusted spiritual leader. Friends and family members may offer support; however, a trained neutral party is the most effective way to find a way through the deep wounds of betrayal.
In essence, forgiveness begins within. Each party must take a careful look at the past wounds that may have contributed to the behaviors that led to the situation. Then each person must take responsibility and find a way to redeem their actions and seek a way to forgive themselves, and their friend or partner. In some cases, one of the parties may decide it's too unforgivable and leave the relationship. If that is the case, the one willing to forgive can continue to do the work to forgive themselves for the part they played in the breakup of the relationship and regain confidence to move on in their life. When forgiveness is given, each person is set free to choose the life they want, either together or separate, as a healed, whole person.
Redemption; "an act of redeeming or atoning for a fault or mistake, or the state of being redeemed." This Easter Sunday spend a few moments looking at the blessings in your life. What "sacrifices" have you made for your well-being, and for your families overall happiness? What have you done that perhaps caused a conflict, argument or some sort of riff with others? Did you tell a "white lie," or blurt something out because you were stressed or angry with someone else, yet the person you love was standing in front of you and you snapped back at something they asked you that had nothing to do with your frustration?
Being human and in relationship provides a great deal of practice for us to be our authentic self, which sometimes isn't so pretty. We often project our own insecurities and areas that need growth onto someone else. It is easy the see another's faults. Matthew 7:5 states, "first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eyes."
Easter is a time of birth, newness, dying to something that is no longer useful to you so there is room for the growth to emerge. It also represents the power of sacrifice for the good of others, and demonstrates that death is only temporary. If we live in right relationship with others, we will rise above those old ways and emerge a stronger, more wise person.
It all begins within! Set aside some time to take an honest look at those you may have offended, and Take Responsibility for your actions! Own your actions and make amends for your behaviors. Your relationship with yourself and others will grow IF you follow-through with what needs to be done to correct your behaviors. Probably the biggest gift will be the rebuilding of trust, in yourself and with the one you offended. Take the gift of Easter and allow the Christ consciousness of unconditional love and service to humanity to open our heart. It is Redemption that opens the door to Forgiveness!
The word sacrifice is basic to almost everything of importance: care, love, religion, warfare, loyalties, patriotism, religion, gift-giving, friendship, relationships and morality are but a few descriptors. Of course, as with any word, it is subject to the personal interpretation or meaning to the one speaking and the one listening. We have all experienced drastically different perspectives when attempting to communicate with someone. We say something with a clear intention and much to our surprise the look on the face of the one we are speaking to indicates they heard something else from our words.
Let's use the Latin meaning, for sacrifice, sacrare, which means "to make sacred." If we intend to enhance a relationship, whether personal or professional, it is important to know precisely what we want to say, that is, what message do we wish to convey. If we see everything in our life as a sacred moment, we will be mindful of our words. To do this we must take time to sit in a quiet space and listen to the voice of our heart. Just as important is to know the person to whom you are speaking. What is important to them, what areas are they more sensitive, or passionate about that differ from your views?
Sacred moments offer us the opportunity to view life with compassion and understanding. It begins with you. What biases and prejudices do you have? We all have them whether we want to admit it or not. And, it's okay, what harms our relationships, and eventually our self-esteem, is not being aware of those areas. The Clan Mother, Looks Far Woman, offers us the opportunity to use the month of April to spend some time to "See the truth" beyond our human experiences to what our tender souls may need. When we came into the world we were pure spirit, after many walks around the Medicine Wheel of Life, conditions taught us a different perspective of who we are and what this life is all about. Adjustments are needed to be in balance with who we truly are.
This Saturday, April 16, at 2:55 p.m. is the next Full Moon. It is referred to as the Pink Moon because of the pink ground phlox and moss pink herb are among the earliest widespread flowers in spring. The Full Moon represents the divine feminine, our emotional world within. With the assistance of Looks Far Woman, we are given the opportunity to end habits, cycles and relationships that are harmful to our overall well-being.
In the Christian faith, Easter represents the sacrifice made by the son of God, Jesus for the good of others. In our current world, we are witnessing the sacrifices being made with the people of Russia as they witness the destructive behaviors of other in their country, and the multitude of Ukrainian's as they watch their country and their family and friends being destroyed.
Take a few moments and really consider, what can YOU do? What sacred moment can you set aside to send prayers for those living through this event in real time, and balance that prayer with words of gratitude for what you have in your life. It may seem like a sacrifice of your time; however, your sacred moment becomes a wide spread sharing of love and compassion with others, and contributes to more sacred moments all over the world. From my heart to yours, Vicky
As we begin the week of Easter, now is a good time to examine three important aspects of this Holy week. Whatever your personal spiritual path, to many in the Western world, this is a very sacred time. This week, let us consider three words: Sacrifice, Redemption and Forgiveness. Take some time this week to really sit with your heart and discern what those three words mean. I'll share my understanding over the next couple of weeks.
In the meantime, set aside some time, if only ten minutes each day to feel in your whole being what you understand those words to mean and how they affect your life. From my heart to yours, Vicky
Gracious, what a wonderful weekend we've been given. It has been a delight to get a Taste of Spring! Kids were walking around the neighborhood, bicyclers, Harley riders, and golf carts tooled around the small community around me. And, I could swear the grass is greener! For those that have large lawns to mow, I'm certain they were in their garages tuning up their lawnmowers. With all the sunshine I noticed all the fuzz bunnies that were hidden during the cloudy winter months. Spring cleaning offers me the opportunity to really notice everything in my home. It also provides an opportunity to really appreciate the things I often overlook that add warmth to my home and to my heart. As I type this, I hear my neighbor and his "band" warming up for the spring and summer seasons. It is always a sure sign of warmth when they begin serenading the neighborhood.
As we begin another walk around the Medicine Wheel called Life, consider spending a bit of time reflecting on what, you personally, would love to do this next round. We plant in the spring, tend the weeds, then in the summer begin to enjoy the growth in front of us. If we live in a neighborhood, I'm certain this time of year offers everyone the opportunity to observe the growth of the children that came during the winter months. Goodness gracious, they do grow like weeds.
By mid-summer, the weeds will be visible and beckon our attention. Whether the "weeds" are in our gardens, or in our neighborhood, it is a time-lapse we can witness in real time. Let's decide this spring and summer to really pay attention to our surroundings. What bushes and trees seem to have multiplied in size? What elder is now riding in a golf cart to keep track of their neighbors; to stay connected to those that have become an "extended family" of sorts?
As we notice those in our immediate surroundings, it might time to really "see" them, to appreciate where they are in their life. Whether they are young children, teenagers, adults, or elders, everyone wants to feel part of something "bigger" outside their homes. In light of what we are witnessing in Ukraine, perhaps it is time to pause and count the blessings we have living in our neighborhoods, and our country. The "Taste of Spring" offers us the opportunity to look outside ourselves and our homes and notice the richness of our lives. Consider: What riches lie in your life, and in your neighborhood?
A dear friend recently shared a personal story about a deep healing that changed her heart in ways she could only imagine. As life so often offers, deep wounds can cut us to the core and leave us feeling a deep void in our hearts that leaves an emptiness in our lives.
It takes great courage to reach out to the ones we have hurt and disappointed through choices we made. It's also a daunting task to truly discern what choice is best for those we love when we feel a "call" or "nudge" to do something completely contrary to the basic beliefs we know to be true. And, yet, the often unrelenting beckoning continues to get our attention.
The choice is always a personal one, and, yet, it also effects the lives of those we love. I guess that is what life is all about; carefully discerning the path ahead while considering the consequences on those we love. It is always about honoring our inner compass and having the faith to move forward.
When a deep love connects people, the relationship may take a bit of a nose dive; however, a new one can be created if we are determined to keep our hearts open. With understanding, honest communications and an unrelenting belief of those relationships, healing can and will occur. That is where forgiveness becomes a Gift. If we will use our past as a reference point, we can look over our shoulder, see what we learned, then bring that wisdom into the present situation. If we drag around old wounds and the stories we told ourselves, we will stay stuck in the past and never fully live in the moment. We will always have a place in our heart that is missing something.
My teacher used to say, "Use Death as an Advisor." Those words are very powerful. Consider for a moment, if there are old wounds in your life that it is time to bring out of the darkness of hurt or confusion and bring to the light of Love. There is no greater Freedom then to have the courage to say, "please forgive me," or "I forgive you." This is how we open the door to fully BE in life, rather than go through the mechanics of life. Through this powerful, courageous act, we can feel the depth of love, joy, and liberation that only forgiveness of ourselves and others can offer. It is truly a Gift to each person's heart and everyone in their lives. What a powerful way to change the world! It is there that personal freedom becomes Freedom for All!
Today is Valentine's Day, and whether you have a partner or are single, it is important to set aside some special time to let those you love know how important they are to you. While we associate Valentine's Day with couples, it really is a day to let those that hold a place in your heart know how much they mean to you. And, keep in mind, it may be a furry friend!
Perhaps you absolutely love the night sky, and are fascinated with the Full Moon. You may even make it habit to do a special ceremony on each Full Moon. Well, that happens this week also. Depending on the clearness of the sky, it will be visible Tuesday night; however, it officially arrives at 11:57 in the morning on the 16th. This Full Moon is referred to as the Snow Moon since in the United States, our heaviest snowfall generally occurs in February.
The Clan Mother, Weighs the Truth, is heralded in with this Full Moon. She is the fair judge of human rights, the Keeper of Equality and the Guardian of Justice. She does not judge our actions, instead teaches us the consequences of our decisions and actions will do that for us.
The Wisdom Circle is this Thursday, the 17th from 6:30-8:00 p.m. and will once again, be held via Zoom. While the strongest and most effective way to get to know yourself and others is to sit across from each other and absorb the energy, the internet certainly helps us continue to gather together despite the weather and driving conditions. If you would like to attend, send me your email address at: firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday evening, and an invite to attend will arrive in your email by noon on Thursday.
All of these events fill the air with Love that will help us connect with others in deep and meaningful ways. And, these connections are what feeds our heart . . . our soul, in profound ways. Perhaps this Valentine's Day the gift of chocolates and flowers can be given from someone who truly knows and loves you, who is invested in your well-being! Of course, that is your Heart! Just ask your Head to be the mastermind of the purchase and see how warm and fuzzy your Heart feels. Remember: The relationship between your Head and Heart is the most precious and important love affair you can have!
Recently someone described one of their partner's strong qualities as Determination. They said their partner is clear about what they want and have the ability to stay focused on that goal. What a beautiful quality to have. Imagine if you will the strength it takes to have the for with all to not lose sight of what you truly desire and aspire to achieve. As I thought about those words, the word Dedication popped into my head. So, as I often do, I looked up the meaning of each one.
It seems Determination is defined as a: firm or fixed intention. an act of making sure of the position, size, or nature of something. An example: She set out with determination to complete the journey. Dedication is defined as: the quality of being dedicated or committed to a task or purpose. An example: "He has a strong dedication to his duties."
I pondered the difference and surmised that Determination is first required to become Dedicated to whatever you Determine is to be important. Once that is clear, then one can become Dedicated to seeing it through. Both are equally important; however, until someone is clear with what and where they want their focus to be, Dedication cannot occur. Which means if you truly want to have something to hold as your purpose, you must first be clear of your intention.
Semantics is an important key to communications. And that is defined as: the meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or text. An example: "such quibbling over semantics may seem petty stuff." However, how "petty" are words when they have the ability to either heal or harm every form of relationships.
To truly have a happy, healthy life, each of us must take a bit of time each day to reflect on our intention for that day, then become Dedicated to have it shows-up in our lives. Do our words match our actions? Are they smooth and round, or sharp and pointy? One of the most important qualities each of us can have is the ability to trust ourselves to "treat people the way we want to be treated." To do this, we need to look in the mirror and, honestly, ask ourselves, "Am I practicing what I preach?" "Am I living by what I espouse to be of importance?"
With so much focus on "personal freedom," these two words are very necessary. If we are going to reunite as a family, community and country, we must Determine our personal intention, then become Dedicated to living it. Just a bit of "Food for thought!" Your comments are also welcomed!
Vicky Kelm Williams
I find people absolutely fascinating!