Let's consider for a few moments what Personal Freedom means, who defines it, and how we know it when we see it.
Obviously Personal Freedom is just that . . . personal. The answer is in the word Personal; only you can define what it means. It is based on your personal beliefs of freedom. Your experiences from childhood to your current age created your concept of Freedom. It is from that vantage point you determined what Freedom looked and felt like. It is your perception and yours alone. If you had siblings who lived in the same home, they may have an understanding of Freedom from an entirely different perspective. Just as no two snowflakes look the same, so no two people have the same perspective or understanding of nearly every human experience. Every human being views life through their own unique "lens."
It is through that lens we create the ideas of "right" and "wrong," "good" and "bad." Armed with those basic beliefs we assign a value to nearly every thought, idea and action of ourselves and others. That is when we become the Judge and Jury of ourselves and others, and from that vantage point we create the "Grand Separator" within ourselves and with others. We have now set the stage to view life as a court room. There's a victim and a victor, winner and loser, and we must go through life always defending ourselves or feeling hopelessly abused.
How about this 4th of July, 2022, we view the fireworks as a new beginning. A time to pay attention to our thoughts, words and actions and with gentle eyes notice ways we are both Judge and Jury of ourselves and others. Is there Personal Freedom living under the scrutiny of the Judge and Jury within ourselves and from the Judge and Jury within those with whom we encounter? Consider how much energy is spent watching, and judging every thought we have and every word spoken from others. We continually in the court room putting ourselves and others on trial.
I have an idea! How about using the beauty displayed in the fireworks and the strength of energy released with the powerful explosion of colors to help us change what needs changed in order to live each day fully Free? How will we know everyone has Personal Freedom? We'll know it by observing how each person respects his-herself and each other; when we view each person we encounter as worthy of the same God given gift to be Free as we wish to have. When we are more kind and gentle with ourselves, and with those around us, including the animals and all of nature that live on this magnificent Earth. This is when we will know what Personal Freedom looks and feels like. Consider: Would such a change bring about a more peaceful, harmonious world?
Here's a participation activity for you, the reader: Raise your hand if you want more Personal Freedom. OK, Now raise our hand if you want things to stay as they are.
From the show of hands, Personal Freedom has taken center stage. And that stage is the boundless love and beauty of all the inhabitants on sweet Earth Mother living in right relationship with each other!
As we gather with our friends and family this July 4th, consider each person as a separate and unique human being. All too often we mingle with our circle of loved ones, enjoy the usual summer favorite foods and chat about what's happening in the world. Oh, we may ask how Uncle Fred is doing after his accident, and how Aunt Myrtle is attempting to keep up with everything he needs. Of course, we'll comment about how the young ones have grown, ask how the teens are doing in school, and whether the newlyweds are planning a family in the foreseeable future. These days politics take center stage, everything from gas prices, inflation, whose fault it is we're in such a mess and the list goes on. The truth of the matter is we're all tied to the state of affairs in our country and in the world. The "old folks" continue to comment about how today's world doesn't look like the one they grew up in; that's to say, it was much simpler and less confusing, while the middle-aged folks talk about how they're ever going to be able to retire with all the financial chaos. Meanwhile, the younger ones stay plugged into their headset while their heads bob back and forth to whatever music their listening to, while the other young one's stare at their phones as they move their fingers at warp speed texting or playing games. Indeed, the holidays are interesting times.
The Fourth of July offers us the opportunity to have our gatherings conclude with fireworks. With only the ooh's and ah's, everyone is quiet and wide-eyed watching the beautiful display of colors, shapes and various sizes of the fireworks. Rarely do you hear someone talking during these amazing displays of wonder and beauty. Truly, there is nothing more lovely than witnessing how such marvelous displays could burst from the fireworks being shot from a simple container. If for only a few moments a group of people are focused with amazement at something that stirs their emotions from deep within. What a wonderful reminder that despite what is going on in our communities, our country and in the world, a simple display of fireworks can move us to a common place shared by those around us at that moment and time.
Perhaps this year when you gather with your family, you might really look into the eyes of those sitting around the table with you. How are they feeling behind the words they say? Do they seem happy or does something seem "out of sorts?" It's not our job to analyze anyone, and certainly not to judge how they feel. It's simply an opportunity to sharpen our observation skills. Truth be told, after two years of social distancing, a hug might be the best medicine everyone needs. Of course, smile first, then offer them a hug, they may not be comfortable with that yet; but you can bet that smile offered them something!
While you are at the fireworks display, consider turning your eyes away for a few moments to observe those around you. Really look at the expressions on their faces. My hunch is most people's faces will show a childlike wonder of how something so magnificent is possible. It really is a wonderful world, and perhaps if we can witness that for even a moment, the state of the world will change before our eyes. Rather than noticing the surface stuff, perhaps taking a deeper look would help us notice the uniqueness of each person, while offering us the opportunity to notice the common thread that ties us together. Now, wouldn't that be True Freedom?
In 1909, while attending a Mother’s Day sermon in church, Sonora Smart Dodd felt Fathers were equally deserving of praise. To honor her own father, a Civil War veteran, and widower who raised six children alone, Dodd petitioned for a Father’s Day celebration on June 5th in Spokane Washington. In 1972, under the declaration of President Richard Nixon, Father’s Day officially became a nationwide holiday. Contrast that to the historical record for Mother’s Day.
Following the death of her mother in 1905, Anna Jarvis conceived Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children. And, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson established Mother’s Day as an official nationwide holiday. Interestingly, it only took 7 years for Mother’s Day to become a national holiday, whereas, Father’s Day took 63 years to be recognized as a national holiday!
Perhaps because human beings first reside within their mother’s womb for approximately nine months, they come into the world with a deep connection to their mother. The tremendous physical and emotional requirements to carry and birth a child certainly add to the respect and homage given to Mothers.
An infant’s connection to their father begins when they leave the warmth of the Mother’s womb. If a Father takes an active role in the pregnancy, such as singing and talking to the infant in utero, the infant will become familiar with the Father’s voice. Rubbing mama’s belly will carry the Father’s energy to his child. And, just as vital to the growth of the infant within, is being attentive to the emotional and physical needs of the Mother. Make no mistake; Fathers are every bit as important in a child’s life as is a Mother!
Father’s are often overlooked as nurturers; rather, they are commonly portrayed as “just” the breadwinners and handymen. At least that’s how much of society still views a Father’s role. Thank goodness, that concept has drastically changed! The roles of Mother and Father have become interchangeable, as society has moved from a collective view into more of an individualist view of life. Roles are now defined within each family unit, rather then a specific set of social norms. Today’s parenting tasks are more fluid and less categorized and labeled.
Let’s make this personal and individual to you. This Father’s Day, pause and take some time to consider what your father was to you. For better or worse, what are some of the memories that pop into your head first? Make a list without thinking about it. When you are done, step back and ask yourself how the items on your list affected your life then, and how it affects your life today. If you are a parent, look to see if any of those qualities have shown up in your role as a parent. My Cherokee teacher used to say sometimes you have to “flip the coin.” That is to say, if what behaviors seemed unpleasant, “flip the coin,” and see what that behavior taught you. Often times the very thing that hurt your heart, made you feel yucky, is the very thing that taught you how to be strong, decisive, disciplined and ultimately responsible for your actions. I used to tell students that came from families that were distant from each other, to “flip the coin” and consider their parents taught them what they need to do differently with their children.
This Father’s Day might be a perfect time to speak to your father. Whether he is your biological, adoptive, stepfather or grandfather. Whoever filled that role of Father is the one who helped shaped the man or woman you are today. If he is no longer alive, you can still speak to him through your heart. Now is always the perfect moment to have such a heart to heart talk.
If we can “flip the coin,” and “Be the change,” imagine the freedom we can give ourselves, and our families. Through the not always easy act of forgiveness, comes acceptance and true Freedom! And, who knows your Father might appreciate the bond that ties the two of you together, better than another elaborate tie he won’t wear!
From my heart to yours, I love you, Daddy! And, your ties hang from the ceiling in the medicine room at the Lodge to remind me, “our ties are forever!” ☺ xo
Welcome to a Super week! Tuesday, June 14 at 7:51 a.m. June’s full moon, known as the Strawberry Moon, will come the same day the moon reaches the closest point in its orbit around Earth, called perigee, creating a “supermoon.” In lay terms, a supermoon occurs when the full moon coincides with the moon’s closest approach to Earth in its orbit and in so doing will appear larger than most full moons. July 13 with technically be the closest supermoon in 2022, with August being the last one this year.
Such events offer us the opportunity to go outside, look up, and observe something beyond everyday life. What a massively beautiful universe surrounds our planet! If you are into astrology you already know how the planets influence our lives as they move through the sky. If you are not familiar with astrology, check it out; you’ll learn something that you might find worth exploring a bit further. With a little luck the skies will be clear and we’ll be able to witness this event.
Remember also, the full moon offers us a time to pause and examine the relationships in our lives. Whether it’s a partner, parent, friend, colleague or another significant relationship, it’s always good to take some time to do a “check-in” and see how things are going. Perhaps the most important relationship to take a close look at is the one you have with yourself. With soft eyes take some time to see how things are moving and growing in your life, then consider some options for areas that might need a little more attention. Let the energy emanated from the supermoon help you see clearly what might need tweaked; better yet, what might need some kind words of appreciation rather than criticism. A delicious bowl of strawberries with whipped cream, ice cream, or just plain would be the perfect treat to honor the power of June’s Strawberry Supermoon!
The Wisdom circle is this Thursday, June 16 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. Last month’s circle was led by Grace MacNeil who shared her knowledge of the importance of appreciating the feminine body, specifically, the powerful womb. Everyone in attendance learned valuable teachings and tools for honoring the sacredness of the feminine body. This Thursday, Victoria Williams Steen will offer attendees the opportunity to share what they are learning about, which will be followed by a “rolling dialogue” of questions or comments by other members in the circle. In this way, everyone is a teacher and student. Also, sharing what you are learning helps the teaching to live and resonate deeper into your understanding. Bring a friend, a cover for your lap and an open heart! Everyone is welcome!
Oh, and have a Super Week!
The annual celebration that puts Indianapolis on the map is finally here. Whether you are a race fan, or not, the Indy 500 is an icon all over the world. Mention racing to almost anyone and the Indy 500 is generally the first name recognized. As I sit on my porch swing, enjoying this beautiful spring day, my thoughts go to the almost sacred tradition of the Indy 500. That's correct, I used the word sacred. I've attended and the behaviors I witnessed by many were anything but sacred! And, yet, when the opening events begin many tears and lots of smiles display the sweetness of the event. Specifically, the singing of the "Back home, in Indiana," reveals the depth of devotion and pride of many loyal Hoosiers. It's a "ritual" that deeply touches the heart, and does sacredness not carry the same emotional quality?
This Memorial Day we will honor those that have given their lives with such devotion and pride. Of course, offering up one's life for the good of all ranks high above a sporting event, and yet, to provide a place where people can find a feeling of connection and community is vital in today's world. We need a sense of purpose and pride. Not from the self-importance stand point; rather from a place of belonging. Men and women who have made the decision to be of service to their country understand the meaning of sacrifice for the good of all, and when they felt the nudge to step forward, to "start their engines," they trusted that inner voice.
While this self-less, service to others deserves more than one day to acknowledge him/her, how about we make Memorial Day really special this year. If only for a brief few moments, really try and put yourself in their shoes and imagine what courage and bravery it took to honor that inner call. Consider where our country would be if not for those brave men and women who stood at the starting line, observed the needs of their country and put aside their own inner fears to march into unknown territory.
What's your unknown territory? What have you heard it was time for you to step forward and take action on? Perhaps it's as simple as finally committing to a deeper understanding of life. To finally ask the question, "What's my purpose for being here?" Make no mistake, every person brings a purpose, a dream, a deep desire to accomplish, understand, or transform something while being on this wonderful Earth. What's yours? What sacred moments is it time to honor and respect in your life? Where do you find your connections and community? Listen with the "voice of your heart" and tell your head it's job is to remember what you hear. Then, courageously accept the challenge, step up to the starting line, and listen for the words: "Gentlemen and Ladies, start your engines!" Your life, your family, your community and the world await your gifts!
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
Vicky Kelm Williams
I find people absolutely fascinating!