Friday, April 30, 2010

Discovering the Meaning of True Support Through Ceremony

My husband took me on a business trip with him to Washington DC. One evening while we were there, we took his hard-working team out for a nice dinner at one of his team member’s restaurant of choice. We were enjoying a lovely dinner over glasses of wine, when a couple and their child of about 12 sat down at a nearby table.

From then on, I was distracted. I watched with amazement as his mother leaned over to cut a bite of meat for him, which he was struggling with as he attempted to cut, holding the knife in his non-dominant hand. He was sliding all over his seat and chewing with his mouth open. Toward the end of dinner, his mother was putting bites of vegetables on his fork and feeding them to him. Later his mother guided him toward the bathroom.

Now I was a special education teacher for several years and I’m pretty good at recognizing disabilities. I did not see signs that would indicate he was so disabled that he was unable to eat at a table. What I believe I was watching was a mother that didn’t know when to step back from supporting her son to allow him to become a competent individual. It is very possible that her intended support was smothering him from growing up.

We could easily consider a story from the other side of the perspective, where not enough support is provided and young people find themselves burdened with adult responsibilities at very young ages, and therefore do not a get much of a chance to truly be children. I’m sure many of you have experienced this end of the spectrum when you were growing up.

I can’t help but wonder if we really must continue to swing the pendulum back and forth, generation to generation. Is it possible that this mother I was observing got very little support as she was growing up? Or did she receive the overwhelming support she seemed to be giving her son?

Don’t many of us spend a good portion of our lives attempting to find a proper balance? I know I have, as have many of my friends, acquaintances and people I have counseled. So how do we find a way to give proper support to others, especially our children and our loved ones?

In my own journey, I’ve discovered that I’ve got to enlist the help of others around me in getting some perspective about where I am in the pendulum swing. I just can’t see it well enough on my own. I need to know if am over supportive or under supportive most of the time. It is really difficult to see myself objectively, but necessary to finding any sense of balanced relating.

I listen now when someone is letting me know when I’m leaning toward one extreme or the other. In regard to specific endeavors, I’ve learned to pause and ask friends I trust for feedback so that I can get a sense for whether or not I’m approaching someone or a situation with balanced perspective.

And I’ve learned to act upon their perceptions and advice (and stop arguing with them) when they are pointing out that I’m taking on too much or too little in my desire to be supportive.

One of the places I learned to become very attentive to this precious balance is during ceremony. In Native practice, which is where most of my personal spiritual development occurs, I have discovered it is part of the practice to become conscious about what is truly yours to do and what is right for someone else to do. This degree of consciousness I experienced with my Native brothers and sisters was a significant discovery for me.

In spiritual practice, don’t we want to see each other spread our wings? Since most individuals have areas in which they would like to stretch and grow, that means they deserve the opportunity to do so with just enough guidance or assistance to begin and learn, and without anyone taking away their power by doing too much of it for them.

At SpiritQuest, this summer’s week of Native ceremonies, we will spend some time discovering for ourselves where those boundaries exist as we come together in spiritual practice for a week. Out of necessity for harmony and respect for each other, we will need to discover the best ways to offer true support—just enough assistance, but not too much.

I’ll be thinking about the boy and his mother at the restaurant while I’m there—wondering how I over-support and looking for ways to offer true support and empowerment to the family that gathers together. Perhaps you share this same challenge and are looking for a place where you can find your balance. If so, look me up at SpiritQuest!

Personal Invitation to SpiritQuest

Friday, April 23, 2010

Angels All Around Us

I've seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives. ~Tracy Chapman

When I’m looking for angels, I’ve learned to look right into the eyes of people around me. Yes, I do believe there are angels all around us—in the ethers and in physical bodies.

Angels are those people that give me faith in humanity. They are the ones that stop to help someone who is in trouble. They are quick to offer assistance or call 911 when there has been an emergency.

Angels are the ones that help their neighbor, loved one or a friend, before they have even been asked to help. They choose to be of service in whatever way they can. They recognize they can make the world a better place, one choice at a time.

Angels tend to look at seemingly impossible human and planetary challenges and ask themselves how they are going to solve the problems. And they tend to think everyone is as enthused as they are about taking action to make a difference.

They tend to go into challenging situations with their hearts wide open and with unfaltering conviction. Angels save lives and help people every day without any expectation of reward or acknowledgment.

They like to be inspired by touching stories and moments of truth. It isn’t unusual to see an angel with a tear in their eye as they watch someone else discover a wondrous aspect of the Divine for the first time.

Angels see earth as the great frontier of spiritual awakening and freedom. They recognize the sacred nature of earth herself, as well as the animals, plants and humans that live upon her. They know that the Divine is present in all things if we are willing to look and see beyond the surface.

Angels know they are here for a purpose, even if they can’t quite remember exactly what their unique purpose might be. While they know there is a universal mission they are a part of, they also know that if they remain true to their inner guidance, their individual reason for being here will be revealed to them.

They made commitments to be of service to the evolution of humanity and the planet, and they take their commitments seriously, yet with great love and lightness of heart.

Yes, I have met angels that live within the ethers. They are wonderful and inspiring to know! I am equally delighted when I meet one in a physical body. At the New Dream Foundation, we attract lots of angels. Most of the time, we call them volunteers, but I know who I’m really seeing.

10 things you can do to honor a volunteer in your life.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Living With Rather than On Mother Earth

Earth Day is coming up and personally I think it should be a national holiday! After all, this planet is the mother of our earthly bodies and it seems to me she deserves a day in which we do not work and focus our attention on her. While it is not a holiday, it is a day of special focus around the world.

Founded by US Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970, just one year later in 1971, April 22 became a day for global attention and appreciation for the environment when the United Nations celebrated Earth Day. Today, it is estimated that 175 countries and over 500 million people participate in Earth Day events.

Over the years I’ve noticed that we are becoming increasingly aware that we live in symbiotic relationship with Mother Earth, not just on her. What does that mean? The earth follows rhythms of creation that we experience as natural, such as the sunset, sunrise, day, night and seasons. These natural cycles trigger the production hormones and neurotransmitters in our bodies. Hence, our bodies and emotions respond to these natural cycles in terms of sleeping habits, appetite, moods, and more.

Consider how important it is for us to be in balance with these natural cycles known as Circadian Rhythms, as discussed in my book, The Root of All Healing:

“It is a common misunderstanding that earth is a thing we live on to be used to serve our needs. Earth is as alive as we are and we are living in symbiotic relationship with her. When we lose touch with that awareness, we begin living on top of her instead of with her. When this happens we can easily lose touch with our natural rhythms and cycles. Symptoms of being out of sync with our natural cycles, also known as circadian rhythms, include stress, physical tension, emotional frustration, depression...and all of these can contribute to ongoing illness.

The effects of being out of balance with natural circadian cycles is explained in a white paper by Apollo Health Incorporated: ‘In reality circadian rhythms control the timing, quantity and quality of the hormones and neurotransmitters the body produces and eventually secretes. Hormones and neurotransmitters are the elements that determine how we feel, our sleep patterns, our appetite, our sex drive and other sleep and mood related issues. When functioning properly, our circadian rhythms create circadian balance. When out of balance, quantity, quality and timing of hormone and neurotransmitter secretion suffer and our bodies suffer from a circadian rhythm disorder(CRD).’"

One of the most powerful ways I have found to get in sync with my natural circadian rhythms is to spend time in nature. It sounds profoundly simple, and it is. When I have been working late nights, getting little sleep, obsessing about my work, and basically over-doing it, the best natural medicine I have discovered is to get out of the house, out of the car, and put my feet on Mother Earth.” (For more about this and a copy of the book, visit: The Root of All Healing.)

So there it is—learning how to live with the natural rhythms of the earth is good for personal well-being. Living with the Mother is a natural and healthy state, often lost in our rushed pace and life styles that separate us from the earth. Unlike our forefathers and foremothers that lived and worked outside, we may find we need to remind ourselves to get out and get in sync with our Mother.

As we relax into more a more profound rhythm with her it is simply easier and more natural to regard her with greater respect, just as we would respect our own bodies. When we live with her rather than on her, we are healthier and so is she.

Are you thinking you would like to do something special for Earth Day? Here are
15 things you can do from your home or office to celebrate Earth Day.

Friday, April 02, 2010

New Dream Foundation—Inspiring Your Dreams

A New Mission and a New Focus in This Season of Rebirth!

Now that you have a picture of the New Dream family and our original intention from our last article, let’s take a look at what New Dream is inspired to become.

As we celebrate this season and Easter holiday of death and re-birth, and the lesson we can learn from Jesus about complete surrender to one’s Divine calling—I want you to know about the re-birth taking place within me and here at New Dream.

Last October, I was nearly knocked off my feet with a spiritual pull into silence and meditation that I simply had to honor. So, I set aside three days with the Mother Bowl of the Women’s Water Ceremonies and traveled through the spirit of the water into the sacred primordial womb of life.

I sought clarity for direction in my own life and for the direction of New Dream. At the end of three days, I was feeling spiritually squeaky clean and very clear.

Since the direction of New Dream is tied in some part to my own purpose, I would first like to share the clarity I received about my service. Through various means, I am here to invite us into the powerful realm of the Sacred Feminine. I believe that when the Sacred Feminine is regarded with the same devotion as we have honored the Sacred Masculine we will finally know peace.

Whether we are connecting to our Sacred Feminine essence (men and women) by:

Discovering and applying our intuitive wisdom;
Learning to rely on Divine guidance for our healing and the healing of others;
Developing an ability to create life through the energies of holding and allowing;
Expanding our capacity for self and universal compassion;
Recognizing our spiritual gifts as equal to our physical aptitudes;
Discovering the joy of the questions as well as the answers;
Honoring our true spiritual purposes for existence along with our survival needs; or
Experiencing the power of community living and supporting each other in a sacred way;

The Sacred Feminine is longing to emerge through us. The balance is needed in order for us to progress as a species. And the time is now.

During my retreat, the four Grandmothers on the other side of the veil that guide me and many of us in the Sacred Path of Feminine, explained the importance of honoring the Feminine in this way:

“In order for families to find true peace and harmony, the Sacred Feminine must be recognized and honored. When this happens children will learn to honor their own Sacred Masculine and Feminine energies in balance. Only then, will families emerge from their dysfunctional patterns and find happiness.”

I brought my clarity to the board of Trustees in November and I suggested then that if my vision and purpose was no longer in alignment with the direction of New Dream, I would step down as Spiritual Advisor and open my board position to someone that better aligned with the Foundation.

The board did not ask me to step down, but rather were delighted to hear their own beliefs and desires expressed through the guidance I had received. We agreed to focus our mission statement to include emphasis on the Sacred Feminine.

After weeks of input and debate from some of our key volunteers, we are delighted to have a new mission statement that more closely conveys the inspiration New Dream wishes to share with our community. Soon, you will see this new mission statement on our website:

Uniting Global Spiritual Family Through the Sacred Feminine.

The key volunteers at New Dream and I are very clear that it is in the honoring and uniting of the Sacred Feminine and Masculine that true peace emerges. We also realize that the quieter voice on the planet today is that of the Sacred Feminine. As we get to know her better within us, and discover greater spiritual equanimity within, we will experience more of it in our external experiences as well.

Perhaps you will read this letter today and say, “Oh my, this is not my organization any more.” If that is the case, we bless you in love to find spiritual community that is home for you.

On the other hand, if you read this letter and say, “Yes. This is what I believe!” We invite you to settle in and make yourself more at home. When you read something, or listen to our radio programs, or attend a ceremony or meditation—let us know what inspires your soul, as together we open to the infinite possibilities of the Sacred Feminine.

Honoring Life – Prayer for the Mystery of Death and Rebirth