Category Archives: meditation

125th Anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre

The Invitation

The Invitation

Today is the day.   Let us join together in ceremony and prayer.  Let us do our cleansing and find our space on this Sacred Earth.  Let us light our fires and make our offerings.  Let us sing our songs, dance our dances, drum our drums and open our hearts.   Let us Honor those who died at Wounded Knee, naming the names.  Let us find connection with All Our Relations.  Let us embrace those who have gone before us.  Let us find compassion and healing as we move forward in a Sacred Way.  Let us make a better place for our descendants.

Thank you for participating.

 

Blessed Be

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Wounded Knee IV – All My Relations

The Invitation

The Invitation

Please share these posts and encourage people to join us in ceremony, in ritual, in prayer on Tuesday December 29th, the 125th anniversary of the Massacre at Wounded Knee, at Noon in your own time zone.

Previous posts:

The Invitation

Cleansing and Sacred Space

Offerings to the Sacred Fire of Transformation

Meditation on the prayer of “All My Relations”:  The Native Americans pray “All My Relations”.  This is a statement of humility, connection, and compassion.  It is an acknowledgment of the Ancestors and a recognition of the Descendants.  In doing this working, in joining the global prayer, in “Reclaiming the Heart of Our Humanity” we come to a closer understanding of what this prayer “All My Relations” really means.th

That All My Relations is a statement of connection seems self-evident.  But it doesn’t just honor or acknowledge relatives of bloodline.  It calls to a connection with the whole tribe, the community.  It makes it possible for us to connect, in an interfaith community, praying to heal our multi-generational wounds.  It touches ancestors of the blood, ancestors of the heart and ancestors of the spirit.

7b870e0895ff1deb5b72d1edaeec7334It is also a statement of connection to those ancestors that are very different from us.  It is a connection to our ancestors on BOTH sides of this massacre, and of any conflict.  It is a connection to people we may not understand or approve of, but who are indeed our relations.  It is a connection across race, or species because the bear people are our relations, the wolf people are our relations, the bird people, the fish people.   The tree people are our relations.  The stone people are our relations.  The earth we dwell upon is mother to us all and we are all her people.  All My Relations.

All My Relations is a statement of humility, because it recognized our human inability to determine the best possible outcome for all.  We’re not even good at always finding the best possible outcome for ourselves!  How could we know what would best serve the memories of our Ancestors and honor their work?  How could we know what will best serve our Descendants?  How can we know what the best possible outcome will be for the Animal people?  The Plant people?  The Stone people?  The Earth?  So we prayer to the good of All My Relations in humility for our own limited vision.100_3541

All My Relations is a statement of compassion.  Every religion has some version of “do unto others” or “what goes around comes around”.  Acknowledging a direct connection to the harm and benefit our actions cause shifts our awareness of the impact of those actions.  When we harm our relations, we harm ourselves.  When we damage our lineage, we damage ourselves.

The other side of that is that we recognize our capacity to stand where our misguided, confused, fearful Relations stand and make their mistakes.  All My Relations includes both sides of the argument.  All My Relations includes those who lash out in fear and anger.  All My Relations includes those whose actions aim only to benefit themselves.

To truly heal our multi-generational traumas we must be willing to take in compassion All Our Relations.  We must be willing to honor and acknowledge the fear, the hurt, the loss, the pain, the greed, the anger, the jealously, the hopelessness and meet those feelings with love.   One hour of prayer, one anniversary of recognition is only the beginning of this work.

The invitation we were issued at the Parliament of World Religions also calls for us to move forward in a Sacred Way.  That is the true working, for All My Relations.

 

Wounded Knee III

The Invitation

The Invitation

I really hope you are all sharing these posts.  It would be great to share in “Reclaiming the Heart of Our Humanity” on December 29th and Noon.  The more the merrier in this kind of global interfaith work.

In my last post I talked about cleansing and creating a sacred space.  In this one I’m going to talk about prayer, or ritual, or the working.

Transformation:  Fire is transformative, and since we are looking to transform from the 125th anniversary of a horror to a world where those things don’t happen fire seems like a good focus.

Depending on your circumstances, lighting a fire might not be easy or practical.  I have a fireplace, but even a candle will work.  If you’ve chosen to take time out on your lunch hour visualizing a fire can be effective.  There are Kundalini Yoga techniques that build internal fire energy.

build your fire with intent

build your fire with intent

However you choose to create fire, remember that this particular fire is sacred.  It is symbolic of the divine energy we are calling upon to manifest this transformation.  There is a Buddhist philosophy that says the first step to changing the world is changing yourself.  In doing this work the hope is we will transform our own understanding of our relationship to these events and carry that change out into the world.

Offerings:  The other nice thing about fire is that it will accept offerings.  We can offer up gifts, like additional candles or our incense or smudge sticks, in thanksgiving.  Expressing gratitude for the help fire gives us in transforming is very appropriate.

We can also offer our own emotions to the fire.  This can be especially useful if you can not work with an actual flame.  Sitting in meditation with the reality of our history can raise up powerful feelings.  Allowing ourselves to experience those feelings fully, and then give them over to the flame is a very transformative process.

Memorial at Wounded Knee

Memorial at Wounded Knee

One thing I will encourage you to offer up is the names of those who died 125 years ago at Wounded Knee.   The fact is that we don’t have names for even the majority of those who were killed.  That is part of the great wound that needs healing.   But the names we do know deserve to be honored.   Here is a link

There are other things that can be offered as part of this working, part of this prayer.   Drumming would be appropriate as would singing and dancing.  As this is an interfaith working bringing something to offer from your own faith tradition is very appropriate.  Or you could simply allow yourself to be present in the moment and trust that your body, your heart will know what to do.

It is very difficult for white Americans to sing or dance or move directly from our spirit.  We tend to edit ourselves.  We wonder, “How do I look?”  We wonder,  “How do I sound?”  We ask ourselves, “Am I doing it right?”  But if we can find a way through to that child-like trust, If we can truly let go and allow spirit to move through us, that is also a very transformative act.

Two more days, and hopefully two more posts.

Grateful

Navajo pot

Navajo pot

As we come up on Thanksgiving my Facebook feed is starting to fill up with commentary about “The real history of Thanksgiving.”   Most of it is true, and most of it I am familiar with.  America was built on the backs of people who shared their labor and their knowledge.  Rather than responding with gratitude, our white European fore bearers appropriated their gifts and made sure their stories written out of history.

So I want to take some time to be grateful.   I am grateful to be able to live on this bounteous beautiful land.

Pitaloosie Salia - Cape Dorset

Pitaloosie Salia – Cape Dorset

I am grateful for wild rice, and corn, and pumpkins and all the food that is indigenous.  I’m grateful to see tribal people standing up for their land rights against fracking and pipeline building, knowing how destructive those technologies are to the environment.  I’m grateful for the people who share the history not taught in our schools and who tell the stories of the downtrodden.

Ginger jars and bowl

Ginger jars and bowl

I’m grateful for the immigrant cultures that have brought so much variety to my life.  I’m grateful for fried rice and tortillas and collard greens.

Christine Ntakirutimana - Rwanda

Christine Ntakirutimana – Rwanda

I’m grateful for print and color patterns and architectural wonders that were never a part of my European heritage.  I’m grateful for literature with points of view that are different from my own, but which make it easier for me to shift my own perspective.  I’m grateful for the music, the meditation, and the technologies that make my life easier and more pleasant.

Hmong migration story

Hmong migration story

I have been blessed in my life with the opportunity to travel.  I have been in positions to decorate my home with artwork from other cultures.  I have had the opportunity to work and play and truly get to know people whose upbringing was very different from my own.

East Indian blanket

East Indian blanket

I’ve recently started an online meditation series Headspace.  As I move through the meditation lessons they ask me to reflect on who else benefits from my practicing these techniques.  Trying to build a business speaking on spirituality I ask myself, “who do I serve?  Who needs to hear what I have to say?”

I think the cultures and people who supported the development of this country had that attitude.

“How can I help?  Who can I serve?”

I think our culture has an attitude of “What do I get out of it?”   I’d rather live with the former.

Polynesian mask

Polynesian mask

I’m grateful for the opportunity to try.

Attention

As much as I love food I’ve always been a casual eater.   I eat when I read.  I eat watching TV.  I go to a party and sit next to the food while I chat with everyone who walks by.  I grab pickles and olives off the table before everyone sits down.  I lick the spoons.

As I progress out of a totally liquid diet into eating pap I have found out the hard way that these behaviors have got to stop.  Don’t feel bad for me.  I’m thrilled to have an egg, or some cottage cheese.  Spices aren’t a problem so bland is not an option.  Paying attention is also not an option.

my one egg omelette with spinach, shallots and feta.  I couldn't eat it all.

My one egg omelette with spinach, shallots and feta. I couldn’t eat it all.

I don’t even remember what I was doing.  I could have been reading, talking to Orion, watching TV, reaching for my computer.  It doesn’t really matter.  I wasn’t paying attention to what I was eating.   I did all the right things.  I measured and weighed portions.  I put everything (like there was a lot!) on a small plate.  I ate one bite at a time (I think – here’s where the attention part creeps in.)

I don’t know if I ate too much or too fast or both.   Before I was finished with my doled out portion I knew I was in trouble.  I’ve been avoiding that “too much” place.  Everyone I know who’s had this surgery says that it’s horrible and not worth it.  They’re right.   I knew I needed to go there once.  Now I have and I’m happy to avoid doing it again!

I tried everything to settle myself down.  To deal with the pain.  To deal with the “hot flashes”, it almost feels like coming down with a fever the body is working so hard to do too much.  I walked.  I tossed what was left on the plate.  I rubbed my belly.  It took a half an hour, but I was finally defeated and headed for the bathroom.

In retrospect it could have been my food choices as well.  The fish was a little firm rather than flakey.  Figs might not be the best bet for a side, with all those little seeds.  I’ve taken a half step back.  I’m sticking to things that look a little more like baby food and a little less like small gourmet portions.  Eventually I’ll get there, but not just yet.  First I need to focus on paying attention.

What am I going to do with the rest of these figs?

What am I going to do with the rest of these figs?

There is so much out in the world about Mindfulness.  There are writings about meditating and about being present in the moment.  These are not easy things for anyone used to multi-tasking through their days.  But these are also the things that have become necessary for me to be successful in this process.  It’s time to be more aware of my body.  It’s time to be more aware of how I am actually feeling.  It’s time to give up the notion of meeting a “goal” and simply respond appropriately in the moment.

The work is only beginning.

Corn Mother

0804131756aThis is my fourth posting about this time of year.  You might think I’ve “said it all”.    I call my page Spiral Visions for a reason.  It seems every time I come around I am never quite in the same place.  There is a shift in perspective.  Sometimes there are new things to see.  Some things take on more importance and others fade into the background.  The beginning of August marks First harvest, the Wiccan holiday Lammas and for me always Corn on the Cob.

Because of my surgery I don’t get local corn this year.   I did “cheat” and have a couple of cobs shipped up from Georgia right before I started my liquid diet.   I ate it reverently and with a nod towards this time of year.  It was a feast meal, for me, in advance.   It didn’t get me off the hook though.  I still had to do something to acknowledge coming around the wheel of the year again.  So I meditated for a vision.0804131758

I saw a cornfield.  Flying high above the corn was the Thunderbird.  The Corn Mother walked out from rows and I asked her for rain.

She said, “What you are looking for is balance.  Three weeks of rain and three weeks of sun is even, but it is not balance.  It is balance the crops need to grow, balance the people need to thrive.  You have no sense of balance.  You delude yourselves with notions of “fair” and “equal”.   You believe that balance is static, stable.  You are only fooling yourselves.  Balance is like standing on the water.  It is always shifting, but the movements are small.  Large shifts will dump you into the deep.  You need to climb out of the deep you find yourselves in and learn again to stand in balance upon the earth.”

100_4576She reached her arms up and corn silk streamed down from her sleeves like wings.  She reached for the Thunderbird, and he swooped lower.  She did not fly and he did not land.  That night, there was no rain.

It is balance I am reaching for, yet again.  Specifically a balanced relationship with food and nutrition.   More globally it is a balance about making heathy and sustainable choices.

Enjoy your first harvests.

Blessed Be.

 

In Memoriam

I remember my ancestors

Ancestors of the blood, ancestors of the heart, ancestors of the spirit

I remember my ancestors

For what is remembered lives

 

I remember my ancestors of the blood

The line back beyond my knowing that made my life possible

There are problems carried in this lineage but there are also blessings

I remember my ancestors of the blood

 

I remember the farmers in my line, who worked the soil and fed their neighbors

I remember the teachers in my line, who believed in learning and literacy

I remember the policemen in my line, who served community and protected the innocent

I remember the entrepreneurs in my line, who risked everything for their families

I remember the travelers in my line, who explored and brought my family here

I remember the children in my line, who died early and brought joy and love

 

I remember my ancestors

Ancestors of the blood, ancestors of the heart, ancestors of the spirit

I remember my ancestors

For what is remembered lives

 

I remember my ancestors of the heart

The members of my family of choice who supported me in my life

We shared good times and bad, and I miss the sharing

I remember my ancestors of the heart

 

I remember the times you challenged me, asking me to be better

I remember the times you comforted me, asking me to stay strong

I remember the times you showed me new things

I remember our laughter

I remember our meals

I remember talking long into the night, sharing dreams

 

I remember too the non-human ancestors of the heart

Gandalf

Gandalf

The pets who were my stalwart companions

The plants and trees which were my comfort and refuge

The places in the past which can no longer be found that I called home

These too are ancestors of the heart

For they have shaped me and supported me as my chosen family

 

I remember my ancestors

Ancestors of the blood, ancestors of the heart, ancestors of the spirit

I remember my ancestors

For what is remembered lives

 

I remember my ancestors of spirit

The heroes and role models who have walked before me

I never knew you, but what you did made my life richer

I remember my ancestors of spirit

 

I remember the firefighters and the freedom fighters

I remember the actors and the artists

I remember the athletes and the explorers

I remember the cooks and the teachers

I remember the scientists and the philosophers

You showed me to go places I’d never been and what kind of person I wanted to be

 

I remember my ancestors

Ancestors of the blood, ancestors of the heart, ancestors of the spirit

I remember my ancestors

For what is remembered lives

 

I am grateful for all my relations.

I am grateful for their love and guidance.

I am grateful for their strength and resilience.

I am grateful for their courage and generosity.

May you be remembered

May you live on

 

 

Spinningwheel

100_4600The wheel of the year keeps turning and I’m still running to catch up.    I starting the morning with, “What do you mean it’s already Monday again?!?”  The leaves are finally starting to turn, about two weeks behind.  I’m feeling about two weeks behind as well.  Unfortunately, my schedule isn’t.

Sometimes when things are this hectic, and there is no end to the hectic in sight the best thing to do is actually to stop.  Take a moment and breathe.  Give myself permission to simply be present and grateful and still.  Setting a timer is sometimes a necessary component in this formula.   If I don’t set the alarm I spend the time worrying about how much time I’m taking.  If I do set a timer I can trust that it will go off and I will move on.

So let’s take a minute (no really, one minute) and breathe together…..

59…

Stop

57….

Take a deep breath in

56….

Let it out with a long exhale

54………

Take another deep breath, slowing it down just a little

52………

And simply let it slowly release

50……….

Let’s be in our bodies, simply allowing the experience we are experiencing.  Noticing where we are in space.  Noticing what does or doesn’t hurt.  Not correcting, or compensating but simply accepting what is.  Let’s be in our bodies.

35……….

Let’s open our hearts to gratitude.  Today, in this moment I am grateful for taking a breath.  I am grateful for the friends who are lending a hand this week.  I am grateful for the family that is pitching in or simply making space in their lives for me.   I am grateful to be up and moving and writing and continuing forward with my plans.  I am grateful for all of the people who take time to share this moment with me, in their own time.  I am grateful for all the bounty in my life.

Hints of color

Hints of color

5………

Take a deep breath in

3……….

Let it out long and slowly

Blessed be.

DING

Enshrined

Enshrined, such a static verb.  When something is enshrined it’s being put away, in a sacred space, to be there forever.  Tucked away, but not forgotten.  When something is enshrined it can change the space that it’s in.  It’s like the shrine becomes a fountain of sacredness that radiates out into the room, or the temple, or the universe.

Maybe that’s the reason it’s so nice sometimes to just sit surrounded by the sacred, by shrines.  It doesn’t take much.  Most hospital chapels are pretty barren, but they provide a space of peace and reflection.  Great cathedrals are filled with shrines and side altars and sacred objects.  There are spots in many of them where it seems like all the shrines are vie-ing  for attention.  Where it’s a “noisy” rather than “peaceful” sacred, but in a “fill you up” kind of way.  Nature makes shrines, special places tucked away where the sacred seems to pool.  Shinto shrines acknowledge this and foster it.

My women’s group got together this week.  For our monthly ritual we made shrines.  We each chose a word and created a shrine around it.  We ended up in a circle of shrines to beautiful things we would like in our lives.  When we finished construction we walked together around the circle of shrines and then sat in the center and just soaked up the sacred.  It was really nice.  Sitting among all those shrines, fountains of sacredness gushing out attributes of tranquility, and joy, and wisdom, present/patience, receptivity and prosperity.

The active form of enshrined (as per LisaSpiral): being in a space surrounded by shrines.  Stepping into the sacred and allowing yourself to be present with it.  Opening one’s awareness to the sacred and soaking it in.

So I thought I’d share.  Please spend some time today surrounded by blessing given in love.

0613132006b

Joy

0613131958b

Wisdom

0613132005

Present/Patience

Tranquility

Tranquility

0613131959a

Receptivity

0613131958a

Prosperity

Ancestors

Between the late season and my asthma I haven’t spent a lot of time in the garden this year.   I was on Blog Talk Radio the other day talking about magic in the garden.  I mentioned one of the beds I have is an ancestor garden.  Given that it’s Memorial Day Monday and that I’ve been trying to get the annuals in (between thunder showers) that seemed to be a good topic for today’s blog.

Heather doesn't grow well here, and the lavender doesn't winter well so my Irish heritage gets a pot this year.

Heather doesn’t grow well here, and the lavender doesn’t winter well so my Irish heritage gets a pot this year.

My ancestor garden is the one along side the driveway, next to the entry we most frequently use.  That way I see it all the time, winter and summer.  Winter gardens are a real challenge up here, and my ancestor bed doesn’t make it, but just knowing it’s there under the snow is a reminder that my ancestors may no longer be with me, but that they are still there.

My ancestors are a mish-mash.  I have represented ancestors of blood, ancestors of heart, and ancestors of spirit.  My best friend from college is an ancestor of heart.  He died 16 years ago and I still miss him almost every day. You’ve seen my bulbs, the tulips and hyacinths.  (The trails are fading under the lavender.)  He was a big fan of the spring flower shows.  The bulbs I started there were from a spring planter he’d gifted to me the year before he died.  My hope in the spring is also a hope that he’s still watching out for me.  I usually manage to get a fall mum in for him as well.

viola's (the nursery was out of pansy's)

viola’s (the nursery was out of pansy’s)

My grandmother’s were both gardeners.  My maternal grandmother grew sweet peas, but I’ve never gotten them to go.  She also grew pansy’s and petunias.  This year I put in viola’s for her.  Those old-fashioned wild flowers are all very much representative of her country farm wife ways.  My other grandmother had a flair for the exotic.  She’d plant cotton bringing the seeds back from a trip south.  Or she’d plant silver dollars for good fortune.  There’s a hybrid daisy that thrives in that garden for her.  The colors are bright and cheerful and I’ve never found another in the seed catalogues quite like it.  Maybe I’ll post a photo when it blooms.

dusty miller sometimes winters over, but this is a new plant.

dusty miller sometimes winters over, but this is a new plant.

The kid’s paternal grandmother loved dusty miller.  It was her favorite, I asked.  I don’t particularly care for the plant, but when I put it in honoring her, it even winters over.  I’ve come to appreciate its strength, resilience and alien simplicity.  Now when I see it grow I smile and think of her kindness and patience.

For ancestors of the spirit you may see some Russian sage coming up between the chocolate mint.  The sage is for one of my teachers.  Russian sage is perennial and he had a fondness for Occidental cultures.  The mint is a nod to the cooks, family and otherwise, who have influenced me along the way.  I got it out of a friend’s garden in Detroit so there is an extra nod to her along the way.

Chocolate mint and Russian sage

Chocolate mint and Russian sage

The cycle of the garden is a microcosm of the cycle of life.  Honoring my ancestors in this way I spend time tending their memories throughout the growing season and even in the winter.  I pick and choose my annuals, filling in the blanks and sometime adding a new memorial for a season or as a permanent addition.  These people are my foundation.  They continue to nurture me in my journey as I nurture my garden.   Blessed Be.

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