Saturday, December 27, 2014
As the last few days of the year are here; and, as you begin to consider New Year’s resolutions, I ask you to consider using words of gratitude to shift your life into the direction of your beautiful possibilities.
In the list that follows, for the first four suggestions, you need never say words of gratitude aloud, if you do not want to. For it is true, when we have healthy, nurturing and supportive feelings; our thoughts are a powerful way of guiding the beautiful expression of our spirit into our everyday lifestyle.
1) Just before drifting off to sleep, let your mind focus on these words, ‘Creator, thank- you for the miracle of my life’.
2) As you awaken in the morning, simply say these words, ‘Creator, thank-you for the safe passage through the night.’
3) As you drink a glass of water or consume food, simply say these words, ‘I am grateful for your life-giving force.’
4) Whenever you encounter a hug or a smile, allow the words, ‘thank-you’ to form in your mind.
5) And finally, when someone pays you a compliment, say ‘thank-you’ aloud, and let the compliment resonate in your mind so that it nourishes your spirit. Let your self realize that someone bestowed a blessing to you in words and your words of gratitude is your blessing back to them.
Words of gratitude are powerful beyond measure and expressing thankfulness is like the uttering of a prayer; and, has the potential to completely alter your life. Fairly soon you will begin to notice your gratitude turns into prayers of love for others, as well as yourself. At first you may have just begin with acknowledging but a few of your blessings, be warned, focusing on thankfulness does increase overtime, to the point where you begin living in gratitude.
And yet, It is a matter of personal choice, either you take a few minutes each day to express gratitude; or not, regardless, your life will be impacted.
May the Good Grandmothers, Good Grandfathers of the Four Sacred Directions and Creator of All Good Things lead you towards acknowledgement of your blessings and aid you in the understanding that you, my dearest ones, are the most incredible blessing of all. For the gift of you in the world, I express my gratitude.
All my Relations,
Emily Jane Henry, (ejh)
Kihci Têpakohp Iskotêw Iskwêw
|Elder's Meditation of the Day December 27|
|"When temptation comes, I don't say, `Yes," and I don't say, `No.' I say, `Later,' I just keep walking the Red Road - down the middle. When you're in the middle, you don't go to either extreme. You allow both sides to exist."|
|--Dr. A. C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA|
|We need to practice controlling our focus. Whatever we focus on we become. We also become whatever we practice. We need to focus on balance. Whenever something comes along to tilt us off balance, we need to be grateful, because it allows the opportunity to practice our focus. Sometimes this is called temptation. Temptation in itself is not bad. What really counts is what we do with it when it happens. We need to practice controlling our focus and keeping our thinking focused on the Red Road.|
Great Spirit, today, guide me through my temptations and allow me to focus on the Red Road.
Friday, December 26, 2014
|Elder's Meditation of the Day December 26|
|"The way of knowledge is like our old way of hunting. You begin with a mere trail - a footprint. If you follow that faithfully, it may lead you to a clearer train - a track - a road. Later on there will be many tracks, crossing and diverging one from the other. Then you must be careful, for success lies in the choice of the right road."|
|--Many Lightenings Eastman, SANTEE SIOUX|
|An entire apple tree is initially contained in the seed. Visions are initially contained in the idea. If you trace the path of a blooming flower backwards, it goes from the blooming flower back to a bud, back to a stem, back to a seed. So it is in the way of knowledge. Often we will experience a hunch or a feeling that we are supposed to do something. At first it may not make any sense. This is the seed stage. Once we start to investigate, more gets revealed. As more is revealed, the more knowledge we get. This is the way the Great Spirit guides us.|
Great Spirit, help me to choose the right choices.
Thursday, December 25, 2014
|Elder's Meditation of the Day December 25|
|"When you see a new trail, or a footprint that you do not know, follow it to the point of knowing."|
|--Grandmother of Charles Eastman, SANTEE SIOUX|
|We never gain new knowledge or new experience unless we are willing to take risks. It's good to be curious. Also, it pays to be cautious. Walk in balance. The path of the Warrior is filled with opportunities to seek new knowledge. As we travel down the Red Road, we will run into trails of opportunity. Down each of these trails are experiences from which we will learn. Experience plus action is the beginning of knowledge."|
Great Spirit, help me to make good choices in choosing only the trails You would have me take.
My relatives, my friends; my wish for you is that every encounter you have with others be a source of meaningful teachings that leads you to self-empowerment and inspiration.
May the opportunities and discoveries that you will find in the coming year become a source of peaceful energy guiding you to profound heights that result in the realization of your dreams.
May you walk in peace and filled with the awareness that you are worthy and lovable. May this knowledge direct and guide your life purpose. As you journey throughout the New Year, may your spirit feel honoured and in your turn may you honour the spirit of others. For it is true, we are all connected as spiritual beings on a physical journey. May awareness of this sacred spiritual connectedness be felt in every encounter you have.
May the people that cross your path do so with awareness that they are teachers and as a result they may provide you with gentle and inspirational teachings and may you have the same affect in their lives. In the upcoming year, may the challenges you encounter be few and the lessons you do learn add value in your life, so that your thoughts, feelings, beliefs or behaviours support and honour your personal growth.
May each of your days in the upcoming year be filled with living life to your highest potential and may you be open to the joyful discoveries that this year has in store for you. May you become fully aware of and embrace the beautiful abundance arriving in your life this coming year, so that all that you intend to manifest into your life become a part of your reality. May each day of the New Year cause you to walk in gratitude.
I humbly request that the Good Grandmothers, Good Grandfathers of the Four Sacred Directions and the Creator of All Good Things richly bless you and your family. I wish you beautiful abundance, love, and joy as you celebrate this holiday season and throughout the upcoming year.
All my Relations,
Emily Jane Henry, (ejh)
Kihci Têpakohp Iskotêw Iskwêw
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
|Elder's Meditation of the Day December 24|
|"Believing people can soar beyond ordinary life."|
|--Fools Crow, LAKOTA|
|We are created by God to be vision people. First we set the goal and then we see. If we create within ourselves a picture or vision and we hold that picture or vision in our mind, whatever we picture will show up in our reality. If we can see ourselves being educated, then schools and teachers will show up in our lives. If we picture in our mind a positive, spiritual person to be in our lives, we will attract this type of person in our relationships. How big can our dreams be?|
Great Spirit, let my visions today be Your vision. Put within me a vision of the being you would have me be. Then help me to keep the vision in my mind.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Our Native Ancestors are alive and here in each and every Native American and mixed blood Native American right now. In our veins is literally the DNA of a People who knew who they were, where they came from and where they were going. A People with unique, rich personalities, who were passionate, creative and productive. A People who loved, laughed, and struggled. A People who had great visions of the future for their children. A People who knew, that because of the Great Spirit's passion for creation, the succeeding generations had it in them to carry forward the glory of their forefathers.
Today is National Roots Day! Celebrate your heritage!
The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is providing a way to re-shape American’s understanding of Native peoples. It is steadfastly committed to bringing all Americans in touch with their actual history and serves as an honest thoughtful conduit to Native cultures — present and past — in all their richness, depth, and diversity. It is a distinct and multifaceted cultural and educational enterprise and a resource for the hemisphere's Native communities.
Share your story with us! http://bit.ly/1CvT7Zh
Image: John Nicholas Choate (J.N. Choate), Non-Indian, ca. 1850-1902 - Collage of the faces of noted Indian chiefs who have visited the Carlisle Indian Training School: 1. Spotted Tail; 2. Iron Wing; 3. Chief Washi-ta-tonga or American Horse; 4. Red Shirt; 5. White Eagle; 6. Standing Buffalo; 7. Poor Wolf; 8. Son Of The Star; 9. White Man; 10. Stumbling Bear; 11. Tso-de-ar-ko; 12. Big Horse; 13. Bob Tail; 14. Man On The Cloud; 15. Mad Wolf; 16. Little Raven; 17. Yellow Bear; 18. Left Hand; 19. Ouray. 1881. P06925
|Elder's Meditation of the Day December 23|
|"It's not the package and the wrapping which counts but what is inside, underneath the clothes and the skin."|
|--Lame Deer, LAKOTA|
|Our eyes and ears gather information that is fed to the mind, and we tend to form judgements, opinions, and assumptions which determine our perception. We might see someone act a certain way, then label that person forever, not at all concentrating on what is inside the person. It matters not our height, our size, our facial features, or our gender. What matters is our thoughts. Good thoughts overcome all obstacles.|
Great Spirit, let my inside contain Your qualities.
Monday, December 22, 2014
The orcas that are seen in our local waters are part of the Southern Resident Community, composed of J, K and L pods.
Photo credit: Michael Charest
"It is strictly believed and understood by the Sioux that a child is the greatest gift from Wakan Tanka, in response to many devout prayers, sacrifices, and promises. Therefore the child is considered “sent by Wakan Tanka," through some element-namely the element of human nature."
~Robert Higheagle (early 20th century), Teton Sioux
"You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the world always works in circles. And everything tries to be round... The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours… Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves."
—Black Elk (1863 - 1950), Oglala Sioux holy man
—Black Elk (1863 - 1950), Oglala Sioux holy man
|Elder's Meditation of the Day December 22|
|"From Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit, there came a great unifying life force that flowed in and through all things: the flowers of the plains, blowing winds, rocks, trees, birds, animals, and was the same force that had been breathed into the first man. Thus all things were kindred, and were brought together by the same Great Mystery."|
|--Chief Luther Standing Bear, SIOUX|
|The Great Spirit has six things that make up this life force. They are life, love, intelligence, soul, principle, and truth. These are the reasons the life cycle continues. None of this can be altered by man, but we can have access to these powers any time we wish. Just think about it - anytime I have a need I can access one or more of these powers."|
Oh Great Mystery, let me know how to use these powers. Today, let me love life, let me know truth, let me live by principle, and let me follow Your intelligence.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
|Elder's Meditation of the Day December 21|
|"He [The Great Spirit] only sketches out the path of life roughly for all the creatures on earth, shows them where to go, where to arrive, but leaves them to find their own way to get there. He wants them to act independently according to their nature, to the urges of each of them.|
|--Lame Deer, LAKOTA|
|Every person is created with purpose and with direction. This purpose and direction is written in our hearts when we are conceived. In addition, we are given access to a quiet guidance system which helps us find our purpose and our direction. We need to recognize this guidance system. It's called intuition, the quiet voice, urges, the knowing, or the feeling. Once we locate our purpose and direction, we are given skills, talents and abilities that are unique to only ourselves. We must practice daily prayer and meditation with God to find this information. To be solid and confident in ourselves, we always need to be able to answer three questions: why am I?, who am I?, and where am I going? If I can answer these three questions, I always know I'm OK!|
Great Spirit, show me my path of life.
I was still a young boy when we moved out of our tipi here on the Warm Springs Reservation that was situated along the Shitike Creek. We moved into a small house that my mother bought for $100. This house was relocated to our small piece of property we had here on the rez.
It was very strange to open my eyes first thing in the morning to a box house, in comparison to a tipi. There were no more fires to wake up to, and the sound of the river was no more. It seemed that our old way of life was gone forever.
My older brother started Kindergarten and had to walk 1 mile to his classes every day. I felt sad when he would leave for school because I had to stay home all day. I often wished I was old enough to go to school, with him.
One day, my brother felt sorry for me and asked if I would like to go to with him to his Kindergarten class. I said yes, of course, and was one happy little guy. So he took my hand and off we went, on the 1 mile hike to school.
When we arrived at his class, I was seated beside my brother, sharing his milk and graham crackers. It wasn't long, maybe minutes, before I fell in love with school.
But all was short-lived. The teacher escorted me to the door and told me to go home.
So I found myself standing outside, alone. I then decided to find my way back to our house even though I had never been at this school before. I remembered crossing a river. So I proceeded to walk away, enjoying my new adventure to find my house and my mom.
As I started walking along, on the outside of the school property, I noticed a lot of older boys standing at attention on campus. They were being reprimanded by a mean sounding white man who was yelling at them for no apparent reason. I thought he must have captured those boys and they were his prisoners. I had no idea that they were attending a government boarding school, or even what a boarding school was at that time.
At this point, I was getting concerned by all of this, at the vulnerable young age of 4. All I knew is that I did not want to be captured and forced to stand there with them. I walked slowly in their direction, thinking that if I walked slow and quiet, they might not notice me. I had no choice but to go that route because I knew my home was somewhere in that direction.
All of a sudden, that mean old man saw me. He began to holler at me, saying 'Hey!!!'. He scared me and I stopped in my tracks, not knowing what to do next. He said very loudly.,.. 'Come here!!!'. I then took a step backwards. With each one of his commands, I retreated step by step, because I refused to go with him. Once again he yelled at me.... 'I said COME HERE!', and it was more than clear to me that he was extremely angry.
So, I started to run across a field towards a steep hill that goes to the river. That mean old guy then ordered all the boys to get me and bring me to him. I ran as fast as I could, for all I was worth. To me at that age, I was running for my life.
When I neared the crest of the hill, I looked back and saw about 50 boys coming after me. Some of them were big and could run fast so I had to think quickly. I came upon a trail that led to the bottom of the hill and I let the boys see me turn left on it so that they would think I was on the trail heading to the river. When I disappeared from their sight, I immediately turned right to get off the trail.
I then crawled into some sage brush and worked my way to the top of the hill. I laid silent and still. Several of these boys ran right past me and continued down the hill while others ran over the hill thinking they would cut me off at the bottom near the river.
As I laid there under the sagebrush, quiet as a mouse, I heard voices all over the place, coming from below the hill. They were again at the bottom of the hill while I was at the top. It sure was a relief to me.
I then peeked over the hill and didn't see anyone so off I went, along a path where no one could detect me. I knew I had to get to the road that crosses the river in order to get home.
When I finally made my way closer to the bridge, I saw police cars patrolling the area. I realized that I had a new problem. I had to cross the bridge without being seen. Police cars were everywhere.
I finally made it to the lower side of the bridge but had to make my way across it by scaling the outside of the structure, hidden from view. Whenever I heard a car coming, I would freeze and hold still, hoping that anyone going by would be looking up river.
I finally made it across the 100 ft. bridge. I ducked into the cattails along a small creek that I was familiar with. I then felt safe enough and proceeded to sneak home.
When I arrived, my mother was gone. I was the only one home. But I was happy. After that day, I decided I didn't like school anymore.
When my mom got home and came inside the house, she was stunned to see me sitting there. She asked me where I was so I told her that people were chasing me and I had to hide a lot so I could make it home from school where my brother had taken me. She gave me a hug and said that everyone was out searching for me along the river.
Shortly thereafter, she got in touch with the police department and told them I was home and safe, and to call off the search. When my older brother came home, he was amazed that I out foxed everyone that day.
At 4 years old, I seemed to have had all of my faculties in order, to escape if need be.
Little did I know that I would be going to government boarding school the next year and would be forced to stand at attention with a lot of other boys. No more moccasins, no more long hair, no family, no more of our native language. Whenever I, or any other child slipped by saying an Indian word, the teachers would wash our mouths out with soap. If the mean old man was nearby and heard me say an Indian word, he would slap me so hard, I would usually fall to the ground. I knew then that I, too, was one of his prisoners.
Since those days, I've had a block against education. But I do not have a block against learning. I also do not have a block against loving all people from all walks of life. Love and kindness is where it's at.
The government boarding school days may have taken away our freedom for a time, and tried their best to brainwash us, but they could never take away our spirit. They are now gone and we are still here.
For many of us, these difficult experiences can be used as a tool over a lifetime. I have used my sadnesses to learn the act of forgiveness. And when you've learned these lessons, your spirit finds peace and life is good.
Here are the "Ten Non-Commandments" chosen as the winners:
1. Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.
2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.
3. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.
4. Every person has the right to control of their body.
5. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.
6. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them.
7. Treat others as you would want them to treat you, and can reasonably expect them to want to be treated. Think about their perspective.
8. We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations.
9. There is no one right way to live.
10. Leave the world a better place than you found it.