The Burden Basket

Jamie Sams is one of my favorite Native American teachers. Her books have brought me numerous insights over the years. Today I would like to share from a chapter she wrote about Burden Baskets in her book, Sacred Path Cards.

Native American women were never asked to bear a burden heavier than their Burden Baskets could handle. When the Burden Basket  was not in use, it hung outside the home for another reason. Native American etiquette is very different from other cultures and demanded that custom being honored by all Tribal members.

It is obvious that the flap of a Tipi, Karen, or Wigwam  cannot be knocked on like a door. To receive permission to enter the Sacred Space of any Native American home, whether Hogan, Tipi, Longhouse, Cliff Dwelling, or Earth Hut,  it was necessary to scratch lightly upon the door. Since every dwelling was the Sacred Space  of the family, if there was no answer, entry was not permitted at that time. The family could be eating a meal, having a Family Council, or just wanting some privacy. The decision was always honored. No feelings were hurt because the idea of Sacred Space  was understood. Give permission to enter was granted, the Burden Basket was the reminder to the guest to leave his or her personal complaints or problems in the Burden Basket before entering another person’s Sacred Space.  The customer was honored, or the visitor was barred from entering that dwelling ever again.

To be in the present moment and to be willing to be a welcome guest requires strength of character… The internal strength necessary to keep our own counsel and bear our own burdens without inflicting them upon others,

To have compassion for the burdens of others, and yet not take those burdens on as our own, requires a strong heart. Great sensitivity is necessary for impeccable timing in knowing when and how to speak to others. Personal Balance brings the self-reliance we need to be in present time.

Today I am inviting you to consider one of the areas you might examine, clarify, and be willing to develop a deeper compassion for yourself and others.  This is an invitation to experience that depth of inner strength that brings you into a place of abiding in and living from the truth of who you are.

Love and Peace all ways.

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Trust Is Not A Gift

I raised my children before computers and cell phones. As they began to venture out with friends, spend nights in other people’s homes, etc., I began setting boundaries, telling them to check in with me, and being sure they had change for pay phones. One of them asked me why I didn’t trust them, after all they were my children!

This is when I began to teach them why the virtue of trust and being trusted is so valuable….because it is earned. It is proven by a history of behaviors that have shown others that they would consistently do what they said they were going to do. Now that they would be making many decisions on their own, they needed to show me that they would consistently keep agreements with me and live up to the expectations those agreements created. I also taught them the agreements must be spoken and agreed upon by everyone involved, i.e. each of them and their father and me.

I remember saying to them “I don’t trust you because you exist. I will trust you because you show me that you can be trusted.” Then I reminded them that they grew to trust me because when I said I would do something, I did it.  Over and over again.

Trust is not a gift. It must be earned.

May each of us find ourselves trust-worthy today. Blessings.

An Old Thought…

This comment  was made by Charles Dickens. Wouldn’t he be stunned by the way we communicate today!    His comment more meaningful now than it was when he made it:

Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.

The only thing I would add to his thought is that this is even more true when there is the need to resolve misunderstanding or conflict.  Text message cannot communicate the tone of your voice or the feelings on your face and in your eyes.

Enough said. Blessings of love and light, dear hearts.

Laughing With A Friend

Do you have a friend that enjoys life? A friend with whom you relax and find yourself laughing at the ridiculousness of life and, quite honestly, at yourself and your fellow humans?

Do you have a friend that you laugh with on a regular basis because you just “get” each other? I’m talking belly laughs!

Do you have a friend like this?

Perhaps you can find one…or be one.

Just a thought.

Laugh With A Friend

There is nothing better than laughing with a friend – except laughing with more than one friend! Last week I had lunch with three friends and the laughter flowed without restraint. We were all so funny! I have no idea if the other patrons in the restaurant would agree but, as far as I know, no one asked that we be thrown out. Last night I went to a screening of the new film “Finding Dory” and we were laughing before we even arrived at the theater. Then we laughed with the entire audience during the film. Then we laughed on the way home as well as in her parking garage! I came home smiling and went to bed relaxed and at ease with myself and my world.

This morning that is all that is on my mind. I am blessed with friends who love to laugh and, together, we create opportunities to laugh (and I mean belly laughs!). The friends on my mind this morning are all in their 60’s and 70’s. We have paid our dues and had our joys and our sorrows. As we continue to ripen (yes, I said “ripen” because none of us are wilting with age!), we know the importance of being present and appreciating our moments and our days. There are still challenges because life is what it is and we are not the exceptions to the rules. We also know we can move through the intense times and return to the laughter and that is our preference.

We have life, we have each other, and we can share the laughter with friends.

Life is good when we laugh with a friend.

May you be blessed with laughter, friendship, and love today. Peace.

Friends

Has the word “friend” lost some of its meaning to you because of social media? Do you think about the difference between a friend and an acquaintance? When I was in my twenties, I made friends quite easily, or at least I thought I did. What I actually did was make assumptions. I didn’t understand that an acquaintance becomes a friend over time, as we learn to truly listen, trust, and know each other. An acquaintance is a person I like and enjoy spending time with now and then. A friend is a person I do that with also but who also knows my sorrows as well as my joys. A friend will be there for me when life’s challenges start to overwhelm me. A friend will trust me with his/her sorrows and allow me to offer support when needed as well.

It has been said for many years that you are blessed if you can count the number of true friends on one hand. I agree. In the times of my greatest joys and my deepest sorrows, there have been just a few people that I turn to immediately. One listens and asks what I need. Another calls my name into multiple churches for daily prayer. Another will laugh or cry with me and know that is enough. These are my inner circle, my family of friends, and I am profoundly grateful for their love and faithfulness.

Understanding this difference between a friend and an acquaintance has allowed me to love and appreciate the people in my life without falling prey to hurt because of my own mistaken expectations. I love them all and they love me; the difference is the level of intimacy as well as the spiritual/emotional purpose of our relationship. When I am clear, my relationships are also. There are fewer misunderstanding, fewer pressures or demands. Life is simpler, easier, and more fun.

Love all ways, dear hearts.

Namaste.

In the Company of Love

What do you experience when you fall in love, whether it is platonic or sexual? Take a moment and remember that initial rush of meeting someone who wakes you up, invites you to interact with them in some new and exciting way. You laugh more easily, listen to that person’s stories with great interest, and you tell your own stories as though no one had cared to hear them before. You want to see that person, talk to that person, get to know that person. It is a vibrant and fun and wonderful time in a relationship. It is love taking root and beginning to blossom.

One of the experiences I have become aware of in recent months is that I am lighter, happier, funnier, more loving when I am in the company of someone I love and who loves me. In literature and films, this is usually portrayed as being the result of the other person making me happy, better, more complete. I see that differently now.

I am responsible for my own happiness, growth and completion as a human being. Why then do I give the credit to someone else just because I just met them or fell in love with them? Is that what I am doing? Because I recently uprooted my life by selling my home and moving to another state, I am very aware of not having my precious, wonderful, loving friends in my life on a regular basis. When I visit them, it is exciting and filled with love and laughter. I miss them and I miss the “me” that I am when we are together!

This was a revelation to me. It isn’t just that I miss a person. It is that I miss who I am when I am with that person! And I miss who we are together, what we create when we interact. Our energies unite; our spirits combine; our hearts dance. Oh yeah!

I am content with mySelf. I love my life and the time I am having with my family here. I am meeting new people and know that soon I will fall in love with new friends and form new experiences that make my spirit soar and my heart dance. No, it won’t be the same because each of us is unique, each relationship is different. It is wonderful that I do not have to lose what came before in order to embrace what is coming now.

To those I see less often, I love you and cherish every phone call, email and visit so please keep those coming. To those I have yet to meet and love, welcome to my life. My heart is open; my soul awaits your presence. Join me in the company of Love.

Aum shanti. Namaste.