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.
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.
Like Life, Enlightenment is a journey rather than the destination.
Do I consider myself an enlightened being? Yes….in certain areas and ways of life, I get it…I have experienced true enlightenment. In other areas, I still don’t quite get it…my journey of enlightenment is not complete. If it were, I would definitely handle some things way better than I do after all of these years.
So I journey on, staying open and receptive to higher learning, higher understanding, deeper wisdom, love, and compassion. I am learning to let the journey be its own fulfillment. To think I have “arrived” is to set myself up for disappointment and a sense of futility. That does not sound like fun to me!
May your journey, and mine, be gentle today. Peace.
Good morning! Here I am with another quote from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, The Art of Communication. The title of this blog is also the title of one section…though I added the question mark. The chapter answers my question of course and the passage below is a beautiful summary of his teaching.
Please breathe this in and be willing to sit with what he is saying. What we breathe into and embrace diminishes our resistance and makes life easier, more gentle and loving.
We all should learn to embrace our own suffering, to listen to it deeply, and to have a deep look into its nature. In doing so, we allow the energy of love and compassion to be born. When the energy of compassion is born, right away we suffer less, when we have compassion for ourselves, we can more easily understand the suffering of another person and of the world. Then our communication with others will be based on the desire to understand rather than the desire to prove ourselves right or make ourselves feel better.
I also believe that this level of understanding allows me to support others as they deal with their suffering. That support may at times be material but, most of the time, it is most powerful if I support another in their journey of embracing and understanding their suffering so that they develop compassion for themselves. This allows them to expand more fully into True Self, transcending definitions and expectations of what life “should” be.
Be blessed today, dear hearts, for you are loved.
Trusted teachers have both taught and reminded me over the years to set an intention at the beginning of each day. Intention is a powerful energy that guides our thoughts and actions throughout the day, reminding us of the truth of who we are. Below are a few examples of intentions I have found to be supportive of my journey.
I live from the Peace of my Soul.
I Am All That I Am
I manifest the love And compassion of the Divine.
I am Peace Itself.
I Am Love Itself.
I am One with All That Is.
I like to write my intention for the day on a small whiteboard in my kitchen. Seeing it helps me to live in the moment and to be aware of my thoughts and my behavior. Few days pass that fail to bring me opportunities to live my intention fully. Sometimes the circumstance affirms the truth of my intention; other times my intention guides me into higher awareness of my own patterns. This awareness elicits either gratitude or the desire to shift what I am thinking or doing.
May your intentions be clear, true, and powerful. Namaste. Peace dear hearts.
From David Simon, Chopra Center:
When we spend time in silence, we can hear the voice of our soul whispering it’s secret message and encouraging us to make choices that bring us more happiness, health, love, meaning, and peace.
From The Twisted Root by Anne Perry, a murder mystery set in Victorian England:
Anger at injustice has righted more wrongs than most other things, and it is one of the great creative forces in a civilized society. But in order not to replace one enemy with another, albeit innocently intended, you must use your intelligence. (Advice given by the character, Henry Rathbone, to his son, Oliver, who is preparing for an almost hopeless court case with a high moral issue at stake. Page 245)
In my words:
Use your anger to motivate moral action. Relegate emotion to its proper place and purpose; use intelligence to take the highest road possible in attaining your goals.
This passage struck me deeply this morning because I considered participating in a survey yesterday that came to my attention via Facebook. The writer encouraging people to voice their opinion provided red state zip codes for Californians to use because their responses would not be values otherwise. When I read that part, I exited FB and went for a walk. Isn’t that fraud? Is that who I am? Is that what will allow my voice to be heard? I refuse to believe that or participate in it. I cannot make everyone who questions or disagrees with what I believe and want my enemy.
Intelligence won out, thank goodness. I am grateful for those who have consistently taught me to seek truth in all things.
May each of you do the same.