THANKSGIVING ADDRESS

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Posted 9/2/18 on LifeAtWolfCreek.com,

We are showered every day with gifts, but they are not meant for us to keep.  Their life is in their movement, the inhale and exhale of our shared breath.  Our work and our joy is to pass along the gift and to trust that what we put into the Universe will always come back. “

~Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

In the Haudenosaunee native peoples Thanksgiving Address there rests a constant reminder that we already have everything we need.  It recognizes the abundance that constantly surrounds us rather than scarcity – and is a pledge of interdependence and of gratitude for all that is given to us in every single moment, day, year…..lifetime.

What if we started our day with a Thanksgiving Address not only recognizing, but pledging to and being deeply grateful for, the constancy and blessing of earth, water, wind, animals, moon, sun, plants, trees, berries, fish, medicine herbs, birds….all life.

The first two paragraphs of this particular Thanksgiving Address are as follows, spoken aloud every morning at a school for Native children:

“Today we have gathered and when we look upon the faces around us we see that the cycles of life continue.  We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living beings.  So now let us bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as People.  Now our minds are one.”

 We are thankful to our Mother the Earth, for she gives us everything that we need for life.  She supports our feet as we walk about upon her.  It gives us joy that she still continues to care for us, just as she has from the beginning of time.  To our Mother we send thanksgiving, love and respect.  Now our minds are one. “

 …and it continues on.

Robin says “What would it be like to be raised on gratitude, to speak to the natural world as a member of the democracy of species, to raise a pledge of interdependence?  No declarations of political loyalty are required, just a response to a repeated question: Can we agree to be grateful for all that is given?”

Isn’t it time for this pledge of gratitude to be a constant refrain of humans at this pivotal and challenging time we live in?  How would it change the fabric of our days, the communities and countries we live in and the lives of the generations to follow us?

As I write this on my deck I drink in the animacy of the natural world embraced by the energy of all living beings. Lavender and healing plants communing with the brilliant pink, purple, red and orange of blossoms on their neighbors.  Touched by the gentle sound of bees and hummingbirds who land to nourish their aliveness only to gift it elsewhere.

At times the sound of footsteps below the deck which could be the mama deer and fawn I have spotted recently or the wild turkeys that waddle their way down to the creek as a community – or the sound of the many birds that gather in this neck of the woods and that I awaken to each morning at sunrise.

The tree beings who are communing through their intimate community network above and below the earth.  Each one with it’s individual characteristics.  Whispering so softly that I have to drop into a deeper state of being to catch their messages – sustaining and protecting each other and at the same time gifting us with rich oxygen.

The creek below that is certainly not shy in voicing passage through the beds of rock, silt, plant life and tiny microscopic beings that dance within the sunlight reflected off of the flowing surface.

How can we live in a mindset of scarcity and separation when nature informs us every single moment that it is a false premise to live by….and one at odds with the survival of all living beings.

How can we forget that we live in an animate universe that is filled with energy enough for everyone, is interconnected –  and with every act or word spoken from a place of separateness and not enoughness disconnects us from the very essence of all life breathing.

I invite you to create your own Thanksgiving Address to be spoken aloud before moving into each day, to share it with others and to live by it’s pledge every day of your life by your actions and words.

I know I will…..

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Copyright by Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, 9/2/18

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SACRED BREATH – The Ground of Our Being

Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu,

Buddhist, sufi, or zen. Not any religion

or cultural system. I am not from the East

or the West, not out of the ocean or up

from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not

composed of elements at all. I do not exist,

am not an entity in this world or the next,

did not descend from Adam or Eve or any

origin story. My place is placeless, a trace

of the traceless. Neither body or soul.

I belong to the beloved, have seen the two

worlds as one and that one call to and know,

first, last, outer, inner, only that

breath breathing human being.

There are so many ways that we can consider the breath as sacred.  The fact that all living things breathe in some manner – perhaps not with lungs – creates a very intricate network of interconnection.  Our last post quoting Richard Cawte reminds us that this sacred breath is shared, and connects all in an intimate embrace…one which we receive with every inhale and exhale.  As we breathe more fully we enliven every living thing.  We are meant to thrive and to create.  

Indigenous people globally accept the sacredness of the breath and the interconnection with the natural world. Some traditions, such as yoga, tai chi, and qi gong have studied it for 1,000’s of years, and in fact have created a science of breath.  In the Native American Medicine tradition “Divine Breath” is a noun. It means the manifestation of the divine spirit in all living beings.  It is also called “life breath”.  The name given it is “ni” or “nilch’i”.  As you listen to this short piece of Native American flute music by Darrel Whitewolf give yourself some moments to feel the sacred breath of the wind moving over the Earth and inside of you.

“We touch the sacred with each breath.  With each breath we just keep dipping into the sacred…  Breath is the vehicle to return to God (the Sacred).  This is the ground of all being. Breath is the vehicle that takes us beyond thought, form, and into direct experience.  The breath takes us beyond words, beyond our ideas, into our deepest truest nature.”

Frank Ostaseski, Founder of Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco and Metta Institute

Our life outside of the protection of the womb is defined by the breath.  When we first enter the outside world our lungs fill with breath and is most often expressed with the sound – sometimes very loudly –  of our voice.  When we leave this life the last thing that is heard is our final breath.  How could something that is with us our entire lives not be the sacred ground of all being.  Our lives are defined by each inhale and each exhale….the pauses being the opportunity for rest and stillness –  to feel the sacred ground of our being.  Beginning our day with the intention on deeply breathing, even for a few moments…and ending our day with the same attention to the breath…reminds us of who we are.

When you breathe deeply and fully, you are breathing the breath that feeds the Soul.  This energy is part of the spiritual force of the universal energy, and it enters your body with every breath.  The breath contains the vital energy of who you are.”

-Jennifer in Australia at www.awakenbreath.com

Deep Gratitude to those above that have inspired me this week.

Gaye

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