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Take a deep breath

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Thousand Palms

Yesterday we sat and told stories to a little lizard in the Thousand Palms preserve in southern California. He came over for a visit while we were enjoying the beauty of the land. He sat and listened, with great attention.

We’re never far from nature, it is inside us everywhere we go. Being out in the open air, feeling the warmth of the sun on our skin and hearing the cooling sounds of the water as it travelled past us…felt good.

We are part of nature, and nature is a part of us. So it was, and so it will always be.

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Start Where You Are

forest2“I’m hoping to share an experience with as many people as I can,” the letter began. The writer told us he had an opportunity for a badly needed break from the stress at work. He had the chance to go for a walk in a nearby forest with a childhood friend. He was enjoying the tranquility when his friend grabbed him hard by both shoulders to make him stop walking.

“Back up and look down,” his friend told him.

They moved backwards a few feet and saw movement in what he thought was just a pile of leaves. He was stunned to hear an unmistakable rattling sound, see the snake emerge from the leaves and move away from them.

“It’s not attacking,” were the first words he could get out. “People talk about them like they’re vicious killers.”

“He won’t as long as we leave him alone. And from the snake’s point of view, that would be self-defense. He was afraid of being stepped on,” his friend told him.

“How did you learn about snakes?” he asked his friend. “You grew up in the city same as me.”

“Remember that Native American Pow Wow open to the public?” his friend answered. “I got to talking with them. And more than just about snakes. They talked about listening to nature. There was a difference in the sound of the leaves.”

“I heard the leaves move on the ground,” he said to his friend. “I thought it was just the wind.”

“The texture of the sound was different,” replied his friend. “The wind is blowing again. Do you hear the difference with the leaves now?”

“Now that I’m listening, yes,” he said.

“And there’s a lot more to listening. There’s a conversation going on between two of the birds we’re hearing. Two males finished establishing their territories. So they’re singing back and forth enjoying themselves. They’re repeating some of each other’s phrases.”

He had to ask… “How did you learn to hear that well? I mean, I’m not sure my hearing is good enough for that.”

His answer was another surprise. “My doctor told me if our hearing was only twice as sensitive, we would hear molecules vibrating. So anyone with normal hearing can do it.”

“How did you learn it?”

“The same way you are now,” he answered. “Start where you are, have a calm mind and listen to whatever you hear.”

After standing still a moment, they looked around at the trees with the wind blowing their leaves. “There’s a lot to hear – I just wasn’t listening.”

Trees, animals…they each have different voices. There is so much to hear when we stop and listen.

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Ute Prayer

Earth teach me stillness
as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me suffering
as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring
as the mother who secures her young.
Earth teach me courage
as the tree which stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation
as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me resignation
as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me
to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me
to remember kindness as dry fields weep in the rain.

(Author Unknown)

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There are several versions of Native American 10 Commandments. The following version is one of the most popular and words to live by.

  1. The Earth is our Mother; care for Her.
  2. Honor all your relations.
  3. Open your heart and soul to the Great Spirit.
  4. All life is sacred; treat all beings with respect.
  5. Take from the Earth what is needed and nothing more.
  6. Do what needs to be done for the good of all.
  7. Give constant thanks to the Great Spirit for each day.
  8. Speak the truth but only of the good in others.
  9. Follow the rhythms of Nature.
  10. Enjoy life’s journey; but leave no tracks.

Gakina-awiiya (We Are All Related),

Chief Robert and Terri Lynn TallTree
www.thetalltrees.com

“Teach us love, compassion and honor…that we may heal the Earth, and heal each other.”   – Ojibwe prayer

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