‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for March 20th

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

How weak-willed are we at times when we’ve made a decision and know we must stand on it. It is so much easier to give in to the easy way of doing things.

We are almost a “house divided against itself,” and the strain of staying with a decision seems almost our enemy. But we never gain much stature by giving in to ourselves against our better judgment. And we never get anywhere by scattering our efforts.

Making a decision is difficult enough without losing one’s determination in following through. Laying down the responsibility is somewhat like warning children to behave themselves and then permitting them to continue to misbehave.

How long has it been since you’ve proven to yourself that you mean business in carrying out a plan?

A man of wisdom has written that we have firmness of character when we have the ability to say “no” to the wrong as well as to those things which are good but stand in the way of our progress.

Always remember that to want something that is good and right is the blessing. God gave us the ability to desire or we would never have thought of using it. But God also gave us the ability to cry, to feel pain, and the freedom to choose whether we go on or quit.

In our lives we face many decisions. Some are hard to make because we know we must turn our backs upon something that seems harmless at the moment simply because we know it would not be good in the long run.

But there are also decisions that are more challenge than decision. They are the good things that are placed before us, and our will to follow through is tested. When defeat seems sure, then is the time to begin to fight. When others are quitting, then is the time to throw more strength into the battle. Anything worth having is worth working for, and is of lasting value.

Very often these sieges must be made silently and without seeming effort. And yet we know we cannot get something for nothing. We have s service to perform. We can make it a drudge, or we can make it a delightful experience, according to our faith. Be persistent. Unless you do not particularly want your dreams to come true, you can’t afford to know the meaning of apathy. You must continually be on the scene with the muscles of your mind toned.

It isn’t difficult to have a dream. But it often ceases at that point. The willingness to follow through, the determination to look impossibilities in the eye and trudge on must be practiced before that dream can amount to anything. All along life’s road there are those who would discourage you, very often in ignorance, not realizing the effect of their words upon you. It is then that you must muster the strength to believe that theirs is only an opinion while your plans are based on the principle that all good things come to those who hustle while they wait.

It is too bad that they cannot see your invisible companions, persistence, faith, and a worthwhile plan. Smile and walk on.

There is a Divine Being with whom we can place all our obstacles, all our doubts and dears – and then our work begins. We give lovingly of friendship, of any kind of help that we are capable of giving, of positive words and thoughts and understanding.

Give without thought of return. For while we are giving with loving selflessness, life shapes for us our heart’s desires.

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Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones……and also for those who don’t have access to the Internet: http://www.hifler.com
Click Here to Buy her books at Amazon.com

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – March 20

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – March 20

“You have wandered away from your teachings. You must concentrate on your spiritual teachings…Don’t be sidetracked.”

–Henry Quick Bear, LAKOTA

Why are the Elders always telling us to know The culture and listen to the teachings? When We go off track, why do the Elders say, return to the teachings? The teachings tell us how to live in harmony with the Laws and principles of the Great Spirit. Living means Life – a good life, a happy life. Many of us have grown up without the teachings and the culture, that is why we don’t know how to live. To improve on relationships, to treat our children with honor and to respect our Elders, we need to live by the old teachings again.

Great Spirit, today, show me how to live.

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March 20 – Daily Feast

March 20 – Daily Feast

Someone said the test of courage is not to give up but to rise up and take dominion over melancholy moods. To give in to mood swings from sadness to anger makes finding stable ground even more difficult. In fact, it probably cause more, nu ne lv na, which in Cherokee means mischief or harm, than any other thing. When talking to someone trustworthy does not ease the stress, then writing it can make a world of difference. Writing it to ourselves can bring out many causes for sadness or anger that we didn’t know we were harboring. A daily journal has been the source of help in learning what we store away unconsciously, only to come out and whip us at the most unlikely times. It is a way of cleaning house and making corrections in the privacy of our own minds without having to tell the world.

~ Do not hurt your neighbor, for it is not him you wrong but yourself. ~

THE SHAWNEE

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

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Daily Motivator for March 20th – Ordinary hard work

Ordinary hard work

Achievement often appears easy in hindsight, and from the outside looking in. Yet significant achievement is not easy, and is not without considerable problems and frustrations.

It can be discouraging to look at the already-completed achievements of others, and to compare them with the challenges you now face. Keep in mind, though, that even when you can’t see the challenges that led to an achievement, they were most certainly there.

Working through difficult challenges is, in fact, what creates achievement. Just because it looks easy doesn’t mean it is.

Most of the work of achievement is done when no one is paying attention. Those who achieve, do the work even though it is difficult, demanding, tedious and far from glamorous.

More often than not, even the most impressive results come from plenty of plain old, ordinary hard work. It’s not extraordinary talent that distinguishes achievers, but rather an extraordinary level of commitment to getting the work done.

And that’s great news, because that same level of commitment is always within your reach. Choose to persist in doing the necessary work, and the achievement you seek is yours.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

Daily OM for March 20th – Taking a Break from What You Are Doing

Taking a Break from What You Are Doing
A New Approach

 

 

Sometimes finding the answer is as easy as taking a break and stepping back from the situation. 

Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our thoughts that we wind up going round in round in circles, finding it difficult to concentrate on things and, because we are so distracted, not really accomplishing much. There may be signals—mental, emotional, and physical—that tell us we need to slow down and relax. Since we are so involved in things that are external to us, however, we may easily overlook what is really going on inside of us. It is during these times that we need to step back from the things that occupy our minds and take time out to connect with our inner self, giving our minds, bodies, and spirits the time they need to reenergize and heal.

At first it may seem that by taking a break we may not be as productive as we would initially like. In reality, a healthy period of rest is something that gives us a real sense of the unlimited nature of our true potential. Spending a couple of minutes walking outside, doing a few yoga poses, meditating, or simply becoming attuned to the rising and falling of our breath enables us to let go of our worries. This act brings our focus back to the things that are truly essential for us, such as our sense of oneness with the universe and our inner peace and well-being. As we begin to get in touch with this part of ourselves, we will find that our usual everyday troubles and worries become less critical and that we not only have much more room in our lives to really reflect on the issues that mean the most to us, but we are also able bring to all the situations we encounter a much more positive and healthy outlook.

Giving ourselves respite from our daily concerns is like giving a gift to ourselves. By stepping away from the problems that seem to saturate our thoughts, we lessen the weight of our troubles and instead become more receptive to the wisdom and answers the universe has to offer us.

Special Kitty of the Day for Spring Equinox!

Za'rour, the Cat of the Day
Name: Za’rour
Age: Eight months old
Gender: Male
Kind: Orange Tabby
Home: Damascus, Syria
Hi there, my name is Za’rour and my name is Arabic for “Hawthorn.” When I first heard this name I told myself “what kind of name is that???” then I understood that the sound of my name is similar to the Arabic translation for “Mischievous.” Still, I do not know how my parents chose this name, I mean I am so kind and gentle, my voice is hardly heard too, and I do not disturb them at all, unlike my cat-friend who keeps nagging and running around the house. Humans are strange.

Anyways, let me tell you more about me, I remember being so skinny and weak before, but now I am so fluffy, healthy and handsome. I also remember having a family of four cute sisters but now all I care about is my human family, especially mommy who loves me so much to the extent that she is ready to wake up when I do just to play and cuddle with me, although she works so much and she’s most of the time tired, I really appreciate that.

I also love the fact that she always gives me treats when I behave, and man those Salmon treats are sooo delicious.

In a nutshell, I live a life that most of other cats would envy, I am pampered, taken-care of – although I hate the bathing and nail-clipping part of the care I get – and I would never think of leaving this wonderful family I have.

Dog-gone Doggie of the Day for Spring Equinox!

Taggart, the Dog of the Day
Name: Taggart
Age: Three and a half years old
Gender: Male Breed: Australian Shepherd mix
Home: Concord, California, USA
Hello! My name is Taggart. My mom volunteers at a shelter called ARF and was working one evening for a special event in November of 2008. I was brought out to meet people and when I met my mom I put my head on her leg and that was it. She came back the next day to adopt me and I’ve been happily living in my new home for over three years. I will be turning four in May of this year.

I live in a house with one other dog and two cats. I like to play with the cats but only the boy cat will play with me. The girl just runs and hides. Right now I am the only dog in the house. My sister, Zoee, has been at grandma’s house since Christmas. I’m not sure why, something about her knee, but I know I miss her. I’m so bored all the time with no one to play with. But mom takes me on walks and sometimes to the park to play with other dogs. That’s so cool! That’s not something we do when Zoee is home.

My mom and dad always say how silly I am. I sleep in funny positions and make strange noises when I yawn. Mom also says I sound like Chewbacca (whoever that is).

The picture of me with the tennis ball is when I first came home. I sure have grown! Mom says I’m a little chunky right now since I’m not getting as much exercise with Zoee being gone. She even cut back on my food! But I still get a carrot every day.

Well, I’m going to go bug mom to take me for a walk since the rain has stopped for a while. Talk to you later!!

Garden Blessing for Ostara

Garden Blessing for Ostara

By Patti Wigington

 

Say a blessing over your garden as you prepare it for spring.

The earth is cool and dark,
and far below, new life begins.
May the soil be blessed with fertility and abundance,
with rains of life-giving water,
with the heat of the sun,
with the energy of the raw earth.
May the soil be blessed
as the womb of the land becomes full and fruitful
to bring forth the garden anew.

How To Hold a Rebirthing Ritual for Ostara

How To Hold a Rebirthing Ritual for Ostara

By Patti Wigington, About.com Guide

 

Spring is the time of year when the cycle of life, death, and rebirth is complete. As plants bloom and new life returns, the theme of resurrection is ever present. As Ostara, the spring equinox, arrives, it’s the season for that which has gone dormant to become revitalized, alive, and reborn. This ritual includes a symbolic rebirthing — you can perform this rite either as a solitary, or as a part of a group ceremony.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Varied
Here’s How:
  1. In addition to setting up your Ostara altar, you’ll need the following supplies: a black sheet for each participant, a bowl of dirt, water, a white candle, and incense. For this rite, the High Priestess (HPs) or High Priest (HP) should be the only person at the altar. Other participants should wait in another room until called. If you’re doing the rite outside, the group can wait some distance away from the altar. If your tradition calls for you to cast a circle, do this now.
  2. The first person in the group waits outside the circle, covered from head to toe in the black sheet. If your group is comfortable with skyclad rituals, you can be nude under the sheet — otherwise, wear your ritual robe. Once the HPs is ready to begin, she calls the first participant into the altar area, cutting an opening in the circle as the person enters and then closing it behind them.
  3. The participant, still covered in the black sheet, kneels on the floor before the altar.

    The HPs greets the participant, and says:

    Today is the time of the Spring equinox.
    Ostara is a time of equal parts light and dark.
    Spring has arrived, and it is a time of rebirth.
    The planting season will soon begin, and
    life will form once more within the earth.
    As the earth welcomes new life and new beginnings,
    so can we be reborn in the light and love of the gods*.
    Do you, (name), wish to experience the rebirth of spring, and
    step out of the darkness into the light?

  4. The participant replies with an affirmative answer. The HPs takes the salt from the altar, and sprinkles it over the sheet-clad participant, saying:

    With the blessings of the earth, and the life within the soil,
    you are reborn in the eyes of the gods.

    Next, the HPs takes the lit incense and passes it over the participant, saying:

    With the blessings of air, may knowledge and wisdom
    be brought to you upon the winds.

     

    The HPs takes the burning candle and (carefully!) passes it over the participant, saying:

    May the fire of the spring sun bring growth and harmony
    into your life.

     

  5. Finally, the HPs sprinkles water around the participant, and says:

    With the blessings of water, may the chill and darkness of winter,
    be swept away by the warm spring rains.

    Rise! Step forth out of the darkness, and climb into the light.
    Awaken once more in the arms of the gods.
     

  6. At this point, the participant slowly emerges from the black sheet. Remember, this is a symbolic rebirth. Take your time if you feel you need to. As you pull the sheet back away from you, remember that you are not only stepping into the light, but putting behind you the darkness of the past six months. Winter is over, and spring has arrived, so take a few moments, as you emerge, to think about the magic of this time of year.

    The High Priestess then welcomes the participant, saying:

    You have stepped once more into the light,
    and the gods welcome you.
     

  7. Repeat the ceremony until all members of the group have been “reborn”. If you are performing this rite as a solitary, obviously you would speak the lines of the HPs yourself, and bless the area around yourself with the dirt, incense, candle and water. Once everyone in the group has gone through the rebirthing, take some time to meditate on the balancing energy of Ostara. Light and dark are equal, as are positive and negative. Consider, for a while, the polarity of this season. Think about the balance you wish to find in your life, and consider how you may work harder to find harmony within yourself.
  8. When you are ready, end the ritual, or move on to a Cakes and Ale ceremony or other healing magic**.
Tips:
  1. * Feel free to substitute the name of your tradition’s deity here.
  2. ** If you’ve ever thought about rededicating yourself to the gods of your tradition, Ostara is an excellent time to do this.
What You Need:
  • A bowl of earth
  • Incense
  • A white candle
  • Water
  • A black sheet for each participant

How To Hold an Ostara Ritual for Solitaries

How To Hold an Ostara Ritual for Solitaries

By Patti Wigington, About.com Guide

Ostara is a time of balance. It is a time of equal parts light and dark. At Mabon, we have this same balance, but the light is leaving us. Today, six months later, it is returning. Spring has arrived, and with it comes hope and warmth. Deep within the cold earth, seeds are beginning to sprout. In the damp fields, the livestock are preparing to give birth. In the forest, under a canopy of newly sprouted leaves, the animals of the wild ready their dens for the arrival of their young. Spring is here.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Varied

Here’s How:

  1. For this ritual, you’ll want to decorate your altar with symbols of the season. Think about all the colors you see in nature at this time of year — bright daffodils, crocuses, plump tulips, green shoots — and incorporate them into your altar. This is also a time of fertility in the natural world — the egg is the perfect representation of this aspect of the season. Symbols of young animals such as lambs, chicks, and calves are also great altar adornments for Ostara.

  2. In addition, you’ll need the following:

    • Three candles — one yellow, one green, and one purple
    • A bowl of milk
    • A small bowl of honey or sugar

    Perform this ritual outside if at all possible, in the early morning as the sun rises. It’s spring, so it may be a bit chilly, but it’s a good time to reconnect with the earth. If your tradition normally requires you to cast a circle, do so now.

  3. Begin by taking a moment to focus on the air around you. Inhale deeply, and see if you can smell the change in the seasons. Depending on where you live, the air may have an earthy aroma, or a rainy one, or even smell like green grass. Sense the shift in energy as the Wheel of the Year has turned. Light the green candle, to symbolize the blossoming earth. As you light it, say:

    The Wheel of the Year turns once more,
    and the vernal equinox arrives.
    Light and dark are equal,
    and the soil begins to change.
    The earth awakes from its slumber,
    and new life springs forth once more.

  4. Next, light the yellow candle, representing the sun. As you do so, say:

    The sun draws ever closer to us,
    greeting the earth with its welcoming rays.
    Light and dark are equal,
    and the sky fills with light and warmth.
    The sun warms the land beneath our feet,
    and gives life to all in its path.

  5. Finally, light the purple candle. This one represents the Divine in our lives — whether you call it a god or a goddess, whether you identify it by name or simply as a universal life force, this is the candle which stands for all the things we do not know, all those things we cannot understand, but that are the sacred in our daily lives. As you light this candle, focus on the Divine around and within you. Say:

  6. Spring has come! For this, we are thankful!
    The Divine is present all around,
    in the cool fall of a rain storm,
    in the tiny buds of a flower,
    in the down of a newborn chick,
    in the fertile fields waiting to be planted,
    in the sky above us,
    and in the earth below us.
    We thank the universe* for all it has to offer us,
    and are so blessed to be alive on this day.
    Welcome, life! Welcome, light! Welcome, spring!

     

  7. Take a moment and meditate on the three flames before you and what they symbolize. Consider your own place within these three things — the earth, the sun, and the Divine. How do you fit into the grand scheme of things? How do you find balance between light and dark in your own life?

    Finally, blend the milk and honey together, mixing gently. Pour it onto the ground around your altar space as an offering to the earth**. As you do, you may wish to say something like:

    I make this offering to the earth,
    As thanks for the many blessings I have received,
    And those I shall some day receive.

  8. Once you have made your offering, stand for a minute facing your altar. Feel the cool earth beneath your feet, and the sun on your face. Take in every sensation of this moment, and know that you are in a perfect place of balance between light and dark, winter and summer, warmth and cold — a time of polarity and harmony.

    When you are ready, end the ritual.

Tips:

  1. * Instead of “the Universe”, feel free to insert the name of your patron deity or the gods of your tradition here.
  2. ** If you’re doing this rite indoors, take your bowl of milk and honey and pour it in your garden, or around your yard.

What You Need

  • Three candles – yellow, green and purple
  • A bowl of milk
  • A small bowl of honey or sugar
  • Seasonal decorations for your altar