April 29 – Daily Feast

April 29 – Daily Feast

Life stirs up our priorities – makes us think beyond our usual knowledge. There are enormously important things basic to all of us such as the family. The family as a whole is important, and so is each individual. Family makes us consider health and spirit and the capacity to take care of ourselves. The invisible circle gathers all we love close to us. But the final arc involves the making of who we are personally. Each person must know contentment, must be in awe, reverent toward the spiritual, recognize truth, and not go strictly by the depths and height of feelings. Searching for happiness leads us far afield when the search is for self, for a divine connection, a knowing that we are indeed divinely centered. We are a part of the earth, part heaven, one with every living thing. For this reason we love. The, ga lv quo di, the precious, the dear truth is that we love.

~ It is the command of the Great Spirit, and all nations and people must obey. ~

BIG ELK

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

April 28 – Daily Feast

April 28 – Daily Feast

How frightening to be out of touch – but how normal! There are times and places we go through that are strange – both in feeling and understanding. We experience an uneasy feeling and want to rush back to the familiar – even though it isn’t the place to be either. In growing, we go through strange places and think unusual thoughts. Fear of the unknown has made us wary, questioning, reaching for something to steady us, to give us direction and purpose. But we must expand our spirits, enlarge our thought to accept or reject what we have yet to learn. The American Indian has known the strangeness of new lands, new customs, has fought and lost – only to fight and win. Some are caught in between, but their staying power is in the Great Spirit who ever holds our hand and intercedes on our behalf.

~ I would that I could make the red people as great as the conceptions of my own mind, when I think of the Great Spirit that rules over us all. ~

TECUMSEH

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

April 25 – Daily Feast

April 25 – Daily Feast

Someday, we will know how to take living in stride, to sidestep a great many things and completely ignore that many more. Sometime, we will learn to pay less attention to the imagined and stop fussing about things we had nothing to do with in the past – and cannot change significantly in the future. One day, like the elderly Cherokee, we can say, “So long a time since I see you….I don’t care anymore.” Soon, we will rid ourselves of things we saved for no good reason – and have room for what we really want. As soon as possible, we will worry less about trouble…knowing some people need it for their security. Very soon, we will sit together in the sun a whole day and just be happy that we can sit together in the sun all day and just be happy.

~ Even as you desire good treatment, so render it. ~

HANDSOME LAKE

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

April 24 – Daily Feast

April 24 – Daily Feast

The wild pink verbena that grew so profusely along the slopes have moved to another area. In their place are yellow flowers, unfamiliar but like sunshine after a shower. A familiar saying is that the more something changes the more it stays the same. Flowers, like people and circumstances, change so swiftly and unexpectedly that it seems like the very foundation of the familiar is moving and changing before us. The Cherokees call this, a ma yi, creek water. It is always moving and changing before our eyes. Nature reminds us to renew our minds – to update and enlarge our vision instead of accepting the daily changes of the world that come to nothing. No one has ever been so perfect that he cannot surpass himself and bloom more brilliantly in another area.

~ When we lift our hands we signify our dependence on the Great Spirit. ~

BLACKFOOT

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

April 22 – Daily Feast

April 22 – Daily Feast

In the seventeen hundreds, the Natchez mother of a young chief suspected he had become involved in a conspiracy and was being used by his elders to do wrong. She said, “Open your ears and listen to me. I have always taught you not to lie.” Liars are lost in a world of their own making. We have seen it glamorized in a world of make believe until the real world has difficulty telling the truth, even when there is no need to lie. Even the little white lies thought as harmless are barriers, wrongs, that stand in the way of honor. A lie, in whatever form, is deceit, and deceit is a major block to answered prayer, to friendship, to stable lives. The biggest lie of all is that lying is in any way harmless. Truth sees through the thin veil of a lie and all credibility is wiped out. But Truth stands forever.

~ I have always taught you that a liar is not worthy of being considered a man…. ~

STUNG ARM

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

April 21 – Daily Feast

April 21 – Daily Feast

Peace is like a river….Feel it, think it, see it. Peace that flows not in wild frothy turbulence but in smooth currents that will not toss the smallest boat. Think of peace that so permeates our entire being, a peace that is closer than our hands and feet, closer even than our breathing. To hi ge se s di, came with great difficulty to the Cherokee. Peace on earth seems distant to almost anyone in any age, but it is still sought, and the lack of it still effects each of us personally. Stress raises our blood pressure, makes our hearts race and our ears roar with panic. We can stop right here and now and put it all down. Speak the words of old that stopped a storm, “Peace be still.” It worked centuries ago and its power is still intact. Say it many times a day to stop the negative flow that intends to sweep us away.

~ I am Dekanawidah, and with the Five Nations confederate lords I plant the Tree of the Great Peace. ~

IRIQUOIS LEGEND

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

April 18 – Daily Feast

April 18 – Daily Feast

The voice of doom is loud in our land. It is predicting unheard of fears and possibilities. But we have the antidote in our mouths – our words. Words are powerful, able to turn away the negative thoughts and words of those who have no purpose but to degrade. We don’t have to let other people decide that we are victims of every attack, every disease, every wrongdoing. Our, u in ne tsv (words), say the Cherokees, are mighty to pull down anything or any person that lies in wait to harm us. Life and death are truly in the power of the tongue – and our part is to study the use of words and their effects on us. We know what it is to hear words of courage. It is light entering a dark place and we hear as well as speak.

~ Give ear, I am the mouth of my nation. ~

KIOSATON

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

April 17 – Daily Feast

April 17 – Daily Feast

We want to do the right thing, say the right thing, be the right person. We try to be in tune with life, to find harmony within to blend with all that surrounds us. It just seems that so much has been borrowed from us – time, concern, spirit – until we cry for restoration. Like children, we want to ask, “Are we happy yet?” Is there a time of rhythm and order and an even beat, so that we may walk without running, laugh without tears, care without fear of giving too much? Yes, beyond the slightest doubt we can renew and we can overcome the feeling of being totally taxed to despair. Speak to yourself, said the little Cherokee grandmother. Tell yourself you are u wo du hi, fine looking, and your surroundings will see it and want you to be happy. In other words, change your attitude and the world will respond.

~ Why do you take by force what you could obtain by love? ~

POWHATAN

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

April 15 – Daily Feast

April 15 – Daily Feast

Think and talk pleasant things. When pressures are too much, turn around and think and talk on another subject. Most of us are victims of our own emotions. We allow them to take over our peace of mind and there is nothing left to do but cry. And what we worry about becomes so real, so intense, that we believe it in all sincerity. The Cherokees say this is, v yo-ho wa yi gi, something that is not true. When we are provoked to be negative there is no point in berating ourselves. Rather, say, “This is not acceptable. This is not my way and I refuse guilt, refuse being overwrought, and that is the end of the conflict.”

~ You have spoken words of comfort….as though the Great Spirit was speaking through you. ~

LITTLE BEAVER

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

April 14 – Daily Feast

April 14 – Daily Feast

Great strength exists in the smallest things. The spider’s web is so exquisitely formed, a fragile gossamer remnant. But it is stronger in proportion to size and weight than the finest steel. The hummingbird’s wings send out impulses strong enough to resemble the throb of a tiny high speed engine – but early on, it was thought that because of the way its wings were constructed it could never fly. Love can be a mere glance, di ka nv to di, a brief word, a silent touch. But it reaches past time and space and mere existence. Prayer, short, deep – a word from the depth of heart and spirit can work miracles and change a whole world.

~ There is something that whispers to me….to listen to offers of peace. ~

LITTLE TURTLE

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

April 11 – Daily Feast

April 11 – Daily Feast

If the wind were a person, we would probably say something unpleasant about him. The more we try to ignore it, the more it seems to intrude, blowing away the cherry blossoms before we have seen them, whipping the lilacs and irises when their exquisite beauty is at its peak. But the wind is like circumstances; it serves a purpose to make the season go forward. It carries seeds of wildflowers and drops them in unexpected places to please us. It helps to unfurl the new leaves and to bring rain. Changes, like the wind, have to be endured at times. But eventually we understand and often like the results. It requires our patience – which gives us time to prepare for what is to come, the same way we have patience with what the Cherokee calls, ga no le s gi, a windy person that blows and goes but means well.

~ As there is no alternative between a falsehood and a lie, they (the Cherokee) usually tell any person, you ‘lie,’ as a friendly negative to a reputed truth. ~

ADAIR

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

April 10 – Daily Feast

April 10 – Daily Feast

There is a delightful piety involved when the other person is caught in wrongdoing. Sometimes we don’t give much thought to the idea that someone made a mistake. He should have been more clever! Far too many get a lift when someone falls. It makes the sideliners look so good, and self-righteousness flows with great solemnity. But when the limelight hits home and attention focuses on a closer problem – where did all the compassion go? What is happening to human kindness? After all, are we not all too human not to err? Kindness is a two-way street. Harsh judgment and joy in seeing someone else hurt because they seem to deserve it, opens the door to let others judge us. So, then, where is all the compassion?

~ Little pot, do not call the kettle black until you have been in the fire as long as he has! ~

SEQUICHIE GRANDMOTHER

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

April 9 – Daily Feast

April 9 – Daily Feast

A problem of recent times is that we do not have a set of values by which we can live. If we are to live well and be reasonably happy, we have to have an idea of who we are and where we are going. There must be rules to guide us. Tsu gv wa lo di I, to the Cherokee means a definite standard by which to live, even when the values of others change by the hour. Without it, we are rafts on a high tide with no direction and no control. If the standard is missing we go with whatever comes along. Even is rules are self-made and are late in coming, if they come at all, it is worth the effort. And if we hold to them with a passion, they will be worth whatever we had to do, whatever we have to give up, to follow.

~ When a child, my mother taught me….to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health, wisdom, and protection. ~

GERONIMO

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

April 8 – Daily Feast

April 8 – Daily Feast

Peace of mind is better than gold and just as precious. But unlike gold, peace comes when we ask for it and let it happen – not when we go in search of it. We look for a time to be peaceful. But what may seem to be a waste of time can be just what we need – a spot of sunlight, soft breezes, the sound of locusts humming in the night. The little things calm us and bring us rest. But the best comes when we release our hold on little cares, the voices that tell us how bad things are in the world – and just let peace seep in. Nothing so becomes us as stillness and quiet serenity. Nothing so aptly furnishes the background music like sounds of nature, the mockingbird’s midnight song that expands our boundaries and enchants our hearts.

~ We are a part of the earth, and the earth is part of us. ~

SEATTLE

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

April 7 – Daily Feast

April 7 – Daily Feast

It seems only yesterday when the first cold wind blew in and laid flat the wild rose and turned the canes gray. Leaves turned and dropped. Snows fell and drifted. Winter threatened to last forever. But it didn’t. Spring runs in and out like a child opening and slamming a door just to irritate us. The birds are flirting and meadows abound with baby calves in their first days. It is a time of change – not only in nature but in us. We enjoy that breaking point between late winter and early spring. In our mind’s eye we know where the wild phlox will spread its fragrance and the oxeye daisies will crowd the narrow path. It is with the same eye that we see ourselves blooming with health and prospering beyond our dreams. Only those who walk under a cloud miss the joy of this time, the open meadows and greening hills.

~ Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam, where the deer and the antelope play….Where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day. ~

ANONYMOUS

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