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spirituality

We Are Shaman

“Wilderness to the people of America is a spiritual necessity, an antidote to the high pressure of modern life, a means of regaining serenity and equilibrium.”

Sigurd Olson (1899 – 1982) an American author, Environmentalist and life-long advocate for Wilderness.

As I was considering whose quote I was going to use to coincide with my topic, “We are Shaman”, I began reading those of naturalists and nature advocates.  Sigurd Olson’s quote caught my interest.  As I researched his accomplishments and logistics, I realized the final draft of this writing came on January 13, the day of his death.  For me, it was a clear message, that his contributions to our US Wilderness and National Parks were to be recognized, remembered, and continued.  I encourage you to research more about this amazing wilderness and nature advocate.

It Is Time for all of humanity.  For what?  Ask this –

What Do I Want For Earth And Its Inhabitants ?                                               

What Action Will I Take To Manifest It?

We Are Shaman

We are born with natural instincts and power.  They remain in our bodies always.  We can access these instincts at any time.  For example, we can feel and smell moisture in the air and can deduce that there may be rain coming.  A “gut” feeling may tell you about a person or situation.  With continuous education of working with our natural instincts and power, we can refine ourselves to become a conscious, powerful human being, connected with all forces of nature and beyond.

Using a name from an earth-based Wisdom Tradition:  We are natural born Shaman.  Every human being is born a “Shaman”.

Simply phrased:  A “Shaman” is a person who believes in a high power which governs the earth and universe, is connected with nature and all of creation, and uses its wisdom for the betterment of the earth and its inhabitants, seen and unseen.   A Shaman’s power is derived from the simple truths of nature.  A Shaman is not only concerned with the inner and outer health of an individual, but, are also concerned for the inner and outer health of the entire community of all life, all creation.

By recognizing and acknowledging nature in all its aspects, one will connect with it, and will experience its energizing affect, which, simultaneously, energizes the land and its inhabitants.

Simple daily practice with nature assists with inner and outer, healthy balance and harmony for you and all creation.

The Shaman Creation Prayer is one simple practice for a daily creation connection.  While teaching a retreat in England in 2008, I experienced and learned this prayer from a group leader who began her class with it.  It brought me to tears and affected me profoundly in its simplicity.  Since then, I have taught this prayer at schools, churches of all faiths, and with general groups of all ages.  Say it daily, several times a day, or when it calls to you.  With time and practice, it will affect your being.

The Shaman Creation Prayer

Every leaf

of every tree

feeds my soul.

The sun

and the rain

feeds my soul.

All the creatures

of the earth

and of the air

and of the waters

and of the fire

feeds my soul.

And every being

that I meet

feeds my soul

and makes me strong 

and wise.

All of creation

feeds my soul.

– Author unknown –

*Sigurd Olson (April 4, 1899 Chicago, Illinois – January 13, 1982 Ely, Minnesota) – was an American author, environmentalist and life-long advocate for Wilderness.  He was the president of the Wilderness Society and the National Parks Association.

For over thirty years, he worked as wilderness guide in northern Minnesota and co-drafted The Wilderness Act of 1964.  He worked as a canoe guide and with decades of dedication, the area he canoed became The Boundary Waters of Minnesota and gained permanent protection in 1964.

Other areas that gained protection with his advocacy are Voyageurs National Park, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Point Reyes National Seashore.

The Johns Burroughs Medal, the highest honor in nature writing, was awarded to Olson in 1974.  His 1956 best-selling book, The Singing Wilderness, made people aware of the depths of nature’s effects.  His gift of expression about the spiritual values of nature captured in people’s hearts that their salvation lies in nature and the wilderness, and the awe and wonder and the connectedness that close contact with nature can bring to a person.

He did not become the Baptist missionary his father wanted.  He became the Wilderness Missionary and an icon of the wilderness movement that became his theology.  His belief was that visitors who experience a high degree of silence and solitude in noncivilized surroundings, can easily reconnect with their heritage as humans, sense creation, and realize their connectedness and sense the sacredness of all creation, making a wilderness experience a sacramental one.

He developed a biological philosophy and theory called “racial memory”, which is that humans have a biological attachment to nature from our human evolutionary heritage.

He is the only person who has received the highest honors of four organizations which focused on US public lands and national conservation: the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, the Wilderness Society and the Izaak Walton League.

“I have discovered in a lifetime of traveling in primitive regions, a lifetime of seeing people living in the wilderness and using it, that there is a hard core of wilderness need in everyone, a core that makes its spiritual values a basic human necessity.  There is no hiding it…..Unless we can preserve places where the endless spiritual needs of man can be fulfilled and nourished, we will destroy our culture and ourselves.”   -Sigurd Olson

 

DIY Natural household cleaner, Gardens, Meditation, spirituality, vacation studio

Citrus plus Vinegar = Power Cleaner

Here is an easy and inexpensive cleaner for your home.

Citrus Peels soaked in white vinegar makes a powerful and natural all around household cleaner.  I started this project in March 2017, so I could gift my friends and neighbors for Earth Day and May Day, primarily, but, it’s a great offering at any time of year.  This combination of citrus and vinegar is what my NASA brother says they use to clean jet engines.

The small, glass jar you see in the photo on the far left, is from peanut butter, with the peels of only 2 oranges, soaking in white vinegar.  It is easy and inexpensive to make.

Recipe:

1 glass jar, 14 oz/413 ml

2 oranges, lemons, or other citrus peels.  Use only the peels, remove any fruit on the inside.

White vinegar – enough to fill up the glass jar after the citrus peels are inside.  If desired, add spices or essential oils, such as cloves, cinnamon, rose oil, lavender oil, etc.

Soak for 2 – 3 weeks

Strain the vinegar and citrus concentrate from the peels into a glass jar.

Allow time for sediment to settle after straining.  Keeping the jar and solution still, siphon above the settled sediment at the bottom of the jar.  Save the solution with sediment in a separate glass jar to add to a bucket for bigger cleaning jobs, as the sediment may clog the spray bottle.  You can also use this concentrate with sediment to control weeds.  Place a small amount on each weed, avoiding desirable plants.  A natural weed control.  You can also discard the vinegar with sediment.

In a plastic spray bottle, add the vinegar concentrate with water, at 8:1, or 8 parts water to 1 part vinegar.  This is the recommendation of a professional cleaner.  However, you can dilute this even more to whatever you desire.  10:1, 16:1.  Many spray bottles have the dilutions listed right on the bottles.

Here’s just a FEW places on where to use this vinegar solution. 

Refrigerator: Spray and wipe with soft cloth on the interior and exterior.  We use microfiber cloths.  Avoid toxic cleaning chemicals where you store your food with this natural cleaner.

Cutting boards: Spray, wipe, rinse.

Countertops: Spray onto surface, then wipe clean with a wet rag.  Avoid cleaning countertops with vinegar if you have a granite or marble surface.

Windows: Spray on windows and wipe with soft cloth.  We use microfiber cloths.  I was told by a window company not to use paper towels, as it is abrasive and will scratch surfaces.

DO NOT USE ON GRANITE, MARBLE OR STONE.

Gardens, Meditation, spirituality

Life as a Garden

     From earliest childhood memories, I had a deep connection with nature and its personalities.  I thank my parents for the many experiences that greatly impacted my life with the natural world. 

     Although we could see the smoking steel mills in the distance, and lived in the inner city, nature was all around. As a child, my friends were the flowers, trees, birds and beings in nature.  Our backyard cherry tree on Alice Avenue in the Polish immigrant neighborhood of Cleveland in the 1950’s, provided many hours of amusement with its low branches that I could climb, the shade it provided during the hot summers where I sat many hours, the amber yellow soft, pliable sap from the trunk of a hole, and the sour cherries which attracted the numerous birds that came to feast.  Alice Avenue was, is, and always will be, the beginning of my life in my version of Alice in Wonderland

     I remember the fragrant, colorful, row of roses in my mother’s garden.  My eyes and nose were the same height as the roses, and I was able to see the beauty and breathe in the heirloom intoxicating fragrances.  I often imagined being inside the petals, in the midst of its intoxication, and call that home.

     My father kept a flock of pigeons across the span of the top of our two car garage, where he built their nesting boxes.  I remember the flock taking flight, circling around the neighborhood, and return home. 

     My mother ran a live poultry store, where one could come in the morning, order a duck, chicken or goose, to pick up by 4:00 pm.  Included in the store were laying hens where fresh eggs were sold daily.

     To this day, I have not tasted better chicken soup, or fresh eggs.

     One day, my mother brought home 2 baby ducklings that she incubated and hatched, and allowed me to have as “pets”.  Their Polish names were Kasia and Basia.  We took baths, swam in my toddler pool, and took walks in the back yard together.  They followed me everywhere and I became their “mother” at age 4. 

     My mother’s attitude toward any animal to be set on the dinner table was one of gratitude.  She hated killing, but understood and learned from her own poor family’s farm peasant upbringing in Poland with 8 other siblings, that one thanks the animal for giving their life, so that her family could eat. 

     This is the prayer she taught me:  “Thank you for offering your life so that I and my family could be nourished.”  I still say this prayer at mealtime.

     I enjoyed the child innocence of my natural home and its surroundings, and yet understood the process of how the meat came to the table, and was the not so innocent, ignorant child.

     We lived across the street from railroad tracks.  Hobos often came to the back door where my mother always had a sandwich for them.  Though they were poor immigrants in a new country, she was generous with a homeless, hungry mouth, who was worse off than us.  No doubt, this came from her life in Poland before, during, and after WW II. 

      My parents regularly took our family and friends to the park for picnics, to a natural lake to swim, to our friend’s farm where we spent hours playing in the fields and woods, riding on the tractor, being in the chicken coop collecting eggs, and playing in the streams and ponds.

     At about age 3, I began to see human-like beings.  The first few times I shared my visions, I was ridiculed and was told I was dreaming.  I was the only one seeing them and never again shared my visions until my late thirties.  And even now at age 60, it is rare I share the beings I meet in my world of nature. 

     It is these earliest childhood memories that set the stage for my adult self, connected to the natural world, with beings seen, unseen, in my dreams and energy field.

     As a young adult at age18, I volunteered for the Emerald Necklace Park system surrounding Cleveland where I met my first Shaman, Carl.  He taught me how to read, hear and decipher the sounds of the elementals, the beings of nature and energies, seen and unseen, and not excluding anything: insects, trees, flowers, animals, air, wind, fire and earth. 

    At age 20, I moved to the 4 corners area of Durango, Colorado, where I continued my Shamanic training with Lolita, an elder Ute medicine women, a close friend of Carl’s.

     In 1984, I received a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Management at Colorado State University, and followed it with a Science Education degree.  I worked for the US Forest Service in various locations of Colorado and Southeastern Alaska.  I was a Science Teacher for Junior and Senior high schools in Colorado and abroad. 

     My daughter, Jasmine Rose, was conceived in the Rawah Wilderness of north-central Colorado.  As a single mother, the times spent in the garden are unforgettable, and was an affordable form of entertainment.

     Through the years, I kept a garden journal and took many photographs of the ever changing, growing world in my back yard and beyond, which taught me the lessons of the natural world reflecting the lessons of everyday life.

     The stories and lessons in this personal collection are true.  It is a family portrait album of my experiences in the natural world.  Many annual and perennial plants and pets have come and gone through the years, as well as the birds and other wild creatures born, died and buried in my backyard.  It is amazing how much natural life happens in a city back yard, if only one pays attention and becomes connected with the land, however small.

     The stories I share from the garden are metaphors related to everyday life.  Human life developed from watching animals, the sun, moon, cycles of the year, plants.  The natural world is a teacher and guide for the inner and outer world. 

     No doubt many readers have their own garden stories of amazing experiences, and your own practices and way of life, that helped to develop your connection with the sensuous, living, world around you making you more whole as a human in relationship with non-human entities.  It is my sincerest wish for everyone to remember, develop, and live in deep relationship with nature, beginning in your own backyard. 

     This blog offers practices, thoughts, ideas, I personally developed as a backyard gardener, a mother, a woman, a science teacher, a human, an international traveler, and as a teacher to help people of all ages deepen in relationship with their outer and inner world, simply by going out your back door into your backyard.  Don’t bring your phone or computer.  Don’t bring your ipod with earphones.  Don’t hang up chimes that will prevent you from hearing the wind, the birds, the crickets, the squirrels.  Go out your back door with only your self, your body, sit in a chair, and tune in to the life energies all around, seen and unseen entities, heard and unheard voices. 

 

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photo by Grace Marie