Now that we have surpassed the date that we’ve all thought of this whole year and years before.  The work begins, if it has not started already for some.  There has been a shift happening, if you haven’t recognized or heard.  And this call comes from beneath our feet, from our true mother.  She is asking for your help.  As a Native American Indian of this land it has always been my understanding that I am connected to this land I call home.  We are taught through time, that when we take something from the earth, we offer something in return.  This is tobacco.  Tobacco has long been used by Native American Indians as an offering to our mother who provides for us food, shelter, medicines and the essentials for living.  It has been tradition in my family that during special times when we feast with food or gifts, we provide a spirit plate.  This plate is prepared before any food is eaten by anyone.  Prayers and tobacco is offered in the plate as well.  This is how we honour the spirits that have gone before us and how we respect life that is to come.  Every bit of what is prepared for the feast is put onto the plate.  The plate is then carried into a wooded area, another prayer can be said at this time and only the food and tobacco is left on the ground next to a tree.  In this way, we show our gratitude for the sacred breath of life and the gifts we’ve been given.  Our eyes to see, our ears to hear, our hands to touch, our nose to smell, our hearts to feel, our minds to act and so forth.  We must never forget these gifts.  This is what I teach my children.  We also say prayers for people that we know that may be struggling, or who are sick.  The gift of prayer has long been a tradition in our culture.  Everything in life has something to teach us, all we need to do is listen.  It is in our silence that we find what we need.   It’s in our gratitude of our lives that we can learn the lessons behind everything we have been through.  Our hearts have the secret we all seek.  All we need to do is pay attention.  The heart is a sacred place and it has a thousand times more energy than the mind.  With the way the world is today, we are so busy that we rarely have the time to sit and listen to what we are really saying with our heart.  And sometimes when we want to listen to our heart, we’re too scared to appear foolish or stupid.  One of the teachings we are reminded of in our culture is that bravery is one of the things that we must learn.  It means standing out and sometimes standing alone.  It really does take you out of your comfort zone and puts you onto a platform with what feels like a thousand eyes staring back at you.  But I’m sure it only feels that way, unless you are someone like Brat Pitt who literally has a thousand or more eyes on him.  But getting back to the subject, how can we do our part?  The only thing I know is that by going inward is a start for anyone.  Your heart will tell you what you must do, but you must be brave when it reveals what you need to do.  So let me tell you what I do.  I pray as much as I can, at anytime, at any moment with sincerity and honesty.  Prayers are powerful messages that are carried by the wind and the air.  If you believe that we are pure energy beings, then so is the wind and the air.  I also eat healthy to maintain my outlook in life because it’s important for me to feel good on the inside if I want it on the outside.  The only way I can speak gently or nice to people is if I feel good on the inside.  So eating is important.  My intake of information is also very important in life.  I don’t indulge in negative information like the news or violent movies.  I listen to peaceful music as much as I can.  I partake in loving acts such as being with animals, like my cats who bring joy to my life every single day.  I’ll take pictures or videos of them playing.  The laughter and joy they bring to me is enormously healthy, and it creates a stream of love within me.  I also meditate to maintain balance within my body, mind and spirit.  At one point in my life, meditation was difficult.  And it was difficult because I did not understand it.  But luckily today, you can find literally hundreds of videos online to help with guided meditations.  And while you’re searching you may wonder “well which one do I choose?”  The answer is only you know which one is right.  Trust yourself.  I have found that meditation has helped me stay focused in times that I needed to.  I don’t feel jumbled up with no direction and I trust the process of life easier.  I do not argue with outcomes, whatever they may be.  So it does have a calming effect (for me at least.)  And I exercise as much as I can.  Now I’m not saying that I am a professional at the gym, in fact, I don’t attend one.  I get out and walk in the fresh air as much as I can, while doing energy exercises at home.  This helps my body stay in function.  So those are the things I do to keep my mind, body and spirit healthy.  They may seem like they are not much but they are everything if you understand the natural cycle of life.  In order to treat the earth good, you must learn how to treat yourself good first.  Everything else will follow.  All will be revealed when the time has come.  Learning to live in this way takes patience, preservation, and practice.  Above all, we must not dwell in the past because we do not live there.  And we can’t seek out the future so much as we tire ourselves before we even start.  All I can control is the here and now, this moment.  I have no hold on anything else outside of that.  So that’s where I live.  And I trust the process, because therein lies the Creator who knows all things, all ways.  Thank you.greentrees_2