“Every day of our lives we take from Mother Earth our energy for life. We forget the ancient tradition of the sacred giveaway. Take a moment to sit in silence and count the magnificent things you have in this life, even if only the wondrousness of being given life. Reflect on the Great Mother, Mother Earth. Ask yourself: “What have I given back to her lately to heal her?”Then think of the higher vision of life and balance on this earth, and realize that the greatest gift you can give the earth and your fellow humans is your own enlightenment. In this way you tear away the veils of ignorance and present the magnificence of your being to everyone who experiences you. Everyone around you is lifted and inspired. This is your offering.”
(“Offering” card, The Power Deck)
“Take a moment to sit in silence and count the magnificent things you have in this life, even if only the wondrousness of being given life.”
When you reflect on the wonder of life and the magnificent things you have created in your life and that have been given to you, you move into gratitude. Gratitude is what brings you to the altar of your own very special relationship with the Great Spirit, with the great God and Goddess beings of your life.
It is through gratitude that you open your heart to Great Spirit, and in this simple act of opening your heart you allow the unconditional love of the Great Spirit – the life force of the entire universe – to flow into you. The unconditional love of God is around you and within you and a part of you always. But so often we block our awareness of it through distractions and negativity, and especially through the shadow dwellers of anger, blame and lack of self worth. Always know this, the love of the Great Spirit is unconditional and it is limitless. All you have to do is open yourself to it and it will fill you anew.
Try this as a practice: Sit in silence and focus on your heart chakra. See it beginning to spin and glow a beautiful, radiant green. As it spins, see your heart open, like a beautiful lotus opening its petals to the universe. As the beautiful petals of your heart chakra open, breathe deeply and feel the presence of the Great Spirit all around you. Open your heart and ask the Great Spirit to come into you, and be grateful.
This card speaks of gratitude and it also speaks of gratefulness. Gratitude provides an opening of the heart chakra that brings in the Great Spirit. Gratefulness is a state of being in gratitude that leads us to action. Gratefulness is a moving out into the world with open arms and an open heart; it is the sacred giveaway of your light and joy and goodness, allowing your own light to shine out into the world so that everything around you is lifted up. This is when you experience the feeling of being connected, of being One with the Great Spirit and all of life. It is profound; it is powerful. It leads you to the healing bliss of joy, and it is available to you at all times. All you have to do is open your heart and allow the great love and joy of life to manifest within you.
In times of relative comfort, it is not so difficult to walk this path. In times of difficulty, however, it can sometimes feel impossible. That is why it is especially important to have a daily practice of some kind, to help you anchor yourself in your connection with the Great Spirit. This can be as simple as spending time outdoors in nature, or lighting a candle, or writing down on paper five things for which you are grateful.
For me, I now find my Oneness through prayer, and, to me, prayer has meant everything. It was sacred study with the Sisterhood of the Shields that showed me how to find and follow my own path of heart, the discovering who I am at my center. Sacred study is a process of remembering who you really are. When you walk the road of shamanic study and spiritual awareness, you allow yourself to grow.
Long ago, I was sitting at the foot of the Annapurna Himal in Nepal, on the border of Tibet, with my teachers, Agnes Whistling Elk, Ruby Plenty Chiefs, and Ani, a Nepalese hill woman who is a member of the Sisterhood of the Shields. There was a river coursing down from the high Himalayas, rushing down into the rolling plains of Nepal. We were having tea, and I took a spoonful of sugar and dumped it in the river. In an instant, the sugar disappeared. I burst into tears and looked at my teachers.
“That is what I feel about the dedication of my life to our work, to healing the earth and her people. I feel that my work is lost in a torrent of ignorance. How can anyone ever make a difference?”
As Agnes and Ruby so often do when I take myself too seriously, they pulled my consciousness around and made me laugh. Then Agnes turned her magnificent eyes to search my face. Finally, she reached out her hand and covered my palm with hers. “My daughter,” she said, “you have only one responsibility in this lifetime, and that is to enlighten yourself. You cannot take the responsibility for anyone else. And remember, you cannot truly heal or help another person; you can only provide, at the best of times, an environment within which others can heal and find themselves. That is all you or anyone can do.”
“Pray,” Ruby Plenty Chiefs said. “Prayer can change the world. Your light will affect all of those around you and give them the strength and inspiration to go on and celebrate the magnificence of what they are.”
I dried my tears and held Agnes’s hand. “For me,” I said, finally, “prayer is the expression of innocence. It is our radiant bridge to Great Spirit. Through the grateful heart in innocence, all things are possible.”
The definition of the beautiful “Offering” card is called Oblation. It depicts a thanksgiving tie placed on an elm tree. The wind takes the prayer to the Great Spirit. The sphere of totality stands in a place of nourishment, a fountain that is given from Mother Earth. The truth of Mother Earth is reflected into the boundless space of eternal life. This is the essence of shamanic study.
Please join me in a Prayer of Thanksgiving:
Great Spirit, Mother Earth, Powers of the four directions, my ancestors, and all those who love me, hear me now.
This is a prayer of thanksgiving for the miracle of life. When I awake in the morning, Great Spirit, and I take a breath of morning air, I look toward the sky, searching the morning light for your face, and when I find it, a radiance comes to me, so beautiful and so blissful that I cannot put words to the gratefulness that is in my heart.
There is much pain and confusion in this world. And oftentimes I lose my way, and I know not what to do. Then I sit in silence, and I listen to the high north wind in the pine trees, and you sing to me. I open my eyes and I look at the flowers and the miracle of beauty that they are. Again I see your face, and I wonder at my ignorance.
So days go by, and I follow my path of heart, and I pray to you, Great Spirit, grateful and strong from your grace. The four-leggeds and the winged ones bring joy to my life, and I thank you for their presence all around me. Their purity of being reminds me of you, and I know that they are mirrors, shiny and brilliant with your reflection.
I know that much gives away so that I may live. The sacred give-away I receive and return, ever grateful for your flowing power within me. Without you, I could not see the beauty that you have given us. I feel the sun on my face, and I know your warmth, and I know that somehow everything is perfect. I give thanks as I walk my path of beauty. For you, I love all the days of my life.
As we approach the time of prayer and celebration in so many cultures of the world, I send you my love and my heartfelt prayers gratitude.
In love and spirit,
I would so love to join with you in Hawaii, at my upcoming Retreat, “Reclaim Your Love and Passion Unconditionally,” 11/30-12/3/2011. Register here!
Early registration is ongoing for the 2012 session of my “Mystery School,” The Lynn Andrews Center for Sacred Arts and Training. Enroll now!