Open your heart, heal the old patterns that confine you, release them with grace as we dance with the Dark Mother under the light of the full moon. Isn’t it time to fly?
We have allowed a line to be drawn in the sand. Someone else put it there, yet we continue to give it validity. The line tells us we are separate. In fact, we are one.
When faced with a seemingly sea of ‘problems’, it can be challenging to recognize solutions. It feels easier to focus elsewhere, or maybe just give up. Sometimes, we need to step away for a broader perspective, a gentle nudge, or an opportunity to take a bold step into discovering what role we can play in “being the change”.
The StarLions of Timbavati, South Africa offer you an opening to change your life forever by introducing you to LionHearted Leadership,
Ymani Simmons is a peacemaker, spiritual mentor, writer, ceremonialist, and conservationist. She assists women and men internationally in healing their hearts, embracing loving empowerment, and remembering who they are. Through her voice of experience and wisdom, conscious awareness, and positive spirit, she provides a safe and sacred container for individuals to experience inner growth by reconnecting their deeper self and all of Nature.
After two group trips to visit the White Lions in 2015, Ymani registered and attended the White Lion Leadership Academy in 2016 and is currently a Practitioner Trainee with the 13 Laws of LionHearted Leadership.
As an advocate for securing a safe future for the White Lions and all species at risk, she has made the commitment to devote her life to conservation – helping restore Mother Earth to her rightful and authentic state.
Vision Quest is a multi-cultural ceremony that has been leading people into the wilderness to ‘cry for a vision’ for thousands of years. For some, it is a response to a tap on the shoulder, a tug at the heart, an opportunity to get quiet, go deep, search for answers, and face the fears that we are ready to remove from our path.
By fasting and sitting alone in the stillness of Nature, we are given an opportunity to listen with all of our ears and open ourselves to the Wisdom within and without that speaks with a golden voice through the seen and unseen worlds.
It is not a Ceremony to be taken lightly and all women are expected to come, participate in service and support at a Women’s Quest Fire and base camp before making the commitment to climb the mountain and seek a vision.
Questing begins with a series of circle gatherings to explore the foundations of self discovery. Part of taking care of oneself is remembering how to connect deeply with nature, and with the sacred rhythms of the earth. All one needs to understand spiritually can be found in nature. In this modern-day, fast-paced living that we do, we often forget to slow down and see the sacredness all around us; to really honor the sacred space of the plant people, the stone people, the four-leggeds, the winged ones, those that crawl, and those that swim.
We are nature, and in our spiritual walk, we want to respect, honor, and learn from the beauty that surrounds us, the life that surrounds us. We have merely forgotten, and it’s time to come together in Ceremony, and remember. Vision Quest is an opportunity to peel away the layers of everyday life, and connect deeply with nature and one’s place in it.
Whether you are going up on the mountain, or supporting the Questers and community at base camp, it’s a time of inner growth by learning to live fully in gratitude, honoring the sacredness of all life, honoring ourselves and one another, and becoming comfortable with our own personal power. Everyone Quests. It’s a beautiful time to go deeper into learning the value of ceremony.
This is a wonderful sisterhood of women growing together in community while holding a higher vision for humanity. There are many variations to the quest, which we have been holding annually since 2008. If you are interested in learning more about this sacred tradition, supporting the Questers at base camp, or are being called to Quest yourself, please contact me.
The hearth Fires are burning, the nights have turned cold, and some may be feeling a longing to discover something forgotten, remember something hidden.
If you are hearing a call for deep introspection, release of old patterns, and clarity of purpose then this weekend retreat has arrived right on time.
Space is limited!!
We look forward to assisting you in Tending Your Fire Within.
…that darkness holds the seeds of tomorrow gently in her cold hands, and cradles them as she sings her Winter song of purity.
…that without knowing the depth of darkness, one can never fully appreciate the magnificence and fullness of the light.
…that as you venture deep into your cave of dreams, wrap your heart in the loving blanket of trust that lines this womb of the Divine Feminine.
…to give our unexplored potential to the fearless creativity of the darkness.
…the endless possibilities of creation that our dreams and visions hold.
…our joy as we reflect on who and what we love, and how we might better serve them.
…the inner peace that only illumination can bring as we shine our hope, dream our future, and fully awaken a new reality that nurtures, loves, respects, and rejoices in the beauty and Sacredness of all.
May the magic of the Winter Solstice fill your heart and soul with all of the abundance that Life has to offer.
I feel a deep sense of responsibility in honoring the enormous sacrifices made by the sons and daughters of all nations in their military service to their homeland. Some make the ultimate sacrifice, but all make a sacrifice on some level. They deserve to be acknowledged for that and treated with due respect.
Individuals step into the role of ‘warrior’ for many different reasons and I will never pass judgment on them for that choice. However, I do feel immense sadness for those who have been ‘fooled’ into service by the seduction of blind patriotism or the enticement of a ‘better life’.
November 11, 1918 signified a cease fire in a horrendous war where almost 30 million were killed or injured and another 7 million were taken prisoner. The celebration of cease fire was originally named “Armistice Day” in the United States to commemorate the end of World War I and to provide “…exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding…..inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches…..with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.”
Congress later deemed it necessary to pass a resolution and rename this day of dedication to the cause of world peace.
In 1954, that name was changed to Veterans Day and I believe lost its original intent and focus with that alteration.
As a devoted promoter of peace and nonviolence, I never served in my nation’s military. I respect all veterans for their choice. I also choose to do all that I can to live peace, with the belief that one day we can actually recognize each other as members of the same human family, to be loved and respected for our differences and individuality.
One way I choose to do that is by supporting my local chapter of Veterans For Peace. Their statement of purpose is clear and direct, “We intend to abolish war as an instrument of national policy.” I thank them as they courageously stand up to their opposition with relentless fervor. The horrors of war linger with painful memory and they stand down from aggression, violence and arrogance.
By allowing the original intention of this holiday to be changed from a focus on peace to only honoring veterans, we exclude the huge numbers of victims – the civilians, the innocents – who also paid an enormous price. We focus on the warrior and in doing so continue to glorify and uphold the aggressive and violent military action of nations worldwide.
In 1986 a group of scholars and scientists from around the world met and arrived at mutual understanding about violence. The Seville Statement on Violence challenged findings that have been used to justify violence and war:
IT IS SCIENTIFICALLY INCORRECT to say that we have inherited a tendency to make war from our animal ancestors.
IT IS SCIENTIFICALLY INCORRECT to say that war or any other violent behavior is genetically programmed into our human nature.
IT IS SCIENTIFICALLY INCORRECT to say that in the course of human evolution there has been a selection for aggressive behavior more than for other kinds of behavior.
IT IS SCIENTIFICALLY INCORRECT to say that humans have a ‘violent brain’.
IT IS SCIENTIFICALLY INCORRECT to say that war is caused by ‘instinct’ or any single motivation.
(read the entire statement here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seville_Statement_on_Violence)This statement was adopted by UNESCO at the 25th session of the General Conference 11/11/89.
We are taught divisiveness, separation, judgment, bias, prejudice, aggression, hatred and fear. Every global citizen, therefore, has the ability to choose peace, love, understanding, respect, tolerance and compassion.
As the ringing of bells announced the signing of that Armistice so many years ago, I add the sound of a crystal bell every November 11, at 11 minutes after 11 to remind myself of that original Armistice Day pledge of peace. I have grown fond of this ritual as I find bell ringing a more peaceful practice than gun salutes and fighter plane fly-overs.
As a citizen of this world, I take this day to acknowledge those who have sacrificed and remind myself and others of our continued role in making the necessary changes to enhance our experience together on this planet and make immediate strides forward, together, in creating a culture of peace that is ours, should we choose to claim it.
“Just as ‘wars begin in the minds of men’ peace also begins there. The same species who invented war is capable of inventing peace. The responsibility lies with each of us.” – Seville Statement on Violence, Spain, 1986
Happy Armistice Day.
One of the most powerful tools you can acquire on your journey, is an attitude of gratitude. This simple lesson can begin transforming your life in the very moment you pick it up and begin to use it. Being able to focus on what you are grateful for is a potent exercise in breaking down the barriers of separation and isolation. It generates a concentration away from the negativity and lack that pervade an unhealed existence.
Once we become aware of our focus on gratitude, we quickly benefit from the depth of that feeling. We recognize the inner change that occurs when we shift our attention from our lack, to our blessings. The transformative power of this asset is like no other, and can alter your mood and outlook immediately, if you only allow it.
When we pause to distinguish what we are grateful for, we begin to drift away from the negative feelings experienced in the previous instant. We are no longer focused on what we don’t have, but on what we do have. Lack cannot exist in the same moment with gratitude. It is similar to light in that respect. When we concentrate on our blessings of life, we become aware that they represent the rising sun across our dark valley of lack, now suddenly illuminated. Like a candle introduced to a dark room, the light may not permeate every crevice, but it allows a new perspective on the illusions that darkness seemed to foretell.
We are able to travel without it, but if it’s inner peace you seek, gratitude must become your companion.
Meandering through the maze of life, we discover the impact our ability to make choices has on our reality. It’s the recognition of that ability that often eludes us. Our focus on this recognition shows how these choices have become our reality.
Look around you. The life you are experiencing is the culmination of all the choices you have made leading up to this moment. These selections from the menu of your life have brought you to the spot where you stand. Are you pleased with what you see? Is it fulfilling, peaceful and satisfying? Or, are you filled with frustration, fear, and anxiety as a consequence of the drama and chaos that have shown up, again?
If you take a moment to make a list of everything in your life for which you are grateful, you will be amazed at the immediate shift in your perspective. Include everything, no matter how small, insignificant, or unimportant they may seem at the moment. They all add up and represent a light in your illusion of darkness.
The first time I did this practice, by the time I got to the end of my list, I had forgotten what I was complaining about! Go ahead, try it. You have the opportunity to begin in this moment, right now, and make a change in how you view your world, your life, your self. When your list is completed, put it in a prominent location in your living space for a while. Study it daily. Add to it, focus on it, remember it, and before you realize what has taken place, this becomes the new way of looking at your life. Now you focus on what you have, not on what is lacking. You have successfully chosen your attitude of gratitude, and now you can begin to incorporate it into your daily routine.
When you feel yourself swirling with confusion, just stop spinning. You always have the power to face your choices, accept responsibility for them, and determine that the rest of your life begins at this moment. The noteworthy goal of this exercise is your acceptance of the role you play in this drama we call life, and your resolution to make the necessary changes for the better.
Once this begins to show up as a habit, you will experience life from a joyful perspective. Your focus shifts to the endless possibilities that exist. You turn away from lack and don’t allow it to assume a role of importance any longer.
There is a certain simplicity involved in this unfolding. Life is a succession of choices. We have the ability at every crossroad to establish a new direction, attitude, goal, method, or belief. If the old ones no longer ‘grow corn’ for you, if you aren’t receiving anything positive from these actions, pivot from this tired site in your life. Hold the thought of a fresh, positive approach to your next step, and begin to change the course of your life by changing your awareness of your active participation and responsibility in the choice presented in this moment.
Pivoting from negativity and lack provides an opportunity to re-create the reality we face. Once we become sensitive to the active role we’re taking, the realization of constructing our new reality develops into a grand creation of limitless proportion. The architect of our existence is suddenly no longer outside of us. We remember when we point a finger of blame at another, there are three fingers pointing back at us. We identify our responsibility easily and actively engage in responsible creation, henceforth.
The ways we respond to life are learned behaviors. We are mostly products of our upbringing and environment. We do not arrive on this earth with predetermined feelings of violence, lack, fear, isolation, or separation. We learn it. Much of whom we have become is directly related to what we have experienced from the people and physical environment that surrounds us. If we have learned this conduct, we can unlearn it. I like to call it reprogramming.
Once we become aware, we have a remarkable opportunity to seize control of our Sacred vehicle, and begin to retrain our minds, and hearts, to respond in a good way, a way that truly serves our higher purpose and, All My Relations. By doing so, we have made an impact on everyone around us, because we are all connected and, therefore, everything we do affects everything in the universe.
When we approach these opportunities, how will we view them? Are we victims of some unexplainable universal plot out of our control? Are we focused on the negative aspects of current situations? Do we view the cup that represents our life as half-empty, or half-full? All these aspects of who we are, have enormous influence on where we stand on our life path at this moment and what posture we assume.
Before answering these questions, take a moment to probe a little deeper. When facing a moment of crisis or trauma, do you respond from a place of fear? Do you immediately begin the downward spiral into drama, confusion and chaos? Are you in defense mode? Do you revisit the haunts of low self-worth, low self-esteem and never having enough? Is your immediate response to life’s challenges, “I can’t.”?
Utilize the awareness in this moment to pivot your focus and reinvent your outlook. All it truly takes is removing the old prototype and replacing it with one which will support you in your fulfillment of making necessary change. Again, this isn’t something we decide in one moment and then are finished with forever. Spiritual practice is exactly that – practice. To become proficient at anything we must do it over, and over, and over again. It takes as long as it takes, and the only judgment involved will be the judgment you bring along, and attach to the exercise and its outcome.
To view this challenge as a moment of empowerment, choose the path of “I can”. Focus on your gratitude and redirect your stance. Take a moment to examine your emotional footing, and then move forward from this place with a fresh outlook of positive alignment with your true self. Know that the way you view these uncertainties will help determine the outcome. Life is teeming with opportunities to help us feed our souls. Starving is only one option.
We tend to spend an inordinate amount of time ‘telling our story’ and rehashing the traumas of the past. If we continuously look behind us for the nourishment we need, aren’t we trying to feed from our own graveyard of past experience? When your soul craves the food it needs to nurture and maintain its healthy growth, why seek out the emaciated and lifeless sustenance of your dysfunctional past? Instead, turn and walk towards the feast that is supplied by the promise of endless possibilities. Use this incredibly powerful visualization when you feel yourself sliding into your old patterns of wounded victimization. See the graveyard, then see the feast. Which one do you choose?
Walking hand-in-hand with gratitude ignites the Universal Law of Attraction. This law upholds the belief that whatever we concentrate on is what we ultimately draw into our reality. With this possibility in position, we begin to alter what we actually accumulate. Our awareness shifts to the understanding that everything that exists in our present moment is here because we have drawn it to us – we have created it.
The soul calls to itself what it needs for its healing and growth. It has a deep understanding of what is required to move forward from the place of pain, abuse, fear, and violence, and return to the place of peace and solace that it seeks. With this in mind, we can begin to understand how the situations and people we attract into our lives are not for punishment or torment, but are the teachings and situations necessary for our healing and growth.
An Elder once shared that these teachings can all be viewed as beautiful Medicine blankets richly woven with the fibers of intensity represented by their colors. When we finally determine there is no longer a need to struggle with the situations in our lives, we can consciously recognize and remove these blankets, being careful to give gratitude for their presence by treating them with respect. Fold them neatly, give thanks for the potential wisdom they carry, and place them carefully with all the others that have come and graced your life.
The perspective we take on any event has a direct effect on how we ultimately experience that event. Therefore, claiming a positive outlook and probing for the deepest understanding will assist you in your alignment with your true self.
The impact these simple practices can have on your life experience is remarkable and astounding. Once your practice becomes your life, you will begin to witness the budding and blossoming of the incredible flower that is truly you. As you open each perfect petal, you have the capacity to experience beauty and joy as you may never have experienced them before. We are beautiful, intelligent, powerful, creative beings that hold the capacity for creating great love, compassion, and kindness. We all have the ability to express our journey as a mission of love, or a mission of fear. There is no judgment regarding the one we choose. We are free to use this gift in any way we determine for ourselves. I tried the fear package far too long and now embrace the vast potentiality that accompanies the love I create in my life.
Life is an incredible reflection of itself. Like a spider web, if there is movement on one thread it ripples throughout. This applies from the microcosm to the macrocosm, because we are connected to everything. If we feel something here it is also felt there. Every thought, word or deed is in universal relationship. Every personal wound healed helps heal the wounded collective.
The next time you begin to succumb to mood swings, alert yourself to the peril that lies ahead and recognize your feelings. Remember to pivot, reflect on your gratitude and understand that what you focus on is what you will call to you. It’s your choice – make it the one you truly want to experience.
Once you have determined that there is a Teaching facing you, this awareness can lead you to clear examination of the attributes it carries. Do you recognize the wisdom within the situation, or are you only focused on what you are feeling because of it? We have a tendency to stir up so much dust with our drama of victimization that we are blind to the rich blessings of the food of spiritual evolution placed before us.
Someone once shared a unique concept with me. The universe is made up of energy and there are many levels of existence throughout this vast expanse. If one were to view this earthly plane from a higher perspective the energy of ‘Teachings’ might all look the same. It appears different to us as it is happening, because we see this energy as the emotion that we attach to the event. We control whatever that emotion is. We make the choice of joy or sorrow, love or fear, pain or bliss. We choose how we respond. When we consciously realize we are making a choice, we’re able to change the old pattern, make a new choice, and move forward on our path as a newly empowered being.
These old patterns hold us back. They keep us from becoming who we came to be, and from doing what we came to do. It’s all in the perception we have of ourselves. It becomes the way we view our lives and the decisions made within those lives.
I recall the day of a powerful revelation in my life. I had discovered a veil of illusion wrapped tightly around me, like a cocoon. I had done a very good job of disguising my latent anger and debilitating rage. I knew something wasn’t right. I felt like I couldn’t breathe because this fear grasped me so tight. It felt all-encompassing. I felt constricted by it, but the harder I struggled to free myself from its grip, the tighter it seemed to hold on to me. I finally realized there was no exterior force tying me in knots. I was the one entombing myself. The more I lied to myself about the origin of the woes and trials that were before me, the more intensely I felt their manifestation within my body. I began to develop physical symptoms of illness. I could literally feel my body beginning to give out and give up under the weight and destructive abilities of my past burdens. Something wasn’t right and I knew it.
That’s when I began to scrutinize everything that showed up on my path. Everyone and everything around me was my Teacher. No matter what spiritual path we follow, we all receive signs and signals from helpers along the way. Surrender your ego and ask for guidance and assistance. That assistance will come from your own wisdom.
Your life is a blank canvas and you hold the palette and brushes. Isn’t it time to end the struggle and start surrendering by listening to the numerous voices of wisdom that surround you? Isn’t it time to begin scrutinizing the choices that are always available?
Once we begin to break out of our old patterns of self-defeat, the new practice of awareness becomes easier. As with anything new in life, we may not reach a level of comfort, or develop a new habit until we refer to it on a regular basis. Give yourself permission in challenging moments to stop, remove your focus from the emotion you’re feeling, and look for something within the present situation to be grateful for. It’s hiding in there somewhere camouflaged by your emotional charge. Don’t give up! If it doesn’t surface right away, keep digging. Leave no stone unturned. As the spotlight spans to the gift of gratitude that lies within your teaching, you are then able to release the shackles of old, imprinted patterns and reemerge as the butterfly awaiting its first flight of freedom.
Keep listening for the truth that lies beneath your old patterns and don’t stop flapping your wings. As we fly, we gain momentum for the rest of our journey, and strengthen our capabilities. Your journey to unimaginable heights of insight continues from this moment and you are now aware that you guide the course taken.
Have gratitude for your ability to listen and soar to new heights!
Well, here we are again. Time for ringing out the old, and ringing in the new. I hear many talking about 2014 and sounding eager to push it to the curb so that the ‘new’ can be welcomed, that clean slate feeling. You know the one. We hand off the torch, once again, and look to the future for the change we feel is needed so desperately in our lives and in the world today.
Setting new intentions for this next revolution around the sun without making necessary internal changes allows for the opportunity to convince ourselves that we’re actually leaving those old patterns and habits behind. We’re starting over. We’re getting things settled and making way for those new plans, projects, relationships, and actions we feel are missing from our lives. We’re going to do things in a different way next year. Hmmm. Really??
Maybe we are fooling ourselves. Fooling ourselves into believing that our past can be ignored so easily and effortlessly, like stepping through a portal and immediately seeing the fresh beginning that hasn’t been available before.
Because, the thing is, it’s always available. It’s available in every moment of our lives. Each new instant provides the opportunity to shift an attitude, remove a judgment, and begin to see the ways our old habits are holding us back and keeping us in the past. Every second holds a spark of potentiality for a new beginning. A beginning that leads us out of the place of despair, unworthiness, doubt, or fear and into a place of harmony, peace, contentment, community, and hope.
On this day, I propose something fresh, something truly life-changing that can help bring about the tranquility we seek. Instead of keeping the true change ‘out there, somewhere in the future’, let’s make a pledge this year to set New Day Resolutions. With the dawning of every day we have a chance to forgive, love, have gratitude, walk softly on the earth, be gentle with ourselves and others, live with integrity and impeccability, tell the truth, and be of service.
Every day we have the opportunity to hold ourselves to a higher standard, the same higher standard we are so quick to ask others to lift themselves to. Every day we have the option of using kind, well-chosen words, instead of spewing belittling, condescending, abusive remarks at or about the ‘other’. Every day we are given the option of responding with a loving heart, or reacting with the same violence we say we oppose.
Every day provides an opportunity to heal our own inner wounds that harbor anger, fear, abuse, violence, judgment, separation, and self-degradation. Every day we stand at a crossroads and make a choice. We either remain in that place that feels so familiar and comfortable, or we step outside our safety zone and learn something new about ourselves and our latent potential.
Will your choice be to continue to perpetuate your old patterns that no longer serve? Or will it be to embrace that past that simply holds your teachings, and make the necessary adjustments within your own heart that allow you to step into that Circle of ‘the ones we have been waiting for’?
It’s up to us.
“I think in terms of the day’s resolutions, not the years.” ~ Henry Moore