The heart of the healer is a four-chambered heart, says Angeles Arrien. It is not enough to have an open heart. For health and healing in all realms of body, mind, and spirit, the heart must be full, clear, and strong as well.
My heart gives a leap of joy when I greet an animal. My heart jumps in joy to meet the heart of that animal. I feel my four-chambered heart open, full, clear, and strong. It could not be that way if the animals had not taught me how to create a sanctuary within. With an inner sanctuary, my sight is the vision of my heart, which, heedless of accepted practice, guides me to ever more openness, strength, fullness, and clarity.
With an inner sanctuary, we welcome ourselves home in each moment of our lives. With an inner sanctuary, we can create sanctuary everywhere we go.
The Animal Messengers Teach the Path of Love
The Animal Messenger teachings revealed to me the true meaning of sanctuary: a place to feel safe, a place where one can be completely oneself, a place of supported independence, a place to live and die in peace, a place of deep connection on a heart and spirit level, a place of love, honor, and respect for all beings.
With an open, strong, full, and clear heart, we can create sanctuary in every moment of our lives. Welcoming each moment, we walk the Way of Welcome and extend sanctuary to everyone we meet, offering a place of peace even in a passing interaction.
You might think it is exhausting to walk through your days bringing love to every moment, but it is actually energizing. What saps our energy is the energy it takes to try to ignore the pain of the world and to shut off the connection that is our natural way. If we meet the world with love in our hearts — and a silent communication of caring takes only a second — we return home feeling stronger from the moments of acknowledgment that we are all connected.
Bringing Love & Respect to All Our Relations
In the Way of Welcome, in the unconditional love of the full, open, clear, and strong heart, we bring love and respect to all our relationships. A traditional Lakota Sioux prayer begins "Mitakuye Oyasin," translated variously as "All my relations" or "All my relatives" or "We are all related," an acknowledgment that all elements of the natural world are connected, that every tree, rock, plant, animal, person, insect, bird, frog, snake, and so on is our relation.
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In passing each heated stone into the sweat lodge for sacred ceremony, the fire keeper says, "Mitakuye Oyasin," in recognition of the stone people. Those praying in the lodge often begin and end their prayer with the phrase, honoring all our relations and the oneness of all.
Some people use it as a sign-off in letters and emails. I say it in thanks to the moment because, when I am welcoming the moment, I am feeling one with all creation.
"Aho Mitakuye Oyasin," I say, in gratitude for the beautiful world around me and for the joy of living life with the Animal Messengers.
All my relations.
12 Things You Can Do to Help the Animal Messengers
1. Consider your relationship with the animals in your life. Ask yourself whether you are exerting control or honoring and respecting who each is. Answer the same question regarding the people in your life, nature, and yourself. Are you honoring and respecting all?
2. Educate yourself on the state of the environment and the plight of animal species.
3. Practice harm reduction. Eat low on the food chain. If you eat animal products, consider eating only meat, dairy, or eggs from free-range animals and birds, organically raised if possible (with neither growth hormone to boost milk production nor constant antibiotic use), and avoid entirely veal, pate de foie gras, and factory-raised pork (the practices used against calves, geese, and pigs to produce these foods are particularly horrible).
4. Conserve resources: reduce, reuse, recycle. Avoid buying products with excessive packaging. Save electricity and water; turn the lights out when you exit a room and turn the tap off while you are brushing your teeth, washing a dish, soaping your hands at the sink, or shampooing your hair in the shower. Drive a fuel-efficient vehicle and carpool, take public transportation, bicycle, or walk when you can.
5. Support environmental causes and organizations working for the benefit of nature and animals.
6. Use nontoxic household and garden products. Use natural shampoo, soap, and other body products. All pesticides and chemicals you use in your house or garden end up in the water table.
7. Support companies that do not test on animals, and do not buy products from those that do.
8. Spend time in nature, every day if possible, even if it is just smelling a flower or stopping to appreciate a tree on a city street. Give thanks to the natural world around you for all it provides.
9. Acknowledge the people you encounter as you move through your day. Do not treat the people who serve you in stores or other businesses as if they are not there. Let them know that you see them, by acknowledging them with a smile and a thank-you.
10. Love all thy neighbors and thyself. Every being in the world, every aspect of nature, is your neighbor.
11. Consider what you are contributing to the world and ask yourself what else you can do to make the world a better place.
12. Remember that you, too, are a Messenger and can create sanctuary everywhere you go and in everything you do.
Copyright 2011 by Linda Martella-Whitsett.
Reprinted with permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Co.
Dist by Red Wheel Weiser, www.redwheelweiser.com
How to Pray Without Talking to God: Moment by Moment, Choice by Choice
by Linda Martella-Whitsett.
About the Author
Linda Martella-Whitsett, winner of The 2011 Best Spiritual Author competition, is an inspiring, respected Unity minister and spiritual teacher. Linda's message about our Divine Identity inspires people across cultures and faith traditions to meet life's circumstances with spiritual maturity. Linda is the senior minister at Unity Church of San Antonio and a mentor for emerging leaders in New Thought. Visit her website at www.ur-divine.com/
Watch a video: Our Divine Nature -- with Rev. Linda Martella-Whitsett