This coming moon was known as Kise pism or Frost exploding moon because in the quiet of late winter our ancestors could hear the trees exploding from the extreme cold.

In this time of deep cold my teachers seem drawn back to the words of their own elders and this reminds me that our lives and circumstances are not new, just an extension of what has always been.

Honouring ni maamaa la tayr (the earth) and all the gifts that she provides was a key aspect of Metis culture and society. Even in the most extreme weather young children were taught to treat our land as a living, “motherly” entity, to talk to ni maamaa la tayr and acknowledge her in their prayers. It is often in extreme times that we struggle to find gratitude the most, and it is in these times that it is at its most powerful.

What is it that we can thank ni maamaa la tayr for, that is intimately present only in the deepest cold?

If you need some support to begin shifting to gratitude, please accept this short meditation practice as your first gift from the cold.

Gratitude Meditation

Gratitude practice can be used to promote a positive mood, hope, and resilience. As we experience positive emotions such as gratitude, loving-kindness, and compassion, our awareness broadens and our creativity and problem-solving capacities blossom, and we become more effective in whatever we choose to do.  We use this specific practice to shift into gratitude for ni maamaa tayr.

  • To begin, find a safe, quiet place where you know you will not be disturbed.
  • Find a comfortable position either upright or lying down where you feel fully supported, and your back, neck, and head are straight.
  • Allow your eyes to gently close or maintain a soft focus, gazing 6-12 feet in front of you.
  • Take a slow, deep breath to bring yourself to the present moment and begin the process of feeling more peaceful and centered. Breathe into the belly so it expands as you breathe in and gets smaller as you breathe out.
  • Take a minute or two to mentally scan your body for any areas where there is tightness, tension, or soreness and breathe your warm, oxygen-filled breath into that area; as you breathe out, let the tension release, breathing it out.
  • Begin by considering the gifts you have already received from ni maamaa tayr:
    • The gift of life itself, the most precious gift. Each day you eat and drink to sustain that life from the gifts she provides.
    • The gift of energy, and the continuation of the first gift.  Not only do the gifts of the earth sustain us, but they provide us with the energy we use to heat our homes, give us light in the dark, and provide the means for us to connect in disconnected times.
    • The gift of relatives to support us.  It is on the back of ni maamaa tayr that we all move together in relation.  The winged ones, the four leggeds, the water dwellers and the most connected of all – the plants.
  • Now, consider the connections and comforts that enrich your life, and how each of them can be followed back to ni maamaa tayr.
  • When you finish, you can notice the feeling of your body and breath in this place. Rest quietly for several minutes, noticing how you feel throughout your body, emotions, and thoughts compared with before you started. No judging, just noticing. Gently stretch your hands and arms, feet and legs. If you choose to stand, do so slowly. With practice, you can find yourself feeling grateful easily, wherever you are

Today’s photo courtesy of Goran Vučićević can be found on Unsplash

This is part of a series of mindfulness prompts that are based in Métis teachings. Each weekly post has an image specifically designed to fit the lock-screen on your phone. The idea is that you can make mindfulness easy, effective and beautiful all at the same time. Placing each new image on your lock screen serves to keep it in the front of your mind while the week allows you enough time to lean into the learning.