La Leun Calendar

Welcome to a new (old) perspective.  This calendar prioritizes the lunar phases over our more common calendar, while keeping enough of the common understandings to keep you grounded.  The Moons are from a prairie Cree understanding and the teachings from my Métis/Michif teachers.  The calendar begins with the new Spring Moon, which is where it feels natural for some of the first peoples of Turtle Island (North America).

Interconnectedness of Family and Community

In the Métis way, pishkaymitook (caring) for yourself and others is expected.  It often begins by remembering that our lives and communities are interconnected in ways that stretch beyond blood ties to ecosystems that live and die based on the strength of the relationships.  Each of us is sacred, our place in the community is integral and pishkaymitook deeply for ourselves allows our strength to serve our relatives when needed.  I recently read a passage in “Our Words- Our Ways” that speaks directly to the practice of honouring one another.

“When you take time to talk to [each other], remember: the first moments are sacred; they involve the honouring of the dignity of each life that you meet.  Take the time to listen with your heart.”

Pishkaymitook for others who could not look after themselves was practiced by everybody in the Métis community. Métis hunters made sure that the Elders always had enough meat and provisions, women cooked and mended for each other to lighten the load and children were encouraged to spend time with Elders to help them with small tasks such as writing letters, cooking, or making tea.

As I look out my window into to the deep cold of the prairie winter, my thoughts go to those in our communities that do not have the same access to warmth and food that I do.   What is our path to pishkaymitook for them?

This week’s meditation is focused on that path…

Recall a moment of caring connection from some time in our life, a moment of relative unconditional support when someone was rooting for you, deeply listening to you, or simply seeing you.  As long as it makes you happy to recall this moment then it is perfect for this meditation

  • Settle into the memory, fill your belly with breath, drop your shoulders and lower your gaze to begin.
  • Feel the warmth of the connection with that other human slowly fill your body. Feel it travel to each limb, slowly and deliberately.  Breath into it with each breath, expanding its reach and giving it life.
  • Wrapped in this gift of warmth and love, open your mind to your own gifts. Don’t force the thoughts, let them drift slowly to the top like steam rising off a fresh cup of tea.
  • Allow your gifts and abundance to fill the room, gently, quietly and with grace. When you can see the gifts that you have to give, imagine each as an opportunity for pishkaymitook. Let your minds eye shift gently from one gift to another, and when you find one worthy enough to give, let it settle into your heart.
  • Bring your attention back to your breath. Stretch your attention back into your physical body. Wiggle your fingers and your toes.  Open your eyes.

Now take that gift from your heart and find a way to share it with your community.

Maarsii.

Today’s photo courtesy of Canva Pro

If you are still wondering how you can help, please consider volunteering or donating to The Lighthouse.

Emergency Shelter

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.

Taashkinikayen (Sharing)

In the Métis way, taashkinikayen (sharing) your gifts and abundance with others was a vital part of living. Children were taught to give from the heart freely and openly.  This value continues to be a big part of our communities today.  It is believed that the more you give from the heart, the more you will receive and when you give in a good way, the good comes back to you fourfold. To reinforce this type of generosity, Métis people were taught to give away even their most treasured possessions, a reminder that the material world is only one aspect of the greater vision. 

Today, we honour our ascended relatives by remembering that taashkinikayen is about more than just the physical aspects of our world.  It is a rare day when we do not connect with other people, even in the pandemic we connect via zoom and email.  Taashkinikayen our thoughts and energy with others is a part of these interactions as well and when words stand alone, without us to soften them, they can feel sharp and thoughtless. 

Be mindful this week in your taashkinikayen and know that by giving your best energy, you are creating a better world.

To practice taashkinikayen this week, begin each day with 5 minutes of quiet.

  • Find a comfortable space, find your breath and sit quietly, acknowledging the space it fills in your body. Follow it in, and follow it our for about 5 breaths.
  • Then as you begin to feel yourself relax, imagine that as you inhale you draw in positive energy, and as you exhale, that positive energy flows to all the people you love.
  • Continue sharing positive energy for a few minutes before you come back to your own breath and body.
  • As you lift your mind to your day, remember that you are filled with more positive energy than you could possibly need, and share it in every communication.

Today’s photo courtesy of Canva Pro

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.

Frost Exploding Moon

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.

Take what you need

The work on this page is my passion, and where I borrow, I give thanks.  Borrow what you need, share as often as you can, but let my name travel with my words so that the voice remains authentic.

This season, we have seen our world, our mother, take a long awaited and much needed deep breath of her own.  The birds sing louder, the four leggeds roam more freely and the scent of warming cedar has the space to reach our noses.

I am filled with gratitude for all that each of you has sacrificed to bring in this spring and cannot wait to learn a new way to be together that allows the world its continued breath.

Tracy

Some people are just ready...

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