We are giving away a copy of What the Animals Taught Me: Stories of Love and Healing from a Farm Animal Sanctuary by Stephanie Marohn. Check out this excerpt and don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win the book!
Unconditional Love Lesson #10:
Every Moment Is a Sanctuary
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 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.
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.
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.
Reprinted with permission from Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC, What the Animals Taught Me by Stephanie Marohn is available wherever books and ebooks are sold or directly from the publisher at www.redwheelweiser.com.
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