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Archive for July, 2015

“How do you value your life, Katrina?” This question was asked of me by Harrison Jim Sr., a Navajo Medicine Man coming to the Northeast as part of the Navajo Horse Healing Project. We were discussing his upcoming visit and other potential ways to bring their teachings to our community. I was stumped by the question, in part because of the use of the word “how.” All the quick answers that came would have answered, “what do I value?” The conversation at that moment was about charging a fee for their talks and healings, so I knew his question was not a matter of semantics. After some silence and then my answer “I’d have to give that some consideration.” Harrison added, “what value do you place on having peace and harmony restored in your life? That is what we ask for in exchange of our knowledge, gifts and healings.”

This question was bouncing around my head when an old note showed up on my desktop. It was recording a time while driving down the Northway and a Target delivery truck passed me. I noticed the tag line “Expect more. Pay Less.” I’d probably seen that line many times prior, however, this time the symbolic imbalance caught my attention. Expecting more and paying less seemed like an American Mantra. What does this say about our culture’s idea of reciprocity? While the Target tag is referencing money in exchange for goods, we cannot separate that belief out from other areas of life, such as interpersonal relationships and how we make a living. With the assumption that we should pay less and get more, there is no equal exchange, creating imbalanced transactions—including the one we have with life in general. On the surface this may not seem important, on an energetic level it leaves everything in disharmony.

I hadn’t yet found my answer to Harrison’s question, so I continued to ponder values in general. We all can come up with a list of them—perhaps peace, joy, friendship, equality, love, family and so on. However, our behavior speaks to what we actually value more than a list of words. Rarely would someone openly include their ego on such a list or big business, yet many people display these as their priorities by how they live their lives.

On a different note, it came up in a few conversations recently that I am seen differently by others than how I witness myself. The differences were not necessarily negative, as one said she thought I was girly. Who is right? The person on the outside doing the seeing; or me on the inside who is doing the feeling? Perhaps both. While I am more comfortable with being well-liked, having a nice reputation, and being perceived my way, I place greater value on being true to my inner world, and authentic to my own experience of life no matter how that appears on the outside. Acting from the inside out means giving up impressing a specific image outwardly. In reality, this is never truly possible anyway; how we are perceived has more to do with the perceiver than it does with us. Which is perhaps why we are both right. Even so, when we are not paying attention to our inner world, falseness can fool others more easily, usually because it fools ourselves first. Life seems to ask us at times “are you truthful about your priorities, or do you only mean it when receiving approval, recognition, and adulation in return? Knowing I still hold blind spots causes me to continually question my genuineness.

While there are times I’d rather feel certain about myself, I have realized that without questions, habitual responses and or addictive behavior replace real presence in each moment. So, I will continue to examine my truth. Just as there is no way to peace, peace is the way. There is no right way to authentic expression, living it is the way. In doing so, we sometimes get it wrong. Sounds contrary, but true all the same.

Going back to where we started, how do you value life? In what way do you want to experience it—through peace, health and harmony or stress, illness and worry? What are you willing to exchange in order for that valued experience? Our human world has created money as a symbol of exchange; it is the main way in which we support what is important to us. Where we spend our most dollars is where our values truly lie, regardless of whether those things are on our list of principals. The same holds true for where our time is spent, the activities as well as the motivation behind them—such as fostering an ego or satisfying our soul. Questioning ourselves regularly will bring about authentic alignment, much greater than rigid rule-following will.

Come out and hear Harrison and Gino talk about the Navajo culture on July 14th. We will be at Coesa Holistic Wellness Center in the Saratoga State Park starting at 7. It will be a powerful and valuable evening. While the suggested donation for this experience is $20, you may choose what to pay. In deciding the amount, consider what you’d pay for an night of entertainment. If you receive something more substantial, perhaps inspiring and or perception changing, offer an amount in accordance of value to that which you received to the best of your ability. The funds will be going to Gino and Harrison so they may continue to provide for their family while they are away from home. The following evening, on the 15th, they will be creating ceremony for the waters of Saratoga. Again you are welcome to join. The waters are not only important to those who choose to drink their healing properties, but because they run under the ground on which we walk they influence us all. In addition, please read about their Navajo Horse Healing Project on page 10. It is going to be a great summer. My choice is to experience it through peace, harmony and love. What’s your choice?

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