stairway to heaven?
Image from Pixabay 

Narrated by Marie T. Russell.

Watch video version here.

At the dawning of a new day, a new month, a new year, we are aware that there is still much to accomplish, both on the personal level and the planetary level. And at times, this can feel overwhelming. Where do we start? What needs to be done? What is our role?

I Am Not A Victim

There are a multitude of stories and woven webs around us. If we allow ourselves to get caught up in our own stories, or in the webs woven by others, then we can become confused and consequently, stuck without any clear direction. Yet, if we raise our sights and our awareness to see the big picture, we can see the path through the web of life, and see which way our "salvation" lies.

Our "salvation" -- or our solution -- lies in taking back our power and not allowing others to direct our thoughts, emotions and actions. We need to claim our power and affirm that we are not victims, but are instead creators of the life we choose to experience.

One Step At A Time

The greatest change we need to envision, which will then lead to all others, is to start living from the heart. Let's drop all the reasons why we can't do this. Let's drop all the excuses why we can't get along with others to create a better world. Let's drop the grudges, the judgments, the blame.

Let's start living from the heart, and all else will necessarily fall into place. When you love someone or something, you want the best for them, and you act accordingly. And this includes ourselves, the people around us, and the Planet itself.

So let's make our daily resolution, be that we live from the heart... even if it is sometimes difficult and hard on the ego. Let's choose to let our heart guide us to do and say the right thing, no matter the hesitation we may have for whatever reason. Let's decide to create in our own personal life, and then extend outwards, a reality where we live from the heart, one day at a time, one step at a time.

Dreams, Guidance, and Discernment

At times, we may feel overwhelmed "by it all". However, remember that we always have help available on many levels. We must not be like the drowning man who refuses help from others because he is waiting for God to come and save him. Our task is to learn to recognize who, and what, is there to assist us.

Help is everywhere, in many forms -- and it may not always look like we expect it to look. Help can come from another person, or from a so-called "coincidence", or from our dreams and inner guidance. When we pay attention to all "signs" and synchronicities in our life, as well as to our dreams, we discover the help that is always present - sometimes in a soft whisper, and at other times like a 2x4 hitting us over the head.

The more we can pick up on the quiet messages, the less we need the "hard knocks" of life to redirect our path. Dreams can often bring guidance, yet at other times they simply may be a restatement of things going on in our lives -- which in itself can be a form of help as well. Stop, look, and listen for the guidance and assistance that is always available. 

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Love is Always Present

"As turbulence appears in my life, I search for the love present in all circumstances. From this perspective, I view the way of positive resolution."

The above quote about "The Goddess of Water" card (in the Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards), reminds us that there are always two ways to look at any challenges that are transpiring in our life and in the world around us. We can see it as a "horror show", or we can see it as an educational drama -- a story which presents challenges as well as life lessons and rewards.

So, let's remind ourselves to search for the love present in any situation. Whether it is a joyful event or not, love is always the underlying building block and message. Sometimes it is just harder to detect the pony hidden behind the pile of manure... but it doesn't mean it isn't there. Keep looking for the gift of love... and remember that you may be that gift yourself.

Focused and Effective Energy

There is an endless supply of energy available to us, but if we scatter our attention in too many directions, our energy is also scattered. Our goals and intentions are then diluted by distractions, to-do-lists, wanting to please others, etc. etc., and that makes it difficult to accomplish great things. 

But, we always have choices as to how we use our energy. Our intuition and inner guidance can assist us in making sure we use our talents (and energy) in a way that will help us fulfill our true purpose and highest vision. 

Our focused intention becomes like a telescope allowing us to see the details of where we are headed and the pathway to get there. Through reflection and intention, our path becomes clear and our energy focused and effective.

Old Patterns and New Growth

Our next step, and the task at hand, is to open ourselves to the gifts of innocence, of new growth and rejuvenation.

The description of the Growth card (from The Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards) reads as follows:

"The internal work you've been doing has paid off. Congratulations! You're about to experience the next level of growth and will now be rewarded with new ideas, new sensibilities, and new vitality. 

"By setting aside old patterns, you have cleared ground for the growth that will be yours. Your determination has led you to this point and will  serve you well. in the future. Let this experience reinforce your future growth and change."

Letting go of our limitations opens the door for magic to occur. But first, the walls must come down... the walls around our heart that are constructed from fear, anger, judgment, low self-esteem, old grudges, etc. 

Focus and Purpose

While we all have much to accomplish, we get more done when we focus on one thing at a time and give 100% of our energy and attention to the task at hand. If we are doing one thing yet our attention is on another, we will not accomplish what we set out to do... 

The  explanation of the "Whirlwind & Storm -- Focus" card in the Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards reads as follows:

"You may be trying to accomplish too many things, spinning in many directions at once without clear intent. Stop; focus on the primary goal or purpose. Examine the directions in which you are unnecessarily expending energy. Choose a single path and walk in the direction it leads you."

When we set goals, we must remember that Love needs to come first...  Through the many demands and distractions of our life, we need to learn to focus on Love, and, once we do, step by step, we will discover our direction and achieve our goals. Love will always guide us to the right action, the right place, and the right experience. 

Article inspired from:

The Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards

The Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards: Spiritual Teachings of the Sioux
by Chief Archie Fire Lame Deer and Helene Sarkis.

cover art of The Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards: Spiritual Teachings of the Sioux by Chief Archie Fire Lame Deer and Helene Sarkis.This book and beautifully illustrated deck draw on the ancient Lakota ritual of healing and purification known as the sacred Inipi, or sweat lodge ceremony, which has existed in the Lakota culture for thousands of years.

The cards and accompanying book comprise a self-contained and highly original system that will help you harness creative energies to deal with issues that are of concern in your life. Used for self-discovery rather than divination, the cards gently guide you toward inner growth and self-knowledge in the time-honored tradition of the Lakota people.

Publisher: Destiny Books, an imprint of Inner Traditions Intl.

For more info and/or to order this card deck with guidebook, click here

More Inspirational Card Decks 

About The Author

Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.

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