19 Jun Meeting Puma Marca: Save the Mountains of Peru

Some people love the ocean.  I love mountains.  I have lived in and near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia for the past 30 some years.  They have taught me a lot--about endurance, faith, presence, spirit, hope, and love.  Whenever I strike out on a hike up and around these ancient beings, I connect to a transcendent yet grounded presence.  My troubles fade as I open my heart to a consciousness greater than my own.  I feel loved and taken care of.  I know I am part of the landscape of forests and streams, red quartz and shale, caves and crevices, Mountain Laurel and Solomon Seal, box turtles and deer, and the ruins of ancient, Appalachian farmers' homes. This deep mountain love has been true for as far back as I can remember.  Hence, when I discovered about 8 years ago that the indigenous peoples of Peru believe that the mountains are sacred beings who source and advise them, I was not surprised. I was happy and inspired.  Here was confirmation of something that I had long experienced intuitively but which the society I grew up in never gave credence to. When I finally was able to visit Peru this year, I was most excited to meet the Andes mountains, some of whose names I knew by heart: Ausangate, Salkantay, Huana Lipa, Huana Wari, Sacsaywaman, Illimani, and, of course--Macchu Picchu.  
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13 Oct From the Onion to the Red Rose: Spiraling Inward to the Open Heart

It is not uncommon for we spiritual seekers in the western world to want to leap to wholeness,  transcendence or enlightenment (whatever one may call it) in one fell swoop.  We want the spiritual highs of ecstasy, open heartedness, awesome visions, and lightness of being quickly and we want them to last forever.  We hope that somehow by engaging in daily spiritual practice, we will leap over or finally get past the messy, conflicted and conflictual human condition.  Another common belief is that once we have "dealt with" or fully "healed" some deep wound in ourselves, we will never have to return to that issue again--ever.  Ever, ever.
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08 Oct Dreaming Violence into Peace: A 3-Part Series

I woke up one night in 2014 from a terrifying dream in which I was trying to deter members of my community from allowing a nuclear bomb to be delivered and exploded in our midst.  It was one of those lucid dreams--strangely real. Please be aware as you start reading that there are graphic descriptions of violence in this post.  I had this dream while sleeping safely and comfortably at home in the pastoral backwash of central Virginia in the early 21st century United States.  I do not want to scare or offend anyone, but I do want to bring home the fact that the violence in our world, both past and present, affects each and every one of us in profound and often invisible ways.  As a healer specializing in trauma transformation and educator in higher education and other realms on the outer and inner dimensions of violence, I am deeply concerned about the escalation of war in the Middle East and other areas of the world--including in my own country.  If we are to stop this or at least make sense of it so that future generations do not make the same mistakes, we must each be brave and face the truth. Therefore, I hope you will read on even if some of it is painful and horrifying to read.  In the end, I suggest how we can take action in our own lives both individually and in community.  I invite you to walk with me hand in hand as I work to transform the wounds of our ancestors from millennia of violence and abuse in all forms.  
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19 Aug Sacred Chants for Love, Healing and Co-Creation

  [audio mp3="http://www.rmrestore1.dev/wp-content/uploads/Fire-Ceremony-Chant.mp3"][/audio] Teaching on the Cherokee Heart Chant This is my commentary on the Cherokee Heart Chant as taught by Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo: [audio mp3="http://www.rmrestore1.dev/wp-content/uploads/Teaching-on-the-Cherokee-Heart-Chant.mp3"][/audio] Cherokee Heart Chant (Sung by Rachel Mann) [audio mp3="http://www.rmrestore1.dev/wp-content/uploads/Cherokee-Heart-Chant.mp3"][/audio] Sacred Vowels Chant (Creation Chant as Offered by Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo) [audio mp3="http://www.rmrestore1.dev/wp-content/uploads/Sacred-Vowels.mp3"][/audio]...

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07 Dec Love Will End Violence: 2013 and Beyond

The Sandy Hook shooting and the deaths of 20 children and 7 adults strikes at the very heart of our belief in goodness in the world and at our sense of personal and collective safety.  Violence that is random, unpredictable, and targeted in a time of peace by a single individual against strangers and innocents--especially children--defies logic.  How do we make sense of this, particularly in the context of the many predictions among indigenous peoples of December, 2012 marking a great shift in human consciousness? What does it say about us and our world?  How can we understand how the great force of love--soul force--can be used to end the deep soul wound of violence we all carry?
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14 Aug Odali Utugi–Hope Mountain: A Gathering of Elders

I recently returned from the Elders Gathering at the Sunray Peace Village in Bristol, Vermont. As it says on the Sunray Meditation Society web site, the village "is modeled after places of sanctuary traditional to Cherokee and other Native American nations of the Southeast.  Inspired by the Tsalagi (Cherokee) tradition, the Village is called 'Odali Utugi', or Hope Mountain."  Sunray Meditation Society is "an international society dedicated to planetary peace."  Native elders have gathered there once a year for 24 years.  I attended this event once back in the mid-90s and was excited to be returning once again almost 20 years later.
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18 Jul New Book by Featured Peacekeeper, The Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo

Almost 17 years ago, I met the Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo at her Peace Village in Bristol, Vermont. I have told the story before about how I thought I was going to her retreat because of my interest in Buddhism, but instead I was captured by the magic of the Tsalagi (Cherokee) teachings.  I stayed under her direct tutelage for 3 years and then left to pursue my own healing and path. Recently, because of the Peace is the Human Way project, I have been back in touch to solicit Venerable Dhyani's support as an Advisory Board member and to include her wealth of untranscribed teachings in the website.  I am leaving next week to attend the Elders Gathering at the Sunray Peace Village and will meet her in person for the first time in 15 years.  Therefore, I was excited when notice came of the release of her new book, Learning Cherokee Ways: The Ywahoo Path. I ordered it immediately, eager to once again explore the rich teachings of the Ywahoo lineage and to learn more about Venerable Dhyani's personal story of how she was raised by her wise elders.  Venerable Dhyani says that many of her students have asked how her culture and upbringing impacted who she is and what she teaches. Learning Cherokee Ways is her response. Learning Cherokee Ways, simply put, is magical. 
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