The Trecena of Noj: 13 Days of Earth Wisdom & Ideas

Last Thursday, the Maya here in the western highlands of Guatemala celebrated Wajshakib Batz, 8 B’atz, which is the beginning of the new two hundred sixty day cycle. So, we are only just beginning. Again.

On Sunday, I interpreted a Mayan Fire Ceremony for a small group, alongside the spiritual guide, Thomas and he also brought his wife, Yolanda, for the first time ever to a ceremony at this particular location, after having worked there for 7 years.

It was a beautiful day-count ceremony, although the group was a bit reserved and tame. Blessings, gratitude, intention setting, letting go, calling in. The day was 11 Ix {Jaguar}, and afterward there were five personal readings with Thomas, which I also translated. Almost all of them teared up at some point during their readings, and all our hearts had been touched.

It felt like a poignant, full-circle morning for both Thomas and myself, as we had both been away from this center for many moons and were at long last coming back together in the role of guide and interpreter once again, with the intention of planting the seed for a prosperous and abundant season ahead.

So, just six days into the new cycle, we begin a new mini-cycle of 13 days. “Mayan weeks” are 13-day cycles called trecenas. From tomorrow, August 29, until September 10, 2018 we’ll be moving through the trecena ruled by the nahual known as Noj [pronounced “Noh”].

According to the Mayan Calendar Portal, “Caban, or No’j in K’iche’ Maya, represents intelligence, ideas, wisdom, knowledge, patience and memory.” This is the day sign of education, training and intelligence. Its spirit animals are the woodpecker and the gazelle. These next two weeks are a time for introspection, reflection and cultivation of knowledge and authentic wisdom, a time to give thanks to both Mother Earth’s and our own natural intelligence.

According to The Serpent and the Jaguar by Birgitte Rasine, on N’oj days, “the Maya ask for wisdom, for talent, and for the capacity to think positive, innovative or productive thoughts or ideas.  It is also a good day to ask for creativity in all of our endeavors and intelligence to address all of our challenges and resolve all of our issues.”

Mind over matter. Free your mind. Meditate.

These 13 days are about working with the innate intelligence mind, cultivating creativity and asking for clarity and understanding.

What is past belongs there; what is present is in your hands.  But it is only through your decisions in the present time that your future is defined: every action, every decision, every plan or project you undertake will have some impact on your life or perhaps those of others in the near- or long-term future. This is why the present is all-important; indeed, it is the only fleeting bit of time of which we have any active experience. – Birgitte Rasine

And this is why so many ancients and sages will tell you, live in the one moment, the ever-present, and think not of the past or future. For they are both already there, in that one eternal, flowing moment.

Here’s to intelligence, the power, presence and protection of nature, and cultivating wisdom with the intention of inner growth, from a place of mindfulness.

Where is your mind?

Earth Heart

I had just fallen asleep when the earth shook.

An 8.0 magnitude earthquake had hit the coastline of southern Mexico, and we felt it here at Lake Atitlan in Guatemalan highlands several hundred of kilometers away. My husband and I jumped out of bed, looked at each other, deer in headlights.

I always think they will pass and they always do. I have never been in the epicenter of an actual earthquake zone, only felt the shakes (temblores) on the periphery. Many times I have felt those, over the past eight years living in Guatemala. Prior, my weather fear in central Texas had been tornadoes. Austin was too far from the coast to get much damage from a hurricane, nowhere near as vulnerable as Houston, Corpus or Galveston.

This one lasted a longer time than most, but due to my half-asleep state, I didn’t register anxiety as much as curiosity. Why won’t it stop? Our daughter continued sleeping soundly, so we stayed in the bedroom of our tiny two-story cabin and moved with the earth. Finally, it did cease and no aftershocks came.

Now I wonder, what will it take for us, as humans who live on Earth, to care for our planet? I wonder if it is even possible to reverse the course we are already so far gone on?

I live at a lake, a beautiful lake which absolutely should be a World Heritage Site, should be protected, a national park, a trash-free zone, something. Anything.

This lake appears to be gorgeous and healthy, from a distance. There are three mammoth volcanoes looming over its southern shore. I am on the north side, with a view of these three beauties every day, though partially obscured by trees, I can see the lake and volcanoes from the balcony where I write.

I have, especially over the past two years, come to live a much more earth-loving, “eco-friendly” life. I no longer have a car. I no longer use electricity, only solar power. I no longer have a flush-toilet, only a dry compost toilet. (Yes, I still use cars, electricity and flush toilets when I’m not a home. But I’m usually at home.) In fact, I have not left this lake basin, except for a brief weekend at the beach in February, in eleven months, since returning from my last trip to the States (and Canada).

Now, British Columbia is on fire. Washington and Oregon are on fire. Southeast Texas is underwater. Florida is underwater. Bangladesh is underwater. So many more places around the world experiencing floods, forest fires, rising temperatures, extreme weather. Climate change.

From the outside, the lake looks pristine. Its clarity is better than in the recent past, especially those times over the past decade that have brought major algae blooms, a thick film of greenish yellow cyanobacteria that eventually turned blue and purple and brown, stinking as it decayed.

The lake looks clean, but it is not. It is suffering from a lack of oxygen. This is a lake that was formed by a volcanic crater many millions of years ago, and has no rivers going out to the ocean. The rivers feeding into the lake contain chemical runoff from the farms now mono-cropping corn instead of growing diverse vegetables, grains and fruits as they used to. And untreated or poorly treated sewage from the dozens of villages around the lake basin. And many tons of trash: plastic, styrofoam, rubber, more plastic.

Hence, unless drastic action is taken by the communities and individuals around the lake, as well as the Guatemalan government to outlaw both littering and contamination of the lake at the corporate level, this beautiful gem of nature has a death sentence. No one knows for sure. Maybe 7 years. Maybe twenty?

Isn’t the same the true of the entire planet Earth? She appears to be okay, if you’re not in an area ravaged by natural disaster or an “underdeveloped” nation with trash lining even its most remote rural trails. Some people can even deny the reality of climate change still, because they haven’t witnessed firsthand a heatwave or the rising ocean reducing the shoreline. How long does the Earth have to live, unless we change our ways?

I don’t have the answer, and I feel so helpless when I learn about the vast, greedy corporate/government misuse of funds and desecration of the environment. I can only change my own behavior and try to influence those around me.

When are we going to wake up? It’s seriously now or never.

I stumbled upon this infographic the other day. This has cemented my decision to have only one child. My daughter is perfect and she’s not going to have any biological siblings. I want to pass a healthy, glorious, wonderful earth onto my grandchildren, onto all future dwellers of this plentiful planet.

This has also renewed my commitment to vegetarianism. A plant-based diet. This is not to say I will never ever eat meat, but I plan not to be lax about it, even when visiting Texas over the next couple months. Delicious, nutritious vegetarian options are always available. It is a choice. Mindful eating: plant-based, smaller quantities, slow eating, appreciation of the food, its ingredients, cook, server.

I feel good about not having a car. I drove one from age 16 to 29 in the USA, then for another few years here in Guatemala. It is a luxury and a freedom, a vehicle. I enjoy driving, going places, road trips. However, not having one is, according to this study, one of the best ways to positively impact Earth. Walking. Biking. Taking public transportation (and fewer transatlantic flights).

May we wake up and start caring more for ourselves, our fellow humans and our mother Earth. May our daily actions and practices serve to benefit all beings and our precious planet!

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I Speak for the Lake

“One of my favorite subjects of contemplation is this question: Since death is certain, but the time of death is uncertain, what is the most important thing?” Pema Chodron

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Health is the most important thing. Health as in balance, vitality, proper use of energy. Right action. Wisdom. Our health, in the larger sense of where we are, is in our families and homes—in the water and the soil.

The most important thing is to stop polluting the planet. To cease contamination, to halt habits that are destroying not only our precious, sacred Lake Atitlán, but all bodies of water—including our own human bodies, which are 78 percent water.

The most important thing is the health of both individual and community. Both family and globe. However, global thinking is a bit like magical thinking—too conceptual, unfathomable, oversimplified. Local, present-moment, current, heart-centered thinking is what’s needed.

We are all (to some extent) guilty of being ostriches, and we need to pull our heads out of the sand. Pachamama, Mother Earth, is crying softly—but, before long, she’s going to start screaming. Sometimes she shrieks in silence, and only some of us are awake enough to hear—alert enough to listen.

We must speak for the lake, for the forest, and all the species. Write, and talk, and make documentaries, and raise awareness, and inspire action in ourselves and others.

Instead, most of us, myself included, are increasingly distracted by busyness and by using technology as a toy, rather than a tool too much of the time.

What is the most important thing? Earth. Breath. Air. Oxygen. The lake is suffocating. We need to give her her lungs back, to let her breathe, let her keep inspiring and feeding everyone who comes into her aura, her basin.

Earth is the most important thing. This grain of sand, this blade of grass, this flower petal, this cloud formation, this ocean wave, this full moon, this universe.

If planet Earth goes, we all go. Pay attention to the cries of Mother Earth, of “Grandmother Atitlan.” Pay attention to what you are putting into your body, mind, and heart. Pay attention to how you sit and stand, move and behave in the world, in our home.

The time is now.

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The Earth-plane: 6 Ways to Ground Your Root Chakra

Where on Earth are You?

Feel where your body connects to the planet. Feel how gravity is grounding you to Mother Earth. Breathe in a sense of belonging and of being completely right where you are.

Our chakras, according to Swami Saradananda‘s wonderful guidebook, Chakra Meditation, are “seven focal points of radiant power, or vital energy, within the subtle body.” Translated from Sanskrit as “wheel,” these seven energy centers can be visualized as gears, constantly shifting our subtle energy upward and downward.

Muladhara chakra is the Sanskrit name for our root center and literally translates to “root support.” The element associated with this center is earth; the sense is smell; and the color is red. The core issues are energy, identity/ego, safety and security, roots and ancestry. In other words, the root is our foundation and personal ground of being.

In a recent interview with Deepak Chopra, he explained how Donald Trump is stuck in his root chakra. When our energy stagnates here, we can become egomaniacal and extremely paranoid. Our insecurity, if not healed, can lead us to feeling incredibly uncertain, unsafe, and unsupported. The feelings, of course, become unhealthy, narcissistic behaviors and words that lash out in a fruitless effort to protect our little selves, by keeping others at a perceived safe distance.

Perhaps right now, most of us on the planet could use some grounding, balancing, and healing of this primal, primary chakra. May these be of benefit.

Six ways to connect with the root chakra.

1. Connect with the soles and the soul.

Practice a walking meditation. Walk in exaggerated slow motion, noticing the act of walking. Feel gratitude for the ability to move in this mundane and miraculous way. Focus on the soles of the feet. Notice the heel touching the ground, next the ball of the foot, then the toes. Walk more slowly than you’ve ever walked before. There is no destination. The act of walking is itself the practice. Simply walk and breathe, nothing more, nothing less.

2. Use aromatherapy and healing stones.

Aromatherapy is a fancy way to say smelling stuff. The essential oils that activate muladhara energy include patchouli, sandalwood, ginger, thyme, basil, and clary sage. We can burn or smudge cedar, sage, or patchouli, in the form of incense. Wearing gems and stones, such as hematite, smoky quartz, beryl, black tourmaline, and garnet, assist in healing and aligning root energy. It’s also useful to place these gems and stones on our meditation altars.

3. Eat earthy foods.

To counteract feeling too airy, spacey, or ungrounded, we can intentionally eat meals and snacks that root us and reconnect us with the earth element. These include veggies that grow in the ground (beets, carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes), as well as beans, nuts, tofu/tempeh/soy, and pumpkin or sesame seeds. Eat these comfort foods in small portions, mindfully and slowly, savoring their density and deliciousness.

4. Give love to your knees, ankles, and feet.

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