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The Bliss of Our Intentions

Already we are seeing the fires appear in Colorado and my old home was in Santa Barbara California where we experienced nearly 400,000 acres lost to fire over a two year period. These were the Zaca Lake Fire, The Jesusita Fire and the Tea Fire.

During this time I founded the non-profit corp. Tierra Sagrada, The Sacred Earth Foundation, dedicated to the conservation of indigenous cultures and their wisdom. I was currently working as a Marine Scientist but had become deeply immersed in the wisdom of indigenous cultures and their ability to live so sustainably on Mother Earth.

Through my work with a Chumash Elder (a Native American of California) I had learned to begin making offerings of tobacco whenever I hiked in Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara. Many times I hiked an area known as East Cold Spring Trail, a magical space with streams and water. Whenever I entered, I made a little prayer of my intentions, asked to be guided, and always said, ”please protect this sacred space” while leaving a little offering of tobacco for the earth.

Two other places became sacred to me. I often biked up the mountain behind my home before work where there was a beautiful, vast and flat stone where I would meditate and leave my offerings and prayers and watch the glory of the Pacific Ocean. Again, I offered tobacco in a circle around that stone and said, “Please protect this sacred space.”

The other space was in Steven’s Park, a lovely wilderness just down the street from my home. There I found an ancient oak tree with a perfect seat between branches. Again I made offerings and while circling my tree again said, “Please protect this sacred space.”

All of these places were threatened by the immense wild fires we were experiencing.

I am one of those people who are fortunate to usually enjoy deep uninterrupted sleep but during the Tea Fire our homes were covered in ash like a deep snowfall and the skies were heavy with smoke. I was awakened at 2am one night for no clear reason except all of my heart and intuition was telling me that East Cold Spring Trail was about to be destroyed in the fire. I went into my back yard and with ashes and smoke all around me, I built a small fire in my pit. I sang some traditional songs and prayed that the fire would not consume that incredible and sacred space.

Months after all of these fires had ended, the public was finally allowed to enter these places. I went to East Cold Spring with my Chumash friend. Both of us expected to see complete devastation but instead we found a small area where the fire had penetrated almost like fingers of a hand and extinguished. The entire mountain adjacent to our trail was blackened but the mountain of Cold Spring Trail remained completely unharmed. I just hugged the ground with tears in my eyes.

Later the same week, I returned to the stone on the mountain and to Stevens Park. The only thing unburned near the stone was the grass that surrounded it and the only tree left unburned in Steven’s Park was my Oak Tree!

Often in my work with young people of our community who enter the Sweat Lodge or come to The Sacred Earth Sanctuary for ceremony, I discover the terrible fears they endure surrounding the condition of our planet. They are all aware of the failure of our people to be true stewards of this land. I tell them the stories of these fires. Our intentions are powerful beyond measure. When we leave our loving thoughts wherever we walk, we leave protection and healing. The dangers to our survival on this Earth may seem overwhelming to many; however, when we ask for help and protection we are heard. When we send out the energy of love, we aid in the surcease of destruction and we find the joy in raising hope over despair.

Just as in the story of the Hundreth Monkey, each of us can make a difference in this tipping point. Researchers studying monkeys on an island noticed that they did not like sweet potatoes that had been in the sand. One day, one of the monkeys washed the sweet potato. Soon other monkeys on the island did the same. One day 100 monkeys were washing their potatoes and on the other side of the earth, other researchers began to see monkeys washing sand from their food for the first time.

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