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Sacred Ground Journal. Thoughts on life.

Responding in Prayer

Phyllis Bala


Here is our little Medicine Wheel group, with two of us unable to attend.  However, we held space for Kathy & Linda.  This is a beautiful little forest tended by the community, just up the hill from Sacred Ground.

On Saturday, December 3, we took some of the Stone People from our Medicine Wheel at Sacred Ground to build one in the redwood forest.  All of us have been following closely the historic events happening at Standing Rock, in North Dakota.  Unfortunately, our mainstream media hasn't been covering too much of what's been happening, but some of the best interviews of Native American leaders, activists and Water Protectors can be seen on Democracy Now! news with Amy Goodman, if you aren't yet familiar with what's going on at Standing Rock.

Standing Rock has set a precedent in our country for the protection of water, sacred sites and indigenous treaty lands  It is so powerful a message, that indigenous leaders and elders are hoping this will spark a movement of public responsiveness all around our country and the world. At last count, there were more than 10 thousand people who answered the call to show up as support to protect the Missouri River from the Dakota Access PipeLine (DAPL) and much more.

There was a world-wide request for prayer to be sent to Standing Rock on Sunday, December 4th.  Both Medicine Wheel Programs participated by responding in prayer throughout the weekend of the 3rd & 4th in "our neck of the woods".  The guest you see standing beside the Water Is Life sign in our photo is my friend & colleague, Molly Arthur who brought an official poster like those used at the NO DAPL (No Dakota Access PipeLine) water protector camp.

After making our individual offerings at the opening of the forest, we asked permission of the Standing People (trees) to enter.  Walking along the beautiful pathway, I was wondering about the spot where we would build our Medicine Wheel. We stopped briefly to quietly listen to nature.  There were two ravens calling insistently, "Over here.  Over here!"  "Walk this way!  Over here."  "OK, ok," I answered them back.  "We're coming!"  "Thank you!" I said to them both.  We were led to a circle with a table that is probably a favorite vantage point for a fox, judging by the scat. We felt grateful for this beautiful afternoon in the dappled sun.  Others who ventured into our area while sharing the forest, quietly and respectfully changed their course to honor our space. The ravens remained fairly quiet through most of our stay.

I discovered the next day that the food offerings on the "spirit plate" we offered to the ancestors were greatly appreciated by our animal relatives.  They feasted on everything except the little arugula leaves, which they also licked clean.  

After about two hours of speaking to Spirit, the elements, our ancestors, all our relations--we finished laying down our prayers at the Medicine Wheel & walked into the Sacred Directions, offering deep gratitude, appreciation and spirit food to the Stone People.  We closed the Wheel, acknowledging with enormous love and respect, the heart of the One each woman trusts will answer when she calls from the truth of her own heart.

On Sunday, upon our return, we learned DAPL had been temporarily shut down.  The peoples around the world continue praying for the protection of water and lands from the recklessness of the gas and oil corporations.

Mahalo for sharing this with us.  Water Is Life.

Our Collective Participation

Phyllis Bala

Our collective participation in waging war gives free license to hatred, cruelty, suffering, terror & death. I devote my time on earth to supporting a peaceful quality of life giving energies, to the best of my ability--as a practice--knowing my consciousness and actions will never be perfect.

In the spirit of Ho'oponopono, "I'm sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you". Beginning now, I promise to stop what I am doing during the hours of 3, 6, 9 and 12, wake up & offer my heart, focus and commitment to forgiving myself & the world. I invite everyone I know to contribute some moment of your day or night to consciously opening to higher qualities or aspects of thoughts, feelings, words, intentions, actions, in-actions, unconditional love & especially for- give - ness.

I encourage everyone to share what it is you are doing each day to contribute to a more peaceful, beautiful, compassionate and inclusive life-giving energy.~ In resilient relations.

Aloha to our visitors at Sacred Ground Occidental

Phyllis Bala

I deeply appreciate and am grateful for your interest and participation throughout the summer.  I have enjoyed getting to know you more and your responses to the gatherings in Occidental have been heart-warming, delightful, helpful and supportive.

I would like to continue hosting our network times every 3rd Wednesday at 6 pm at Sacred Ground in Occidental.  In addition, I am offering a "movie special" after we share a topic of interest at the networking.  Movies will include topics related to health & healing/spirituality/earth medicines/indigenous ways and more.  I look forward to seeing you there.  

As we return to our schedules as summer makes her transition into the season closer to the Ancestors, I want to honor the Pacific island of Guam and the Chamorro people of my Great Grandfather Pedro Malijen. Here is the prayer:

Plaque Honoring Guam’s Ancestors AtTomhum: 
The Spanish/Chamorro Wars

Here lie the remains of Chamorros
From times past
Ancestors who have bequeathed life and spirit
To those who have followed them
We carry that spirit now
And into times yet to come
At this place let us remember
Those who came before
Honor their remains
And resolve to honor their spirit
By our actions now
And through the challenges of our future.

You can read a related article I posted on Sacred Ground Occidental FaceBook
Hope to see you every 3rd Wednesday evening at 6 pm, for networking, movie, drumming and to talk story.

Pink Clouds

Phyllis Bala

On Wednesday I was at the Russian River with friends I hadn't seen in a long time. It was early evening when I joined them. Sun was just beginning to set casting a pink glow through eerily shaped clouds. With every passing moment deepening pink spread further across the horizon, gracing a deep green backdrop of pristine, breathing forest, rising high above the Russian River, bringing magical dimension to its flowing curves.

We stood in awe of vibrant deep pink sunset bleeding through tight, rigidly formed, tightly spaced cloud cover. We drank in the beauty of the evening, with one of their children exclaiming we were here during a blessing.

I searched for my new meaning of blessing, standing below the toxic mess of poisoned "clouds" drenched in pink. It's a new phenomenon I experience each sunset I see that colors the poisons in our skies pink. A palette of crazy colors in my heart painting what I witness with deepest sad, a streak of mad, a wash of deep disappointment, blazing resentment and loss of our Mother responses of Nature.

Grateful & appreciative I was for such stunning beauty of my Russian River landscape. With feet in cooling waters, enjoying my friends & moments of blessing that end-of-day generously provides, I pushed back the feeling of impending consequences of regrettable human folly to outwit & outpower our Great Mother Nature. 

In Peace and with love, I invite the heart intelligence of the poisons above us and below us to open.  Your essences I pray back into the Heart & body of our Great Mother.  Our Earth.  And so it is within me.

Are We Causing The Drought? - Time to Share the Truth

Evidence is all over the world. Artificial Clouds are manipulating our climate and atmosphere and the results are disturbing.

Herbs and Medicine Foods

Phyllis Bala

As many of you know, my Great Grandmother Tomasa employed foods as medicines and food combining to help people manage illness and diseases.  Human relationship to foods as medicines is ancient practice.  When my mother first told me about "Wella's" art of food combining, I had been ignoring and scoffing at what I kept hearing about food combining in magazine articles.  Thinking it was something "New Age", I laughed it off and tuned it out. I had a long way to go, learning otherwise.

At age 37, the time of my "wake up call", it suddenly became clear about my adult history of dreaming certain foods when I felt a little bit off.  Getting colds and flu had never been a problem for me.  But there were times my throat would begin feeling vaguely scratchy with a sense that i was about to be very sick.

In my dreams I would be shown collards, kale, mustard greens and other asian tender greens.  Upon waking from my dream my body would be absolutely craving their taste, so much so that I would rush out to the grocery store to buy them and cook them up immediately.  It was such a mystery to me why eating them seemed like they were literally life saving plants I craved with such intensity.

In my dreams the plants would always instill a deep feeling of great joy and satisfaction that rooted itself into my being.  They would always leave me with an unshakable sense of them being more like companions, friends and teachers. When I would eat them, a deep sense of peace, satisfaction and healing would be the result.  It was always a pattern and rhythm my health and dreaming would take. Now I realize these "Green Girls" tend to quickly bring the body's ph levels into a more alkaline state.

Back in "the day", most western folks were dutifully eating their iceberg lettuce salads and calling it greens.  When I worked at Rosemary's Garden, an herb store in Sebastopol, California, I taught people about the use of collards, kale & mustard greens as deep green medicine for lymphatic health, blood and bone support and cancer prevention.  In the early 1990's I even taught classes about how to cook these powerful yet modest medicine foods, of which kale is at least now a very popular green that seems quite the rage, thank goodness.

So I want to introduce you to another amazing, yet humble medicine food that is as important and versatile a medicine as I find collards, kale & mustard greens to be.  I'm sharing a link from one of my favorite websites that I think you will love exploring.  Meet Dr. Schar, his beautiful photos, plant essays and of course his wonderful sense of humor.

Many friends & visitors to Sacred Ground in Occidental, have had the opportunity to sit with the prickly pear fruit to meet the spirit of the plant.  It's quite the teacher and taught me for a solid 2 months about the secrets of cerebral-spinal fluids, the vascular system, kidneys, the importance of proper hydration in brain and bone health, blood sugar, liver function and it's effect on the overall health of the female reproductive system.  I drink this a medicine food almost every day.