Native American Virtues LOVE

By: Marcia Campbell

Last week we began our series on Native American Virtues and the Seven Gifts of the Grandfathers. We continue this week, discussing each gift, or virtue, in more detail… starting with “Love”. Love encompasses all of these virtues. With Love in our hearts, following the Natural Laws laid before us by Creator should be pretty easy!

To know LOVE is to know peace.

John 15:12-13 (NIV)

12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

To live with Love is to live with respect and kindness towards others. In order to do this, learn to be at peace with yourself and then you can love yourself. When you love yourself, you can show love towards others. To truly love Creator, is to love yourself, and to show love to others.

“If we keep everything in balance, we are in harmony with ourselves and are at peace.” ~ Fools Crow, LAKOTA

Many wellness programs teach the importance of caring for and loving ourselves. When the Seven Gifts were given to our people, we were warned that each gift has an opposite. In each of us lives two wolves. One is good, the other is evil. The one who wins depends on the one that you feed.The opposite of love is resentment and hate. What happens when we give all of ourselves to others, but we do not take care of ourselves in the process? We end up resenting those around us, for taking too much of us, or for not meeting our needs in return. We cannot think that others will be able to meet our needs, without first meeting their own. And we do not give in order to receive. We give because it is the right thing to do, it is in Creator’s plan that we love and care for one another. We must first find balance in our lives, so that we can go forth with good thoughts and care for others.

How do we find balance? When we are tired, we rest. If we are hungry, we eat. We know we have to work, but do we have to work ALL the time? There should be time for play, relaxation, and fun! Native Americans laugh, a LOT. Laughter is good medicine, that helps to heal anger. In order to find peace outside ourselves, we first have to find balance and peace from within. We go forward with good thoughts, and we should realize that life is about perception. It isn’t so much about what’s happening, but more about our own thoughts about what is happening. The way we look at a situation.

When we are able to find peace within ourselves, we can love ourselves, and then we can freely give love to others and our surroundings.

Chief Tecumseh, 1768-1813, Shawnee Nation, said, “Love your life, perfect your life. Beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.”

“When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.”

The Bible teaches us in

Galatians 5:13-14

13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

and again in

Proverbs 19: 8

“He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good.”

I leave you with this thought, and I now challenge you to go forth with Good Thoughts. Take care of YOU, love YOU, and see how your life changes. Try to see, in every situation, that things aren’t always as they seem. If someone lashes out at you, realize that they may have received horrible news or had a hard day at work. They may be reacting poorly, but our kindness may just be what they need to turn their day around. Rather than reacting to them in the same manner they treat you, smile at them instead and ask if there is anything you can do to help. Pay them a compliment, or simply say something like, “have a blessed day”.

“Those who live for one another learn that love is the bond of perfect unity.”

~ Fools Crow, LAKOTA

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Creator, we thank you for each day, and all the blessings we find throughout. Help us to see through your eyes, so that we can love others as your son Jesus taught us. Help us to see the beauty within, and remember that You are pleased with us, in all that we are and all that we can be. We thank you for the blessing of life and the lessons we learn. Aho