What's Your Bear?

The bear is a powerful symbol of strength to the Navajo people. According to Indian legends, the bear is the most powerful animal -- and the Guardian of the Earth.

A symbol of strength and healing.

It is a connection between the mind and the heart and the will to survive.

The Navajo believe that if you place a small amount of corn under the head of an Indian Bear image before you leave your dwelling that you will be protected while away. It's strength is passed to the soul of the clan member.

When the Navajo paint the Indian Bear on young warriors being initiated into the tribe they paint a crooked arrow inside the bear that connects the head to the heart.

Showing that the Indian warrior's heart is strong like the bear.

Before the most important moments of a Navajo Indian's life, he stops and places corn beneath the nose of the bear, asking for strength and healing. The moment is one of humility. One of personal responsibility and courage.

The warrior is forced to confront his own inadequacies. The planter stops to ask for rain. The shaman for health. The mother, father, each child -- they ask for healing. For strength.

And because they look for strength they find it.

The same is true for you today.

You'll find strength and healing when you go looking for it.

Life is full of unexpected moments that demand courage and responsibility, strength and healing.  The Navajo made the quest for inspiration their religion. It wasn't something they did when they were surrounded by enemies or when they needed the rain to fall on their corn stalks.

The pursuit of strength defined who they were and what they did. And so they surrounded themselves with reminders of that pursuit.  The bear was painted on their dwellings and the pottery they used to eat their meal. They carved bears out of wood as ornaments and polished turquoise into jewelry in the shape of a bear that they could wear around their necks.

The same is just as important for you today.

Without inspiration your lofty ideas and grandiose dreams fade into failure and disappointment. Mother, father, executive, priest, president or partner -- whatever you call yourself -- life demands a little more "bear".

What's yours?