An Unexpected Gift for My Spirit

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This morning I poured myself some cold coffee, added ice cubes and a little ice cream, grabbed an almost-empty bag of jalapeño potato chips, and sat down at my computer to read my email and the Guardian. (Don’t worry – later I made myself a proper breakfast.)

I subscribe to “A Poem a Day” from https://poets.org/poem-a-day. Some days I simply cannot understand what the poem is trying to say, other days I find it uninspiring. Some days it speaks with force and beauty to my condition. Today I was moved to check out a second poem because the title appealed to me, and it transformed my day.

I know I will read and reread this poem over and over. It gives me courage for the journey and makes my heart sing. It will make me feel like each day is a coming-home-to-myself party.

I share it with you, hoping you may glimpse what I cannot yet fully describe; something I totally believe in, something which has always been just beyond my awareness.

Joy Harjo, by the way, is our current Poet Laureate and the first Native American Poet Laureate.

 

For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in Its Human Feet

Joy Harjo

 

Put down that bag of potato chips, that white bread, that bottle of pop.

Turn off that cellphone, computer, and remote control.

Open the door, then close it behind you.

Take a breath offered by friendly winds. They travel the earth gathering essences of plants to clean.

Give it back with gratitude.

If you sing it will give your spirit lift to fly to the stars’ ears and back.

Acknowledge this earth who has cared for you since you were a dream planting itself precisely within your parents’ desire.

Let your moccasin feet take you to the encampment of the guardians who have known you before time, who will be there after time. They sit before the fire that has been there without time.

Let the earth stabilize your postcolonial insecure jitters.

Be respectful of the small insects, birds and animal people who accompany you.
 Ask their forgiveness for the harm we humans have brought down upon them.

Don’t worry.
 The heart knows the way though there may be high-rises, interstates, checkpoints, armed soldiers, massacres, wars, and those who will despise you because they despise themselves.

The journey might take you a few hours, a day, a year, a few years, a hundred, a thousand or even more.

Watch your mind. Without training it might run away and leave your heart for the immense human feast set by the thieves of time.

Do not hold regrets.

When you find your way to the circle, to the fire kept burning by the keepers of your soul, you will be welcomed.

You must clean yourself with cedar, sage, or other healing plant.

Cut the ties you have to failure and shame.

Let go the pain you are holding in your mind, your shoulders, your heart, all the way to your feet. Let go the pain of your ancestors to make way for those who are heading in our direction.

Ask for forgiveness.

Call upon the help of those who love you. These helpers take many forms: animal, element, bird, angel, saint, stone, or ancestor.

Call your spirit back. It may be caught in corners and creases of shame, judgment, and human abuse.

You must call in a way that your spirit will want to return.
Speak to it as you would to a beloved child.

Welcome your spirit back from its wandering. It may return in pieces, in tatters. Gather them together. They will be happy to be found after being lost for so long.

Your spirit will need to sleep awhile after it is bathed and given clean clothes.

Now you can have a party. Invite everyone you know who loves and supports you. Keep room for those who have no place else to go.

Make a giveaway, and remember, keep the speeches short.

Then, you must do this: help the next person find their way through the dark.

 

Reprinted from “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings” by Joy Harjo. Copyright © 2015 by Joy Harjo.

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Upcoming Holidays

November
11/28 US Thanksgiving
December
12/1, 12/8, 12/15, 12/22 Sundays of Advent
12/11 Full moon
12/21 Winter solstice/Yule/St. Thomas’ Day
12/24 Christmas Eve
12/26 Annular solar eclipse. Totality will be visible in Saudi Arabia, southern India, Sri Lanka, parts of Indonesia, Singapore, and parts of the Philippines.
12/31 New Year’s Eve
January
1/1 New Year’s Day
1/7 St Winebald’s Day
1/10 Full moon
1/10-11 Penumbral lunar eclipse. The moon will turn a shade darker during the maximum phase, which will be visible in Australia, Europe, and Africa. Most penumbral lunar eclipses cannot be easily distinguished from a usual full moon. See https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2020-january-10
1/13 Satanic New Year
1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
12/22 – 12/30 Chanukah
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes)

11 thoughts on “An Unexpected Gift for My Spirit

  1. WoW Jean, as always you seem to post something which seems to word for word convey my place on the ‘healing path’
    I love the part of welcoming and for your spirit. To me, it tells the story of all my parts and how each of us is important (how ever hard that is)
    Thank you!

    Ps. Maybe you could write about anger sometimes? After posting this I’m gonna search your site a bit for posts but was wondering how anger played out in your healing.
    As always with love,
    Kate

    Like

    1. Anger…hmmm. There is such a wide range of ways of experiencing and handling anger that I’m not sure my experience will be very useful to many people. But I’ll give it a try.

      Like

        1. Well, I just wrote about my experience … most of my process was unconscious so I don’t know what it was, but even if nobody can relate they may get that there is such a wide range in how pple experience things and go about healing. We sure are individuals!!!

          Like

  2. Thank You, Dear Jean, that’s SO beautiful, inspiring, moving, pure, shamanic & therefore universal in its essence …
    I’ve posted it on my Facebook page & will keep it in my files !
    Cheers, E.*

    Like

    1. Isn’t it magnificent? And did you get how the first two lines applied to me this morning???

      She’s coming to my city to give a reading December 10, and, of course, I am going. I’m so lucky!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel that ALL the lines may apply to you and, by the way, to all of us, with our pieces of soul scattered away, wild at sea … :-))
        Yes, that’s a marvellous synchronicity she’s coming to your sweet town soon … it will be an enthralling meeting, for sure ! ;-*

        Like

        1. I love that the parts of our spirit will be glad to be found.

          Yes, it is for all of us. But the potato chips and computer were specially for me! Jaipeno potato chips are delicious, by the way. High quality junk food!

          Liked by 1 person

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