I open my newsletter this month with a word about healing and the journey of embodiment: healing doesn’t always happen the way we assume it will.
If you haven’t been following me long, you may not know that I grew up in the southern baptist church, an American Christian evangelical denomination focused greatly on ideals such as personal salvation, the fear of an eternity of hell, sexism and racism, ideals of purity (that are grounded in misogyny among other things) and performative faith.
Basically, I grew up being disconnected from my body, from the earth, and from ideals of love and belonging. My greatest worries in life were helping enough people get saved and whether I could stay pure enough for my future husband, thus pleasing God in the process.
The result in adulthood has been the recognition of trauma that I’ve carried my whole life as an Indigenous person, and so the last few years my attention has turned to my body, my healing, and finding belonging with Mystery, with Creator, who does not make me tick boxes on a never-ending to-do list to be loved.
I know many of you are on similar journeys of healing, deconstruction, unlearning, realizations, etc. I know that when we choose to stop and invest in our healing, in naming our trauma, things get really, really hard.
And there, we can fall into the healing is linear trap. We go to therapy wondering if we’ve reached the point when we can stop going. We hope that the steps we’ve taken have gotten us over the finish line to healed and whole. But this is such a dangerous space to inhabit. To think that one day we will arrive and our trauma and lifelong experiences will disappear from memory and body leaves us constantly pushing for something that won’t come along.
Instead, we recognize healing and inner work and embodiment is cyclical, seasonal, fluid, moving, ebbing and flowing. In 2021 a theme that has guided me is wave by wave. This moment, this space, this experience in my body. That’s the most I can handle, and that’s how my healing evolves and has its movement in my body and in my life.
We have been watching Criminal Minds and while, yes, it is a dark show about serial killers and murder, it is also a show about community and the way we care for one another. Through trauma and grief in the personal lives of the investigators, they remind each other that healing and grief don’t work in a linear way. When Dr. Spencer Reid loses someone he loves in a shooting, his co-workers and best friends hold space as he faces his grief and returns to work— wave by wave.
May we trust one another in the ways we process our grief in the world, even when it doesn’t seem to make sense.
And so, we remember that healing is nonlinear, that we are making the most of what we can right now, and shaming ourselves back into a space of hating that we didn’t make it over a finish line only keeps us trapped.
So, be free. Ride the wave. Trust the season. Know that you are not alone. This is what it means to be human. This is what it feels like to heal.
A Rhythm of prayer hit the New York Times Bestseller list (#5 in our category), The Globe and Mail list (#2 for Canadian Nonfiction and #10 for overall fiction) and #13 on the Publisher’s Weekly Nonfiction list!
To be a part of this incredible project made up of a group of fierce women who are advocates and activists and deeply human and learning to do solidarity work is just all I could ask for in this moment. I am so proud of us. If you haven’t ordered the book yet, please grab your copy!
Also, I’ve started my speaking events for 2021! If you’d like to book me for a virtual event this year, please contact my agent for rates.
Children’s Book Corner
This month I’m sharing with you some favorite children’s books! I believe that children’s books are for both children and adults alike, and inspire us to re-examine the world around us:
Fauja Singh Keeps Going by Simran Jeet Singh is the story of Fauja Singh, the first 100-year-old to run a marathon. I love reading this book with my kids, and celebrating our Sikh kin and their accomplishments in the world.
Intersection Allies by Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, and Carolyn Choi is a beautiful book that teaches kids the importance of solidarity in the world.
What do You do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada is just one of a few incredible books by Yamada— inspiring and beautiful, and the illustrations pull you into the story.
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin because…dragons and tacos! This one has been a favorite for a few years and brings lots of laughs.
We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom is a beautiful guide to conversations about caring for the earth and those who protect her.
I’ll leave you with this poem from Billy Collins, a favorite of mine: