Soul to Soul Newsletter

May Edition

“None of us feel like we’re enough,” is one of my favorite lines from the *fabulous* new show Rutherford Falls. If you follow me on social media, you’ll know how much I love this show, and yes, this month’s newsletter will be full of Rutherford Falls GIFs, #sorrynotsorry.

We all feel like we’re not enough in one way or another right now, and maybe that’s our whole lives— maybe that’s exactly the human experience. In my journey, I know I’m not enough Christian for some people, and I’m not enough Native for others. This is the complexity of our human condition. So it begs the question: Who makes you feel enough? Who reminds you that you are enough?

A long time ago, I would have said that the church did that for me— it provided me with my enoughness. Looking back, though, it was a trade: I assimilated and I became enough to satisfy the colonized institution that held me. But that’s not kinship, and it’s not being truly loved for our whole selves.

Have you ever traded your enoughness for something else? What got you back home to yourself, and how have you seen others come home?

I believe this is part of the work that decolonization and radical self-love offer us— a way to examine our lives, the systems we participate in, to ask how we learn to love ourselves well and to find out what enoughness really is.

For me today, it means I don’t fit neatly into the right boxes: that I am too Christian for some, and not enough for others; that I’m not that kind of Native person; that I’m not the right sort of mother or wife, sister or daughter. We are complex, layered, beautiful. Coming home to that reality is enough.

In her amazing book How We Show Up, Mia Birdsong says this:

Our individuality is entwined with our connectedness; so the work of healing and growth happens both alone and in relation to others.

So the trap and also the opportunity is this: we find our enoughness both within ourselves and as we find out who we are in connectedness to others. Our world feels raw and difficult right now, so maybe this is a place to start.

Light a candle, and name your enoughness.

Gather with a friend and share how you sometimes feel not enough. Listen to their shared words about not feeling enough. Remind each other that you are.

Create art that reminds you and others of that enoughness.

We will get through this together.

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NATIVE IS ONE YEAR OLD THIS WEEK!

I am SO excited to tell you about a few events to celebrate one-year-old #NativeBook!

First, check out my social media pages (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) and enter to win a book bundle: Native, Abuelita Faith by Kat Armas and Prey Tell by Tiffany Bluhm. Winners will be chosen Wednesday!

Second, come celebrate #NativeBook with a FREE online event on May 11th! This event will focus on 10 lessons from Native, and I’ll be joined in conversation with my friends Asha Frost, an Indigenous healer and teacher; Joél Leon, an incredible poet, activist and author; and author, pastor, and teacher Barbara Brown Taylor. I hope you’ll join us! Click here to register.

Third, make sure you check back in with me on Instagram and Twitter Wednesday, where I’ll be sharing quotes and an Instagram live celebration/reading for Native turning one. And if you haven’t bought the book yet, please grab a copy for yourself and a friend!

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Now, back to Rutherford Falls for a moment…

I have been shouting from the Twittertops about this show, and I’ll tell you why. Not only does it have Indigenous actors (who wear fabulous outfits and beadwork, by the way) but a whole set of Indigenous writers who put incredible lines to work in these characters. I even interviewed stars Jana Schmieding and Michael Greyeyes on Twitter— you can find them on my profile.

But here’s what the show has meant to me, and I am still processing this, by the way: I have never felt seen in a show or movie before, and by seen, I mean that who I am, who my ancestors were, who I am as a regular person who happens to be Indigenous, is celebrated and taken note of.

In so many movies and television shows throughout history, Native characters have shown up as stereotypical bad guys in a western, or the alcoholic Native who can’t find a job, or a whole number of other problematic tropes. And while I’m grateful Indigenous actors and actresses have found work, there is so much more that needs to be done. And so, enter Rutherford Falls.

The characters on the show are complex, dynamic, and layered, as is the story of a town that is coming to terms with its history and current identity. I chatted about the show with a family member of mine (who is white), and our conversation was rich and nuanced. Can we enter into these difficult spaces while also celebrating who Indigenous people are? I believe we can, because this show is doing just that.

During our interview, Jana reminded us on Twitter that the viewers of these shows hold so much power to keep them going. So, watch Rutherford Falls and tell your friends and family about it! Share about it on social media, live-tweet an episode just for fun, and share what you’re learning.

We need Indigenous representation in television and movies to continue, and it should be celebrated by everyone. I am so glad we are getting there and hope the work continues.

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It’s #AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Heritage month! You can read a little more about it here, and here are a few other resources/people I love that do incredible work who we can learn from and celebrate this month. While we are here, let’s remember that when we have months dedicated to peoples, that doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate and honor these peoples throughout the year.

Let’s make sure that we honor the lives and stories of #AAPI folks all year long, and especially as hate crimes toward Asian people have been on the rise. We also need to keep talking about The United States’ history of oppression toward Asian Americans as we come to terms with who we are.

Now, a few resources:

  1. Watch this PBS series called Asian Americans, shared by Nancy Wang Yuen on Twitter, along with this book list.

  2. Listen to music by my dear friend Shel, who creates as Our Daughter, celebrating her Korean heritage and a deep dive into healing and what it means to be human.

  3. Subscribe to my friend Jeff Chu’s beautiful email newsletter, with thoughts on his Chinese culture, connection to the earth, and writings on food that will make your mouth water.

  4. Discover Pacific Islander poets from the Poetry Foundation

  5. Visit this website to see how you can become part of the movement to stop AAPI hate.

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With that, I’ll send you off! Make sure you check out the celebration of #NativeBook events and opportunities, and that you remember that you are enough, even when you don’t feel like it. I’ll leave you with this note to self from artist Emily McDowell.