Soul to Soul Newsletter

It's January

Meditations on Loss

Dear friends,

2021 hasn’t unfolded as planned. In the middle of January we said goodbye to our sixteen year old dog, pal, and best friend, Sam. We’ve had him for 14 years, and saying goodbye was a kind of splitting-open grief I’ve never experienced before. Our three-year old dog Jupiter continues to mourn alongside us, and I remember that grief is a thing we don’t understand, a presence that seems to journey alongside us our entire lives, weaving in and out, around, and with us.

But it wasn’t just the loss of Sam that we personally grieve. Collectively we are grieving, too, stirring in our trauma and exhaustion. And I feel like I write about this every month, but self-care cannot be overstated right now, because this grief and pain, this trauma, it is all-encompassing. To care for one another right now, we need to care for ourselves.

We have a new President and Vice President in office, we are working to get COVID under control, and still, grief lingers over us all, a cloud that won’t go away easily. So we keep wearing our masks, we keep trying to to stay connected, we keep hoping things will get better. But our dogs die, and our warm fires turn to ash, and we cry because COVID continues to take lives and it feels like we can’t do anything about it.

One thing Sam taught me was that we can embody a spirit of fierce adventure while remaining stoic and focused on what’s in the right-now, and that’s what I carry with me even after he’s gone. I am dreaming of a future, like the one I want to build with the Aki Institute, but I am also sitting with the right-now: puzzles and coffee; good books and movies; a warm fire and a good cry.

So, keep dreaming, somehow, with that fierceness that I know is in you, and all the while, remain tethered to this moment, with all its madness and sadness, with its bouts of laughter and joy. This is what it is to be human.

News!

The last few months I’ve been taking a bit of a break from extra work and writing. In 2021 as I get back to work, I am excited to share with you some of my upcoming events and projects!

  • I am so excited to share with you a new book project that I am honored to be a part of. A Rhythm of Prayer, edited by Sarah Bessey, is a collection of prayers and poetry unlike a typical prayer book. These are prayers of reflection, of resistance, of renewal. I hope you’ll grab a copy, out FEBRUARY 9TH (sharing the Amazon link but please order from a local indie shop if you’re able)!

  • I am sharing about the holistic embodiment of mysticism at the Mystic Summit in February! The event is FREE. Register here!

  • I am speaking at this year’s Festival of Homiletics, and I hope you’ll join us for an incredible lineup of speakers asking what the future of the church looks like.

  • 2020, for personal & collective reasons, forced us to take a look into the kind of life we want. For my partner Travis and me, a good & full life is one of constant learning, connection & relationship in which we make space for hard/beautiful conversations about what it means to be human.

    That’s why we are creating the AKI INSTITUTE, a peace and justice initiative that values holistic relationships to the earth, ourselves & each other. AKI is the Algonquian (spoken by the Anishinaabe people), word for dirt/earth, and that is the foundation of everything we hope to do at the AKI INSTITUTE.

    We believe that connecting to our own roots in every way connects us to the earth. We believe that learning to love ourselves better in an embodied way will help us foster healthy relationships to one another. We believe that our work, no matter what it is, should bring peace to the world and help us practice solidarity with one another.

    Our institute has 3 pillars: Rest, Resistance & Responsibility. Our vision is sure to change as we navigate this, but the core of what we want to do is create and sustain relationships through conversations, research, online courses and resources, retreats, art, and more.

    Stay tuned for more news in the coming months from us. If you'd like to connect with us, our contact is: theakiinstitute@gmail.com, and please be patient if you don't hear from us right away.

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Black History Month is Coming!

February is Black History Month, and while we dedicate ourselves to learning about black history in February, we also need to stay committed to the work year-round, all the time, our whole life.

The work of justice and solidarity isn’t mean to be a fad, or about a following. It’s an embodiment. So here are a few ideas as we go into Black History Month and beyond:

  1. Mockingbird History Lessons for Adults by Marcie Walker. Start right here. Become a patron of Mockingbird or follow @BlackCoffeewithWhiteFriends on Instagram and unlearn/learn the truth.

  2. Do the work yourself— google is such an amazing tool! You don’t need to message or tweet at Black folks asking for resources when there are book lists and resource ideas all over the internet that Black folks have already created. Use the content that’s already out there, and pay people for their work and labor.

  3. Be committed to the work of learning the truth, and then speak and embody it. The work of decolonizing is lifelong work, and when we remember that, we remember that we take it step-by-step. So dedicate yourself beyond February. Create an action plan, make book lists, attend conferences and use resources by Black leaders to decolonize and be part of movements of change.

As we go, I’d like to share with you a favorite new recipe for Coconut Chicken Tikka Masala. Cooking with chicken is my weakness, but I’m learning recipe by recipe how to take on the challenge. This recipe is super-easy and absolutely delicious! Let me know if you give it a try!