When I decided to start a new blog, I knew that in addition to my own story I wanted to share some of what has buoyed my spirits, challenged me, and supported me along the way. Here is the first of what I hope will be many Friday Favorites where I will share books, sites, articles, and more that I hope others will appreciate as much as I do.
I am fortunate to have encountered a vast array of wisdom as I’ve worked to navigate the past few years. I have people in my life who are voracious learners, who are generous in sharing new knowledge and books and insights they encounter. I’m also the kind of person who, when I read a quote in another work or hear something mentioned that stands out to me, will look up the source to see if there is more I can learn.
My priest recently mentioned this book, Sacred Instructions, in a conversation about the imbalance of masculine and feminine in our culture. I was intrigued, as this is a theme I’ve been encountering from a variety of sources over the past few months. Always fascinated by synchronicity, and finding there was an audio version available so I could listen on my commute, I purchased a copy and dove in.
You know that feeling when you hear or read something that takes scattered thoughts and half-formed ideas that have been surfacing in your mind for a long time and presents them to you in a way that makes them coherent and demanding of your attention? And how this humbles you with the gap between where you are with those musings and the incredible genius of the work someone else has already done to make it all so clear?
That is what this book has done for me.
I have listened with a mixture of awe, rage, despair, wonder, and hope. Awe at the mind, words, presence, and wisdom of the author. Rage over the stark truths she presents. Despair that we have allowed desecration of people and the earth to occur and continue for generations. Wonder at the beauty of her native culture, the sacred customs of her people, and their willingness to share them with the rest of us for the betterment of all and the salvation of Mother Earth. And, gratefully, with hope that there could be a path forward if we are willing to listen and learn.
Sacred Instructions is a clear-eyed look at our culture’s paradigms and a guide for what we must do to change them, heal, and make life sustainable on this planet again. In a disarmingly gentle, yet direct way, Ms. Mitchell dismantles the lies that prop up the dominant narratives that have led to such widespread oppression, injustice, and exploitation. She does not flinch or look away from how her people have borne the most heinous outcomes of these these narratives, yet she uses these examples to show how we are all suffering as a result.
She outlines the ways we have become separated from each other and our true nature and reminds us that our survival as a species is bound inextricably with doing the work to heal ourselves and reconnect with one another. She gives practical steps we can take to join together and chart a path away from the one we’re currently on that leads to our collective destruction.
This book is beautifully written, accessibly concise, and a vital call to action, but is not for the faint of heart. It will require you to examine yourself and the status quo, and, if you’re anything like me, it will make you deeply uncomfortable. But these are times that call for us to wake up and see clearly so we can stop causing harm to ourselves, other people, and creation. Sherri Mitchell has given us a starting place to help us do just that. I would love for more people to read it and begin taking action, so I am making Sacred Instructions my first Friday Favorite. I hope you’ll let me know what you think if you read it and what steps you will start with in your own life.