When I ask myself: What do I want in my work and life–on this chilly dark morning, a time perfectly designed for quiet reflection, a time when Aan (Sun) pauses, delays, and resists the go, go, go push and pull that can feel so common in our lives and work. Aan is such a beautiful role model for us, as I write about in my new book manuscript that calls our attention to the people, beings, and places who fill our hearts with love and care; I’m delighted the manuscript is currently being reviewed–in the hands of five brilliant scholars who are also kind people, wise teachers, and amazing community builders.
Oh! I see the answer to my big, big question is there–right there! I carry the answer with me, like leggings I sometimes I sometimes forget I’m wearing when I dress in my grandmother’s regalia. All the shells, beads, and beautiful fabric on my colorful dress–these are the parts I usually notice. Yet, sometimes I do pause long enough to remember the most brilliant beadwork is there, humbly covering my ankles and shins. Thousands and thousands of beads neatly stitched and fabulously designed so that in our over 30 years together they’ve kept both their style and function. They are the opposite of things fast and disposable that I feel are too often surrounding our lives.
My leggings (leggins, as we call them), well of course they are not mine, I’m merely the custodian of them in my lifetime. The leggins will outlive me. Depending on who in my family travels to the spirit world when, they’ll perhaps be companion to one of my brothers, or perhaps my niece, or a great niece who is yet unborn. Maybe a member of the future generations will sit on a dark, chilly autumn morning asking what she wants from her work and life?
Maybe she’ll be blessed to see she already has the answer–to share her beautiful vision through the work she does, and in her everyday way of being–surrounding herself with brilliant, kind, wise, amazing people. Maybe she’ll look down at her leggin companions, atop her sturdy moccasins, and see their humble place and shiny brilliance, and see that she is too.
I am writing this in November, Native American Heritage Month, during the week of Rock Your Mocs. It is a joy to witness Indigenous peoples celebrating our cultures, traditions, power, and presence. In doing so, we remake schools and workplaces so that Indigenous brilliance is more visible and present. In doing so, we Rock Our Mocs, and our lives. It is a beautiful expression of what our ancestors’ hoped for us, and by fulfilling these hopes we send them lovingly forward to the future generations.
Want to read more? Order one of my books here, where you can also gift a book to a library on an American Indian Reservation. Thanks for reading my blog!