“We are showered every day with gifts, but they are not meant for us to keep. Their life is in their movement, the inhale and the exhale of our shared breath.
Our work and our joy is to pass along the gift and to trust that what we put out into the universe will always come back.”
~Robin Wall Kimmerer
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
In Robin Wall Kimmerer’s gorgeous collection of essays Braiding Sweetgrass there is a chapter titled ‘Allegiance to Gratitude’ in which she describes her Potawatomi / Onondaga culture’s invocation of a reverence for Life called the Thanksgiving Address which begins:
“Today we have gathered and when we look upon the faces around us we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things.
So now let us bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as People. Now our minds are one.”
The address continues to acknowledge and express gratitude for all of Creation, for each element of the many ecosystems of which we humans are a part, named in turn, along with its function. I am particularly taken with how it recognizes the inherent unity of life; a rock solid principle in spite of any and all assertions to the contrary.
The wisest among us know this to be an abiding truth and, lucky for us, we are blessed to have ready access to teachings and guidance in support of our process. It’s my pleasure to offer a selection of books and other items curated with this teaching and with the holiday season in mind.
Books are one of many powerful ways to tap into wisdom. The written word and storytelling hold a uniquely sacred function for humanity – providing touchstones for us as we gain experience in life.
“It is in our nature to need stories. They are our earliest sciences, a kind of people-physics. Their logic is how we naturally think. They configure our biology, and how we feel, in ways long essential for our survival.”
“The holiday season is a time for storytelling, and whether you are hearing the story of a candelabra staying lit for more than a week, or a baby born in a barn without proper medical supervision, these stories often feature miracles.”
Set your intentions for the holidays
For many of us the holidays are a time to which we look forward with sweet anticipation and delight. Sure, we may complain about the hassles of planning and traveling and gathering with family members we don’t always quite align with, but still – the magic of the season beckons and we willingly follow.
As we come to the middle of this particular season we may be wondering how in the world do we ‘holiday’ this year? Do we throw up our hands and just decide to take a pass? Do we dive in and strive to recreate an ideal version of the past? Fortunately, we have options.
What if we choose to support each other and ourselves with kindness? What if we choose to bring forward the intention to implement one of our most creative human qualities and open ourselves up to the often underrated arts of flexibility and adaptability?
Our forms of connection may require some retooling, but the essence quality and value of meaningful connection can remain as constant and strong as ever. Zoom calls may need to replace in-person celebrations and conversations.
Social distancing may be the way of things for some time to come, but surely it doesn’t have to hijack our fun and fellowship altogether. Let’s get creative, people!
Learning to be Flexible, Resourceful and Creative
Those of us in the world of independent retail have certainly had a learning curve to follow since March. Developing our online Bookshop has been a part of that process in our ongoing efforts to respond creatively to the pandemic while taking care of ourselves and serving our beloved community. We humbly welcome and appreciate your precious time and attention in that regard.
And so, may I respectfully offer some suggestions from the Bookshop if you find yourself beginning to think of a holiday gift list? I will be folding these into the next few Book Reports. This particular report starts us off with some of my favorite Art Books, Children‘s Picture Books, 2021 Calendars , and Fun Sidelines.
Remember that these are only suggestions and that one of the coolest features of our online Bookshop is that you can search for any book in any genre and order it through the Paradise Found portal and have it swiftly delivered directly to you or a lucky friend or family member.
If online book gifting feels like something you want to do, please bear in mind that ordering early is likely to be the best way to go.
“For it is in giving that we receive.”
~St. Francis of Assisi