A Week of Gratitude: Wednesday
A Week of Gratitude: Friday

A Week of Gratitude: Thursday

It's Thanksgiving week here in the US . . . a week traditionally spent cooking, gathering with friends and family, and reflecting on our many blessings. I've decided to take a little break from my usual blog "structure" (such as it is) to focus on gratitude this week.


Today I share with you a poem by Joy Harjo, the current Poet Laureate of the United States. If you're not familiar with Joy Harjo, please do learn more about her (you can click here for a start) and immerse yourself in her words, in her experience.


For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in its Human Feet
Joy Harjo

Put down that bag of potato chips, that white bread, that bottle of pop.

Turn off that cellphone, computer, and remote control.

Open the door, then close it behind you.

Take a breath offered by friendly winds. They travel the earth
gathering essences of plants to clean.

Give it back with gratitude.

If you sing it will give your spirit lift to fly to the stars' ears and

Acknowledge this earth who has cared for you since you were
a dream planting itself precisely within your parents' desire.

Let your moccasin feet take you to the encampment of the
guardians who have known you before time, who will be
there after time. They sit before the fire that has been there
without time.

Let the earth stabilize your postcolonial insecure jitters.

Be respectful of the small insects, birds and animal people
who accompany you.
Ask their forgiveness for the harm we humans have brought
down upon them.

Don't worry.
The heart knows the way though there may be high-rises,
interstates, checkpoints, armed soldiers, massacres, wars, and
those who will despise you because they despise themselves.

The journey might take you a few hours, a day, a year, a few
years, a hundred, a thousand, or even more.

Watch your mind. Without training it might run away and
leave your heart for the immense human feast set by the
thieves of time.

Do not hold regrets.

When you find your way to the circle, to the fire kept burning
by the keepers of your soul, you will be welcomed.

You must clean yourself with cedar, sage, or other healing plant.

Cut the ties you have to failure and shame.

Let go the pain you are holding in your mind, your shoulders,
your heart all the way to your feet. Let go the pain of your
ancestors to make way for those who are heading in our

Ask for forgiveness.

Call upon the help of those who love you. These helpers take
many forms: animal, element, bird, angel, saint, stone, or

Call your spirit back. It may be caught in corners and
creases of shame, judgement, and human abuse.

You must call in a way that your spirit will want to return.
Speak to it as you would to a beloved child.

Welcome your spirit back from its wandering. It may return
in pieces, in tatters. Gather them together. They will be 
happy to be found after being lost for so long.

Your spirit will need to sleep awhile after it is bathed and
given clean clothes.

Now you can have a party. Invite everyone you know who 
loves and supports you. Keep room for those who have no
place else to go.

Make a giveaway, and remember, keep the speeches short.

Then, you must do this: help the next person find their way
through the dark.


Today's poem was published in Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems, Joy Harjo, 2015, W.W. Norton & Company.




Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Happy Thanksgiving!


That poem felt like yoga for the heart and spirit...open, embrace, find corners you didn't know you had. Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving today! xo


Happy Thanksgiving!!


Happy Thanksgiving, Kym.


Okay, that poem. I've read Joy Harjo before but I hadn't seen this one until now. I feel like it's speaking directly to me and this journey I am on. Thank you.


It's hard to believe that poem wasn't written in (and obviously FOR) 2020 - thank you for sharing it! and I hope y'all enjoyed a lovely day.


One line that really speaks to me here is "The heart knows the way" -- I think in spite of all the information swirling around us and all the fronts we put up, we know in our hearts how to get back to who we truly are and what's important.

I hope yesterday was a good day for you and your family.

The comments to this entry are closed.