Put down that bag of potato chips, that white bread, that bottle of
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 back.
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
Let the earth stabilize your postcolonial insecure jitters.
Be respectful of the small insects, birds and animal people who
Ask their forgiveness for the harm we humans have brought down
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
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 direction.
Ask for forgiveness.
Call upon the help of those who love you. These helpers take many
forms: animal, element, bird, angel, saint, stone, or ancestor.
Call your spirit back. It may be caught in corners and creases
of shame, judgment, 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
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
– Joy Harjo –
For the new year…
May yours be filled with promise, good health, and joy with family and friends.
May you find your way through the dark, and help another to do the same.
Call upon and trust the ancients, ancestors and angels…those beings seen and unseen…and those more than human.
Much love and kindest regards, dear friends.