I’m currently writing from my friend Makenna’s house in Provence, France, as cooking is happening all around me. Makenna and her partner Chris’s new baby girl, Magnolia, sleeps nearby. I’ve had the joy of coming to France to help with her birth, and now to get to work on my book in a tiny studio down the street. I come by and get baby snuggles regularly. There is nothing better than holding an infant in your arms and connecting to their sweet in-between spirit-dream world.
Next week I head back to the United States to spend a week in Woodstock, New York, where I will finish the third draft of my in-process book, Warrior Heart Practice. I’m looking forward to a world of good internet and long hikes on my favorite mountain, and I’ll miss the peaceful countryside and all of the chocolate croissants I’ve been savoring.
During this holiday time when so much emphasis is on buying and giving, please make sure to hold onto the gratitude and the larger picture of your gifts.
Whether you hand-make your gifts or buy them in a store, it is important to be aware of the impact your money has. When you buy directly from an artist or crafts-person, or obtain your supplies from a local farmer or entrepreneurial creator, you are directly helping someone pay their mortgage/rent and put food on their table.
When you buy from a department store or big-box shop, you are also helping the employees and owners pay for groceries and put their kids through school, just in a more diluted way (and often highly unbalanced in terms of pay scale from the top manager to the bottom worker of the corporation).
So every dollar you spend goes out into the world to support other people. Who and how much your dollar supports others is one major choice you have.
And you also have the choice to not spend money. Please don’t get caught up in the obligation of giving gifts; make each gift you give a genuine pleasure for you and a treasure for the other person.
Here are four ways to give gifts without spending a dime:
• Call someone you haven’t talked to for a while and see how they are doing
• Help a new mother or your elderly neighbor with their dishes, laundry, or running errands
• Write a cheerful, supportive letter to a stranger or acquaintance and put it under their windshield wiper
• Invite someone you know is alone for the holidays to an afternoon of conversation and tea
Please also give yourself the gift of reading this powerful article, written by Native American elder Brother Phil, about Thanksgiving. Much gratitude to the Shift Network for the good work they have done giving Native voices a forum to share. I’m slowly working my way through their Indigenous Wisdom Library, which is a spectacular gathering of wisdom from around the world.
And a quick note: I’ll be hosting a free webinar the first week of December for any woman who is going through a divorce or breakup. This has been in the works for a long time and I’m thrilled to finally be offering it. Sign up now or share with a friend:
And Introducing the 2018 Ash List!
In great gratitude, below I list some of my dearest friends, some old and some new, whose books or products or services have had a big impact on my life this year. Know that if you buy any of the products below you are supporting a human being who is doing phenomenal, important work in the world.
Waking up to the Dark by Clark Strand
Clark, and his wife Perdita, and two dear, dear friends that I spend as much time with as I can when I am in Woodstock, NY. It is such a gift for me to be friends with other writers, and they have been immensely supportive of my writing this year.
I read Clark’s book a couple of years ago and it is one that I will always have on my bookshelf and constantly refer to people. He also recently wrote a poetry book to Kali which should be out soon, and Perdita and Clark are finishing up a book on the origins of the rosary and the goddess which I’ll share when it comes out.
Morning Altars by Day Schildkret
The first time I saw one of Day’s Morning Altars on Instagram I wept for the beauty of it. I’ve been blessed to watch Day expand his passion for creating these gorgeous, found-object mandalas from something he was doing to heal his broken heart to him traveling all over the country sharing his art. His brand-new Morning Altars book is pure magic. It’s one of those books that is so tactily yummy that when you pick it up and open to any page your mouth drops open and don’t want to put it down. Glorious photos, beautiful writing on how and why to create your own morning altars, this book is a balm to the busy soul.
The Book of Ceremony by Sandra Ingerman
Sandra has long been an inspiration to me as a deeply dedicated shamanic practitioner, author, and teacher. Last year we had the great fortune of meeting, and every chance I get we spend time together in Santa Fe. Her newest book is a grand overview of her love and skill in bringing the ancient into the modern. Whether you are new to the idea of ceremony or a long-term lover of ritual, this book is a must. “We are hungry to connect with more than what we experience with our ordinary senses in the material world,” writes Sandra. “By performing ceremonies, you will find yourself stepping into a beautiful and creative power you might never have imagined.”
The Inward Path by Jai Cross
Jai has been a long-term friend and co-teacher, and is one of the most generous humans I know. His brand-new novel explores the journey from victimization to self-mastery. Set in rural New Mexico, Zeke is a Toltec adept who teaches energetic practices and principles to his apprentice Tom. This training clearly demonstrates how to undo ingrained habits of harsh self-judgment, emotional avoidance, and self-doubt. As Tom overcomes his personal limitations, he cultivates self-confidence, purpose, and vision. I’m looking forward to reading Jai’s book when I get back from France.
Dreaming Down Heaven by Gini Gentry
I’m actually working on the final printing of this book right now! My dear friend Gini wrote this book many moons ago, and I loved it so much I asked her if I could edit and re-publish it for the Warrior Goddess community. Last night I finished the final manuscript, and in the next couple of days I’ll finish the cover and send it to the printers. I’ll let you know when it is available on amazon.com for purchase. In Dreaming Down Heaven Gini poignantly illustrates the uncertain inner landscape we all must traverse before we can stand tall atop the spiritual precipice of possibility.
and my two new books for 2018:
The Seven Secrets of Happy and Healthy Relationships with don Miguel Ruiz Jr.
Warrior Goddess Wisdom (out December 3rd, available in some bookstores now)
YAY! (above main blog picture… Day with one of his community altars. Join his Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/morningaltars/ for more beauty. And get his book. Really. And then.. more cool stuff!