I’m an avid reader, I have been for as long as I can remember. My family, friends and many of my colleagues know this to be true. I can work a full week, and read 3 or 4 novels when recharging between tasks. Unless the book I’m reading is teaching me something new.
In December 2019, my spouse gifted me with several books by Indigenous authors, many of whom live on what some Indigenous peoples call Turtle Island, and most non-Indigenous people refer to as North America.
One of these books was “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants” by Robin Wall Kimmerer. At first, I wondered why my spouse had selected this book for me, he’s the one who’s interested in plants after all. Then I started reading the book, and I was immediately caught up in Robin’s powerful storytelling. She blends the teachings of plants, with “modern” science and Indigenous wisdom, to convey truths about the choices we, as a human race, are making, and how the impact of climate change on the life on our planet can lead us to a point of no return.
It took me almost six full months to read this book. Reading it was easy, the words flowed nicely. What took time, was absorbing and reflecting on the lessons Robin shares. The lessons that plants are happy to share if we but listen. The Indigenous wisdom of making choices that are reciprocal in nature. The teachings about how plants, thrive when there is a rich biodiversity. I needed to “sit with” the knowledge I learned from this book. At first, I tried reading a chapter a night. I needed more time. I ended up spreading out the book over several months so that I could try to understand the deep lessons being shared. Some chapters brought tears to my eyes, as I learned about specific instances where humans have been so thoughtless (or greedy) as to almost completely wipe out animal and plant life, waterways and lakes. Throughout the book Robin gave reason to hope, speaking about how plants and animals, working together, with the help of people like you and me, can bring back health to the land.
I believe that a healthy land, leads to healthier and happier people. I believe in being grateful for the bounty the earth shares with us, and for the gifts that we can share with each other.
As I neared the end of Braiding Sweetgrass, I found entire paragraphs that I felt to be true to my deepest core. Robin tells us, that like each plant and animal has a purpose, a gift to share with the world, so do people. Robin wrote that “Language is our gift and our responsibility.” she says that we have “Words to remember old stories, words to tell new ones…”
The title for this blog is a direct quote from Robin Wall Kimmerer’s “Braiding Sweetgrass” – it is a belief I have long stood by. I believe that there is enough abundance in this world, that we can all thrive, if we are grateful for what we have, and work to help others thrive too.
Last week, I gave a couple of talks to my sisters in the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW). The second talk “Mastering the Art of the Pivot: From Adversity to Awesomeness” was to an audience of women from BPW Ontario. The next day, a woman from Ottawa asked how widely she could share the pdf copy of my presentation, and the resource links I had shared by email. My immediate reaction was, share it as widely as you want. I only asked that people attribute the work to me. Some would say that I should have guarded my work. My thought was that if the information I had already shared with a few, could help many, then why not share it?
I’m not totally altruistic, I do charge many groups for my speaking services and individuals or their organizations for coaching services. I’m currently writing a leadership book with a colleague, that will be available for purchase; hopefully by the end of this year.
I’m grateful to have the gift of words, and I hope that by sharing my words, I can help people learn, by planting seeds of abundance, so that everyone can thrive.
What are you grateful for?