In February I had the opportunity to visit the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. One of the major exhibitions was called “Our Universes: Traditional Knowledge Shapes Our World.” It focused on several indigenous philosophies about the creation and order of the universe, and the spiritual relationship people share with the natural world.
I was moved by the spirituality of the Anishinaabe, from eastern Canada. The curator, Garry Raven, wrote that, “To be Anishinaabe is to understand your place in all creation. We are spiritual beings on a human journey. Everything in the Anishinaabe world is alive. Everything has a spirit and everything is interconnected.”
As they pass down wisdom from one generation to the next, they teach about seven gifts of focus: courage, truth, humility, respect, honesty, wisdom and love. Love is represented by sagiitiwin — a bird — and encourages not just of others, but of self.
I am reminded during this season of Lent that when it is difficult for me to have genuine love for someone else – anyone else – that I need to check the love I show toward myself. For as the Anishinaabe elders teach, “in order to love somebody, you have to love yourself first.”
Today’s Daily Lenten Meditation is by Jim Loduha, Senior Director of Development and Giving. Watch for daily postings from All Saints Church as we take the forty day journey to Easter together.