Here is my experience with the remarkable book, Braiding Sweetgrass, which successfully immersed me in the indigenous awareness of the living world as “all my relations”. The implications are staggering – and superbly communicated by the author, Robin Wall Kimmerer, equally grounded in indigenous Potawatomi and Onondaga wisdom and Western science.
Reading Kimmerer, the Native American phrase “all my relations” takes on a more vast, intimate and urgent meaning than I’d earlier considered. (It also calls up Nora Bateson’s phrase “symmathesy”, which means “mutual learning in context”.) Through Kimmerer’s eyes, I see the world as a vast enterprise of mutuality – a sharing of gifts and knowledge and valuing among all beings and entities. I see intimacy, attention, and caring called for in every realm and moment, at all scales. Kimmerer grounds me in words like reciprocity, gratitude, respect, humility. Every one of her many amazing stories implicitly asks permission to enter my consciousness and wake me up; I welcome it (it is, after all, so beautiful!), and then it gives me its gift of urgent awareness.