earth (erin jean warde)
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. To be grounded by the earth is to return to the earth out of which I am made.
I rarely start newsletters by divulging information this personal, but I don’t know how else to begin.
On December 17, my sister died. She was 41. It was, and still is, a major shock to my family. Days later, a close friend died. He was 48. It was, and still is, a major shock to some of my chosen family.
This year, long before all the grief, I chose to have a word of the year, which I’ve never done before. I don’t know exactly why I wanted one, but I’ve been seeking a way to anchor myself inside time, and I thought a word and color of the year made sense.
The word I chose is EARTH. When my sister died, I wondered if it all needed to change — if I needed my word to become GRIEF. But I’ve come to remember that earth can hold grief just as well as it can hold everything else we know on this side of eternity.
I chose earth because I needed, long before all the grief, to be grounded. I have a book coming out in a few months, I’m still running my own business (never knowing how much money I will make each month), still forever becoming, and more.
I thought: You need to come back to center, and that center isn’t fancy or contrived, it’s dirt. You need to come back to the earth underneath you. Over and over again, you need to be grounded by the ground. You need to place your mind, body, and soul in the earth, to see what might take hold, what might root, what might hold you there to help you grow.
So, then, my word is still earth. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. To be grounded by the earth is to return to the earth out of which I am made. This year, if I keep coming back to the earth, I’ll keep coming back to my sister, back to my friend, back to all those I love and see no longer. If I can just stay close to the dirt, I’ll keep coming back to those I love who have returned to the earth.
To be grounded is to be close to them. That’s what I’m holding onto now, what I will keep holding onto until I see them again.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Hazel (my sister) and Topher (my friend).
May they rest in peace, and may light perpetual shine upon them.
Join me and my friend The Rev. Arianne Rice January 19 at 6:30pm EST/5:30pm CST for How We Cope: Resolutions in Dry January, a virtual event hosted by Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd-Baltimore!
Join this workshop to explore coping skills, removing shame from how we cope, stories of sober discernment, and spiritual practices to support you as you hold the question: How do I want to be in relationship with alcohol? This workshop is for anyone who is sober curious, or who hopes to explore changing how they cope. Both Arianne and Erin are trained as Certified Daring Way Facilitators, so the whole of this work is defined by reducing shame and embracing wholeheartedness. This event is free, with the opportunity to make an optional donation to Erin Jean Warde via Venmo (@erinjeanwarde). Set aside this time as an opportunity to care for yourself in the comfort of your home.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. We hope to see you there!
Starting this week, we are reading Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. This is a book I keep trying to read, because I know I need it, and one I trust we will gather wisdom from together. I hope you’ll join me as I become even more enraptured with the beauty of God’s creation.
Here’s the reading schedule in pages, by the week:
January 9 — 1-32
January 16 — 33-59
January 23 — 60-97
January 30 — 98-117
February 6 — 118-155
February 13 — 156-201
February 20 — 202-240
February 27 — 241-276
March 6 — 277-300
March 13 —301-347
March 20 — 348-384
Please note: I am offering this book club to all subscribers. Only a few chapters in, she talks about a gift economy, and I felt inspired by her to offer it this way. Book Club will later go back to being a paid opportunity, but I felt compelled to let this be a gift. Please know that your financial support of my work means the world to me and I’m deeply grateful for it. <3
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