The mind is too coarse an instrument to gather deeper signals from the world This is the role of the body as the sensorium. — Bonnita Roy

There was a lot of resonance when I came across Bonnie’s work. Not only for mind-expanding perspectives on consciousness and ways of knowing — but because she stewards a 10-acre farm in New England and connects many of her findings to what she knows about training horses. 🐎

Sandy Neck, by Don Fleet

“There are 405 creation stories in Australia. 

They are all different. 

And they are all true.”

“How so Uncle?” 

“They’re true for the people who tell them in the place where they are told.” 

— As told by Lewis Mehl-Madrona in conversation with Uncle Albert, an elder from East Gippsland, Australia 

The origin of the English word “thinking” was actually “thanking.” This is also true in French, Dutch, German, fresian, old Anglo-Saxon, and possibly more… 

how does this make sense? 

it could be that originally all of our thoughts were prayers 

all our thoughts served to connect us with creation 

our thoughts are not fenced off in a separate individualistic bubble 

our thoughts are sent out and meet with other thoughts in a field

thought is social and interactive 

it is not an individual thought that creates reality

it is the field of interaction 

between your thought and my thought 

this is the beautify of dialogue and of exchange


— Glenn Aparicio Parry’s discovery when writing Original Thinking: A Radical Revisioning of Time, Humanity, and Nature 

The self-care industrial complex relegates care to something we are supposed to buy for ourselves on a personal basis. But happiness is not an individual matter; wellness is not an individual matter. What’s out there effects what’s in here and vice versa. 

A progressive is someone who wants to see society re-organized so that ordinary people have a better chance to live a larger life. But what do we mean by larger? When we advocate for “richer lives for all” or say that “wellbeing should be a measure of progress”… yes, okay. But what do we mean by richer? And what do we mean by wellbeing?

Progressives have tended to focus on material needs — like food, security, and welfare, rather than on non-material and relational needs. Things like  experiencing intimacy with others, finding meaning in life, and being more genuine and authentic. These are often the things that matter most to us, that make life worth living. If we are going to create a more equal society, we need to find out what it is that we want all people to have a fair share of. That way we can develop policies and practices that not only help to create a fair or society at the material level, but of the non-material too. How would we reimagine a world where everyone has access to feeling loved, to expressing themselves creatively, to feeling valued and of worth?

Mick Cooper is looking at how we can evolve the progressive vision of the world by applying ideas and practices from psychology. There are system wide principles that work for coming back into balance both within people and between people. We can take what we have learned about “what works” for personal interventions and apply it at the societal level. 

Mashpee Indian Meeting House
Mashpee Indian Meeting House

I have been curious to find stories from the early days of encounters between Natives and settlers from the early days around Cape Cod, from the moment when two worldviews met, to see what was in the air in the moment before one assumed dominance over the other. I have been following the story of Richard Bourne who lived in my hometown of Sandwich and was an early minister and missionary to the Wampanoag people. He helped to establish the neighboring town of Mashpee and was frequently called upon as the arbitrator when it came to land deeds and to drawing the first borders around Sandwich and Barnstable. The intention of the settlers was to recreate as closely as possible the English-style towns they left and to gather Natives willing to convert to Christianity into “Praying Towns” led by Native converts under colonial jurisdiction. Bourne spoke some Wampanoag language and is credited with translating the Lord’s Prayer into Wampanoag.

This detail piqued my interest, as learning a language requires relationship and a strong desire to communicate and to be understood. Who was teaching Bourne the Wampanoag language? And what were those first communications like with the ones he was learning from? I can hardly imagine the many hours spent of mistakes, misunderstanding, and then understanding.

After the Lord’s Prayer, the English Bible was translated into Algonquin and printed at the press at the Harvard Indian College in 1663. It is known by the name of the missionary who oversaw the project, John Eliot.

In a discussion with historians Barry O’Connell and Lisa Brooks, they talk about how as Europeans moved westward across Turtle Island, there was a series bibles translated into local languages. Each edition attributes the translation to an English or European minister. However it was most certainly Native people who did the work of translation. In most cases, the ministers named did not have the fluency to be able to translate. North America at the time was multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, and trans-national. In the Northeast region there were many languages before the English arrived that were very different from each other, for example Abanaki and Mohawk languages. There were always some people identified in the tribes who were particularly adept at learning languages.
Historical marker at Hassanamesit

Lisa Brooks points out that the Eliot Bible project gained momentum when James the Printer, the Nipmuc man who ran the printing press at the Harvard Indian College, and 4 or 5 of his Native companions became involved in the translation.

The other sign that makes it clear it was Natives who translated is the way they brought to the text their own way of seeing the world. Translation is never direct letter for letter. The indigenous worldview is infused throughout the translated version, and the Algonquin spiritual cosmology speaks through it. It contains points of view that Puritan ministers at the time would have found blasphemous to their cultural worldview.

One example Lisa Brooks gives is that in the Psalter, “My God” is translated as “Num-Manittoom,” where “Manittoom” is the animating spirit that flows through all things. It is the life force itself. There is no concept in Algonquin of good and evil, heaven or hell, and so this life force is one that has the potential for both creation and destruction. And Manittoom has the pronoun “Num,” “my dearly beloved,” where “my” is relational and not possessive. There is no way to talk about a divine power that was only externalized. In these two words we can understand that there is a personal relationship to the life force that runs through everything.

This is the worldview that has long been woven in to the landscape of the Northeast, still multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, and trans-national. These worldviews are well supported to be reincorporated into our society and the way we live in this place today.

The Wampanoag language of Cape Cod and the Northeast US had been known as a “sleeping language,” with no native speakers for the last 100 years.

Through the Wopanaak Language Reclamation Project, linguists and teachers are building connections to reconstitute the grammar and pronunciation through closely related languages like Blackfeet, Cree, Ojibwe, Passamaquoddy, and Sauk that are still spoken.

There is now at least one very young native speaker, with many more to come. This means we can most definitely re-thread a fabric of memory that has been frayed and re-enlived what looked to be sleeping.