Wisdom Lessons

Spirited Guidance from an Ojibwe Great-Grandmother

by Mary Lyons

Publication Year: 2018

Wisdom Lessons, by Ojibwe Great-grandmother Mary Lyons, is the culmination of a lifetime steeped in indigenous spiritual traditions, as well as the proverbial school of hard knocks. At once plainspoken and lyrical, Grandmother Mary offers invaluable lessons for anyone interested in living in alignment with their higher self.

A spiritual advisor, storyteller and wisdom keeper, Grandmother Mary travels and teaches internationally, with a focus on healing children, families and communities from the negative effects of alcohol and drug addiction. She has dedicated her life to helping others. 


Table of Contents


Table of Contents

Prayer of Choice 



If We Do Not Listen 

Little Spirits 

An Ancestral Gift 

Finding Gitchie Manidoo 

The Identity Dance 

A Spiritual Journey on Mother Earth 


A Grandmother’s Awakening 

Extended Family 

A Needless Battle 


Your Ancestors Live Within You 

Spiritual Shift 

The “We” Journey 

We Are the Manifestations of Our Ancestors 

To Be Indigenous Is To Be Colorful 

Ancestors’ Messages 


When The Teacher Is Alcohol and The Substitute Is Drugs 


An Old Way Of Thinking And A Celebration Of A New Day 

Dark Alleys 

Blanket of Shame 

Chasing Craziness 

Spirit Guides 

In Whose Shell Are These Dancing Demons Partying? 

Positive Growth, Finding Balance 

The Awakening: Pain As A Career 

What Makes Me Cry

A New Journey 

Strangers Among Us 

The Challenge 

Honor a Woman, Honor Life 

Who’s Fooling Who? 

The Spiritual Bank 

Return to the Water Gatherings 

Swimming in Tainted Waters 

At The End Of the Road 

A Native Story 



Balancing Act 

Stinking Thinking 


Patience in the Face of Confusion and Frustration 

Smiles and Laughter 

Mending The Family Circle 


Be your own teacher for the day 

Emptiness and Doubt 

Bad Medicine, Bad Karma, Bad Choices 

Pedestal Thinking 

Powerlessness vs. Empowerment 

I Am Who I Am Today, By Choice 

Today’s Adventures 

The Gift Of Giving 

Chakras Are A Relative Of Indigenous Balance 

Acts of Kindness 

Positive Energy From A Negative Source 

You Are Not The Judge; You Are The Student 

Happiness Is A Choice 

The Gift Of A Day 

Spiritual Drumbeat


Free Will 

The Journey 


The Journey From Within 

The True Gift 

Don’t Forget To Water Your Plant 

Finding A Common Spiritual Ground 

To Stand Within Your Own Spirituality 

Life Breeds Warriors 

There Is A Reason We Are Called Warriors 

Tobacco Prayers In Motion 

The Gathering 

Ancestral Pride, A Partnership with the Past 

Eagle Dreams 

A Spirit’s Prayer 

Walking the Red Road…With Gratitude for my Family, Friends and Teachers

Tobacco Prayer to the World


Praise for Mary’s book:

When I am an elder, I hope to have half the wisdom and sacred knowledge that Grandmother Mary has. Her book is a testament to the strength of our ancestors and the hope of the future. She reminds me how strong I am and that every day is a new day. Her book inspires me to remember the past and look towards the future, all while living and laughing in the moment.  —Kathryn Holt Richardson, J.D.

Grandmother Mary Lyons is a true Wisdom Keeper. Each chapter of this wonderful book is a gift! Grandmother Mary’s loving presence in our lives is an example of her truth as she lives and breathes the breaths of her ancestors. In each moment you spend with her you know you are in the presence of an elder who has walked the path of life true to the sacred teachings of Mother Earth.  —Patricia Morris Cardona, APRN, BC, and Daniel J. Cardona, MD, co-founders of The Cosmic Mysteries School


Mary Lyons About the Author


Great-Grandmother Mary Lyons, Ojibwe Elder from Minnesota, is a spiritual advisor, storyteller and wisdom keeper. She travels and teaches internationally with the Indigenous Grandmothers of the Sacred We, a pan-indigenous group led by Sufi teacher Devi Tide.

She is the founder of the Minnesota Coalition on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, an Indian Child Welfare Act Expert Witness and a Native American Family and Child Advocate for the Tribes. She was a keynote speaker at the Parliament of World Religions in Utah and at the People’s Climate March in New York City in 2014. She is a winner of the Congressional Angels in Adoption Award, nominated by Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota.

She currently serves as a counselor for the women’s sobriety group Women of Wellbriety International, which she co-founded. Grandmother Mary was one of many Native children removed from her home and placed in an institution; she has first-hand experience of the negative effects on children and families of alcohol and drug addiction. After her own recovery, guided by her ancestors, she has dedicated her life to helping others, including fostering and adopting many children with family difficulties, disabilities and fetal alcohol syndrome.

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