I was an ancestral gift to my family on January 28, 1953. First borrowed breath: 9:13 am. As of now, 67 years ago, I have been supported by Spirit’s borrowed breath for 82 minutes. Now I’m listening to what I would call mindful music. I’m trying to touch some part of me that I could call epic. I’m still searching and now, I’m accounting for the feelings today has unleashed.
I came to my mothers womb following a well worn path into this world. I have led a charmed life. I have been loved by my family, friends and past lovers. I couldn’t claim the number of teachers who have inspired, dispirited, cajoled and threatened me over my life time. I discovered my burdens weighed me down in proportion to my age; always tipping the scales into their darkness, while matching my pace with each passing year. Sometimes, when the shadows of these burdens embraced each other; the weight of their grief made sleep impossible. I would search for light in the night to fracture the grip; I and the void shared as we tried to squeeze each other into another existence.
My ancestral teachings taught the amalgam of burdens and challenges are the alchemy of transformation for spiritual growth.
My life took it’s time before I learned the amalgam of burdens and challenges are the alchemy of transformation for spiritual growth. I also learned to recognise those times in our lives when beauty halts our hike, or steals our breath. Our minds empty of all things other than an impossible creation, even for the briefest of time. A teaching from my daughter caused me to ponder these kinds of experiences. I’ve come to understand the beauty of a mountain or a butterfly is not what stops us in our tracks. Rather, it is our beauty as seen by the mountain or butterfly that is reflected back to us. This gift helped me to discover the love for someone who needed to be embraced; to be showered in this realisation. It was me.
I was asked this morning what I was going to do with my day. I didn’t know. Such a simple question led me to reflect on where I came from. I thought…how was it that I became?
I looked into my mirror and saw a beautiful tapestry gifted to me by my ancestors.
I looked into my mirror and asked who’s eyes are these? Who’s skin am I wearing? Who’s lack of hair am I sharing? Where did my lopsided smile first appear? My ancestors have been slowly making their presence known in my life. Like ghosts, they are not easy to pick out in a crowd. When I look into my children’s eyes. I see their mother; I see fragments of myself. I see my mother in my daughter. I see their mother’s father in my sons. When I was 21 I met the man who fathered me into this world. I hadn’t seen him since I was four or five. We had dinner together, this stranger who I called John. We made small talk. I looked at his hands and watched as they moved and appeared as mine.
I read that a child born in 1947 in England tracing back to 1492 would have 60,000 ancestors. For me, it has taken more than 60,000 souls, in acts of love or forced by hatred, to allow me to become. I really don’t know how to interpret my ancestors lives. What were their dreams, fears or joys they experienced? I know they loved, perhaps feeling the delicate tenderness of each other’s souls. I know they must have seen, as I do, the bounty of unlimited possibilities in their families. They saw strength in the land holding their truth while witnessing their lives as they became and all too soon this land would embrace their bodies.
Tonight I will celebrate my day of birth. I will celebrate the love for my ancestors. I’ll celebrate in the knowledge; I have always carried them within me.
Tonight I’ll light a candle so they can find their way to me. I’ll listen to musicians singing in the old Gaelic tongue and later, I’ll play my medicine drum for them. Tonight I will make a ceremonial dinner for over 60,000 people!
Did I find the part of me that I could call epic? Yes I did. They are coming for dinner.