I wrote this while I was walking in the woods. In my head. It started as a prayer. Then became a song. Then became a meditation as I sat on a nurse long and breathed in this air, the cleanest and freshest air, I swear. There is nothing. Nothing. Like the air in the forest here after a few days of rain.
I kept seeing all these mushrooms growing in groups everywhere. Together. And then I thought, those mushrooms are family. All fungal species within the kingdom have the same common ancestor which is unicellular. All goes back to One Cell. This ancestor is believed to be the point in time in which animals diverged. So these mushrooms. Are closer to humans than they are plants. They are my ancestors. They are a part of me.
In this blood, in the broken down bark of the tree, the decomposing of everything around me. The life that is only moving towards death. There is me, my family, our family. All of us, really. Actually, we are more closely related to everything. That there is. Everywhere. I am no scientist, so someone can tell me how all that goes. I cannot explain in science what I feel in creative fire. But I feel it. Don't you. Look around? What isn't a part of you? What isn't your family? What hasn't been part of your blood?
Somehow, though, it was the humans that brought me here. Humans with some very recent history of craziness and scandal and trauma and glorious creative beauty and undying and unconditional love. You know, probably like your humans, too. We cannot escape what it means to be human. We can only do better, heal more, be present, and learn to release.
Redemption is needed.
I don't even know what that means but yesterday all day long I kept saying "how can I redeem us" and I had no answers. But I am living the question. Because we all came from extraordinary people. They were adventurous. And brave. And also I am sure they made choices we wouldn't ever make. Maybe because they don't align with our ethics, because they were awful, racist, murderous, un-evolved choices. Maybe because we are scared shitless to live like them because they were braver than us and were not scared to make sudden and wild moves. Maybe because they had no choices, zero choices, were forced, threatened with death. Maybe they had no voices. Maybe whatever they did fucked generations to come. Maybe whatever they did gave you a trust fund. Maybe whatever they endured weighs you down and calls you out constantly, staining your experience with something that has nothing to do with you. Maybe. I can't say. All I know is this: those choices and the experiences they brought, it all lives around our cells. The good, the great, the amazing, the bad, the ugly, the painful. What needs to be forgiven. And what needs to be healed.
I am finding more and more things about me that are not me. I am seeing patterns rise that I know I didn't bring consciously into this world. It makes no sense. I know there are many ways to handle this kind of ancestral work. For some reason just saying no isn't working. So I breath into my being. I stretch. I drink a ton of water. I make altars. I say thank you. I say I am sorry. I sit still and let myself remember there is nothing - there is no past, there is nothing of a future. There is only now. And I am free. But let's face it, I am layered and complex and I am a work in progress. I stumble. I trip. I fall. I hold shit that tends to break my back and bones.
Redemption. How can I live my life redeeming choices they may have made? How can I live my life in a way that is redemption for them? For me? Because it's something I feel and do not claim to know. I write. I write and write. I invite you to as well:
*Write a story about how your ancestors are redeemed through you. Write a story of what they did and why and what is the new story now? And write a story about you, and the choices you make, that are different. In honor. In gratitude. In grace and forgiveness. How can you forgive them? How can you forgive those who hurt them? How can you forgive you?
Unsilence-ing is needed.
I constantly feel like someone is trying to talk to me. Talk through me. That I am missing the point of the stories. That my ghost of a grandmother doesn't matter as much as the ones that come way, way before her. There is such a pure line of matriarchal bad-ass behind her, behind all of us. We have a warrior tribe of mothers in line - to learn from- to draw from. Recent history may have sucked. But go back farther and see the stars on earth whose womb created us, birthed us, and dreamed us into being.
*Go back. Go as far back as you can. Past the grandmothers that you knew. Past the ones you only know in names. Past the ones that are imprinted in old cracked photos. Past the days of cameras. Past the days of patriarchy. Past so many days. And then sit there for a moment. Close your eyes. And meet up with your original mother, the one that Began You. Write what she would like to say to you. Write what you would like to say back to her. Give voice to both of you, beyond this life, as you sit at the portal and drink from the original waters of creation.
Right now. It's in the words. The journal. The lit candle and the letters I am writing to them. To me. To the ones who are coming of age.
We are all related. We are all here to heal, redeem, and give voice for the other.