One year ago, I sold my home and opted to rent until I figured out what next great path I should journey on. Both of my children having recently graduated college, were beginning new lives for themselves and I, turning 50 had some very difficult personal choices to make as well, so what better way to make difficult choices than to completely turn my life inside out and upside down?
I packed my favorite memories in boxes and set off to unpack them somewhere else. I found some greener grass, a few newer windows to look out of and a nice comfy cozy deck to meditate on. I bought a new Smart TV to watch football on as well as a king size bed with soft, fuzzy blankets to wrap up in.
I unpacked my memories, hung them on walls, put them on shelves and put candy in my grandmother's Fenton Amethyst Carnival glass bowl. I added a few flowers to some antique vases, put them on the new tablecloth and proceeded to settle in. I had everything set, sneakers tied, enthusiasm at a 10, new life beginning, path murky, but hey, I can swim and I always have an inner Soul light to guide me through the dark.
It is in this dark that I grew and dare I say, transformed. The labels placed upon me, of which I was once so comfortable with, changed as each layer of my past revealed itself to me. Each person, event, thought, hurt, dream, loving feeling, waves of anger, revealing itself through meditation, dreams, and daily activities.
Memories taken from boxes were thoughtfully inspected.
Some lovingly and some with full fury.
Days filled with joy and days filled with sorrow, but filled none the less. Never a day went by that didn't contain some message of renewal, growth. I learned I had to listen before they would stop talking. To stop letting them haunt me, but rather to comfort me. I chose to not fight them or hide from them or be afraid of them.
I chose light and light offered me darkness and in that darkness, rest came.
These boxed memories opened a priceless dialogue. Each item offering me deep conversations with their original owners. I was able to hear with a deeper, wiser set of ears and see with clearer eyes the lessons that each memory, each item, each ancestor had to teach me.
Crying cleansed the windows of my soul while laughter filled it back up.
I found myself angry more times than not, but after the anger came the wisdom. The wisdom to let it GROW, not GO.
I learned that by letting go I didn't heal, but by letting "grow" I did.
I allowed the words that broke me as a child, wound me as a wife, and tear me apart as a daughter and sister, eventually nourish me. I began to have a tiny spark of realization that although those careless words did indeed cut me, there were many, many more bandages put on my wounds by loving and intentional hands and hearts. That I could somehow hear the words, see the memories and feel the emotions while also becoming wiser to where they came from.
I was able to finally understand that those words, those actions, those memories, those people who played such an important role in my life came from generations far different than mine and certainly far different than today.
My beautiful grandmother who would sometimes say the most horrid things and act out in not so nice ways was not much different than me. I began to notice my patterns, my actions, my habits. I allowed myself to recall my past with her as if I were an adult, not the child I was. I did this whenever a memory came up and I became more understanding. Wisdom started to flow through memories as an observer and not a participant. I did this with all of my ancestors until one day I had an epiphany.
My ancestors are OLD!
They lived for hundreds of years before me!
My grandmother, who in my lifetime seemed no different than I, living a life no different than I, was raised in a generation that didn't have bathrooms in their homes. They did not have running water!
Think about this....
My grandmother's mother, my great grandmother, could not wash her hands in a sink with running water after flushing a toilet in her own home until she was well into her adult life. Her mother and father (my great-great grandparents) never, ever had that luxury at all.
Think about this!
Some of my childhood insecurities are direct descendants of outhouses!
Do you get this?
How can I possibly let those hurts, those angers, those hates, those insecurities cloud my life now? They come from a generation that didn't have running water and that generation came from even less! They were practically cave-men!
Seriously, this is important stuff.
I have subconsciously been holding onto deep, deep rooted weeds that more than likely originated with famine. Scarcity. Fear. Big Sticks as weapons.
This means I raised my kids with a belief system that stemmed from pretty dysfunctional parents who lived through Vietnam, who came from a generation whose parents lived through WWII whose parents lived through WWI , whose parents lived through the Civil war and the Revolutionary war and since I don't know more history than that, were cave men.
Honestly, I don't know much history beyond that, but I do know that somewhere I have a deep rooted belief system that came from someone who lived hundreds of years ago, eating raw meat they killed with big huge sticks because fire wasn't invented! Fire wasn't invented!
Those seeds needed to go as well as whatever life form may have come from them. Get me some of that heavy duty weed killer, man, 'cause I got some serious weeds to get rid of.
We all do.
What are we doing holding onto this shit?
All that murky water stems from a house with no plumbing and a mentality that originated from only survival.
There is a part of our DNA that has roots in only basic survival.
Our strongest and deepest root is planted in survival and it is from this root in which our entire ancestral lineage flows.
This is the blood that flows through our veins, our minds, our hearts.
This is the blood that our souls want us to remember and gain wisdom from, not derive fear, hate, anger, hunger, sorrow and insecurities. Our souls understand survival, but our souls thrive on growth, wisdom, joy, understanding, commitment, loyalty, love. All of which derives from our root need to survive.
Those memories, those words, those actions that either brought us joy or brought us tears have caveman origins in a world of electronica. We use our washed, dried, clean hands to check our phones, read our mail, do our groceries...check our bank accounts as well as numerous other trivial and countless things, yet our minds are still holding onto past hurts, past words, past actions that directly descend from dirty, unwashed hands that tore apart squirrel for dinner!
Dear God, this is crazy! Mind Blown!
We have plumbing, people, start flushing!
Flush that shit and wash your hands of it!
We have the ability to do more than survive.
We can "Sur-Thrive"!
Our ancestors didn't intentionally hurt us, they didn't have the capacity and the understanding to live with intention as we now do. They were basic creatures meant to survive and damn it, they did it very, very well! Every person from day one brings a thought or a memory or a belief from a time that we will never, ever know nor possibly understand, yet it is in our blood.
These boxes of memories have given me a light and a love and an appreciation that I have never had before.
This time in between homes has taught me the difference between
"Sur-viving" and "Sur-thriving" as well as the wisdom to know that
"Sur-thriving" is intentional and "sur-viving" is the habit.
That in order to live a life worth living I must break old habits and forge new pathways.
I must thoughtfully think and compassionately listen before accepting others words into my spirit as gospel and I must be ever diligent with the words that come from my mouth towards another. That I may never mean harm, but words without intention are never understood correctly and actions without love are always self-serving.
That in order to live in wisdom, I must choose to be wise and that if I want to be understood, then I must be more understanding.
I have realized this past year that I am more than basic survival, but I am also a long, long way from enlightened. Luckily I have a few pair of sneakers and don't mind going barefoot on occasion.
My journeys will bring me much of the unexpected, but I know my soul will always light my way when I choose to live intentionally.
I am now packing once again to head out into another journey.
This journey will find me in a 1910 colonial with running water,
flush able toilet, safe roof, walls, and foundation.
It will meet my basic survival needs, but more importantly, I will intentionally "Sur-Thrive" in it.
I will unpack my grandmother's Fenton Amethyst candy bowl, add new candy and place my boxed memories back on the gorgeous wood that gives this home some of its charms.
I will lovingly hang pictures of Paige and Alex on the walls and hopefully add pictures of their families next to them somewhere in the future.
I will host family gatherings, football parties, holidays and more in this safe haven in which I call home. I will create loving and happy memories while being sheltered during the inevitable difficult times that will appear on this journey. I will add to the DNA of this house in a thoughtful and generous manner and I will continue to embrace the growth, the strength and the longevity of my ancestral DNA under the bright light of my ever expanding Soul.