Last night we attended a party with some very dear friends. Out of the many stimulating conversations, the one I had with our host Gary was the most powerful. It started in the usual way of “what are you up to these days”, then quickly progressed into a deep discussion about my family history project and the question which has arisen frequently for me in the last month or so – “who am I in this project?” – “where is my voice”?
When Richard and I spent our 28th wedding anniversary at The Red Lion Inn a few weeks ago, I was struck by a thunderbolt! I realized that so much of my excitement about this project comes from the process of unfolding and not the “working on the final product”. I’ve come to realize that this quest I have to learn more about my ancestors and their stories is actually my story. Gary pointed out to me that I am an ancestor! and that the “cup is already broken” (as the Buddhist monks point out). When one lives life appreciating the beauty of the cup, knowing it’s already broken, nothing is missed. I’ve come to realize just out of this conversation that my voice in this project of tracking my ancestors is that of a future ancestor (me)!
So when one is on a spiritual quest, every moment appears as a gift – every conversation – random moments passing in time. This morning, I lounged in my favorite chair with Molly by my side to read a bit before jumping into my day – Brida by Paulo Cuelo, and received this golden nugget for my journey:
“She thought about the greatness of soul of the true sages, sages who had spent their entire life searching for an answer that did not exist, but who were not tempted to invent an answer when they realized there was none. Instead, they carried on humbly inhabiting a Universe they would never understand. The only way they could truly participate was by following their own desires, their own dreams, because that is how man becomes an instrument of God.
So what’s the point of looking for an answer then?
We don’t look for an answer, we accept, and then life becomes much more intense, much more brilliant, because we understand that each minute, each step that we take, has a meaning that goes far beyond us as individuals. We realize that somewhere in time and space this question does have an answer. We realize that there is a reason for us being here, and for us, that is enough.
We plunge into the Dark Night with faith, we fulfill what the ancient alchemists used to call our Personal Legend, and we surrender ourselves fully to each moment, knowing that there is always a hand to guide us, and whether we accept it or not is entirely up to us.”
So this project that I have been pursuing for 30+ years of gathering my family’s stories is my “personal legend”! Thank you Paulo, thank you Gary and
I hereby announce that this blog is devoted to my exploration of this journey – a great way to end 2010 and begin a new year!
maelife (pronounced my-life)