2018 is drawing to a close. Another race to the finish in a year of taking on so much information and then wondering what the hell to do with yet another year of all those details. There is no end to information. When I think of my spiritual life- I want to know many things. My spiritual understanding is that there is only Oneness. I am curious about how to both understand this very large container of truth and how to talk about it without sounding like a platitude spewing New Age idiot. I am a collector of facts about being human and what it means to be human. And as a specific human, I want to know who I am.
I am lucky. My mind is not a steel trap. It is more of a steel sieve. I can’t retain any of my detailed information but I sure like to pour over it like my next cup of single origin caffeine. So I have to constantly review my lessons…
Let’s review the lessons of 2018. What did you learn?
I learned that DNA tests are expensive and I know for sure that they are cheapest right after Thanksgiving. Like discovering a $200 55’’ 4K TV on Black Friday, you cannot afford to let that shit go unordered.
Maybe you are graced with thorough knowledge of your complete familial lines. I am not so blessed. I have that family gift of being American. That means that I do not know when my people came to this country or where they came from. I know a few broad genetic and historical strokes. My father is Anglo and his Scots-Irish family left Northern Ireland in the early 1700s. I always thought they were fleeing from potato famine but that timing is not historically accurate. They were early land grabbers, misidentified as freedom seekers in our 4th grade history books.
The real reveal is on my mother’s side of the genetic aisle. 2018 is the year that I learned that she is 67% Native American. I learned that I am 32% native American. I could have guessed that from my lactose intolerance and my detailed personal history of sensitively crying while drunk.
Not one word of Native heritage was spoken to me. Not ever. Not in my entire life.
My mother barely acknowledges that she is Mexican. Being Native is not a big whoop in Mexico because it has the largest indigenous population in the Americas. 1.2% of the total Mexican population speak only an indigenous language.
I learned more about the unimportance of being Native when I asked my Anglo dad about possibly being indigenous and maybe belonging to a tribe. He offhandedly said, “Everyone belongs to a tribe in Mexico.” That fact has caused me to ask the million dollar question of 2018- what people do I belong to? There was no family history or story told to me or my fifty one first cousins about our genetic lineage. There is a small statement of facts that my grandfather, Tomas Garcia, worked as a baggage handler on the railroads and eventually settled in eastern Kansas with my grandmother, Simona. I was in my forties before I learned that my grandparents left their eldest daughter, who was 2 at the time, with family because of a difficulty in crossing the border with her when they immigrated. They did not see her again until she was 24 and immigrated herself to join them in Kansas.
My mom was born the youngest of 11 live births. She spent her entire life building a life of secure whiteness. She does not speak Spanish which is notable because her parents did not speak English. When I had to choose a language in high school, my mom strongly suggested, demanded actually, that I not take Spanish, but instead choose a “pretty language. Like German.”
2018 is the year that I spent the most time with my parents since 1980 because they moved 600 miles from Southern California and 2 blocks away from me in Northern California. Now my 82 year old mother has revealed that she was a migrant field laborer when she was young enough to pick potatoes with her parents and teen aged siblings, driving from Kansas to Minnesota in the early 1940s. They stopped working as migrants after a bad car crash left my grandmother severely injured. My grandparents bought a small farm in north Lawrence Kansas, on land that was formerly a reservation of the Delaware tribe.
I was raised a middle-class white girl. I barely have access to the Mexican culture that is prized by my cousins. (Yes, I said I have 51 first cousins.) Some speak with the second generation Hispanic accent and I do not. I was not raised to revel in being Mexican because I barely knew that I am Mexican and I am even less knowledgeable of our indigenous truth.
As I said, when I think of my spiritual life- I want to know many things. I am a collector of facts about being human and what it means to be human. I want to know who I am. I want to know about the indignities my mother faced as a child that caused her to deny her heritage. More to my point, what caused her to deny my heritage to me? Because in doing so she denied the importance of me and the value of who I am as an individual.
These questions are spiritually significant and personally important in the context of understanding Oneness. It’s true that all humans are 99% composed of 6 elements plus 5 more and some trace elements defined as necessary for life as we know it. Adults of average weight are comprised of 7 times 10 to the 27th atoms. All humans share the same chemical and atomic composition.
And yet…I am not you and you could never be me. Not that you would want to be me thinking these thoughts, incessantly researching them and almost instantly forgetting the answers. Putting aside the question of nature versus nurture for another installation of my ramblings about this human experience, we are 7.7 billion ostensibly separate beings. Exploring this belief that we are not separate requires that I investigate all the ways that we are distinct parts of a vast entirety, an entirety that may not be discernible to us because to us, with our limited perspective, it is unknowably boundless and we are the smallest of fractions of individual participants.
Because we cannot hold the miracle of our presence in this vast existence, because we may never have contact with any other conscious, sentient beings before we self destruct; I feel that our only job in the face of an infinitely opaque reality is to Know Thyself. This piece of advice has been floating around since before it was finally written down by Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi, around the 8th century BC.
You would think that in the nearly 3000 years of recorded history we would know that Know Thyself is just about the only thing we can know with real veracity.
My people flourished in Mexico for almost 4,000 years before the Europeans arrived. 10,000 years ago, my ancestors began to domesticate maize into corn.
Who wouldn’t want to know more about a lineage that has survived the five to seven million years since Ancient man decided to rear up and have a good look around while walking?
We survived countless inter-tribal battles in Pre-Columbian Mexico and then the germ warfare that the Anglos brought with them. My line is a winner on this continent and I can’t help but wonder if we will survive whatever fate is lining up next for the human race.
My job in this life has been to Know Myself. I am dedicated to a life of service. I am here to assist as many humans as I can to recognize their value, know their gift and bring it to the world. There is no time to waste. And we must do this knowing that we are intimately connected as a species, a species that cannot afford to pretend it is only a random collection of unconnected individuals.
We don’t have much time to know ourselves as intricately necessary pieces of this environmental perplexity. We will have to reorganize ourselves rapidly for the cultural, social, and economic changes that our planet will demand of us in the next decades.
How will you begin to know who you are and how you fit into the puzzle of life on planet Earth?