For the Ancestors — and the Children

For the Ancestors — and the Children


For the Ancestors — and the Children

That I am enough
Oh this feeling of sufficiency in the world
Oh this intimate knowledge of one’s innate belonging
Oh this resting in the birthright
Of emerging from the womb with indigenous value and worth
Receiving and knowing one’s place in the world
Is held in a circle of community
Interwoven within a cosmic landscape of story
Ecological intra- and inter-weavings of being-ness
I and you and we and they
All born into the One Tribe—of us
No exclusions
The tribe of opening to and standing in marvel and wonder and delight
As we swim together in emerging awareness and gratitude
For this great unspeakable mystery
In which we find ourselves
And enough
Just as we are

I feel myself living in the Season of Ancestors as this poem emerges from its womb; All Souls Day, Halloween, the Day of the Dead, all lead up to my birthday in early November. Having struggled with suicidal ideations from the third grade well into my mid-twenties, it is yet common for me to experience low grade depressions this time of year, almost as if my system is questioning if I really want to come into this world. And what with climate disruption manifesting in unprecedented fire storms in California, Earth’s lungs in Amazon aflame as well, political climates in which the value of truth is relegated to cultish loyalties, mass human migrations reflecting destabilized environmental patterns… I’m sensing deeply into the role ancestry plays in the shaping of my personal and our collective psyches.
I’ve come to ascribe this collective spiral into self-destruction, of our times, to what I’ll call here, The Gospel of Insufficiency. This is the cultural background theological perspective in which humans are separate from and superior to Nature. The old gospel hymn, Just as I am*, a favorite of the fundamentalist cult I was born into, captures well the insufficiency of a self caught in the spiral of never being enough, never being able to be enough—except through the grace of a superior divinity existing outside our very self.
Yet when God is separate from Self, the resulting wounded and fractured self inevitably seeks to be above and better than some split off component of Self; nature becomes the elemental split off portion of the human psychic and soul in the western tradition. But there is an older ancestry and tradition.
And it is this older ancestry this poem points to. This is the tradition of our ancestors who yet knew they belonged and that life is not about proving one’s innate worth and belonging. This poem emerges out of the joy of this reconnection in my own life… and points the way… for the children. And it’s an invitation from me—to me and all who resonate, to open further and to consciously celebrate this innate belonging and worthiness of our indigenity in the universe.
Photo credit goes to dear friend, Anitra Lavanhar.
Just as I am — Gospel Song with a rich history I cannot give justice to here:

*Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

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