Questions to ponder on my EARTH DAY – 14th June 2010

Today is my ‘Earth Day’ – also known as ‘Birth Day’. I woke up this morning at 03.46 and reflected on the event that occurred all those years ago! Forty five years ago today, it was my mother’s ‘BIRTH DAY’. I recall her telling me the story of the hours leading up to her birthing of me which she did all by herself. No hospital, no painkillers.

And so, I graced the EARTH with my presence. Each day from that time, I have been gifted with the breath of life and give thanks for the faculties, physical ability and the awareness that I am here to live a purposeful life. Today, on my mother’s BIRTH DAY, my thoughts are with her. Wherever her spirit and soul is now, I give thanks for her and for her guidance throughout my life.

For a moment this morning, I was saddened and tearful - as I miss her dearly. I cannot today tell her that I love her and thank her for all those years, because she is not physically here. I reflect on her words of wisdom to me, the silence in which her eyes said all, the memories that I have of the vibration of her voice, the touch of her skin in our physical exchanges.

As I celebrate my EARTH DAY, I find myself asking ‘what makes me, ME’? Considering the various aspects of myself – putting aside the ‘physical’ ME – what makes me who I am today?

One day last year, as I made the eleven hour journey from Kenya to Tanzania, (before you ask – I purposely decided to travel by coach from Kenya to Tanzania in order to absorb and experience the wonders of this once in a life time journey! It worked – as I can close my eyes and take myself back there in an instant whenever I choose!) I asked myself this very question during that journey. What makes me who I am today? It’s amazing where devoting solid time to ‘critical thinking’ can take your mind. During that thinking time, I took my mind back to one of my earliest memories - being that of my mum giving me a book to read. Mum was instrumental in my love of books. She would ask me to read to her; she spent hundreds of pounds on Encyclopaedias and would encourage me to ‘pick up a book and pen and study’. In her Christian faith, she would ask me to read to her from the Bible and other tracts and books that supported her yearning to know more about the faith.

I have always had a love for books, the written word, dialogue and expression. I consider that being a library assistant all those years ago, to owning my own bookshop, to acquiring a large personal library, teaching English language and using writing very much in my life today, is as a result of the nurturing from my mother in those early years.

Back in the Caribbean, mum had a tough life and although she went to school and eventually had a trade, her life experiences were not the best. My daughter and I interviewed my mum one day. One thing that she said which has stayed with me is: “Me work with me daddy – carry stone and muddy”. She further explained that as a young child, after school, she had to carry out physical, manual labour in which she helped her dad, in what is now called ‘construction work’ or ‘labouring’.

This and her other life experiences reinforced to my mum the value of education. As a result, she instilled the importance of acquiring knowledge, learning and education in her children. This has been a major theme in my life from my early years of being conscious of myself up to now.

As I celebrate mum’s BIRTH day and my EARTH day, I give thanks for that event which has enabled me to ‘live’, even though life has not been easy at time. There have been peaks and troughs, times of easy and tough lessons, moments of extreme happiness and extreme sadness. The polarities of some of my experiences are indeed stories to tell!

As I contemplate the meaning of my life and the birthing and earthing of myself on a day when I cannot physically give thanks and honour to mum, I ponder on these questions:

How often do we tell those we value in our lives that we love them before it is too late?
How much do we consider the experiences of our parents and elders in the shaping of who we are?
How much awareness and attention do we pay to the fact that our own parents’ lives and their experiences of life contribute to who we are today?
What impact does all of this have on our own children?
What are the cycles that we must take responsibility in breaking so that we leave healthy and purposeful legacies for the next generation?

I give thanks for the life that I have and give thanks to those who have contributed to my life’s lessons and experiences. Let’s all take responsibility for passing on the best legacy ever to our children. But first let us start today by giving gratitude for the experiences that we have had that shape who we are at our best. Moving forward to your next EARTH DAY, what would you like to know you have done to move your life forward and build upon your legacy?

© Rebecca Gordon – 14th June 2010


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