Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Environmental Lineage and Legacy Story

When I was raising my children, I thought all I needed to do was to raise good children and everything would be OK. 

When they were grown, I realized that the outside world in which they were conceived and now live and in which their children will be raised, had drastically changed to include hazards about which I knew little, much too little.

I started searching for answers, which brought me to a lot of research and eye-opening information. I soon realized that I had to look at my lineage and our home for four generations, San Francisco, to grasp what could continue to affect my children and grandchildren. 
 
My environmental lineage and legacy story contains my increasing consciousness  of  what we are doing to ourselves, our fellow creatures and our world and
integrates all the strands of my personal story in an intimate portrait that connects me to my primary environment, our devoted Mother Earth.
 I learned that my family's heritage is intrinsically connected to the creation of those toxins that could have affected them and could still be affecting me, 

 
my children and now my grandchildren. 

I am a grandmother of twin girls. Our relationship is immutable and life-changing for me. I knew that their lifeforce was growing in the dark, protective womb of their mother- which contained all that they needed. But I also knew from pulling together this story of my environmental lineage and legacy, that they could be influenced by outside forces, not by the conscious will of their mother, nor by any truly rational choices of our culture, but just as immutably, by me and my ancestor’s personal actions, choices and ignorance. I realize that how I live on this earth is what my granddaughters will inherit. Their changeable physiology creates a responsibility on me, because I would never want an action that I do to harm my grandchildren. I understand that my relationship with my all-encompassing Mother Earth somehow is immutable too, just like my relationship with my granddaughters. And I feel that my Mother Earth who holds and nurtures me and feeds me is beneficent. She would not want to harm either, yet she accepts what is happening to her, with involuntary surrender. 

I live within and enable the perpetuation of a system that harms our world and our babies. This became an existential dilemma for me. How do I live in the real world, hold to the faith and conviction I have in the beneficence of our existence and not drop into despair and hopelessness?

The word EcoBirth  came to me in the midst of this search, it has come to integrate many strands in my life- my feminine qualities, living a faith-based life, connecting to my lineage and legacy, unique to place and time in San Francisco, and my primary, immutable, relationship with  Mother Earth. I want to take responsibility for the shape that our world is in now, by seeing the hope and love that is needed to enable the next generations to heal it. I do not have the answers for them, but I can try to hold the space to allow them to find those answers, by seeing the truth of what is happening now, processing it in my heart and naming it in public. I see birth as the metaphor for transformation and creation that if honored, will create a paradigm shift in our culture’s consciousness.

And that consciousness would realize that we are all related, that our planet home is an extraordinarily perfect balance of natural cycles and that caring for our one natural life will enable us all to be well. That we are caught in a web of a story that separates us, gives us a false sense that we are independent, alone and in charge of our own destiny, with no need for anyone else. Disconnected, unrelated, isolated. Not true.
Our true story is about the extraordinary connection in ourselves that goes all the way back to the first stirring of life gathered on this earth. We were born from our mothers, they were born from their mothers, and we were formed from bits of their bodies all the way back to the first amoeba- there is still a small bit of that life spark in us. We could not be here without all this lineage and heritage; we are dependent on their living and giving. It is a wonderful story of relationship based on love and compassion, unbreakable, freely given. We have just lost our connection to our Mother Earth and to ourselves and our fellow kin, but becoming aware that we are all in the same interdependent living system is hopeful, faithful and so biologically real. We have since the beginning of time, given our feminine, maternal gifts to our children, with no thought for payment.

That instinct for offering ourselves will be found again-to reclaim our rightful place in the order of life. We are not lost or truly harmful to our following generations, we are their life-givers. And I chose to work with a fierce passion to make right this world for my grandchildren, and your grandchildren. I trust in my connection to my mother and grandmother, and I see my relationship to all kin in our world, on our earth, in our cosmos, with a gaze of love and compassion. I look to receive that gaze in return, with an open, wounded heart, vulnerable and strong.

I just heard of research that said that a mother’s laughter makes her breastmilk healthier for her child- - there is really nothing more miraculous than that! We can change the world with love and laughter and it will respond with health, happiness and true acceptance of our rightful place in it.

Declaration of Interdependence for EcoBirth

30 minute full presentation of My Personal Environmental Story

Interview about Women's Congress for Future Generations