With the storm winds blowing and waters surging up the east coast it’s hard to be in the “holiday” spirit. With the elections looming and the mudslinging only getting worse it’s difficult to find the quiet mind for meditation. This is the season of harvest, gratitude and remembrance. Halloween when the ghosts walk and many cultures find themselves honoring their ancestors.
I wonder in this season what kind of ancestors we will be. What legacy will we leave for our descendants? Will they live in the zombie appocolypse because of some biohazard gone awry? Will global warming change the climate so much that they will have mega-storms as part of their daily lives? Will the bees disappear from their monoculture and pesticide laden diet and will our children follow after a generation or two of starvation and illness?
The planet has seen many upheavals in its long life. I’ve been reading the S.M. Stirling change series, which for post civilization literature is actually somewhat hopeful. The motto of one of the surviving enclaves “the 14th century as it SHOULD have been.” Complete with sanitation and plumbing. Or to quote another popular culture phrase, “Life will find a way.” On the bones of trees are already the hints of the new life of spring.
Such is the dilemma of working with the ancestors. Even my Grandparents would have been hard put to imagine life as we experience it today. Generations upon generations worked the land and even if they lived “in town” knew where their food was coming from and how it went from field to table. The idea of spending days inside (house to car to work and back) would have made them wonder about illness and fragility.
It’s good to be cautious about new things, to examine the possible repercussions of new directions. At the same time, if we are to be good ancestors to our descendants it is critical for us to remain open and flexible to possibilities we can hardly imagine. And now I’m round about to Halloween. It is the holiday of celebrating the imagination. Dressing up to become more powerful, or to face our fears. We open our doors to strangers who often don’t even appear to be human. Children costumed as animals, aliens, and nightmares offer a choice, “trick or treat?”
There are many kinds of ancestors with advice and wisdom to help us through the storms of our lives. There are the ancestors of our blood. The legacy of our family. We sort through the good and the bad, learning lessons from both kinds of examples. We choose which of our family traditions to carry forward and which to let fall by the wayside. May we choose wisely.
There are ancestors of the heart. The souls that have touched us in our lives. These are often people who were role models for us. Or perhaps they were just the kind hearted souls that appeared at the time we needed them most. They are our beloved friends and pets who we hold in our memories. Our heart connection makes their own lives a part of our personal stories. May we remember the love shared with these ancestors and may we further the legacy of open hearted love.
There are ancestors of the spirit. These are our heroes. The souls who’s stories inspire us. They are the shining lights that encourage us to dream, to strive, to do better. Let us our fears, make our choices, and move forward towards a legacy of spirit that continues to inspire and enrich those who come after.