Day Two: Remember Our Ancestors

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 8:00am

In 2010, I wrote a workbook called 21 days for a class that I was teaching in Florida. I published it as a workbook and I continue to use it in my classes. During this time of isolation, I am writing a new workbook to stay connected with our writing community. I’m calling it 21.2. Each day I will post an observation and a prompt. If you’d like, send me your answer to the prompt. We will publish these dialogues!


Comment: Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany, said yesterday regarding Covid-19: “The situation is serious. Take it seriously. Since German unification, no, since the Second World War, there has been no challenge to our nation that has demanded such a degree of common and united action.”

 I wasn’t surprised by Merkel’s statement. For the last week I have been thinking about my parents and what it must have been like for them to have gone through the Great Depression, and then through WWII.  

My brother was born just before WWII and I was just after it began. My parents first had to face economic and safety concerns of the Depression and then safety, economic and life-threatening concerns of the War.

I find myself having more empathy for them that I have had ever before. I remember having more understanding of my parents when my son was born, for similar reasons.

Wow, they went through this (raising a child) twice and survived to tell the story!  

This current experience has challenged us in a similar way.

I flash back to the stories I heard about my parent’s life during that trying time. They entertained themselves by gathering around a piano and singing their favorite songs. They played board games. They laughed a lot. I remember my father singing, “We don’t have a barrel of money; our clothes may be ragged and funny but we’re traveling along, singing a song, side by side.” He also sang Broadway songs “Give My Regards to Broadway, Remember Me to Herald Square,” which is fitting for our time now as no more Broadway.

My parents, however, did not have to practice social distancing. In a strange way, this time is more challenging.

If you’re a writer, write. If you’re a photographer, take photos. Post on social media your ideas, your creative work, inspire others. Give yourself a challenge, find a playmate. Exchange work; challenge each other. Go for long walks; commune with nature; record your walk. Watch the play of light on the trees still empty of leaves. Watch the return of the robins. Record your impressions.

And remember your ancestors and bless them. Here is a message from the Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers:

"As you move through these changing times... be easy on yourself and be easy on one another. You are at the beginning of something new. You are learning a new way of being. You will find that you are working less in the yang modes that you are used to.

You will stop working so hard at getting from point A to point B the way you have in the past, but instead, will spend more time experiencing yourself in the whole, and your place in it.

Instead of traveling to a goal out there, you will voyage deeper into yourself. Your mother's grandmother knew how to do this. Your ancestors from long ago knew how to do this. They knew the power of the feminine principle... and because you carry their DNA in your body, this wisdom and this way of being is within you.

Call on it. Call it up. Invite your ancestors in. As the yang based habits and the decaying institutions on our planet begin to crumble, look up. A breeze is stirring. Feel the sun on your wings.” 

Prompt: Call upon your ancestors, memories of your family and write your memories, hopes, wishes and love.