Roots are important to self-definition. I’ve learned to redefine what roots mean in my life, and it has been a hard, and sometimes painful, lesson. Roots are not grounded in a place. Roots are not grounded in a family or in a single tradition. Roots are grounded in spirit, and spirit travels. You can bring your roots with you wherever you go.
This is not to say that who you live with and where you live don’t help shape you. Oh, they do. But these kinds of legacies can cause growth and harm. I’ve experienced both in spades. Family can scar you in a way that no else can. Community can betray you in a way that no one else can. The irony is that the exact opposite is also true. They can encourage you in a way that no one else can. The trick is to learn to see and acknowledge the whole picture, and then to recognize that you are an outgrowth of that picture but not a definition of it.
I have lived feeling rootless, and that doesn’t work either. It’s a lonely feeling, even if you are not alone. I had to examine my roots of origin, and what they mean for me. I had to recognize that my community really isn’t mine. I had to grapple with the feeling that I wasn’t grounded, and I had to seek ways to get grounded – because groundless people have no boundaries and get taken advantage of innumerous ways.
Wise people showed up in my life at pivotal points, and I took the leap of faith again and again. Books showed up when I needed them, and I was able to drink in their wisdom. I learned to trust and respect my heart. I learned to see the world differently and to read the messages of spirit that I am so generously given. I learned to pray honestly. I learned breathing and exercises to ground and strengthen my spirit. I learned that I am not alone, and I learned to deepen my compassion for others.
I am not an old woman. I still have a long way to go on this journey. Knowing that my roots are mobile and will be with me wherever I am gives me both solace and strength. I can picture my roots and I can feel them. Of course I can – because I am a visual thinker, and I am an empath. Namaste.