Empty yourself continually in honor of the Incarnate Word who emptied himself with so much love for you (Phil 2:7). Make your commitment to live in the practice of the most sincere, true and profound humility possible to you. Do so on all occasions, to everyone but especially to God, from whom must come all the blessings of your institute.
Fr. Jean Pierre Medaille
c.2013 Kimberly V. Schneider
We are fortunate to have a wonderful guest blogger, Kimberly Schneider. As I read her reflection, I am reminded of the importance of connections to our past, shared and personal, connections to our present knowing who we are from where we have been and being open to where that takes us on the journey. Kimberly gently reminds me that many have traveled similar paths and sometimes blaze new trails for us to follow. But we are never alone in the journey even if all we see are one set of footprints in the dust.
Five years ago I lost one of my best friends and most enthusiastic cheerleaders: my Dad. As the years have passed and the pain of losing him has softened, I have begun to really honor and celebrate the traces of him and all the ancestors I find within myself.
The first time I went to Ireland, soon after Dad died, I found pieces of him there—in easy laughter, the love of a good story, the propensity to break out in song, the sparkling eyes and the immense hospitality we encountered in so many people. It was a healing way to remember him, and to rediscover him in the world around me.
One of the questions I hear often when I return to Ireland to facilitate Celtic Spirituality retreats there is some version of “who are your people?” I’m sure the Irish in the tourism industry have caught on to the fact that Americans are searching for their roots, and love talking about their ancestors. And yet, there’s more to it than that.
I see it in the way the Irish talk about the history in the landscape and the families who have been there for centuries. It’s there in the way people work to find some way they are connected with every person they meet. And in case any doubt remained about the importance of knowing where you come from in the Irish mind, I met one man who said his uncle could list the genealogy of his chickens, going back 14 generations.
I’ve come to appreciate and revel in the exploration of where I’m from, and who my own people are. Because understanding how my life experiences and the people whose DNA flows through my body have shaped me (for better and for worse) helps me make more conscious choices about who I want to be. It reminds me that I owe all of my ancestors a debt of gratitude for just being. After all, if not for them, I wouldn’t be here.
Remembering where I’m from deepens my connection to those I’ve lost: my Dad, his brother, and my grandparents—and also to the loved ones who still share life with me: Mom, my brother and my kids, cousins, nephews and nieces and aunts and uncles, all the family and friends I’m lucky enough to know.
Beyond that, contemplating who my people are reminds me that at the deepest level, each one of us is profoundly connected.
Go back far enough and we share the same ancestors.
We’re made of the same star-stuff that created this Universe.
We’re breathing the same material that has given form to every being on this planet.
You and I are family.
May the peace of knowing that we are All One be yours today.
Do you know where you come from? And who has helped you walk the path you are on? What would our world look like if we really truly believed we are family, deeply connected and made of the same “star-stuff’? How would you live in practice of the most sincere in this unfinished world?
Thank you Kimberly for reminding us of where we come from. Grateful to be with you all – my beloved family.
On the path,
Kimberly Schneider has studied, taught and written about Celtic spirituality for decades. She facilitates classes, retreats and ceremonies at sacred spaces in the U.S. and Ireland, helping modern seekers find fresh relevance in the wisdom of the ancient Celts. This spring, she will be co-facilitating a Celtic Spirituality retreat at the Motherhouse with Irish singing/songwriting brothers Owen and Moley O’Suilleabhain. For tickets and information, go to: Brown Paper Tickets online sales visit the event site and click the links on the top of the page. http://togetherinfaithseries.com/2014/01/02/march-7-8-celtic-soul-experience-2/