Cultural Context – Life Review FollowUp

Here are my attempts to directly answer Richard Perkins’ essential questions, after completing my Life Review assignment.

 

 

 

The story of my life is embedded in the cultural context of suburban America, a distillation of the once distinct Irish Catholic ethnic that peppers the stories of my ancestors.

 

I remember my mother telling us to stay out of the woods. There were ticks. And homeless people. I relished any time spent in nature, and was always looking for ways to get into the trees and the pond and the rivers. Spending time in the Adirondacks with my extended family, I could finally be in the woods without worrying. Our annual walk to the cave was a highlight in my year.

 

I was raised Catholic. My parents subscribed until we outgrew Sunday school, which I believe was mostly under pressure from my grandmother. I went every Sunday and I believed in God because I talked to a power greater than myself whenever I got sick or felt bad. I began to reject the stricter conventional notions of religion as I got older. I have since to respect the great force that moves through us all, and am wholly convinced of the divine nature of existence. I am still looking for was to broaden and deepen my own spiritual practice.

 

I have a crooked spine, but other than that, no longterm health problems, no allergies, I broke a few bones as a kid but I’ve mostly been healthy and energetic. Once in a while I get mysterious pains or am suddenly stricken with a dis-ease, but I’ve come to suspect that has less to do with my body than my mind. And it’s a humbling reminder that so many live with discomfort in their everyday lives, I’m so grateful to have an abundance of energy and wellness. I don’t even need coffee in the morning.

 

My parents started off as average middle class, and through decades of dedication to The Company, my parents are now in the top % of wage earners in this country. I’ve pretty much always had everything I needed, or at least that’s my impression. And this might sound insensitive and bold, but I am a pretty white female, so I don’t come across discrimination directed at me very often. I remember attending the Vagina Monologues in college, which finally helped me put being a woman into proper perspective, and that was an attitude of pride, not inadequency.

 

I told my story, without prompting, as a series of events that I hadn’t even considered the context, other than the astrological one. I am a child of the 1%. I am privileged. I have never been abused and the only once was in a situation in college that could have turned very ugly, but didn’t.

 

I was homeschooled, and lately I have a suspicion that this has placed me outside of many cultural norms. The people I grew up alongside were shapeshifters and lady knights, superheroes and gods and goddesses, flawed and beautiful people with strong voices that carried over centuries. Most of my best friends were in my head from pages and pages and chapters and volumes of reading.

 

When you ask about the most meaningful or valuable experience in life, the first things that comes to mind was my time with the Ojibwe. Not only did they shatter my expectations of indigenous life on this continent (and by extension, other continents), but they showed me the true essence of a culture built on the foundations of respect for environment, community, and self. Sweating in a lodge knocked me to the most core of my being, of humility, sadness, and a desperate passion to be alive.

 

It was with these values attached to my core that I have gone on these adventures through Texas and California and Thailand, partially for curiosity, partially for the mission of making life better for everyone in general. I have done everything I have ever done out of love, in some form or another.

 

I learned myself, and I unlearn myself. My homeschool experience taught me to be self-taught. And so I am. So I teach myself. And I unteach myself. And the cycle continues.

 

The pattern in the learning / unlearning is through my travels. Space affects how I think of things. So when I travel, it is a new reflection upon an old pattern. And when I return to a place after having traveled other places, through awareness I can see the differences and similarities to the me that was there previously.

 

The biggest, silliest pattern I’ve made to get me where I am today is usually wherever I go, I am following the impression of blossoming that seems to happen when I fall in love. The choices don’t necessarily lead me to being with my figure of affection, romantically or otherwise, but I am inspired by the essence of that person, which shapes me to make the choices I do, to move to a farm or to Texas or to pick up a ukelele.

 

My life is unfolding to my satisfaction because I feel relieved that I finally have something of value to offer to my community and the people around me. I have skills, insight, curiosity, energy, creativity, and joy.

 

Potentially some of the next best career directions will be in teaching. It seems like there is a need and an interest in living more holistic, fulfilling lives and I have several areas that I feel might enrich many folks’ daily paradigm were they to be made aware of the frame.

 

The sacred question that I live by is How? The Why reveals something about the asker, but the How reveals a truth in the universal truth of cycles. How can I make myself a better role model? How can I best contribute to my community? How am I living my ideals?

 

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