Roots…

ImageYou see the one that I am, not the one that I was.

But the one that I was is also still part of myself.

Jean Amery

I have been feeling a little ungrounded lately. For me, I need to connect with Mother Earth on a frequent basis to feel secure, to feel stable and present. When we are feeling off balance or scattered it’s important to “reground” ourselves.

What is that really? I used it here as a state of being, but what is it really? Again, for adoptee’s there is a much deeper meaning to the words “roots”. For those of us who have grown without roots its a place of non-existence. A place of frequent change. A place that may collapse at any minute.

Everyone needs grounding and roots in order to know themselves and become whole. Our body needs that energy connection to the earth to function optimally but our genetic markers also need to be grounded with the matching set, that is our roots, our heritage, our tribe.

Even when I was young and naive about such things I always returned to Mother Earth and nature in order to feel connected. Since I had no “real family” Mother Earth was the closest I could get to connection and feeling grounded.

As for adoptee’s in reunion or searching, what we look for is the energy connection that we have been denied and has kept us in that place of limbo regarding who we really are. A place of non-existence. I know it’s difficult for non adoptee’s to understand these concepts. You grew with roots, heritage, genetic markers. You grew because you had roots. Just as the tree’s need to have roots, just as the toaster needs to be plugged in, and be grounded, you grew.

You know when you feel off balance, uncentered. You get easily distracted, tense and fidgety. Your energy is low and your problems are heavy and covered in emotion. You need to rectify that with re-grounding. Whatever that process is for you.

In adoption, during search and reunion we walk a fine line, sometimes teetering over the edge, ravaged with grief and emotion never before felt. It brings forth all of the awareness that had been so carefully hidden. The awareness of what you have missed out on, what you weren’t part of and will never get back. It’s during these times we need each other. We need to remind each other that we need to take time to regroup, reground, regrow. We need to know we matter. We need to know we are enough and we are understood.

Reunion is only one stage of the journey in an adoptees life. It’s the place where we knit together the fragmented parts of stories we never had. Parts of ourselves we never knew. Stories and history that need to fit somewhere in the puzzle that has so many pieces missing. Quite often it’s the place where we feel more fragmented than ever, more alone, more frightened. This place of finding roots.

Of course, once you are there it’s much too late to turn back. At least you had a sense of control before. In this place of putting pieces back together there is no control, none. The universe takes over, the emotions reign supreme. It feels like being out in the ocean with a canoe and no paddles. You are tossed around by emotions you didn’t know existed, caught in the waves of a dark despair and depth of pain not known to the “rooted people”. An adoptee’s trauma is cellular. How do you repair that?

“Rooted People”, can you just for a moment, try to understand what that’s like. The turmoil, the pain, the confusion of reassembling your psyche after having it shattered into a million pieces? No, I imagine you can’t, because you see, you are rooted. You have a Mother who gave you roots. It would mean the world if you interested in understanding, of empathizing, of loving us through this period.

We know as adoptee’s, that it takes time and solitude a process that is usually out of our control. Our bodies and minds take the lead and usually crash, forcing us into a reclusive space to regroup.

When I was in that place, I spent a great deal of time trying to write through the pain and walking in the forests. I became obsessed with taking pictures of roots. I took the one above as I sat on a bench beside it, staring at the complexity of all that it means to have roots. A tree gets nourishment from it’s roots. Would I perhaps? A tree grows strong and extends its branches? Would I as well? Hours would be spent walking the forests looking at the roots and realizing how important they are to everything on this planet but especially to those who have none. I also clung to my spiritual practice as if my life depended on it, and it did.

In this age of the internet, finding your roots has become quite common and certainly much faster. It’s all the more important then for us to remain centred and to remember you are not alone. One of the most difficult things about hard times is that we often feel that we are going through them alone. But we are not alone. In the physical sense the internet provides reassurance that others are walking the same path and understand. I mean more of an internal knowing.

Our healing journey, our finding our roots is not always about overcoming the difficulties we’re experiencing, or about getting well, at least not completely. Sometimes, it’s about learning to accept more fully the way things are. We all have the capacity to heal and we need to discover what form that healing is to take.

I knew at a very young age as you will see in Finding Heart Horse, that my struggles were my path. I learned that grief and loss, suffering and pain, those dark nights of the soul, only got worse if I tried to ignore or deny or avoid them. I was always one to face my fears. It was the learning to work with them that took decades!

All in the name of finding my roots. My entire life has been about finding my roots and in order to do that i had to face the demons and difficulties head on. Life has made me stronger and I emerged more humble and grounded than ever before. The real tragedy is when someone refuses to acknowledge and respect their own suffering and instead, spreads it around unconsciously to others.

Yes, roots are important, very important. I continue to nourish mine so they will grow strong and hold me steady. The external knowledge and genetic discoveries were the foundation but it is my own gardening that is helping them to grow and branch out.

Nelson Mandela has been in the news lately. If you want to know how to survive, he is one of the world’s greatest teachers. One of his most precious teachings was about not taking anything personally. Because he was able to do that, he remained the kind, gentle and compassionate being he is. We all have that potential for wisdom.

To heal, remember your tender roots, the fragile, yet strong ones that held you up before your journey into the adoptee abyss of darkness and healing. There are no people stronger in spirit than the ones I’ve met on my Adoption Journey or in my Mastocytosis world. I’m sure there are other groups that have also experienced great suffering that have this resilience and strength as well. So, if you are reading this and feeling overwhelmed in your journey. You are not alone. Until your roots grow a bit stronger I am right beside you.

The warrior in your heart says stand your ground.

Feel the survival of a thousand years of ancestors in your muscles and your blood.

You have all the support you need in your bones.

Jack Kornfield

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