Thursday, 30 August 2018
A Rose by Any Other Name.............
Say what you will about the depicted "certificate," it's priceless to me! Oh sure, it won't get me a passport or an address in Derry (unless it does) but if you, like me, had spent most of your days here on planet earth without a sense of "clan," roots, origins, history, tradition etc; you might have some idea of what answers to life long questions might represent. If you've known all along (or worse still) know & don't care, well then, you have no idea!!
I've walked, knelt, prayed and wept on the land of my ancestors. I've been guided (even whilst I was living rather misguided decisions) held, encouraged, compelled, and driven by "unseen" forces to experience this re/union. I may not ever have the formal/legal ... blah, blah, blah documentation, to verify my ancestral lineages - but I defy anyone, to try and deny me who I am. In fact while in Derry last year and on a walking tour of the "Bogside" with a "former" IRA member (I'm not entirely sure that the "former" is accurate)... I was telling him parts of my story, having previously marched in commemorative procession marking the 101 anniversary of the Easter Rising in Ireland - I carried the picture of one of the "volunteers" who lost his life fighting for Independence. This "guide" says to me, ah ya, everyone wants to be "Irish" these days... in my day, you wouldn't have been able to just show up and join that procession.
I was incensed, I replied, "look, you've just got through telling me, how clear you are about who you are and what you believe and the sacrifices you've made for that." "I spent most of my life not knowing who the hell I was, I didn't wake up one day and decide to have Irish ancestry, I didn't give a shit what my roots were, I just wanted to know what they were; and now that I know, you nor no one, is going to take that away from me!!" "Fair play.." says he.
When the "tour" was over and I went my separate way, I reflected on what had just happened (as well as the first hand account of what went on in the Bogside). I'm not entirely sure what "possessed" me to go off on that guy, but I was taken back that I had - to say the least.
Collectively I've spent close to a year in Ireland over three visits. I fully intend to return. Though many that live there keep telling me it's not a very big country - there is for me, easily another life time of discovery (both historic and current).
I have spent a great deal of time and energy on my own spiritual/healing path. To some degree I have come to realize that at a soul level, it may not matter at all "nationalities," ethnicity, gender, religion etc. but then there is the human component.... All these factors, that can become more and more divisive, contribute to the story each must unravel, while trying to reckon with themselves, their creator and what it is they were created for.
The truth of my adoption, my "exile" so far away from my origins, and the path I have walked coming back to myself - have contained excruciating pain (which I won't diminish or deny) while at the same time; I don't suppose it is anything more or less, than ever single human being experiences, as they wrestle with their individual and collective humanity, and associated divinity.
I feel deeply there is a story to be written here - the story is still be written, at this very moment. I want my story to open doors to the healing stories for others; both here in Canada (which is documented as "my country of origin" & in Ireland, which will always represent my Spiritual origins and continues to inform who I am.
R. O'Neill (August 30, 2018)