The past, the future and being present

A few weeks ago I discovered and joined an online Facebook group focused on Azores genealogy. It’s a very active and helpful group with some very knowledgeable people. Years ago I asked my mom to write down as much as she could about my Nunes & Avila ancestry–names, dates, places. I still have her hand-written notes in a folder as well as some anecdotal information I wrote down from her stories.

I’ve managed to have some interesting leads, possibly tracing my maternal lines back to 1560, the birth of “Capitao-Mor” Tome Gregorio!

My paternal lines have been more difficult, and I am painstakingly reviewing baptism records trying to find and decipher hand-written ledgers. It is time-consuming, and I figure this will be a slow process over a long time.

This process has also led me to read some interesting books on the history of the Azores in general. It struck me when I could see my maternal family history go back that far in the same land, often in the same village where I have walked. I realized that I and my cousins are an anomaly by being here in California, a strange turn in centuries of history. No wonder I am drawn back!

Perhaps this renewed interest in my ancestry comes from my desire to re-connect with my heritage or my sense of who I am in the world. Being an only child, with no living parents and no children, has left me feeling disconnected and isolated. I mentioned soon after my mom died that I felt I’d lost my compass. That has subsided a bit, but I sometimes feel disoriented.

Those facts–being a childless, only child, orphan–have also led me to wonder about the future. My mom had friends dropping by and her brother nearby, but I was the primary person to help her out in her later years. I read documents, made phone calls, ran to the pharmacy, took her to doctors’ appointments, made her food, advocated for her, etc. I did this with pleasure and purpose. But I will also selfishly admit that during that time I was wondering what my later years will look like.

I’ve never believed that one should have children in order to secure a caregiver later in life. It often doesn’t work out that way, anyway; kids move far away and start their own lives. In general, I don’t regret not having children. The freedom and additional financial resources have given me more opportunities to do other things.

Which brings me to now. The present.

I feel perhaps I’m spending too much of my prana focusing on either the past or the future. And my intention is to center myself more strongly in the present. What is now.

Granted the past informs me of the forces that make me who I am now. I was born with the “planning gene” so there will always be a part of me that is looking at the road ahead. But in that process I do not want to lose sight of being fully present here. Now.

The question is how this intention translates to real experiences. To real meaning in the present.

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