Birth Day – Matter for the Future

One of these days I will give birth. Over the last nine months, a human being has been growing within me. First as a small and unrecognisable bunch of cells, then shaping itself into human form, growing organs, limbs, face and features that we recognize as of our own species. Some body who already expresses character, interacts, grows, learns and develops.

During this time, my body has been our son’s home; the breeding ground of his existence. I carry him, protect him with layers of skin and water, and most importantly, I feed him. Every cell, every organ, every tiniest bit of brain, lymph and tissue in his body is created by the food I take in. What I choose to eat defines the substance he is made of.

Our language expresses the creative nature of our relationship: Mother and matter share the Latin roots of mater and matrix (womb or origin). Being a mother, I give my son matter. He grows in my matrix, the place of origin of his being. I am the mother of his nourishment (almus); his alma mater.

Becoming a mother has made me realise more than ever, that each day we shape the matter of tomorrow. Whether the future grows muscles made of crisps, or of wholesome grains and cereals. Whether rivers and blood streams flow with Coca Cola, or with fruity juices and fresh vegetable waters. Whether our bodies and earth are fed harmful chemicals – herbicides, pesticides, toxic emissions – or whether we choose fully natural building blocks for our organs and surroundings.

Nature (derived from natus in Latin) means being born. We are natives of our mother-land, and celebrate Birth around the time of Natale (Christmas). All that is alive today was born, created, has come into being. At the same time, all form and matter that exists now gives shape to what comes next. Soil and water turn into plants and trees, forests become fossil reserves and sea beds transform into mountain ranges. Today I feed my body, tomorrow it becomes my son, next week we both are something else. All matter is mother.

Every day is a birthday. A grand nativity scene of the world we shaped yesterday and all yesterdays before. An expression of what we have brought forth by our actions and inactions. Equally, every day is a matrix: the womb and soil that breed the future. And if we care about this future, we’d better be mindful of the matter we breed.

Our economy is an outward expression of our inner values. We sow, feed, water, wait, and harvest what we’ve cared for. Everything we put in are the ingredients that tomorrow is made of. The meals we savour, the products we buy, the work we do and the attention we give it, all brings certain qualities and intentions to Life.

So let’s make our values matter. Mater, mother of many healthy generations to come. Feed every moment with the qualities of our desired future, sow the seeds we wish to grow, nourish what is wholesome and what we believe is right. Enjoy the fruits of a thriving planet.  Happy Birth Day.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Last week I travelled to England to sort out our self-storage; a big sea container just outside the town of Wellington. Until a few decades ago the site was a flourishing farm: a house, some sheds and fields of crops and cattle. It has since been turned into a little industrial estate. Today’s cash-cows are one hundred brand new shipping containers. They arrived chock-full of produce, Made in China, and are unlikely to ever ship anything back. So, bought at a bargain, the containers now hold books, clothes, tools, couches, kitchens, furnishings of offices and entire households.

While digging our goldmine of long-forgotten treasures, I unpacked one of my favourite books: Milan Kundera’s ‘The unbearable lightness of being’.

Kundera’s classic beautifully describes the human paradox of weight and lightness. We know that we are transient, on earth as human being only for a little moment in time. Part of a never-ending process of creation, participants in the enormous unfolding universe. But at the same time we long for a sense of importance, a significant role in the grand scheme of things. We wish to be visible, to be heard, read, listened to, recognized. We have a desire to shape today, the future and history. To be remembered, to show our power and possessions. We long to have weight.

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