Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Hero's Journey

On the endless journey of researching my heritage, I've lived vicariously through more than 500 years of my ancestor's experiences, hardships and victories. Every week I have found myself walking in someone's else's shoes, sometimes in a different country, a different century, some times as a woman, most times as a man. On this journey, I have come to know from the deepest part of my soul that we are all one. One world, one people under God. I know now more than ever that division comes only through those that are fearful and greedy, most often, using religion to divide and conquer.

Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

A recent exciting discovery is that I am a descendant of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca. He came to North America from Spain in the 1500's. Being raised as a Catholic, he lived in the time of the Spanish Inquisition, the third largest genocide in history when the Catholic Monarchy killed Jews and Moors to take over Spain in the name of Catholicism. When he came to the Americas, he met many Native American tribes befriended them and wrote a journal about them all. He realized that we are all one people under God. If he had been operating from a place of fear, he would have made the Native American's beliefs wrong. Instead he learned from them and taught them what he knew. He was seen as a Shaman and a healer because he brought with him his knowledge and used native plants to heal. He was a brave soul walking a hero's journey.

Fabiola Cabeza de Baca

On May 16, 1894 another descendant of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca's was born in New Mexico. Her name was Fabiola Cabeza de Baca, my 1st cousin, 2 X removed. I believe that she followed as closely in Alvar's footsteps as anyone could have. After she earned a degree in Las Vegas NM, she became a school teacher and then spent a year studying in Spain and doing genealogical research. (A woman after my own heart!) She then returned to New Mexico and embarked on a thirty-year career as an extension agent, teaching the indigenous people in rural New Mexico (consisting of Native Americans, Hispanic and Anglo Americans) about preserving and canning food. She invented the u-shaped hard taco shell and introduced green chile to the Anglo communities. I can only imagine the fear that she encountered from the various tribes on the red dirt back roads of New Mexico. She was another brave soul walking a hero's journey.

That is just the story of two of my ancestors! Over the 500 year time span that I have studied most of my ancestors were of Spanish descent, they encountered many different cultures on their journeys. Every tribe, every denomination differed in their tradition, ritual, practice of faith and worship. Many were Converso Jews (Jews forced to convert to Catholicism by the Spanish Monarchy.) Some were Catholics who killed the Aztecs and married their wives in order to take over Mexico and then later there were some of Spanish descent who married those of French descent in New Mexico. And then of course my parents moved to Texas and I married and had children by a man who was of German and English descent. Through the years our customs and traditions have been meshed together like a beautiful woven tapestry. Throughout the centuries, I have encountered many ancestors who were such brave souls, willing to walk the hero's journey.

What I have deduced that it isn't which ritual or religion that you practice that matters. I believe that in prayer or meditation you become one with God and what you call it doesn't matter. Our souls are constructed of layers of consciousness carried in our DNA. We, individually and collectively are the result of the love of thousands. It's only out of ignorance that people make others wrong because they don't speak the same language, say the same prayer, have the same skin color or call God by the same name.

Because I spend my time doing research or creating art, I spend very little time watching TV. I have never been a big talk radio person and I completely stay away from websites that look like they are designed by amateurs. It seems that there are a lot of untruthful, hateful, fearful information being shared by those hoping to get the masses to buy into their fear. It saddens me to know that people buy into the fear at their own cost. There have always been those that teach of gloom and doom being caused by those in power. I understand that there are bad people in the world but I believe that to think about them constantly, is to give them power. I also believe that there is one God that created us all equally. A God that is the seed of everything that ever existed. I have chosen to believe that there is no division between all of us who inhabit this planet. I believe there are good and bad within each class, race, color and creed. There is good and bad within each of us.

Now more than ever, I am baffled at the arrogance that anyone in this day and age still believes that God only speaks their language or that their tradition of worship is the only path to heaven. Who is to say which language or conversation with God is the right one. I say that all conversations with God are the right one. If you believe your religion and your God is better than someone who is different from you, I would urge you to see the world as God sees it. Through God's eyes, not yours. There is one God, however, people around the world speak different languages. Their grandparents told they different fables. Be forgiving of others stories and beliefs. It is not for you to judge. I challenge you each of you to go beyond religion and live in prayer. Recognize the presence of God in every moment. See the world through the filter of God.

Here is a great song that I recorded last night that feels to me like walking the hero's journey.
Mystery Monday at El Mercado
"Walk A Mile In My Shoes"
Jimmy LaFave, Christine Albert, John Inmon, David Carroll and Bobby Kallus