Who Am I?
This is a question most people ask themselves at some point or another in their lifetimes. From our moment of birth till we die we are all faced with the issue of identity and questions about what made us become who we are. Was it nature or nurture that shaped us to become who we are? Or was it a combination of both? Or maybe destiny ruled.
Personally, the events in my life had me questioning my identity very early on and I believe I was fortunate in being given the answer to that eternal question from a very early age. To begin with, my position as the only girl in a family of six boys made me experience the world differently from my siblings. I was constantly being reminded that being a girl it was either not permitted or I was incapable of doing a whole range of things. This made me question what it meant to be female.
Then growing up in Glasgow in the 1950s my family stood out from everyone else we knew or even saw. I was the only Black person in my school and the first time I saw a black person other than my siblings and parents was memorable. Sitting on the upper deck of a bus on my way home from school there was a commotion as excited children rushed from their seats to see out the windows and shout at the ‘darkie’ walking across the bridge. I looked out too and for the first time saw a stranger who was brown like me.
Later in life, I went to live in Nigeria my father’s homeland where people who looked just like me disparaged my Scottish accent, cultural differences and the fact of my being of mixed race. I was considered a foreigner! Many years later and now back in Britain I discovered the discomforts and dangers that come with being Black..
These incidents and reactions were confusing, pointless and I thought totally unnecessary because very early on, around the age of six or seven I had already discovered my true identity as a limitless being with the potential to become anything. At the time I had neither the words nor the concepts to explain what I knew but the experiences had set me on a spiritual path of discovery. As a result, I have come to know without any shadow of a doubt that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience.
I rarely talk about these important early life experiences and my main purpose in writing about the nature of the body and questions of identity here on Circle of Life is to share what I learned about the physical and practical aspects of being in a body in a modern, technologically focused world.
I am not a religious person but I agree fully with the statements from most major religions concerning the human body. Islam states that our bodies are ‘a gift from god’. Christianity tells us it is ‘the temple of the living god. In Ifa, the traditional religion of the Yoruba it is believed that ‘the divine breath of god gives life to the body’.
Whether one knows it or not our bodies are amazing on so many levels. We grow naturally and are designed to self-heal. The vast majority of bodily functions take place automatically which is a good thing. Imagine if we had to consciously keep breathing or digest food. There’d be little time for thought and sexual activity could be downright dangerous. Fortunately, these and many more functions are handled by our autonomic systems without us having to lift a finger.
However, as we’ve evolved into modernity many of the bodies natural functions have become weakened and damaged thruough lifestryles that do not readily support healthy living and well being.Much of the food we eat how and when we sleep and play and even the ways we relate to all other beings is out of sync with our natural healh. Happily there are many simple and attractive ways we can improve our lifestyles and ways of being.
Through circlcle of Life I aim to share what Iknow and what others before me have taught about how to live a better life.