Sunday, July 21, 2013

My German Mother and Aunt Jemima

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I struggled a bit to decide what I would write about today.  In the future I may very well make Sunday a day of rest for myself as many do throughout the world.  But as for this particular Sunday I will once again offer my thoughts.

I made pancakes this morning and drizzled them with Aunt Jemima syrup.  As I sat eating I thought about my mother who lives in Germany.  My mother turned 65 years old today.  It doesn’t seem possible that she is already that age.  As I ate breakfast and reflected on my mother’s life my thoughts turned to my own life.  I found it a strange exercise to ponder my own life due in part to the many influences that have shaped me.  I have a German mother, an American upbringing, enjoy pancakes and occasionally use Aunt Jemima syrup on them.  I still recall when the Aunt Jemima label portrayed her with a white kerchief that evoked the history of slavery in the American South.  Years later (I don’t recall exactly when it happened) I saw Aunt Jemima in the grocery store again and marveled at her makeover.  She looked ‘liberated’ yet had the same smile.  Life seemed much better for her.

I have enjoyed the great privilege of traveling to diverse destinations throughout the world including Hawaii, Norway, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.  I have been exposed to a variety of cultures and have witnessed their manifold beauty.  Looking back it seems odd that I have become the person I am now.  Before completing my undergraduate degree I never had planned to live on a Native American reservation.  At that time I did not plan on living in California for a number of years.  I have an adventurous spirit and have allowed it to guide me throughout my life.  Exposure to such a diversity of cultures and worldviews has been an enriching experience.  It helps me to find the humor in being an American citizen of a German mother as I live in the Midwest and contemplate the marketing technique of a well-known syrup.

You may ask what relevance my reflections offered today have to the particular issue of PTSD.  That is a good question.  I suppose I would say that just as there is no one culture that is superior to any other there is likewise no one particular best way to heal.  Each and every culture alive in the world today has some basic seed of wisdom that has allowed it to thrive through the centuries.  In a similar way there are many effective methods one may employ to restore health.  A mind open to many possibilities is key to living a rich and rewarding life.  I am still puzzling out the best techniques to use in my own particular journey.

Now I think it is time to go see Aunt Jemima again.

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