Roots to Grow


Thursday, December 20, 2007

By Cristina Olivetti Spencer

I believe in celebrations. All the predictable ones: Birthdays, Anniversaries, weddings, graduations, and holidays of all kinds. And the not so predictable ones: first tooth, last nursing, the day our pear trees and tulips are all in full bloom at the same time, among others. To me, these occasions are all opportunities for being with the people I love and feeling what its like to be connected to the unstoppable flow of life.

The first time I noticed how important these kinds of moments were to me, was when I was planning my wedding ten years ago. From the beginning I had a sense of relief that there was an established way of marking the occasion. There would be a ceremony, a dress, and a party with people I cared about. In contrast, other transitions had happened in my life without obvious ways to recognize their magnitude. My parents had divorced, I moved cross-country, I found my first job, bought my first car, had my first apartment, and while I experienced all of these moments, nothing contained them in a way that said what they meant and how life would be different. And so they all sort of evaporated (with the exception of a worn polaroid picture of me in front of my brand new Saturn station wagon), in a way that was starting to make me feel like my life lacked a kind of continuity or connection.

So when it came to the wedding, I ran with tradition. I let myself sink into a pattern that was there for me, and I tried to use the opportunity to invite my family and friends to do the same. And as I did, I realized that the pattern created a context for all of us to experience some fundamental connection to life's big and mysterious picture. I learned that when we gather together to honor life, love or family, by listening to the sound of a trumpet marking a moment, or by making a toast, or by filling dance floor with our sassiest moves, we are connecting--to each other, and to the mystery of our being here. At my wedding we did all of that, and the connection was really there.

Since then I've been on a quest to explore opportunities for this kind of connection. Among other experiments, I came up with this idea of Roots to Grow, to be a place for us to share our ideas, specifically for each of us to share thoughts about what brings meaning and happiness to our lives. If we can do this, i think this little corner of the web will be its own kind of celebration--a place for us to feel a part of the big picture by telling young people who are following in our footsteps a little bit about what it means to be a part of the unstoppable flow of life.