My mother had re-married when my son was 3, shortly after my own divorce, and was happily married for 17 years. Then, things started to fall apart for her, her chronic pain returned, and they agreed to a divorce. It was clear that my mother needed help, and being her only child, it had always been up to me. She wanted to return to England and hoped to have her project accepted by the government there, as it wasn’t going to happen in the USA. I agreed to sell my Colorado house and move to London, and my son agreed to move with us after finishing his college year and being accepted to London Film School.
On September 11, 2001, I’d been scheduled to fly to London, through New York. My flight was postponed for a harrowing week as the US watched over and over again the World Trade Center in New York exploding with 2 jets flying into the towers. We were traumatized repeatedly with the images, until our consciousness no longer saw the event at all, we just contracted in our trauma. Terrorists had invaded our safe space. America had been violated, and there was hell to pay.
Thus began a new chapter in my Empatharian development. Understanding how America was so effected, I saw the English in a new light: they had been dealing with terrorism on their soil for decades with the “Irish Problem” and now with Muslim radicals. Starting with the bombing of London in World War 2, the British had pulled together as a country and survived that terrorism. Britain has a larger threat of terrorism, and has more terrorists arrested per capita than the USA, and yet the average person in Britain takes it all with a grain of salt. There is a sense that “we” will survive.
We moved into a 3 bedroom flat in a new Eco-development in the heart of Hackbridge, South London. Among the Hackbridge population of mostly multi-generational British, this eco-development housed new young families from all over the globe, a fusion of nationalities that reflected the diversity of the world. Pub nights at the community lounge in the eco-development were full of peppery conversations and laughter, people sharing dreams for the gardens, outlying land, and our community building itself. Together, we crafted a community organization to run the building as a community center for the whole of Hackbridge, and we brought yoga, pilates, and aerobics classes along with children’s drama and dance. We ran fun events and spa days, and also rented the building for workshops and private events.
There we experienced a caring community with our neighbors, who mostly shared our ecological values, and when they didn’t, somehow over a period of time, became avid recyclers and biodynamic farmers. It was an environment where we shared our knowledge and experiences, and the new understandings actually changed the way we lived, evolving towards humanity and kindness, mercy and understanding.
Of course, everyone was busy with their own lives, working or going to school, and most communication was done by email. But going for a walk around the development would inevitably find neighbors out in their gardens, or at the community gardens, or just enjoying the sun in the community courtyard. Football games on the green brought out a different bunch, on weekends, and trips got organized to nearby landmarks and villages. Children ran and played, and we all kept an eye out for them. Elders like my mother were sought out by families whose grands were far away. Giving the parents a break for the occassional evening babysitting was a privilege, with children being appreciated for the company they gave as well.
When my mother passed away after a brief illness, it surprised us all, as her vibrance and energy had seemed to blossom there. She was 82, however, and her heart disease had finally caught up with her. The funeral was far away, but many attended with the children as well, and her ecological burial in a hand decorated willow casket, at the foot of a flowering Jacaranda tree, was tearful, but so fitting as we placed the brass plaque “Tammy Narena – 1924-2005, Inspired to Inspire”.
Back at the Eco-development, friends helped me to plan a celebration of her life, with dances of peace, circle dances from all nations, accompanied by guitars and drums. People from all over the community of Hackbridge came, bringing her favorite Duck Salad, and English Trifle to share. We hung 8 of her six foot paintings in the community center for three months, finally taking them down for another artist’s display.
She’d had a life of accomplishment, happiness, and fulfillment, and yet her project never got the recognition from the government that she required before sharing her work with the world. So, all the writings, the books, the films, the recorded music, has survived her, and the paintings as well. And her project has survived in me, as I saw and understood the contribution to the world and to human beings that it could potentially be. The possibility was always there, but only now have I developed her curriculum and demonstrations to share with the world.
It took me 8 years to be able to even look at her documents, and another 7 to create the work anew for a modern world that needs it so much. But there were strange family dynamics and karma that interfered and I needed to find the 4th Magic to bring it all together… Read about it in my next blog. Subscribe to these blogs in your RSS feed, and you will get it delivered to your email address.