“You Are Your Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams.”
It’s become a mantra – that combination of six simple words.
This from a man not given to mantras nor slogans and certainly not to affirmatory posters featuring cats.
Unless it’s a really big cat. With a brandy glass.
And yet since I first heard that sentence just over a month ago it has become my rock. My place of safety: that no matter how much I think I’m messing up – and believe me I do a lot of that; no cat (whatever its size) can save me from my incompetences. Yet I am still the latest step in a journey of progress that began somewhere in Northern Ireland centuries ago.
Even two generations before me would never have foreseen the place I’m in now: the privilege I enjoy doing that simplest -and some would say most Irish – of things.
And having others talk to me.
It is a journey that took my ancestors across their home country, down the side through Tipperary and finally to Clare before voyaging to other lands. It doesn’t stop with me (strictly speaking I’m not the latest step, just a relatively recent one) but it’s a perspective that brings both joy and duty.
In her interview with us (and I’m using the third person plural quite deliberately), Chia Phoenix – formerly Nadine Woodley – describes that dichotomy. The whoop of her forebears as they see what she makes of her life and their call for her to do more. To be more.
And as she talks of finding wonder in the small things – the “Gwan” on the back of a crisp packet, watching Elvis on the telly with her dad – as well as the veil of silence over the bigger ones – our histories, our educations, our need for constant rebirth – she reminds me of why these podcasts began in the first place, with the reassurance that they will find their way.
Wherever we end up, we will always be our ancestors’ wildest dreams.
Repeat it with me. It may become your mantra too.