Red raspberries in my bowl transport me back to my 10-year-old self. Brambles arch over our backyard fence. We pluck raspberries from their prickle-covered branches. We fill a colander with these tangy delights. A few land in my mouth and don’t make it to their intended destination. Mom waits in our kitchen to fold them into a sugary meringue. She calls this treat Raspberry Whip.
The berries in this bowl look identical to the ones we picked seven decades ago.
I, however, do not look the same.
My current self Is unrecognizable from my younger self.
Remember your younger self? You seem to be the same person, right? And yet, research says, largely every cell in your body has changed by the time you are ten years old. Cells continue to change every seven to ten years. We grow. We change inside and out. Still an invisible thread weaves us together. Our innermost being senses that we are the same person at nine or ninety.
Language influences how we think. We were taught to divide the world into nouns and verbs. There are people, places, and things. Or there are actions. In reality, everything is dynamic. Everything is a process. Our worldview crystallized when we learned there are nouns and there are verbs. We learned that we are a noun.
In reality, we are a happening.
We are Stardust. We are golden we are two billion year old carbon… Joni Mitchell’s words are both poetic and accurate. We are a collection of stardust. According to the European Space Agency “Science is now confident that most of the atoms in our bodies and indeed in everything around us was once in the heart of stars.” We are the stuff of stars in human form. Each of us is connected to that same unfolding pattern. Carbon that dances in your body as you, once was in the heart of a star. Recognizing this allows us to shift how we experience life.
My friend Donna and I spent a night of stargazing with an astronomer at Kitt Peak Observatory in Tucson Arizona. We saw places where stars die, stellar nurseries where stars are born, swirling spirals of light and the rings of Saturn. I will remember that night forever. We experienced the dancing energy of life. Many days after our stargazing, each person I encounter appears as an intricate process. Light flickers and dances in their eyes as I look at them.
They are not static things.
Our everyday life of jobs, preparing meals, laundry, caring for others, paying bills and so on blocks this reality. Engaging with nature or periods of silence can help us recall that we are a bundle of potential waiting to unfold. That spark of self continues to be revealed. It was present in us from our first moments of life. It will still be present when we take our last breath. It is always the same and never finishes unfolding.
It is our essence.
The soul of that young girl picking raspberries is still alive in me. Your innermost being present in your younger self is still within you, no matter your age. This is true even though nearly every cell in your body is different. Awareness can help us be more patient with others and ourselves.
We are not finished.
We are still unfolding.
Now isn’t that magical?