Day 6 – Q6. What did you mean about entering another difficult period of your life?
In late 1999 I made a month-long journey to Argentina, Chile and Uraguay to help resolve family issues. (I had spent most of my life either trying to ignore them or in denial of family ties altogether, but Japan had made me ask questions.) When I returned from South America, I thought I had failed, and became deeply depressed to see a pattern repeating itself. This was when I sought theraputic help from Azzah () a roving psychologist I had once interviewed and then run away from because I feared she could see straight through me. I was right.
My grandfather in Piriapolis, Uraguay, two years before he died in 1954.
The last five years have therefore been preoccupied with getting a grip on what I recognise now as an ancestral addiction to failure, habitual patterns that classify me as an Ennegram 4-type personality, and also writing a book about my journey. Two-thirds through I remain enthralled, weaving together my daily diary, 107 letters written by my grandfather in Buenos Aires to my father in England between 1935-1954, and a mass of ongoing research. Every day new connections are made and relatives turn up out of the blue. For not only did I put my own family together, but another branch altogether that prior to coming to Japan I had never known existed. My patriarchal family name may be all but dead and buried in the UK, but goes from strength to strength in Chile!
Some of my family in Santiago, Chile ( I on front row, 4th from right)
I pursue this project for my children, so that they better know their mother and and call a halt to the habitual undermining rot that sabotaged her own life, and those of their ancestors. I cannot think of any more important gift to leave behind. When I complete this, I shall know if there is a book to write for the wider outside world.
Travelling back to Buenos Aires across the Andes
To find your personality type according to the Enneagram (another ancient system that deserves close attention) go to www.enneagraminstitute.com and do the free RHETT test.
My cousin, Maria-Elena Bustamnate Loader laying flowers on my grandfather’s unmarked grave in Montevideo, 2000.
To join one of Angela’s writing classes contact RBR on 03-5475 6171,
or check the following websites for details: www.rbr-art.com
* Gretta McIlvaine founder of Bridge Between the Worlds Healing Center and Graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.
* Tom Morris on his new pottery and ceramics studio and school in Yokohama. www.acsjapanesepottery.com