3. Who are you the Reincarnation of?

Regardless of whether you buy into reincarnation conceptually, this is a fun idea. Think of a person who was no longer living at the time you were born (an ancestor, real or imagined) that you embody. Think about why you’re connected to this person across space and time. They are like your soulmate, only they are more than that – they are your soul. Or rather, you are their soul.

I made a note of this question a while ago and have been letting it percolate ever since. A lot of people remark that I am a lot like my maternal grandmother; however, she was alive when I was born, and so I can’t be walking around with her soul. And those comments are usually centered around our physical appearance, not necessarily our personalities.

So, for fun, I’m going to think of myself as the reincarnation of my maternal grandmother’s maternal grandmother, or my maternal great-great grandmother. To help me with this imagination exercise, I asked my sister, the family genealogist for her name. It was Annie.

I can assume that Annie lived in England because I know that my mother’s grandmother, Annie’s daughter Elizabeth, immigrated to Canada from England when she was 10 years-old. Whether Annie made the journey or not is unclear, and so I’m not sure if she was born in England or if she died in England, just that she probably lived in England at some point. So, I pretty much know nothing about her.

Here’s where my imagination must take over. How does Annie manifest herself in me?

Given the time that she was alive (mid to late 1800’s, per my estimate) and that she was a woman, I know that her life was by definition difficult. I can be fairly certain that she was married and likely had more than the one child that I know about. She probably worked her guts out day after day, taking care of her husband and children and her house. I wonder if she had any help from older children, siblings, or even hired help. I wonder if she had any free time. Did she read books? Could she read books? Was she passionate? Did she accept her lot in life, yet strive to make it a little better each day, anyway? Did she have a yearning to be creative, and if so, how did this come out? Maybe she was an excellent seamstress, able to fashion beautiful items from rags. Maybe she sang all day as she did her work.

Maybe she was physically strong, chopping wood for the stove and carrying heavy loads with ease. Maybe she was a healer. Maybe she saved a life or two.

It’s funny how making myself sit and think about this person was so enlightening. I am a direct descendent of Annie and yet until today, I’d literally never given her a second thought. It feels like today we were introduced and got to know each other a little better. It’s only right, since I’m walking around with her soul in me.

I’m reminded of how each of us has a very finite amount of time in this realm, and that the vast majority of us are forgotten in just a generation or two. It’s a little sobering and humbling.

Your turn: who are you the reincarnation of?