Cambrian: Opinion

Thinking back 30 years on imminent motherhood

Diane Brooke
Diane Brooke

There is nothing to listen to at 3 in the morning but your thoughts, here in Cambria. While I live only   short blocks from the ocean, with my windows closed, it seems as though even the waves are asleep. My arm is tingling, so I shift my position in bed just a bit that I might remedy the matter. This in turn causes one of the three cats lining my backside to vibrate. Even his purr is short and silent.

This wakefulness could be due to the full moon. Likely. Just as likely is the motherly body-memory that 30 years ago today I was rather heavy with child, as the expression goes. The day this column goes to print, I would not have been any longer. Today while I was enjoying a glorious afternoon beachcombing, I took a call from my daughter-in-law, that son’s wife. We were tossing around ideas for their formal wedding ceremony this summer.

Usually I just lie in bed flipping and turning until daylight, but tonight is different. Maybe I went to bed too early. I am up, making tea, cleaning the cat box, putting the clean dishes on the drain board away and reprimanding the kitten for scratching the chair.

Maybe this restlessness is because I am experiencing the same unrest so many other people are these days — about politics, about global warming, about the future. But I read an article recently that grounded me just a little bit more. I’ve been tossing it around like a good Caesar salad. I’m apparently now digesting it.

From Utne Reader, (Winter 2016 … geez, it’s taken me this long to read it? I believe things come to us when they need to): “The logic of bigness devalues the grandmother spending all day with her granddaughter, the gardener restoring just one small corner of earth to health, the activist working to free one orca from captivity. It devalues anything that seemingly could not have much of a macrocosmic effect on the world.” (Charles Eisenstein)

Eisenstein’s premise for his book “Scaling Up” is that while history might seem to demonstrate that bigger is better, the louder you are, the more likely you are to get listened to, the more money you have, the more you can accomplish; in truth, we all make a difference — we just may not witness it for years to come.

We have big problems — what good are little actions? What does it matter that I recycle my containers, that I don’t use chemicals on my body or in my home or that I write letters to my political representatives? Does it really matter?

“We are transitioning away from a narrative that holds us separate from each other and the world, toward a new and ancient story that Thich Nhat Hanh calls ‘interbeing.’ In that worldview, self and universe mirror each other; whatever happens to any being is also happening in some corner of each of us. Every act we take ripples out to affect the whole world, and eventually comes back to affect us as well. Rupert Sheldrake articulates the same understanding as the principle of morphic resonance: a change that happens in one place generates a field of change that causes similar changes to happen everywhere.”

“Most people don’t plant a garden or start a co-op or resist house eviction or plant a fig tree with the calculated intention of starting a movement. More likely, it is the reverse — the movement inspires us to do those things. It offers an invitation to which me may respond, each in our small way.”

Thirty years ago, I knew I would do my best to raise that child to be kind and helpful and happy. I didn’t know if he’d be a renowned scientist or a janitor or a rock star. I only knew that if I raised him with love, that love would ripple out into the world some how, some way. And in that small way, it did matter. It matters now.

Ah, now I hear the ocean …

Dianne Brooke’s column appears weekly and is special to The Cambrian. Visit her website at Email her at