As I sat in the Moon Valley, in Chile’s Atacama Desert – a sense of realisation, dawning rushed towards me, into me. As I pondered how this landscape had come to be – BOOM I felt the awe and the wonder and the miraculous nature of my very existence.
It was almost beyond comprehension that the place I was sat and staring across (which was in the fourteenth country I had visited in 2019 within a year of world travel) used to be a swirling vortex of sea, an ocean vaster than the mind’s eye can fathom, a place torn and birthed from volcanoes, shifting plates and millenia of transformation and change that had created incomprehensible landscapes beyond one’s wildest imagination.
Now it is the place on Earth that looks the most like the Moon and there I was, sat within it.
The miracle of evolution and my place within it was really brought home to me in that moment. I was struck by how incredible life is, specifically human existence is, and how lucky I felt (and still do) to have my chance at it. To experience all that it is to be human.
My interest and awe at this continues to this day and I wanted to share the below odds to really revel in this fact – hopefully it inspires you as much as it inspires me.
What are the odds of you being here on a planet of 7.753 billion people?
What are the odds that the exact sperm and exact egg that made you matched on the day you were conceived?
What are the odds that the line of your ancestors remained unbroken all the way until you came into the world?
What are the odds of the planet we live on creating the exact right conditions to facilitate human life?
What are the odds of the planets, specifically Earth, being formed in the first place?
What are the odds of the Big Bang?
It’s all so mindboggling to trace all that back to the start and to truly quantify how rare it is that you and I are right here – me as the writer and you as the reader!
It’s pretty special.
If you really want a figure then Dr. Ali Binazir provides an estimate here which is pretty cool to have a look at!
I am really interested in history and human stories that show how people lived their lives and the way the locations, conditions, culture and the society of the time shapes and moulds them into who they are, how it informs what they do, and the legacy they pass forward to future generations.
I like to watch a show called Who do you think you are? on the BBC and find it incredibly fascinating to learn about different people’s backgrounds. It gives me goosebumps.
A singer (Pixie Lott) that was recently on the show said something that resonated. After tracing her heritage back to three generations of military musicians, she discusses the way in which exploring her ancestors’ lives has made her reflect on her own life. She said that her ancestors lived and then they passed on. She found it useful to recognise that she is here presently and one day she won’t be. In that recognition of her own mortality she said it had made her more determined to live a good life, and to make sure that what she leaves behind is something her ancestors can look back on and learn from.
This recognition of how fleeting our lives are, alongside the incredible chain of events that enabled us to be here in the first place, for me really illuminates how important it is to remain true to yourself. Embodied in the now and connected to yourself, so that you can live a life that feels right for you. Not to get swept up in the societal norms, familial narratives or cultural expectations, but instead to live your OWN life in the way that you WANT TO.
This is where mindfulness, yoga, self awareness and honesty come in.
It’s a practice and it’s not easy. Ups and downs. Back and forward.
Lost and found.
It’s a lot!
Hopefully, like me, the miracle of human existence and the odds of us even being here in the first place inspires you to keep on trying, as much as it does for me!
It’s something I come back to. Stepping back from the noise. From the doing. From the commotion of life. Of society.
In the mindful moments – this is what comes up – I am lucky to be alive!
I am grateful for my chance on this planet.
I am ME. Alison Jane Carter and I am committed to doing my best whilst I am here. To living my life authentically and honestly, and mindfully.
Everything is a learning opportunity – especially the downs. But when the clarity comes along it is something to recognise and be grateful for.
I’m happy to write my thoughts and feelings here as I continually evolve and learn about what it is to be a human being.
I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing. Lots of love.
Alison Jane Carter xx