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Oct 17, 2022

The one contains the all

Rachel McCrickard, LMFT

CEO and Co-Founder

One of my favorite things to do for my own self-care is get a massage. 

In fact, I once told Warren, “If you are ever about to order me flowers for any reason, stop yourself, and book me a massage instead.”

This past weekend, I got a massage at my regular place, but I was assigned to a therapist I’ve never had before – she was new to the establishment.

I could tell right away that she was a bit of a hippie – which made me like her immediately. She had some healing crystals laying around the room, sage burning, and a sound-therapy gong. I knew I was in for some major relaxation vibes.

When she started the massage, she said something I’ve never heard before. She said, “If you would like to do so, you can invite any ancestors or spirit guides into this space to help you.”

I thought to myself, Hmm, that’s interesting. I can’t say that I’ve ever interacted with my ancestors before.

However, it prompted me to consider, if I was going to invite an ancestor here, who would it be?

My mind immediately went to my maternal grandmother – my mom’s mom.

Her name was Lillian and she passed away from lung cancer long before I was born. Here is one of my favorite pictures of her.


I’ve always been a bit fascinated by her and I deeply wish I could have known her.

Luckily, my mom helps keep her memory alive by writing many wonderful stories about her life.  I’m proud to say that my mama’s stories have been published in eight Chicken Soup for the Soul books.💙

I know my grandmother loved baseball – her favorite player was Catfish Hunter of the Oakland Athletics, and she would spend her evenings around the radio, listening to games.

I know she loved to be in the kitchen, singing old hymns, and canning vegetables from her garden.

I know that, every morning, she would sip her coffee, fry some bacon, and write letters to sick or homebound people in her church.

I know she would eagerly ask her four daughters about their day as soon as they got home from school. 

And I know she would have been a loving, nurturing grandmother to me, my brother, and my sister, if she had been given the opportunity.

Thinking about my grandmother reminded me of a recent meditation I read in Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, How to Connect.

The meditation is entitled: The One Contains The All, and part of it reads,

The present contains the past and the future. My ancestors continue in me and are present in every cell of my body. I can be in touch with all my descendants because the future generations are already present in me.

Isn’t that such a beautiful thought?

I love the idea that I was present in Lillian’s life when she walked this earth. I’m part of her story, and she is part of mine – despite the fact that we never met. She is inside of me, and I am a piece of her.

I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately – about the strength, beauty, and resilience of her life. I think about the qualities she possessed that are present in me, my mother, my aunts, and my siblings.

My Aunt Angie is an avid baseball fan, just like her mom.

My mom was waiting for me with a loving and listening ear every single day after school.

My sister thoughtfully cares about the needs and ailments of others, just like our grandmother.

And, just like Lillian, I love to be in the kitchen, trying out a new recipe and listening to music.

My grandmother lives on in each of her descendants – those who knew her, and in those who only feel her.

Truly, the one does contain the all.

I don’t know about you, but this makes me feel so much more interconnected – and less alone. It helps me remember that I can pull on the strength, resources, and experiences of my ancestors as I navigate this life. 

I’m curious, does this bring to mind any ancestors that feel a part of you today?

If you’d like to share their impact on your life, I’d love to hear about them.

Rachel McCrickard, LMFT
CEO/Co-Founder, Motivo

Each Monday, I’ll share my perspective on topics that mean a lot to me: growth, resilience, relationships, and leadership.

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