In the family traditions that I grew up in there was not much thought given to ancestors. I was also handed the unspoken belief, by the culture I was shaped by, that my ancestors were dead and gone and had no real connection to me at all; I was an autonomous individual. And then there were the surrounding religious traditions that held that honoring ancestors was somehow wrong, because it took honor away from God. In spite of all these messages, as a child, I was fascinated by those that came before me.
I had always felt a deep desire to know about all of the family that came before me, and even in elementary school I dug up every bit of information that I could about them. My maternal grandmother never seemed to tire of my questions about her childhood and life, and shared story after story. (How I wish that I could l ask her about those stories again, because there are so many things I have forgotten, and so many questions that I never asked.)
That interest was one that has continued throughout my whole life, and even as an adult I often spoke to older family members about their lives and the lives of their family, and sometimes my mother and I even traveled to try to unravel some of the mysteries of the past.
Over the years, as I continued to learn about these ancestors, and the differing cultures that they came from, I began to see more and more about who I was. By reflecting on their joys and tragedies, I could see the strengths in me that came from them, as well as some of the wounds from them that I carried.
Yet it truly wasn’t until all of my parents and grandparents were gone, and I was the oldest person alive in my direct family (which left me feeling a bit like an orphan), that I really began to think about all of those people that I came from as “ancestors”. I often found myself wishing that there was an elder to turn to for wisdom and guidance; someone to ask the questions of that I felt stirring in me, but mostly they all felt so far away.
Somehow, though, as my own years are flying by, they slowly seem to get a bit closer and closer to me. I wonder what I even believe about “ancestors”? I also find myself pondering what kind of ancestor I will be, and what is it that I will leave behind for my descendants?
Then you know how it goes… Thoughts begin formulating, little doors start opening and pieces of the puzzle start coming together. Suddenly you start hearing about the topic from here, from there, from many angles. (Always a sure sign to me that there is something that I need to listen to and learn from.)
Now as I find myself beginning to listen to the intuitive voice inside me, I begin to feel the presence of these ancestors. I become aware, too, of how much each of them reside in the very fiber of my being, and I know that the wisdom I need may just already be there.
Questions I am pondering…
- Why are we so disconnected from the very people whose DNA resides in us and who made us who we are?
- Why when we now know scientifically that trauma gets genetically passed on (epigenetics), do we not believe that these things might be possible to heal in us as well?
- Knowing about epigenetics, why do we not believe that there are good things and wisdom that can get passed on, too, not just trauma?
- How can I access that wisdom?
- Why is it acceptable to show honor to living people (or even people that recently passed away), but yet not to for those that came before?
- What can we still learn from the wisdom of those that came before, even if their lives did not seem so full of wisdom?
I would love to know, too, where all of you are on your own journey concerning ancestors. What are there are roadblocks that keep you from exploring this more? What questions do you have? What do you truly “know”?
#ancestors #wisdom #healing #ancestral