Through Sacred Relating with Self, Land, and Others

Dear Ancestors: here’s what I Need from you as I Unwind this Generational Trauma.

As I continue to dive more deeply into therapy, I notice many threads connecting me to my family lineage.

My mother and my grandmother’s lives, impacted by the fates and the choices of even further back generations, seep through to my own life in significant ways. It doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch to say that in many ways my fortunes and my setbacks were formed before I was born.

Yet the cultural message to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” is pervasive and relentless. Because of that, I was left with the idea that making my way in the world, aside from a dose of good luck, was nearly entirely dependent on my own good intentions, hard work, and right attitude.

The context I didn’t have until recently, as I peel back the proverbial layers of the onion of my psyche, is that everything about my belief systems, my relationship blueprint, and my money framework were given to me by the ones who came before. While it’s certainly true that I have been able to alter some of that ancestrally driven foundation, it’s also true that I keep unearthing self-defeating stuff that I didn’t even know was there.

For example:

>> Health: I’ve been sick most of my adult life. The labels of the illnesses don’t matter; what matters is that I’ve been struggling with being in this body, in this world, and in my vitality. I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to help/assist/nurture myself toward wellness.

>> Money and Work: Even though I’ve been sick, I’ve been pushing through it to support of myself. The words vigilant and driven come to mind. The “survival mode” has not helped the health issues.

>> Relationships: While I’ve had wonderful intimate relationships and friendships throughout my adult life, I have lived long enough to observe the patterns of being drawn to unavailable, wounded, and insecurely attached people.

I have a sense that all of this is connected to early childhood and to trauma that is also innately embedded into my family lineage. According to the book, It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle, by Mark Wolynn, “the roots of [personal] difficulties may not reside in our immediate life experience or in chemical imbalances in our brains—but in the lives of our parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents. The latest scientific research, now making headlines, supports what many have long intuited—that traumatic experience can be passed down through generations.”

That’s been my experience. As I connect with the parts of myself that were neglected in early childhood, I get a deeply intuitive sense, through images and feelings, that the broken bonding goes back a long way. In my case, as is the case with many of us, the trauma stems from generations of women who were poor, stressed, and under-supported. Too many children, not enough resources, and very little understanding of childhood development models has led to generations of unattached humans, often living lives filled with emotional and physical pain.

I’m grateful to my ancestors, to be sure. They did the best they could and they passed on many beautiful, resilient traits such as a love of hard work, a creative spirit, a deeply relational worldview, and an affinity for the natural world.

Yet, I want to thrive—in all areas of my life. I want to live the fullest expression of myself as a human. I want to experience vitality and ease and embodiment. I want to experience the world as safe, supportive, and fun. I want my relationships to be conscious, loving, and mature.

For the first time, maybe ever, in a long ancestral line of women, I have the willingness and intention to work through these ingrained patterns. And thanks to birth control and sex education I have a child-free life, which gives me the opportunity. And thanks to a fabulous support system and high-quality therapy I have access.

So, it’s time to clean this up. Based on my understanding of quantum theory, epigenetics, and the teaching of the mystics, I believe that doing this deep work will serve to heal my lineage backward in time. Because my suffering is not in a vacuum, neither is the healing. So here’s my ask.

Dear ancestors,

Because I’m doing my part to resolve these issues for all of us, I would love to receive support from you all in the following ways:

>> Clean up your stuff. Please do what you can to clean up your own stuff, even from the spirit world. I’m not sure how that works, but I know some of this stuff is expressly not mine. I’d like to give over to you the stuff that’s yours to work through. Please take it and compost it. That will help lighten my load.

>> Support me. It takes time, money, energy, and effort to prioritize this healing. For my ancestors, both living and dead, whatever you can do to offer me guidance, serendipity, financial support, and encouragement will be greatly appreciated.

>> We’re in this together: I’m going to trust that now is the time, this is the place, and I am the person to resolve some of these unhealthy ways of being. Yet, this is for all of us. Let’s celebrate together and in the process be more whole, more connected, and more functional.

I imagine them responding with an enthusiastic yes!

Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

ancestors, generational healing, generational trauma, resilience


Lee Warren

Lee Warren is reclaiming wisdom through conscious relating with self, land, and others. She has 25 years of experience envisioning, designing, and living innovative solutions to mutually empowered relationships, land-based food systems, residential community, non-violent communication, and sustainability education. She is the principle and founder of Reclaiming Wisdom, a co-founder of SOIL, School of Integrated Living, and a proponent of regenerative systems, consent culture, and authentic living. Lee is a writer, teacher, and activist, with an passion for embodiment practices, rural wisdom, sustainable economics, conscious dying, and community of all kinds.

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