We all stand on the shoulders of our ancestors.
We each embody the essence of our lineage, in our own way.
The past generations live on through the gifts and challenges we inherited, each a blessing in disguise. The unfinished work of our predecessors shows up in the form of soul tasks asking to be addressed, embraced and resolved.
Perched on the edge of human evolution, the potential of forward motion hums in the fibers of our being.
What are the key themes of your life?
What paradigms keep showing up and demanding attention? Which subjects are you researching inside and out? What is the composition of issues you keep tackling again and again?
Leaning into our lineage is a sticky and delicate process. At first it feels profusely intimate and intense, losing its charge and personal identity through the work of undoing it.
I used to have the sensation of carrying a swamp in the pit of my stomach. The stagnant waters made me feel heavy and nauseous, weighed down by the heft of undigested matter. I rolled up my sleeves, took a good breath and began the work of draining, clearing and airing out the marsh lands of corporeal history.
I discovered that traumas were sleeping under our collective skin, waiting to be unpacked. The emotions of my ancestors were asking to be felt and acknowledged. The memories held and carried in my blood line were dying to be validated and released. The unresolved patterns of behavior and response were itching to be sorted out and refined, cleansing the flow of lineage and shifting the genetic structure for the healthier.
I know, for myself, exactly the texture of this work.
I recognize my own reluctance and impatience in the face of having to deal with it. The swamp in my stomach is long gone but my skin still tends to crawl when generational dispositions get unexpectedly activated. I am inclined to be sensitive about baggage that is not directly my responsibility, whether practical or psychological.
The karmic leftovers from my ancestors make my skin feel tight, asking to be scratched.
Various symptoms of transgenerational trauma (PTSD, memory transference or altered stress hormones) often show up in research about holocaust survivors and their lineage. Even without possessing any conscious information on the specific circumstances of their grandparent’s traumatic past, the survivor’s grandchildren dream of their years on concentration camps with impeccable accuracy of detail.
New generations receive at birth the burden and opportunity of clearing out and transforming the haunted past of their ancestors.
In my family we have each felt homeless and orphaned in our own ways—in different contexts and through varied frameworks.
The world seemed to communicate to us all: “You are not safe. You can’t trust the ground underneath your feet. You must always walk on egg shells, you must always be ready to flee, escape and seek refuge elsewhere.” The root cause is ultimately the same but the external manifestations have ranged according to our individual paths, each exposing a lacking sense of faith in anything permanent and reliable.
My body received the coding of this material in the womb. My life is the chance this code has for the explication it sorely desires and patiently waits for.
We each have the responsibility to contribute to the healing of our lineages by working through unresolved issues and making space for life-forwarding possibilities. We have the privilege of attending to this work through our individual bodies, in the context of our homes and families, on the square mile we are, within arm’s reach.
I am driven to pursue the compulsion of my familial karma until its energy is completely dissipated. A central part of healing has been releasing the adaptive structure within my own being that was developed in response to a fragmented environment. I couldn’t paddle through the murky waters of my lineage without getting stained in the process. I stared in the face my ancestors’ spiritual black holes, feeling the swamp gradually sucking me under. After years in a drowning cycle I pulled myself through, gasping for fresh air, eyes squinting in the sun light of the surface.
The wrestling match with the ghosts of my ancestors may have appeared dicey and troublesome but the grappling also symbolized a generative process, a crisis in the service of authenticity and liberation. Generational work may feel clammy and daunting but the benefits stretch far beyond our life cycles, echoing as a blessing through the unfolding of the lineage. The poison is out of the system, the scales are back in balance.
Author: Anna Seva
Assistant Editor: Rebecca Lynch/ Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: courtesy of the author, flickr