I am you. You are me. We are one.
Received from a friend as a bumper sticker.
I am my father’s son
We are the continuation of our ancestors.The fisherman today may be so because his father trolled the seas, as did his father before him.
Yes, our genes and our patterns carry the weight of our parents, their parents, and so many generations before.
Do we take this fact with resignation, that we can’t do anything new? Or, do we face this fact with rebellion, vowing to never do as our parents did? Or, is there a middle way?
The steps to freedom from (and with) our ancestors
There is a middle way. It begins with acceptance, not denial or resistance. Accepting that we are the product of our parents and all of our ancestors does not mean that we must blindly live as they lived. Acceptance means we acknowledge that it’s what we’re starting with and will likely be encountering throughout out lives.
Denial or resistance means we’ll be be more – not less – clearly defined by our ancestors and whatever they did. By resisting and avoiding we’ll be engraining their past on our future more deeply than before.
Several years ago, I went through an intensive process which I found powerfully effective. It involved starting in acceptance – to list anything this stirred me up about my family, parents, and ancestors. This included anything “positive” or “negative”.
From the list, I wrote each characteristic or behavior onto separate scraps of paper. Then, I started three piles – one for those which were NOT serving me, one for those which WERE serving me, and a third pile for those which had a less obvious impact.
From the pile of traits which did NOT serve me, I took each one by one, read each one aloud along with the statement “I now let this go.” These were each placed into a paper bag (a big one in my case!). Once more I said “I now let this go” and threw the bag into a roaring fire. So it went.
Claiming my birthright
For the pile of behaviors and qualities which DID serve me, I read out loud and acknowledged each one as I re-wrote it onto a new list. With each statement, I added “I now claim this as my birthright”.
Passing it along
Since the time I did this exercise all those years ago, I continue to feel more loving and celebratory of my parents and ancestors. It’s opened me to learning more about them and all they’ve done for me, which was the best they could do at the time. In the same way, I’m teaching my children this process. I’m encouraging them to look inward to which elements came from me which don’t serve them, and to let them go. I’ve reminded them that I won’t take it personally.
I encourage you to try this exercise, whether you do so with baby steps or make the commitment to fully get your house in order. I hope you, too, find the process one which lightens you up, gets you past the story and any victimhood, and lets you step fully into your own glorious light.