by Kiki Lovelace
“All that remains unresolved in your ancestral line, the violence, injustice, and suffering, has impact on your life today. It is the job of the ancestors to remember and the job of the living to change and heal.” – Last Mask Center for Shamanic Healing
These last few months I’ve been fascinating on how my commitment to my own ongoing healing and evolution is making ripples through my ancestral line. As I continue to use my spiritual practice of conscious breath, movement, prayer and meditation to move out the shame, not enough-ness and deadening that once plagued me, I feel how I become a live wire of healing, touching all the people around me, and, most especially, my family.
I’m constantly amazed at the daily opportunities I get to teach my daughter how to listen to her body, care for herself and her loved ones, and protect and nurture the Earth. Almost three and a very big talker, lately she’s been fascinating on the Earth and the Sun and the Moon, and how they relate to each other. She asks her father and I to tell her about it at least a few times a week. Every time she washes her hands under the faucet, she talks about how that the Earth needs us to protect her waters, and conserve water in this ongoing drought. It touches my heart to see how well she can understand this at such a young age.
And I’m in the unique position right now of being witness to my own mother’s deep physical and spiritual transformation, as she is almost a week into the Forrest Yoga Foundation Teacher Training (!!!!). As the 64-year old matriarch, her bold and courageous choice to do the FYFTT is reverberating through our family, and, I imagine, through her whole community in North Jersey. I couldn’t be more proud of her.
In many ancient cultures and continuing traditions, this time of year is thought to be one when the veils between the Spirit world and this physical world are thinnest; it’s an important time to honor ourselves and our ancestors, and to learn about the Great Mystery. So in the last few days, inspired by the energy of Halloween and the Celtic holiday from which it came, Samhain, I’ve been honoring and remembering my Grandparents and Great Grandparents in various ways. I’ve been eating the foods they liked, remembering and sharing stories about them, wearing clothes that remind me of them and weaving my hair into a braid like the one my Grandmother Hilda used to wear when she was my age. I’ve been listening to podcasts about the pre-Christian spiritual origins of Halloween, and thinking of my long-ago ancestors, who were both the colonized and the colonizers at different times in history. I’ve been pondering about how my own life in these past few years has led me to a deep and sometimes very uncomfortable learning curve about indigenous ceremony and protocol and the difference between cultural appreciation and appropriation. Inspired by this study and my earnest desire to heal racism in myself and in my community, recently I’ve set out on a quest to discover and claim my own rich cultural heritage of Celtic and old European ways, rather than borrowing or exoticizing the traditions of another.
In our modern-day culture, we have a lot of strange teachings about how we can care for and honor our beloveds, both living and dead. Many of us have been taught to believe that showing our love for our family means sacrificing our needs and our desires, and making ourselves smaller. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about healing my ancestral line, it’s that it’s my job to focus on my own inner knowing, healing and happiness, and to understand that my daughter has her own life’s learning path, and my mother does too. I can’t save them from pain or struggle — these are the universal realities of being a human with a heart. But I can do my healing work to free myself from my own pain and struggle — and trust that the Great Mystery will take care of the rest.
Blessings to you and all your Ancestors.
Photo Credit: The Mystery of the Rose Dark Night of Birth by Leopi Sanderson-Edmunds