In our society, a notable disconnection exists not only within our families but more profoundly with our ancestors. It's a common belief that by distancing ourselves from our past, we can leave behind family dynamics that may not have met our needs or from which we feel we've learned too little. Ironically, after such departures, people spend millions each year on DNA tests in an attempt to discover their roots.
Yet, the solution may be simpler than we think. Whether it's a strained relationship with parents, the absence of knowledge about grandparents, or the unique circumstance of adoption, we are more than the sum of our immediate family. Consider this: it took approximately one billion people over a thousand years, living and passing away, for each one of us to be here today. Pause and reflect on that for a moment that is only 30 generations. Mankind as been around a lot longer than that.
Despite this profound interconnectedness, many choose to run away from their ancestry when faced with challenges. While acknowledging that families can sometimes engage in horrific actions like murder, rape, and abuse, it's important not to grant permission or condone such behavior. Instead, let's focus on the wealth of resources available—relatives we may not know personally but who have our backs. All it takes is a simple request for assistance.
Asking for help is the easy part; the real challenge lies in staying committed and giving back. Just as we need our ancestors, they need us. Many of us carry unknown traumas passed down through generations, be they specific to our family or societal in nature, or a combination of both.
Consider an ancestor who fought in a war, forever changed by the experience. This person, upon returning, may have become angry and distant, channeling that frustration into verbal and physical abuse within the family. This pattern repeats through subsequent generations, culminating in someone like you, a child of abuse, determined to break the cycle. This marks the initial step in dismantling generational trauma. The subsequent step involves actively clearing this trauma from the ancestral line. By doing so, not only do you liberate yourself, but you also free your ancestors from the burden, providing clarity for future generations.
Addressing societal trauma, especially in regions with enduring conflict like Israel, may seem challenging. However, the approach remains individual-centric, urging each person to initiate healing within themselves.
Numerous methods exist for connecting with one's ancestors, but that discussion is reserved for another time. The first step is establishing a connection. Honoring your ancestors can be as simple as sitting quietly with intention, asking for their guidance. You don't need to know specific names; simply refer to them as ancestors. As you sit in contemplation, observe if you feel any changes, whether within yourself or the room. It might take time, and you might feel a sense of silliness initially— that's okay.
One practical way to foster this connection is by creating an ancestor altar in your home. It can be as simple or elaborate as you prefer, based on what feels right to you. A basic setup involves a candle and a small bowl of water. If you have photos of departed relatives, include them. If not, that's perfectly fine; they might come into the picture later as you engage in this practice. Additional items such as food or flowers can be added during special occasions.
Once the altar is set up, light the candle and express gratitude to your ancestors for their sacrifices, acknowledging that without them, you wouldn't be here. Commit to doing this daily for a month and observe how things shift. Ask your ancestors if there's anything they need or if they can show you signs or dreams. As your relationship with them grows, seek their advice and guidance. Remember, it's essential to give back as much as you take. Just as you wouldn't want to be that sibling who only shows up when they need money, maintaining reciprocity is key.
Take your time with this process, and gradually, you'll find yourself surrounded by more protection and support than you could imagine. Work with your ancestors, learn to recognize the signs they send, and be patient—it might be challenging at first, and you may make a few mistakes, but what truly matters is your effort and intention. They will recognize that and be there for you.
So, no matter how challenging it may get or how lonely you might feel, remember that there are a billion souls rooting for you because they love and care about you. Connect to them and allow them to guide you as well as support you. You will be amazed at what happens.