Our elders were once known as the keeps of wisdom. They were well respected, looked up to and the story weavers of our community. They would pass on their knowledge through the generations. So we could not only learn from them but also understand where we came from. Helping us piece together the fragments of our individual stories.
Gradually over time, our lives became more fast paced. Technology started to take over, and communicating with someone face to face turned to texting and Facebook. The importance of human connection and stories from our past have been drowned out by all the distractions.
Ask yourself . “When was the last time you sat down with someone face to face to hear their story?” No distractions, just tuning in. I’m sure a many of us would answer, “I just don’t have the time” or “life is just too busy!”
We have a million things going on at once. Many feel they don’t get the time to sit down and take everything in. People hardly recognize what’s going on in their own minds, let alone have time to sit and listen to anyone else.
We have forgotten the importance of stories, of wisdom.
In a time that we have constant access to information we are losing connection with each other. We have become so disconnected from our roots and people are suffering more and more from mental health conditions. A detachment through generations, and the unconscious grief of losing our ancestors stories, has led to a great ripple effect through today’s society.
Mothers have forgotten how to birth their own babies. Young women are expected to hide their cycles and be ashamed. Young men have no connection to important role models, elders who would initiate them into manhood and provide direction. And the elderly are isolated, often sent to nursing homes. Hidden away from society as they are no longer deemed “useful.”
The true meaning of community is lost, resulting in people living in separation.
How are we supposed to learn and grow when the core of our being has been disregarded as unimportant? When people see more value in consuming rather than communicating? And connecting with others is being taken over by technology rather than real human interconnection?
The answer is. If we continue going in the direction we are, we will not be able to learn from our mistakes. If we shut out the wisdom from those who came before us, then how can we ever know any better?
In Western culture today, ancestral wisdom is not deemed as important. Gone are the days of families living as one whole community. Where mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins raised a child together. Where children had the opportunity to gain wisdom from many of their elders, and stories and rituals were honored and respected. Many of us are suffering the grief of this loss. Whether we are aware of these deeply embedded wounds or not they have greatly impacted our lives.
Knowing the stories of our ancestors helps us to understand our own true essence. Knowing where we came from and what we are made of.
We all crave this knowing and understanding, but many of us have been denied this opportunity. We become lost and confused within our busy and demanding lives. The grief has been carried through families, with little understanding of its origins. Therefore it becomes misunderstood. We turn our attention to blaming external influences, rather than tracing it back to its true source. Over time it has become distorted, which has lead to anger and violence in our world.
So what can we do to help change this? How can we tap into the wisdom from our ancestors?
When I began to find the missing link in my life, it came down to feeling disconnected and separated, and what I craved was connection.
My journey lead me to delving into the stories of my ancestors. Speaking with my grandparents about the pain and suffering they experienced in the war. Learning about the poverty they lived through in Eastern Europe, being forced to leave their home country out of fear. My grandparents shared stories of their childhood. Their happiness, sadness and fears and they told stories of their parents, grandparents and brothers and sisters.
I began to feel into their suffering, their pain, joy and their strengths. I began to experience how each generations stories and experiences had been weaved through my family lineage over time.
Stories shared through my elders helped me to feel a strong sense of connection and compassion. Even though I have not experienced the suffering of war, poverty and violence like my grandparents did. I could still relate to the same emotions through my own lived experiences.
Then I realized. To understand our own suffering, we must first understand the root of the suffering. Because suffering is felt as a collective, just like any other emotion.
By uncovering the stories of my elders, I began to feel more free within myself. I began to understand where I came from. That my life was made up of a collection of stories passed on through generations. I realized how I hold the power within me to decide if those stories are true to myself or not.
I became aware that I was unconsciously living out different aspects of my families story. Some of which caused great suffering. These stories were valid for generations passed, they may have been a means for survival. But these stories were not serving me, they were not mine. When I began to uncover the root cause of my suffering, I could identify it and let it go. Because I now understood it was never my fear to begin with. The layers of my own suffering began to unfold because of the gift of stories shared by my elders.
We may not all have direct access to our elders stories. And some of our elders may hold deep wounds that are just too traumatic to discuss. And that is okay. There are many ways to respect and hold the stories of our ancestors. We can even find clues in the way we live our own lives. The key is to understanding that we are part of a lineage that holds great power and wisdom. We have the ability to tap into this source and feel connected through our ancestors stories and experiences.
We may not live in small communities or tribes like our great ancestors once did. But we are able to carry their stories, respect them and learn from them. We hold the power to heal ourselves through recognizing the collective suffering and disconnect in our society.
By coming together and sharing our stories. We give ourselves, our children and our grandchildren the opportunity to weave new stories towards ancestral healing.
Related article: Unlock the True Power of Healing through Connection
Share your experiences with ancestral healing in the comments below.