To those of us who are able and willing to see it, we are in the midst of a new civil rights movement.
I will start this off by saying a lot of things that I typically say. I am quite white, so I do not speak for anyone, or claim to speak for anyone, other than myself. I will also state that blogs like this can cause for some uncomfortable thoughts to arise. If your spirituality is in such a state that you need that comfort, I understand, but this blog may not be for you this week. It is sad that I have to state such caveats, but I digress…
I work with ancestral healing quite a bit. I find it is one of the most profound shifts that someone can make in their lives. Our ancestors struggled, and fought, and endured trauma and heartbreak and loss and death, some in ways that are having a huge impact on us today… whether we recognize this or are in a place to recognize this is another thing entirely, of course.
And this is the response that I have seen by some: we have all endured trauma. As someone who comes from a bunch of countries that no longer exist (I am Yugoslavian, Serbian-Croatian, Ashkanazi, and Irish according to my genetic testing) I have had ancestors that fought in battles that made no sense, ancestors that endured and suffered in ways that I cannot even fathom.
Healing the ancestral energies and emotions that were passed down through my ancestry resulted in huge steps in my personal healing process. It is so important that I now teach how to communicate and connect with ancestors, and a big part of my healing work with others is to do ancestral healing.
In case you are not aware, ancestral trauma is the understanding that the traumas, pain, and unresolved issues and emotions that our family and ancestors dealt with is passed down to us. We often live out these themes, experience these emotions, and relive these patterns and belief systems again and again without realizing why.
As an aside, there are some different thoughts about ancestral work out there that have emerged out of modern psychological methods, so I will state for clarity that spiritual ancestral work is much different. Spiritual ancestral healing actually works directly with the ancestors. They are communicated with, they are healed, they are given what they need to work through their trauma to resolution. This is different from modern psychotherapeutic ancestral work in which the person utilizes mental imagery to create a story about an ancestor.
But here is the thing. In order for us to process trauma we need some space from it.
To put this simply, if we have previously been mauled by a bear, and are currently being mauled by a bear, it is not time to pause, reflect, and process that first time we were mauled.
This is the difference. In this country I do not endure any hardship because I am Yugoslavian. I do not get regularly stopped by police in my car because I am Irish. I do not witness women clutch their purses and move to the other side of the street because I am walking down the street.
One of the difficulties of being lower consciousness is that we cannot see any other experience than our own in this world. While spirituality is certainly not a competition of any sort, we all should aspire to being able to see through the eyes of other people. People different than ourselves.
We fear the “other”, whatever that might be. We get so locked into our own viewpoint and our own experiences of this world that we cannot even fathom the sort of fear that is present in another culture or race that we do not personally identify with.
In spiritual communities, we stick our head in the sand. This is privilege. It is entitlement. I see so many people stating that “we are all one” or looking towards taking the spirituality of others when it suits them, but when it comes to the every day reality and difficulties.. the sort of enduring trauma and legacy that is left in the American Indian, Black, and other communities there is largely silence, or a call for peace so that the individual can feel comfortable and not have to hear about difficult things on the radio… The fact that clean drinking water is not available, the amount of fear and fatigue and weariness that arises, and then the subsequent romanticization and spiritual tourism that happens under the guise of “we are all one”… and then the admonitions and lack of understanding about why these cultures may not want to teach you because you are entitled to take and take without understanding.
I see a lot of “I didn’t do anything to these communities”. And you, personally, may not have. But your ancestors did. And you may have recovered from your ancestors having slaves, or wiping out Native American communities, but those communities continue to endure hardships and difficulties along with fear and trauma.
It never ended for them. It isn’t in the past. It was never fixed, or healed. It never had the opportunity to do so, the space to do so.
This all makes me sad, but I understand that until people are ready to take personal responsibility and look beyond their own experiences of this world, they will not be able to care for anyone beyond themselves and their own immediate needs. Much of spirituality is hyperfixated on illusions in order to make the individual feel special and safe. I realize how harsh that seems, and I realize I will get flak for that sentence (and likely this blog in general), but it is rare for someone to not want to shut down pain, violence, or chaos simply because it makes them feel uncomfortable, and they are not in a place of willingness to understand the necessity of it.
As we become more spiritually aware we are able to care for more than ourselves. This first starts with people exactly like us, and then if we are willing, to causes that personally affect us, to communities that we are a part of. As we awaken, we are able to see and sit with even those with totally different experiences of this world than us and be open and willing to hear what they have to say… and to be of service to them
One of the hardest things for me was to work with ways in which I was culturally an oppressor. To admit to the subtle racism, classism, and other privileges that I hold. To realize the ways in which I wanted to just shut off or shut down because the energy of things was too much for me, the stories were too much for me. That is didn’t personally affect me other than feeling the currents of the world. That I was largely safe and could simply turn off Facebook or the news and shut down when others don’t have that option.
If we are actually looking at cultures, or cultural experiences, they come in currents. In flows of energy. In many cases the wave will crash on the shore and some of that built up energy can dissipate. The culture, the ancestors, and the descendants can breathe, they can release. They can feel some of the pressure release.
This is the time for healing. When there is space, breath, and reprieve from the pressure and the trauma and the heightened energies. When that wave has reached the shore and has fizzled out.
But what happens if that wave never reaches the shore? If there is just more and more trauma, more and more examples of how this world isn’t safe for you, for your children? There is never that reprieve.
Beyond sitting back and really questioning our privilege, or actually making friends and interacting with people from different cultures than your own (many people meet and befriend others that are exactly like them– the same race, culture, socioeconomic class, consciousness level, etc) and really actually inviting someone to tell you their experiences of this world… and actually being open to hearing what they have to say without shutting them down… if we consider the energetics of trauma we need to understand that we heal with time and space.
This is how we heal as individuals. This is how we heal culturally, ancestrally, and as a world. And if we don’t have that time and space, we don’t get to heal. We don’t have the opportunity. We just continue to add on stress and pain and fear and trauma until it bubbles over, until it escapes in schisms and seismic shifts.
To put this simply, picture working a twelve hour shift. You would need time to recover. Now picture working twelve hour shifts seven days a week for thousands of years. I realize that this is a trite example, but culturally and ancestrally if we never have that time to decompress we become exhausted. We become fearful. We become angry. And all of that energy will eventually release when it reaches a peak. It needs to.
One of the things that is a tell-tale sign for me when someone is actually working with the spiritual realms (rather than creating romantic illusions of Native American teachers and such) is that they come across spirits that dislike them. That won’t work with them. I have come across spirits that have hated me because I am a woman, because I am not from a specific culture, and because I am not initiated in a specific spiritual tradition.
I can frequently find ways around this, or refer to someone from that culture or spiritual tradition if I can find them, but it happens. I mention this because this only started happening when I became more open. I started my spiritual work with people who were either former versions of myself or were battling the same proverbial demons I was.
As I worked actually opened to more than myself and realized I was really not the center of the world (and that in the grand scheme of things I am not important.. another huge shift that is wonderful when I see as it is an important spiritual initiation that not many people are willing to move into and beyond) I started attracting different clients with totally different life experiences than my own. When I was actually open to understanding and hearing more beyond my own experiences and preconceived notions of this world I began to interact with people, and with spirits, quite differently.
We tend to shut down what we haven’t personally experienced. And when we shut down, we are shutting down people who are actively expressing their fear, their grief, their trauma, into a world that really needs to hear it. I realize that I am yet another white person talking, but the end point of this is that spiritually we have a choice. We can listen to others. We can hear others. We can realize that the current energies of the world come from grief, from pain, from trauma that never got a chance to heal… or we can shut down. We can romanticize and state that “we are all one” because the situation doesn’t personally affect us.
In real oneness, we are willing and able to see differences. We are open to them. And we are willing to be of service, to listen and to hear, to more than ourselves.