A few weeks ago, I sat and marveled at lunch during a Reiki class. There were two students in the class. The younger of the two shared that she had Russian ancestry, and the other was from Ukraine. There was a reason that these two and I were brought together which was unplanned on my part. As we sat and ate lunch, the younger woman explained how she had a few generations of unknown lineage. This was affecting her, she felt really sad about not knowing her roots, and was longing for connection with tradition and ceremony. The other student, who knew her family in Ukraine and discussed this with us, had unknowingly stirred up these feelings of longing in her.
This also reminded me of an event almost 20 years ago, working with a client who was from Lithuania. He was an older man and explained that when the Russians exiled the Lithuanians to Siberia, because the people were displaced, and in survival mode, their traditions and their rich culture was lost. He was grieving that the Lithuanian youth had no interest in reclaiming their heritage.
Last night I had the pleasure to listen to a talk by Sherri Mitchell. She’s an attorney for the First Nation’s people, an activist for indigenous rights, author and medicine woman, who heals with her words and stories. She addressed this inter-generational amnesia. Although she had a different way of describing it, it was the same thing. She shared how we can lay down tobacco or corn meal, or whatever your culture did, to pray to and seek contact with these ancestors. To draw them into our dreams, to draw them into our lives seeking their wisdom and connection. To ask them to help us learn the old ways, of whatever culture you come from. As she spoke I held the tears back as my heart and soul were filling up with hope. Many of us have lost two or three generations of rich tradition, culture, ritual and ceremony, that kept us rooted to the remembering that we are all truly connected, and interdependent of all things.
Last night before bed I asked the ancestors to speak to me in my dreams and they did. Because I forgot how to listen in this way, I woke up knowing that I was given rich nuggets of truth, but I couldn’t retain it, this happened twice. Hopefully they’ll have patience with me.
I encourage those of you that want to remember the ways of your ancestors, the undomesticated or uncolonized way of being, your culture’s traditional knowing, the richness and depth of a connected life, to start inviting them into your lives to teach you, and remember you back into balance. They’re waiting for us.