Whether we think about it consciously or not, on some level we all know how our past can influence our present. Whether it is the childhood we got and how it continues to impact us, a health issue that runs in the family, a family secret, wealth passed on, being a college legacy, or carrying the hopes and dreams of those who came before you. In whatever the form, the truth is, what came before us, is in us. A part of us. That doesn’t change. But what can change is how we choose to be with what came before.
In the Energy Medicine training I am in, there is a lot of focus on the ancestors and it has gotten me to think in different ways about the people who came before me. Ways that are taking me beyond the stories I was told, as well as the ones I have told myself. A new light being shed on things I took for granted, didn’t recognize or believed were set in stone.
This week I decided to make space on my alter for my ancestors. I had no idea what I was going to do. I had nothing to place on my alter to represent them. But I didn’t let that stop me. Instead, I decided to begin by cleaning things up. Which in hindsight seems like the very place to start when working with our past; a desire from within to clean things up. One that says, things can be different.
So I began by taking everything off the alter. A kind of clean slate for myself and my ancestors. This turned on another truism for me; once we open to cleaning things up, we actually have to do something with that intention. We can’t just think about it and expect things to change. We can’t just wallow in the blame or the bad luck of the bloodline and expect that our lives will be any different.
As I cleared each item I was tuning into what I wanted to keep, and what I didn’t. This is the discernment phase that says, “I get to choose. Things are not chosen for me based on what came before.” I get to decide how to move these things through my life; what to keep, what to let go of. I found myself with four possibilities in this very tangible process of discernment: What to Keep. What to Repurpose. What to Pass on. What to Let Go of.
That about sums it up. What is it that got passed on to us that we actually and truly want to keep? Not because we are supposed to, but because we have done our due diligence to determine its importance in our lives. What is it that we got that doesn’t quite work in its current form, but could be rearranged to suit us? What is it that we have that no longer serves us, but could be offered to another in a way that serves them? And finally, what just absolutely needs to go?
To know ourselves is to know who came before us. But it doesn’t stop there. It is also to own the sacred responsibility that what we choose to carry forward, and how, is always ours to decide.