It was a morning like any other.
I sat hunched over in a chair in front of the screen in my tiny office, ready to begin the daily grind. Numbingly, I skimmed through an assortment of emails, preparing to delete them. However, there was one sitting in the pile like a diamond in the dirt:
Your Ancestry DNA results have been updated.
Swiftly, I opened the email and clicked, Discover Your DNA Story. This was the information I had been so eagerly awaiting. With both sets of grandparents gone, rifts along the familial line that seemed irreparable, and years of what felt to me like heavy bouts of energetic baggage I alone was carrying, I was keen to discover a possible root—one that stretched deep below the surface of my own conscious awareness and infiltrated me profoundly at a cellular level.
Excitement coursed through me as I read the results:
Southern Italian 42%
English and Northwestern European 19%
Eastern European 14%
The Balkans 6%
European Jewish 3%
Although it was only a list of nationalities with percentages behind them, I was mindful of something that, if done, could potentially prove to be life-changing: the traumas that our ancestors endured often remain dormant in our cells throughout our lifetime until we decide to heal them.
As a person who has always been introspective and in tune with herself, I had an awareness that if I wanted to live my best life, I would have to dig deep into the lives of my ancestors and write a new story for myself.
Soon after I received the report, I took a cursory look into some major historical themes and events that some of these ancestors may have lived through. Of course, the one that drew in my focus the strongest was the European Jewish ancestry result, however small a percentage it seemed to be on paper. According to what I had read, the ancestral baggage we carry can be traced as far back as 7 to 14 generations before us, and more than likely, my European Jewish ancestry could be traced back about six or seven at most.
Perhaps, more than anything, I wanted and needed to release what felt like a deep-seated and rather persistent feeling of shame and self-loathing that seemed out-of-proportion to anything I had experienced in my life. Throughout the majority of my teens and early 20s, I heard it echoed: “you must love yourself! Why do you always feel so unworthy of anything good?” The frustrating part about it was that I could never seem to answer that question for myself, let alone for anyone else.
As far as I was concerned, I had no rational or justifiable reason to feel such shame, and if you asked me to make a list of my positive attributes, I could come up with at least eight of them on the spot. However, pride and self-love felt like two vital minerals I could not seem to readily absorb, no matter how many times I tied to digest the idea that I was “loveable,” “likeable,” or otherwise, quite simply, “good enough.” It felt surface-level to tell myself those things, as if I wasn’t talking about myself, but instead, the neighbor next door whom I had only met once or twice, in passing. I just could not resonate with the sentiment behind the phrases.
For as far back as I can recall, I never felt worthy enough to associate with people I considered “superior” to myself. I placed certain people on a pedestal and felt beneath them, by comparison. In my eyes, those individuals formed an almost “God-like” stature under the spotlight of my perception. Sometimes I felt so small and even hideous in their presence. Even though I bled the same way they did, that feeling of not being their “equal,” in one way or another, haunted me.
Similarly, I never felt completely “at home” anywhere, nor with anyone. Any school, relationship, club, or establishment I was in or was a member of never felt like an integral part of who I was at the core. Once again, I could never pinpoint the origin of this experience, but it was always there, following like a shadow wherever I went. I longed to find others who felt the same as I did, just to feel even a semblance of what it felt like to be “home” with someone and less like some lonesome outcast who no one really needed or valued.
Several months later, I joined the group, Finding the Root: Healing Ancestral Trauma. I posted:
“How far back can we trace our ancestral trauma? I’ve read that it can go as far back as 14 generations. Is this true? I’ve also heard anecdotal evidence to the contrary, stating that these inherited patterns can only travel as far back as a few generations at most. I have a very small percentage of European Jewish ancestry, which could probably be traced down to a great-great-great grandparent (on my paternal grandmother’s side, as her mother was born in Eastern Europe). However, I’ve always struggled with the feeling of not truly belonging anywhere and am wondering whether this feeling could be tied to an ancestor who faced persecution in one way, shape, or form. I know nothing about this particular ancestor and both sets of grandparents are now deceased. Any thoughts? “
A day or two later, I received a reply from a wise woman that I am now happy to consider a new, long-distance friend. She wrote:
“I am 52% Ashkenazi (Jewish) and I feel like I am transmuting densities in this lineage thousands of years back and have been for several years now. The Ashkenazi people were the first original nomads and wanderers so it could be that restlessness you are feeling. I do ancestral readings if you are ever interested. This is absolutely one ancestry I’ve spent a lot of time tapping into.”
We continued a dialog underneath the comments. Soon thereafter, she mentioned something that stayed with me. She relayed:
“Our ancestors speak to us in so many ways to nudge us on our path. Many of us have come here this lifetime to transmute the densities buried in our DNA in order to help us in the ascension process of soul growth. By removing blockages in the lineage, you allow for once buried codes or new codes within your DNA as long as you don’t, of course, fill it with new toxic energy. Ashkenazi people have a very heavy lineage as many can trace their roots back to Jesus Christ.”
This new friend, as I quickly discovered, is the founder of the group itself and previously worked in journalism. She also studied healing modalities at Temple of Light in California. Currently, she offers a myriad of deeply healing readings, including an hour-long Tarot reading for ancestral trauma as well as Astro-Ancestral Intuitive card readings. A few weeks later, when I contacted her to tell her that I was writing a piece about the topic of ancestral trauma itself and wanted to interview her via Zoom, she was wholehearted in her willingness to talk with me. We managed an almost three-hour-long face-to-face conversation. In that time, we talked about her early life growing up as an adopted child in a conservative Jewish family as well as what it was like to meet a first cousin later on who activated her on her healing and awakening journey. We also talked about energy, soul agreements, and a plethora of other topics of a spiritual nature.
While I spoke with my friend, a sense of peace came over me. There was no awkwardness—only plenty of discussion competing for our attention, begging to be brought to the surface for discussion. Time flew as we explored a vast galaxy of fascinating conversation. One thing we both agreed on is the following: ancestral trauma can be healed in a variety of ways, some of which, simply or perhaps not-so-simply, involve making different choices than our ancestors did—choices that are in alignment with love for humanity and our own highest good.
Perhaps, in my case, learning to embrace those parts of me that feel “ugly,” “shameful,” or “outcast” is one step among many along my own healing path.
Aside from that, however, I have also chosen to break ancestral patterns of codependency by downright refusing to allow people I love (or who claim to love me) to blatantly or not-so-blatantly disrespect me or violate important boundaries. I have ended relationships of all kinds that felt toxic or one-sided within the past few years, glaring at even the smallest hint of nastiness or pettiness—and choosing to walk away. This was something the women in my familial line—particularly on my paternal side—needed to do but either would not or could not.
My great grandmothers suffered enormously at the hands of the men they married, possibly becoming ill and dying younger than they otherwise would have due to the trauma of enduring such toxic unions. One of them was a victim of a violent and fiercely jealous husband who falsely accused her of flirting with other men—including the milkman—and regularly beat her during fits of rage. I discovered through my grandmother’s own recollection that she (my great grandmother) had talked about jumping off of a bridge on at least one occasion within earshot of my grandmother who was probably no older than 10-years-old at the time. She felt she could not escape the tight grip of her jealous husband.
I’ve also chosen to live for joy and focus less on collective negativity in the news. This is something my family still gives me flack for, but I am healthier for it mentally, physically, and spiritually, nonetheless. I choose to watch what I eat and pay close attention to how my body feels after I consume certain foods as my mother’s father was a prisoner of war and developed Type II Diabetes due to the poor lifestyle that came with it. Type II Diabetes runs heavily on my mother’s side of the family and I am adamant to avoid it.
I am now trying to heal my Root Chakra, also known as the Muladhara chakra in Sanskrit, through Yoga. For over 40 minutes a day, I ground my body in various poses as I meditate on affirmations, such as, “abundance follows me everywhere I go,” and “I am rooted and safe.”
On one particular occasion during this practice, I felt especially triggered. I had discovered something upsetting to me that had activated the wound that shouts at me the statement: you are not good enough. I remember how deep that sense of shame and self-loathing felt as it hung over me like a dark storm cloud. I felt it in my cells. It nearly consumed me. Instead of resisting the emotion and sensations that accompanied it, however, I simply remained present in my body, trying ever so hard not to disassociate and subsequently escape from it. I acknowledged it and poured conscious presence into my body as I grounded myself further into the floor. Somehow, it began to dissipate slowly. I’ll never forget that pain-body activation and the sensations it brought. Nor will I forget the loving presence I gave it and how that alone was enough to draw power away from it. A week later, I discovered in a podcast on Youtube that the Root Chakra stores generational wounds.
There are many things I am still healing, but healing is never ever a linear process.
Bottom line: when we feel a certain way or make certain decisions, we must be willing to ask ourselves the golden question.
Consciously, we must inquire: is this my decision or a decision my ancestors would have made? Is this my burden to carry or is it drawing my attention closer in order to shed light on it and subsequently be healed?
From there, we can learn to become our own alchemists, transmuting patterns that do not serve us in order to make room for transformative and soul-restorative miracles.