Ancestors. We all have them.
At Ho’omana, we often speak of the Ancestors. Feeling them. Being open to their guidance…but what about the Ancestors you don’t want to hear from?
I’ve heard this sentiment more than once:
“You know, I’m pissed at my ancestors. Why should I have to do all this ho’oponopono and work for the stuff that they did? They passed it on to me and I’m angry about it.”
I call these generational or ancestral wounds.
The Shame and Blame of the past that haunts you.
The effects of generations of giving and receiving pain.
I was recently in Sweden visiting one of my favorite cousins. He grew up in the late 60’s and 70’s in Hawaii. Sunny, sandy beaches. Rainbows. Paradise.
However, the life he was living here on the islands definitely wasn’t that.
At that time, it wasn’t cool to be Hawaiian. Many thought Hawaiians were just a local, lazy, section of the population that was never going to amount to anything.
When my cousin looked around, he saw Brokenness. Alcoholism. Broken spirits. Broken families. He couldn’t wait to get out of Hawaii!
When he was 12 years old, he came to visit our family in California. My dad showed him everything – the mountains, the lake…Disneyland!
His three week planned stay ended up extending through the rest of the summer, because he just loved it so much. He didn’t want to go home. He said that this summer opened his eyes to the great big world out there and something changed within him. He began to set his sights beyond Hawaii.
Flash forward a few years, and my cousin is 18 years old. He finds himself living in Europe and when he tells people that he’s from Hawaii, people say,
“Oh my gosh…Hawaii? That’s amazing!”
“You’re Hawaiian? Wow!”
Everybody had this image and feeling of Hawaii. It wasn’t the Hawaii that he remembered, and he found himself feeling…ashamed.
Remembering the shame he felt as a young man to be Hawaiian. Then feeling ashamed for even being ashamed. Ashamed he didn’t know the culture, speak the language.
Everyone expected that a Hawaiian from Hawaii would be a surfer or canoe paddler who spoke the language and who knew the culture. Shame was woven throughout the story.
I traveled on in my trip from Sweden to Spain. During one of our sharing circles in lomi class, we were talking about ancestors when this came up:
“You know, I’m pissed at my ancestors. I feel like, why should I have to do all this ho’oponopono and work for the stuff they did. They passed it on to me and I’m angry about it.”
Side note: this is why it’s so wonderful to have a collective of people that are holding sacred space for one another…you can get to all the juicy bits of what you really feel. Someone else chimed in:
“When I think about my family and things that had gone on. The history. I feel ashamed and upset and from that shame comes more anger and frustration.”
And then the magic happened…
The discussion began to turn.
“I am realizing that I am NOT separate from the things of my ancestors. It’s embedded in my own DNA. If my intention is to be a healer or be healed then I have to come to terms with that fact.
When I’m ready to heal that part of me, it heals them too.”
This is the only way to heal the wound. It’s not separate. The Ancestors are a part of you.
It’s not about healing them so you can move on.
It’s about healing you so that everybody moves forward.
When we talk about generational and ancestral healing, one of the things I like to do is to call upon those family lineages and petition for support AND participation. I ask for an opening to healing and forgiveness.
To those generations – the mothers and grandmothers and sisters. To the grandfathers and fathers and sons – for anything that occurred in the lineage on either side that is creating disharmony in the family line.
Offering forgiveness. Gratitude for any lessons. Gratitude for support. Holding a space of healing for those energies to dissipate so that the path can be more clear and smooth.
It’s a meditation practice, so we can begin to release some of the anger, shame, and pain that was endured by those before us. Erase the disconnect we feel to those ancestral lines, so we can take the gift they have to offer. Release that suffering…for all of us.
My cousin went on to write his thesis on Hawaiian culture. For him, it was a way of coming to terms with his own personal timeline. Understanding the history of what happened to the Hawaiian people. The history of what happened to our monarch in the takeover. Finding forgiveness and compassion for some of the brokenness that he experienced. Finding a sense of pride in understanding a little bit deeper who we really were underneath.
Not lazy, good for nothing Hawaiians, but a proud people deserving of respect and in that, he found healing.
Where are the spaces in your past that you would like to find healing? I would love to hear your stories and support you on your journey.
Jeana Iwalani Naluai
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