As I travel and teach workshops, I often talk about the importance of Ancestral Healing work, which is often a missing piece of the puzzle in our independence-centric culture. As I chat with people, one of the biggest concerns that people sometimes share is connected to family issues, pain, and trauma, and just how much they don’t want to re-enter engagement with those things that have caused so much suffering in their lives. I completely understand that concern, as it has been a strong part of my personal journey for many years! And I’ll be the first to say that it’s such an important question. Most people who are drawn to mind-body healing practices are seeking ways to transform what isn’t working into something better, and no one wants to re-enter the muck after finding liberation from what was so challenging in the past. The good news: it’s absolutely NOT necessary to engage with toxic family members, there’s no benefit in reliving traumatic encounters, and it’s possible to bring healing to ancestors and family members who have caused a lot of pain without any direct engagement at all.

In all the modalities of healing that I offer, establishing a safe, nourishing space within which to work is key. Creating an environment that allows us to relax and feel safe being vulnerable is healing in itself, of course, and in this busy world, most of us don’t have the opportunity to experience that nearly as often as we’d like. From there, I work with clients in establishing good personal boundaries and protection in a way that feels most effective ~ often using visualization, body connection, and connection with guides, energies, or other presences that feel trustworthy and good. In doing this, the client is establishing a strong sense of self and personal space, which is often helpful far beyond our session work. The most important element, though, is coming to understand that WE the living are not responsible for healing our ancestors at all ~ in fact, we are not able to do it even if we want to! Instead, it is possible to engage with strong, bright, benevolent, well ancestors in order to bring healing to the ancestors who are not well. Sometimes clients find that after this kind of process has been engaged, they feel much lighter, as if a heavy, unknown burden has been lifted away. Indeed, it has ~ as we work with well ancestors, they offer us refuge from the toxic threads that run through our lineages, and eventually those toxic threads are transformed and cleared away.

If you have experienced difficult relationships with living (or recently deceased) family members, and the situations between you seem larger than your direct experience of relating to that person, it’s possible that intergenerational ~ ancestral ~ issues are happening. If you feel the call to work toward transforming these issues from their deep roots, Ancestral Healing is a wonderful way to proceed!

Protection Practice:

Find a comfortable, quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. Light a candle or some incense/sage if you wish. Sit in a comfortable position, and let your body and mind settle. Find the space inside your body that feels like the center, and breathe into that place. Once you feel connected to your center, visualize a root growing out of it, extending down past your body and into the Earth, anchoring very deep. Then, imagine a sphere of protective light and energy surrounding you, extending three feet in every direction. If it resonates with you, you can visualize the sphere in a particular color as well. As you continue to breathe, let yourself settle into this space, breathing in the energy of the root connection to the Earth, and breathing out into the sphere of energy, growing it to extend three feet in every direction around you. This is super helpful in shamanic healing and all forms of healing work, of course, but can also be helpful anytime you feel the need for a little extra “bubble” of protection. When you feel complete with this practice, dissolve the bubble back into the energy around you, and retract the root back into your center.

Ancestral Healing 101: Family Challenges

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