Leaning on My Ancestors

It’s been a week of accumulated stresses…sick cats (always a barely-acknowledged trigger point, the determination/helplessness of navigating vet visits, new meds, and multiple stressful dosings with a cat with whom I’m still building trust), plus work worries, money worries, too-much-to-do-and-so-damned-exhausted worries, I-can’t-even-think-about-the-news worries, etc., etc…..coping, coping, coping…and it all peaked in a day when nothing, nothing, went as it should.

The final straw, and another, and another, were added to the mix, until finally…. did I do a full George Costanza-style rage over repeated WIFI connection failures, formatting bugs, tech issue after tech issue? Yup (thankfully I work from home….). When work was finally done, did I turn to YouTube and watch video after video on planning and journaling in an effort to return to rationality? Yup.

All my worst reflexive responses – repression, anger, avoidance, numbing-out, in full activation.

Did I finally ask Facebook friends for their favorite quotes on hope and motivation and melt down into a puddle of tears at the kindness of their responses as my mother and her family watched from the photographs on my desk altar? Yup.

And that was when I could finally open enough to feel their presence around me and sense the love and comfort my Beloved Dead offered.

But there’s a back-story…

For years, I’d struggled with the baggage my father’s family carried from who-knows-how-many generations back, which led to his patriarchal behavior, control tactics, and rages. Nine years after his death, I was still living in the constraints of our relationship, afraid to engage fully in my life.

It took an astounding Reiki share, followed by a gifted spirit worker, to break those generational constraints (but that’s for another post, still processing). After, where I’d shut down the remembered voice of my father in my mind, I found myself able to make a deal: I would allow myself to hear him only as long as his messages were supportive.

Samhain came and I visited the graves of my parents, removing the encroaching grass from their stone and offering flowers from my garden at home. Where I’d once simply free-associated prayers or messages to them, not expecting (or listening for) a response, this time I was surprised to feel their energy present. My mother: love and welcome…my father: tentative reaching out, wanting to offer love, but timid, even abashed. I teetered between receptivity and skittishness, knowing what he had been in life; restated my deal — ok, only as long as you’re supportive, no judgments or condemnation — and felt his agreement. OK, Dad…..we’ll see.

Later, across town, I offered the same ritual at the graves of my mother’s parents and sister, and again was surprised by the sense of their presence; I’d never met my grandfather and aunt in life, and had only vague childhood memories of my grandmother, but that day I had a sense of their living presence. Strange as it sounds to say I enjoyed hanging out with my Beloved Dead at their graves, but it was so that warm November day. For the first time I fully understood the truth of Linda Hogan’s words:

Walking, I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands. 

Coming back to the present day, finally able to breathe, slow down, reconnect with myself, my spirit and my ancestors…I remind myself that come what may, I am never truly alone, never unsupported.

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