How Inherited Trauma Affects Us Daily
What To Do About It
Traumatic experiences can be passed down through generations.
You and I can have trauma lodged in our bodies from what happened to our parents, our grandparents and even our great-grandparents.
We can have trauma that has nothing to do with our personal life experiences.
This is a new take on the influences in our lives.
Author Mark Wolynn is the founder of The Family Constellation Institute.
His book It Didn’t Start With You explores how ancestral trauma can have a negative impact on our everyday lives.
He relates the story of Jesse, who woke up freezing at 3.30 in the morning.
Could not get warm, no matter how many blankets. Could not fall asleep. Each time he started to drift off, he would jolt awake. He felt that if he fell asleep, he would not wake up again. Jesse had just turned 19.
Wolynn traced it back to Jesse’s uncle. Uncle Colin had been checking power lines in the Yukon when he froze to death. Uncle Colin was 19.
Jesse had not even known about the existence of Uncle Colin. But three decades later Jesse unconsciously relived aspects of Colin’s death.
That included the terror of letting go into sleep. For Colin, letting go meant death. For Jesse, falling asleep took on the same meaning.
Wolynn’s book has exercises to address ancestral trauma: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26026054-it-didn-t-start-with-you
Here is what rituals I developed for myself from Wolynn’s work.
First, I wrote down what I knew about my mother and father’s traumas.
Father served in the Finnish army and navy during the Winter War and the Continuation War. These are two wars Finland fought with the Soviet Union during 1939-40 and 1941-44.
Finland’s population was 5 million. The Soviets? 108 million. For dad, it must have felt overwhelming. Like a big bully beating up on him.
It had enough of an impact that he packed up the family after the war and moved us to Canada. To get away from the bully doing it again.
Mom lost her mother when she was young. She also lost a sister early on.
The exercise I use is adapted from Wolynn’s. I imagine I am talking to mother and father in turn. I ask what can I do to ease their pains. I listen for the answer from my intuition.
I get and understand that neither of my parents want me to suffer and wish the best for me.
I ask for and receive their blessing for the best to unfold in my life.
I can then turn to the grandparents I never knew and do the same exercise with them.
Further, I use Ho’oponopono.
The incantation there is: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” I do this while holding my ancestors in mind.
Here is the story on Ho’oponopono from Chapter 9 of The Zen of Joy:
“From the intro of Joe Vitale’s book Zero Limits: The Secret Hawaiian System for Wealth, Health, Peace, and More.
Zero Limits reveals the breakthrough self-improvement approach that has helped people who are overworked, overstressed, and just plain overwhelmed deal effectively with removing self-imposed limitations in their lives that are often manifest as chaos, disease, and poverty.
Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len is a therapist who cured an entire ward of criminally insane patients—without ever seeing any of them! Dr. Len looked inside of himself to see how he had created the condition in the patient. As he improved himself, the patient improved. This was at the Hawaii State Hospital where Dr. Len worked for four years in a ward that was dangerous. Staff quit monthly and were on sick leave a lot.
They walked down the hallways with their backs to the wall, afraid of getting attacked by the patients. Dr. Len did not see patients and did not go to case conferences. He stayed in his office. He looked at a client file and while doing so, worked on himself. As he worked on himself, the patients began to heal. In three years, patients who had been shackled were allowed to walk free. Others came off their medications. And the facility was closed. Only two patients were transferred to another facility. The rest were released.
Dr. Len explained to Joe Vitale that we have total responsibility for anything and everything that is in our lives, simply because it is in our lives. As I understand it and view it now: we are all one, there is really only one being on the planet, and all who show up in our lives are simply showing us a mirror of another aspect of ourselves.
Joe Vitale: “In a literal sense the entire world is your creation. Whew. This is tough to swallow. Being responsible for what I say or do is one thing. Being responsible for what everyone in my life says or does is quite another. Yet, the truth is this: if you take complete responsibility for your life, then everything you see, hear, taste, touch, or in any way experience is your responsibility because it is in your life.
This means that terrorist activity, the president, the economy or anything you experience and don’t like—is up for you to heal. They don’t exist, in a manner of speaking, except as projections from inside you. The problem isn’t with them, it’s with you, and to change them, you have to change you.”
So what is this powerful protocol that Dr. Len used to heal himself and consequently the patients who were mirroring what was going on inside of him?
The Ho’Oponopono Incantation: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.”
As I understand it, we can just say that and/or we can say it with a person or situation in mind while we say it. Joe again: “Turns out that loving yourself is the greatest way to improve yourself, and as you improve yourself, you improve your world.”
If you read Joe’s book, you will find many examples of miracles. http://www.zerolimits.info/”
While it can seem somewhat overwhelming, trust that there are solutions.
Here is an incantation I find powerful:
“Divine creator, father, mother, son as one…
If I, my family, relatives and ancestors have offended you, your family, relatives, and ancestors in thoughts, words, deeds, and actions from the beginning of our creation to the present, we ask your forgiveness…
Let this cleanse, purify, release, cut all the negative memories, blocks, energies, and vibrations, and transmute these unwanted energies to pure light…And it is done.”
One aspect of this I find poignant.
Our ancestors are no longer on this plane. It may be that it is our responsibility to help them by clearing the trauma they left behind.
It may be one of our biggest responsibilities in this world.
May this information help to bring to light and clear any hidden traumas in our lives.
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