“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.” – Linda Hogan
We are born from a mix of mom and dad and the generations that came before them. If you were to imagine 10 generations of your ancestors standing behind you, that would be more than 1,000 people. We stand on the shoulders of many. In our own incarnation, we are connected to the lineage that bore us and the future that’s calling us into it. We are the intersection of the past and the future.
“We are the result of the love of thousands,” as Linda Hogan reminds us in the lines above. Yet, what we experience in our families, and what happened in the roots of our family tree doesn’t always look like love. Sometimes, it can look like love gone awry–secrets, losses, tragedies, broken bonds of connection. Much of this can carry forward into our current incarnation and show up in our lives and work lives in many ways.
The ancestral math tells us that in order for you to be born today from 12 previous generations, you needed almost 4100 ancestors over the past 400 years to come before you. Consider the span of history of your people for a moment. Where did they come from? What has happened over the past 400 years? What did they survive? How much sadness was there? How much heartbreak? How much joy? What were the battles and difficulties, the casualties, and inner prisons? What was the hope they had for the future? If you think and feel into what you know from the range of emotion and experience from your life to date, compound that by over 4000 relative’s experiences. So much of that history still pulses in you, here and now.
You may be wondering, what does my family tree have to do with my company? I can tell you that we see threads of this present in many different clients. The entrepreneur whose business is going great, yet he is anxious that “it’s all going to go away.” One person’s seeming inability to find a lasting romantic relationship. The person who at her core feels alone, terrified and sad despite a very good life full of purpose–and business that’s doing well. Or the entrepreneur that lives out his father’s patterns, without realizing it.
And, yet, while the echoes of the past might be reverberating for you now, these are not necessarily your burdens to carry. The past that lives out in our lives, if we catch it and course correct, relieves future generations from reliving that pattern too. By healing what’s showing up in our lives from unresolved moments in previous generations, we stop the pain, the suffering, and unconscious loyalties we maintain in order to stay connected to those that came before us. By healing what’s showing up for us now, we can come into right relationship with what our life is for us.
Author and therapist Mark Wolynn writes: “The very trauma we were born to heal is often the seed of our expansion.” The intersection of the past and the future sits right in you. What is yours to heal that echoes up from the generations before you? What does your life hold for you? What legacy will you be creating for future generations?
In this conversation with Jerry, Female Founders Alliance founder Leslie Feinzaig comes to see how she can honor her family with her work. By connecting to her family in a more conscious way, the family connection feels less of a burden and more like a resource as she can feel the love of the thousands that came before her and the delight of walking into her future.
What do you know about your family tree? Who are the shoulders on which you stand? What was their story, their fears, their losses, their hopes, their loves? What do they want most for you?