A photo stating the following words by Stephi Wagner popped up on my Facebook newsfeed last night:
Pain travels through families until someone is ready to feel it.
The words touched me deeply as I, like many others, have been long exploring the meaning of ancestry, family and the invisible inheritance we all carry. It’s a locked chest of the good, the bad and the ugly – the very core of our conditioning, whether it serves us in this lifetime or not.
Living at this age and this society is a privilege, not only because of material, educational or, say, political reasons but because we are free to turn our gaze inwards and explore what made us who we are. In fact, life encourages us to do so gently, and sometimes not so gently, until we dare to dive within and face the truth about ourselves. It is scary, but behind that lies true freedom and love. However, it’s a journey best paced gently; a journey for which support is essential either in the form of professional help or well-grounded loved ones under whose gaze it is safe to look at our most loathesome parts. Or, more accurate, the parts we think, or have been lead to believe, are loathesome.
You see, they are not. They are just parts of being human. They are parts of our make up, our conditioning, our history, things we have said or done before knew and understood that it is our right, no, our duty to start healing – and for that we need to open our hearts and dare to trust that it is worth the enormous effort it takes. Enormous effort to stop making an effort and let life happen, flow and carry us.
And one day you look in the mirror and realise you are all right. It might take months or years but time is not relevant here. You are.
I came across this poem written by Alfonsina Storni, an Argentine poet, feinist and teacher.
”You told me: My father never cried;
You told me: My grandfather never cried;
The men of my family never cried;
they were steel.
While you spoke, a tear welled up
and fell to my mouth . . .
the most venom
I’ve ever drunk from a cup
Frail woman, poor woman, who understands
the pain of centuries I tasted in that drink:
Oh, this soul of mine can’t bear.”
When we can no longer bear it, let’s offer ourselves the gift of saying I will be the one who begins embodying compassion towards them all and towards myself. Let’s try something radical – let’s say this stops here, now. This will not carry on, not even if this is the way things have always been. Let’s be kind, set boundaries where needed, say good bye when necessary, cut ties when it’s essential for our emotional or physical safety and work towards forgiveness.
And let’s see the magic that happens.