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Family History: They Were Story Changers!

Tomorrow is Family History Day. The day honors the busiest day ever recorded at Ellis Island. April 17, 1907 was a milestone date, with 11,747 immigrants passing through towards their dream of making a new start in America. 

Family History in Context

Ellis Island is a symbolic place to many Americans, primarily those whose ancestors came from Europe. All Americans share a sense of resiliency, no matter the background of their ancestors. The vast majority of Americans share a sense of settling and starting anew from other places, while all, including indigenous peoples maintain special linkages to their historical traditions.

We are a nation of hybrids! Connected both to the United States, as well as to the roots of where our people come from.

Our Story Changers

What stands out to me on Family History Day is the strength and courage that our ancestors collectively shared. Whether giving up everything to save for a ticket to New York, or surviving the ordeal of the Middle Passage, our ancestors were Story Changers. Courageous and inspiring people who through luck, planning, resiliency or determination changed and built their own story — leading to ours today. Amazing!

Perceiving Our Story Changers Through Writing

Today in particular I celebrate the Story Changers we each descend from. And the Story Changers we all our individually — creating the pathway for future stories.

Journal writing is an incredible way to tap into the resiliency and wisdom of our individual and collective ancestors. The story of our families fall into three buckets: what’s known, unknown or hidden.

  • Known is available through records, stories and personal contact.
  • Unknown includes the fact we all descend from 4 grandparents, 8 great-grands, 16 great-greats and on and on. But as time passes we can lose some of those names and stories and information.
  • Hidden includes information that was destroyed, altered, or concealed, often to protect the secrets of others. Hidden information ranges from the identities of the biological parents of adoptees to the tribal connections of enslaved people.

Family History

Ancestry DNA testing is bringing more and more unknown or hidden information accessible and into the light. While empowering to discover, this information can also be unsettling. It can be a complicated experience of joy, mixed with the frustration or grief of what is or had been withheld from you.

Our intuition and perception can be an amazing tool to process unknown or hidden information as it is discovered, or to fill gaps where discovery is not possible. Insight Writing in your journal is a great way to tap your own intuition.

In honor of Family History Day I have shared a free guided meditation audio file on Insight Timer – Dialogue with Ancestors: A Meditation for Journal Writing. I invite you to walk in the shoes of your ancestors for a moment, and then write in your journal with their inspiration.

Celebrate your very own Story Changers today. And as you do so you are paving the stories of tomorrow.

 

Learn More About Your Story Changers

Your journal is an amazing resource to process what’s known, unknown or hidden about your own family and your Story Changers. I’m excited to announce the first of my classes and tools:

Understand Yourself & Your Family: Writing from the Head, the Heart and Your Own Gut Instinct

The first two sessions are open for registration now! Watch for specially designed tools and information coming me soon.

Celebrate Loved Ones Past

Today and tomorrow in Mexico, people will not just honor, but celebrate their departed loved ones. The human heart grieves long after a loved one has passed, and the traditions of Día de Muertos create a beautify communal moment.

Some of the traditions in Mexico include enjoying a loved one’s favorite foods, creating a memorial altar, sharing stories and memories, or relishing photos or cherished mementos.

We are in a moment of history where technology is changing how the heart (not the brain) takes in information. Through ancestry DNA testing, individuals can now better understand their own heritage and often uncover information that was previously unknown or hidden to them. The concept of the shape of one’s tree, as well as a connection to a vast number of ancestors is coming into a new focus as a result.

Sometimes new technology can be paired beautifully with treasured traditions. Dia de Muertos is such an occasion. Whether you are someone with a traditional tree, or more commonly today, from a family tree that includes adoption, donor-conceived individuals, information about ancestors involved in slavery, or people with misattributed parentage (i.e., discovered surprise DNA results through testing) the traditions of Dia de Muertos can be a powerful tool for processing an evolving sense of family and connection to ancestors.

Honoring Loved Ones

In the tradition of this special day, I honor the ancestors that lived in order for you to be in this very place. I honor the ways you are continuing their stories, and in other ways pushing yourself to create new ones. And I honor the ways we are all connected as a human family.

While not in the Mexican tradition, this audio meditation serves as a means to process ancestor wisdom in your journal: insig.ht/gm_153527

Image by Danie Blind from Pixabay