Honoring Our Ancestors As Ourselves

Portrait of my great great great great grandmother, Mary who lived in the 1700s in Fairfield, CT. Oldest ancestor image I can access.
My great great grandparents and their children. Fairfield, CT, early 1900s. (My great grandmother top middle).

The holidays are a reminder for us all to honor our loved ones, including our living family members as well as our ancestors. Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh — a man not only known to have a generous amount of consonants in his name (lol!) but also a generous amount of wisdom regarding the importance of honoring our ancestors, states: “If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of these people.” Many people are unaware of the hidden impact that our ancestors have on our current daily life.

Various cultures and traditions are well aware of this influence and, in fact, have created holidays surrounding the very idea of honoring our ancestors, including the Mexican holiday ‘Dia de Los Muertos’ and the Hindu ritual ‘Pitri-Paksha,’ to name a few. In fact, according to Vedic scriptures, each individual is born with three debts: one to God, one to sages and saints and the last one to their parents or ancestors. Yet, for many of us there is a great misunderstanding that to grow on our spiritual path we need to separate or undo ourselves from our family or our roots in order to live our own path.

My grandfather as a baby in Panama, 1909.

We don’t actually see that our ancestors are ourselves. Cassandra Claire says it best, “You’re in my bones and in my blood and my heart. I’d have to tear myself open to let you go.” Like it or not, in essence, that is our relationship with our ancestors. Through this awareness and acceptance of our connection, the desire for honoring our ancestors as part of ourselves grows like a seed.

To what degree are you connected to your ancestors? How do you honor your ancestors in your daily life? Is it lighting a candle once a year in memory of them? Perhaps it’s planting a tree or dedicating service work to them. Or, maybe it’s merely living your own divine purpose in your daily life.

 

How will you use this holiday season to celebrate you family, including your ancestors?

 

This blog is dedicated with love to my own ancestors, those who I am grateful to have known and those who I never knew but feel their support in my daily life.

 

 

 

 

 

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