“My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more! It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!
In this issue: Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.
Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC
Our Ancestors: “We Are Them; They Are Us.” And they can help us—or not. Within our DNA are our ancestors’ memories, which can nourish the dreams of our souls.” ~ Cyndi Dale
Five years ago my husband and I visited Poland—the homeland of our ancestors. I was having some issues with my left hip prior, but the pain was off the charts when we landed. The pain in my left hip wouldn’t allow me to walk more than half a block at a time without doing a “last resort” lunge wherever I could to alleviate the pain a little so I could walk another half a block. We had not rented a car so travel by foot was our only option within the various cities we were visiting.
It was still a beautiful trip with unforgettable, precious moments. I refused to let the pain dull the time there or the memories. We had an absolute blast visiting many of the top tourist spots like Krakow, Zakopane, and Częstochowa; as well as the larger cities near my parent’s birthplace villages: Kielce and Rzeszów. We were not in touch with Polish relatives at that time. So our visit did not include family.
More than one person shared their belief that the pain in my hip was a reflection of ancestral healing needed within either my family or even my homeland, Poland. We carry the stories of our ancestors within our energy field. Unresolved conflicts, emotional wounds, damaging judgments, and other limitations held by your ancestors past or present will continue to influence generations to follow. Our ancestor’s memories lie within our DNA. Deep, unexpressed emotions such as grief, anger, guilt, shame and fear can also be passed to us from our ancestors, just like our eye and hair color. Energy from our ancestors passes through the family tree. It’s an amazing thought, isn’t it?
My dad never made it back to the farm after World War II. He was taken from his home by the Germans when he was about 17 and was a prisoner of war on a German farm, as was my mom. Given the dates I saw on my grandparent’s graves, my dad lost his dad earlier the same year. His dad died in his arms—a story my dad repeated often. My dad never saw his mom again. This fact was driven home when during his final years with Alzheimer’s he would wander off saying “I’m going to find mama!”
We went back to Poland this past June. This time we visited family! We stayed on the farm my dad was born on in a 400-resident village in south-central Poland. My cousin, Henryka, her husband and two daughters currently live there. It was a deeply meaningful trip of a lifetime.
My cousin’s daughter, Anita, found us on Facebook in 2009. Since then, we have been in touch constantly. Her family’s connection with us and her visit here last year started the healing process of our extended families. Our visit back to Poland this year continued to “make right” the broken family relations.
Anita tells me that during WWII, my dad’s mom and younger siblings would hide in the fields for days when they knew the Germans were coming. Upon returning to the farm, the German tank tracks were visible near their home, some chickens missing, the house disheveled. When Anita recently took us for a walk in a nearby forest that surely my dad had frequented with his brother and sisters, the smoothed out hollows in the earth where the Polish soldiers and villagers would hide from the Germans were still apparent this many years later. It gave me an eerie, surreal feeling to walk through the forest. On the one hand my dad probably spent some wonderful hours playing within the forest area; but on the other hand, the energy of soldiers in wait and in fear lingered.
Back in the early 60’s my dad and mom sponsored his sister, Stanislawa, her husband, Henryk, and their three children—Maria, Krystyna, and Henryka—to come live here in America. After a huge falling out, my dad’s sister and family moved back to Poland. The details as given to me, a very small child, were sketchy.
Between the pain of being taken from his family home during WWII and then losing connection to his family a second time with the falling out years later, I’m thinking there was definitely some ancestral healing needed in my dad’s immediate family. But anyone who knows Poland’s history—(woah!..literally, as I typed the previous phrase and Googled the “history of Poland” to research the dates Poland was not even a country on the map, our electricity went out in the house for perhaps 30 seconds. Insert Twilight Zone music here. I’ve had my own experiences with electricity and communication from those that have passed, but that’s for another blog. Communicating through electricity is apparently a venue of choice for those that have passed: “They also work through electricity – turning TVs and radios on and off, affecting lights, doorbells, phones. They seem to be able to manipulate energy – most likely because they’re energy!”. “Hello!” to my Polish ancestors!) As I was saying, anyone who knows Poland’s history knows Poland’s borders have changed numerous times.
From 1796 until 1919, Poland did not exist as a county. World War II began with a massive German invasion into Poland. “Hitler’s policy was to eradicate the Polish nation and Germanise the territory.”
Within a matter of weeks, the Soviet Union moved into Poland, claiming its eastern half. “Thus, Poland was yet again partitioned. Mass arrests, exile and executions followed, and it’s estimated that between one and two million Poles were sent to Siberia, the Soviet Arctic and Kazakhstan in 1939–40. Like the Nazis, the Soviets set in motion a process of intellectual genocide.” Source: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/poland/history
When friends and therapists shared the concept of ancestral healing and connected it to the pain in my hip, I have to say I was more than a little intrigued. As a yoga teacher, I’d learned that we store a lot of emotions in our hips, especially the emotions we don’t want to, or can’t, deal with. Your hips generate any movement forward in your life. If you’re feeling stuck or blocked in some way, your hips are usually involved. The idea that an ancestral block was lodged in my hip resonated with me—especially since the pain went off the charts once we landed in Poland.
My Polish ancestors definitely had deep, unexpressed grief. Undeniably, negative influences from the past affect us mentally, emotionally, and spiritually; and as we’ve learned from mind/body science, they also affect us physically and energetically. Since the hips are where every initiative starts, any pain or trauma we have stored in the hips that’s stopping us from physically moving forward will also stop us from energetically moving forward.
Perhaps visiting Poland without connecting with family five years ago stopped my hip from moving forward with ease on our trip. Perhaps my ancestral homeland was “holding on” to my every step insisting I do more than just visit the tourist stops. Who can say? (Read about the chakra connection in the Chakrascope section below!) As we planned a return visit back to Poland five years later, it was more than a little on my mind. I didn’t want a repeat performance! But perhaps this trip with the sole purpose of meaningful connection to family would help shift the energy of unexpressed grief. At least that was my hope.
On a side note, I donned a karma bracelet for inner strength and courage early June, a month prior to our trip. Karma bracelets are designed to fall off when your karma is complete—when you have released your negative karma and achieved your personal goal. My “inner strength and courage” bracelet came with the following message: “Wear your bracelet to dissolve away any fearful or doubtful karma and give light to your inner strength. Confidence is the key to manifesting anything you desire.”
Karma is defined as “The total effect of a person’s actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person’s existence, regarded as determining the person’s destiny.” And another: “the cosmic principle of rewards and punishments for the acts performed in a previous incarnation.” If you look at karma in the light of our ancestral heritage, my bracelet was working on releasing any fearful and doubtful karma from my ancestors.
I’d witnessed a friend’s karma “complete” its journey quickly, falling off within a few days. So I expected my karmic “lesson” to be, at the most, perhaps a week or two. Why I thought I could estimate timing on karma is humorous in hindsight. Each lesson is personal, as is the timing.
As we approached the timing for our return trip to Poland, the karma bracelet still had not fallen off. I started to wonder if perhaps this once-in-a-lifetime trip to the farm my Dad was born on was to “complete” any unresolved karmic energies surrounding inner strength and courage.
The courage and inner strength it took for all Poles to rise above their violent history—let alone my parents—and to hold onto their Polish heritage under threat of death was not something I dwelled upon as a child of Polish immigrants who had been prisoners of war. My parents shared no bitterness for having had ten years of their lives stolen with the added humility of being held prisoners on farms and in war camps, their families ripped apart.
Both of my parents were prisoners of war on German farms. My mom was auctioned off to the highest bidding German farmer. She never, not once, discussed her time as a prisoner on that farm. I’m certain it wasn’t something she cared to remember and least of all share with her children. My parents and others like them buried their despair and their grief and moved on to a new life in the U.S. This is a common theme among WWII immigrants to the U.S. Their children learned to ask no questions. You were not to touch the sleeping dragon.
I was an adult before the reality of my history truly hit me: “My parents were prisoners of war on German farms, met in a war camp, got married in the war camp, and had two kids in that war camp.” And I was a yoga teacher in my 50’s studying the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) before I finally deduced that my parents weren’t just born with short fuses and erratic temperaments. Those are classic signs of PTSD.
I was told our recent visit to Poland was an “event” for this quaint village. When we would walk down the road, neighbors would step out onto the road to peak at us as we walked away. One cousin remarked as she met me for the first time: “It is impossible.” She was referring to my return to my dad’s birthplace village. Another had just lost her last sister and expressed gratitude for having met me and knowing she was not alone. Each and every one of them touched my heart and will live on there. I will hold them close as I know my dad did in his memories.
I couldn’t help but think about my parent’s decision not to remain in war-torn Poland; to move on to another land with two small children and start a new life. Now there was some inner strength and courage!
I felt lost simply not knowing the language fluently and I had a fluent bilingual relative accompanying me everywhere! My dad tried to take lessons to learn English here in the U.S. early on but holding down two to three jobs at a time got in the way of his studies and he had to abort the lessons.
My mom learned English all on her own, creating some of her own words and phrases along the way like “meat-lunch” for “lunchmeat” and things at an angle were “on an ick”*. She was my dad’s bookkeeper (he had his own ceramic tile, linoleum, slate business for close to 30 years) and took great pride in writing the checks and other business papers in perfect English after much trial and error. I know she felt self-conscious her whole life about the mastery of her second language. They both mastered the English language brilliantly, in my humble opinion.
Their struggles and accomplishments paved the way for my future just as the contributions of other famous Poles did:
(*Side story here: It was last year sometime in a conversation with my second oldest sister, Barb, who is nine years older than me, that the phrase “on an ick” was used by my sister. I started to chuckle and she asked why. So I commented that “ick” was a sweet “mom-ism”—a made-up word from mom. There was a long pause, and she said “Are you serious? That’s not a word? I’ve been using that word my whole life!” –a more humorous example of an ancestor’s struggle with learning a new language in a new land.
In Zakopane, as I walked among the Tatra Mountains my dad had often spoken so fondly of, I sent a silent message off to my dad’s spirit: “I am here, dad; and it’s as beautiful as you always said it was. I am here and I am home.” By the time we were in Zakopane, it was a little more than half-way through our trip. And after hiking 18 kilometers (a little over 11 miles) the first day—half of that all uphill—I knew my hip issues from five years prior were, thankfully, not going to reoccur! Of course, my husband and I also continued doing daily yoga throughout the trip each morning as well! Let’s hear it for the healing powers of yoga!
We even took another hefty hike up the mountain the second day to do a cave tour—a precarious walk up slippery slope rock-steps with an equally precarious, if not downright dangerous, path through the cave that deemed us worthy of saying we were definitely “spelunkers”! I teased my cousin’s daughter, Anita, that we were filming “How to lose your relatives in two days”. All joking aside, she apologized several times as we were in the midst of the cave tour among other tourists who were likewise in disbelief saying “Oh my God!” and “Jesu, Jesu!”
As we were waiting to catch the bus out of Zakopane back toward Krakow, I suddenly noticed my karma bracelet was gone! It fell off somewhere in Zakopane! “Wear your bracelet to dissolve away any fearful or doubtful karma and give light to your inner strength. Confidence is the key to manifesting anything you desire.” I have to say having lost the bracelet in Poland, and particularly in the midst of the Tatra Mountains, must have made my mom and dad smile. It was a sweet feeling to have left a little part of me there. Dwelling on my parent’s inner strength and courage, as well as the inner strength and courage of all Poles, undoubtedly “gave light to” my own inner strength and I can’t thank them enough for that gift.
I’ve read that ancestral healing allows you to make peace within your family going back many generations. Some say seven generations forward and backward. If my trip to Poland has done that for those that came before me and those that follow, for this I am truly grateful. If it has cleared the path for my own life’s mission, well that would just be the icing on the cake now wouldn’t it?
“Ancestral Healing can transform energetic patterns that are not in your highest good, or are preventing you from carrying out your soul’s mission and life’s purpose. If you are experiencing recurring patterns where things get in the way of feeling satisfied, enriched or successful, then Ancestral Healing may be the missing link that can free you to attain personal fulfillment.”
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, our trip to Poland has completed me. Before this trip I wouldn’t have thought I felt “incomplete” or “lost”. Yet after this trip I now know a sense of connectedness to family I have never known. It’s palpable. I have been hugged and kissed by cousins and distant cousins in numbers I cannot count. I have truly been “home”. My roots go deeper now and I am grounded in a way I’ve never felt before. I know where I come from and some of the stories that helped make me who I am. There’s a sense of security and safety in really knowing family. Having met, this family connection can only grow from here and the story continues…
How about you? What patterns, legacies, values, attitudes, key events, connections, struggles, triumphs and disappointments have been passed on from your ancestors? What impact have your ancestors had upon your present life? How will you embody their lessons and what will you pass on to those who come after? Are you disconnected from your immediate family? Only you can make the journey to complete yourself.
There’s no such thing as a lost soul.
I know where they are, and everyone makes it home.
Thanks for caring,
(Source: Totally Unique Thoughts from the Universe daily emails.)