This may sound like a totally foreign concept to you (it did when I first heard it) but not ALL the stuff you're dealing with is YOURS-- some of it has been passed on generationally from our ancestors. In this episode, I discuss my own personal ancestral baggage story that was holding me back from becoming my highest self. I then offer suggestions on how you can become aware of your ancestral wounds to heal them and finally become free.
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Learn more about ancestral wounds with Maya Tiwari, an expert in the subject.
Intro and Outro Music: Silent Ganges by Maneesh de Moor.
Episode 030 - Healing Ancestral Wounds- Why Some of the Stuff You’re Dealing With Is Your Ancestors’
By Sahara Rose
Namaste. It is Sahara Rose, and welcome back to the “Highest Self” podcast, a place where we discuss what makes you your soul’s highest evolvement. I’m so excited with how many of you have sent me such wonderful reviews about the “Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda,” and this podcast, it really means the world to me. I just sent in my book proposal for my next book, “Eat Feel fresh,” which is a contemporary plant-based approach to Ayurveda. So I believe in using ingredients from around the world, and that Ayurveda really needs to be updated in order to stay relevant in today’s world. And just because we can’t eat raw foods in India because we’ll get sick—I know this from experience—doesn’t mean that we can’t eat them at all. So my approach has super foods, has quinoa, has sea vegetable. All of these things that didn’t exist in ancient India, but it doesn’t make them unhealthy. In fact, in many of the blue zones, which are areas around the world where people live the longest lifespans, people were consuming these foods readily.
So I believe that Ayurveda has very powerful frameworks that we can lead our lives based off of, but it doesn’t mean we have to only consume the foods that were written in Ayurveda because it was created in India 5,000 years ago with Indian foods, and back then in India, and still a lot of times, there’s someone who is constantly cooking it. Whether it’s the mother, or they have a chef in the family. There’s normally someone that’s always cooking. And if we live in today’s time, most of us do not have a chef, or a mother that lives with us and is constantly cooking us healthy meals. So we’re on our own, and it’s impossible for us to expect to make our own bread from scratch, and simmer all these spices, and do all of these practices that can take days to prepare a meal because most of us barely have 20 minutes to spare.
So my cookbook is going to be very easy to follow, quick, simple recipes. I know I’m not someone that likes to spend hours in the kitchen trying to make a simple meal, otherwise I’ll just start snacking and not be hungry by the time the meal’s done. So I’m really making it for someone like me, or like you, who wants to follow Ayurvedic guidelines, wants to eat the right foods for their doshas, but doesn’t want to eat dal, and ghee, and paneer, and these foods. And doesn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen, and wants to be able to have Mexican food one day, and Italian food another, and make their own creative smoothies. This cookbook is for you. So I’m so excited to share it with you, it’s called “Eat Feel Fresh,” which was the name of my blog when I started blogging about seven years ago, it was “Eat Feel Fresh.” So this is really a great come around.
And I also wanted to share with you that my 12-week program, “Eat Right For Your Mind Body Type” has new updated course material. If you’re someone who is maybe already a health coach, or a yoga teacher, and you want to include more Ayurveda into your practice, I’m developing some modules especially for you. Because I believe that so many health coaches approach me, and they’re like, “How can I integrate this into what I already have?” And that’s how I started. I started doing with IIN, Institute of Integrative Nutrition, that if that’s something you’re interested in, just send me an e-mail at email@example.com, and I’ll get you a $500 discount. Because I’m an affiliate for them because it changed my life. It was the first nutrition course I ever took when I was in college.
So a lot of people after IIN, one of the modules in IIN is Ayurveda. And after IIN they want to go more in depthly into learning about the doshas, how to create meals for them, but still in a modern approach. Maybe they don’t want to go all the way to India and study very traditional Ayurveda like I did, or go to a year-long program, and they really resonate with my book, and my approach. So I’m developing these modules, these new ones that I’m adding to the 12-week program every single day for you. So really, it’s going to be teaching you:
how to assess your client
how to see what your client’s dosha is
how to create a meal plan for them
how you can show them that their diet needs to change according to the seasons
according to their age
according to the times of day.
So allowing you to become the voice of Ayurveda. Because I really believe that leaders empower other leaders, and that’s how it’s going to survive.
So if you’re interested n that, take a look at my 12-week program, or send me an e-mail with questions. And if you’re interested in joining IIN, Institute of Integrative Nutrition, it’s amazing. It’s a year-long certified health coaching program that you will become a certified holistic health coach, which can practice in most states. And you learn about all different types of nutritional theories from Ayurveda, to macrobiotics, paleo, vegan. Everything in between, there’s amazing speakers from Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Deepak Chopra, Gabrielle Bernstein. They’re all speakers on this, it’s completely online, so you can be anywhere in the world and you have an app for it.
And it’s normally, I’m not sure the exact tuition, but I think like $3,000 or $4,000 for the year. But with my discount you’ll get $500 off, so it’s a very, very significant discount. So e-mail me right now if you’re interested in it, just so I have your e-mail. Even if you don’t want to sign up, they’ll send you more information about it, and it’s a really good way of learning. So my e-mail again is Sahara, S-A-H-A-R-A, @eatfeelfresh.com, and I’ll have a link in the show notes.
So anyways, let’s get to it. I want to talk about the ancestors with you, and how a lot of the shit that you’re holding onto is not yours. It’s your ancestors’. So in this podcast episode, I have a feeling we’re going to go deep because anything involving ancestors tends to go there. Again, totally unscripted, I’m just opening myself up to be a channel for the information and whatever comes through comes through. So later on if I say something that you’re confused about, you can e-mail me, and I’ll try to clarify, but probably I won’t even know because it’s I’m totally just opening myself up to a source right now and allowing the wisdom to come through.
I’m also in the process of getting all of these podcast episodes transcribed. I’m already halfway through. So if you check on my website, iamsahararose.com, if you click on “Podcasts,” you will find all the podcast episodes, the show notes, and the transcriptions. So you can go back, look at the actual words that I’m saying in text, and that can really help you integrate it more into your lifestyle. Because some of us are more visual learners than auditory. So let’s go into it.
Phew. I first heard that perhaps some of the things that I was holding onto could be connected to my ancestors about three or four years ago. A little more than three years ago. I was at this point that I had really bad relations with my family. I wanted to set off into my own path, I had started writing my first book about Ayurveda, and I was immersing myself into these ancient holistic practices. I left for Bali because I couldn’t be around them, and I just wanted some time by myself with no one that I knew so I could figure out what was mine, and what was everyone else’s that I picked up on, and was holding onto and conditioned to become.
So I bought a one-way ticket, and I went to Bali, and I just went on AirBnB, and I just started staying with different Balinese families, which can totally happen, it’s less than $10 a night. You can totally go do it. And in my time there I spent four months there, and in my time, I met this woman named Malika who was a shaman who she had studied in Africa, she was trained in more African lineages. And shamans are people that work with the elements, with earth, fire, water, air, ether, which are also the elements Ayurveda is based off of.
And interestingly enough, this shaman had worked in an Ayurvedic panchakarma hospital before, so she knew about Ayurveda as well, and instantly I was just super drawn to her teachings. I loved how strong she was, and how passionate, and she integrated dance in everything. And she taught something called five elements shamanic dance activation. And instantly when I met her I knew she must become my teacher. And when she did a facilitate training program, even though I had no money, I worked for her, and I hustled my way, and I was able to sign up for it. And in the training program, she discussed a lot about how the wounds that we hold right now, the stories that we tell ourselves, even the places in our physical body where we store pain is oftentimes related to our ancestors.
And the moment I heard this, it was like this a-ha moment of this is the answer that I was looking for. Because I noticed that no matter how much work I would do, forgiveness practices, trying to become one with the light, all of the yogic things, I still held this anger towards my family, this feeling of, “Ugh, why was I born with them? They don’t understand me. I feel like a stranger. I feel like I have no one to talk to.” And I really felt like I was born into the wrong family. Like someone had made a mistake up there. And I was learning how we choose our parents for a reason, and the more and more I would fight with my parents, even through text, I would wonder why would I choose these people? There are all these amazing conscious parents here in Bali who are doing shamanic dance with their kids, why couldn’t I have chosen one of those?
And I realize that I was going around telling myself this story. I was telling myself this story every single day that I was born with strict parents, an old school Middle Eastern family that didn’t allow me to do what I wanted, and they wanted me to fit the conventional life, and I wasn’t allowed to, and poor me, poor me, poor me. And I was creating a victimhood story of myself. And I was using this story to not own up to my highest self. Because it was easier to say, “Oh, I can’t be because they don’t want me to be,” than to own up to it. So when I heard about the ancestral piece, that maybe some of this stuff that is going on for me in this life is related to generations and generations and generations of women just like me, not being able to do what they wanted to do.
I’m fortunate enough that both of my grandmothers are still alive. One of them is 92 years old almost, the other one is 72. And my grandfather, who I have known my whole life, is also alive, and I was fortunate enough that when I moved to Los Angeles, I lived with my grandparents. So I know them very, very well. And I never made the connection to our ancestors to our grandparents, who are alive. I always thought, oh, my ancestors, I wonder who they are, what could they be like, I should pray to my ancestors, when I was forgetting the people who are related to me who is blood that I come from that exist in my life right now.
So I began to really think about their lives, and ask them questions.
What was it like for you growing up?
What were you doing when you were my age?
What are your favorite childhood memories?
What are your most painful?
Now, my paternal grandmother, one of the earliest memories I have of her is being about 11 years old, in sixth grade, and her telling me, “You know what, Sahara-jan, it’s time for you to know that your grandfather raped me.” What? And she began telling me the stories about how when she was 11 years old, my age, she was playing hopscotch outside, and this man was doing a business transaction with her father, the man was 27 years old, and after they signed the business papers, he was so happy that he went, looked out into the yard, and he said, “You know what? Pick any of my three daughters to marry. One who’s 16, one who’s 14, oh and this little one, who’s 11, too.” And he chose the 11-year-old. And that’s my grandmother and my grandfather.
And my grandmother was very beautiful at the time. She was tall, she was athletic, she was very smart and strong-willed, she was doing great in school. But once she was chosen to be married, she was taken out of school and turned into a child bride. She told me, in tears, how she was begging and pleading her father not to force her to marry this man. She was telling her father, “I’ll do anything. Please, I want to stay in school, I want to learn, I want to have an education. I don’t want to marry this stranger. He’s 16 years old than me. I’m just a kid.” And even onto the day of her wedding when they’re trying to dress her up and have her go to the wedding ceremony, she’s still crying and holding onto her father’s leg saying, “Please, don’t make me go.”
And she had to wipe the tears from her eyes and marry a complete stranger. And he was a traveler, and luckily, he was not an abusive man. He was a very, very smart businessman, one of the greatest businessmen in Iran. He spoke Hebrew, and Chinese, and traveled the world. But he was never really around. So he was always traveling, but he wanted to have kids, and she became pregnant by the time that she was 14 years old with my uncle. And she had this child at aged 14, and then a year later had my aunt, and then a few years later had my dad, and a year after that had her fourth child.
So by the time she was, I think probably 19 or 20 years old, she had four kids, which I couldn’t even imagine. And her husband wasn’t really around. Granted, in Iran especially at that time, if you came from a wealthy family, you had a lot of help, but you didn’t have many rights. So her entire life was based off of child-rearing. You know, by the time she was 11, she was a bride, she was a woman. She never had a childhood. Until she was about 24, 25 years old, and my grandfather, her husband, became sick, and he got a disease where his brain and his body stopped communicating. And he became hospitalized, and had to become into a wheelchair. And over time, this brain and his body stopped communicating to the point that he passed away.
So here’s my grandma, a young 27-year-old woman, a widow, with four children. And Iran, the way that it works is that when your husband dies, if none of your children are above 18 years old, his money goes to his brothers. Only a very small amount goes to the wife because a woman doesn’t have the same rights as men. So the money that was meant to help raise the kids, send them to school, et cetera, was given to his brothers. And she was left with almost nothing.
Then, at that time, the Iranian Revolution began. And the Iranian Revolution is when Islamic clerics took hold of the country, overthrew the king, and it went virtually overnight from being a Western, free, liberated country that was considered the Switzerland of the Middle East with shopping malls, and rights, and women in bikinis, and high fashion, and everything you could ever want. To being a country run under Sharia law, where movies, music, make-up, a man and a woman who are not married even having a conversation are illegal. Schools were shut down. If you were a boy, you were sent to the army, because at that time, Iran and Iraq began having a war where over one million Iranians were killed. The country was essentially shut down. Bombs were being thrown everywhere while all this revolution was going on. And borders were shut down, and people fled in any direction that they could.
So here’s my grandmother, four kids, no husband, a revolution, and a war. Everything that she ever had swept from under her feet. From having a comfortable life, to having absolutely nothing certain. All of her kids fled individually. One made his way to France, another Michigan, another my dad in Boston with his brother, and she was essentially left alone. And eventually, she moved to America, but by the time she got her visa and everything, she was a bit older, and it was very hard for her to learn the language, and she wasn’t able to assimilate to American culture. So today, she’s still alive, and she holds a lot of anger, a lot of sadness, and a lot of victimhood.
And everyone that she meets she tells her life story to. To the point that I actually invited her to come speak at Boston University, where I went to school, because I was studying woman’s studies, and we were learning about child marriage, and I was like, “Oh, well I have a grandma who would love to speak about her child marriage.” So she came in front of the classroom and spoke to us about her child marriage, about my grandfather raping her, about having these kids, and having her husband die, and having no rights as a widow, and she came and spoke about that.
And after that day, she changed. She became so much more light, and open-hearted. Because for the first time, she was heard, and her story was acknowledged. And I share this with you because all of our grandparents have stories. And we are walking reflections of the things that they held onto. And I didn’t realize that my own story of victimhood, that my parents won’t let me, that I can’t do it, I’m not allowed to, were subconscious things that I was holding onto because of my own grandmother being in a child marriage, and my other grandmother going through the same type of turmoil. And every single generation before that going through the same thing:
not having rights
never being educated
never going to college.
And I’m the first person in my family to be born outside of Iran in America. So I had to be the one to break the ancestral bondage. And it hurt. A lot. And it super was not easy because when you’re breaking the bondage, in a way you feel like you’re hurting people. Because your family wants what’s safe for you, which his what they know. But what they know is the repeated baggages that your lineage has been holding onto for generations. And if you keep playing out these stories, the same situations, victimhoods are going to show up in your life.
So let’s say you had your grandparents survive the holocaust. And they were in severe starvation, and really, really oppressed. A lot of, you know, most Jewish people have family members who survive the holocaust. Maybe your own grandparents did. So in this lifetime, notice what is your feeling around money.
Do you feel there isn’t enough?
What’s your feeling around food?
Do you feel like when you see a plethora of food you have to overeat and stuff yourself because maybe you won’t get more of it later on?
Maybe your family suffered slavery. Black people in America, and in many parts of the world, still modern day slavery exists more than ever before. The untouchables in India are a form of slaves.
So what is your relationship around freedom?
Do you feel like you’re free in your life to express the way that you want to show up?
And do you find yourself rebelling?
Rebelling against the rule because you feel like for the first time, you’re free, and you have to break the rules.
So I want you to take a few moments right now to think about your grandparents. And the ancestral bondage that you may be holding onto. So start with your maternal grandmother.
Now let’s think about your maternal grandfather.
And I want you to think of your paternal grandmother.
Next, let’s think of your paternal grandfather.
Now, I want you to think of your own parents. Do you notice any similarities between the struggles that your grandparents faced, and the ones that your parents faced? Now, I want you to think of the reoccurring things that happened in your life. That bring you to settlement. If you were to look at yourself from an outside perspective, what are the struggles that you face? Notice any similarities between you, your parents, your grandparents. Most often, we carry on the same traumas, the same fears, the same grievances. Whether we are aware of them or not.
It’s now scientifically proven that if your grandmother went through a trauma in her life, it’s actually encoded in your DNA. Because the very embryo that is you, existed inside your grandmother’s womb, which became your mother, which became you. And when we go through trauma in life, it actually alters our very DNA, and that’s Darwinian’s theory of survival. That we’re constantly adapting to what’s going on in our environment to allow us to best survive.
So when rape has happened inter-generationally, which has happened to many of my clients, you shut down. Because that is your body’s way of coping with it. Of saying it’s not here. Or if starvation has happened for many generations. You might still have that fear in the back of your mind that maybe there isn’t going to be enough food later on, so I have to load up as much as I can right now. Or maybe if your family didn’t have freedom for many years, like with my grandmothers, you have this story in your life that you’re not free, and you feel trapped in your life. Even if those confines are in your head.
You see, whether we like it, know it, not know it, dislike it, whatever our relationship is, it’s there. And the only way that we can get rid of these ancestral bondages, is through becoming aware of them. In fact, the reason that I share this with you today is because you can truly rise into your highest self when you recognize the pain of the ancestors that live through you. Maya Tiwari, who is an amazing thought leader in this realm about ancestors, if you want to learn more about it, I recommend checking her out. She said, “We either carry our ancestors on our backs, or stand on their shoulders.” So I want to repeat that. “We either carry our ancestors on our backs, or stand on their shoulders.”
So what that really means is that we can choose to hold onto this ancestral bondage as extra baggage that’s keeping us from becoming our highest selves. Or, we can look at all of the incredible experiences that their lives have enriched us with. And stand on their shoulders to rise and say yes to a possibility that they could not have even imagined for themselves. You see, those same grandparents that may have had the abuse, or the fear, also carried the wisdom.
And knowing you have in your art form, in your writing, in your music, a way that you innately know how to care for your child, or your animal without even needing an example in your own life. That’s through the work of the ancestors. The reason that we can function in the way that we do today is because we’ve learned through their experiences, and we are so blessed to be living in this time where we can share it and expand it. And the first step is to really recognize who these ancestors were.
It’s really easy to get mad at our parents or our grandparents, and think you’re not conscious enough. You eat meat, you go shopping all the time, you don’t practice yoga. Trust me, I’ve said all these things to them. But really, when we’re still operating from that place of blame and anger, all it means is that we haven’t fully healed the wound of our ancestors. Because when we fully heal the wound and we recognize them in all of their glory, and pain, and accept all of it, and carry it forth to bring us more wisdom into this universe, we become vessels of the work.
We let go of the blocks that were keeping us from being our highest selves—the stories, the doubts the fears. And we look at our ancestors and thank them for putting up with years and years of lack of freedom, lack of prosperity, lack of choice. And we recognize why they had that pain, why they were in that state where fear was the only solution. We cannot blame them because if were them in that exact day and time with the same upbringing, and the same beliefs and backgrounds, we would have behaved exactly the same way. So we can’t say, “Oh, well I would have done this,” because you wouldn’t have, because you were not that person living at that time with everything else going on around them that makes someone make a decision.
And we have to have that same compassion for our parents that we have for our grandparents. And knowing that our parents are acting n the way that they best know how. For them, maybe putting you in front of themselves is how they show love. Or maybe spending all day in an office working to provide for you is how they show love. Maybe they never had that chance to connect, and be open, and speak to someone. So when you open up to them, they just don’t know how to deal, even if they so badly want to.
We have to know that everyone is acting the best from their own space of awareness. And when we look at them and acknowledge them, our parents, our grandparents, our ancestors. We’re ending the cycle. We’re saying yes, I see you, I honor you, I recognize you, and I’m going to take the very best parts of you and bring them forward. Because that’s what evolution is. Evolution is taking what works and moving it forward to future generations. The only way that your children will have all of your best qualities and none of your worst is if you look internally within yourself and become aware of these things, these shadows, that you’re working with, and recognizing them, and telling them, “I see you. I understand you. You were brought here for a reason. I had to be scared because I wasn’t safe. I had to be confused because I didn’t have clarity. I had to feel weak because I needed to learn how to feel strong. And now I know the lesson. Thank you.”
And this is how we move on, breaking bondages, creating new pathways, building bridges, moving forward, creating a new reality. So I invite you after this podcast to just take some time and think of the things that your parents, and your grandparents, and their parents, and after that, have been struggling with. And seeing how that might be showing up in your day-to-day life. Recognizing it, acknowledging it, thanking it, and making the choice to move forward. I hope this podcast resonated with you. I know for a lot of you it’s probably a huge eye-opener because we’re never taught that it could even be a possibility that we’re holding onto ancestral wounds. It’s not something most of us were brought up with, however it’s something that is globally recognized from the Philippines, to India, to Peru. There are days for the ancestors, there are ceremonies for the ancestors. The ancestors walk amongst us, and it’s not a weird thing to say.
So by bringing up the conversation, and opening this dialogue about hey, maybe my constant hip pain is due to generations of poor childbirth at a young age, which I know mine for sure are. Then that opens up the possibility that we can change that, and we can create a new framework. So it just takes that recognition, and I promise you, once you recognize it, you’ll be able to move on in this freeing way that you have never experienced before. I look forward to reading all of your experiences in the “Mind Body Balancers” Facebook group. And having some of you join me in my “Doshas and Dharma” program, or my 12-week “Eat Right For Your Mindy Body Type” diet program. Namaste.
Episode 030 - Healing Ancestral Wounds- Why Some of the Stuff You’re Dealing With Is Your Ancestors’