I remember as a child, listening to adults discuss my physical features, mannerisms, and behaviors, attaching them to one of my grown relatives. Most often my father or mother, but also at times a grandparent, or even more rarely an aunt, uncle, or other more distant relative. As an adult, I find myself now doing this too as my friends and relatives have their own children. Having spent many years as a teacher, I have seen countless examples of not only physical attributes passing from one generation to the next, but also behavioral patterns and belief systems. Most recently, I have begun to explore this on an even deeper level through the healing work that I do with ancestral patterns.
In this post, I will share my own story of uncovering how my physical and energetic worlds are sewn together. Along this journey, I have begun to understand my own relationship with my identity on a deeper level, and to heal the belief systems and behavioral patterns that have created pain and suffering throughout my lifetime. This process is ongoing, as it is for all of us. Just as we build upon the knowledge we gain in any school subject from one year to the next, we continue to deepen our relationship with our souls (our true identity) as we move throughout our lives.
I have a round brown birthmark that sits low on my right cheek. When I was little, it seemed to sit up high, taking up the space of what felt like most of the right side of my face. I am aware of its presence at all times; it is a significant part of my physical identity. Many of my friends and loved ones tell me that they do not even see it and that it’s just part of how they see me overall. This does not make me less aware of it. Throughout my entire life, this patch of skin, about the size of a nickel, has brought me great lessons about myself and expanded my perspective in many, many ways.
School picture from maybe second grade? Circa somewhere early to mid 80's...
My great grandmother, Nana, had a very similar birthmark, almost like a mirror imprint, on her left cheek. I loved Nana immensely, yet at times was resentful that she had this birthmark too. I was resentful because it meant that for me to reject it or dislike its presence in any way, I was rejecting a part of her as well. I was constantly told throughout my childhood by adults how beautiful it was that we shared this birthmark and that it connected us in a way that was special just to us. Simultaneously, I was teased by my peers about it daily which made it difficult for me to see this perspective until many years later.
This is Nana. The photo is grainy because it's from 1979 and is a digital photo of a photograph.
I have gone through phases throughout my life where I considered cosmetic procedures to remove my birthmark. There were long periods of time where I would physically turn my body in photos to make sure that I was showing only the other side of my face. Can I tell you how frustrated I was - sometimes to tears - when every year the school photo photographer would refuse my pleas to face the other direction and would force me to take yet another photo to be printed in large format and hung on the wall for everyone to stare at for another year, with this birthmark front and center? There have also been periods of time where I've made a mental commitment to be proud of this part of me that made me different and “special”.
School picture, junior year. Taken at some point during the 1996-97 school year. Same pose, 9 years later...
Nana however, never seemed to notice that it was there; on my face or her own. How could she be so unaware of it? Was it the fact that because of her age, it had faded and gotten lost among her wrinkles, or that she was far more aware of and concerned with other things about her body at that time? I actually don’t even know the story of what happened, but at some point she suffered an injury that involved her hip and became mostly chair ridden afterward, walking only with a walker and never further than one room to the next.
While I do the work of guiding others as they heal trauma and explore their Spiritual journeys, I am very much still on my own journey as well. We all are from the day we are born until the day we die, on a journey to get to know our truest version of ourselves; our souls identity. This connection with our soul, as well as any healing that we achieve along our journey, spreads in every direction within our alternate lifetimes and all ancestral lineages.
Several years ago, I saw a description of the symbol for yin and yang. I’ve created something similar to it below. In the original version, it showed the white paisley shape and noted it as the light in the universe and the same for the black shape, noting it as the darkness in the universe. It then pointed to the small white circle as the light within the darkness and similarly the small black circle as the darkness within the light. This spoke to me on many levels and I have returned often to this symbolic representation in various formats and translations. In my version below, I have added some additional representations of both yin and yang energy and arrows to represent the movement of cycles that we experience as these energies flow. Energy is alive and moving, it is not static.
For the majority of my life, I was completely frightened by the idea of past life regression. I knew that I had intuitive gifts, but I did not think of them as gifts at the time. I saw them as dark and scary doorways to the unknown. They were potential portals to knowledge or energies that may bring me harm. I, at the time, did not see the possibility that those things may only be the dot in the middle of the much larger and more beautiful paisley shaped light of love and healing. Yes, there is always potential for darkness, but I now have learned to understand that darkness as merely a shadow. A shadow is not evil or bad, but instead a necessary part of all experiences. One that helps us to better understand the power of the light within any situation.
My first experience with past life work actually led me back only as far as my childhood in this current life - which feels like lifetimes ago sometimes, haha! It was, just as I imagined it to be, scary. The experience itself and the information I learned from it was not the scary part. It was the anxiety leading up to it, and my resistance to exploring it, where I felt fear and discomfort. The process itself was guided lovingly and carefully by someone who had a practical understanding of this unknown (to me at the time) world. She knew how to guide me only as far as I was ready to explore, and to reassure me that she was there with me as protection. She also helped me to understand that while I was on this journey, I could return to the present moment at any time to regain my strength and courage. That experience taught me so much and helped me go into future explorations with the genuine confidence and curiosity that is absolutely necessary in order to navigate the world of other lifetimes. I now travel in this world frequently and lead others on expeditions through it fairly regularly.
Not long after that first experience, I went on another journey. This one took me through a series of other lifetimes where I was able to uncover the complexities of my relationships with a few specific family members. The focus was primarily on my relationships with my father and with Nana (my father’s grandmother). While the majority of the lives we explored were focused on how our three souls have traveled through time together, there was one lifetime visited that was only about the relationship between myself and Nana. In that life, we were sisters. I saw only a brief portion of that life because it ended when we were both quite young and in a tragic manner, however I could feel the love that we had for each other strongly. We died in a fire, trapped in a stairwell, where we sat holding each other closely even in our last moments of life. She sat to my right and I on her left and as we took our last breaths, we sat cheek to cheek, attempting to protect and comfort each other. It is my belief now that this is when we formed our birthmarks. They are a physical representation that we chose to carry with us into this lifetime as a reminder of our love for each other.
One year old me, sitting with Nana in the chair which is the only place I ever knew her to be. This photo was taken in 1981.
In this moment - today, as I write this - I understand the power of the connection we have with our ancestors. While I understand that our souls were together in this current lifetime, I also understand that the love we had, and still have even after her physical death, for each other is much older than what we built in this present human experience. I also understand that while love is carried throughout many lifetimes, so is pain. Through doing the past life exploration, trauma healing, and Spiritual journey work that I do personally and with others, I also understand this: what we heal in this lifetime, in this present moment, transmits to generations passed and generations yet to come.
Love begins from within. We can learn to love more abundantly by looking within ourselves to understand what our souls are begging us to heal. We are all connected energetically, so when we heal something within ourselves, this radiates outward and strengthens the healing process for all of us.