March 19, 2023
I don’t remember the exact date, but it was a Friday afternoon in 2014. Clear blue skies, volleyball practice had been canceled for some reason I can’t remember, and our family was on the beach. There were four kids running around in the sand with nowhere else to be. I remember thinking that life didn’t get better than this. Simple is good and noticing that is even better.
Within two years, everything about those kinds of moments changed. Nearly 20 years of a relationship crumbled and left me digging deeper to figure out why. Disconnection, not just between two people, or even within a nuclear family…disconnection that goes back generations, to times when we thought toughing it out and keeping a stiff upper lip was the way to survive. I wasn’t around then, and toughness and grit to get through hard things definitely serve a purpose, but the disconnection that takes place over time because we turn away instead of looking within severs the root of our families.
Generational healing may sound heavy or complicated but what I’ve found is that it’s about finding our way back to a simple feeling, like that one I had on the beach. It's a work in progress, not a destination...but figuring things out for ourselves about why we are the way we are, and the kind of ripple effect we are capable of can feel really good. Our ability to connect with ourselves and not wiggle out of it or turn away when the things we encounter get uncomfortable, or distract ourselves with outside noise from the things that matter most. Our ability to be present, sit quietly, and take in our own thoughts, hopes and dreams and connect them with our goals and plans for our lives.
Only when we restore connection with ourselves can we peel back the layers and make peace with past traumas in our family lines.
In this unfolding and unlearning of the old ways that we thought were keeping us safe, we start to understand our inherent worth, strength, and the agency we have in our lives. We begin to love ourselves more, criticize ourselves less, and form interdependent rather than codependent relationships that create families and communities where everyone is able to work from their strengths. We stop minimizing each other, talking about what could go wrong and start looking how to make things right. Right isn’t perfect, it’s just a little bit better and more connected every day. No shame in the mistakes, just opportunities to learn and help each other navigate things more smoothly the next time.
What happens if we turn away from healing?
I’ve heard it said that addiction is the opposite of connection. Addiction will always push away love and, according to Native American wisdom, makes its mark for seven generations to come. It leaves fractured homes and dinner tables, violates safety and dignity, and creates disparity in any home it lives. Eventually, whether that home splits apart or stays together, without connection, the home is broken and the patterns that come from that create paths that destroy our health and relationships. This pain is expressed on every level from deep within the cells in our bodies and dysregulated nervous systems. If left unresolved, it cycles over and over again, cutting its path over generations of families that no matter how much they love each other, they still cause each other too much pain.
At this point, if you know me, and have been listening to my thoughts for a while, you are looking for the good news. Where is the optimism and opportunity? The answer to that lies in the agency that is within every single human to persevere, to look at themselves and see what’s working and what could be different to be better. I have always believed it was there for anyone, and now the stories that are flowing through my podcast are bringing the living, breathing, examples of human resilience that reinforce my belief that healing is always possible.
How does it happen? It happens when we stop talking about other people and start talking to ourselves. It happens when we start to understand and practice the tools that connect us with our physical, mental and spiritual being. There are no silver bullets, no biohacks, but there can be a graceful pattern of trial and error while we discover what works for us. Sometimes it takes ignoring what other people think and discovering what works for you. It’s a journey of reconnection through unlearning the habits of control and survival. Then we discover how to be present in our bodies and minds and know that when we let go of the expectation of what ‘should’ be, we become grounded and calm knowing that through whatever will be, we will be ok. And from this new calm we find grounded energy that flows.
What are these tools that help us connect? Yoga, breath work, prayer, meditation, journaling, whole foods, daily movement, music, animals, nature, grounding, talk therapy, physical therapy, chiropractic care, energy healing, acupuncture, social interaction, alone time, hydration, supplementation, fasting…the list goes on. I’m sure you could add some of your own. I don’t list all of these things to overwhelm you, but find hope that there are so many little acts to love ourselves that help connect us to our true selves. Figuring out your personal alchemy is fun, and it doesn’t look like anyone else’s.
Generational learning is what we are after here at Be Better Media where one of my goals is to begin to reverse engineer the process of the generational healing we need by creating space for people to be heard and connect with their purpose. Gigantic visions are made up of little consistent steps everyday, but you don’t have to take them all by yourself. Come find me on What I Meant to Say to hear stories of other people committed to being better one day at a time. These conversations have created more moments in the sun for me and helped create more opportunities for health, healing and ability to go with the flow in life by learning more about the human experience and what we are capable of. Keep following along…better is coming with the connections we make with each other everyday.
Happy 21st Birthday Luke, thank you for teaching me how to stress less and love more. So proud of you everyday.
For your listening enjoyment, a throwback tune with magical piano, lyrics and generational significance.