Stern and Stingy Ancestors

Note:  No, I’m not related to Susan B. Anthony — I just thought this picture conveyed that stern ancestor look that was common in photos of that era…

I’ve been thinking a lot about the ancestral connection to this tight core of muscles currently unwinding. I mentioned a long time ago that I’d seen a connection between my ancestors’ lives and poverty consciousness pervading the current representatives. Thinking about the tight jaw and locked up head muscles I’ve kept re-running an old scene about which I was told.

My father’s mother had died on New Year’s Day 1933 and the next December his father died. Dad was seven at the time of the first and had turned eight by the time of the second event. Some aunts and uncles and his oldest brother and wife (she’s the one who told me the story – and how guilty she felt) sat around in my father’s presence and fought over who had to take him. In the past I just thought of that as unbelievably cruel and nasty and felt uncomfortable that I was related to such people.

Later, when I’d done enough research to figure out that our branch of the family, after initially succeeding in the New World, hit hard times somewhere mid-nineteenth century, I connected their attitude to poverty consciousness and the Depression. Now, when I feel into those tightly held muscles I feel the tension and anxiety of people living always on a financial edge. As far as I’ve discovered everybody on both sides of my family arrived here from Ireland and England in the 18th century as very poor people. Some branches of my family did exceedingly well and some succeeded for a while and then went back to being poor but I see that tension and fear of poverty in both.

Kreig (Bodypatterning creator) and I have been talking about the hold that ancestral patterns can have on your body. [Kreig, who's more interested in science than I am, tells me there's good stuff in Rupert Sheldrake and David Bohm on this – I have to see if there's an “Idiot's Guide”...] so I’ve become very interested in the connection. When I see that story unfolding with my dad standing there, bereft and frightened, and all these uptight stingy relatives being too concerned about their own lives to be kind to a little boy who’d just been orphaned, I almost feel the tight holding in their muscles. It was the Depression and they were not doing well and I’m imagining them as terrified that they might lose the little they had. I can see it in my dad’s jaw and I remember it in his sister’s and her daughter’s, etc., so I’m guessing that I’d have seen it in their aunts and uncles too.

I’ve been finding this component harder to work with than the emotional component involving buried memories and feelings from my own life. I’m really glad that my interest in family history has given me some pieces of information that tell me something about my ancestors’ lives but obviously I can only guess about the physical patterns that have been passed down through the generations. I’m interested in any stories you have to tell about how your ancestors’ physical ways of being have impacted your life.

This is for AlphabeThursday for which the letter is “S”.

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12 thoughts on “Stern and Stingy Ancestors

  1. Your thoughts are very provoking today! I am very glad I stopped by. My father-in-law was raised by a wicked aunt after the death of his parents when he was 5. The state refused to allow his grandparents to raise him and his two siblings! They felt they were too old! At the age of 14 my FILs aunt lied on his birth certificate and he was sent off to join the navy! At age 19 he had been around the world three times and traveled on 5 out of 7 seas! He was one of the most remarkable men I knew next to my own father!
    Thank you for this story today!
    Enjjoy the weekend!

  2. What an interesting story. Makes me wonder why more people don’t delve into their family histories. Too many people take the relative ease of life today, compared to bygone times, without feeling grateful. Fabulous post.

    • Thank you. There does seem to be more interest since “Who Do You Think You Are”, and the Louis Gates series on PBS but I think older people are usually more interested than younger. I wonder if more people realized that they’re carrying patterns in their bodies from their ancestors whether they’d be more interested in knowing the stories…

  3. This is a fascinating question. It seemed to me growing up that much of my Dad’s family was much cooler, sarcastic and tight with love and affection with links to northern Germany, and claimed to have some ancestors who came over on the Mayflower. My my mom’s family came from southern Germany were kinder, more generous and loving though they were less well off. I’ll have to think more about the effect that the different family lines had on me and my kids.
    My kids also have half their ancestors from China with a wild history on that side from what I can tell.
    Thanks for sharing this idea!

    • It’s pretty amazing stuff. I’ve known that we have cellular memories passed down through generations but I’d never thought about those cells passing along muscle patterns from one generation to the next.

  4. Wow. Big stuff. I was especially connecting to the story about your father at 7 since I went through a very similar thing at the same age.

    Untangling that twisted ancestry energy can take a lot of work and working it out of its hiding places in the body is deep work.

    Michael

  5. I love this story.

    But I picture the little boy in my mind.

    And it makes me sad.

    And angry.

    It’s amazing how much some people can endure.

    And doesn’t it make you admire them even more when they can do it was kindness and generosity of heart?

    Thank you for a superb link for the letter “S”.

    A+

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