Do you know that nervous excitement of when you are about to take a big bold powerful step in your life?

It happens for me when I’m about to make a big professional move, or change a significant relationship. That’s when I notice that I can start feeling everything all at once – expectancy and doubt tangling with each other.

With this nervous excitement I recently joined a planning meeting for a big bodacious project.

Inside me there was a dance happening between two forces –

  • An irresistible inspiration flowing through me. 
  • My will’s desire to make something great happen and to know how it will all turn out.

It’s amazing how quickly I can lose the sense of riding a creative wave and drop into the stress of figuring it all out. Have you felt that, too?

There are a million things one could say about the art – truly it is an art – of co-creating with the universe. I could get lofty on you real quick.

Framed ancestor photos on the wall with the words "Why and how to forgive your ancestors"

On this occasion what grounded me was my friend’s invitation to connect with our ancestors.

At first, I was slightly embarrassed by who came to mind. I felt awkward, like a teenager mortified by her parents, hoping that these three brothers who inhabited spheres of great economic, cultural, and political power around 1900 would be polite to the other ancestors invited into the room.

I’ve had a complicated relationship with these ancestors. They accomplished a lot and my family, in turn including me, have benefited from it. At the same time, they made mistakes and shared in the blind spots of their times. For example, one of them was the Commander for the Department of Dakota, responsible for all US Military interactions with the Dakota people. I imagine he and I would not see eye to eye about Indigenous sovereignty.

In the past I’ve got stuck at this point. I couldn’t cancel my ancestors but it was tempting. Our relationship was in a sort of limbo.

mossy tree roots

The trouble is that without my ancestors I feel like an orphan. I have nothing supporting me. It’s all up to me to make it up and figure it out. I have a narrow sense of who I am. It’s an exhausting way to live. It’s also like trying to breathe without absorbing the water vapor in the air. Our ancestors are that close.

My qigong teacher Master Chunyi Lin helped me understand that I needed to forgive my ancestors.

How do you forgive your ancestors for the harm they have done?

Master Lin suggests viewing our ancestors’ mistakes as countless experiments helping us learn what not to do. As Thomas Edison once famously quipped, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

How’s that for reframing things? Learning and growth only happen through mistakes. So, with this lens, I think of my ancestors on a shared research team with me. Underneath our life stories and choices, we are asking similar questions about what it means to live a good life. When I think about my ancestors as pursing similar questions to me, I realized how much we have in common even though our answers are so different.

starry winter night

At the meeting with my colleagues, I moved past my mortified teenager perspective and listened with curiosity for how my ancestors can help me in the pursuit of “what works.”

Here is what changed. Instead of feeling like they wouldn’t even “get” me, I felt how much they valued the different perspective I bring. They were calling me forward to share it powerfully. I felt how I was an answer to their wildest dreams. I was filled with a desire to make them proud and felt within me that they were there to help.

Returning to the dance between inspiration and effort, my ancestors are shaking things up. My effort is no longer mine alone, but a continuation supported by countless generations of ancestors. They are a bigger lever, or deeper roots, and my work is lighter.

Blessings to you and all you wish to create in your life.



Do you wish to connect with more support from your ancestors and the universe?

Qigong healing sessions are a sacred space where we can discover new ways of relating to love, the universe and to our family stories. When these relationships shift, everything else in our lives changes as well. It would be my honor to walk with you through this transformational journey. Learn more about qigong healing sessions.

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