Story is one way that we carry forth the thread of ancestors. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves, is big on story. Estes wrote about a childhood experience in The Dancing Grandmas. This story is about four elder women of her foster father’s family who came over from Hungary to America when Clarissa was seven years old. She first met them as they disembarked from the train “looking like Santa Clauses” because they wore all the clothes they owned. The riches she received from them were all about story.
An excerpt: “…They brought riches just by being. Even though bereft now of children and husbands, stripped to the bone of their icons, their roadside chapels of worship, their village lives as they had known them; stripped of the simple solace of the ancestral forest they lived near and all its medicines, the satisfaction of the white cloth they wove, stripped of the ability to protect their daughters, their bodies, their modesty, their privacy–even so, they had managed to hold onto the essential and resilient Self…”
So it is with each one of us. We each have women and men who in some way modeled something saving and special for us. We each have precious stories that we file away. Maybe we even forget them until something in the present triggers us and sends us back to a person, place, time…a positive experience that imprinted us in some way.
1) Choose one of the persons from your ancestor’s list. Recollect and write down the basic facts of a story from your childhood that involved you and this person.
2) Stories often contain a hidden gem. Take a moment of quiet reflection. Reread your story. What is the gem or gift to yourself within the story. In one sentence, write down what you perceive as the gem within.
3) If there is more that you want to say about this, please do continue to write.
Note: The thing about stories, at different stages of our lives they can take on new or deeper meaning for us. It is, finally, our personal mythology which speaks to us on a symbolic level.