As I was ready to walk into the office, the echo of keys hitting the ground rung through the hall. A big sigh of disapointment and a few cussing words followed. It made sense- it caused this person to stop, bend over, and get out of the intended routine. This seemingly insignificant episode quite possibly altered the remainder of the day for that person. I did not check in, so who knows, it may even caused a full blown tantrum.
Unfortunately, we have many events or life experiences that slice much deeper into our souls than simply dropping our cherished belongings on the floor. Lately, I have been pondering my own self’s positive and negative reactions, and have found that there are deep underlying roots that generate many of my day-to-day feelings…this has inspired me to write this off-the-cuff blog post.
I recently read my family genealogy book about my Dad’s Great-Grandfather (I will call him Kaz) who became an orphan at the fragile age of one. Both parents and all siblings died due to cholera and other diseases. Kaz had an enormous amount of pain, suffering, and sadness in his life. He felt that nobody loved him, and that he was lesser and unworthy. Deep inside he felt undeserving of happiness, good health, modest wealth, or a decent family.
In his mind, the world was unjust and unfair. Bad luck followed him even when he managed to reach adulthood and started his own family. Only one boy out of twelve precious children managed to survive and extend the family lineage. Kaz’s agony carried onto his future descendants. His only surviving son became an alcoholic, his grandchildren dealt with various vices and emotional problems. World War I and II did not help either, adding another element of pain and torment.
Now to further my point on how previous generations affect our lives (through our genes), here is an interesting study I want to share. Research that was recently conducted on rats by the Emory University School of Medicine revealed some interesting links between generational experiences. Female mice experienced painful testing to stimuli prior to pregnancy. The research found that their offspring reacted negatively to the same stimuli even though they were not in existence during the time of their mothers’ testing. The pain and suffering of the mother was encoded into the genes of their babies.
From what we learned in the mice study, bad experiences could influence not only our lives but also our future generations as well. We do not have to endure a major life defining event, like Kaz did, in order for our lives to spiral out of control. Getting cutoff in traffic, hearing a few negative words from a supervisor, or feeling emotional pain from losing a fantasy football game could be enough to put somebody in a state of misery and self-pity.
Not everyone is lucky enough to know their family tree history but all of us can dig a little deeper. We can be thoughtful and grateful for what we have instead of feeling wretched for what we do not. Positive change can come our way, we just have to create an inviting and fertile environment for it. We deserve happiness but most importantly, we have to believe that we deserve it. Kaz certainly did not believe that he deserved happiness; instead, he was crushed and never recovered. That lack of belief in ourselves can be inherited and passed to our descendants. Luckily there is a way out.
We can rewrite the inherited experiences of our ancestors by identifying those negative feelings we are carrying today and letting them go. Releasing stress factors that not only we generate in our daily lives, but also those feelings that we were born with, will unburden our souls. If we feel like our lives are in a rut, make little changes. Take an impromptu walk, stop and smell the flowers, take a different route home, rearrange the furniture in the house, meditate, start yoga classes, start putting nourishing foods in our mouths.
We can change our breathing, pause in our busy days and share a few compliments with our friends or even strangers, call the people that we detest deep in our hearts and tell them that we love them. Stop the hate. Stop the blame. Learn to forgive. All those little changes will start leading into a new path in life.
The next time we drop our ‘keys’ (our feelings, health, relationships), think of the positive emotions that we get from picking them up. Change our perspectives. We are strong. We are worthy. We are beautiful. It is time to change our lives. It is time to rewrite our future.