I have seen in a few people who are close to me that they are carrying the weight of their past, that goes back years, decades and even generations. It seemed implausible how people we have never met but who share connections with us have the power to affect our lives….but neuroscience has recently made progress in understanding how trauma is passed down through the generations by a chemical process called methylation (methyl markers attached to DNA strands).
It seems almost science fiction, but it startled me several times whenever I see it in action in the lives of people who are close to me through their actions, words and how they read a certain incident.
My psychologist friend works in this area and recommends this book, Aunt Claire’s Yellow Beehive Hair. I have not read the book, but according to its Amazon blurb,
“Annie longs to know more about her family. One rainy day, Grandma Marilyn takes out dusty photos, faded letters, and a fragile wedding bouquet while telling the stories that bind them together. Annie learns that her Aunt Claire was famous for the beauty creams she created in her kitchen and that an uncle won a medal in the war. Connected to her past, Annie creates a special scrapbook with room at the end to add to as her family grows.”
We can never run away from the past, the voices from the graves even. And often, the past carries pain, anguish and anger in them, that has nothing to do with us today, but which nonetheless affects our present lives. Having a conversation with our past (the “Why?”, “Oh no!”, “Oh my grief!”) is one of the most effective ways of making peace with it. Strange phenomenon, but if you are interested in learning more, check out Family Constellation.