The inescapable impact of our ancestry



In a paper from Jon Blend and Roz Carroll Witnessed Improvised Diaspora Journey Enactments (WIDJE): an experiential method for exploring refugee history, the authors’ interest was on the impact of forced displacement of people from their family and culture. Their focus was on current refugee movements, and on the displacement and loss of family for the Jews from the last World War.  Their paper reviews what is known, and then provides a way for displaced peoples to begin to heal and reconnect with their past.

Why is this important? Because whether a person is able to have a connection with their ancestors – both in terms of their blood relations and community – people’s identity is impacted in profound ways.

Becoming separated from our past creates wounds that we protect and pass to our offspring. It prevents us from living fully, or for our children to live fully.

I invite you to consider that almost everyone in the United States and Canada is, to some extent, displaced from their history.  Most families and individuals who immigrated to North America did so because they had to, leaving behind their community and families and culture to begin again.  The indigenous peoples of North America were forced away from their communities and ways of living – even from their lands – by those same people; thereby losing their birthright.

We all have a birthright to reclaim. Sometimes that means recreating or rebirthing ourselves, sometimes it means retracing our stories (including what we imagine as the stories of our forbearers), and sometimes it means a little of both. By doing so, we reconnect ourselves to our past, and create a positive connection for those who come after us.

There is an indigenous belief that we are influenced by the 7 generations before us, and will influence the 7 generations after us. How do you want to influence everyone that comes after you?



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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at .




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