I believe that when our loved ones pass, we take them inside us, so that they continue to be there when we want to connect with them, and when we need to connect with them.

This can be both good and not so good. Good when what I ‘hear’ when I go inside is what nourishes my growth and maturity. Not so good when what I ‘hear’ stifles that growth. I can think of how my mother taught me to cook, something that she learned from her mother, who met my grandfather while working as a chef at a large ranch complex in Alberta. I still cherish the memories and the feeling I get when cooking. I never feel alone when I cook because both women are there with me.

I can also think back to how I was taught never to voice my opinion as a child, and how difficult it was for me to find my voice as a result, into my adulthood. That was an internalization that I had to learn to understand and change in order to grow and mature.

My internalized ancestors guide me. In some ways, they are part of my north star. Learning to ‘hear’ their voices when I need them has helped me get stronger and surer of my way.

I remember the time I was learning to ride a bike. My cousin volunteered to teach me – something both helpful and not-so-helpful. In a moment of extreme frustration, I went inside and complained to my grandmother about my cousin. She suggested I get back out there, get back on, and keep it up until I succeeded. I did succeed, with the help of some trickery from my cousin. And now that experience returns vividly whenever I’m involved in something that is really difficult, and that I need to try over and over, until I get what I need.

With my ancestors with me, I know that I have all the resources I need to get to where I want to go, and that I will never need to do this alone.

Need help quieting the struggle between what you want and what you need? Reach out here to book a therapy appointment with Maryanne Nicholls.

Why I train grandmothers to treat depression

Quote of the Week

Grandmothers are a gift not to be taken lightly. So many lose them, before they are old enough to know their magic. I am glad my bones were born with this knowledge. She taught me how to become a good ancestor. At least this – loving her presence, appreciating her wisdom – is something I know how to do well.”

― Nikita Gill, The Girl and the Goddess: Stories and Poems of Divine Wisdom


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