Identity Lies in the Age of Ancestry.com

Identity Lies in the Age of Ancestry.com

One of the most emotional experiences of my life occurred when I received the results of an ancestry.com DNA test. The entirety of my existence, my family lineage, were sent on a tailspin. So many things made sense. Yet feelings of anger, relief, betrayal, and satisfaction ping ponged throughout my body. It’s a turmoil people who know their biology never have to experience.

Identity Crisis

You look in the mirror and see a person, you see yourself, but who are you? It’s an identity crisis that sends many off their natural path. It’s an isolation that chains you to always wondering why security doesn’t grow like it does in others. It’s a root rotting in an outgrown space.

So many of us live our lives this way. Doesn’t matter what we were told by family or how deeply we are loved, that gnawing feeling never goes away. It’s no wonder why DNA tests have become so popular.

Although sex was taboo in our great-grandparents and grandparents day, they sure had a lot of it. And with random people. Husbands and wives cheated. They had children outside of marriages, but no one talked about it. It was swept under the rug, never to be spoken about again. They could take secrets to the grave then. But not anymore.

Our current society is demonstrating how important identity is for a sense of self. Parents in modern society should think twice before trying to conceal an aspect of another’s identity. Families can promote irrevocable damage for lying to children their entire lives. And isn’t that a fair response?

Intuition

It’s not emotionally healthy to lie to a child. The adverse effects of being lied to manifest in very personal ways because we all have an intuitive nature that just knows. There is a bond with people who share the same genetics that isn’t there with someone who isn’t our biological parent.

That’s not to say love isn’t there, but that innate, indescribable knowing is at a miss. It’s better to know why than to live an entire life questioning yourself and the way you feel.

Just to be clear, it is not ok to make decisions about another’s identity in order to save yourself from feeling the consequences of your life choices. Lying does not protect children. It forms an unstable foundation that supports a false reality. One that will most certainly be shattered in the age of technology. The emotional pain that people go through when they realize they’ve been lied to their entire lives by the same people who claimed to love them is like blunt force trauma to the soul.

Adult children are feeling this across the globe. A well-cited woman named St. Clair describes the feeling as “the floor falling out from under her” when she found out her biological father wasn’t her real father. A friend and I discussed the feelings of abandonment felt when a biological parent doesn’t come and “find” us. I noted, however, that many Boomers have trouble navigating computers, so our feelings of abandonment might be self inflicted.

Triggers

Yet these negative feelings are the way our bodies respond regardless of logic. For each trauma we experienced, emotionally or physically, our bodies keep the feelings stored in a memory bank. Each time there’s a perceived trigger, we feel the same sensations we did when the trauma was actually happening.

When my biological father popped up on my DNA match on Ancestry.com, I instantly wrote him a message. At that point I had looked for him on and off for about 9 years and had been on ancestry for 4 of them. After he didn’t respond I felt anger, sadness, betrayal, unworthiness, indifference, and probably a hundred other emotions.

However, I had an intuitive feeling that maybe this Boomer didn’t know how to navigate technology. Whether or not it was true, I held onto that thought until the negative emotions subsided, and I accepted knowing my DNA as good enough.

An entire year went by before I received a message back. Turns out my intuition was right. Although I had all that time to get over it, even though I felt I had released the need to know, the wave of feelings came rushing in all at once. But this time it was met with an unfamiliar sense of closure.

In the following months, I learned a lot about the other half of my genetics. Unknown medical information, unexplained patterns of behavior all in the light. Nature versus nurture is a real thing. The lost puzzle piece was found and I can finally put the gnawing feeling to rest.

Closure
From the perspective of a child growing up in secrets, it is far better to grieve together in honesty than to live a life of falsities. I would rather feel the initial shock with a solid foundation in. honesty than years of aftershock with raw emotions always boiling beneath the surface.

With quick DNA testing sites like 23andme and ancestry.com, life has found a way to bring ancestral secrets to light in order to heal generational trauma. Too many people have walked this earth living a lie. Too many have brought their secrets to the grave, leaving loved ones always guessing. Forcing people to forget. But this is a new age.

At the click of a button we can uncover generation of secrets. We can find the truth of our lives. The only questions is, are you ready to receive it?

Crystals for healing emotional trauma:

Carnelian

Aquamarine

Citrine

Self Care: What it is and how to do it

Self Care: What it is and how to do it

A few years ago, the concept of self care was foreign to me. Work was all consuming. If I wasn’t working, I felt guilty. If I felt tired, I would simply push myself through the uncomfortableness. The only time I allowed myself to rest was when I passed out. And eventually I crashed, hard, in the form of a nervous breakdown. Some of us are just so stubborn that the Universe intervenes and forces us to listen. That’s me. I’m some of us.

The message was loud and clear: Self care actually keeps your batteries charged. Imagine driving your car without stopping for gas, or bringing it in for an oil change or a tune up. Those time outs for repair are what keep the car running. Without it, you’ll find yourself broken down on the side of the road. Our bodies work the same way. Whether it’s your muscles or your brain, we need time to recoup the energy we’ve exerted out into the world. Self care is how we keep going.

“There is one thing that must be understood: self care is about you, not anyone else.”

It doesn’t surprise me that I’m not the only one who had trouble understanding the concept of self care. Society demands so much from us. School, work, partnership, children, and family are priorities in most people’s lives. Sometimes those priorities become overwhelming and it’s easy to forget about ourselves. These are the times we must stop and think: What good am I if I run myself into the ground?

Self care comes in many forms. But there is one thing that must be understood: self care is about you, not anyone else. Self care is not doing something someone else wants to do. Self care is not putting your needs aside to take care of someone else. Self care is about your needs.

Self care is saying no to someone else when you already have plans for yourself. If you’ve started running a bath, and your partner or child calls for you to do something, you have the right to say no. You have the right to take that hour to just be without interruption. Unless there’s fire, flood or blood, there’s no need for you to stop what you’re doing. It can wait.

Same goes for plans. It’s true that some occasions call for you to suck it up and go, especially if it’s important to a loved one. But there is a line to be drawn. There is no reason to put yourself in a bad predicament for someone else’s enjoyment. Bad predicaments can be financially, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. If you don’t have money, don’t go. If you have work tomorrow and missing it would severely hurt your financial situation, don’t go. There is a measure of guilt, but at the end of the day, you’ll feel good about making the choice that was right for you.

“There is no reason to put yourself in a bad predicament for someone else’s enjoyment.”

Which brings me to my next point. Don’t wait around for someone to do things with. Trust me, I know it’s frustrating to always be alone. But it’s even more aggravating when you sit around wasting precious time you could’ve been using to do the things that you love. Whether that’s hiking, seeing a movie, eating out, or going to a museum or gym, it’s important that you don’t neglect yourself just because no one else in your life is interested in the same activities.

Take time for yourself while making your priorities a priority. This means getting your work done when it’s supposed to be done and not waiting until the last minute which results in a half ass product, or no product at all. Many people love to self sabotage with procrastination. All this does is continue a cycle of shame and guilt that keeps you locked in a cage of self hate.

You might lie to yourself and claim that trip or that date was necessary, but when it detracts from the goals you set for yourself all it becomes is a distraction. Putting in work to reach your goals builds self esteem and confidence. Neglecting responsibilities only drags you into despair.

“We are responsible for the choices we make.”

There are two polar opposites: those who give themselves too much, and those who deny themselves of everything. Neither one of these choices are healthy. An excess of anything is unhealthy. Someone or something is always on the hurt end of the stick. Whether it’s your credit, your parent’s retirement fund, or your goals, excessiveness will catch up eventually. Spending money on trips, clothes, and other experiences are nice and provide us with a sense security and well roundedness. Yet when it’s done to such excess that it negatively affects our day to day lives, the fun and niceties have become a problem.

On the other hand, making yourself a martyr and denying yourself any pleasures is just as bad and is no doubt hurting you. Making yourself a martyr breeds resentment. Eventually, this resentment is directed toward your kids, your spouse, or whoever it is you feel you have to deny yourself for. At the end of the day though, it’s more than likely no one asked you to forgo every little luxury. We are responsible for the choices we make. The key is to find a healthy balance.

Maybe you can’t afford much, but if none of your clothes fit, is it really going to break the bank to spend less than $50 on a pair of pants at Target or a thrift store? Giving ourselves what we need, be it a pair of pants, higher education, or a spa day, it necessary for our ultimate fulfillment so we can be our best selves for the ones we love.

Whether it’s saying yes to more things, or saying no, it all starts with acknowledging what you need.”

So do yourself a favor, and take a deep breath in and slowly let it out. Know that no one is perfect and we are all spiritual beings having a human experience. We are here to learn, not have it all figured out. There’s a great deal of self control that comes with self care. Wherever you fall on the self-care spectrum, know that you have the power to balance it out and bring stability into your life.

Whether it’s saying yes to more things, or saying no, it all starts with acknowledging what you need. Be honest with yourself about what you really want, then take that first step. Once you do, you’ll be empowered to do it again, and again, and again. Next thing you know, self care becomes second nature.

Listen to your thoughts. Take a moment to feel the sensations in your body. Our minds and body tell us when something doesn’t feel right, when it’s time to relax, and when we must make a decision that is better for us in the long run. Follow your gut feeling; don’t ignore them. The sooner you start taking care of yourself, the quicker you’ll restore yourself to sanity.

Recommended crystals:

Rose Quartz

Blue Kyanite 

Girasol Quartz

Sacral Chakra Balancing: The codependent corrector

Sacral Chakra Balancing: The codependent corrector

Many people struggle with finding joy in the day to day. Life becomes so mundane that it feels as if they’re just going through the movements, forgetting to experience the little miracles of the world. Miracles that would bring life to existence. Some forget their passions. They stop making time for their hobbies, or maybe never made time for hobbies. Others are plain dissatisfied. Whether it’s with relationships, a job, or something unknown to them, they can’t deny a level of discontent with their position in life as it sits at this very moment.

You may experience one or many of the above mentioned issues at one time or another. Life is not constant; it moves in phases. One week, month, or year we could be up, and the next…we’re just not.

The sacral chakra, or Svadhishthana in Sanskrit, controls the joy and passion we experience in our lives. Svadhisthana translates to “one’s own place.” When we know and understand ourselves fully, we are able to set boundaries needed to have healthy, fulfilling relationships in all areas of our lives. This place keeps your higher self protected, while allowing others to see you fully in order to give the respect you deserve. It is the second chakra located in the pelvic area represented by the color orange. Water is the element of the sacral chakra, symbolizing fluid and changing emotions.

Emotional relating in the 3D world is formed during the developmental stages of childhood. If a child has untrustworthy or unavailable caretakers, a whole litany of issues will arise stemming from low self esteem. For example, a parent who does not allow a child to make his/her own decisions, develop a sense of personal identity, or freedom to express his/her needs will result in an adult who is unsure of his/her self. In psychological terms, this shows up as codependency.

Codependency has a very wide umbrella. Put simply, codependency is allowing the actions of others to affect your emotional wellbeing. That also means using another person or substance as a means of feeling better. For example, a man or woman who relies solely on his or her partner to meet all their emotional needs is codependent. An addict is codependent. Trying to control situations is codependent. A parent whose entire world revolves around his/her child is codependent. The people who accept sex in lieu of love are codependent. Jumping from relationship to relationship is codependent.

The list goes on and on. Basically, if you grew up with any family dysfunction, you most likely have some type of codependent characteristic. A full (and exhaustive) list can be found here. The effects of a skewed developmental stage in childhood leads to imbalances in the sacral chakra.

Signs of an Unbalanced Sacral Chakra

The most obvious is addiction. This can be addiction to anything— shopping, gambling, behaviors, people, drugs, alcohol.

Another sign is promiscuous behavior, or the other extreme, repression of sexual desire altogether. Sleeping around for validation and obsessive sexual thoughts or fantasies also fall under this category.

Codependency is a symptom of a blockage. Trust issues, low self esteem, people pleasing, controlling behavior, and manipulation are all signs of codependency.

Lack of joy or boredom: What’s stopping you from doing the things that you love?

Resistance to change arises with a blocked sacral chakra. Since water is the element that rules the second chakra, one that is balanced would “go with the flow” and accept change as a part of life.

Common Physical Manifestations 

Lower Back Pain

Heightened Allergies

Bladder issues

Lethargy

Addiction

Balanced Sacral Chakra

When the sacral chakra is balanced we feel balanced. We are able to process our negative emotions in a healthy way, and maintain an even temper even when things don’t go our way at work, home, or in relationships. Expression of our emotional needs come easily. We are in tune with sexual needs and express them in a safe, loving manner. A balanced sacral chakra is how artists create, relationships accomplish harmony, and mindfulness is achieved.

How to Balance 

  • Create! Make time for a creative endeavor whether it’s cooking, singing, painting, or jewelry making. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at it. It only matters that you enjoy it. Practice makes progress!
  • Practice yoga. This can be done for free with a YouTube video or join a class.
  • Wear orange. Orange is a symbol of happiness and job. It is our creative force.
  • Eat more orange fruits and vegetables.
  • Practice sound healing. The sacral chakra is associated with the key of D. You can sing, play an instrument, use your own song bowl, or have a sound healing done professionally.
  • Practice meditation with healing crystals. Guided meditations can be found for free on YouTube, or on apps like Calm, Headspace, and others.

Healing Crystals for the Sacral Chakra:

Citrine

Tiger’s Eye

Carnelian

Amethyst

Pyrite

Root Chakra Balancing: Why it’s so important

Root Chakra Balancing: Why it’s so important

Imagine building a house without a solid foundation. It doesn’t matter how beautiful a structure you’ve built, how high the walls, or what stone counters or floors you’ve installed, it’s basically a house of cards that can be blown apart with even the slightest upset. The root chakra is the first chakra because it represents your foundation. Balancing the root chakra provides stability and secure survival patterns. It provides a safe environment for all other chakras to open.

Located at the base of the spine, the root chakra, or Muladhara in Sanskrit, is responsible for feeling grounded and safe. The name Muladhara translates to “root support.” Only when we feel grounded are we able to feel safe in any situation. Without a root, plants would have no means of support. This is the primary difference between someone who is calm and collected even when they have very little versus someone who has it all, yet constantly struggles for more. The element of the root chakra is Earth, symbolizing the solid ground in which we securely plant our being.

Security in the 3D world is formed during infancy. In psychology this is called attachment theory. A child who is securely attached to his or her parents feels safe. The parent has met the child’s needs. For example, if baby cries, the parent will do his or her best to quell the baby’s nerves. The parents have the baby on a routine for feeding, sleeping, etc. The baby is well taken care of. The baby learns that he or she can trust that its needs will be met and therefore the baby feels safe.

Babies who have parents who are fickle or neglectful develop insecure attachments. They learn that their needs will not get met all of the time, or in extreme cases, not at all, and consequently the babies learn that the world is not a safe place. From birth, their root chakras form an imbalance that can affect the relationship with themselves and others for the rest of their lives.

Root Chakra Imbalances

This shows up in myriad forms. The one most familiar is anxiety. I’m not speaking of the normal doses of anxiety that you get when there’s a big project due, or you’re getting evaluated for a job or a promotion. Chronic anxiety flares up when we don’t feel safe. These feelings make it hard to deal with reality. You don’t believe you can accomplish a task no matter how small or big. You are consumed with worry to the point you don’t even start. Concentration and focus become nearly impossible. This is a clear indication that the root chakra is imbalanced.

Another tell-tale sign that the root chakra needs balancing is insecurity. These behaviors show up as extreme shyness, inability to say no, fear-based thinking, and carry a scarcity mindset. In other words, nothing is ever enough.

Greed also arises with a root chakra imbalance. When materialism becomes the most important facet to a person’s life, it is a clear indication the root chakra needs work. Think of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.

Anger and irritation are additional behaviors of a root chakra imbalance. We become annoyed that we don’t feel an inner sense of security and lash out at others unintentionally. The lack of control we feel over our own lives triggers insecurities.

Common Physical Manifestations 

  • Lower back pain
  • Low energy
  • Leg pain
  • Feet issues
  • Colon problems
  • Eating disorders

Balanced Root Chakra

When the root chakra is balanced we feel confident. We are able to take responsibility for ourselves and feel secure that we are in control of our destiny. Feelings of calm blanket our lives regardless of the circumstances. We feel at peace with what we have, yet do not let fear get in the way of our goals. A balanced root chakra is how children are able to leave home and create new adult lives, how people go back to school, begin new hobbies, start businesses, and travel the world.

How to Balance 

  • Get back into nature. Hike, camp, lay in the grass— anything to reconnect with the earth
  • Practice yoga. This can be done for free with a YouTube video or join a class.
  • Wear red. Red is a symbol of strength and power. It is our life force.
  • Eat more red fruits and vegetables.
  • Practice sound healing. The root chakra is associated with the key of C. You can sing, play an instrument, use your own song bowl, or have a sound healing done professionally.
  • Practice meditation with healing crystals. Guided meditations can be found for free on YouTube, or on apps like Calm, Headspace, and others.

Healing Crystals for the Root Chakra:

Black Kyanite

Smoky Quartz

Hematite

Black Tourmaline

Carnelian

Loneliness vs. Being Alone: A Fundamental Difference

Loneliness vs. Being Alone: A Fundamental Difference

It’s the weekend. You’re home alone. People are all over social media posting their adventures while you sit home with a silent phone. It’s like you’re the only one not doing a damn thing. Sound familiar?

There are two things you can do in this situation: feel sorry for yourself, or take care of yourself. Contrary to popular belief, scrolling through social media for hours on end is not a hobby, it’s a waste of time. It is great entertainment for a reasonable period of time, but if you find yourself staring and scrolling more than looking into another person’s eyes or being productive you’re treading on thin ice.

Social media does not replace human interaction. That’s why it’s so unfulfilling. In fact, it’s widely known to cause anxiety and depression because people don’t typically post boring nights, or nights they come out of their skin, or sit alone crying.  And if they do, they are judged harshly. We all know it. No one wants to see that shit. So we post happiness and fun. We post inspiring quotes and funny videos. We post our triumphs, not our tribulations. Then the people who are in a slump view all the happiness they are not currently experiencing, a term called FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), and internalize this as not being good enough.

The truth is, everyone goes through periods of loneliness. It’s necessary in order to grow. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. It’s supposed to be. But the more you try to numb that discomfort with distractions, the more frequent these periods of discomfort become. Distractions come in many forms. Here are a few:

  • Endless scrolling
  • Binge watching an unhealthy amount of TV/ video games
  • Compulsive shopping
  • Drug abuse
  • Drinking
  • Smoking copious amount of weed
  • Texting or calling anyone and everyone just to feel like you’re not alone
  • Eating your feelings
  • Getting involved in other people’s problems
  • Compulsive online dating

Another method of distraction is maintaining friendships that don’t feel right just for the sake of not being alone. These are one-sided relationships where the give and take is so unbalanced you leave the interaction feeling uneasy and more doubtful than if you had just stayed home alone in the first place. Or you leave annoyed, angry, and upset.

One thing I have learned is that if you allow people to take their issues out on you, they will. Excuses about unhealthy family dynamics are only viable during childhood. There comes a point when you are responsible for your healing, for setting boundaries with friends and family, and taking control of your life. You can’t change someone. What you can change is the amount of time you spend with that person.

Getting involved in other people’s problems is another common distraction. When we focus on what someone else is doing, or not doing, it shifts the focus off of what we’re capable of controlling. The person might be in a situation that seems awful to us, but each person has their own bullshit tolerance level. What is intolerable to you, is tolerant to them, at least at the moment. Everyone has different life experiences and paths they must follow in order to grow. And if they want to complain every now and then, that’s ok. We all do it. But going around in circles and constantly complaining day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, without any solutions is toxic behavior.

In the popular psychology book Games People Play, author Eric Bernie names this social transaction Why Don’t You—Yes But. It’s a self- victimizing strategy where “the purpose of the game is not to get suggestions, but to reject them.” We’ve all been on one side of this game at one time or another. A person aires their grievances while another wracks their brain thinking of solutions only to be met with an excuse for each suggestion. When the person offering solutions gets tired and can’t think of anything else, the complainer feels justified in his or her victimization and thus their “whoa is me” demeanor is reinforced. To the people offering suggestions, the WDYYB game is emotionally draining and unpleasant to be around.

Sometimes people vent and don’t want a solution; they just want to be heard. This is why offering unsolicited advice is frowned upon. When you do, you could be unintentionally playing into a victimizing game or participating in codependent behavior. To obsess over other people’s problems is to avoid dealing with your own. Be mindful of how much energy you’re putting out for issues that aren’t your problem.

The goal is to stop the distractions altogether. This is super hard with entertainment right at our fingertips. The minute we feel uncomfortable with our own thoughts we reach for our phones to give us a distraction, any distraction, to take our mind off of the fact we can’t be left alone with ourselves. Stopping distractions in its tracks takes a great deal of awareness and mindfulness. And the only place to start is at the beginning.

Next time you’re alone and uncomfortable, keep track of how long you can sit without searching for a distraction. Look at the time. How many minutes went by? When we practice awareness it helps train the brain to recognize self defeating behaviors. This time alone shouldn’t be lonely, but at first it will feel that way. Once you’re able to accept there’s a distraction issue, you’ll be able to turn loneliness into empowering moments of self fulfillment.

You don’t have to be bored and lonely when you’re alone. Actually, looking to others to entertain you is pretty unhealthy. No one is here for your amusement and you’re not here for theirs. Think of ways you can entertain yourself without distractions.

What are some things you like to do or have always wanted to do? There is nothing stopping you from doing those things yourself, or joining a group that shares similar interests. You may be thinking, “But you just said to be alone.” And you’re right, I did. Alone doesn’t mean you can’t be in groups. Some people are extroverted and love to be around people. What’s important is that you’re around the right people.

Others are introverted and enjoy being alone. For instance, I am an introvert. When I’m alone, I like to go on hikes. I play the guitar. I listen to foreign language lessons. I read books; I write. I meditate; I listen to music. I read tarot. I’ll even take myself out to eat or to the movies.

Being alone means you are taking care of you in a healthy way without participating in unhealthy distractions. Being alone means you are engaging in activities that make you happy.

Alone time is so beneficial for self exploration. It doesn’t have to be isolating and lonely. But it certainly can go there real quick when we engage in distracting behaviors instead of sitting with the feeling in order to change the course to a healthier route. We can’t find ourselves in other people. That’s just not how it works.

So the next time you feel yourself cringing at the thought of being alone, I challenge you to sit with uncomfortableness. What can you find out about yourself? And how can you change the narrative to create a more fulfilling you?

Recommended crystals: 

Hematite

Lepidolite

Black Kyanite