Connecting with Ourselves While Re-Connecting with Our Ancestors
Have you ever wondered who your ancestors were? Or where your lineage came from? What their beliefs, native language, and culture was like? Well, for me, ever since I embarked on my academic journey I have been blessed with being able to challenge and immerse myself in numerous Master’s and Doctoral level courses where I was forced to be reflective and introspective of who I am and how I saw myself through a social and cultural context relative to my ancestors.
One of my favorite professors in the Master’s program at NSU, Dr. Victor Wallen taught one of my favorite classes called Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling. He divided up the course so that each week we would dedicate our focus on racial injustices in the black community, white privilege, Hispanic/Latino culture, Arabic culture, American Indians/ Indigenous culture literature, and many others. I had never seen culture presented nor discussed in this way in my previous years of education. Fast forward to the most thought-provoking question Dr. Wallen asked me which was, “Dr. Linardi, now why do you identify as Hispanic if being from Colombia means that your indigenous roots may have been Mayan, Chibcha, or Incan? Why speak Spanish and not your native dialect?” I sat there like a deer in headlights—what do you mean my native language? Is it not Spanish? And there it was, a light had been shined on the bleak reality that he was right, Spanish was not my actual native language, but rather the language of my country’s oppressor and I was identifying with it—heavily. I wanted to learn more about this and embarked on a journey of doing so. During my Doctoral studies, I worked 3 years in a non-profit organization where I worked with Hispanic/Latinx population who had been victims of crime—sexual abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking, and exploitation of many sorts. This catapulted me into furthering my studies relative to Hispanic/Latinx culture, traditions, and beliefs—and how it impacted having several important conversations (i.e. “the sex talk” in families facing multigenerational incidents of sexual abuse) and the passing down of ambiguous messages throughout generations.
With this deep curiosity, I found a vast need in furthering research and filling the gap—therefore, I continued my studies and focused my Doctoral Capstone project, the Applied Clinical Project (ACP) on this topic, which is comparable to a Dissertation. My study is titled, “An Action Research Study: The Development and Implementation of “The Talk” Parent Workshop for Hispanic Families Facing Multigenerational Childhood Sexual Abuse Utilizing a Bowen Systems Lens.” With this project fulfilled, I felt there were still more questions left unanswered—and therefore I have continued on my journey to nourish my soul and its craving for connection to my ancestors.
Recently, I decided to delve further into the literature. I have been reading “Voices from The Ancestors- Xicanx and Latinx Spiritual Expressions and Healing Practices” by Lara Medina and Martha R. Gonzales which touches on reflective writings and spiritual practices of Xicanx, Latinx, and Afro-Latinx women and males allies who seek to heal from the historical traumas of colonization by returning to ancestral traditions and knowledge.
While delving into the literature and starting with this book, I came across this quote that truly resonated with me:
“Reclaiming and reconstructing our spiritualty based on non-Western epistemologies is central to our process of decolonization, particularly in these most troubling times of incessant Eurocentric, heteronormative patriarchy, misogyny, racial injustice, global capitalist greed, and disastrous global climate change.” p 4
What I appreciated about this novel is how wisdom is offered in many forms, in reflective essays, poetry, prayers, guidelines for healing practices and communal rituals, and visual art.
Medina and Gonzales noted “culture changes, shifts, and transforms over time. What we offer here is cultural knowledge—our cultural capital that has assisted us in overcoming traumas, celebrating significant transitions in our lives, and connecting with our ancestors and the natural world. A well-known dicho in Latinx culture is “la cultura cura”—the imperative that culture heals.”
By delving further into my culture through literature and recently embarking on signing up for services through AncestryDNA—I start my journey to truly understand even a smidgen of what my culture was and is and embrace the true roots and lineage of my family system.
I challenge you to consider and question what your beliefs are, what you embrace, and why and constantly remain curious—because there is always room for more questions and answers!
Stay tuned, I will be sharing my results from AncestryDNA and continuing to share with you additional literature and thoughts surrounding this beautiful privilege and opportunity I have been presented in accomplishing this.
I offer this space and blog to those who came before me and have provided me the opportunity to continue living out my purpose in this life. And thank you to all who are taking the time to join me on this journey.
Remember to live intentionally and purposefully—and join me on IG @bewholewithnicole for more content, discussions, and opportunities to join in on the conversation.
Dr. Nicole Linardi