Oma Oud Wedding Photograph

“Not enough” is a theme that has cropped up a lot in shamanic healing sessions with clients recently. Tracing that feeling, the “hole that cries out to be filled”, to source , often means doing profound and life changing  ancestral healing work.

In ancestral healing work we travel down the timeline into the past. We see glimpses of the events that shape the life and soul of families. We see war, famine, starvation, religious persecution, emigration and so forth. Most importantly we also see the immense reservoir of love, talent, strength, energy and life force that runs through families.

Our ancestors lived on the same planet as we do today but “in a very different world”: the internet did not exist, life was lived in smaller villages and communities. Families were more cohesive. The ‘edge of the known world’ was nearer. Beyond that point ‘be dragons’.

My own maternal grandmother had to go “into service” as an 11 year old girl, working for a posh family as a maid, scrubbing their floors and performing menial tasks. Can you imagine doing that to your 11 year old today? She has just done her SATS and you have hopefully found her a good secondary school where her education continues…

My grandmother was someone who suffered from (a bad case of)  “Not Enough”. No matter how much she ate – she always felt hungry (and here I am speaking on the physical level). No matter how much love and attention she received, inside her was that 11 year old girl who got pushed out of the nest to work so hard that she had damaged knees and mobility problems for the rest of her life.

So this is something I have had to heal in myself, something I continue to heal in myself – because such issues can take many forms and shapes, throughout a lifetime they can disappear and reappear in surprising ways.

The fact that clients present with this inevitably means I need to face up to it and address it within myself.

My maternal grandmother also had a very magical mindset and an insatiable appetite for life. When we gave her a present in a box she would always search the box for ‘more surprises’ once the gift had been unwrapped. If we (inevitably!) said: “Oma, there is nothing else in that box, I know because I wrapped the gift for you” she’d reply: “You never know my dear!” and spent some more time rooting around for a surprise gift!

When “Oma” reached her early 80s she hated being cooped up in small rooms. She was known to go ‘hitch hiking in her wheelchair’. She’d position herself by the roadside, thumbs up. Not infrequently a complete stranger would then drop her on our doorstep for a surprise visit!

During World War II Oma and Opa (my grandfather, who died long before I was born) gave shelter to Jewish refugees (hidden in a secret space above a kitchen cupboard when the Nazis came calling).  Oma talked her way out of many visits from the Nazis – the Jewish people survived and became friends for life. I remember visiting elderly people in Amsterdam who were the relatives of those people whose life Oma saved, with little regard for her own personal safety).

My family says that I remind them of  ‘Oma’. That I share a personality type or temperament with her. And I take this as a compliment because Oma’s  zest for life was unrivaled and no challenge ever daunted her. She’d work her way around obstacles, one way or another. Today, at age 47, I appreciate that quality much more than when I was a child and Oma was alive.

But back to the ‘Not Enough’ for a moment. I am seeing this “lack”, this “drive for compensation”  in so many sessions with people of wildly different heritages. London is a multi-cultural city. In my shamanic practice I see people from all over the world, people with very different cosmologies and spiritual beliefs.

Just before falling asleep or just before awakening fully we often pass through so the so called “hypnagogic state”, where dream-like images pass before our eyes but we are technically not yet (or no longer) dreaming. This morning I awakened to the vision of “everyone’s”  ancestors gathered around me, saying that this great ancestral sense of “Not Enough” has created (or at least contributed to) the world of consumerism.

We are asleep to our soul – in many ways. Society at large has lost the concept of honouring ancestors and ancestral healing work. Whatever we are not aware of ends up shaping our perceptions and unconscious drives. I had a very clear mental image of all of us filling our lives and homes with things we don’t really need – to fill a “hole” we are not even aware of. And because this form of  ‘feeding blindly’ (consumerism!) doesn’t address any soul needs, we will always need more, the next fix, the next ‘feel good moment’ on our way to “the perfect life” in “the perfect home”. And obviously this compulsive behavior of people living in a society that has lost its spiritual heart is depleting the resources of Mother Earth and endangering our very existence.

If we all committed to doing ancestral healing work – our life quality would improve, hugely. The lines of communication with the ancestors would be open again. We could honour and consult them again about important family matters. But most importantly: as well as addressing the ‘ancestral debt’ we could tap into ‘ancestral credit’. (Here I have to mention that I had tea with Marion Briggs today. We got talking about this issue and she gave me the word ‘ancestral credit’!)  Ancestral credit is the great reservoir of wisdom, unconditional love and support that awaits the moment anyone forms a personal connection to their ancestors. We realise that we are no longer “alone”. That others grappled with certain issues long before we did. That those others can now offer a Higher Perspective from Outside Space and Time.  Once we tap into the incredible support of our compassionate ancestors, many things can heal and improve beyond recognition.

For me there is ‘ancestral credit’ to be collected in the heroic qualities my grandmother brought to life in a small village (and later a small town). In many ways she was ‘larger than life’ (quite possibly another manifestation of  ‘Not Enough’, we often called her ‘The Queen’!) but that means my memories of her are vivid. I felt her great love for me strongly and today I have no difficulties connecting to her. She appears sometimes in spirit form when challenging things happen in my own life.

So… the point I am making in this piece of writing  is: could we see consumerism for what it is (empty compulsive behaviour, driven by spiritual needs that are not commonly understood) and respond to that sense of “Not Enough” coming down the ancestral lines by healing it – and in so doing  freeing ourselves to lead a life that feeds our personal soul and our family soul.

And in doing so our ancestors “regain colour and presence” and we remember the amazing gifts and qualities they gave us. After all, we owe the fact of being here today, in body, on earth – to them.

This blog or is my response to all the ancestors that gathered around my bed this morning. I hope I found the right words to get your message across!

Imelda Almqvist