The Strength Of My Ancestors
I can still hear my grandmama’s voice as she would clearly say “trouble don’t last always.” Thinking back at the many times she would say that, I can not remember if I truly believed in those words or not, but because of the conviction in which it was said, how could I not? Maybe, that was all I needed, the faith of a mustard seed. My grandmama is no longer here, but her wisdom and lessons are forever etched into my very fiber. Even today, when I am faced with challenging times, I am able to hear those words....trouble don't last always. Those few words are all it takes for me to start changing my mindset about a certain situation.
According to McCabe, 2008, the Medicine Wheel concept, which was adopted by Native Americans and Aboriginal Canadians, placed importance on the correlation between the mind, body, emotions and spirit, as a way of healing. It doesn't matter who you are, where you are from, or even where you are going in your life, you have or will have an experience in which one of these components (mind, body, emotions and spirit) are compromised. The realization is that these four components are all intertwined and once one is negatively affected, one’s life can start to unravel. How can using lessons from your ancestors possibly help? They have been here and experienced a lifetime of ups, downs, highs and lows. I was fortunate to witness this through my relationship with my grandparents. Not only did they face negative life situations, they survived them and were stronger because of it. Being able to transfer knowledge and ways of knowing has been done by every culture (McCabe, 2008).
As it relates to the world of counseling and psychotherapy, the Medicine Wheel and the connection between the mind, body, emotions, and spirit, dialogue is one of great importance. It offers an opportunity to understand and conceptualize what is unexplainable and mystical. This is when faith, belief systems, traditions, hope and lessons from our ancestors are used to help in the healing process. For individuals living with depression, medication may be a regular part of life to help alleviate or lessen symptoms of depression. In addition to depression medication, many clinicians use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT helps individuals change the way they think about their situation. This is done through reframing, refocusing and challenging faulty thought processes that causes self defeating behaviors. This is when my grandmama’s words resonate…..trouble don’t last always…..this too shall pass. These words and beliefs were passed down by my grandmama’s mama, who are my ancestors. How can I believe those words? I can believe those words because I knew my grandmama’s strength and her ability to overcome. My grandmama’s blood is my blood; therefore, I too have that same strength to push through life’s challenges. When I speak the words of my ancestors, it puts my healing process in motion.
Today, I challenge individuals who are living with depression, self doubt, unsure about your ability to move forward, or individuals who are in need of strength. I challenge you to believe in the strength of your ancestors and channel that strength because they did something right. You are the proof of their strength, just as I am the living proof of my ancestors’ strength.
If you are living with depression or any other mental health illness and feel that you need help, we are here for you. Renewed Mental Health wants you to feel free to reach out to us at 678-582-8947, in order to schedule a consultation. FYI, being that we are practicing social distancing, due to COVID-19, telehealth services are available.
Until next time, live on purpose.
McCabe, G. (2008). Mind, body, emotions and spirit: Reaching to the ancestors for healing. Counselling psychology quarterly, 21(2), 143-152.