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DNA of War

During a call last week, a colleague stated, “I’m a third-generation Holocaust survivor,” and I began to think about the fact that I’m a third-generation WWI and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire survivor. This is not me comparing those historical events, it is an acknowledgement of how what is currently happening in Gaza is reminiscent of both those times.


The other day, I was asked to be a guest on a podcast. They asked my stance on the Israel/Palestine war, to which I replied: “I absolutely want what is happening in Gaza to stop. I know people from both areas...I’m focused on preventing what is happening there from happening here in America. As a Reiki practitioner, I hold space for the whole area.” As a therapist who focuses on generational trauma, I know when we focus on healing ourselves, our family and our country, it benefits many others. I understand there is only so much I can do to help those in Gaza, so I focus on raising awareness on the impact of trauma to the individual as well as humanity at large. 


While I’m not really sure how they felt about that answer, it is my truth. I don’t know how you, the reader, will feel about that answer either, but again, it is still my truth.


Since October 7th, I have been saying that we must approach this war through a trauma-informed lens; I stand by that even more so now since learning about my ancestry. See, I was raised with the understanding that I was primarily Irish and German. I’ve always known about my Irish heritage. I mean, all you have to do is look at me. What surprised me was that I only had 0.5% German, but 6.7% Southern European and 1.5% Western Asian & North African, which I knew I had a touch of Bulgarian, but until my DNA results came in, I didn’t really pay attention to that since it was from my great-grandfather, who I never knew.


Why am I paying attention now? First, I’m a trauma therapist who is doing her own trauma work. Second, I now know that a solid part of my ancestry comes from Bulgaria, Anatolia, and North Africa. Finally, I learned that my great-grandfather found asylum in America sometime between WWI and WWII. He was told he had to leave Bulgaria or be assassinated. Why? I’m still trying to find out that information.

The most curious aspect of my ancestry is that I’m Anatolian and North African. This has to come from my mother’s side, but who, where, and how far back is still another mystery.  It is making me realize, though, that somewhere in my family’s past, we were from the areas currently at war. Is this important? It is to me as I may still have family in that region and not even know about them yet. If there is one thing that everyone who knows me knows; I am VERY protective of my family.


So, I have a plea to everyone and anyone who has some say in what is happening in the major war zones: Please, for humanity's sake, let’s find a diplomatic solution.


As a therapist, I want to reflect that if you are not willing to lay your weapons down and come to the table to have a hard conversation, then you are the problem. With that said, I empathize with why you may feel you cannot lay your weapons down, as I too have been finding it difficult, and have been utilizing all of my therapeutic tools to balance out my anger, sadness and despair. 

Now, a lot of people believe that the military-industrial complex is the reason for these wars, and the wars continue because of how much money there is in defense. Well, I have a different perspective. A large amount of money is spent on our defense, but it also comes with a lot of death and destruction, and eventually, that money will need to be used to fix the emotional and physical damage caused by wars. I don’t know if this represents the psychology/insurance/medical industrial complex wanting the wars to continue, but I can speak on behalf of myself and those I know, who do NOT want these wars to continue. 


Remember how I said I hold space with Reiki for all those impacted by these wars? For those of you who don’t know what Reiki is, it is basically the same thing as saying a prayer. Some may argue it’s more powerful because you are shifting energy, but I’m not here for the “mine is better than yours” argument because, at this point, we all have to come together if humans want to survive.


My experience with Reiki also has me curious about the correlation between DNA and past lives. In the early stages of learning Reiki, I was practicing with a friend of mine, and when finished, she told me she had a past life memory. It doesn’t matter if you believe in past lives or not, I don’t even know if I believe in them; at least from a Spiritual perspective. However, I'm beyond curious due to what she told me about that memory and putting it together with what I have learned about my DNA! Her past life memory was of her and me in Egypt, and I was doing Reiki on her…in Egypt! Now, I’m wondering if I am part of the lineage of the first humans in Egypt. Can DNA even go back that far? According to 23andMe; this aspect of my genetics traces back 5-8+ generations. The fact that it is 1.5% of my DNA leads me to believe that, at some point, my ancestors may have been 100% Western Asian/North African. Additionally, my mom once had a Spiritual woman tell her she was African in a past life. Imagine how much trauma our DNA is carrying if this is the case. Yet another reason I am working on preventing a war in America and pleading for a peace treaty in the active war zones. 


Does DNA provide tenable scientific evidence of past lives? I mean, I’ve been saying for years that genetics and epigenetics were going to prove that past lives exist. Or maybe it is just the depth of acquired memory being stored in our DNA.


This brings up so many additional questions: Can humans look at their DNA? Can humans look at how much death and destruction our ancestors have experienced and passed down in our genetic memory? Do we really want to continue these wars? ALL of them, including the ones in our home and family? Can we own how we have hurt people, as well as been hurt by others; including the pain created by decisions our ancestors have made? Can we stop blaming them and acknowledge they were doing the best with what they had? Can we recognize we have evolved significantly and have the ability to make different choices? Is forgiveness a possibility and could the act of forgiving help shift our genetic makeup?


I truly hope that humanity can begin to look at things a bit differently and allow ourselves to experience peace, love, and joy. I know how difficult that is. I keep having the rage and desire to destroy things come up; good thing for others, I know how to contain my anger. Unfortunately for myself, I end up internalizing it, though I’ve been doing a good job finding other safe outlets to express it. It is also helpful to know that epi-genetics is providing evidence that you can shift your genetic make-up by actively making changes in your life. Genetics may hold past life memories which are currently impacting us today, but now we may have the ability to create new genetic memories for our future generations. 


Will this blog reach the eyes or ears of people who could stop all of the anger, rage, and destruction? I don’t know. What I do know is that many sad and angry tears are being shed, which will continue if the wars do not stop. Death is always hard on a family, but when death is tragic, as it is in wars or the aftermath of wars, it changes the family forever.  

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