Honor Your Ancestors and Commit to Your Self-Care

Published by Annie Barrett: 
October 31, 2022

An on-going theme that I teach and explore in my own life is how to become your own best caregiver. Fall is an auspicious season for remembering our ancestors and clarifying and healing our relationships with them.

In this blog post, I offer you an inquiry and ideas on how you might honor your caregivers and step into the role of becoming your own best caregiver. A good way to begin to explore this theme is by remembering our own care-givers and becoming aware of our learned and inherited patterns of care-giving and self-care.

​Who were your primary caregivers? 

Name them. Your mother, father, older siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, etc. Your list can include blood relatives as well as the special people who showed up for you in your life and cared for you.  

In what ways did you experience care? 

Maybe it was through your caregiver’s physical touch, nourishment, humor, coaching or teachable moments.  

Was self-care something that was strongly modeled in your family of up-bringing? Did the adults in your life model self-care?  Can you remember how your care-givers cared for themselves and/or reached out for support when they needed it?

How is your self-care? 

What habits or practices do you regularly engage in to promote your wellbeing?  

Do you teach self-care to your kids or to the people in your life that you influence?

How do you demonstrate to your loved ones that self-care is a priority?

These inquiries are potent.

Our own personal wellness evolution requires a strong examination of the habits and patterns that are present in our lineage. The habits that we learned from our care-givers that are life-affirming, we aim to perpetuate.The habits that we learned from them that are not life-affirming we should consciously release. 

Ideas for honoring your ancestors and caregivers

I invite you to create time to reflect on your caregivers and your lineage and to honor your ancestors. There are many traditions around the world for remembering our ancestors. 

If your caregivers are still living, consider reaching out to them and expressing gratitude for their care. If they are no longer living, find a way to remember them and express gratitude.

Ways to do this include lighting a candle, creating an altar, preparing a special meal in honor of this person, or planning an event or excursion that honors their spirit. You may choose to create a Day of the Dead altar to remember your ancestors, to celebrate their lives, and to invite their benevolent energy to be present in your life. 

Additionally, the Vedic tradition offers a practice called tarpana. Tarpana is a relationship healing ceremony aimed to help individuals clarify and release constraints from an ancestral relationship and invite healing.  

The preparation of food and the handing down of recipes is another beautiful way that we remember and perpetuate the lineage of our ancestors and caregivers. Preparing a favorite dish of your ancestors and sharing it with others is a beautiful way to honor their legacy.

If you engage in a body-based movement such as yoga, you might dedicate a practice this week to your ancestors. When you practice, tune in and inquire into the body-mind patterns (postures, emotions, mindsets, etc.) that you inherited or learned. Begin a conversation with your body, your ancestors and your ancestral lineage.

What does it take to be your own best caregiver?

Pay your lineage forward by taking care of you and your needs. Self-care looks different for everyone and that’s OK. When you practice self-care you bring your best to all of your relationships. When you practice self-care, everyone wins!