Since I began traveling in Europe in 2015, I have visited many WWI and WWII museums, concentration camps, memorials, battlefields, cemeteries, destroyed villages, bomb craters, and other places in which sad/bad/negative/evil things took place. Being an empath I tend to feel much of the energy in these spaces, whether than is positive or negative. I know many of my readers experience similar things. How often do you consider the emotions these places create in you that can be used for change and healing? Or do you experience them for a moment and brush them off and move on?

Dachau ovens. Photo by author.

I read an article recently called, Why We Should Visit Museums That Make Us Think and Cry. I tend to feel, think, and cry in many places I visit so this article really called to my soul. The article focuses more on human and civil rights museums rather than military, but the concept is still the same.

“It’s really important to consider historic and contemporary issues from multiple perspectives so we can combat bias and prejudice – which we might not even realize we have until presented with an alternative view. This is fundamental to understanding and promoting human rights.” Throughout history, and even today, we can see patterns of denial and minimization of human-rights atrocities, along with efforts to silence the survivors and witnesses. These issues are not easy or comfortable, but it’s our role and responsibility to provoke thought and conversation that leads to education – which is the most powerful force for human rights in the world.”

Dr. Jodi Giesbrecht, CMHR director of research and head curator

Why Are These Spaces Important?

These spaces are important because for many of us, not all, they create conversation. Often we will visit places like this with someone. As we wander through an exhibit, a cemetery, a concentration camp, or other place, things call to us that we must comment on. Through conversation we hear someone else’s point of view about what is being expressed in the exhibit, etc. Conversation may create questions or points of view for us to sit with, meditate on, journal on, that we had not considered.

These spaces through conversation, meditation, thinking, push us to feel something more than we might have just reading an article or seeing someone’s vacation photos on Facebook. This may then create the need in us to do something about the issues we now know more about. This includes things from history like the Holocaust or combat in World War II.

How can we do something about those issues since they are in the past? Many people are still dealing with the trauma and effects of these events, among many others that have happened in our collective history. Inherited trauma creates in the descendants of those who participated or lived through these events, issues that create chaos, depression, sadness, anxiety or panic and many other things in their lives. Unresolved grief can devastate a family for generations. Yet by visiting these places that evoke emotions and thought, we can best determine how we personally should move forward to help heal the collective.

Doing something could be that we start talking with our own families about their experiences in the war, civil rights, genocide, Holocaust, or other collective trauma events. Writing those stories, learning the lessons, and sharing with others – even within our family – will help.

My belief and what I have experienced throughout my career as a family and military researcher is that if I can impact ONE person, it will ripple out beyond anything I can imagine. Some people do not believe this. They believe you have to stand and speak in front of thousands to have any effect on change or healing. That isn’t my belief. I have seen that if I help one person – teach one person – facilitate some healing in one person – they will go on to do more and tell others what their experience was and how the learned/changed/healed – and that may inspire someone else to look at their life and beliefs and make changes.

What is Your Experience in These Places?

What have you experienced in these places? Where did you go? What happened while you were there? What thoughts and changes did you make? What conversations did you have? How did it impact your life, living, and reality? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

© 2020 Ancestral Souls

 

“While there has been abundant research quantifying war’s psychological impact, much of it has focused on PTSD, depression, and substance or alcohol abuse associated with combat exposure, there has been limited focus on grief among veterans.”

Pauline Lubens

UCI Studies Grief in Veterans

In World War I we heard the term SHELL SHOCK. In World War II we heard COMBAT FATIGUE. After Vietnam we didn’t hear much new unless it was in regard to how many Americans viewed returning veterans in a negative light. Then by the 1980s we had PTSD to label veterans suffering from a variety of illnesses that were previously undiagnosed or ignored.

PTSD trickles down through our DNA into future generations. Growing up in a household where PTSD exists can create this in children and other family members. Any traumatic situation we find ourselves in can create PTSD symptoms.

With all the studies on PTSD and veterans, one primary component, especially when we look at veteran suicide is GRIEF. Yet, grief has not been studied until recently. Grief also creates issues for not only the veteran but the family and friends close to the veteran.

Unresolved, unacknowledged grief over what someone did in combat, or did not do, who they lost, survivor’s guilt and sadness of being the only one left, and many other ways veterans hold grief all contribute to their state of mind, the life they live, the joy (or lack of )they feel. This unresolved grief also affects those closest to them.

Finally, the University of California Irvine conducted a study on grief in veterans. You can read about it here. It is interesting what they discovered and how it deeply affects veterans, even separately from any PTSD they may have or had, and how it affects families.

A radio interview was done with the Ph.D. student who conducted the study and several listeners called in to contribute to the conversation, including a female Graves Registration Service soldier. The interview is powerful and full of many themes I feel we should all be exploring with our own families – even if we have to go back to our WWII or Korean War veterans to ask questions and look for family patterns. Grief is something passed down also.

Exploring Grief in Your Family History

In our society we are taught/trained/told to buck up, shove things inside, deal with it and move on, or solve a problem, when we talk about grief. We are given 2-3 days of leave from our jobs if someone in the family dies. Apparently all we need is 2-3 days to deal with arrangements, grieve, forget and move on. Our western society has not done a good job helping people to learn how to grieve, or explain why it is important to do so.

I invite you to explore the times and places in your life and family history where there was an opportunity to grieve and instead you pushed it away or did not fully deal with it. Consider the cost of that to yourself, your health, your family life, your history. How did your family veterans handle grief? How did their spouses and children? How do you? How can you begin to change this?

Grief Resources

Do you need a resource to help you? I am taking a couple of courses with Shauna Janz through Sacred Grief. I am finding these grieving courses extremely helpful. I encourage you to check them out. I wrote an article about her Healing Conversations class here.

The website What’s Your Grief is also full of resources and articles. Have you explored this site?


Are you following Jennifer and all her work on all her social media sites? Click the link to learn more and find different content.

© 2020 Ancestral Souls

 

Question 22 July 2020

What dis-eases run in your family? Who did they originate with? What was the context?

 

Most of us carry dis-ease or health issues that originated generations or centuries of generations ago.  Allowing the original source of the dis-ease to heal can change the outcome for all future generations.

 

Please comment below to share with others if you feel comfortable.

I also invite you to journal on this question on your own.

 

 

2020 continues to give us new information about what is actually happening in the world – in all it’s ugly, horrific truth, and also where the shadows of ourselves need to be brought into the light.

When we look back over our lives, we can identify many turning points and crossroads. Places in which we had a CHOICE on how to proceed. In reality there are no ‘mistakes’ or ‘wrong choices’ because each choice we make still leads us to where we need to go. Even those choices that bring tremendous pain and grief. Those may be the most powerful as the parts of us we have refused or weren’t ready to look at are ready to be explored.

As I look back over the last 10 years of my life, specifically from 2015 to the present when I began traveling and living in Europe, I am seeing many things. New connections. Things healed I did not realize were. Lessons learned. Hard times and good times. If I could go back to my first trip overseas, I would have made a much better attempt at journaling my days every night before bed. However, that trip was so packed and I was so exhausted most days I didn’t. I have a million photos from that trip to remind me what we did. Some notes in my journal but not at the depth I wrote on my second trip. The second trip I took alone and it created even more change than the first. What follows are the journal entries (for the most part) of my second trip which created an even more powerful spiritual transformation in me.

These articles were originally posted on my WWII Research & Writing Center website in 2015.

If you are interested in some of my European and Spiritual Journey since this trip, pick up a copy of my memoir, I BRING DEAD GUYS HOME.

October – NOvember 2015 Journey through europe and my soul

 

Spiritual Journey in the Soldier’s Footsteps

Day 1 – 14 October 2015

Spiritual Turning Points & Crossroads

Day 2 Part 1 – (15 October 2015)

Day 2 Part 2

Day 3 – 16 October 2015 – Bastogne, Belgium

Day 4 – 17 October 2015 – Bastogne, Belgium

Day 5 – 18 October 2015 – Netherlands, Margraten, Maastricht

Day 6 – 19 October 2015- Henri-Chapelle & Remember Museum

Day 7 – 20 October 2015 -Ammerzoden

Day 8 – 21 October 2015 – Heeswijk

Day 9 – 22 October 2015 – Arnhem

Day 10 – 23 October 2015 – Wandering Ammerzoden & Writing

Day 11 – 24 October 2015 – WWII Presentation at CRASH Museum near Amsterdam

Day 12 – 25 October 2015 – Zaltbommel, Netherlands

Day 13 – 26 October 2015 – Goirle, The Netherlands – Speaking for Liberation Day

Day 14 – 27 October 2015 – Honoring Dutch Liberators and War Dead

Day 15 – 28 October 2015 – Speaking on WWII records at Groesbeek, the Netherlands

Day 16 – 29 October 2015 – Den Bosch and the Ring

Day 17 – 30 October 2015 -Goree-Overflakkee Speaking Event & War Dead

Day 18 – 31 October 2015 – Lovenstein and antique shops

Day 19 – 1 November 2015 – Day with the Timberwolves

Days 20 & 21 – 3 Novmeber 2015 – Rijksmuseum & going home

© 2020 Ancestral Souls

New Personal & ancestral Healing training program

Are you ready to start transforming your life and healing the past? Ready to explore family patterns, energy healing, ancestral lineage healing, inherited trauma and more topics related to our ancestors and personal growth? If so, you are in the right place.

Learn more and explore all the topics we will cover the first year, plus bonus materials on the registration page.

Do you have questions about the membership program? Email Jennifer at info@wwiirwc.com to ask.

Please note: This is an introductory membership price structure. It will go up by January 2021. Lock in your fee by joining today!

© 2020 Ancestral Souls

 

 

Historical Fiction. A lot of people do not like this genre because they do not consider it “real” history. I quite enjoy it because I read a tremendous amount of “real” history every day for my work and personal growth. Sometimes it is nice to get lost in a historical fiction book, even if it is WWII based, and be exposed to new ideas. I appreciate it when the author does her or his homework and provides a bibliography or additional titles within their Author Notes. I know I am not the only person who explores things they had not heard of because they read about it in a historical fiction book.

The Paris Orphan by Natasha Lester

I read The Paris Orphan on Thanksgiving. It’s almost 450 pages and I could not put it down. I even stayed up late to finish it because I had to know how it ended, even though I had an idea, though hoped I was wrong.

This book is historical fiction inspired by the life of female model and war correspondent and photographer, Lee Miller.

The main character Jessica May is a model for Vogue and a photographer, who chooses to join the war effort and has to deal with discrimination, rape, abuse from the men in the military, a desire to do more than “be a pretty face” or someone’s “sex doll”. The author brings in real-life female correspondents like Martha Gellhorn, Hemmingway’s wife, Lee Carson, Iris Carpenter, and others as she weaves her magic with words.

Jess, like all other women during the war, had to prove themselves over and over. To constantly beg or demand for the opportunity to do the job they were hired for. To go where women had not gone before and help men realize they were fully capable of doing so. Jess and her colleagues also had to deal with traumatizing topics of life and war.

Jess is confronted during the war with the issue of not only hearing the Russians went through and raped German women, but also knowing the American soldiers were doing the same to French, Belgian, Dutch, and German women. We would all like to think none of our soldiers/family members could have done this, but we might be surprised at just how many did if the truth came out. Jess debates writing an article about this after being unable to stop a rape from happening. In the end, to avoid being kicked out of her job, she opts to wait until the war is over to write this particular story. The author raises a question in her reading guide about whether or not this was cowardly or brave.

She also fights her own battle with her male superior officer who tries in every way to make her life a living hell. Sadly, he usually succeeded. She and the other female correspondents all have to deal with his ego and imagined superiority. I wonder how many of our female ancestors, whether in military service or who worked any job outside the home during the war, dealt with these issues and never spoke of them.

While I have done a lot of reading and research on women in WWII – WACs, WAVES, WAPS, Nurses, etc. and knew of the discrimination they were up against, knew the rumors men spread about them being “easy” or “sluts”, the sexual abuse some endured, and how they had to fight for every opportunity even when they could do it better than a man, I knew very little about female war correspondents. I have researched some male war correspondents and photographers and have some books about them. It wasn’t until I read this book that a whole new world of research opened up for me. Thankfully the author provided several books in her notes that I can read.

Why are these topics and this book important?

The more I read this book, the more I admired the women who came before me. The struggles, abuse, trauma, and other things they endured to provide new opportunities for women in the future. I also realized there are many topics I still need to learn more about. Also, as I read, I felt sad because we still have a long way to go in how we view, respect, and treat women.

In 2019, women are still, around the world, fighting for rights, equal pay, and to not be viewed as sex objects because men can’t always control themselves. We are still fighting to be seen as equals. We are still fighting to have our bodies protected and not be told by men what we can and can’t do or how we can or can’t operate our bodies, and who can and can’t touch us. I sometimes wonder, how far have we really come since WWII? Sometimes it does not feel as far as we think we have.

This book and it’s topics also made me wonder what stories are within my family, like Jess’ that were hidden. Jess ends up enduring terrible things during the war, things she keeps secret until almost her dying days. Things she felt would protect her family and those she loved. I’m aware of the abuse that runs through the female ancestors in my family and I wonder if we acknowledge it happened and can work on healing it – how much we can change the world and ourselves.

My Invitation To You

I invite you to explore the deeper, darker, secretive stories of your family. To see if it is possible to discuss these topics with older family members and find out what their experience was. Knowing these things may help you better understand why family members are or were the way they are. To better help you understand the blessings and burdens you carry through your DNA and lineage. I also invite you to write the stories about this for your family. This doesn’t mean you have to share publicly, but get them down on paper so they aren’t lost. There are many lessons to be learned and healing to be done if we are brave enough to start the conversation.

Author’s Suggested Books – Further Reading

These are a few books the author put in her Author’s Note at the end of the book. She also included a reading guide which makes this book a great book for book clubs.

  • The Woman War Correspondent, the U.S. Military, and The Press by Carolyn M. Edy.
  • No Woman’s World: From D-Day to Berlin, a Female Correspondent Covers World War II by Iris Carpenter.
  • The Women Who Wrote the War: The Complete Story of the Path-breaking Women Correspondents of World War II by Nancy Caldwell Sorel.
  • Lee Miller’s Way edited by Antony Penrose.
  • Lee miller: A Life by Carolyn Burke.
  • Martha Gellhorn: A Life by Carolyn Moorehead.
  • Women War Correspondents of World War II by Lilya Wagner
  • Women of the World by Julia Edwards.
  • Where the Action Was: Women War Correspondents in World War II by Penny Colman.

What Do You Think?

What do you think about these topics? Have you explored them within your own family history? How have you been able to move beyond and heal the trauma of the past?

Disclaimer: The book links are affiliate links to Amazon. This does not affect the price you pay. When you purchase using my link I make a small percentage of the sale.

© 2020 Ancestral Souls

Question 1 July 2020

How are your ancestors connecting with you the last month? Do they appear as symbols? Flowers, feathers, coins, songs, books? Do they appear visually to you?

What wisdom are they passing to you during this incredible transformative energy period since end of May?

 

Please comment below to share with others if you feel comfortable.

I also invite you to journal on this question on your own.

This class will change how you research and write!

Journey with Jennifer as your travel guide, through your family’s history, their military stories, and your own story. On this journey you will read a life-changing book.

Together with a core group of people, we will discuss issues and emotions around the themes of war, religion, women’s themes, spirituality, family, stories, trauma, inherited trauma, racism, LGBTQ, caregiver issues, secrets, shame, guilt, PTSD, and many other topics that come from the book, my questions, and your experiences.

You will explore your family’s history and dive into who you are with this knowledge. You will even begin to write your own stories.

Watch the video to learn more then scroll down to explore more details. To learn more about this seven-week course, visit the registration page to find full details and testimonials from past participants. If you have questions about this course, please contact Jennifer at info@wwiirwc.com. I can’t wait to work with you and guide you on your transformative journey! © 2020 Ancestral Souls

We have made it to June 2020 and the world, especially America is pushing the dark into the light. This is making us all very uncomfortable. Unstable. Nervous. Scared. Pushing a lot of guilt, shame, doubt, anger, rage, hate, and other negative emotions to the surface. Some belong to us, some belong to our ancestors, others belong to the collective that we feel in our bodies, hearts,  and souls.

So what do we do with all this? How do we stay sane as the world is slowly deconstructed? All the things we believed were for our good are slowly being taken away. What will they be replaced with?

What energy are you primarily living in? Fear – which creates more of that in your universe? Doubt? Anger? Confusion? Grief? How are you exploring that and healing it?

In my new video I explore a huge realization I had last night – I am no longer ok with this life. I want out. I am no longer happy with the stories I’ve lived or tell and not happy with most of the characters, including the ones I’ve played.

When we reach that point, it is a step into complete freedom, which for most of the planet’s residents feels very scary. After watching my video – please share in the comments how you feel. What are you going through? How has your life and your ancestors’ lives or military histories affected how you process and deal with current events? I invite you to subscribe to my mailing list so you will receive more articles, resources, education, and tips on how to create your life in the new way this earth is being created.

 

Do you need support or resources?

I am here to help people explore their beliefs and shed old patterns. I have many ways to help you.

Explore my private facilitation session options.

Join my Genealogy Ancestral Lineage Healing Group.

Sign up for my newsletter & receive access to the free Finding the Answers Journey member area. Plus you will receive information about my soon to be released Ancestral Souls Healing Circle Membership. This will be a monthly membership in which we explore topics around personal and lineage healing.

Join my Roots & War Writing Group to start writing your stories.

© 2020 Ancestral Souls

There are so many ways to look at our genealogy and military family history in deeper ways than just compiling a family tree. The Genogram, a diagram outlining the history of the behavior patterns (as of divorce, abortion, or suicide) of a family over several generations, is one tool that can be useful to dive deeper into your past and also heal your present.

 

what does a genogram look like?

The best way to show you what a genogram looks like is to give you something interactive. View a short Genogram video depicting the Skywalker family from Star Wars.

how are genograms helpful?

Genograms can show us through various symbols showing relationships, births, marriages, deaths, patterns, and some biographical data, what is happening in a family at a point in time. Therapists use genograms to explore what a new client is dealing with at the time they start therapy. One nice thing about a genogram is it can be continually expanded as new information comes in or the therapy sessions continue.

So if this is a tool for therapists, why should family historians or those seeking to do self-healing use it? I use it because it shows the family patterns and issues we may not otherwise see. Sometimes a visual example is better than a story.

When I completed my genogram in December 2019, while reading the book Family Secrets by John Bradshaw, I was astounded and shocked that I was living pieces of my paternal grandparent’s lives. Not the blessing part of their lives but the burdens. Expanding this again in May 2020 I learned even more patterns I was carrying forward in my life and relationships, not only on the paternal side but the maternal side. John’s book helped me explore many aspects of my family history and he gives many examples of how family historians can use genograms in a simple way.

This knowledge created a turning point for me in which I had to choose to continue these patterns or allow them to surface and look at the dark side of my family and personal history. Look at the choices I’ve made unconsciously, that now I can bring to the conscious level and explore. What is working? What is not? What can I let go of or change? Do I still have to repeat negative or destructive patterns? It is all a choice.

 

Other uses of a genogram for self & family healing

Interestingly, this diagram can be used for so much more than behavioral patterns. We can map out the beliefs and patterns for an individual and family relating to the following topics. This information can help us explore our personal patterns and negative traits in relationship to different areas of our life. Looking at these areas can allow old patterns and inherited ancestral burdens to come out of the dark into the light to look at. Once we are able to look at these things, we can heal and release them so they not longer affect us or our ancestors or descendants.

  • Health history
  • Culture
  • Religion or Spirituality
  • Occupation
  • Ethnicity, Immigration, Migration
  • Business, Government, or other Institutional relationships
  • Play
  • Family Constellations

 

Would you like to explore this more?

Join my mailing list to be the first to hear about my new Ancestral Souls Healing Circle Membership, launching in June 2020. In this healing circle we will have monthly Zoom meetings to explore topics like this and other deeper genealogy and family pattern topics. When you join the mailing list you also get access to the free member’s area of Finding the Answers Journey, which is my course and webinar website.

Do you have questions or would you like to work with me? Email me at info@wwiirwc.com to discuss.

Disclosure – the book link is an affiliate link. I make a tiny percentage off the sale. This does not affect the price you pay.

© 2020 Ancestral Souls