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40k for 40 days

February 11: Day 26

Day 26 - How Far Away are You From the Bones of your Ancestors? & How Might that Relate to Peace?

I'm just going literally with the flow here folks, the flow of the wheels on the road, connecting with the flow of conscious, present, thoughts, ideas, and questions around peace. I've no doubt that thoughts, inspiration, and courage towards seeking justice and peace for Martin Luther King, connected to his ancestors, their journey, and their story, even though he may have been fighting for peace in a whole other part of the world from where his lineage lay, going back seven generations.

For me, I don't believe for a second that it is merely coincidence that while thinking about this first question, how far am I in this moment from the bones of my ancestors, the geographic answer is the very same distance of this 40 days cycle. If all goes well, I will reach the distance of 1600 kilometers in 14 days' time from now, and this will also be the distance of my journey home to my ancestors, from the Madrid region of Spain to Leinster, the region of Ireland where most of my family and ancestors lay.

I don't think or feel that being geographically detached or far away from these physical bones means that we are not able to connect on a more emotional, or spiritual level. I would imagine that it is the case for so many in the world right now, for one reason or another (lack of peace or stability being one of the major driving forces for folks to have to move further afield from their ancestors to seek peace and stability).

For the majority of my adult life, I am aware that I have not been either physically or emotionally attached or connected in any great way to my ancestors, but over the past decade, I, like so many more, have been drawn back slowly to question and relocate my relationship with my 'sinsir' (ancestors in Irish) and I'm enjoying this fascinating Turas (trip or journey in Irish). I'm not only enjoying it, but I'm also discovering answers and accessing knowledge about myself and my culture, heritage, and lineage that, if not discovered, I feel can deny me inner peace and lead to too many unanswered questions about my behaviors, emotions, traumas, abilities and my daingean (strength, fortitude, resilience & perseverance in Irish). 

Unanswered questions around my identity or anyone's identity, in turn, of course, affect my and our outer Peace and contributes to peace in my/our family and wider communities. A huge part and influence on this journey for me lie in the fact that I am not alone, nor do I feel alone while attempting to reconnect and locate this bounty of resources to be shared and spread as widely as possible. I have been doing this with a small but powerful community back on the island of Ireland, all from different backgrounds to me but with a similar vision. We have also received incredible guidance and wisdom from indigenous brothers and sisters from around the world, who have been so generous in providing space and questions for us to fill in at our own pace.

I will finish this blog by sharing a very simple, but I believe powerful wee component of my practice, that I now attempt to integrate into my day as part of my 'cleachtadh laethúil' (daily practice in Irish).

For no longer than 3-5 minutes at any one time and preferably in the morning or whenever I find the time and space, it is desirable to be in nature or as close to nature as possible but not essential. I conduct a basic but beautiful self-grounding technique by scanning through and connecting to each of my senses to start my practice, seated, squatting, or standing. I first take seven slow, low inspirations (inhalations) and expirations (exhalations), through my nose; with each slow inspiration from my diaphragm and through my nose, I attempt to go for a count of 7, and the very same with my slow, low expirations, for a count of 7, (really enjoying each one and slowing the pace of everything going on for me at this moment. I'm already bringing into my conscious and present thoughts and energy, recognition, and appreciation for 7 generations of ancestors, (I am here because they were here, not in any way do I feel the need to go into my relationships with or to them, this is not the space for that, but simply recognizing that without them, I would not be here in this moment). Following on from my 7 slow breaths, I go into a scan of and with my senses. Starting at whichever sense comes into my awareness and attention first, I spend just 30 seconds or so connecting to each sense... Maybe first sound, smell, touch, and taste, and usually finish with sight and then attempt to appreciate and integrate them all together for 30 seconds, this for me becomes my 6th sense, the presence of my senses, active and together and I complete my practice with 30 seconds or so of really feeling that connection with my 'Daingean', or strength, will, resilience that comes through from my ancestors to me at this moment, whether I am close by or not, I am here because you were here, I receive wisdom, knowledge, energy, and intuition from those who have gone before me and choose in this moment of contemplative practice to accept and embody this 'bronntanas' (gift in Irish) and also accept to bring it into my day in whatever ways I can, wherever and whenever I can.

The bones of my ancestors lay 1600 kilometers from me on this day, but I sit, connected to them, and I look forward to learning so much more from them, as well as passing this on to my children who sit closer to the bones of many of their ancestors today than their father does. A component and contributing factor to inner and outer peace, perhaps?


Shane O'Connor



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