Pattern: a combination of qualities, acts, tendencies, that form a consistent characteristic and arrangement; a composite of traits or features characteristic of an individual or a group. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers were raped before the age of 13, as was my mother, as was I. My father never married my mother. Both my brother and I had out first children out of wedlock.
Pathology: the nature of disease and its causes, processes, development, and consequences; a departure or deviation from a normal condition. Both of my grandmothers experience domestic violence. Their husbands and lovers savagely beat them. My parents fought like cats and dogs. I spent 9 years in an abusive marriage. My mother was an alcoholic. My brother followed her model.
Every family has patterns and pathologies of thought, belief and behavior that are passed on from one generation to another in the same way that a physical characteristic is passed on. Some of these conscious and unconscious characteristics are powerful and productive. Others are not. When it comes to the mental, emotional and behavioral tendencies of our family lineage the positive ones is not the issue. The unproductive ones are the roots and causes of many issues we face in our lives, relationships, how we attract, amass and handle money or success.
Betrayal. Abandonment. Rejection. Sexual and emotional violation Having to be poor and dependent. Diminishing self for the good of the family. Lack of self-value and worth. Diminishing our voices and not being heard. Staying in relationships that do not honor us. Accommodating what is rather than creating what is desired.
All women, particularly women of color are holding patterns in our consciousness that diminish our power, the feminine power of the Source Creator. These patterns, most of which are related to survival, success, love, wealth, health, strength and accomplishment are stored in our DNA. It is a function of how our minds were patterned. It is the result of what was passed on energetically.
What we saw, heard and experienced in the home and world is the root and cause of the dysfunction we experience in relationships. It is the way we unconsciously honor and hold our ancestors. It must be healed and released if we are to fully express our true nature and expressions of the Most High.
What our fathers did or did not do creates the model we often follow and expect in the home and relationships. Try as we might, it is rare that we will veer too far away from what was modeled by the men in our lives during our formative years. What you see, you become whether you do it consciously or not. What our mothers felt, did and expected more often than not determines our sense of worth, value and esteem. We lived in her body. Our first breaths were patterned after her heartbeat.
The vibration of our DNA was aligned with her most dominant thoughts and emotional tendencies. It has been my experience and observation that the patterns and pathologies of our parents manifest most strongly in the way we demonstrate and embrace our sense of personal power. This is especially true for women, specifically for women of color. The resonance of our parental and ancestral energy creates a vibratory wave that moves through our lives more often than not determining what we do and how we do it, what we expect and what we receive from ourselves and others. Unfortunately, because many of these inherited traits are unconscious, they are difficult to identify and even more challenging to transform.
Women and power have always been a difficult and testy topic. Men have historically determined what is expected from, of and for a woman. Women, considered the “weaker” sex, dependent on the fathers and husbands for support and survival have often had to fight internally and externally for their right to be, speak and pursue what honored their intuitive nature. Because everything that exists derives its power at the molecular level, whether we know it or not, in this modern world we are still driven by the energetic patterns of our ancestors.
For women, patterns of subservience, oppression, being silenced and dominated still permeate many homes and social institutions. For women of color, the patterns of slavery, sexual violation, abandonment and rejection continue to unfold in our hearts and minds as well as in our interactions with the men in our lives. In general, many women still find it difficult at best, impossible in some instances to claim, embrace and demonstrate the strength of our inherent, divine power as vessels of creation and manifestation.
Despite the many strides we have made in society, the genetic patterns that influence how we think, our emotional responses and our behavioral propensities continue to unfold in our relationships with people and money. The bottom line is we must learn to consciously and unconsciously honor the energy and essence of our ancestors without repeating their dysfunctional patterns. They did the best they could to face the events and circumstances of their lives. In today’s world, the tools and practices they used, the behaviors and tendencies they demonstrated do not work in our best interests today.
In the first taping for my upcoming television program, Iyanla Fix My Life, I encountered a family pathology that I am familiar with, grandmothers raising grandchildren. My great-grandmother raised my mother after my grandmother died. My grandmother under the same circumstances raised me. I raised my grandson who was the product of a teenage pregnancy. After my daughter Gemmia passed away, I took on the responsibility for raising my granddaughter.
In each instance, the father of the child had little or no involvement in the child’s experience. The pattern is what happens in successive generations. The pathology is the behavior we engage once the pattern emerges. In this case the pathology is the breakdown in the relationship between the parent and child or the emotional impact on the child as a result of the pattern being present.
Motherless children often feel abandoned. Absent fathers communicate rejection. Grandmothers who become surrogate parents are most often over-protective or emotionally distant and, their relationship with the surviving father influences his relationship with the child. The pathology unfolds in the child’s life as the way they create and function in relationships, what they expect of themselves and for themselves and, the nature of their relationships with the surrogate and surviving parent.
My observation in many cases is that there are challenges on each of these fronts. In this show, it is clear that the three women involved find it difficult to define or exert their power; for one reason or another feel powerless and diminish or misuse the power at their disposal to heal the upset they are experiencing.
Women and power, the patterns and pathologies that diminish its presence and distort its use must be healed. The ancestral energies that undermine a woman’s willingness, ability and capacity to claim, demonstrate and utilize her God given power to be, do and have the goodness life offers must be released. The distorted demonstrations of personal power and the misuse of divine power demonstrated by women in their relationships with each other and men must be evolved.
Whether held consciously or unconsciously, the outworn or outdated ancestral agreements and contracts women have made to diminish their awareness of personal power needs to be removed from our auric field. The time has come for women to re-write their ancestral contracts and renegotiate the familiar agreements so that new patterns of thought and behavior can emerge that have our higher interests at heart.
This healing, removing, releasing work is a sacred work. It is at the heart of the newly emerging spiritual technologies. It is this sacred, healing work that is at the foundation of all that I do in the world. Painfully, courageously and often by trial and error, I have been blessed to do this work on myself and in my own life. I now know there a greater, more loving and productive patterns of living and being that honor the truth of our being.
To begin the process o clearing your energy and auric field, I recommend MasterPeace Purification Blend. For more information visit:
In the meantime, stay in peace, not pieces.
Iyanla Vanzant is the best-selling author of five books on self-empowerment, personal growth and spiritual healing. As the founder and executive director of the Inner Visions Spiritual Life Maintenance Network, she conducts workshops, seminars and lectures nationally. Drawing from her own experiences of family dysfunction, abuse, and poverty, Iyanla encourages us all to look at ourselves, laugh at ourselves and then take the necessary steps to heal ourselves. Her practical message is based on the principles of universal law, self-determination and the power of Spirit. You can learn more about her work at www.innervisionsworldwide.com.
Iyanla has recently appeared several times during Oprah’s Lifeclass webcast segments. You can view the classes here: http://www.oprah.com/oprahs-lifeclass/oprahs-lifeclass.html
Iyanla has a new show, set to appear on the Oprah Winfrey Network, called “Iyanla, Fix My Life!”. To learn more about it and apply to be on Iyanla’s show and have her help you, please visit http://www.oprah.com/ownshow/index.html?team_type=HarpoStudios