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My Grandfather was an Accountant: How Ancestral Contracts and Patterns Get Imprinted

My grandfather on my mother’s side was an accountant –

And he’s still doing numbers in my head.

This is a story of ancestral burdens and contracts, and how these get passed down through the generations.

— To get right to the healing work, you can access my guided journey to revoke ancestral contracts, patterns, and burdens right here: Guided Healing Journey

My Grandfather was an Accountant

My maternal grandfather was a mostly serious, tall, pensive man. For the entire time I knew him – 31 years – he sported a well-kept beard and almost always had a kind smile for us, his grandkids.

On occasion, I’d get a brief glimpse into his temper and his impatience – traits that had made him a much harsher father than he was a grandfather. You could say he had mellowed out with time, a little bit.

At one point as a young man, he almost made it to the Olympics as a runner. He also had a lifelong passion for sailing. We spent many weekends of my childhood at the nautical club where he kept his boat.

Above all of this, my grandfather was an accountant. He loved and worked with numbers every day. I’m sure now, looking back, that he was constantly keeping track of numbers – turning numbers over – in his head.

My mom and I remember my grandpa’s frugality and obsession with saving. He saved every penny he earned. And he’d save ridiculous quantities of things that most people would throw away – like the last 0.00003 drops of orange juice or milk, which had to be consumed before a new carton or bottle could be purchased.

(He yelled at my grandma many times for throwing the last few drops out!)

I have memories of my grandparents arguing over whether to spend money on something or not – a vacation, a new appliance, some new toy for us grandkids. My grandfather always argued for saving, and against spending. There was some rainy day, some catastrophe, some emergency he was saving up for.

How Ancestral Patterns Get Imprinted

Although my grandfather never directly said anything to me about saving or being cautious with money, his relationship with money and his energy around money were imprinted onto me anyway.

As a grandpa, he was kind, patient, and always happy to see us and spend time with us. He had no conscious intention of imprinting any burdens or dysfunctional behaviors onto me. Like most of our ancestors, this isn’t something he did on purpose or to be malicious.

In fact, he wasn’t very aware of his own dysfunctional relationship to money. He thought he was simply doing the most responsible and careful thing he could do.

I suspect that before him, in my family line preceding his birth, other ancestors had dysfunctional relationships with money. Maybe they lost all their money, or felt unworthy of abundance, or didn’t have enough to eat, or saved compulsively to try to feel safe in a hostile world.

So it feels like this is a much older pattern. Not something that began with my grandfather, but something he carried forth with him. An ancestral suitcase labeled “dysfunctional money issues”, carried by one generation after another.

It’s not my grandpa’s fault. In most circumstances, these patterns and burdens are passed down automatically and unconsciously. He wanted the best for his kids and grandkids. He wanted us to survive, to be healthy, to be happy, to be safe.

When Safety is Stifling

Of course, that’s part of the problem – he wanted us to be safe. Just as he tried to keep himself safe by saving every penny and living with the negative expectation of a catastrophe lurking right around the corner.

This is the kind of “safety” the ego self is constantly looking for. The kind of safety – or illusion of safety – the ego can never get enough of. A stifling, limiting kind of safety. A safety built on fear, on constriction, on grasping to the status quo and avoiding change at all costs.

But when our ancestors are unconsciously passing down their coping and survival mechanisms to us, they don’t necessarily see the stifling or limiting nature of those mechanisms.

The process through which my grandfather’s money worries, mental obsession with numbers, and scarcity energy were imprinted onto me was mostly unconscious. It happened through moments of me observing his behavior, and noticing his reactions to life, and sensing what triggered him.

As I observed him and picked up on his cues, gestures, reactions, and behaviors, eventually his scarcity energy was imprinted onto me. In some unconscious (or subconscious) recess of my young, developing mind, I internalized this message:

I must pay hyper-attention to numbers and save every penny in order to survive.

This became a rule, a survival mechanism, a hardwiring in my own system – as I carried forth this ancestral pattern. We could also call this an ancestral contract or unconscious agreement. Just by virtue of being born into my family, with its particular history and energy and people, I “entered into” the terms of this ancestral contract.

Ancestral Contracts and Unconscious Agreements

This is something that happens to all of us, and not something we can avoid. We all enter into the terms of certain ancestral contracts and unconscious agreements. This happens as we grow up in our families, and our bodies and minds are wired to carry forth our families’ existing patterns.

For me, the “terms” of the ancestral contract I picked up from my grandfather include:

  • you must always save for a rainy day or catastrophe (because life is unstable and you must be prepared for the worst at all times)
  • it’s not wise or responsible to spend money
  • when you spend money, you lose it and it will never be replenished
  • you must be extremely detail-oriented when it comes to finances and numbers (to the point of obsession) and double-check everything many times
  • it’s immoral and not spiritual to want more money or abundance (“just be happy with what you have”)
  • savings in the bank = safety and survival

Here are a few examples of other ancestral contracts. Notice which of these feel familiar, based on your life experience. Which of these could be active in your life and family line?

  • a contract/pattern of shutting down your intuition and inner knowing
  • a contract/pattern of attracting unavailable romantic partners; a pattern of failed or unfulfilling relationships
  • a contract/pattern of silencing yourself, playing small, and settling for “crumbs”
  • a contract/pattern of feeling inadequate, incompetent, unworthy, or like an impostor
  • a contract/pattern of staying at unfulfilling jobs or putting up with mistreatment at work
  • a contract/pattern of trying to rescue and save everyone, at the expense of yourself

These contracts can become deeply embedded in your body, mind, and energy system. They can hardwire your nervous system to constantly be on edge, to not trust others (or yourself), or to get easily triggered into fight-flight-or-freeze states.

These unconscious agreements or contracts also limit your range of motion. They keep you reacting, behaving, thinking, and even feeling in unconscious, automatic ways – which are often not aligned with who and what you want to be at your Soul level.

Ancestral burdens you might be carrying can also prevent you from discovering and living your true purpose, since they keep you stuck in this limited survival mode. They prevent you from making choices consciously and aligning fully with your Higher Self.

Revoking Ancestral Contracts and Burdens

Over years of working with clients on ancestral contracts, I realized that these contracts are often held and embedded throughout the 7 chakras – or energy centers – in the body. For instance, my ancestral contract of scarcity and fear about money was stuck in my root chakra, which has to do with stability, groundedness, and feeling safe in the world.

An ancestral contract of silencing yourself would be held in the throat chakra – which has to do with speech, finding and expressing your voice, and feeling heard.

An ancestral contract of attracting unavailable romantic partners could be held in the sacral chakra, in the heart chakra, or both. This is because the sacral and heart chakras govern different areas of love, giving and receiving love, and feeling worthy of affection.

An ancestral contract of feeling unworthy or inadequate would be held in the solar plexus – which has to do with self-confidence, self-worth, and feeling like you can accomplish things in the world.

To fully and safely revoke these types of contracts, burdens, and unconscious agreements passed down by our ancestors, I developed a guided healing journey that takes you through each of the chakras. As we sweep through your energy field, we clear, release, and dissolve any ancestral contracts or burdens that could be held in each of the 7 chakras.

To access this guided healing journey, please click here: Clearing Ancestral Contracts, Patterns, and Burdens

In this guided meditation, we make sure to honor and invite your ancestors in so they can be part of the process. As you heal yourself, you’re liberating your entire family line of these heavy burdens.

Let me know how the journey goes for you!

With love,

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2 thoughts on “My Grandfather was an Accountant: How Ancestral Contracts and Patterns Get Imprinted”

  1. Hi, what’s your definition of “contract”? I just want to be sure if I understand is correctly. I typically use concept of “belief”. And of course, I can have many inherited beliefs what make me think/feel/behave like my ancestors and experience similar patterns. But maybe “contract” is something different….
    Thank you for great post.

    1. Josephine Hardman

      Hi Mariusz! Thank you for reading my post and taking the time to comment. This is a great question. In my work, I use the term “contract” to describe something perhaps stronger than a belief – an ancestral contract is an unconscious agreement we enter into automatically by virtue of being born into a particular family, with a particular history, at a particular point in time. Just like with an actual contract, there are “terms” that govern these unconscious agreements – for example, the terms of an ancestral contract could include hiding or not speaking about patterns of abuse or abandonment in a family (i.e., enabling abuse); silencing our own needs to meet others’ demands; taking on the role of scapegoat or black sheep of the family; adopting our ancestors’ coping mechanisms to try to stay safe in the world; etc.

      As such, contracts not only influence our behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and choices, but can also affect how our nervous systems and energy systems are wired. Whereas the way to deal with a limiting inherited belief might be (for instance) to do some mindset work around shifting that belief, with a contract we have to go deeper to clear it out from the body, the nervous system, the chakra system, and so on. I hope this helps!

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