“Have you considered how much the unaccomplished goals of your anscestors play a role in the design of your Soul Purpose?” I recently asked my client.

In the pursuit of our individual journey, how many of us have taken the time to look at our individual purpose within the context of our family lineage?

Now for those of us who had unhappy childhoods, this might not be a pleasing concept. It can be difficult to imagine that the family we suffered through could actually play a role in passing forward a mission or purpose. But it does happen – more often than we might realize.

Think about it this way. Missions or purposes – when fulfilled – anchor in a quality of life we would like to see furthered. For example, if my purpose is to help people raise their standard of living, there is an improved quality of life that people I touch experience.

Or, if my purpose is to bring healing to ill and wounded animals, again there is a quality of life my actions create for the animals I treat and their human stewards.

You may be able to find words for that quality of life, or you may not, but you most certainly can feel it when you fulfill your Soul Purpose.

When my clients or students are struggling with the connection between their family of origin and purpose, I encourage them to put some effort and time into a very simple, yet very powerful imaginative exercise.

In the exercise, you imagine that you are on the other side (in heaven, a resting place, a neutral zone – and not on earth), before you put on a body suit and came to earth. In order for your soul to be given admission to earth, you must create (imagine) a life on earth you would like to live and defend your reasons for wanting to experience this life. Of course, this is actually the life you are living now. You are going to prepare a case for choosing this life.

Here is how it works. You right your rationale for choosing the family you want to be (and were) born into, parents who will raise you, your race, culture, year of birth, religion or spiritual views, economic and social environments, family politics, and nationality. If there will be any challenges to growing up, such as birth defects, disabilities, abusive parents, abusive family members or role models, poverty, or any other significant challenge – you must defend your right to experience these challenges. Further, you must explain how these challenges will ultimately assist you in fulfilling your purpose.

You must also state what quality of life you hope to inspire on the planet during your lifetime there. Perhaps you expect the outcome of your life to inspire hope, compassion, respect, honor, brotherhood, forgiveness, beauty, etc.

Then you describe the role you will play to engender these qualities in yourself and perhaps, in others. Will you be a teacher, healer, scientist, doctor, politician, salesperson, etc?

When you define the quality you choose to create, you identify the emotional impetus for living and breathing here on earth. When you define the role, you identify the general avenue through which that quality can be imbued. These awarenesses are at the heart of your Soul Purpose.

The challenges help us embody what we value. Your parents, grand parents, great grand parents and back may have hoped to bring that same quality into their lives and the lives of others. They may have found the challenges overwhelming. They may or may not have overcome them. Nonetheless, you might be surprised to discover shared intentions.

Of course, if your parents are living, the best way to uncover this is to ask them. Before my father died, I asked him what he thought was his purpose for being on earth. Like a Native Sun-dancer, though he was a white Catholic male who had never been to a native ceremony, he said he was here to suffer for the people.

In his mind, suffering consciously as Christ did, transforms painful energy so that others do not have to suffer. It was some years before I realized I was unconsciously living my father’s purpose. While I acknowledge his purpose as a noble calling, I also recognized his mission was not my mission. Indeed my mission was closer to my mother’s purpose, bound in the powerful energy of mother/teacher. The surprise to me was that the mother I thought I had little in common with, was the parent I had the most in common with.

By observing her life, I was able to understand more about my own purpose. I was also able to see how the challenges I faced were a reflection of challenges she had faced. In some cases, she did better. In others I did. But indeed, that realization was not as significant as recognizing that gifts I had received from my lineage were the exact skills and perspectives needed to overcome our family challenges.

I had inherited both the challenges and the gifts to overcome them. In moving through each of my family of origin’s pattern of challenges, I was moving closer to the discovery and fulfillment of my Soul Purpose.

if you have the courage, I certainly encourage you to try-out this family of origin exercise. It could be a discovery worth uncovering!