Here at Foreword, we wouldn’t have lasted long in this business if we didn’t keep an open mind. And in the broadly defined realm of spirituality, we consider ourselves especially welcoming of original ideas because the independent publishing community makes such a good showing of books that don’t fall easily within the confines of the major religions.
So Tracee Dunblazier’s Conquer Your Karmic Relationships attracted our attention straightaway because we haven’t come across a project that makes such a strong case about how our ancestors continue to influence our lives. That Tracee writes so beautifully was the unexpected bonus.
After some rewarding hours with her book, Editor-in-Chief Matt Sutherland found himself with a handful of burning questions for Tracee, and she was gracious enough to respond.
Let’s begin with an understanding of karma because the word is defined in a multitude of ways, whether by religious scholars, yoga instructors, or spurned ex-spouses. You write, “karma describes the spiritual dynamic of the sum of a person’s actions in any previous state of existence, as well as the spiritual patterns those actions create and how they impact their fate in future realities.” As it is the crux of your book, please expand a bit further on this hidden powerful force, how its patterns and imprints influence everything about us, and along the way, please begin our conversation about relationships within the karmic realm?
I’d first like to bust a myth: karma does not mean inevitable punishment or reward. Really. While it makes us all feel better to believe there is some invisible force that ensures mean people pay for the hardship they cause, the concept is slightly more fluid than a boomerang. Everything in life is conducted through relationships—to ourselves, to others, and to our environment. However, karma is the reassurance that we will certainly experience all we are and all we have created for others through reincarnation and spiritual patterning over time. Karma ensures that the enslaved will eventually know freedom because they understand bondage.
The connections we have are essentially the building blocks of our lives, and the karmic patterns we flow in are what drive those relationships. Karma is a Sanskrit word that means action; ultimately, it is the more comprehensive concept of action and reaction. Everything we do sends out energetic ripples through time and space, whether we see the impact of those ripples on our environment, on others, or even on our current or future selves.
What this means for us is the spiritual patterns created inform all of our relationships and perspectives: how we relate to food, to money, and to our body; how we see and experience sexuality, love, and romantic partners; or how we comprehend social dynamics and manage emotions or experience God. Everything in our personal life and our collective consciousness is impacted by these spiritual patterns. We are born with tendencies in all aspects of our lives which set up the lens through which we view life.
Conversely, our souls are also imprinted with all the information we need to break or modify any of these karmic patterns. It is why people often have conflicting feelings about certain elements of life, beliefs, or ideals. When poised with a choice to take an action, those inner conflicts arise to be acknowledged and resolved. This is karma at work.
As neuroscience learns more about the brain, exciting new research continues to expand our knowledge of what is stored in there. We know that a great deal of genetic information from our parents and ancestors determines things like eye color and intelligence, but science is now recognizing that it’s completely plausible that memories from our ancestors could be part of that genetic trove, as well. Which brings us to reincarnation, of course, but let’s talk about accessing those buried memories in our “spiritual archive.” Why are some people so much better at it? Is it a skill that can be developed?
The short answer: yes. Accessing your spiritual wisdom is a skill that can be developed, and some people are better at it because the lens through which they look at life allows for that sort of spiritual exploration.
Everyone comes into existence with a purpose or spiritual goal whether they are aware of it, and that destiny is held within the buried memories contained in the soul. Everyone will access those memories through whatever construct they are living in at the time, either inner constructs (such as intuition or instinct, dreams or unconscious feelings, or beliefs and ideals) or outer constructs (such as religion or cultural tradition, social mores, or familial expectations or relationships to other authority figures in life). What it takes to access those memories is the willingness to stretch the imagination, to recognize and encourage creativity—looking beyond the most obvious barriers on any level.
The irony? A person with no money must be able to envision having money, to feel the experience of being secure, and to conceptualize what they will do with that money when they have it—all in order to break the cycle of lack.
Throughout the book, you encourage readers to hone the ability to empathize with their ancestors, and especially with the traumatic experiences they experienced. You write, “Ultimately, acknowledging their stories and offering them the opportunity to grieve through you or receive your authentic gratitude for their wisdom, which can now become your own.” You hint at a give-and-take dynamic, as if our ancestors are sentient spiritual beings able to maintain a relationship with us. Please explain. In what state or plane do they reside? When a soul reincarnates and takes a new body does part of their consciousness remain in a type of limbo, or is this what you call the “multi-dimensional realm?”
To start, understanding the ancestors and how they live in us, and with us, is complex. On a personal level, there are some of our dearly departed who remain in spiritual dimensions near us to stay in communication and guide their loved ones. Each of us have spiritual imprints born to us and collectively within our traditions, culture, and societies; within all these constructs exists our history (the impact of our human choices, failings, successes, and changes along the way).
One way the grief of our ancestors is expressed and can be identified today is our collective outrage and drive towards social justice. There are many, in centuries past, who had their voices manipulated, intimidated, beaten, and stolen from them. Now those same souls are back to express their grief, speak their hearts, and require equality as never before. The grief is not necessarily linear. The direct descendants of those historically victimized still may be marginalized in some way, so their karma is to give themselves permission to feel, own their feelings, and release the pain and shame put upon them from previous generations. On the other hand, some of those previously victimized souls may be born into conditions that are conducive to the expression of grief and have many opportunities to process it.
Now, with that in mind, the “multi-dimensional realm” is a way to vaguely describe the over-arching concept of all the different spiritual dimensions and paradigms in which our souls, actions, ideas, beliefs, and emotions exist. For example, there is a modality of healing called Soul Retrieval. It serves to deliver an aspect of a soul left in trauma in another past-life or time and space. When a person experiences a devastating event or dies in trauma, and is unable to process the loss emotionally, the soul reincarnates into a new body bringing the memory of the event and the opportunity to heal it in one imprint.
We confront those imprints in this life and body through emotional triggers, dreams, unconscious fears, and post-traumatic stress reactions. Ultimately, we must remember the event and grieve it, retrieving the aspect of the soul in limbo and calling it back to us as wisdom to be integrated into our mind, body, and spirit.
You describe karmic relationships as the fundamental building blocks of our lives and to illustrate how to begin healing those wounds caused by past traumas, you offer parables from your own karmic journey. You also draw from analogies to Slayers and Warriors to help readers identify their own hidden truths and overcome conflict. Tell us how and why you decided this format was the most effective way to communicate the karmic relationship message?
This question makes me laugh a bit as I am not sure I ever, consciously, decided that the format would be effective. I did, however, spend months kvetching on the frustration I was having on not having a format, and not understanding how I could include all the information that I knew should be in the book. For about three months, different dreams and visions came to me about the portions of books that I had read that had been the most meaningful to me in understanding the intended message: the parable, the how-to section, and the anecdote; and voila, there it was: my structure!
I am an empath and learn best by experiencing the process, the feelings, and the metaphors of a book and its message. I also have a short attention span and like titles and subtitles to focus me. That is how I created the format. I joke, but there is a very real connection to what our western culture believes is real, and how and what we consider to be mental illness. It was that paradigm I needed to ignore, to overcome the natural shame and feeling of “crazy” that rises to mind for most when one speaks of the spiritual world. I believe that all wellness has its roots in the spirit.
The parables in the book lived inside me every day of my life until I was able to acknowledge them and grieve the spirit of the events that had taken place. At the end of the day, it did not matter if others believed them to be true (or deemed that I was crazy). Their presence did not need to make sense; they only needed to be given a voice, offered compassion, and proffered forgiveness. For me, the parable gives everyone freedom to be where they are at, and not have to abandon a long-held belief just to read the book.
As I began to write using this design, something quite magical happened and I recognized a divine creative process occurring for me as I wrote, and for readers as they read. It began to emerge that as people consumed the parables, it took them into a creative space—not having to worry about or challenge its truth but to imagine the possibilities of what may have been or could be. Then, moving them into the structure of more “rational” ideas (the how-to section) allowed the reader to discover their own soul stories and to process them emotionally through witnessing the anecdotes from me (and others) in the book.
Karmic relationships are multi-leveled: some elements are obvious to us and others are subliminal. The revelation of all of them is what leads to the healing and transformation of the spiritual patterns that drive us.
The book delves into a comprehensive list of important personal relationships: the way we relate with money, food, romance, religion, fear, death, and so much more. All of these potential problem areas have any number of causes, and you methodically detail where these trouble spots may have originated and then offer guidance on how to overcome their power over us. As different as the various issues are, what is the commonality they all share? In other words, why do we all seem to get troubled by so many of the same issues, and is it true that they all seem to respond to much the same healing techniques?
How we relate to all the fundamental building blocks of life is what we collectively have in common. Essentially, there are only three responses: to be neutral, to be in conflict, or to be in alignment with each of these core relationships. It is the karmic patterns that refine the details to each response.
What each of the “trouble spots” have in common is that through each of those relationships we cultivate our personal power and how we wield it in the world. For example: once you’ve made peace with dying, life seems much easier to tackle.
To heal ingrained spiritual trauma requires one thing: to make peace with the original event (the past life/spiritual imprint) that began the relationship dynamic in question. The first step in the process is to accept your conditions exactly as they are in the moment: accept how you feel; be honest about what you see; and embrace the grief, discord, or unhappiness at hand. When you can do that, you create a space for what comes next.
I kept this book idea on the shelf for years; the concept continued to change the more information I gathered. Finally, the year my mother died an incredible shift came—there was an enormous freedom to be myself and to share the intimate details of my life to everyone. I realized, knowing my mother could read my stories was a deterrent to publishing them; I was sure, now, I would be able to complete the book. But no, it would still take another decade and several profound life-changing events.
The occurrence in question was what I will call the release of my karmic imprints. For me, being a lifetime empath was the only way to process the multiple lines of personal and cultural emotional and spiritual trauma I came in with—I was crying for myself and all the people, past and present, who could not grieve for themselves. Up until that point, I cried every day. Consider, however, that I wasn’t without joy or happiness. Each day brought a new opportunity to become aware of all the heartbreak I carried and to be of service to others, both of which brought satisfaction.
The day in question was no different. There were subtle ups and downs, and I went to sleep feeling full from the day. It was in the middle of the night that the dream came. It was no ordinary dream, more like astral travel—a meeting on the other side. There I sat with my council of elders around a big conference table (I laugh when I think about it now, the illusion of importance a big table creates), where they congratulated me on my hard work. The Elders told me I was finished and free to go if I so chose. I could die right now if I wanted, I thought to myself. I felt incredible relief and joy at the prospect. As I inhaled a deep breath filled with ease, it occurred to me: maybe today won’t be the day I die—what will I do then?
That morning I awoke to an incredible sense of neutrality. I went to the park for a little exercise and had the strangest experience after one of my wind-sprints. It was as if my heart literally exploded; the sensation was deeply painful. I could feel all the energy of every trauma I had experienced or witnessed move from my heart in a ball of light and move down the length of my right arm. For the next several days that arm was limp, as if I had to retrain myself how to use it (which I eventually did). On some level, I knew that the energy leaving my body was the heart attack I could have had (the karmic pre-planned end of life event if that was my choice) that was leaving my body.
From that point forward I no longer felt obligated to do this work, to work with others, or to write books. It was a scary freedom I had never felt. I understood that anything I would do, even living, would be my conscious choice and that I would do it because I could, not because I should. To date, I have written three books and an oracle deck, and am working on a fourth, because what else am I going to do?
As spiritual beings of infinite age, what are we inevitably seeking? You personally have long been engaged in doing the hard work of conquering your karmic relationships, and you say you’ve experienced “joyousness of such magnitude and depth … and somehow, it seems to be emerging a little more each day.” Please tease us with what’s in store for us if we do the work ourselves?
On a personal level, I believe everyone has their own spiritual and emotional goals. Some folks’ goals may appear simple because they are focused on defined and perhaps limited circumstances. Others may appear more complicated as their true desire is to create their own structure and set boundaries within it. Collectively, we are all looking to integrate our highest possibilities, learn to be inclusive, understand and embrace the interconnection of all things, and to understand our impact on each other and the planet.
Enlightenment is, literally, the lightening of the soul, and is what you can expect in doing your own spiritual work. When we make greater peace with ourselves, the world becomes more peaceful. As a disclaimer, I do want to say that often people misconstrue that the more you know the better you feel, and one does not necessarily inform the other. Feeling good and experiencing peace are choices you can make in response to your circumstances and conditions. The one guarantee: every time you allow yourself to grieve, it will lighten your load and move you forward—even if it does not feel that way.
Ultimately, doing spiritual work will allow you greater understanding and mastery over yourself and the physical world. It will provide a deepening acceptance of others and their fallibility, and a broader compassion and patience with the process of becoming all you intend to be.
What’s next for you and your writing career? And what’s next for the universe?
I have several exciting projects coming up! First, I have a new membership program called Living Radical Acceptance: Love the Life You Have, to Get the Life You Want. In addition to being a part of the community, with complete access to digital content and book discounts, members can be a part of the bi-monthly live ZOOM conversations on powerful topics like setting boundaries, how to begin healing cultural trauma, and stopping the blame game, to name a few. Next year, a workbook and oracle/wisdom deck will come to go with the program.
Secondly, I am writing a book on grief. Grief is an experience unlike any other thing you will do in your life. It can be all-encompassing, overwhelming, and a profound life-changing event—a transformation that creates space for magical inspiration and change. When we are faced with an unspeakable loss, cultural trauma, or many small changes, a highly dynamic emotional environment is created that leads to anxiety, frustration, anger, depression, and intense sadness—all a part of the grieving process. The book will break up the grief-flow into smaller bite-size pieces, offering new perspective and tools needed to help people, not only through the grieving and mourning experience of profound loss, but to reveal the true transformative nature of grief and how it helps us, daily, to tap into our own power.
As for what’s next for the universe, I expect that stars will continue to be born or create black holes as they die. But as time and space continue, I believe that here on Earth we will have positive opportunities to connect with other beings in our galaxy, to release any fears we may have of each other, and to embrace the spirit of cooperation with all our relations.