The Sacred Centre

sharing – daring – caring – writing from the heart

Category: Genetic Footprints

A Matter of Life – Life and Matter

The more I learn about the function and basic building blocks of our material body, the more I realise how fragile and yet fascinatingly complex and clever our material body is.

And yet, some functions are so unbelievably fascinating that it is hard to ignore the thought that there must be more to this, that this can’t possibly be “just a coincidence”.

Take a basic human cell for example. We have about 100 trillion cells within our body.  There are more atoms in one human cell than there are visible stars in the sky. Something I had outlined before here. The cell nucleus contains our DNA, our physiological past of a few million years.

A really good animation of “The inner life of a cell”.

Our cells are constantly working to regenerate our body and fuel it with a chemical reaction involving oxygen and glucose. There is a constant exchange of gases going on, diffusion of oxygen and carbon dioxide. As a living organism we are characterised by breathing, eating, elimination, reproduction, growth and movement. Yet there are still some processes that have no rational origin other than the autonomic or involuntary nervous system. Like the sinoatrial node, for example, our natural pace maker. I have written about it before. Feel free to indulge in it here.

When you begin to realise how easily this bodily cage of ours can stop working, we can either go down the route of depression and worry until the end is near, or hope for the best and carry on. Yesterday I read the following interesting facebook update:

“Every night we go to bed, we have no assurance to wake up alive the next morning, but still we set our alarm for tomorrow. That’s hope.”

How true this is. How much we simply trust that our body is going to carry on regardless and hope for a better tomorrow. Most of us don’t give it a second thought how we treat our body. Are we naïve? Is naivety what drives us to carry on living? What do we need to believe in, in order to do this thing we call living on this planet? What are we hoping tomorrow will bring?

And why are we carrying on prolonging this life by all means? What is so special about it that it deserves all our attention, even if it is way after our bodily sell-by date? Today I learned that in cases where someone is declared brain dead, it is possible for the heart to carry on beating for a week or more, providing there is a constant supply of oxygen available. Once again, the sinoatrial node still triggers, despite at a lower rate but consistently. Why? Does it maybe follow a different energetic impulse altogether? One that can not be perceived by the standard human senses?

I sometimes get flashes of being removed from my physical body. This is a weird sensation. But it puts my physical hull into a different perspective. The sense that the essence of who or what I am is not necessarily dependent on the matter that we call life, but merely something likened to a special suit that helps me to wander atop the earth and interact with others on here. Although I may not be quite sure why I chose to do this. Sometimes it can be very hard indeed to come to terms with the limitations of a physical existence in a body consisting of 26 elements of earthly matter.

Some people are absolutely sure that there is absolutely nothing going on anymore after their death. Once again I believe ignorance to be bliss. However, will it give those non-believers the full satisfaction of a life lived to the fullest? I can’t help but wonder what the point is in just one such thing as a single experience of life. My urge to explore these possibilities is driven by a hunger to know and understand, not just the need to believe in more. Such a pity I likely won’t know until I get there myself. But I’m sure life would loose a lot of it’s fascination if we all knew what would happen after.

And they cycle of thought continues 🙂


Truly Petrified

Ever been so petrified you turned into stone? Nowhere near enough as the petrified piece of wood that I am holding in my hands.

I can’t quite get my head around it. This brown lump that looks like a piece of a small tree trunk with the only difference being the smooth polished glass-like surface and the stone-like weight is said to be something in the lines of a mighty 250 million years old. Or as close to this daring assumption of a piece of history that quite likely stood on earth before even the dinosaurs did.

Humans only dared setting their foot on earth a comparably insignificant 200 thousand years ago. That’s like what? A fossil tree that’s 1200 times older than humanity or 1200 years for every year of humanity. Bless my boyfriend’s capability to at least try to calculate this for me 🙂

Now I wanted to know what the earth looked like at the time of the tree. According to the BBC, it would fall roughly inbetween the Permian period, 290 – 248 million years ago, a mainly arid supercontinent with low oxygen levels, and the Triassic period, 248 – 205 million years ago, which was characterised by heat, vast deserts and warm seas and at which time the supercontinent of Pangaea is said to have begun breaking apart.

Apparently there wasn’t much growing on the planted back then other than conifers in various forms and shapes. Is my piece of fossil wood a conifer?

It was the Permian mass extinction that ended the Permian period and preceded the Triassic Period, nicknamed The Great Dying, since a staggering 96% of species died out. All life on Earth today is descended from the 4% of species that survived. Did my fossil tree die during that time? Truly petrified at the sight of a massive mass extinction?

Petrified wood derives from a tree that has fallen onto the ground and is then quickly submerged by mud and henceforth cut off from oxygen, delaying the natural decaying process. As the tree slowly decays, it’s cells fill with water and as the water evaporates, leave behind mineral residues which in the end replace the organic tree matter with solid stone.

Different minerals will influence the colouring of the fossil tree. Silicone is much more likely to retain the original colouring of the tree as opposed to calcite, which turns the wood white.

I have to say that I am truly honoured to hold a piece of stone in my hand that has existed for soo many, many years. It is beyond my capability to think that far back. I only just began coping with the 60 000 years since my prehistoric ancestors left Africa to populate Europe, but 250 million is quite a bit more.

And after all this petrified wood has witnessed, it ends up in a shop for a mere £21. Hardly worth the amount of time it has sat and waited to be dug up. It reminds me once again how small and insignificant we humans are as a race, as a population that believes it knows it all and uses that knowledge to destroy the planet, an entity that has lived for 4.5 billion years … a number too big for my boyfriend’s calculator to show … or a rough gestimate of 23 000 years for every human year. Please don’t lynch him should the numbers not match a 100% 😉

Amazing what one can learn in an afternoon 🙂

Please, please, please humans, don’t destroy this wonderful planet with all its wonders and miracles! It would be such a shame!


The Mini Evolution

Having been researching a little into my mitochondrial past, my mother line, and being aware of today’s understanding of human evolution, I came to see just how fast we develop today.

What our ancestors learned over many thousands, even millions of years, we now learn in a single lifetime. We learn to walk in the first couple of years of our life together with the first words that soon transform into proper sentences followed by proper reading and writing when we enter school.

During our teens we discover ourselves and the world around us, we trial and test and grow up with a pretty good understanding of how we should behave, though a lot of us might have different ideas.

We enter adolescence and are expected to become responsible, look after ourselves and make decisions about our life and the future. We are curious and want to see for ourselves if the photos from places far away are correct and many go to see it for themselves.

Annapurna, Himalaya, Nepal

After a few years we may get tired, no longer hungry for knowledge we begin to settle down. Quite naturally children are born which repeat the cycle of growing up and once they have left the house to explore the world for themselves, we hope to spend the rest of our life in the peaceful surroundings of our home that we have established during our lifetime.

Granted this describes the average Western view on life. In poorer countries, like Nepal above for example, which is one of the poorest countries in the world, this theory is a completely different ballgame.

Today we live on average twice as long as my mitochondrial mother Helena did 20 000 years ago, at the time of the last ice age. We can get a good 90 years out of it if we are lucky, yet the majority of important transformations take place in the first 20 years of our life. So what are we doing with the rest of our life? Is it maybe not that lucky at all to live to such a high age?

What is it that evolution tries to teach us by enabling us to grow up to our full potential so quickly and then allowing us to live that long?

On a related concept, researchers have realised that our brain has been steadily shrinking for the past 20 000 years. The reasons are yet unknown. One idea I like. It suggests that we have adapted to life, became used to our surroundings and simply don’t need some of the early functions that enabled us to survive in the wild. It is for example also mentioned that a larger head would have been of benefit to counteract the cold ice age.

Our ancient ancestors were mostly travelling by foot and many didn’t make it either due to old age, illness or accidental death while hunting. Today’s life offers us the possibility to travel relatively safe to places that those living a few thousand years ago didn’t even knew existed. Travelling further got easier with the first railway tracks and nowadays we take travelling afar for granted.

Aotearoa – New Zealand – The land of the long white cloud

The first time I set foot on a plane was nine years ago, at the adventurous age of 21, when I decided to take a look at New Zealand at the bottom of the world. Prior to that I thought flying was only for rich people. And to be fair, it has only been a fairly recent development that low cost airlines made flying more accessible to those on a low budget.

Two years after my trip to New Zealand I moved from Germany to England and spent the first few years flying back and forth twice a year to see my family until I got fed up with it and began taking the car on the ferry to cross the English Channel about once each year.

It was the realisation during the years of “commuting” between England and Germany that I looked at myself and asked “Just when did you become a frequent flyer?” An innate fear response set in that suggested that the more often I fly the higher the chance I will crash one day. So I stopped flying, which I know is silly since crashing I can anywhere be it in a car, bus, train or even more so on my bike. Did my prehistoric ancestors begin to settle in one place because they were afraid to venture further into a dangerous wild?

However silly this approach of mine to flying may be, it does enable me to be prepared for the possibility that the oil on the planet may run out at some point. How prepared are you to do without the comfort of distant travels and to be forced back onto your own two feet to walk, just like our prehistoric ancestors did? Would that cause our brain to grow again?

As mentioned above, I have become a little less adventurous now compared to a few years ago when I went to Nepal and ended up climbing over a massive rock and mudslide.

Rock and mudslide in Nepal

Actually, this may sound clichéd, having just turned 30 I feel I have aged a lot in the past six months. As if the whole of evolution had suddenly caught up with me. My eyesight rapidly declined, my driving isn’t as boisterous as it used to be, I am more aware of the possible dangers around me and my handwriting is deteriorating to mere hieroglyphs. I read somewhere once that our body is only designed to function to it’s fullest potential until about age 37. Is this what I’m feeling?

My sense of adventure has turned inward, to be happy with myself wherever I am. I have even only recently bought a little bungalow. “Only old people buy bungalows” used to be a common stereotype. I just like the compact cuteness of it. And the immense feeling of security this new house evokes in me is tremendous, despite my inability to commit even to a fulltime job until a few years ago.

My warm and happy feelings towards the house as a place where I can retreat to and rest might be similar to the first farmers 10 000 years ago that settled down because they found it much more comfortable to grow their food around the house compared to running after it in the wild.

We all start of as hunters when we are born and return to the shelter of a home to settle down in comfort. And I think that in my very own mini evolution, I am just at that point. Just children are not on my horizon 😉


The Call of Life

What is the purpose of living? And why do we carry on producing offspring to further populate an already overcrowded planet? Are we unconsciously preparing for an expedition to Mars after all?

20 000 years ago it was the declining ice cover over northern Europe that enabled Helena, my mitochondrial mother, to move further north from southern France and discover unknown territory. It must have been exciting as well as terrifying and dangerous, to say the least.

20 000 years later I decide to leave my home country of Germany to move to England after accepting a six months work experience placement. I saw it as a stepping stone from which to travel the rest of the world. It was exciting, terrifying but more than anything, I had enough of Germany, a place that didn’t hold much excitement for me anymore at the time.

Friends had fallen out with each other, my part time job had been given to someone else, and actually, something had been missing all along. And I was keen to find out what it was that I was missing out on.

Apart from the known facts that Helena, whose name derives from the haplogroup letter H, was said to belong to the hunter and gatherers, long before humans settled down to farm, one of her main aims was to keep finding food to survive, an important instinct that we still possess today.

When I made the decision to move abroad, my instinct was to find something new, a challenge, somewhere else. English as a language seemed to come easy to me and I enjoyed talking, watching movies and reading in English. I would love to know how Helena communicated and whether her clan had trouble communicating with other clans.

Chalk Cliffs at Dover, UK.

Six months in England have now turned into seven years. How did that happen? And I wonder just how it happened that my ancestors decided to settle in Germany. How did the hunter and gatherers come to begin farming? Because they realised that it was much easier to grow food in close proximity than having to run around in the wild for days to hunt it down.

I have to admit, though I didn’t get very far with my ambitious plans to travel the world, after a decade of discovering myself, beginning by leaving my mother’s house, re-educating myself from graphic design to foreign languages to healthcare, adding complementary therapies, jetting off to inspect far away places like New Zealand and teaching English at Buddhist monasteries in Nepal, I feel like I spent my twenties well with researching my options and playing around with all the possibilities.

I have figured out what I want out of life, realised that the horizon will still be there to discover more if I wish and that I am now ready to lay back and enjoy living my thirties, which would have been a fulfilling middle age for Helena, a little more peaceful.

Well, maybe after the two years university that lie ahead 🙂

I hasten to say that it is more my mental attitude that has changed, more at ease with myself, more accepting of myself and others, a little calmer. Why yes, we are still a constantly evolving species after all.

The genetic mutations that make up our markers which make it possible to establish where our DNA has travelled, are estimated to arise every few thousand years and can be used to give us a rough idea when and where these people lived. What I find interesting is the finding that humans never had a milk digesting enzyme, other than as babies, and that it was a genetic mutation that arouse a few thousand years ago that enabled humans to digest milk from animals. It is suggested that this strand of humans went on to populate Europe, since most Asian and African populations are not able to tolerate milk.

I don’t tolerate milk very well, with the symptoms of headache, bloating, nausea, but my DNA result didn’t include this information, so I don’t know for sure if any of my ancestors carried the lactose tolerating enzyme and if they did, where it began.

I have written before about the story how and why I left Germany, which you can read here if you like. But it is only now that I don’t just consider it a spiritual calling, the influence of reincarnation, but begin to wonder whether it was maybe my genes calling me just as much. How much would a genetic predisposition influence our decision where we feel home?

Only in the last year did I write about my nomadic behaviour of running away in connection with my engagement, about being home where the heart is, reminisced about the winds of change, releasing toy horses and discovered the Buddha within.

Feel free to click on the links and read!

And why do I feel drawn to certain places on the globe and not at all to others? Is it the total unknown that fascinates me or is it familiarities? Can we put any emphasis on these questions at all? I always say that if I had lived a few hundred years ago, I would have discovered the world. Did I?

The end result is that I feel happy where I am and would only consider moving away if I found find that I wasn’t happy anymore. However, I have come to learn to deal with such situations and transform them, which is probably why I am still here.

Did the same happen to Helena and my more recent German ancestors? Did they simply stay where they were because they were happy? Or did other commitments keep them bound to the area? Did they feel they had to raise children to maintain the family line or did it just happen? Or was it just not possibly for them to pack their bags and run for the hills, like I did?

Even if someone claims to know the answers, there will be hardly any evidence to support them. Which makes this topic so exciting 😉


Common Ancestors

If I share the same mitochondrial DNA with a certain group of people, that can be traced back to 20 000 years ago, how much do I have in common with these people?

Bryan Sykes gives us an idea of how life must have been like for Helena, the woman that everyone with the haplogroup H can be traced back to. He bases it on DNA, archaeological finds and global weather data. The last ice age was still covering most of Europe back then and Helena survived with her clan in caves in Southern France. A lot of it is speculation, a lot remains unknown.

What I found striking in the inspiring TV show “Meet the Izzards” was how similar Eddie Izzard looked next to random people with the same DNA markers as his despite them being from different ethnic groups. I have only a handful of people from my maternal line to compare to. Can you spot similarities?

My brother, granny, mother and me.

It’s funny that we all share my grandfathers surname and at the same time share the mitochondrial DNA from one individual female who is said to have lived 20 000 years ago, which has nothing to do with my grandfather. Watch below as I trace back my own mother line.

My brother and I share the same mtDNA from our mother, but only I could give it on to my children.

My mother and I.

My mother as a young child.

My granny Ursula when she was about 18.

Granny when she was a young child.

My great grandmother Anna with baby granny.

My great grandmother Anna as a young girl, born 1897.

My great great grandmother Pauline born 1862.

A younger great great grandmother Pauline.

My great great great grandmother Katharina, born 1833.

Of my great great great great grandmother I only know her name, Elisabeth, but not when she was born or what she looked like. Everything before that is a mystery.

As with anything, we can put far too much into this. Looking back from today’s view point, we can say that only the strongest and cleverest prevailed. Natural selection played its part. How much is my decision to not continue my maternal line part of this natural selection process? Is it because my physiology wouldn’t permit it anyway? Should I maybe try anyway, just to carry on the tradition? Why would I show so much interest only to then not actively contribute to it? Or is this where my belief comes in, that the physical is secondary to the spiritual?

In the belief of incarnation, some say that we choose the conditions we would like to be born into. These can be good or bad, depending on what we would like to learn from it. Looking at my own birth conditions, my mother being told she had a chance near to nothing to be able to conceive, yet I came, despite my father’s request of abortion, with the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck twice, reluctant to breathe and yet announcing myself long before my mother even knew she was expecting by repeatedly telling her my name. Bless her, she was actually seeking psychological support because of it and only a supposed appendicitis revealed that she was actually pregnant.

Growing up without a father isn’t really a problem, as long as you ignore the arising feelings of rejection. Once they come up, and they do, literally at any junction on your life’s path, you learn from them and transform. For me, they were basically my outboard motor that accelerated me into unknown territory, always on the quest to a better me.

What I learned from my mother’s line DNA is that I belong to the strongest mitochondrial haplogroup to populate Europe, said to be well equipped to stand up against infection, which made it so widespread. Long before the DNA report have I come to realise that I am blessed with strong immunity.

Bringing in my personal life purpose, I have decided I am going to save the world by helping one person at a time to become better after an illness as part of my clinical role, and to become happier overall as part of my complimentary business.  Which is why I don’t feel the need to concentrate on just one individual, as in a child of my own.

All in all, I am a born fighter. And I really don’t think I would be a fighter if I had been born into a happy “standard” family environment, because I wouldn’t have felt the need to fight for myself and others against injustices and misunderstandings.

Still, the original question remains: Is there a connection between my soul purpose and my mitochondrial past? Or is it all just a coincidence? Why don’t I like to believe it is a mere coincidence? Does life really need to have a purpose for it to be worth living?

Until the next.


Incarnation vs Mutation

I like the idea of reincarnation, life as a cycle of learning, dying, being born again, living life as a quest to fulfil a deeper understanding which lays beyond our comprehension.

And while I like a certain idea, I am also just as equally interested in other ideas, like the on-going research into our genetic history.

These two are worlds apart, one might think. The idea of incarnation seems to be attached to a belief system, religion, an airy gist of a thought manifestation that somehow made it into present history as a possibility, though commonly established in Eastern traditions.

Genetic research seems to follow a set of rules that are based on material evidence found over the years. However, even genetics had to prove itself against an array of scientists who didn’t “believe” what the latest discoveries showed and only gave in when many others showed equal results.

Both, incarnation and genetics, could be put down to evolution, the constant evolving of a species that is at the same time spirit and flesh, yet haven’t come to fully see the connection between both.

A question that arose while I was looking into my own mitochondrial past was if we would possibly reincarnate into the same haplogroup, a group that consists of people with the same genetic mutations in their mitochondrial DNA, which is only passed along the maternal line.

Why did that question arise? Because for me, considering that one is said to evolve with each incarnation and to possibly be reincarnated with similar people, it would make sense to stay in the same clan, to move it forward, mentally driven by spiritual aspects and physically by carrying forth our genetic blueprint, using our common mutation for the better of humanity.

To be fair, I haven’t got a clue what I am talking about, mere speculations, yet the topic doesn’t let me rest. So excuse my waffling, but I have got to find a common ground here.

Another question: “How much do genes remember of themselves? Do they have a collective memory or conscience/awareness like we are said to have?” Spiritually it is suggested that we are all one. One soul, split into different segments to enable incarnation, to learn for the better of the whole.

Have you heard about the joke with the Dalai Lama and the Pizza? Got to watch it! 🙂

Atoms, for example, tiny tiny particles, together, vibrating at different speeds, create a material object. Though even for atoms to be acknowledged by humanity took almost 2000 years since their discovery approximately 400 BCE by Democritus, a Greek scholar, Back then, his idea was refused as one saw the world as something divine, whereas today we have gone the other way, accepting only what can be proven by science.

“It only looks like a thing has a colour and it only appears to be sweet or bitter. In reality, there are only atoms and the empty space”. Democritus

According to Paul Davis in “The fifth miracle”, every human has about one billion atoms in their body which once belonged to Shakespeare or even Buddha or Mozart. He claims that due to the constant circle of life and the apparent long-living atoms, a permanent new use as a dewdrop, leaf or new human is possible.

Bryan Sykes completes his book “The seven daughters of Eve” by stating that our genes didn’t just appear when we were born. They have been carried to us by millions of individual lives over thousands of generations. And even though we are all a complete mixture, at the same time, we are all related. Each gene can trace its own journey to a different common ancestor.

Just how much do I have in common with my ancestors?

To the next.


My Mitochondrial Past

Ok, so I spit into this small tube, put it into the post and a month later I learn that I descend from the pioneers that populated Europe after the last ice age a few thousand years ago. 20 000 years to be precise, or as precise as today’s genetics can be. Of course, we are talking about DNA here.

I was curious. Watching Eddie Izzard ( discover his ancient genetic relatives left me wanting to know more about my own. Actually, I was even more interested to compare the findings with my theory of soul connections.

Katharina Zinsenheim 1833

My great great great grandmother Katharina Zinsenheim, born 1833 in Germany.

Considering that I have names of my maternal line for a good seven generations up to about 1800 AD and given that my surname, from my mother’s father, is one of the most common names in Germany, I don’t know much beyond that.

And what did my spit reveal?

2013-02-27 11.40.07

It revealed the journey of ancient humanity, homo sapiens, the first humans leaving Africa 60 000 years ago to discover the plains of the globe, vast untouched wilderness, only populated by wild animals.

As a woman I can only be tested for my mother line with the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is contained in our cells, male and female, but can only be given on to an offspring with the fertilized female egg. Men can be tested for the mtDNA as well as the Y chromosome (YDNA), but I would have to somehow convince my non-existent father to donate some spit in order for me to learn more about my father line, which is presently impossible.

My mitochondrial DNA markers indicate that I belong to the haplogroup H ( with the subtype of H5a. To not confuse you too much, a haplogroup is a group of similar haplotypes, sharing common ancestors with the same mutation, which are assigned letters to group similar ones together and set them apart from those with different mutations.

It is estimated that my haplogroup H arose about 40 000 years ago in the vast land between Western Iran, Kazakhstan and Mongolia and then went on to move towards Europe. Today it is the most common group in Europe with the biggest percentage of 47% alone in Germany, which, who would have thought, is my country of origin, closely followed by the Balkans with 36% and Slovakia with 34%.

France contributes with 29%, which is the place Bryan Sykes ( pinpointed as “Helena’s” place of birth a good 20 000 years ago, the mother of all those grouped together in haplogroup H. In case you’re wondering how he knows the name of this ambitious “clan leader”, he simply made up names beginning with the letter assigned to the different haplogroups.

Talking about soul connections, a strange coincidence was that I had booked myself a trip to France head over heels to visit a Buddhist retreat for a week, unknowingly exactly where I later learned Helena was said to have originated, in the Dordogne region, with the cave of Lascaux (ice-age refuge with magnificent paintings) only an hours drive away.

Rolling hills in Dordogne, France

Unfortunately, other than a present day photo of a heavily farmed Southern France, there is obviously no other photographic evidence of Helena’s existence, just traces of DNA extracted from bones excavated over the years, traced back to one person, the mother of the mother of a mother, an unbroken chain for 20 000 years. In “The Seven Daughters of Eve”, Bryan Sykes gives us a glimpse into what life must have been like for Helena and the other “clan mothers” based on meteorological data and archaeological finds.

What I find interesting is that some research ( suggests that the reason why haplogroup H is so dominant and widespread is that the genetic predisposition offers a naturally high protection from infection. I can personally attest that I hardly ever get ill, other than a little cold every now and again. On the other hand, there is also a risk factor for late onset Alzheimer’s Disease. At least it’s not early onset 🙂

My subtype H5a is said to have arisen in Europe about 5500 years ago and is most common in Iberia, the Balkans and Scandinavia. The report I received from the test lab wasn’t very extensive. However, I did find a website ( which assigns markers to excavations, where I for example discovered that I share the same genetic marker for blue eyes as does the famous Copernicus (

If anyone out there has done a DNA test and would like to compare, my marker definitions for subtype H5a are: 10398A,  12705C,  2706A,  7028C,  456T,  4336C.

I tested with Britains DNA, mainly because they had a program on national TV so I found I could trust they would give me a good result. Please do your own research before ordering any tests to find a test lab that suits your circumstances.

So far, so goo. Now that I have given you the facts, let me ponder on the influence of our higher self or soul on our genetic blueprint.

Until the next.