I make a habit of reading my local newspaper’s daily advice column not out of a voyeuristic tendency – well, not completely at least. It’s also from a desire to connect with fellow humans and either celebrate or commiserate with them about their lives and others of our species in those lives – spouses, children, friends, coworkers and the like. I find that it settles me a bit to know that there are people out there in the world with whom I can empathize albeit at a distance and perhaps impersonally – which pleases my introverted self – about what pulls at their heart strings the most and therefore mine as well.
It was the advice columnist, Erma Bombeck, who wrote an entire book entitled “Family: The Ties that Bind – And Gag!” and was among the favorites of my mom’s books to read because of the high humor content. My mom came from a large family herself – 13 kids – and with 6 children of her own plus spouse and his family I have no doubt that humor helped her over the rough patches that are part of every family. Among her quotes in the book are:
“Friends are “annuals” that need seasonal nurturing to bear blossoms. Family is a “perennial” that comes up year after year, enduring the droughts of absence and neglect. There’s a place in the garden for both of them.”
“Families aren’t easy to join. They’re like an exclusive country club where membership makes impossible demands and the dues for an outsider are exorbitant.”
Certainly at this point in the wheel of the year with holidays abounding is when our familial ties might be viewed as more gagging than binding and I offer you a different perspective on that dynamic from a soul path and soul contract foundation. It may or may not make a difference in how you interact with your biological family members over the next few months – my intention is to make it easier for you to consider accepting what may feel like an overwhelming sensation of either not fitting in or family dysfunction in its worst incarnation. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there to some degree or the other.
Before all of us are born, our soul contracts with each other including our biological family members are written. For each of our soul paths, connections large and small, positive and not are negotiated and locked into beingness energetically speaking. This may make it sound like everything is driven by fate and yet the very real and often breathtakingly fast component of free will can and does sometimes change these soul “drive-bys”. It doesn’t make them insignificant at all, it just shapes our life experience on this planet and thus our evolving soul path.
Families, though, into which we’re born with such significant “blood ties” are meant to be lifelong and enduring although maybe not endearing at times. The very nature of the relationship as defined by culture, time and place make them immutable to a certain degree and yet within this context – as often exists in the shadow – a stunning degree of transformation is always possible, lurking just beneath the surface of those ties that threaten to gag us at times. In my lifetime I’ve not always been successful at keeping an open connection point with my siblings (my parents are both deceased) and at this point in time I don’t have contact with them. Maybe you’re the same way and maybe your family members are among your best friends – I think you’re lucky if they are.
The bottom line is that for each soul path there will be family connections that hold significant transformative power for all involved and in each lifetime there is usually ample opportunity for those connections to be re-wired. The key is that you cannot do it yourself, there must be open partnership with the other soul and consciousness to bring about the elevation of soul path that is the sole purpose for a lifetime of human experience connection.
So this holiday season, if you’re feeling both bound and gagged by family I invite you to view everyone – make sure you’re first – through the prism of deep compassion for whoever they are in your life and wherever they are on their own life and soul path. Sometimes a bit of time is needed for perspectives to be reestablished and defined from a highest and best good. Above all, remember to breathe into that compassion and know that you’re doing the best you can.
Photo credit: Clarke Family History by Brianna Lehman, resized.