Today I joined my mom, three sisters and nephew for lunch and to enjoy part of the long weekend together. Family outings are always interesting because, for as much as you have changed, shifted and transformed, you can still count on your family to show you just how much you can get sucked back into old patterns and behaviors. Someone of importance once said something like, “If you think you have become enlightened spend a week with your family and then revisit that thought.”
He/She didn’t lie.
Your first family is the group of people you selected to learn a lot of your lessons with in this life. They are your challengers, supporters, compadres and, at times, enemies. Generally when we incarnate, although there is always a master plan that we all agree to work with, we seem to start right where we left off the last time we were together in the physical.
You spend quite a bit of time with these fellow incarnates, family members, in your formative years. This is the time of your life when you make a number of mistakes, missteps and have plenty of mishaps trying to understand: why you’re here; why these people are with you; discovering your gifts; forgiveness, patience, love, and compassion; and how do I get out of here and find my “real” purpose in life.
Having witnessed quite a bit of your journey, your family will acknowledge your accomplishments and the wonderful highlights of your life, but they also do not seem to want to forget your mistakes, mishaps and missteps. In fact, they are more than happy to point these out to you every chance they can get. For example, “Hey, Shirlyn remember when you joined that cult? Remember when you said that Jesus didn’t exist? Shirlyn you are so domineering, just like when you were younger? You haven’t changed at all!”
In reality I didn’t join ‘that’ cult. A church I visited had overtones of cult like behavior which I shared with my family. I went to the church twice and attended one of their bible studies to hear and understand their take on spirituality. Not only did I not become a member, I never went back after the second visit. I didn’t say Jesus didn’t exist. I asked how can we prove he existed and find out what he really did to help the world. I also asked why he was supposedly the only child of God. I thought these were pretty valid questions among others I put forth to try to understand life, the bible and other beliefs floating around me all my life.
I am the oldest of four children in my family. Aren’t the oldest children given responsibilities from their parents to keep the other children in line? We are trained to be the leaders, protectors and minor disciplinarians of the family. Your siblings will become resentful and downright challenge everything you say or do. Not having taken the class offered somewhere on this planet called, “How To Take Things In Stride – A Class for The Eldest Sister/Brother,” I did manage to tap into my domineering and judgmental side.
So what are we to learn from our families who have known us the longest, have watched us stumble through a good portion of our lives, and stand ready to remind us of our days of: pink hair and blue eyeliner; skipping school and talking back to our parents; dating a few guys we would gladly erase from everyone’s memory bank if we could; getting drunk and making complete fools of ourselves; all of our perceived failures; wearing a glove pretending to be Michael Jackson and instead of moon walking we were moon tripping; and moments of angst over everything in our teens, twenties and thirties?
We are to learn that all of this is an illusion anyway so don’t care, worry, or get drawn into living a past that doesn’t exist for you anymore! The past is gone, done with and finished. The only thing for you to be concerned with is learning how to love yourself fully and completely, forgiving yourself and others, growing into an expression of Spirit that embraces everything that is wonderful about this world, accepting yourself, and choosing to have fun along the way.
So, the next time a family member or friend attempts to drag you back to those days of past, be the person you are now and hold them in a space of love, forgiveness and compassion so that they can become aware of the wonderful person they have become having gone through their own personal journey of self-discovery. If that doesn’t work you can:
remind them of their most embarrassing moment which will stop them dead in their tracks of bringing up the past and then hold them in a space of love and compassion or
go home, regroup, write an article for a blog to clarify a few things, and don’t visit your family for a while.
Copyright © 2009 by Shirlyn Wright