The Importance of BreathingApril 29, 2014
Family RelationsJune 11, 2014
Family can be a blessing or a curse – or a bit of both! Family can be an experience of joy, laughter and connection… or an experience of challenge and forgiveness. One thing for sure, your relations can be an excellent barometer to show you how well you are doing on your path of personal and spiritual growth.
So often we get pulled into family dynamics and dramas, repeating emotional patterns or behaviours. These are people that we love deeply, that we love enough to enter into sometimes very challenging relationships for our own growth and for theirs. And it’s not always easy…
Recently I spoke with a dear friend in Western Canada. She was deciding whether or not she would fly to Ontario to attend her family reunion. Family reunions are not regular events in her tribe, and she had not seen most of her relatives for many, many years.
Like many of us, her childhood was difficult, and she has done lots of personal work to come to peace within herself. She was feeling confident in her centeredness and connection with Spirit, thinking that she probably wouldn’t attend, but still feeling a pull because some of her relations were aging and others had health issues.
As we spoke, I reminded her about how we can use our family dynamics to see how far we’ve come in our growth, and where there’s more work to be done. Family often uncovers those old issues that lie hidden in our day to day life, especially if we don’t live near them. Family has a way of being able to push our buttons and uncover our Achilles heel…
We might think we have a handle on things, that we’ve done most of our work… until a sibling or parent says something and we’re right back in the emotion of that 8 year old YOU! How often have you taken a deep sigh and declared, “I thought I had already dealt with that…”? Maybe you have, but if there is still an uncomfortable emotion left to surface, there is still a message there for you.
From a distance things can seem peaceful, but the true test is being in the thick of it. Can you hold your peace when you are face-to-face with those patterns and issues from your past? Sometimes it can be much easier to be the master on the mountain top…
The next time you have the gift of being with family, be really present with your inner world. Pay attention to your emotions. Notice any uncomfortable feelings, and watch for triggers. Ask yourself, “What is it about this situation that bothers me? And why?” How do you react? With anger… guilt… avoidance… or low self worth? Or some other uncomfortable emotion?
We can all spend our time and energy to justify our emotions, but that only cements our old stories. Emotional baggage holds it in place. When we release the attachment to those old stories, our unconscious reactions change, in the present and about the past.
Your family can help you pinpoint the places where you have more inner work to do. And as we clear, we can become aware in the moment and consciously choose a different response, instead of reacting, and our whole experience can shift. In that moment, we are in the place of empowerment.
If you need help moving through a challenging family relationship, past or present, feel free to contact me at Linda@test.thoughtchange.com.