Monday, October 11, 2010

The Power of Family

Having already talked about your ability to take care of yourself and create a new relationship with your body, family is also paramount to pretty much everyone. It's another one of the most basic, bottom-level issues that dictates just about everything else in your life. Many people never realize this, and they pretty much live with the social programming in tact that they got from their families. Others move into a place of intense resistance to just about all the programming. Both ways can be problematic. So let's talk through the power and importance of family as we look for a middle way.

What Is Family?
Concept of family seems simple enough, but I won't assume that everyone grows up in the four person nuclear family. This, like many other things, is a Western society illusion--a program saying how life should look. Family is any person or group of people who help take care of you growing up. We've all heard plenty of stories about how a coach or a teacher in school can make a huge difference on someone's life. In many respects they step into the space of family, and they can also add to or shift the cultural programming in a person's mind, body, heart, and soul.

More commonly accepted is that a family has a mom and a dad. How common this is in practice worldwide, I won't guess. But at one point a man and woman came together, and their joining had an amazing effect; they created you. How they were during sex is one of the first key junctures for a person. Energetically, their love or lack thereof tells a story to your energy. It is the first of countless stories that parents tell both verbally and energetically about relationships. The stories continue on through infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. They tell you how to eat, survive, be with other people, fight, grieve, be intimate, be angry, be happy, be loved, give, receive, and so many other things. All of this is sitting down at the bottom part of you--the first energy center of you.

Acknowledging the Power of Family
For my friends who have lots of difficult issues focused around family, you know that clearing these is not a small task. It's a worthy one, and it's an important one. But for the sake of this blog post and the series of posts I'm writing, it's only important to acknowledge the influence family has had over you. Begin to bring awareness to all the issues you've had with your family. Don't try to fix them unless this is a near and present thing for you. If it is, then you've found a key piece to work on to build your spirituality. For others, I simply want you to put your attention there.

In my own life, I've noticed that as I grow, I cycle back to different issues. One of the great things about the spiritual path is that it has cycles. It's kind of whirling dervish. As you gain deeper insights and expand your spiritual toolkit, you come back to issues with more awareness and ability to heal. You have a little broader perspective and more ability to deal with things that you couldn't deal with before. So many things here may be put aside as you--to quote a friend--build your tower to connect to the divine. You can't avoid your family issues on this path. But you can get help and support before you have to face those concerns.

The Gift of Family
For as many issues and--in some cases--abuses, family may bring upon us, family also may have offered you a lot of gifts. They may have taught you a lot of wonderful things that allow you to be happy and to achieve the things that you want to achieve. They took care of you when you were little and sacrificed so that you could have the things that you needed and wanted. I've noticed that there isn't a lot of gratitude referenced around family at times. I may simply be around too many spiritual work-aholics (which is kind of an oxymoron, but I can get into that later). However, as you go down the path, many of us start to see this family programming and the larger cultural programming inside of us. It's the type of thing where the more you clean out the issues inside, the more the remaining ones stand out. And even after all that work, the family issues can still be looming large. However, it is so important to return to love and gratitude with your family as you move through these issues.

Furthermore, a separation starts to happen in your eyes as you get clear. You start to own the issues that you associated with your family instead of projecting them all onto your father, your mother, your sister, or your brother. You will see the issues as separate even as your family members are acting them out. You start to appreciate how they're caught up in the programming, and that it has nothing to do with you.

In many respects, this line of thinking is straight out of Don Miguel Ruiz's The Mastery of Love. Your family is caught up in a story. And that story is theirs and not yours. Bringing your awareness to this fact will bring you some peace, and then you can see even more clearly where you're still hooked into stories and programming that now can be deleted, healed, or transmuted.

Handling Severe Family Dysfunction
I do want to say that there are some situations where the best thing you can do is to remove yourself or find external help. Issues include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Severe emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse

You may one day be able to engage with deep love and compassion with your family around this, and if so, that's an amazing and profound space to be in. It's certainly not impossible, but if you've been surrounded by this for a long time, you need to get help immediately. Mostly likely, you'll need to find a new living situation. Here's a link to some help from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services concerning domestic abuse, child abuse, and other issues.

Clearing the Root Chakra
Clearing root chakra issues is a lot of work because those issues are so ingrained. I've spent a good deal of time clearing issues around financial scarcity from my energy and being pretty terrified during the process. But in doing so, I continue to find more and more abundance in my life on multiple levels.

If you put your attention to this foundational area of your life, you will see a lot of patterns learned from your parents and your extended family. Just bring awareness to these. As I build up towards the heart and the mind in these blog posts, you'll see where these basic programs have influenced how you feel, think, and be. We will return to these issues later, but for now, know that they're there and know that they can be healed.

Next blog: Spiritual Sexuality: Meeting and Igniting Your Creative Powers 

Today's beautiful photo is a gift from my regular reader, Becky Stiller. Thanks!
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