Life Aspect number 3.
This Life Aspect addresses your family of origin and the influences
that affected and continue to affect you today. They might be
imperfect, but as you grow, you can also create a new sense of
family that comes from your community.
We were raised in a very idealistic family setting.
Let me re-phrase that -- As idealistic as it can be with 9 children, 2 parents, an extra set of grandparents, aunts, uncles and the ocassional dog, rabbit, fish, or bird that happened to survive being along
for the ride. Both of my parents came from small families and
they thought a big family would be fun. After 30 years of they described it differently... hard work.
My mother was born in Kansas. She had been an opera singer in Europe before she married and settled stateside and she loved music, but
the thing she wanted most was "a beautiful family". For my parents 25th wedding anniversary when we were having a professional family photo taken, the photographer stopped for a moment as he was setting up a shot. He was visibly "stopped in his tracks". He said to my mother, "You have a beautiful family." And I remember thinking, "Ah! She got exactly what she wanted!"
When I studied theater I received a window into other people's families. Tennessee Williams, Chekhov, Sam Shepard -- ummm... very different than my world. When I left home and began to experience the stories of the family lives of my friends, I was surprised to learn (and quickly educated) that "beautiful family" was not the case for many of my own friends. It wasn't until I was a full grown adult that I learned that even my mother's birth family was full of conflict and uncertainty and this was why creating a strong family was her top priority.
And so I can bring both perspectives to this aspect in the Life Aspects chart. What I've learned is that family is important -- but if your own family of origin was too painful, then the structure of your "family" must come from the family you create or the community that you build around yourself as an adult. People to laugh intimately with, or cry with when that's what's up, and who can help you understand and reflect upon the things that are happening in your life. To find and create love in that community is what will sustain you. Will it pay off? Most times.
Will you get hurt? Sometimes. Can you forgive when it's
not perfect? I hope so.
No one's family is "Leave it to Beaver" perfect, but you can create what is mostly perfect for you. Here are a few questions to get you started:
Have you found a way to appreciate both the light and the dark sides
of your family's story?
What is your strength that you bring to your family story?
Have you ever looked at your family tree?
Do you have a written family health history for more than one generation?
Are you content with the quality of your relationship with your siblings, parents?
What will you recognize as contentment in this aspect of your life?
Who do you appreciate in your "chosen" family community?
Learning about the historical generations of your family is a great way to open communication with your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. They are the ones with the oral history.
A few resources if you'd like additional assistance:
More research on your ancestors: http://www.ancestry.com/
If you'd like to see your immigrant family's arrival to the US, try this free service: http://www.ellisisland.org/
We found my Italian grandparent's "ship manifest" and when I saw it, I gained a new appreciation for my grandfather & grandmother -- and their ability to get on the right boat. (Unlike other family members who ended up in South America.)
Give these sites a try and see what happens in your own family. ;-)
Wishing you the peace of the season!