Family, Patience, and Deep Breaths

It isn’t easy for me to talk openly about the feelings I have around family time and the family I come from. I have somehow picked up or been taught by our society that I must have unquestioning allegiance and obedience to my family…that I must adopt their world views, live the lifestyle they live, or be like them in some way. It is as if I must have this  deep allegiance to them or else not be loved. I do love my family, but I also recognize that I am part of a new generation which carries new world views and values, and that we do not see eye to eye. And the last week I am getting more and more clear on the ways I am unlike my family, and also the ways we are eerily similar.

For me family is like leaves on a tree. We are individuals, yet come from the same lineage, share the same history, come from the same source. We are both individuals and all one, at once.
For me family is like leaves on a tree. We are individuals, yet come from the same lineage, share the same history, come from the same source. We are both individuals and all one, at once.

This journey I am on (being in the verge) is starting with a week long vacation with both parents and more extended family…my grandmother and aunt as well. Spending a lot of time around my family — and seeing the darker sides of upper-class vacationing such as the racism and colonialist mindset inherent in it, the disconnection, and the fear-based need to control, the stress of everything not being just right — has brought a lot to the surface. It is a very interesting way to start this journey. Lots of deep breaths are needed. 

As I said in the beginning, is hard for me to open up about my family and things I am both proud of and ashamed of. But I am trying to, in this new chapter of life, try new things and face fears and the things that are most difficult for me directly.  A lot of what has been coming up has to do with seeing myself in a new light after the past year, where I have changed and grown in ways I am just starting to see. I love my family and am grateful for them, but do not want to live the ways they live.

In the end, I think this time has a lot to teach my about acceptance and compassion, while also gaining more clarity on who I am. In the remaining time with my family, I am hoping for talking about our feelings in a nonjudgmental, open, compassionate way. Letting go of egos and past resentments and hurts. Talking about the important things…our fears, what makes us come alive, our passions and inspirations…

I feel that the resort we are at is meant to completely anesthetize people to the realities going on. This is a place for wealthy upper-class Americans, Canadians, europeans, and some costa ricans to come and vacation. There is so much comfort, food, luxury and alcohol – it just completely numbs people out. It is great to  relax, but there is so much more at play here. This is about relaxation in the most individualist ways, around not feeling the suffering or feelings of others and becoming  self-indulgent in a anesthetizing type of comfort.

I did not pre-determine this post, and when it began was not sure where it would end up. Perhaps this is clear in reading it. However, I hope to revisit this time once my family goes back to the United States and I remain in Costa Rica for several months, visiting and hopefully joining with (and learning from) communities which embody the world I want to life in — spiritually connected, thriving, personal, interpersonal and systemic  and sustainability, and innovations around  local food and energy production, and rejection of capitalism and capitalist-consumer society.

I am finding inspiration in these words and this song. Peuo by Nahko and Medicine for the People:

“If we’re all one then why are we divided?//Wankan Tanka [great spirit] when will we be united?”

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