8-9-20 Family


“Family is what you make it.” Whether made of blood relatives, friends pets, or a combination of these, your family can offer you the support you need to thrive, as long as you also offer support.

Family: Those with whom we feel a bond. How large or small our family is up  to us.  The Human family…all of us, and all of them.  All!

My addiction kept me isolated, separate. I can still today keep myself isolated, or choose one or two who are “worthy” to let in. As I step into and through my fears and graspings, I begin to find an innate, available openness that accommodates all possibilities and connections. When I am feeling resentful, afraid, or Separate, I ask myself, “How BIG can I be?” I always find I can expand at least a little, which increases my sense of family, and peace. Dropping my feeling of being separate is a verb.  It’s an Action I need to personally be responsible for engaging in…or not.

To love and to be loved are necessary. Committed relationships take effort to maintain. Any relationship, be it with family, friends, co-workers, or OURSELVES takes patience and love. We need to cultivate it for it to grow well.

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Respect is the Holy Grail of functional families. Being considerate of each other is the tie that binds. Just about all good things come out of respect first. 

It’s sad when people hold out for an apology on a point of pride, never acknowledging their part in a dispute. How many times have you heard of rifts in families that last for years because someone feels they are ‘owed an apology?’

A functional family lets people define themselves. Individual differences are appreciated, even celebrated. Follow The Golden Rule. It’s golden for a reason. Treat each other as we wish to be treated in turn. It was true way back when and it’s still true now.” (Paraphrased) —Elvira G. Aletta, Ph.D

From the Shambhala Teachings:
“An enlightened society would be based upon the most deep, simple, and natural principle. That society would have an unequivocal and deep sense of confidence. This confidence would not be based upon competitiveness or arrogance, nor would it be tinged with paranoia. Every human being has a fundamental nature of basic goodness. This nature can be developed in daily life so that it radiates out to family, friends, community and society.

We are living through an age of greed and aggression. We harm ourselves, each other and our planet. We can experience a natural source of radiance and brilliance in the world, which is the innate wakefulness of human beings. From this deep, profoundly human foundation, it is possible to extend that out and create what the Shambhala tradition calls ‘enlightened society.’ Not a utopia, but a culture in which life’s challenges are met with kindness, generosity and courage.”

“Human dignity is the same for all human beings: when I trample on the dignity of another, I am trampling on my own.” —Pope Francis

Family: We argue, we fall out, we make up, we love, we don’t speak, we chat for hours, we are family. We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

Love and respect for ourselves is essential. Without loving ourselves, we have no love and respect to extend to others. Through the processes of introspection, meditation and prayer, contemplation, and putting our principals into action with ourselves and with others, we slowly are able to grow and begin finding a sense of peace and connection. It’s not about being perfect, but about respecting ourselves no matter what.

My bad days are wonderful teachers in my own life, and they help me to recognize that the same things happen to others and to extend compassion to them. They help me see that I don’t need to take a perceived slight from another personally and get a resentment, but instead can recognize their struggle and to be OK with that. If I feel I am misunderstood (as occasionally happens in families), I am merely feeling sorry for myself because everything is not going exactly the way I want it to. It’s a sign that I’m not accepting all the variety of colors and tastes that come with every relationship. I can’t just have MY favorites. I am reminded to have patience and consideration—not judgements—for others, just as any friend has for me.

I learn to be in that uncomfortable place of acceptance, and to stay there. As I soften my hard heart, there is more room. I expand; I am more inclusive and feel more peaceful.

“As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.” —Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata”

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…” — John Dunne, “No Man Is An Island”

There will always be conflict—within ourselves, and with others. Conflict is not the problem; what we do when conflict arises is what’s important. If we respond to conflict with fear, resentment, or attack, there may be war. We can instead use our awareness to feel when a self-serving, judgmental emotion is arising.  We can have the courage to not be taken over by that emotion, and to extend a sense of openness and peace instead. 

The Sakyong asked his father (Chogyam Trungpa), “Do you think that the whole of society could actually become enlightened?”  His father replied that that was not necessarily the point: “By creating enlightened society…we are not creating unenlightened society.” Our family participation will either be a positive or negative creation. Our choice is not whether we create, but what we create. 

Inclusive openness may seem scary at first; it does not contain all the little judgmental toys we hold so dear, but we begin to feel the rightness and warmth of  the family we are creating and joining. 

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for.                                 

Heart Of Recovery web site  –  fcheartofrecovery.com