Tag: difficult relationships

Family Feuds for the Enlightened

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Yesterday, I did a reading for a woman who’s family was less the Cleavers and more The Addams Family.  Actually, now that I think about it, it was more like the Corleones.

“Don’t ever cross the family.” Fredo, I’m lookin’ at you.

Anyway, she was being driven absolutely ’round the bend by all kinds of dysfunction, fighting, back-biting and all that other fun stuff.  Now, I’m all for professional counseling (or in some cases, heavy drinking) to navigate those stormy waters.  But from a metaphysical sense, there’s another reason you’re giving each other the stinkeye across the Thanksgiving table.

You picked them.

Yup, before you hit the Universal Waterslide down into human form, you chose the family you entered into, because of the lessons that were going to be offered up.  If you’re pulling your hair out at that idea, I feel ya.  But think about it:  who knows how to get under your skin, lift you up, beat you down, love you wildly or ignore you to the point of tears, better than your family?  They offer a complete smorgasbord of human experience – and you’re gonna sample everything, even the stuff that tastes icky.  And probably more than once.

I’d like another helping of “You Never Loved Me” with a side of “Your sister is prettier,” please…

I’m not saying this idea makes your family situation any easier — but understanding that there’s a reason behind all that friction offers a new perspective.  Those are all opportunities to work through challenges and achieve some measure of growth.

Let me pull one out of my own family archive: one of my sisters is 12 years older.  Ever since I was born, she has been “the boss.”  Once I was out of diapers, that never sat so well with me. Our arguments were not fun, and it really became a problem after our mother died. We fought over every stupid thing, and it just seemed like neither of us could “hear” what the other said.  I finally decided to sit down and write her an old-school letter, rather than our usual weekly phone call.  It let me express myself without interruption, and hopefully, move the conversation(s) forward rather than into the weeds as it so often happened. That new approach changed our game a little bit, and we were able to sort through some of our issues.

Now “together” time doesn’t turn into this….

The bottom line is, our thorny relationship forced us to find a new way to communicate.  We either had to do that, or write each other off.  The write-off may have been the more appealing option, but the Universe doesn’t play that way.  You’re here to  become a stronger, better human being — even just a little bit –or repeat your lessons all over again.

One of my friends notes that she’s stopped playing into her ex-husband’s negative attitude.  It doesn’t necessarily change that lousy view of the world, but by not doing her usual thing, she stops a lot of arguments before they start — and she feels a lot more peaceful (it doesn’t hurt that she secretly enjoys that flummoxed look on his face when he can’t quite figure out what just happened).

I’m not saying you’ll ever completely make peace with family members; the point is, you try.  You try to get past the things that always set you off; you try to see the ones who do the setting off in a new way.  You try to hold off from the same old knee-jerk reactions and find a way to change the game, even in a small way.  Just by trying, you’re inching up the spiritual ladder.

So the next time you’re butting heads with someone in your family, remember that its an opportunity to learn something valuable.  Take a breath, step back and see if you can figure out what it is. (And if you really want to rub it in, remember that THEIR bad behavior is helping YOU advance spiritually.  I believe the correct phrase is, “Neener, neener, neener!”)

“How ya like me now?”

Living In the Past (Life)

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There’s something really tantalizing about the idea of having lived before.  I’m not talking about that life before entering the Witness Protection Program — I mean the ones that had you riding alongside Charlemagne, or hanging on a barge with Cleopatra.  [Funny, you never want to think about the one you had as a chimney sweep in 18th century London…]

No one wants to admit having been THIS guy...

The Past Life Club essentially argues that we have lived multiple times, and that each of those lives were essentially one more “class” in the school of existence.  We had experiences, dealt with other humans, learned lessons.  You die, spend some time assessing it all, then come back for another go. When you finally get it right, you get to hang out  indefinitely in the heavenly stratosphere getting your feet rubbed while the rest of us slobs return to deal once again with human stuff like difficult relationships, making a living and acid reflux.

Like vacations, some past lives will be more memorable than others.  Hint:  if you are interested in any particular time period in history, that’s a pretty good indicator you lived back then.  For me, I’ve been obsessed with this guy:

Ladies, here's the poster boy for staying single...

…and his daughter….

The REAL Iron Lady....

Ever since I was a kid, anything about Tudor England has fascinated me — and I never knew why.  Then a psychic told me that I had been a court jester — specifically, a FEMALE court jester — during that era.   And a little research revealed that female jesters were relatively rare, and indeed, Elizabeth DID have one.  So that explains two things:

1) my interest in the time period and

2) my inherent wise-assiness

On two separate occasions, I was told that I’d had lives in medieval France, as a nun…

Black and white, always an easy wardrobe choice on busy days.

Again, doesn’t explain my lousy command of the French language.  DOES explain my currently-dismal dating life.

Decoding past lives is one way to shed some  light on patterns we’ve carried over into this one.   Again, it’s one way (therapy is another). But for some, the idea of past lives can become addictive. I’ve encountered more than a few people who routinely blame whatever’s going on right now on a “past life.”   One client of mine refused to actively engage in the life he had going on right here, right now, because he was waiting to be “reunited” with someone from a past life.  Another spends all his time seeking out hypnotherapists who will help him explore yet another existence….and another…and another (yawn).  Personally, I think it’s ’cause he’s bored with his present situation.

The purpose of examining a past life lies in what it can teach you about THIS one. If you can spot a pattern, find a lesson, learn something, then it becomes more than just New Age wallpaper.  The key is to discover it, use it — then move forward.  Your task is to make the most out of the life you’ve been given NOW. Because if you spend all your time looking backwards, you’re gonna get run over by the Express Bus to the future.  And skid marks on the face are not a good look on anyone.