Remind me of what matters most

December 30, 2013

quiet winter hush my soul Sometimes, I get hung up on knee-jerk “shoulds.”  Those are rules that don’t stand the test of thought–things we sometimes think automatically. Of course, one of those “shoulds”  is a functional family, something I don’t have and used to long for.  Once in a while, that longing comes back, along with my belief that I can actually do something –anything–I just haven’t figured it out yet—to make it functional.

“We’re control freaks,” my husband told me the other day.  “We refuse to believe we can’t change things.”

He’s right. And wise.

I would love to have a relationship with my siblings, but it’s not possible. One is malicious and mean–I know it comes from insecurity and feeling “less than” –but it’s always been hard to tolerate. The truth is that I haven’t missed the tension of her presence in my life and I don’t see any common ground whatsoever.

The examined life is hell for sure, and I’m someone who should know. But the unexamined life can also be hell and as long as hers is unexamined I see no way I can ever be anything but a threat to her.  Yes, it brings me great sadness, but also great relief to not have to regularly deal with that kind of negativity.

As far as my other sibling, well, there might be common ground, but he doesn’t see it. Like my father, he is stubborn and avoids emotion. He has carried on my father’s tradition of not speaking to siblings, something I’m not very good at. There may be a perceived wrong, but if there is, I’m unaware of it.

All of this came to a vivid head a while back at an event where the two of them made a big show of avoiding us and others in our group. It was…childish.  And sad. I wish things could be different, but wishes aren’t very productive.

I’m torn between wanting to reach out and the messages from my family in spirit that I should not, not at this time.

Brian Andreas/Storypeople. I have a lot of them.

Ok, you’re wondering how I know what spirits say and why I listen and some of you are calling it superstition. That’s because you weren’t sitting next to medium John Edward in Long Island in a group of a dozen listening to him give extensive and accurate detail about my siblings and parents and the dynamic. However, sister-in-love WAS there and heard it all, too, and both of us were awake almost the entire following night working over those messages in our minds, both fascinated by the accuracy and horrified by what we heard in equal measure.  Similar messages were given to me from another excellent medium I know well.

So even though all those messages had context that made complete sense, I still resist on occasion and want to reach my chin out so I can be sucker punched.  I don’t do anything, though. My sense of self-preservation is strong.

Yesterday was one of those “wishing” days. M and I talked for a long time about it, massaged it over and over and came to the same conclusion: Status quo was the most functional of the dysfunctional options I had.

And then I went off to have tea with lovely friends in San Francisco. On my way to the city I pondered. What is it that this situation is supposed to help me work through? My mind spun with everything–the disappointment, the sadness, the search for the greater meaning. Because I know it’s something bigger than just the obvious.

At home that night, a package from New Jersey was waiting for me, with a loving note, from someone who is truly a sister of mine, but from another mother. She is the sister of my sister-in-love, and we are both different and alike. We celebrate our differences and our similarities with abundant love, amazingly long telephone calls and have embraced each other in the most beautiful of ways.

These 2 images are the card that came w/ my packages

These 2 matching images are the card that came w/ my packages

In the package was a lovely leather and silver necklace with an amulet to protect travelers, a bowl of home-made chocolate chip cookies and the most loving card and note I could ever imagine.

Quiet winter/hush my soul/ remind me of what matters most

Spreading the package contents out on the coffee table in front of me, reading the beautiful card I sat on the sofa overcome with the blessings in my life.  Sure, the “shoulds” plague me from time to time.

And then, the Divine pops up, providing me exactly what I need at the precise time I need it.

Love comes when we least expect it and it doesn’t have to come from someone related by blood. It is entirely possible to enjoy, appreciate and love someone holistically– for how they are different AND how they are the same as we are. We just have to be awake to the possibilities.

Sister-from-another-mother and I are both aunts to the same fabulous young man. Each of us is close with him and each of us brings a different vibe and sensibility to that relationship.

“He’s lucky,” my husband observed, the other day. “He has all the bases covered with the two of you, plus his mother.”

And so do I.  To paraphrase a friend: We don’t always get the family we want, but we do get the family we need.

Today, I honor my sister-in-love and my sister-from-another-mother, who give me exactly what I need all the time.

That would be love.

And I give it back to them in equal measure, thanking the Divine for the gift of being able to give and receive love with abandon.

Thanks to the Divine, and my divine sisterhood for the reminder.

31 comments on “Remind me of what matters most
  1. Doreen McGettigan says:

    I also have a brother and a sister that I had to distance myself from for my own sanity. Sometimes, like this past week the loss is painful but yes you are so right I have been blessed with just the right people at just the right times. (((Hugs)))

  2. Ryder Ziebarth says:

    Oh I have this with the wicked (step) sisters-three ugly ones. (Come to think of it the mother-in-law, too.)
    For twenty three passive -aggressive years I have being doing, where I haven’t been wanted.
    I gave up, just this year. It is sad, against my nature, but liberating at the same time. I remember my 12 steps-“How important it is?”
    Thank you for this insightful post.

  3. Michelle says:

    “The examined life is hell for sure.” So true! I’m glad you have so much love in your life.

  4. Sigh… I’m not speaking w/ my sister right now; trying to let go of her hurtful words and finding it hard. But, I’m clear that it is ok to craft different families and it is ok to let go of the ones that don’t work. The sad thing is that so many of us have these experiences.
    The strife within my family has helped me to become a better mother–and for that I am grateful.
    Thank you for your openness.

  5. When I first arrived in the States in 94, I had no family here at all. I came across a book called ‘Friends, the family we choose’ … and my friends have been my lifeline xxx

  6. Lisa Froman says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Carol. I have two sisters and two brothers and I love them dearly. But we don’t spend much time together….we don’t seem to have much in common. I sometimes feel guilty that I consider my close girlfriends sisters….sisters I have chosen to share intimacies of life with. Some of my closest girlfriends have seen me through touch times and have celebrated my accomplishments too….in a way that my family seems unable to do.
    As for your guidance….I am familiar with John Edwards. I’ve heard his readings on the radio and have been flabbergasted by his accuracy. I find it comforting to know that we walk through this world with guides in the form of friends and family and from other places we can’t see or touch….but can feel.

    • admin says:

      I’ve had a dialogue going with spirit these past couple years and it’s oddly comforting and kind of funny, actually. It IS comforting.

  7. Laura Kennedy says:

    This is so lovely, Carol! Like you, I have a family of origin with whom there is no common ground, and no possibility for real relationship. This makes me sad, but I have been blessed with wonderful friends and doubly lucky to have grown children who I am close to. The longing never goes away, but I also work to turn, again and again, away from the sadness and toward the blessings.

  8. Melinda! says:

    Carol, you reminded me all over again that family and love comes in many forms. This was my first Christmas with my new husband and we had a big blended holiday with exes and their new spouses. Love is always there, it just may not come in the form we expect:-) Thanks for sharing your beautiful perspective.

  9. Interesting that we find the family that we need versus the family that we were given. Stay strong….releasing what should be is the hardest thing we do. But it is the most rewarding too, I think. Thanks for a great insightful post.

  10. Hi Carol….thank you for pointing out something that so many of us feel but don’t always talk about–and that is the feeling that just because someone is related by birth (siblings, parents, aunts, etc.) we would feel close and spend time together. Thankfully I am able to get better and better (as I age) to let go of those shoulds and embrace those who truly love and appreciate me for who I am. I think the more of us who realize that and share it with others, we honor everyone else’s right to do the same. It surely doesn’t mean we don’t love the people so unlike us, but only that we release expectations that they can or will ever be other than what they are–and we give ourselves permission to be the same. Thanks again for this thoughtful post! ~Kathy

  11. Sheryl says:

    I go through the very same struggles with my two siblings, a sister who cannot relate to me at all and is envious and a brother who is difficult. I continue to have on-again, off-again relationships with them, although so many times I know it would be easier to just stop trying and find peace with that. Thanks for reminding me that is is possible to have a true sister from another mother, which I am fortunate to have, although she is on the (wrong) coast!

    • admin says:

      You could be describing my family….and my sister from another mother is also on the opposite coast, but we manage! What blessings we do have, right?

  12. I’m inspired by the way you tune into and listen to the Divine, and that you are open to all kinds of connections.

    I invite you to link this mindful post to December’s Perfect Moment Monday, which just went up!

  13. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    Carol, it must give you some measure of comfort to know you are not alone. Family relationships can be difficult and sometimes the differences are insurmountable. The important thing is you have people in your life whom you love and who love you. Also, I have always been fascinated by John Edwards and I used to watch his show. I don’t think it’s on anymore?

  14. RobinJP says:

    Two things jump out at me.
    1. Your husband sounds very evolved. Lucky you.
    2. We may get the family we need, but we also get the family we make. I’m glad you were open to reaching out to a loving extended family.

    Happy New Year.

  15. Barbara says:

    You remind me that I’m very fortunate my sisters and I are close. Part of that may be that we live in three different states, but we have a connection and love that transcends time and friends who may come and go. It gives me a strength I don’t even consider consciously sometimes. However, my parents? A whole different story. And how do I turn that guilt off? They’re my parents. But Oh. My. God. Ahhh, family. It’s amazing any of us are normal.

  16. You know, Carol, this is not the first time you’ve crafted a post that speaks directly to a current problem in my own life. I so appreciate how you express things. You help me in some way every time. Thank you, and a wonderful 2014 to you and those you love.

    • admin says:

      Thank you, Susan. I’m so sorry that you are also in this situation. I try to resist the knee-jerk “shoulds” but sometimes they sneak up, you know? Best of the new year to you and yours, too! May it be healthy & happy!

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