The holidays always seem to surprise us with the theme of “relationships.” After double-checking my journal entries I noticed that every year around this time I have loads to say on the topic of relationships. It seems the bulk of my learning on this subject is always between November 20th and January 20th.
A friend of ours who’s a pharmacist recently told us how in 2012 “people on anti-depressants quadrupled” in comparison to previous years. A colleague who’s a psychologist added that most depressions are connected to failed relationships. People feel lousy with themselves when they are in conflict with others; or when they don’t have anyone to speak to or connect to.
At the same time he said: “Recoveries of physical, emotional or spiritual illness are also due to relationships.” So good or bad a huge percentage of our life is dedicated to exploring relationships.
Most people attribute the word “relationship” to man / woman courtships. Amazingly most people believe relationships are explored mostly through adolescence; and it takes a child to walk and talk before he or she can begin to understand the word. When I suggest relationships actually begin in the womb lots of people look at me curiously as if I am sharing New Age gibberish and yet, quite a few will admit that “it makes sense.” The mere fact that we need an umbilical cord to receive nourishment as we grow from foetus to infancy shows how incredibly important relationships are to our survival.
We would die if we didn’t have a relationship with our mother. It’s clear. So it makes sense that a good 70% of people are depressed. We’ve been disconnecting from our biological families for at least 60 years; and in the last 30 years we’ve been completely out of touch with “our” Mother Earth. In Sacred Circle tradition and Indigenous dreaming – all of these synchronicities come together. They fit on the same Wheel and they tell the story we are presently living.
In 1998, I met a Passamaquoddy elder who was incredibly generous with her personal family stories. She had many sisters who lived on the East coast and she always spoke of them as if they were her greatest treasures. Family for her encompassed every member of her community. All the children were her children: Daughter / son. On a few occasions I noticed how she recognized the energy of motherhood and fatherhood in people and hence, called them by this title. No doubt this woman understood relationships as “energy” and she constantly taught the “Way of Energy” through regular, daily situations.
Everything around us and within us speaks of a relationship. This much has always been clear to me. EC always referred to me as “sister.” From the first day we met she understood something between us; which she so candidly called: “Sister.” It took me years even after she passed away to finally feel comfortable with this “title.” Like so many people today, I was tangled up in a web of programs and illusions that I thought I would never be able to escape. I didn’t want to accept a word just by definition. I wanted to feel it inside and be full because of it – because it was an experience I could recall or remember.
I believe it is part of life to be sad, angry, hurt, happy, down or high. I get there’s such a thing as “mental illness”; but I wonder if perhaps “we” (as a society) have forgotten that we can learn, we can heal, and we can grow out of this darkness we’ve unfortunately created. There’s a way out …
During the holidays, in our home more then a few opportunities presented themselves where we could learn to rebuild relationships; define them differently; and be clear enough about them that it could help or profit everyone.
What does it mean to be sister, brother or friend?
This afternoon I was talking (Skyp-ing – is this a word?) to AT and DA from GP, a German couple I’ve come to call family in the last few years. I’ve come to acknowledge that some relationships in my life reach beyond the traditional titles because they somehow encompass them all. AT was telling me how it was difficult for him to call the people around him “friend.” It was as if he was saying: “I don’t get the word”. And yet, in the same breath he referred to these same people as “blood brothers and sisters.”
“I’m not longer just German” he chuckled, “but a bit Scottish and First Nation too.”
Yesterday, I stopped by at LG’s house to wish her family a Happy New Year. LG and I have known each other for a little over 20 years. Her son survived an almost fatal accident many years ago and since then, I’ve been promising to stop by and say “hi” to him. CD and I had a special dream time connection when he was in a coma after the accident. I guess a part of me was comfortable with the dream-relationship, and didn’t really want to transition it to “waking time.” Still, it seemed important this year in particular to drop by.
I was caught by surprise when CD excitedly and happily jumped on me even before I was able to take off my boots and coat. He hugged me so tight I could barely breath.
Lovingly he cried out: “It’s been such a long time sister.”
Tears came to my eyes and for an instant I remembered standing in this man’s inner garden asking him to consider coming back to us rather then, moving on. I didn’t know him then. All I knew was the character in these dreams and his story.
In the dreaming, he looked up at me and said: “I remember YOU.”
Here I was thinking he remembered the woman he had met once, at his mom’s wedding.
“No” he said as if he could hear my thoughts, “you and I have often been together: Brother and sister. I remember those lives. I remember who you are.”
CD held me tight then too, memorizing a moment in time or in dream time – waiting before making a choice.
At waking I jotted down the words : “He will be coming back.” That same day he woke up from his coma.
It was wonderful to spend the afternoon with him yesterday. I loved the way he touched me; looked at me; and referred to me as “sister.” I had goose bumps every time he referred to some experiences we shared while dreaming. He seemed acutely knowledgeable of my world and my story. We chatted as old friends (perhaps) and connected no doubt as family.
I realized this past month how important it is to commit to relationships. It may mean a lot of time and energy; but it also implies learning, healing and growing. I’ve come to understand that without relationships we are lost and we are alone. Humans are collective creatures and at the soul level we are meant to gather together as one. It starts right now and right here.