When you strike a connection with someone - whether it is by blood (through family) or through friendship, it is amazing how neither proximity nor distance can impede in strengthening the connection. Our first connection with another as a baby is with our family - our mother, our father or whomever is our primary caretaker. It is in these years that we form our bonds, our trusts-depending on our caretaker's nurturing style, we either learn to express ourselves fully or we choose to do it selectively and intimately with only those whom we trust. We extend further to an outer circle consisting of cousins, early childhood frienships, aunts, uncles, grandparents. All these individuals create some form of impression on us way on in childhood and we begin to either form strong positive bonds with them or negative bonds with them.
I write about this because last week I attended my cousin's wedding and on so many levels it was a reunion of many sorts - so many of us had not been together in over 5-6 years as a family - and what struck me was our connection had not changed. We all have very different lives - we all live in different parts of the world. We all have different lifestyles -yet our connection has not changed. For one full week - regardless of where we are right now in our life - professionally, personally, spiritually - non of that mattered except that we were together and that togetherness was a bond of some kind. Words are not needed at times - a smile, a look, a hug, a drink - a meal - and for those of us that have kids - having to see our kids hang out with each other - was very special - but almost like time stood still for us.
One of the things I will always be grateful to my parents for is that they made the effort for us as kids to get to know our cousins and to get to know our family - vacations revolved around visiting family. And those are some of my best memories ever. I don't know if it is feasible in this day and age to repeat the same, but I will say this much that there was effort on their part to make sure that we would meet. And there was pay off - because to see that we still share the same bond - to see that we still get excited when we hear a favorite song, or if we share a favorite drink or if we just sit and chat somewhere together, -that is the pay off.
I love my family - and I am so glad that the universe made it possible for me to share in this occasion. I realized that we each in one or the other subconsciously or consciously have inspired, encouraged, motivated each other to be who we are at this point in our lives. We may not speak to each other often, we may not meet each other often, we may not even email each other often - but when we meet, it is a sincere connection of just being with each other and I love that. Even if we meet for one hour - sometimes that one hour is filled with so much "oomph and soul" because of that bond we share.
The other thing that my parents encouraged is cultivating relationships with their siblings i.e. our aunts and uncles -by knowing them - we get to know and understand our family better and it makes us more whole -or rather it creates more understanding in the family. There is a joy in seeing my aunts- they are some of the coolest women I know - and have taught me so much about living - about life- the same for my uncles - their hard work, their eccentricity, their loving life to the fullest, their wisdom have influenced each and every single one of us - and I am grateful.
While i am not proposing things to be ideal - i am stating that there is some value in making the effort for family bonding - as one wise cousin of mine stated - "at the end of it all, what do we have - each other ." These friendships regardless of proximity helped us in our teens, in our twenties, in our thirties and all through the milestones that we go through.
Ultimately it also speaks to the power of connecting with another human spirit - sometimes it doesn't have to be family - sometimes it is a friend - not everyone can have a nurturing family and so in that aspect, it is important to seek out ur individual circle of family - and it doesn't have to be blood related. When you meet someone that you share an instant connection with, it is important to charish and keep that - seldom do we meet people that really understand us, that can make us laugh and cry at the same time, that can really read us -and that we can have never ending chats with:)..... so many of us can be horrible with keeping in touch because life just slips by so quickly - i will be the first culprit- but over and over again I am reminded of the value of cultivating relationships and keeping these strong bonds. And it is soooo worth it!
Journal Prompt: A Circle Journal that travels around the family - each member of the family gets to keep the journal for two weeks, and it get passed on from one member to the other - until it reaches the last one - it is a great way of connecting, it is a great way of keeping in touch - knowing where each one of us is at this point on our lives, it is a great of way of creating memories. Happy Journaling!