Written in response to a Facebook post from a friend: “People who engage in self destructive behaviors (i.e. drugs, physically/emotionally abusive relationships, addictions of any sort), it IS the parents. I have racked my brain to find the most fundamental derivative; where it all starts. Every single behavior pattern that a person has is already established before the age of 10.” . . . . . . . . . .
I have come from a family where it would be so very easy to blame parents for much in their children’s lives. However outside of that early life situation, one has to consider – how did we as amorphous spirits incarnate into bodies which placed us squarely into such a family situation? Were we bad in another life? Are children completely innocent?
After 58 years of discovery on planet Earth, I’ve come to the conclusion (which is still open to more learning) that we, like all forms of life, must regenerate – though not necessarily in the same form. Life itself is ancient – the soul, if one understands it to be that formless part of the cosmos that has been around since the inception of time, is not completely without intention or direction. There is a harmony in the universe that is implicit in this statement, otherwise planets would collide out of their orbits; species would lack genetic continuum; evolution in any sense would likely be impossible. Intention and direction insert themselves into the trajectories of virtually all life forms.
Aside from Jungian certainties and the beauty of a Mystery so deep that nobody will ever fully grasp the nature of reality, the soul seems infused with an intelligent awareness – many believe a great deal of it – even unto expressing consciousness itself. So to say an innocent child, a soul incarnate, turns out a certain way as an adult due to its family circumstances would depend on that adult’s strength of character, will, and desire to influence their own destiny. Sifting the useful from the painful develops as we grow and age. Perspective is a product of maturity.
I did not pull free from a grueling history until well into my twenties, perhaps even into my thirties. With a strong fundamentalist background and a rigid paternal hand, it took this long for me to begin to understand that I was free, that I could indeed make my own choices and that no ghost from my past was going to materialize before me in a ring of fire and demand retribution. Like a rubber band, I stretched into rebellion, snapped back into reflection and leveled into discernment. I gathered inner resources, rebelled, reflected, discerned. Gathered more inner resources. All this time having private conversations with my Higher Self; all this time learning that “God” was not punitive nor was “He” going to strike me down for making the most foolish of decisions. What emerged acutely into focus was my power to make choices. Then would follow inevitable consequences. Onward from that point into the present, no matter what I study or discover or believe, that awareness has stood up to the rigors of life and time.
To blame one’s parents or former circumstances is to remain chained to one’s past, thus giving power all of us possess in the present moment away to what no longer exists. And though reflection invariably brings us back, again and again, to the most powerful and poignant life situations and dramas, it is with hope that we may alter our perceptions about the people involved and forge ahead into healing ourselves as well as our collective, whether it be family, community or the body of humanity.
Healing our past can be accomplished through detachment from those who seek to hurt us – retreating, if we must, to lick our wounds and gather inner resources so that we might begin to feel a distant yet unconditional sort of love. We discover this through genuine forgiveness where, when and how it might be granted. Forgetting is not hard-wired into humans, we remember in order to survive. Let us not judge ourselves too harshly if we are unable to blot out the past. In being kind to ourselves this way, we might create a pause in the whirlwind of life where we discover some form of inner peace, perhaps through understanding the wounds from which others have perpetrated further pain upon us as well as others. We then begin to understand that we are part of something too vast to fully comprehend, yet we do in fact possess power: the power of choice. We can choose to be happy. We can choose to feel free. And yes, this is a process. But let’s make it an intention and direction to claim it as our own. It is our life, until it ends and another journey begins.