On Wearing (Family) Life Loosely

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Over the 40-something years of my life so far, I've learned that when recurring themes appear, it's best to acknowledge them and figure out why.
The Enchanted Map Oracle Cards and The Map (book) by Colette Baron-Reid* are perfect for 'shadow' work
[W]hen you begin to observe cycles that seem to repeat in your life, they're invitations to do things differently this time around. - From 'The Map' by Colette Baron-Reid
Shortly after posting about my frustrations and the need to let go of my expectations (ideals) on a recent trip with the kids, I watched a video from Jessi Huntenburg in which she talked about our shadow aspects - the darker repressed parts of ourselves that we are uncomfortable about - being triggered, especially by our kids. There it was again, nudging me to delve deeper.

This triggering of old wounds (from the distant past) is not a new concept for me, it's something I've been working on (at some level) for most of my adult life¹, but never more so than since becoming a parent, and it's something I'm very much aware of at the moment. It feels as though our family is at a turning point as our oldest child is about to begin secondary school. My concerns aren't about the school or his education - I think they will be great. It's the process of him having a lot more freedom and me 'losing control' that has brought (dredged) up quite a lot for me. I worry about keeping him safe and what he'll be exposed to. How he'll cope. I feel that in some respects I am 'losing' him - the child I have nurtured, loved, and carefully watched-over for more than a decade. What might happen, without me doing that? 

My own early life was quite different to that of my children, and my husband. I was raised in a different place and time, and with a different set of circumstances. Not only have I not parented a child of this age before but when I was one (over 30 years ago) everything - the world - was very different! It's been shocking to acknowledge quite how much I need to be in control of things in order to feel safe. The issues and decisions I have to face, parenting our children, are unknown and challenging. And it's not just that, we all have certain expectations of one another, and all sorts of hormones are flying around from different sides.

Trying to be 'conscious' while dealing with all of this is not just difficult, sometimes it feels impossible. As much as I know it's illogical to bring old feelings based on childhood assumptions into my own parenting, that doesn't make it automatically stop. It a process - a constant and conscious decision that needs to be made to over-ride the hardwiring (in the way my brain/personality/ego developed). I try to remind myself that part of the human experience is the development of the ego and the suffering and separation that comes with it - it was for me as it will be for my children - all I can do is to parent as consciously as possible, and to work on my own 'shit' as it arises. It keeps arising.

Cards from The Wild Unknown by Kim Krans

Today I drew The High Priestess and the Ten of Swords for the Tarot Nerds Daily Draw Challenge, and posted the image above along with the following text on Instagram:

"Getting caught up in the mundane dramas and general craziness of modern life, and letting our thoughts focus on the things that are negative and anxiety-inducing, not only hurts us, but it blinds us too. We lose sight of what's important and our intuition becomes blocked. So it's also self-perpetuating, we can no longer see a way out. Stay calm, centred and grounded - live without attachment. To borrow a phrase 'Wear the world as a loose garment', to be in the world and not of it."

Now, it's one thing to post a picture of some cards and some words of wisdom which could apply to anyone who sees it, but the real transformative work comes when we delve deeper and look at how the message applies to our own lives. What we can learn from the cards and how can it help us to move forward? 

For me, I think the real message of these two cards, and the one I've written about in my personal journal, is how to wear family life more loosely. To be the observer of my own interactions and the way that my shadow is showing up in these new experiences, to listen to what my gut is saying and to follow my instinct accordingly. Funnily enough, when I was looking for the quote above in my book, I also came across this:
The voices of your thoughts and beliefs, which often become impassioned, can be so loud and incessant that they distract you from the quieter voices inside you. The greatest wisdom and most valuable insights and guidance are whispered, barely audible underneath the cacophony of your ego. - Page 60, The Map.
Like I said, a theme will recur when you need to hear it.

What themes are coming up for you? Have you been listening to the quiet voice that's nudging you towards something you need to see? Or are you ignoring it?

*Amazon affiliate links are included in this post. 

¹ I was fortunate to do the Landmark Forum (twice - with David Ure and Anny Zollinger) shortly after leaving University, and dealt with a lot of perceived "issues" from my childhood early on.


  1. Gosh I've been dealing with this very same thing for quite a while. Kids really do help bring to the surface all of your old wounds that need attention. It is tough. My son just turned 12 and I'm in the same panic about "controlling" his environment. So much here to think about. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Jen, thanks for your comment. I'm glad that it has given you some food for thought and I hope you're able to find some peace on this too! :D



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