In the last post, I shared a dream about my Grandmother, who has been gone for many years. In that dream, I talked about how, in attempting to adopt the good qualities I saw in her, I also adopted her severity and tendency to be way too hard on herself and others. I wanted to expand on that a bit since it may have sounded like a negative and I did not see it that way.
I believe we choose our family lines. We choose them for the gifts within them and for connections we need to make, to advance our own spiritual growth based partially on our past experiences with them. While I do not have a traditional view of karma, I do believe our soul often chooses to resolve past experiences by coming back into lifetimes with the same people over and over until some soul-chosen adventure is complete.
While it is true that I did not see a lot of joy in my Grandmother's life, and she was so very serious all the time, it is equally true that she was a tremendously focused, disciplined and spiritually clear being. She was unyielding in her service to others and her sacrifice of herself, in service. She gave me a gift.
To me, a gift does not care how you use it. Otherwise, it would not really be a gift. I made choices to use the gift of Grandma's severity to get me through scary relationships and a fear of change. If I felt vulnerable, I became severe. It was a good tool for the time that I used it that way, because it gave me time to soften inside and become more willing to risk. Over time, the gift became an obstacle to further growth and I faced a choice....to continue using it as a shield and to keep myself from crossing some imaginary spiritual line, or to learn to utilize that amazing discipline I saw in my Grandmother, to train myself to seek joy, to walk through vulnerability to the other side of true strength.
So, I guess what I am saying is that we can look at our family relationships in different ways. We can resent what we consider negative tendencies that we learned from our closest role models or we can see them as opportunities to grow, as spiritual gifts we can unwrap in our own lives.