Our family happens to be a blended one.
Is it hard? Of course, all families are hard sometimes.
Do we agree on everything? No way, what family does?
Do we all show up when we are tired and grumpy and out of our depths? Yep. That’s courage, we couldn’t live without it.
Do we get scared? Overwhelmed? Feel out of our comfort zone? Absolutely, all of us, regularly.
You see blended families contain humans. And like all other humans on the planet we are fragile creatures. We each carry our own histories of hurts and heart breaks and dreams. All of us, without exception desire happiness and peace. And all of us would love to avoid sadness and suffering.
Do we manage happiness and peace all of the time. Of course not, and I’m not sure it would be helpful anyway. You see it is the seasons that bring change and growth and transformation. It’s the seasons that steal our leaves and scatter them at our feet. They strip our branches and then by some act of grace, when we’ve finally got to a place of acceptance on how our life really is now, that same fierce grace thrusts new blossoms upon branches, highlighting our vulnerability once again.
Regardless of how uncomfortable the seasons make us or what thoughts we have about their presence in our lives, we need them. They give us life. The seasons serve us. Support us. Encourage us. Guide us.
You see a raw diamond is nothing special. We may not even notice it. For diamonds require polishing. Lots of polishing. They are slow to submit yet once cut are profound reflectors of light and beauty.
Families are diamonds. Multi faceted diamonds.
To think we can have the light without the polishing is insanity.
Each family comes with unique challenges and blessings, so of course each family will require different tools and polishing.
For our family, communication has been the master polisher. Lots of it. More than is comfortable. Communication married to willing vulnerable hearts, clear far sighted intentions, life long motivations to support and benefit our child, and grace. Truckloads of grace.
You see communication creates trust. I’ve even heard it said that the definition of trust is communication. And with this definition, trust is never permanently lost, regardless of what has happened. Life asks from us a deep commitment to communicate, and when things are hard, to show up and communicate again. Supporting our family means regularly checking in with our far reaching intentions, communicating more than we find convenient and having courage to rebuild trust and connection in the hard times.
In families we are often very quick to jump to conclusions or judge others. We form ideas and interpretations of what things mean and can forget that first and foremost true communication begins with ourselves. Communication involves deep inner honesty and truth telling. True communication demands we show up and do our inner work. How can we ever be pillars of strength and trust and truth for anyone else if we have not made space to listen and honour our own hearts?
The most helpful and supportive learnings I’ve ever had for connecting and understanding myself and others is NVC. Nonviolent communication (or compassionate communication as it is also known) has become the foundation I’ve rebuilt my life around. When I was at a critical time of upheaval and change, in the early years of becoming a blended family, NVC, by some act of grace appeared in my life. Maybe reading this is the gentle nudge or invitation you’ve been waiting for? Maybe your way is different? Honour your guidance.
If you are interested I encourage you to google NVC. You will find countless free YouTube clips by its founder Marshall Rosenberg. There are books, teachings, retreats and more accessible all over the world. I rarely recommend teachers to others however I would not hesitate in recommending Shari Elle, a world renowned trainer I have studied with who is based in Sydney Australia. She runs regular foundation trainings all over the country. A two day time investment will change your life.
So whatever season you find yourself in right now and regardless of how your garden looks, I encourage you to take heart. To turn towards the insurmountable hills. To brave up and take time to get honest with the deepest parts of yourself.
And I assure you that with an open, willing and vulnerable heart, a dedication to learning and courage to move towards that which scares you, grace WILL find a way to move in your life.
Your diamond is being cut and polished, it is growing more luminous as you come to trust in the ever changing seasons of your own heart and life.
Take care my friend, we are not so different you and I.
Love and kindness