Family is important to me. And although I adore my Brady Bunch family, it wasn’t until several years ago that my life coach pointed out that family is actually the way I see that world and want to do business, reflected primarily through 1. Relationship 2. The atmosphere or environment of being social, such as a party! The truth be told, my best memories growing up were of the holidays spent in merriment and cheer with the large extended family and of every holiday party I got invited to! I am at my best within family and I believe it’s meant to be that way.
Now living in a city built around the corporate structure of banking, you might not think this model for business and life is a good fit. I however, am thrilled with the prospects of what this perspective means. I am thrilled with what this perspective has done in my own life, as my vision continues to grow around community and family, not merely what I can create that might be obsolete in short order, but what a group of people (women my sweet spot) could do to change a city and the world. You see that’s what I believe family has the potential to do. You can see my manifesto about this here.
Family means a lot of different things to a lot of people. Those who have been hurt by it often want nothing to do with it. I have certainly lived in this reality concerning the instability in my family of origin, but I recognized that ‘s not the whole story. Family is so much more than one snapshot or necesssarily relatives for that matter.
Although like many folks, some of my experiences pertaining to family, have at times left me scattered, frayed and with a defensive posture to avoid being sucked back into a toxic whirlwind, whether through my original family or the family culture of “church” that I have been associated with for thirty years. I am however grateful for the enduring qualities and example of family, relationship and love that swallows up the negative. There is an opportunity we each have to be a part of the solution and not the problem. I saw this modeled profoundly through my Grandfather, the normalcy and consistency in my life.
It’s interesting that our values are often forged as a solution to a very real challenge we ourselves have encountered, thus, my coming to recognize that my struggle with family showed me that I was made for family. We were all made for family.
As my husband and I plan to relocate back to Charlotte for his work, I’m reminded that change CAN be wonderful. It CAN be an adventure. It CAN be the start of something unexpected and it CAN be joyous, if we learn to lean into the bend instead of resist what comes. That’s how I am choosing to experience this summer of change. It’s called reframing. If you want to hear more about reframing, you can listen to this episode of A Little Bit Vibrant and A Little Bit Moxie Radio Show
I’ve had a hefty portion of moving and bending in my life, like I imagine many of you have. I remember the many times as a child I had to say goodbye to those I love to launch out to make new friends in a new city. Arriving in Boston for high school as a transplant from Atlanta, I quickly earned the nickname, Georgia Peach. Another move from Memphis to New York City taught me to navigate the cement and chain link playgrounds guarded by nuns who contemplated my Southern accent.
Oddly, moving was easier as a child, because children are generally open and willing to welcome you into their playground. However, as an adult, I’ll be honest, when I’ve experience no reciprocal gesture, no welcome wagon or extended arm of friendship to join in the sandbox fun, I somehow still find hope always rises for a Pollyanna, and this Pollyanna is hopeful for the path ahead.
Unchanging stance, feet sure and armor high describes “vulnerability armor.” Brene’ Brown writes about this armor in her book, Daring Greatly, as something we use to shield ourselves from feeling vulnerable and exposed.
She goes on to describes what many of us have felt when we’ve vulnerably stepped out from our own armor and someone else’s protective covering turned into a weapon of “cruelty,” “cool” or “criticism” used to keep “vulnerability at a distance” and injure us for making them uncomfortable.
Brown says, “If we are the kind of people who “don’t do vulnerability,” there’s nothing that makes us feel more threatened and more incited to attack and shame people than to see someone daring greatly. Someone else’s daring provides an uncomfortable mirror that reflects back our own fears about showing up, creating, and letting ourselves be seen.”
I used to be a black and white thinker protected behind my armor. I used to be certain about everything I believed and thought. I guess you could say I was certain to be judgmental and opinionated!
Over the last few years, the way I think and see expands regularly. I am constantly confounded, glimpsing a more expansive reality than I ever imagined. My opinions (I still have them) are held loosely. My judgments are more often passed on to the man upstairs to handle. I have definitive values, beliefs and practices, but I choose to see them enlarge, rather than remain stagnant, closed off, or brittle like an old wineskin.
Are you finding the good old days illusive and intangible? Is the stability and normalcy you once knew now wobbly and uncertain? It could be your normal is being disrupted.
There are two ways to react to change and transition.One will anchor your life while preparing you for an upgrade in perspective and attitude. The other will assure that you’ll continue grasping for solidity beneath your feet as you’re tossed around in a sea of confusion.
The first choice is to:
1. Rearrange the chairs on the Titanic. Be deluded into thinking you are manning up, taking the bull by the horns in an attempt to control and rearrange life. The thing is if the old self-effort way of doing things is capsizing, the position of the chairs makes little difference.
Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net
Do you ever feel inconsistent like a bouncy ball bouncing all over the place? Feel like a fake, what you thought ten years ago, last week, or this week you suddenly see in a different light? Are you more confused and less certain about everything the older you get? Then take comfort in the words of Walt Whitman,
“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes.”
I want to tell those holding firmly to their rules, their opinions about life and themselves that someday mystery will overtake them and they’ll find themselves in a curious redesign process. Suddenly they’ll have loosened their reigns, resigned their tight grip of control, begun to accept the once unacceptable, let go of neatly outlined definitions, start repainting black and white and challenging just about everything they’ve thought.