… families appear throughout life …

To fill in the distorted or simply incomplete gestalt gathered from early caregivers, we find ourselves during our lifetime in families of various constellations … in groupings of friends, educational settings, teams working towards a project, callings, interest groups, animal care, subcultures, political, vocational and spiritual clusters. In these groups we slot into roles we project, or are projected onto us with qualities others are drawn to engage with, for whatever reason, often to explore a hidden part inside, mother, father, sister, brother, child, lover, hidden in the light or hidden in the dark. Much of this search now happens virtually, through screens, though it can’t replace the actual physical resonance a gestalt needs.

Family can also mean a collection of symbolically meaningful objects, toys, letters, books, art, tools, stones. I collect stones and endow them with memories. My ex-husband extended his loving father role to string instruments. (I wrote about his loss in my previous post.)

In the 1969 movie Alice’s Restaurant … with Arlo Guthrie, Pat Quinn & James Broderick, you can do anything you want. Alice tries to satisfy the motherly expectations of an eccentric hippie group, a powerful dream, which ends when she marries. The last image in the film shows her standing alone in front of the old church her husband plans on selling, to create a more ideal community in the countryside, though Alice’s hippie children have grown and left.  In the poignant last image of the film Alice stands alone, waking from a dream, debts paid and debts made. Psychotherapy can accelerate this archetypal demand for clarity and cohesion of one’s myth, but soul-making must continue for consciousness to expand.

At stages in our life we fit, or are fitted, into a network of psychological potential. These are intense phases. Yet irrespective of time gone since people parted ways,  families dispersed, places were lost … when a former close friend dies, insight descends, rises, arrives from the past, from the future and from spheres unknown. Memories will shift their meaning. Slowly our sense of self is re-aligned. We capture a condensation of what was symbolically exchanged, essence is revealed.

In this gentle way we unravel the knots of entangled bonds. I’m wary of this advice … let it go!  Grieving for a loss needs to ripen. While unripe apples fall from trees all the time, it is a sad waste to rip them from branches, we deprive our selves of what a ripe apple is for, to be eaten and digested for nourishment.

My lover, mourner and philosopher could have pulled this theme in ten different directions. I kept it short and leave associations to you.


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10 responses to “… families appear throughout life …

  1. Boy, this resonates with me as I have lost two old friends, not to Covid, this year and some friends are moving out of state. You add to this Covid and not being able to connect to my family makes life a challenge. I have to deal with the pain and look to find happiness and joy in life. Some days it is like looking into a densely cloudy sky looking for that little patch of blue sky, to see that there is HOPE out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Our lives, at any stage, are full of possibilities. Even when we are old, new vistas might open. And, generally, that’s a very good thing. Hi. See ya. Neil S.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Those long gone – family, friends, people, pets, even people I never knew – I still feel their presence, their wisdom and their love. Yes, I grieved to begin with and still do at times but gain strength knowing they are still with me. I will not let them go and I do not believe they will let me go. We ripen together and nourish each other.

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  4. I did attend Soren’s funeral, a little late. Did you attend in person? I could not identify you?


  5. Jenny

    thank you dear Ashen
    Sharing your Flow of Association s
    Images feelings that go back and forth
    appear and disappear connect and disconnect
    Lost in ever changing memories
    Of a life becoming all and nothing
    Loss and gain and what will be remembered in generations to come looking For signs and new ways to explore further dimensions searching for another earth … water falling
    From heaven… where are we going dear sister
    Love will find es hopefully in peace

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rob Leech

    Thankyou Ashen. I feel that you describe the process of “soul building/growth of consciousness” really well. It certainly seems to resonate with my life experience so far. This mind-blowingly intricate, complex relationship between the so- called “objective reality” of the outer world and the so-called “subjective reality” of the inner. I believe they are very probably one thing in the end but very difficult to comprehend any thing like the full, glorious panorama and symmetry from the perspective of the discrete and necessarily limited individual living their individual discrete and limited life.
    Such a journey!

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  7. Ashen, an incredible and powerful post … one I need to reread and contemplate as although short it says so much about how we live our lives, the connections we make and carry forward with us. Thank you for sharing. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this theme of being in families of various constellations throughout our lives. Several of mine came to mind as I read through your post, each with a set of images and memories of people and settings and experiences. Always, a special friend or two stands out with unique qualities I was attracted to and learned from. Some are gone now. Others were left behind as we each adapted to new stages and interests. Over the last several years my life has been enriched with beautiful art to which I was brought by a lovely lady who passed two years ago and a fellow writer I haven’t seen in a long time. I’ve also had magical experiences with music, including taking ukulele and guitar lessons and enjoying the live music presentations of the Orlando Philharmonic orchestra. The absorption in music was inspired by a dear friend who only left us two months ago. And yes, all these families re-aligned my sense of self and revealed more of my essence to me. Beautifully said. Thank you for bringing this perspective into my conscious awareness.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am not always eloquent in the way I express myself, but I do know that in life I have created and recreated myself many times and in this I have done the same in my thoughts of others. I think some of us do this especially when we have lost someone close to us, whether it be friends or family. So many people in my life have left an impression on me that has changed me in some way and sometimes I have not always seen the bigger picture, but another time I may go deep inside myself and see it so much clearer and sometimes in a different way. A transformation takes place and I grow. Take care of yourself Ashen x

    Liked by 2 people

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