As we approach the holiday season, many of us will plan to return to our hometowns and our families of origin. Sometimes these occasions can be wonderful; spending time with our siblings, parents, and extended families. We enjoy our favorite foods, catch up with people we may not have seen since the year before, and pass the new baby around. Though there are times when the dinner table can become a battleground for politics or disagreements, spending time with our family is often restorative and healing.
A client of mine, Denise, spends the holidays with her parents and brother’s family every year, but she always schedules time with her close friends, Karen and Margaret. The three women went to high school together, and the holidays wouldn’t be complete without some special time together away from their families.
“It’s not that I don’t appreciate when my own family gets together,” Denise explained. “It’s just that it’s become sort of a ritual, a regular thing, that the three of us go out. It doesn’t have to be a big event, like reservations at a formal restaurant. “Sometimes it can be coffee at a diner, or we might go shopping together if we have time.” This past year, they did something different and treated themselves to a spa day. “We had so much fun,” said Denise. “It was like being in college again.”
As a psychic and astrologer, I am aware that there are often metaphysical reasons why we are in our “given” families. Usually there is some lesson that we are meant to learn spiritually and being in our families is like being in a classroom. You might think of your family of origin as a “required” course. There are classes in school that everyone has to take, like English and science. Our given family may support us through life, or there may be situations where we have to learn to forgive them for some wrong. Usually, it is a combination of both.
Our chosen families, the people who we meet in life, also have lessons to teach us. Relationships can come and go throughout the years, but usually a chosen family member is someone we maintain. Unlike our given family, these are people we have chosen as we go through life, to inspire and be inspired by, and who know us very well. For some of us, our chosen family may be some of the closest family we have.
A Different Kind of Connection
Sometimes our chosen families can feel like angels that have come into our lives. Another client of mine who struggled with addiction for years considers his recovery friends to be his family. They came into his life at just the right time, when he was ready to make the decision to get help. While his family also supported him through his challenges, his chosen family knew exactly what he was going through as he got better, because they had been through many of the same difficulties and healing process. In fact, his chosen family helped him to be a much better dad and partner to his original family members.
An Encouraging Perspective
Our chosen family can be helpful in encouraging us to see ourselves in new and exciting ways. A friend of mine wanted to start a business, but she had only worked in office jobs as an assistant. She is very good at what she does, but she knew she wanted something more. Her original family didn’t mean to discourage her, but they saw in her a very specific light, they even had a little nickname for her, and she felt they were implying that opening a business wasn’t for her. Her chosen family encouraged her to go back to school, to learn about business, and to see where the path led her.
What Connects Us
For some of us, our given family has been our bedrock: they hold the family history, they remember what happened that year we got the science award, they were there clapping at our high school graduation. We need these bonds to our history, but our guides know that often we need more than one teacher and more than one foundation of support. That’s where our chosen family comes in.
Some believe that a chosen family member is someone who balances out energy that is missing in an astrological chart, or they may be someone who we have shared a past-life connection with. What we know is, when we meet them, it feels very familiar, very right. We may find ourselves saying, “Even though we’ve only been friends for the last five years, I feel like I’ve known Jim my entire life.”
A Chosen Family for Everyone
Don’t feel discouraged if you feel you don’t have a chosen family and you would like one. Chances are, you may already have chosen family through a very good friend or co-worker. What makes them chosen is the importance you place on them in your life. It is about finding intimacy with people who we aren’t connected biologically, but who are just as vital as someone we are related to.
I recently got to share a wonderful experience with a close friend. This friend got married and after she had thanked her parents and blood relatives, she said, “I’d like to thank my chosen family” and she smiled at a table of us. Although most of us had never met, we knew that we all played an important role in her life. That day, the connections between her chosen family grew.
This holiday season, take a moment and celebrate with your chosen family, perhaps bring them together to meet each other. It will be a celebration you won’t forget!
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