The Joy (and Pain) of the Family Reunion

large familyCan the Pain of the Family Reunion be Turned to Joy?

It’s Fall already. November is upon us. The leaves are turning all sorts of gorgeous colors as they and much of the natural world begins to turn inward and close down, ready for the winter months. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do the same?

But that’s not how it works. For us, November portends the exact opposite. A month and a half of frantic preparation for what we laughingly call a season of joy and good will.

The pretense is maintained by such things as the obligatory exchange of gifts nobody really wants or needs, the sending of cards to people we feel we should try to stay in touch with, the feasting, the booze and worst of all – the family re-unions.

Ah… Yes: the family reunions? Even without a special time set aside for this, aren’t we supposed to enjoy getting together with our parents, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren? Doesn’t the family connote oneness, togetherness and deep emotional ties?

Actually, no. It’s the opposite in fact. The family is the perfect institution within which to experience what we came into this life to have – the experience and the pain of separation.

Who better than our parents, grandparents and siblings to set us up for this? They give us many such opportunities to feel separation during the most formative period of our lives, which we then go on and leverage in adulthood.

It is a perfect arrangement – and I mean perfect in the spiritual sense. It is a soul agreement based on Love. We’ve probably done it many times before, as a soul group, with each of us playing different roles for each other.

Family reunions are nothing more than our choosing to get a booster shot of all the old recipes for the pain of separation.

However, if you still believe you are the victim of that separation rather than the grateful recipient of what you came in to experience, it will continue to hurt. On the other hand if you reframe it in this way, you will have the experience of joy and good will.

So, my advice is to keep this in mind as you get together with family during the feast days of each holiday. Instead of getting upset and angry about the things that are said, not said, or implied; behavior that reminds you of the pain of separation you endured during the early years; and more, just remember the purpose of it all and shift into gratitude.

In preparation for this season, do the forgiveness work before you go. Browse through this site and pick the tools that will work best for your situation. Radical Forgiveness is all about shifting your perception in the direction of realizing that the people who appear to be the most trying are the very ones who are giving you exactly what you wanted.

The moment you are able to see this and feel a sense of gratitude arising in you, the judgment and irritation associated with the judgment will evaporate. The offending behavior in the other person will stop, too, since the reason for it being there will have disappeared.

Choose peace and joy and see the perfection.


One thought on “The Joy (and Pain) of the Family Reunion

  1. Clare O'Brien Doyle

    Thank You! I have been doing the work in preparation of the Family Reunion this Saturday. I have still had a hangover of anxiety, distress, and dread and your very timely blog entry really put it into perspective in a way that my human brain can understand. I think we tend to get caught in the minutia of the incidents, words spoken and unspoken and the actions that caused pain and try to think our way out of it. In that way we miss the big picture of letting our spiritual intelligence take care of it instead of trying to figure it out intellectually and emotionally. Thanks again for the great body of work.

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