There's something we are born into here on Earth. It's called family. And sometimes, even though you love them all very much, you have to wonder how you got the family you did. Some schools of thought believe that our family members were our enemies in past lives and we are here to work out our karma with them. If you believe your family is PERFECT, then congratulations! Maybe there is nothing more for you to learn in this lifetime. I think there's a reason why it's hard to hang out with family for a long time. In the beginning, we are so happy to see everyone, but as time ticks on, we realize how different we all are and we wonder how we ended up with the lot we got. Some family members have not spoken in months and some have sons, daughters, mothers or fathers who they have not seen in years. I am fortunate in that I am still in contact with all of my family members and see them when I can. Even though we all get along fairly well and manage to catch up, share and have fun, it's hard to meet eye to eye on all subjects. In fact, some subjects we just steer clear of all together. It's easier that way.
But every now and then a comment will creep its way in and it takes me right back to when I was a child seeking approval from my parents. It makes me question the path I am on. I start to wonder about myself and think, "What's wrong with me?!" I'm not living like these people at all. I've chosen a very different path and I play a drum with a VERY different sound. Are you sure these are my kin?
Well, to be honest, I don't think I have ever been a pack animal. Not ever.
I play a very different drum and at times I sort of wish I were a pack animal. It's not easy to forge your own course in life or take the road less traveled. Along the path, you meet up with people on other paths who look at you through narrowed eyes that seem to say, "There's one who went astray." And at times it makes you feel very isolated.
I have felt isolated, but I will not change the path I'm on.
A deeper sense of myself, deeper than my ties to family, calls me. I am a stranger, at times, even to my loved ones. Yet, I love them, each one of them, for who they are.
This morning, my boyfriend, who stayed with my family for two days, left to go to work in the city. He knew I had been feeling a little down. I felt judged by my family for my decisions and for my lifestyle. Maybe it was my own sensitivity or maybe it was my need for approval, but I didn't feel good.
With loving eyes, my boyfriend, looked down at me and kissed my cheek and said, "Don't cast your pearls before swine!" I had never heard that before, but I knew what he meant.
Each one of us holds in us the jewels of who we are. So precious, these gem stones are! So brilliant and beautiful! Yet it is so easy to dim our lights and to even trample over our own pearls for the sake of fitting in with others and not rocking the boat.
And then there's judgement.
It's so easy to dish out judgement of others too. Why do we do it? Why are we so curious about others' lives? Why can't we celebrate our differences? Why can't we say, "Well, it's not my path, but I'm happy that you are so happy on YOURS! I celebrate your journey. I celebrate YOU!"
Strangely, we humans forget that we are all connected. We forget that we are part of a HUMAN family and that the way we act towards each other can have a ripple effect on the whole. I am not immune to judgement. I don't always suspend my opinions of others. I don't always have everyone's best interest in mind all the time. But I'm trying to understand. I'm trying to realize that I'm not isolated or in this alone and that each person I meet is just as deserving of love as the next, even though I may not understand their choices.
So, this morning, I walked through the silence of the house we are all sharing together and felt a calm. I felt the quiet of everyone sleeping snuggly in their beds and all was well. I felt a deep love well up in my heart that I still have family near me. My father, mother and step parents are all alive and well. I have a great sister, brother-in-law and nephews. How lucky I am!
And with these thoughts, I slipped out of the house, up the road and into the woods.
The fragrance of these berries, pine sap, and wood created a heavenly fragrance as I trotted along the wooded path with Long Pond on my left. There I saw a gathering of birds in the pond together. There were ducks, Canadian geese and a few Heron all living, drinking and eating within the same pond.
I felt my body meld with everything around me—fragrant smells, birds chirping, the touch of a soft wind through the trees, the taste of a variety of berries. Everything all blended together and I was part of it all, yet I was a unique and important element to it all.
There's nothing wrong with the sound of a different drum. Mine is made from elk. I made it by my own hands. I smoothed the wet hide over the round wood with my fingers, feeling the essence of the animal that would make a sound in my hands. That animal lives through the drum and me, yet we are distinct and different.
It's okay to make a different sound and play a different drum. What would our world be if we were all exactly the same. And there are no mistakes or ways in which we should have done things differently in my book. There is just life flowing, flowing, flowing. Things dying, things falling apart or coming together. It's all part of the great symphony of life. I don't need to please anyone in this world. I don't need to play my drum to suit you. I'm here to make my own sound and you are here to make yours.