Father Sun, Grandmother Moon, to the Star Nations.
Great Spirit, you who are known by a thousand names
And you who are the unnamable One.
Thank you for bringing us together
And allowing us to sing the Song of Life.
Like so many people who weren’t given the gift of family in this lifetime, I take great joy in my chosen family. They’re important to me.
I do know people who have close family ties, and appreciate that, because mine couldn’t have been more different. As much as you’d think that shared experiences over a lifetime would create a strong bond, sometimes, like in my family, it’s every man for himself. That underpinning theme doesn’t promote strong family bonds, as you can imagine.
But. That kind of garbage is not part of the dynamic of a chosen family.
“It’s like family,” one of my chosen family said, recently, “only better.”
Yes. Better. So in my world, my chosen family is the family that means the most to me.
Chosen families are easier
We spent time this holiday season with senior members of our chosen family, people who are important to us. Laughter, love, great discussions–and no garbage. None. In fact, we spend a lot of time with them because we are so compatible. And respectful of one another. But still direct. Oh yeah, we are direct!
Another hallmark of a true family is the ability to call on them for anything and they’ll do what they can to help. Such was the case when I called on a delightful brother-friend to help me remember my late friend on the anniversary of her death. We shared new age beliefs and interest and he’d become a shaman. I expected he’d send me a prayer and very simple candle-lighting ritual. But instead, I received an envelope in the mail containing ingredients for an abbreviated aya despacho, a ritual I’ve done before in its larger form and with many people. What a thoughtful–and loving–thing to do.
We might live a few hundred miles apart, but he and his wife are definitely part of our chosen family and we work hard to spend time together.
Giving / Taking
This might seem like a little thing, but I don’t like asking for favors. I far prefer giving. Maybe it’s because I once asked my biological sister for a small favor and her first question was “will it benefit your work?” As it turned out, it was a personal favor with nothing to do with my job. But she wanted to make sure she didn’t help me progress on the job. Which I found sad and also rather crazy. I’ll just let those words sit there and say no more. That kind of pain–hers, mine, is obvious. And really, there was nothing she could ever do that would have impacted my excellent career one way or another. She would’ve been smarter to have focused that attention on her own. Just saying.
So, when I spend happy times with people I love like family, when we have great conversations, wonderful hikes, attend cultural events together, it’s hard for me to feel the lack of family in my life.
Because, as the shamanic prayer above says, it really is a beautiful thing to sing the song of life with other, like-hearted people.
The image is from an aya despacho, a Peruvian prayer ceremony to help souls transition to the next life.