Family of Shared Bloodlines/DNAFamily~“A group of persons sharing a common ancestry, lineage, blood, and DNA connections who watch your back and are there for you.” But what if this is not so (no matter how hard you try to convince yourself otherwise)?

    You may find yourself:

    *crying buckets,

    *acting out (either going into self-destruct mode or lashing out at others), or

    *shutting down so you feel nothing.

    Instead ask yourself why you think family, which consists of persons, should be different from the populous at large, which consists of persons. (“Because” and “It should be” aren’t valid answers.) Bloodlines? That should only matter in genetics, animal husbandry, and (perhaps) foliage. (Besides, those who emphasize bloodlines and DNA diminish and devalue adoption.)

    After all, when you’re out and about there are those you are immediately repelled by. Those you are immediately attracted to. Many you are neutral to. And some who sort of “grow” on you. By stepping back from the emotions involved with family, you’ll see that people are people. Regardless of whether there’s a blood or DNA link.

    Just because biologically a woman can be a mother, doesn’t mean on an ethereal/psychic level she can. My heart goes out to any parent who has lost a child (a horror I don’t wish on anyone). My heart also goes out to any parent who truly does not like, love, or care for their child. If they have a conscience, their guilt factor will be debilitating. If they don’t, the child’s life will make hell seem like paradise.

    Then there’s the flip side. What if a child is wired with an innate belief system which conflicts with their family’s? Do they hide who and what they are in order to “fit in,” or do they claim their “true self” and risk losing their family connection?

    Again, ask yourself, why do bloodlines and DNA matter?

    Family of Shared SpiritIf you subscribe to/are willing to consider the belief your body is a temporary vessel housing your soul, then the body itself is of secondary import. The soul and psyche are primary. By viewing family as those who nurture your soul/spirt/psyche, you are free to go beyond the bloodline/DNA connection.

    Why can’t a neighbor be “family”?

    Why shouldn’t your ex-sister-in-law still be your family, even though you and her brother (or sister) are no longer married?

    Why can’t the wonderful person who invited you into her store one day and with whom you immediately bonded be “family”?

    Imagine if the accepted/standard definition of family consisted of all those:

    *who cared about you and whom you cared about;

    *who gave you a helping hand when you were down;

    *with whom you held hands so neither of you would have to cry alone; and

    *who loved you unconditionally and accepted your lifestyle choices (so long as you do no harm to yourself or others) without judgment.

    Whether such a defined family shares your bloodlines and DNA should be secondary. Of primary import is your family share your spirit, and nurture your soul.

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    Judith Barrow - September 4, 2013 - 12:29 am

    ‘Family of shared spirit’ – what a wonderful phrase. And what a fortuitous blog at this point in my life – so many thanks Tana. I have a family of blood ties (the one my husband and I made together and I’m blessed with them all) I also have a family of friends, who love me for what I am) And then I have a sister (my only sibling) who, for the fourth time in the last forty years have taken offence at something I’ve done (this time she found out I have written an autobiography – unpublished/ may never be published) Each time it takes years to get back on track – the last time she didn’t acknowledge me for fifteen years. We’ve had four years of trying to be family. Undoubtedly there are faults on both sides (and perhaps I should have told her what I was writing – I don’t know) but to tolerate or try to be friends again because we are ‘family’ I don’t think so. I need to move on and treasure those who I am lucky enough to call ‘my family’ and who accept me for who I am – faults and all!

    Tana Bevan - September 4, 2013 - 10:09 am

    For better or for worse Judith, any which way you look at it, family is complex. The ideal of what “should be,” “ought to be,” “I want it to be” versus “what it is.” It’s wonderful your family of shared spirit is a combination of bloodline/DNA family created with your husband and your circle of friends. Your sister is her own person. As I wrote, sometimes the connection is there, others not. While tough to accept, the bottom line is it is not possible to force anyone to be in your family of shared spirit. That is strictly voluntary on both sides.

    Thank you for stopping by. Wishing you much love, joy, and strength from your family of shared spirit!

    Kitt Crescendo - September 4, 2013 - 11:02 am

    I learned long ago that DNA can sometimes have very little to do with family. My step-dad is more family to me than my bio-dad. As for “exes”…my cousins were very pleased to find that we considered my uncles 1st wife (and their mother) to still be our aunt, whereas his 2nd wife was not very accepted. Fortunately for his personal happiness, 3rd time seems to be the charm…and both #1 & #3 get along.

    When my hubby and I left our family behind and moved to Florida, we created a group of friends that we consider “family of shared spirit”. Acceptance and unconditional love for me are at the core of what family means… It’s much more powerful than DNA.

    Judith Barrow - September 4, 2013 - 12:16 pm

    Thanks Tana -keep on doodling.

    Tana Bevan - September 4, 2013 - 4:12 pm

    Always glad when you stop by Kitt. I agree with you, “Acceptance and unconditional love … are at the core of what family means… It’s much more powerful than DNA.” IMHO, those who accept and love us unconditionally are truly our family of shared spirit. Clapping & cheering for you that you have such a family. It truly is a Good Thing and HUMONGOUS Happy!

    Tana Bevan - September 4, 2013 - 4:14 pm

    That’s the plan. May your family of shared spirit continue enveloping you in its nurturing embrace!

    IR - September 8, 2013 - 7:01 pm

    Such a beautiful post. I love this –> “If you subscribe to/are willing to consider the belief your body is a temporary vessel housing your soul, then the body itself is of secondary import. The soul and psyche are primary. By viewing family as those who nurture your soul/spirt/psyche, you are free to go beyond the bloodline/DNA connection.” As you well know, I have very little family I’m in contact with, but have never felt that my life is lacking because I am blessed enough to have come across amazing friends and partners in my life thus far who truly nurture my soul. That’s all that matters, at the end of the day.

    Tammy - September 8, 2013 - 7:25 pm

    So much said in such an eloquently truthful way! When my dog was on deaths door, I clutched the vets lapel and leaned in while whispering to him “Please, do all you can for her. She has been my best friend for over 10 years. I owe her, her best shot.” For me, family is what I’ve added along the way. My friends, the animals that have blessed my life. When you are an only child, and your parents are gone, you learn pretty fast that family isn’t just about the bloodline. Gratefully, it is so much more. Thanks for sharing!

    Tana Bevan - September 8, 2013 - 11:16 pm

    I completely agree it is those who nurture our souls who are truly important at the end of the day.

    By the way, it was your recent comment about how you viewed your body (as a temporary vessel housing your soul) which finally clarified the whole “family” matter for me. Thank you. Not only for being part of my family (and allowing me to continue being a part of yours), but for your continued wisdom and insight. I love you darlin’! I’m ecstatic you have a large Family of Shared Spirit who love you. xoxoxo

    Tana Bevan - September 8, 2013 - 11:23 pm

    Thank you for your kind words Tammy. As I learned during the past the past year or so, four-legged living beings can share our spirit as well as (and at times perhaps more than) two-legged beings. Thank you for stopping by, sharing, and reminding me again of the power the four-legged spirits can have in our lives.

    Shelley - September 12, 2013 - 6:08 am

    I agree entirely. I’m all about the village. Mine consist mostly of farm animals, but still … back where I come from in Wisconsin, it was really cold and I’m pretty sure a lot of my people bred with their livestock. I’ve seen a significant amount of people who have strong goat-like qualities in my family tree. :)

    Tana Bevan - September 12, 2013 - 10:16 am

    Think about it Shelley, with all those goats on your family tree, mealtimes must have been really easy. No persnickety/fussy eaters to contend with. *smiles* I appreciate the smile and good cheer your comment gave me. Thank you much!