The family unit is a complex mixture of personalities who come together to learn, heal, and love. It is the first place we begin our Earthly journey. Even before our soul enters the physical body, we are receptive to the thoughts and feelings of the mother we chose.
Our family plays a significant part in the development of our beliefs and attitudes about the world. Most of our beliefs about the world are formed by the age of seven. Before this age, children absorb the thoughts and attitudes of the people around them. If we are to understand ourselves, we must understand our family.
Family is instrumental in helping us fulfill our soul's purpose by helping us learn karmic lessons and providing an environment in which we can develop our gifts and talents. A soul chooses the period, country, gender, and family into which it incarnates, seeking the greatest learning opportunities based on its needs. The family is the most significant of these choices. Even dysfunctional families offer the appropriate lessons. When we accept responsibility for such choices, we see why we chose our parents.
KARMA & FAMILY: Lessons & Roles
When we understand our family dynamics, we understand our karmic destiny. Have you ever heard anyone remark, "I feel as though I've married my mother (or father)"? If we don't master the lessons offered by our family members, we find people later in life who mirror our parents, giving us another chance to learn the lesson. Delving into family memories can sometimes be painful, frightening, or pleasantly nostalgic. Volatile emotions signal the need to understand family karma. When we can objectively view family members, our relationship to them, and our childhood without pain or charged emotion, we will have taken a major step toward clearing family karma.
Each of us has individual karma. Families have collective or group karma. All family members learn from each other. Thus, the family unit transforms itself into a melting pot of individual and shared lessons. When the members are conscious and communicate openly, the potential for growth and transcendent love is heightened.
Families Fulfill a Common Purpose
Souls also unite within a family to fulfill a common purpose. Many families unite to create something such as a family business, or work together as volunteers for a charitable organization. Creation is a spiritual act; families that engage in a common creative project usually grow closer.
Family is the first place we learn about giving and receiving; as children, we are usually receiving. While raising children, parents learn unconditional love and how to put others' needs before their own. Parents learn to listen to their children, physically and intuitively. Before children learn to speak, parents must "tune in" to recognize their needs and thoughts. Most parents agree that they receive so much pleasure from watching their children grow and learn that personal sacrifices seem insignificant.
Our belief system, shaped mainly by our family, serves as the basis for many of our choices. Consciously and unconsciously, we allow beliefs to imbed themselves in our mind. Limiting beliefs such as "money doesn't grow on trees" and "children should be seen but not heard" can greatly limit the expression of our life purpose. Answer the questions at the end of this chapter to uncover your hidden beliefs.
FAMILY SIMILARITIES & DIFFERENCES
The similar traits and beliefs that our parents shared are most likely the things we have easily integrated into ourselves. Make a list of their similar qualities, then notice which ones you have developed within yourself. Take it a step further and separate them into positive and negative columns.
The differences between your parents may signal areas where you need to find balance within yourself. Put your mother's qualities in one column and your father's in another. If you realize one parent was overly serious while the other was more carefree, look within yourself to see how you vacillate between these two qualities. Then, find a balance between the two or choose one quality over the other.
Similarities between Parents
Differences between Parents
Beliefs Learned from Parents
INHERITED ATTITUDES FROM ANCESTORS
Ancestors and siblings also play a part in understanding the dynamics. Heredity stretches beyond physical traits such as eye and skin color to encompass patterns of thinking: we also inherit the thoughts and attitudes of our parents and other ancestors. The more we become aware of these transgenerational patterns, the less we act out the unconscious behaviors of our ancestors. We must look at the entire family tree -- not only our parents -- to trace the origin of many of our traits.
Each one of us is capable of changing family beliefs and attitudes. By taking responsibility for changing outdated and limiting belief patterns, we can pave a more expansive path for future generations to attain greater prosperity. The progress made by one person will affect everyone else. As with other methods of self-awareness, the study of family is not meant to place blame for negative traits. It is, rather, a self-empowerment tool to eliminate what is unproductive and to develop gifts and talents.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Intuitive Arts Press. ©2002.
Soul Choices: Six Paths to Find Your Life Purpose
by Kathryn Andries.
Past Lives + Astrology + Numerology + Iris Analysis + Palmistry + Birth Order = You! A guidebook, resource manual and workbook all in one! Soul Choices: Six Paths to Find Your Life Purpose shows how to successfully use six different methods of self-awareness to understand yourself and your life mission. More than 130 thought provoking questions, exercises and tasks will lead you to uncover your strengths and weaknesses.
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About the Author
Kathryn Andries is an expert in the intuitive sciences. A graduate of The University of Michigan, Body Mind College, and The Berkeley Psychic Institute, a founding director of the School of Intuitive Arts and Sciences, as well as a teacher, author and lecturer, she has guided hundreds of people on the path to discovering their unique mission in life. Visit her website at www.discoveryourlifepurpose.org.