I'm writing this to you after spending the morning with my 85-year-old grandpa. He taught me how to make one of our secret family recipes. My heart is currently overflowing with love and gratitude that we got to do this together and that it brought such joy to both of us. Spending time with him always feels so precious - and I'll never forget today.
As I left, all of this got me thinking about how we love each other in our families. With some people it feels so easy to love them and be loved in return - with others it's hard and frustrating and challenging.
Whenever I bring the topic of loving my family to my ancestors, they tell me about loving each other in ways that are easy - where it feels easy to give love and receive it too.
In the beginning, I pushed against this so hard. I had a million reasons why that was too easy - isn't love only real when it's deep, meaningful - unconditional? Isn't love meant to be hard work? Isn't love all about knowing each other intimately?
I've been learning a lot of new things since bringing this to my ancestors for the first time. What I've realized since then is this:
When I love others in ways that are easy for both of us, I can feel love flowing freely. When I love others in the ways I think I should be loving them or they should be loving me (in order for it to be considered "love"), love feels stuck and small.
So maybe loving your family in ways that feel easy means cooking together or watching a movie in silence and just being in each other's company. Maybe it means taking a walk or speaking only about specific topics. Maybe it means making something or going somewhere special. Maybe it means quiet moments in between.
How would it feel to let go of the pressure, the idea that there are right or wrong ways of loving others? What might it feel like to love your family in ways that are easy?
(A note: As always this doesn't mean that we shouldn't have boundaries (we should 100%) or that we have to spend time with our families when it's not healthy for our bodies, hearts, and minds. It's about maybe possibly opening up to a different way of relating and being together).