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Positivity in Action: High-Level Humanity

Positivity in Action: High-Level Humanity

I havenít seen my brother for 25 years.† We were both in our 20s then; young enough to believe that aging was something that happened to other people. Our faces were unlined and our family wounds still fresh enough to be leading us around without our knowledge. Our family wounds went deep. Our parentsí divorce happened when stigma existed behind the word.† Their subsequent pain, the ways they dealt with it, and each other became the uneven foundation of our adolescence.† Everyone deals with their pain differently, but in the end, we all ran away as soon as we could.† Our family was not a shelter.

I knew I had abandoned my brother years ago. I didnít have the courage to go back home. Instead I set out on a lifelong journey to learn how to make a home.† My brotherís destiny lead him to run away also. For more than a dozen years no one knew how to find him. What became of my brother was the mystery we would briefly wonder about in our infrequent visits.

Seeing someone you know after decades is kind of like looking at yourself in the mirror. In your mind you donít look like who is peering back at you. My self image is still young and vital. The circles around my eyes and the sagging skin at my jaw line are not yet part of my self image.†† Meeting my brother again after all these years felt like that, too. I saw my father, my younger father that I remembered from before the divorce in his face and his mannerisms. The way he held out his hands when he spoke. Then when I just was able to listen,† I saw my younger brother as I remembered him in his eyes. It was like time travel.

Life has taught him a deep spirituality through great loss.† His calm wisdom, acceptance of life and self was both inspiring and surreal. His philosophy and belief system was perfectly articulated while the answers to questions about the past were vague. The peaceful calm became a choppy sea under the force of scrutiny and lacking trust. Family reunions clarify our weak spots like little else. They always serve to provide the deepest and most searing insights into my most challenging personality traits.

Bringing our past into our present, being with people you havenít seen in decades reminds you of the maxim: the more things change, the more they stay the same. There is something unchanging and unchangeable in our deepest nature that my long lost younger brother reminds me. At times, I felt like I was in a movie script. Words are often not enough to bridge the gap and the silence that lays between them is unfamiliar. I was surprised at how easy it was to close down and let my tendency to self-protect lead. It took me several days to realize that the gap of estrangement is only crossed by a will to do it.† You have to want to love. You have to choose to let go. It is not the natural outcome.

It was hard to believe some of what my brother said.† It was easy to let my disbelief turn into suspicion. Curiosity and wonder only thrive without judgment. My brother has become a spiritual mystic of sorts and is also still carrying around a lot of unexamined history. He has made peace with some of it though, and reminded me that our shared history was the seeds that brought us to where we are.

Deciding to love him again allowed me to listen more, interrupt less, and ultimately know that I cannot tell him anything. It was the hardest test of† loving that I have faced in a long time.† I am so grateful to know that I have the courage to still open my heart. Therein lies a completely different view of where you have come from and the only way to a fresh start.

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.† In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,† she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative advice.†It has been called "the essential guide for relationships." †The book is available on ebook.† Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

11 comments

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8:57AM PST on Feb 4, 2013

You've got strong beliefs..

7:18AM PDT on May 21, 2012

very nice

9:21PM PDT on May 14, 2012

--Like this story, our family was never a shelter to us, being judgemental and stressful in each different way. Parents who really didn't know how to be parents and weren't interested in learning, stumbling along at our expense, so we were never close on any level with them or certainly not, with each other. Of the 3 of us, I ended up being the care-giver, taking on the care-taking of my elderly Mom while trying to pretend that we were just one big happy family! Jealousy/anger became directed at me, being the kinder/softer one who wanted to love everyone nomatter what. I will go to my grave trying to love my brothers and trying to forgive my parents, especially Mom, but the truth behind their betrayals and abuses along the years still hurts. I want to enjoy our last years with a kind attitude towards everyone's foibles, etc., but their walls may never come down to accept my love,...pity, as we grow old so very fast with little time left to be the family we should/could have been!

5:08PM PDT on May 14, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

11:33AM PDT on May 14, 2012

so beautiful

9:04AM PDT on May 14, 2012

ty

7:33AM PDT on May 14, 2012

Thanks

1:39PM PDT on May 13, 2012

Thank you for this very beautiful article ~

1:04PM PDT on May 13, 2012

beautiful and humble reflections thank you

12:51PM PDT on May 13, 2012

Thanks for sharing this Wendy.

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