Saturday, April 5, 2014
Cutting Off Versus Leaning In: The Legacy of In Between
Yesterday, a familiar-seeming face in a photograph of one of the “special to CNN” contributors drew my attention. Something about that face startled me. Almost hauntingly, throughout the day, the picture kept coming back to me.
Then it struck me; the face in the photograph was my mother’s, or almost so!
Spurred on by that realization, instantaneously, I returned to CNN and the article. I was, by this time, intent on finding out more about the author. Already I had a strong supposition; she was someone I knew; a family member, in fact.
Confirming my hunch that this woman was, indeed, my first cousin, once removed, granddaughter of my mother’s sister, I wondered, once again, at the magic and mystery of life. This was, undeniably, a long lost cousin!
Having, within hours, only just finished doing a radio show on my newly presented “Lean In Legacy Template,” now, I was face-t0-face, via the internet, with an heiress to the major source of what had been generations of family cutoffs. Here was a carrier, albeit in innocence, of a legacy of family disconnectedness, continuing to this day.
Seeing this living, breathing symbol of the “Cut-off Legacy” of my own family; my first cousin, once removed, who I had neither seen nor spoken to in more years than I care to remember, uprooted a cache of stored memories and emotions, primarily sorrow at the loss.
On the heels of introducing my well-articulated antithesis to disconnectedness of every variety, here was a living representative of the challenge I had built my life upon to dispel; polarization, be it familial, cultural or political.
Grounded in denial and lies, conspiratorial alliances had managed, to the best of my knowledge, to produce a family tree, rife with the poison of polarization, mired in the kinds of dysfunction that marks our country today, especially in the political arena and international affairs. A toxin so widespread it left no one unmarked in an extended family of hundreds, bringing about as much as one hundred years of heartache.
In a family abundant in doctors, lawyers, and other high profile careers and plentiful in prominence and money, as well as a scandal or two, a secret war of collusions, distrust and disconnect had managed to proliferate. While, at the same time, family members acted as if nothing at all was amiss; denial was viral in my family.
Wondering, once again, at the illusions we had lived by, upon seeing this familial reminder of that past, brought, now, into the present, my mind turned to contemplation on the facts, as I knew them.
Among them was that this relative of mine, albeit unknowingly, on her part, was from the faction of my family most rooted in the cutting off that had plagued our family. Given to a healthy respect, as I am, for synchronicity, my next thoughts turned to what I might do with this unexpected intrusion into my day of pleasure regarding the introduction, through my radio show, of my “Lean In Legacy Template.”
Now what, I asked myself? Was I being given a message guiding me to my next “b’shrt” moment (b’shrt meaning “destiny” in Yiddish/Hebrew)? Was it b’shrt that I lean in to this cousin of mine as my next step in my quest for family unity?
Considering this possibility, I consulted with trusted friends, tossed my I Ching coins, did a new Tarot card reading and contemplated further.
No, I told myself, my golden moment for leaning in, again, to my family was not quite yet. I belonged, for now, at a maintained distance until a gentle portal, or a rational one, based on a quest for truth, higher consciousness and compassion might open.
In the meantime, at least, I now knew where to find a missing – and – missed family member; a public online profile and a web site.
I might seek these out when it was time.
Meanwhile, I would continue waiting and watching, remaining on the periphery, on the edges. And, do my best to contribute my own legacy; a lean in legacy, as my prescribed antidote to our family’s discord.
I would know when it was time -- and -- how for me to take the next steps toward my family, again.