heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 1 of 7: It all begins and ends with Family

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“The family is the nucleus of civilization.”

Will Durant

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Happy New Year everyone!

This year, the inspiration for my New Year’s “Revelations” stem from some of the experiences, life events and lessons learned in the past year.

For me, it was – as Charles Dickens wrote (in A Tale of Two Cities) – “the best of times, it was the worst of times…. it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

And with each year comes more wisdom.

I hope that some or all of these revelations resonate with you.

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It all begins and ends with Family. It forms the core of our belief system and is the springboard from which we go on to conduct the rest of our lives.  Family supersedes nationalistic ideals, political aspirations and even religious dogma.  Family. Is. Everything. Well, at least it should be.

In a Utopian world, the family should be a “safe harbor” where we are loved, cherished, encouraged, and understood. It is an entity that should be devoid of judgment, jealousy, gossip, or hatred and replete with loyalty, familiarity – a strong sense of shared history and kinship. It is a clanship which fosters collaboration over divisiveness. In a Utopian world.

There are some who are blessed with an idyllic family.

There are others whose families do not withstand the passage of time and who crack or even fall apart when tested by hardship or tragedy.

Sadly, there are still more who are born into dysfunctional, damaged, and abusive families.

And then there are those who are left adrift – with no family at all.

“There is no such thing as a “broken family.” Family is family, and is not determined by marriage certificates, divorce papers, and adoption documents. Families are made in the heart. The only time family becomes null is when those ties in the heart are cut. If you cut those ties, those people are not your family. If you make those ties, those people are your family. And if you hate those ties, those people will still be your family because whatever you hate will always be with you.”

– C. JoyBell C.

My husband and I have built, for over three decades, that safe harbor we call our intimate family. It’s just the two of us… and all the beloved four-legged creatures who inhabit our house. This “safe harbor” has withstood the passage of time, despite many storms and even some typhoons. We are weather-beaten but happy sailors in this journey that is our life. Unfortunately, we have witnessed a few wreckages along the way.

“There is no greater blessing than a family hand that lifts you from a fall; but there is not lower curse than a family hand that strikes you when you’re down.”    

– Wes Fessler

And, as we all know, blood does not necessarily form a family bond. Families can be born from the heart… by choice. However the connection is formed, the important thing is to understand and maintain the true notion of Family.

We may not live in a Utopian world… but we can (and should) certainly strive to get there.

“In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.”

Alex Haley

Some Book Recommendations:

Family Values: The Ethics of Parent-Child Relationshipsby Harry Brighouse & Adam Swift

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Why Can’t We Get Along: Healing Adult Sibling Relationshipsby Peter Goldenthal

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Photo via pdpics.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Search of Utopia

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Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say 
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say 
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

 — John Lennon, Imagine

Unfortunately, we do not live in a utopian world. That being said, one has to presume that the majority of people throughout the  world would prefer to live in peace, rather than in a state of war.  Vision of Humanity, a global peace initiative (of the Institute for Economics and Peace – IEP), has recently published its 2013 GPI (Global Peace Index) Report, identifying Iceland, Denmark and New Zealand as the top three most peaceful countries in the world.  At the bottom of the list are the conflict-rife countries of Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria.

Canada made the top ten peaceful countries list, ranking number 8 (of  the 162 countries studied) and, disturbingly, the United States ranked on the less peaceful side of the scale – at number 100.

Here are the top and bottom ten lists:

Ten Most Peaceful Countries (from 162):

No. 1  – Iceland

No. 2  – Denmark

No. 3  – New Zealand

No. 4  – Austria

No. 5  – Switzerland

No. 6  – Japan

No. 7  – Finland

No. 8  – Canada

No. 9  – Sweden

No.10 – Belgium

Ten Least Peaceful Countries (from 162):

No. 153  – Central African Republic

No. 154  – North Korea

No. 155  – Russia

No. 156  – Democratic Republic of the Congo

No. 157  – Pakistan

No. 158  – Sudan

No. 159  – Iraq

No. 160  – Syria

No. 161  – Somalia

No. 162 – Afghanistan

For further information, please visit  www.visionofhumanity.org.  I urge you to check out this site ― it is an excellent source of information and kudos go to this organization for the work that they do, in the ongoing effort to raise awareness and advocate for peace.

I’ll leave you with the sage words of Mahatma Gandhi:

“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” 

Image via ipeacemeal.com.