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It Takes a Village...Community...Tribe
by Cheryl Rompa
Vol 2-1
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courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection

Acceptance and Family

We are entering the dreamtime, the time of the year for inner reflection, the time for honoring our ancestors and the crone. This time of year offers us an opportunity to reflect on our lives and look to our goals for the New Year. This inward journey can be treacherous and loaded with landmines of emotions and reactions. A ready source for such landmines is our family/families of origin.

I've become convinced that we are never very far from our roots, never far from the Grandmothers and Mothers who birthed us, adopted us, raised us and sent us into the world in the best way they knew how. Don't get me wrong; there are those parents that simply could not give us, as children, the things we needed to thrive. I can understand needing to divorce our parents and the necessity of cutting the apron strings, and even as I make that statement I am aware that we still carry them with us. We are, through our genes and through our experience, made up of the joys and sorrows, the bodies and souls, the thoughts and minds of those who come before us.

This simple realization that our heritage shapes who we are is very clear to me today. I accept this because it is my experience. I don't need to read the academic literature to understand the human need for connection or to explain the relationships between mother and child, self and community.

Recently, a book and a movie have spurred my thinking about embracing the concept of acceptance. I'm not advocating that we need to accept the unacceptable behaviors of our nurturers, but I am advocating that we learn to accept them for who they are, for who they attempt to be. I do this because of my ongoing need to accept myself and stay aware of both my own shortcomings and also the ways in which I shine. I've come to believe that this kind of acceptance is vital to community growth and development. It first starts with acceptance of ourselves and then each other, understanding that we all have behaviors that will annoy one another as well as delight one another.

By embracing our heritage, our herstory, we are armed with the ammunition of experience and may not do the things to our children or each other that were done to us by our families of origin. Maybe we can make our own mistakes and have our own understandings about how the world is supposed to work. We can find out through our own disappointments how to keep the "alligators at bay" (as Vivi says in The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood).

The movie that has me thinking about these issues is White Oleander, which I saw recently with members of my community. This movie is an excellent opportunity for any woman who had a narcissistic mother to discharge her feelings and perhaps gain understanding -- and acceptance -- of her self and some of her sisters.

Using this dreamtime to go within and look at our roots, our origins, will benefit all of us. It will honor the crone at her finest to look into the deep shadows of our upbringing and embrace all of who we are and where we come from. The crone wants us to look at ourselves and each other, warts and all. She is the one who stands at the crossroads and gives us direction to our finest selves. May she guide you to your own level of growth and to the growth of our communities.

Happy Hallows! Blessed Be!

Graphics Credit
+ familly, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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