Sitting in our living room, discussing plans for what will be a day to change our lives – both mine and Rosa’s – Rosa posed a really potent question. We had been chatting about the more specific details of our plans over the next few days. Chatting about the role that Rosa’s family would play in our plans for the coming day or two while sitting listening to Sri Ram Bhajan. The conversation died down a bit and then Rosa spoke from the silence. She asked me, “What do you think you have learned from your Mum?”

I sat for a moment, contemplative. I thought through all the different things I had learned from my Mum over the years to find the most transcendental lesson to share. I couldn’t really pin it down to one. My Mum is an incredible person, loving and devoted to the well-being of those she loves. Finally, I selected and answer and shared it with Rosa. But this led me into reflection on what I had learned from my family in my life time.

Given that I sit here on the precipice of something very big happening in our personal life situation (I’ll share more details after the fact. I don’t like to write about the future here.) I’d like to share with you some of the biggest lessons I learned from each of my family members and a few pictures. With what I’ll share, I aim to encourage a similar introspection within you. I have made an effort to include only the lessons I have learned through loving these members of my family, rather than the lessons I learned in spite of them and their actions – of which I have learned many also. I would encourage you to reflect upon the things you have learned from your family. It would be wonderful to hear from you on this too. Perhaps post a comment below with a few words on what you have learned from your family members?

Having quite a big family for someone from England, I learned a number of very valuable things from my family fairly early on without perhaps consciously realising these things until later on. One such thing would be that I learned from my parents that we all have different ideas of love and of right and wrong, yet none is invalid. I feel it’s also relevant to say that in the case of these lessons, some of my family are the pure embodiment of the lessons they have taught me. From here, I’d like to share a list of the valuable things I have learned from my family.

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Mum and I

 

 

What I learned from my Mum:

  • Trust your heart – it knows.
  • There’s always more than one way to solve a problem and everything will always be alright in the end.
  • If you’re surrounded by people you love and whom love you then you don’t need more.

 

 

 

 

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My and and me when we were younger

 

 

What I learned from my Dad:

  • No matter how difficult or confusing things may seem, I am loved.
  • The love we feel inspires many different things and takes many forms. Love is expressed in so many ways, not all of them mine. They are, however, all beautiful and real in their own way.
  • Sometimes, you have to do everything you can to see everything you want made into a reality. There is always a way.

 

 

 

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Pop, me and my Gran

What I learned from my Dad’s parents, my Gran & Pop:

  • We can never really know the beauty of grace, we can only catch a glimpse of it’s divinity in gratitude and appreciation.
  • Respect and courtesy is a must – if you can’t do it respectfully then don’t do it.
  • In relationships, communication, honesty, putting your partners needs before your own and making a deliberate attempt to understand them is absolutely integral.
  • A home is where love flourishes.
  • Supporting those we love means asking difficult questions and sometimes calling them on things.

 

 

 

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My Mum and my Pap (my Nan is camera shy)

What I learned from my Mum’s parents, my Nan & Pap:

  • Among the many inspired forms love takes, for some, worry is one. Worry and other form of negative focus is okay and beautiful. it is still love and it is still God.
  • Whether others choices are my own or not, they are still valid and just. We all see the world in a unique way and that should be embraced rather than judged harshly. In this way greater understanding can be cultivated.
  • Sangha is important – find those who are on the same page as you and bask in satsang.
  • Whatever happens, God is always with you – loving and supporting.

 

 

 

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What I learned from my Step-Mum, Jo:

  • That family isn’t about blood but the bonds we build.
  • There is always something to appreciate.
  • Talent may be in-born but genius comes through study and dedication.
  • Compromise is not good enough when a win-win can be found.

 

 

 

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Beth and her son Toby

 

 

 

What I learned from the oldest of my younger sisters, Beth:

  • Despite any disagreements, love stands strong and will guide us through.
  • A loving heart is brave against all odds and stands true and unaffected by discord or adversity.
  • Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy but we are also our greatest ally too.

 

 

 

 

Amber and I (and an owl) a few years back in Exmoor on a family holiday.
Amber and I (and an owl) a few years back in Exmoor on a family holiday.

 

 

What I learned from Amber, the sister with whom I share a Dad and one of the strongest people I know:

  • There is always a solution. As people we are capable of overcoming immense suffering and however things go, there is always the chance to reconcile things in the end.
  • The truest hearts are brave and courageous above all.
  • Love prevails beyond all personal things.

 

 

Nyah and I
Nyah and I

 

What I learned from my sister Nyah, whom with I have shared both laughter and tears:

  • We find our true friends in the most unlikely of places.
  • Whatever happens, there is always space for laughter.
  • To overcome emotional pain, all we need is the unwavering, unquestioning company of the beloved.
  • True virtues do not come with age, they are cultivated.

 

 

 

Lys and I (With added Nyah)
Lys and I (With added Nyah)

 

What I learned from Lys, the youngest of my sisters and by far the most charismatic:

  • There is always another side to everything.
  • We can never put our own limits on the form of our uniqueness – the incredible beauty of individuality will always shine in our form.
  • Simple is best. The right questions lead to the obvious answers which were so obvious we missed them.
  • There is nothing greater for us as people than to be loved for who we are.

 

 

 

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Alfie & I

 

What I learned from my little brother Alfie, the brother I had been asking for all my life:

  • You can’t stop life. You can’t change how life unfolds. It unfolds as it does as in whatever form it takes, divine perfection pervades. Grace finds a way – Grace is the way.
  • If things seem to go wrong, it’s always okay to scream for your Mum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love my family and could not possibly be more grateful for them. Each and everyone of them are truly the most beautiful forms of God I could ever ask to have been presented with. To honour this, I want to share a few more photos of my family with you below. And once again, I invite you to share the lessons you have learned from your family below.

Myself, Nyah, Beth and Dylan (Beth's partner and father to Toby)
Myself, Nyah, Beth and Dylan (Beth’s partner and father to Toby) on Lys’s birthday last year.
Myself, Nyah, Lys and Alfie last year
Myself, Nyah, Lys and Alfie last year
Myself, Dad, Amber, Gran and Pop
Myself, Dad, Amber, Gran and Pop in a guesthouse in Exmoor during our holiday.
Rosa and I - this is where the family expands...
Rosa and I – this is where the family expands…

 

 

 

I hope this serves you well and I’d love to see what your family have taught you over the years! Comment it below!

Live, love and play!

Namaste!

-A-

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