“My family has long held onto *insert destructive behavior* but I plan to be the cycle-breaker.” Breaking the Cycle seems to be a simple thing. Why do we struggle with it?
Many of us grow up observing the life-giving and life-taking influences of those around us. As teenagers and young adults, we quickly enter into evaluation of those closest to us – parents/guardians/others. We absolutely know the buttons to push to activate rage dad or defensive mom or rage mom and defensive dad. We know the expected paths to take to be accepted by our tribe, town, or community even when those paths are akin to entering a never ending-vortex of sameness and decay, yet with the promise of renewal and progression.
Mom, Dad, Community, Tribe constitutes the strongest mesocyclone of influence reaching much further into the future than our strong-willed younger years. The swirling winds of control are accompanied with occasional straight-line winds of force strong enough to destroy any sense of foundational growth in determining one’s own future. Family pull is real. Family pull is strong. It is a vortex of its own making.
Try breaking from the expected projection for your life – Families that are stuck in generational cycles (whether known or not known) will exert immense pressure to conform to spiritual, political, geographical, and psychological means of expression. Those that don’t conform undergo an alienation that leaves one feeling lost, untethered, and without shelter. Psychological homelessness oftentimes leads to dark places. Let me share the story of two friends.
Friend #1 Story
I was talking to a friend the other day at lunch who is from the US south. Although he has lived in the Pacific Northwest for the majority of his life, his family continues to expect a return to ‘home.’ There is no consideration given to freeing him to live in a part of the world where he has made a home. There is little reverse consideration to moving to him.
Friend #2 Story
Conversely, another friend enjoys a completely different way of enjoying family. Though his job moved him from the west coast to the south, his extended family chose to move with him to be near him. Though the extended family was retired, it was more important for them to be a family unit with the friend who was still in his working years. This dynamic is more difficult but allows for a continued fostering of traditions, love, and the passing of legacy.
How do we break the cycle of abuse, decay, and destruction?
Not every family is mature enough to see the value friend #2 experiences. Most families are limited physically or financially, divorced multiple times, or simply stuck in personal vices. Breaking the cycle starts with you. There is no other way.
Raising one’s Ebenezer in a call for help requires humility to gain ultimate help in this step. Today is the moment to seek bedrock on which to establish a shelter from abuse, decay, and destruction. Here is calm. Here is strength.
The calm is strength.
There is a calm before the storm, a calm amidst the storm, and a calm after the storm. It is our choice to focus on the storm or the calm. The storm is expected and brings a focus to self. The calm is whisking away from self beyond the stratosphere.
Solitude, silence, the mundane, listening, and beauty are moments that rise above. Seek these strengths even in the midst of the storms of generational cycles. It is in these moments that we see creation from the eyes of God Himself. Culture and false self in family instinctively grab for control and conformity. Doing something counter-cultural or definitively unique from past generations in the family will be questioned, mocked, met with a building storm of passive aggressive talk, and even belittled. It is OK. You will be OK. Breaking the cycle is a necessary event as it moves the focus from self to the bringer of calm. The one who is peace.
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