‘Family’ is a single word, with many different meanings. People have many ways of defining a family and what being a part of a family means to them. Families differ in terms of economic, cultural, social, and many other facets, but what every family has in common is that the people who call it a family are making clear that those people are important in some way to the person calling them his or her family.

The impact of social isolation as a result of Covid-19 has really highlighted to me the importance of family, not only biological family, but the group of people who you consider your ‘tribe’.

One of the wonderful outcomes of forced change is that it also forces us as individuals to reassess what is important to us and who is important to us. As previously blogged, on the back of the eclipse season, you may have become aware of things, people, groups, associations, employment, falling away but these are often situations that we were ‘hanging on to’, they were not ‘hanging’ on to us. Once we actually let go of the stress and the strain we can gain perspective of what is and who is actually true for us and continue life’s journey in a more authentic way.

Struggle and the misuse of will are often a result of the ego needing to justify and/or protect its existence in some way. But it can be exhausting and often results in ill health and forced breaks so that we can reassess our values and priorities and realign ourselves to what is true for us. Covid-19 has given each of us an opportunity to do this and for some, luckily to date, without the upheaval of illness. As the Buddha says, life is suffering, therefore we need to come to an acceptance of our ability to deal with suffering by trusting and knowing that each of us has the power and capacity to also achieve joy, peace, harmony, balance and love. And by sharing and caring with our family, our tribe, we can be supported and loved in achieving this.

Yesterday, for the first time since February, as a family we were able to take my elderly parents out of their nursing home residence, where they have been socially isolated due to the Covid-19 rules. We could truly be with each other without masks, gloves and gowns. It was a happy and fulfilling occasion but also a little sad in that although the love and joy was palpable there was also a sense of time lost due to the isolation and overwhelm at the sudden high levels of social stimulation. Something that not so long ago they would have easily been able to handle.

Age has a way of catching up with us all and in the end my parents are teaching me that its so important to surround yourself with the people that matter. The people you truly care about and who truly care for you, whatever that tribe or family look like.