“If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family” For me, a weekend is usually enough to expose my most “unenlightened” parts. I find that family has a way of bringing up every emotion on the spectrum — joy, anger, frustration, resentment, feeling all the feels. My experience with my family is no different. Gradually, I’ve been able to create space between my own emotions and the dynamic between my family members (that damn yoga making creeping into every part of my life) so that I’m able to view it as an “interesting case study” instead of “a one ticket buys you unlimited rides on an emotional roller coaster” type experience. Everyone in my family is incredibly stubborn in their own unique and infuriating way. With both my parents being the youngest siblings in their family and myself being four years younger than my brother — we all struggled with varying forms of immaturity. Even though I was the youngest, I often had to be the more mature one to bring balance to the family dynamic. And when I look to my family now, I see my brother as the most responsible one in the household. Roles have ebbed and flown over the course of changes in our family. We inherit so much from our parents and we find ourselves struggling with and against these tendencies. I saw my mom being very dependent on my dad, so I struggled to be independent. I saw my dad being very passive, so I overcompensated by being aggressive. I saw my brother taking the straight and narrow approach to life, I opted for a rebellious and messy path. Our family simply give us a starting point — a name, some strands of DNA, values and our first glimpse into interpersonal dynamics. A critical part of my adulthood was separating myself from my family and taking time to define what values and what type of relationships I wanted in my life — this is a really fucking hard thing to do. We’re attached to our family in so many ways; emotionally, sometimes physically and financially. This distance helps to separate who we are from our emotions and traumas. We’re able to consciously choose what to keep, what to change and what requires healing (more to come on this topic) Building this level of emotional detachment and awareness takes an incredible amount of discipline and requires daily practice (just like yoga!) There are times I want to avoid my family because it would make my life easier (same goes with avoiding negative or unpleasant emotions) but instead I choose to see my family as a place where we can all make mistakes, lose our shit and try better the next time. Just like yoga — my ego gets bruised, I fall, I get up and I continue practicing. And each time I like to think I become bit more graceful.