Hedge School
How to be Human Series
When Our Inner Landscape Signals a Shift

When Our Inner Landscape Signals a Shift

All signs point north

It’s summer here in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Iconic jagged edge coastlines, cold aqua blue water, low tides with starfish, barnacles and sea anemones showing face. Fields are hot, cities are still bustling, everyone is looking for a cool place to land.

With days spent touching our toes into the Pacific Ocean I admire the sense of wonder that the magical town of Cannon Beach, OR has woven through me. I hear people say, “This is my happy place.” “I become full of ideas on this coastline.” “This place is enchanting.” And indeed it is.

People passing through for a day, a week, a month or even years. Some never leave. My grandma found this town and its charm in the 70’s reminding her of the villages and cottages that England creates. My mom followed her closely after. And then I arrived. For the most part, none of us have ever left. Allowing our roots to soak deeply into the edges of this place.

More people have arrived and become a part of our family, my uncle, my grandpa, my dad, my stepdad, my little sister, her husband, and my partner Gretchen. Some of these people are still living, some have passed on, but all of us are still loving.

I found myself as a child in this town not really knowing how to define “family”. Was it blood? The people who shared the same bloodline as you? That didn’t make sense because my childhood best friend was adopted and she was loved just as much as I was. Was it having a mom and a dad, and an extended set of grandparents. I had that but parts of my family was estranged. I was lucky enough to have an extremely unusual upbringing.

The question stayed with me. What is family? When I was 12 my mom married my step-dad and I got a new set of grandparents with oodles of uncles, aunties and cousins on the way. Because of this marriage, we were now family. But I didn’t understand. I was technically the “first” grandchild, but in my mind at 12 the doubt shook me into ‘no, not really’. I called my new step-granddad, “Grandpa” for the first time when introducing him to someone I knew in town. His eyes and heart beamed at me. And that sealed the deal. I was now 1000% his.

When my half-sister was born and as she likes to say, “my sister from another mister, but she’s whole in my heart,” I felt the same beaming that my grandpa had exuded years earlier. She was 1000% mine.

Is family ownership? A responsibility or duty to one another? To take care of each other, to show up, to understand and be misunderstood? Is it to have as much fun as possible experiencing this life together? A bit of both?

On Aubrey Marcus recent podcast with Robert Edward Grant, they discuss that anything that doesn’t make sense is a miracle. A perception from the known to the unknown.

I looked over at Gretchen and said, “Well then mom’s new house is a miracle. It’s a miracle house. And Double Creek, that was a miracle too.”

She looked at me and said, “Well then, so are we.”

And in this moment the words pierced into a place in my mind, heart, and soul combined rippling some edge that I didn’t even know was there. My eyes welled with tears and I drew a breath. “That just hits different!” I said still staring into her eyes. And there we sat one miracle looking at another.

My mind let go of trying to make sense of things, to make sense of families, of what’s happening in the world, of what to do next, and we just sat in the presence of one another, each living miracles.

Families are these same kind of miracles.

Families are a willingness to stay together through the dissents, the hard times and the good times. A willingness to communicate what it is that we all need. And then to sit down around the dining room table to eat some good food and play some good board games.

Families are a willingness to be open minded, we welcome new family members in, we love them unless they ask us to do so otherwise, we are there for one another in our greatest moments of need.

I have seen families fall apart, and I have seen estranged brothers and sisters come together for the sole blessing of helping and being present for the passing of one of their siblings. Everything that didn’t matter goes away in these moments. The only thing that is left is love.

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Hedge School
How to be Human Series
Charted explorations of humanness by a collective of humans walking their own path in life