altWe came for the challenges...they are what makes us strong...from them, we learn to stretch beyond the protective barriers within which we have been raised...we learn to work outside of our boxes.

  
In all the extra work the holiday season brought, I was tired and discussing with my sweet granddaughter, Erin--who has just flown in from Nevada for a few days--what could be the subject of this editorial.  She said, “Tell them, grandma, that family is the most important thing.”

As I thought about her statement, I realized we each come into a family to get our early training. We are nourished and it is there that we each become aware of our own values. We are drawn to certain family members and we push back from others. These are our first teachers. This group we have chosen to be born into, come equipped to stir our emotions of love, anger, joy and sadness. Through them we develop our range of emotions and discover what is important enough for us to defend and stand up for, and what ideas we let slide, and make no commotion over.

As we grow and leave home, we seek out friends who share our values and we choose to step away from those with whom we seem to have nothing in common. We begin creating a support group to be there for us, when we are drained or down, and with whom we can celebrate our triumphs.

In one way, this is like the play pen in which a baby is placed, so as to play safely, while the parent is busy. The child is physically protected while s/he is learning to work within a particular set of parameters. As we go out into the world, this same phenomenon takes place in the form of “friends.” They are our safety net as we learn to extend ourselves outward into the world of wide variances in thought, belief and action.

The third step in our development, is when we reach outside the constraints/protection of family and friends, to see who we are on our own.

I waited until I was a grandmother to exercise my break away time. I chose to hitchhike and backpack across the U.S.--it was a time when many of my pre-conceived ideas were expanded, modified or completely let go. It was my time of climbing out of my safety net. It opened me to new ideas and additional aspects of myself. This very newspaper was born from that four year journey.

So, as you begin this new year, look over the groups, beliefs, ideas and limitations to which you are connected. Which areas of your life are in need of expansion, change, or even release.

There is a certain period of time for you upon this earth...a time for you to be born, develop and then share that which is your gift--that is the cycle completed. It is easy to sidestep the last level of development. It is so easy to rest  and let an intermediate level become your stopping point--living an anticlimactic life. All that has come before, has been preparing you for your next steps. Don’t stop before you reach the pinnacle of your life--the reason for which you have come into being.

Listen to your heart, open some doors.

Blessings,  Joann Turner