This weekend we're hosting a weekend course in Stockholm where we're trying a new format. We've divided the course into different topics that concern us, you and humanity in general these days. We start with family. Appropriate, since we're here in Sweden where part of mine lives.
There are few areas of life that are so difficult, beautiful and emotionally charged as our relationship to our family. We love them, we hate them. They provoke guilt resentment and gratitude all in the scope of a light dinner conversation. Just think back at any given Christmas dinner with yours...

My family is small, both the one I ended up being brought up and cradled by, and the one I 'produced' by choice. The way we relate are vastly different. My parents don't really talk much, they are not entirely comfortable with expressing their feelings, not at all comfortable with conflict and being Swedish born and bred that has always been acceptable as part of the culture. If I want to have it out with them, get emotional and have deeper conversations with them we need a lot of alcohol, also a totally accepted part of the culture here in the cold north.

But then I married a Spaniard...and on top of that one that can not go to sleep if we have an unresolved argument brewing. So I have made the transition from shutting out and shutting up to learning to express myself, sometimes clumsily but always honestly. This has probably added years to my life, all that bottling up can literally choke you, or leave you a lot more crazy than you need to be. It isn't always easy, but yoga is helpful and inspiring.
The result is that we in our small cross cultural family talk things through, sometimes scream and cry, get dramatic and all Iberian about things, but as it turns out, the blend of the hot Almodovarian culture mixed with my cool closed up Bergmanesque one, joined by the intelligent sobriety of yoga really works, compliments each other when yoga act as the diplomat and translator. And in the light of the current mix of cultures brought on by circumstance of war and upheaval I think this heartfelt honest and intelligent approach can be seriously instrumental in helping us address the fear permeating these new difficult relations we are now facing. Because after all, isn't the definition of family a shared commitment to the mutual relationship, to respect and love one another, and make it work, no matter how inconvenient it may seem at times.

We still have a lot to learn about the subject, still working on it, but we have crossed many difficulties both individually and together and definitely have a lot of experiences to share, so we're looking forward to it. Should be fun, especially here in my home turf, where I know how political correctness and 'sweeping under carpetness' can hinder good communication in the arena where we need it most, in matters of the heart. Because we can not neglect that how we relate to our family colors how we relate to life and to our world. Which at this important junction in time, is of great importance



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