|my blood brother|
One message that has really hit home with me, that I didn't appreciate when I left London to move to Sydney many years ago with a poetic soundtrack of Pete Doherty's For Lovers, is the incredible value of family. I mean, don't get me wrong, I was on Skype regularly connecting with my folks at opposite ends of the day, but one person was very much missing; my brother.
Apparently its innate for there to be a strained relationship between siblings, namely to avoid incest as awkward as I feel even illuminating that one. Nevertheless its probably worth sharing. Being academic growing up and the 'always good' one in the eyes of my folks (actually I'd say more like 'always good at getting away with it') and my younger brother who struggled from birth starting with two broken collarbones and major heart surgery - saved by a hole in it ironically - and then being more of a musician than a nerd like me at school created a rather interesting relationship between us. I'm sure most siblings have had it. I remember one girl at my school having her grades stuck on the fridge next to her twin sisters. She struggled with her weight and didn't get straight A's unlike her skinny twin. Can you imagine what an impact that must have on a person? Blimey. Complexities galore. So my little bro developed a rather cool rebellious streak that manifested in to being a really awesome hyperactive and entertaining musician who liked to joy-ride my car, while I was smug little 'I don't need anyone to discipline me' because I just naturally aced things. As my Dad would remind me at this point "no one likes a smart ass".
Nevertheless, that missing relationship in my adult life came to haunt me when I decided to travel. Things were strained between James and I. We really didn't gel. His temper and my smart-ass didn't make friends and as I set out on tour I met many who I would call my 'soul family' - beautiful friends that were like brothers and sisters to me which highlighted that void in my life more and more. I suppose if you want to see the world as "ONE" then knowing what it is to love is pretty important. Thankfully my brother and I had a really cool reunion in the UK last year and again in Antigua. We hung out. We made friends. We respected one another and we had a very cool conversation about aspects of ourselves that were really inherited and didn't do us any favours. He's awesome. I love him. Always have, always will, however now we can actually be mates. That's cool.
Now the wonderful appreciation for 'everyone's my brethren' and I want them to be happy is all good and well HOWEVER, in the West especially we live in a time where competition between us drives a collective mentality. It drives our consumptive culture and if it were not for 'a sense of comparison' perhaps we would not be so driven to buy things we don't truly need and give a damn what others think of us. Not an easy one to transcend I guess. This also creates a separation between people. Which can sadly grow in to wars and bloodshed.
In India when I stayed with who I call 'my surrogate family'. Man, I love them. The parents Melchandar and Didi (same age as I am) slept in one room with their five children. Their life is not comfortable but like we all do, they've adapted in order to survive the reality of intense snowfall, low caste status, lack of running water and employment. They amazingly do survive with an incredible faith in Shiva (God of the Universe). But one thing I really felt they had so powerfully that I feel we have really lost in the West is a true sense of community and family; they share their karma's and dramas. If one member of the family suffers; the whole family suffers with them. I mean what could be more manifest than blood? In the West we have an idea that to need support is weakness. You don't see updates of people saying; "Guys, going through a major break up, feel bloody miserable, could do with a hug" on Facebook do you? And yet we all suffer. We all feel emotions and its hard because we rightly know the value of optimism and don't like to bring another down. This 'one man for himself' and 'dog eat dog' can be a ruthless field of play.
This big wall around our hearts has done an amazing job at blocking out true feelings, true empathy and open heartedness with another. Understandably really because life can be hard, people can be shit and we all by nature, strive to survive. Its sad that we even have to ask for help when really, deep down, there is a sense of knowing when something's up with someone;"R U OK?" is worthy of a plug here.
There are a lot of things to be thankful for when being from a 'developed' nation, I feel super grateful for the freedom and comfort that affords me yet personally, its wonderful to come back to thanks for my family despite them being sprinkled about the globe and my galavants. They are not perfect. We've had a 'story' but thankfully we've taken the lessons and moved on.
The biggest insight I have had recently in terms of relating to people is to 'live and let live', something I am sure is very hard for parents to accept when their little'ns become big'ns or you see people you love missing the obvious... and in an interestingly cool way this idea could lead to anarchism:
The world is so imbalanced this day today with so much separation because people both in personal relationships and worldwide try to fix other people in the outer sense to get some kind of inner peace and balance. This will never work out, we need to hold ourselves responsible for our own inner selves and lives.My gorgeous 3 year old nephew who I met for the first time this week just said aloud "Hakuna Matata."
Amen to that little 3 year old man. Such a gift.