This is a two-part meditation. You will need an open mind, something to write with, and plenty of paper. For the first part you need silence or a quiet place. The second part offers you two options: a free-write or a continued meditation. Try them both and see what works best for you.
Clear your mind of all thoughts. Focus on steadily taking slow, long breaths in through your nose, and exhaling through your mouth. Once you’ve relaxed, open your mind to the people in your life. Pay attention to the first five names, faces, or images of people you think of as family that pop into your head. Write down the names of these first five people that come to mind.
Option A: Free Write
Choose one of those people and write her or his name on a new sheet of paper. Over the next five minutes do a free write about that person. Write down every thought that pops into your head. If you find yourself drifting away from that person, direct your focus back to him or her. After five minutes, stop writing and look back over what you have written. What image did you draw of this person? What does what you’ve written tell you about your relationship?
Option B: Continuing Meditation
Instead of writing down every thought that enters your mind, direct your focus inward. Focus on one of the five people. Pay close attention to the thoughts and feelings that enter and exit your mind. Focus on being present to your thoughts. Welcome all thoughts as they come, not holding on to any thought that wants to leave. Once you’ve opened your eyes, pay special attention to the overall feeling you have. What image did you draw of this person? What does your meditation tell you about your relationship?
Taking It Further
If you have time, repeat this exercise for each of the people on your list. If you only have time for one or two more, pick someone you know the least well, or someone you might have mixed feelings about. You may be surprised where your mind and spirit take you.
Putting it Into Practice
The image in any puzzle may be predetermined, but it’s up to you to put that image together. The meditation on your family may help you to see some of the picture more clearly. Your final step in today’s retreat is off the screen and into your life.
Over the next week, commit to doing one of the following:
- Draw a large puzzle piece on a blank sheet of paper. Fill this piece with thoughts and feelings that came to you during your meditation. Use this piece to remember how these people add and complete the puzzle of your life.
- Choose one of the people you meditated on today—what can you do for them to show how much they mean to you? Draw from your meditation for inspiration.
- Inspire a family meal. If your family doesn’t normally eat together, try to gather them together for a meal without cell phones, television, or other distractions. If your family already does this, suggest inviting members of your extended family to dine with you.
- Think of a family member who has hurt you and you have not forgiven. Decide what it would take for you to forgive them and try to do it.
- Make a mix of the songs that remind you of a member of your family and give it to her or him as a surprise gift.
Loving God, my first corner is my family, and for them I am thankful. They are my immovable anchor. When I look for them, I will find them. They will be there for me whenever I need them. They forgive me when I have done wrong and give me strength when I feel weak or am afraid. In them I trust. Help me to be for them all that they are to me. Let me be a beacon of trust, compassion, and love for the people who are most important to me.