the gestalt of family

I was listening the the radio the other day, and a woman was talking about ‘the gestalt of her family’ when she was growing up…

I had a mean thought that I have an irrational dislike of people who talk earnestly about ‘the gestalt’ of their ANYTHING.

Then I mused I didn’t have a very deep understanding of the word ‘gestalt’ – only a vague understanding…so I looked into it a little bit. Now I can see why people use it to talk about relationships. It’s a handy phrase, for which there is no real English equivalent. (However, if you are about to use it, be aware you are probably going to sound overly earnest and naval-gazing. Baha.)

If you’re not familiar with it, read a little more HERE

Now I am intrigued about the idea of ‘self-organizing patterns’ and am thinking about my wee family in this regard. (See how a mean thought turned quickly into analysis and adoption – aah, I’m so fickle.)

((Having said that, I will not talk about the ‘gestalt of my family’ except in the parametres of this blog post.))

I am changing in the way I see my family and my children. I am seeing how much of myself I’ve held in reserve from engaging fully with them, out of a fear of being totally subsumed and having nothng of me left.

I have in some ways been fighting with the role of motherhood, for twelve years, since I first gave birth. (I hasten to add that I have always loved my children and met their needs…this is internal stuff only, not behavioural!)  I have had some weird notion that this is a ‘job’ I am doing, for a finite amount of time…until the children are ‘launched’ into the world and then I can take back my life.

There is no ‘taking back my life’. They ARE my life. (This probably seems obvious to most of you…but it has taken me this long to accept this, wholeheartedly. I think it’s because I am a writer and have been terrified if I really WENT THERE, I might lose my writing or my creativity.)

Acceptance of this is bringing me great peace. I am learning SO MUCH about myself this year. So much.

…and all this because some lady on the radio mentioned the word ‘gestalt’.



5 thoughts on “the gestalt of family

  1. Yay for learning years. And yay for when we realise that our lives are our lives now, not (just) in the future. A lovely post Helen, and such big things.


  2. It was your writing about -what i read as- fear of losing your identity. i’ve been listening to some talks recently that have helped me see that when we [i] ‘grow’ there’s never loss of identity just a relaxing of the tight grip we [i] had. There seems to be a built in fear [in humans] of disappearing which seems not to tell us [me] the truth.


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