Friends are Family, Too


In our modern American culture, while Family is always important, given the highly mobile nature of our society, we must often move away geographically from our nuclear family for school, jobs, or with our marital families. But our human desire to have close, permanent relationships on the order of family ties allows us also to form some—a few perhaps—very close relationships with our lifelong friends. Our families of friends are often just as important to us as our natal family.

I know in my family each of us five kids always developed close friendships that were like extensions of our immediate family.  And we have tended to maintain, at greater or lesser constancy given where life has taken us all geographically and workwise, communication with these families of friends, for life!


My own closest family friend ties include Barbara, Rosemary, and Michael (also less frequently another Michael, hi!) from high school and early college days; Mary, Jan and less often Pattie and Orit from grad school days; Arlene, Darlene, and Althea at Zuni;  and the same Jan, a newer Jan, Kathleen, Denise, Gianmichele and Zvia in Colorado. These latter from Zuni and from Colorado are the folks it will be most difficult to say goodbye to as I prepare to take the big journey back East to be closer to my main family again after retirement.

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Family is a group of close social relations you can rely on to be constant and caring throughout your life.  Though our modern lives often make being geographically near to our family including our family of friends difficult, we are always connected spiritually.  Fortunately today’s social media technology makes it easier than ever before to check in with one another and stay updated.

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I thank my family of relatives and friends—pets, too!—one and all, for the love and companionship I have been blessed with from your friendship!

My Pet Family Soul Pod/ Through It All


Preparing for retirement and relocation/ transplantation very soon now, I find myself reviewing major periods of life and major transitions I have undertaken. I recognize that three sorts of relations have always been present through these major life chapters: family, friends, and my pets who have been my animal Soul companions.

While I have always felt close to and dearly love my family and close friends, I have long lived geographically distant from my family and I have often had to move away from my closest friends. But my pet family, I realize, have been those who have traveled with me across “the Great Waters”.

When I left Buffalo, NY to attend graduate school in Arizona, it was my beautiful orange-white tabby Chela who was my companion. When I lived for a year at Zuni Pueblo, it was still Chela who accompanied me. Later, when I moved to begin my teaching career in Colorado, by then it was my beautiful Harlequin tortoise-shell calico Ariel who heled me adjust to that big transition. Such a dear Soul, Ariel’s loving comfort saw me through a series of relationship forays which ultimately resolved in my commitment to living humanly alone. Ariel was there as I encountered much activity in the realms of work and spiritual service. She passed in my arms after twenty years, and I still visit her in a higher form in contemplations.

My dog companions have been just as close and have accompanied me in outdoor activities and play. Skyway and Ellie were my loyal friends who helped me transition from one home to another by then along with Ariel, my dear white cat Loki and Baby, who had stayed with me when a former partner left.





Petite, lovely feline Emily, with her brother Arthur who died too young from complications after dental surgery, and most recently also Sophie, my special Shorkie dog companion who has accompanied me on six cross-country trips already to visit my mother at her nursing home and my sister and other family, are those still with me now. Emily, Sophie and I are a Soul Pod, there for each other as a tri-species family. WE have each other to rely on, to love and enjoy.

It is Emily and Sophie who will stand by me as we transition together back East again after nearly forty years. As a Cancerian who is generally an introvert by my basic nature,  I am so grateful to my Soul Pod family for being here. Together we will adventure and discover the golden opportunities that another Big Move can bring.


My Family of Origin


Approaching the Life Theme of FAMILY from an archetypal psychology perspective, I realize Family exists both outwardly as well as inwardly.  As an anthropologist I also realize that my Family  includes not only–though greatly!–my family of origin but it also includes my beloved pet companions Sophie (Shorkie dog) and Emily (orange tabby) as well as my closest friends. And, there are connections between the outer and inner Family members; that is, between my external relations and my internal archetypal ‘ensemble cast of mythic characters’ (see my book, Your Life Path).

My Family of Origin has been a blessing throughout my life; I am so grateful to them, each and all! Although my father and only recently my dear mother have now passed on to their greater spiritual adventures, they remain with me and the rest of us, internally, for they have helped to shape the person I have become.

As an Elder Leader type, my Dad demonstrated both loving guidance as well as a punitive Shadow influence due to his own conditioning life experiences.  Daily I will tell myself ‘Dad tapes,’ such as, “there’s a place for everything, and everything in its place” (while cleaning or organizing). My Mom’s more Nourisher archetypal image often yet calms me and supports my ability to face the world and communicate–or not, at times–despite my generally introvertive tendencies.


Then there are my three sisters and my brother, who were playmates and confidantes and sometimes also my refuge while growing up. Throughout my adult years they have remained among my closest relations and, still, a refuge from many storms of life.

I include my dear pet family–current and passed–for it is my pet Soul companions who have allowed me to find happiness while living otherwise alone and away from my family of origin this past nearly forty years.


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Because of how core my Family  has always been in my life, now as I rapidly approach retirement in under a month, I will be relocating shortly afterwards to return to be nearer to them once again.  I find my Homing Instinct is bearing  me back to that comforting center of gravity they represent.

What of your Family Theme?  How does it reflect both outwardly as well as within the core of your Being? 

I begin to feel the separateness we Americans anyway tend to project with our individualist mindsets is really an artifice after all. We coexist and include our Family of relatives, pets and friends within the very essence, or circle, of who we are as Soul.

I welcome your comments and story!

Family–Where Our Lives Begin


For May, our Life Theme topic is Family. In the over 550 life maps I have helped people create, I would estimate over 95% contain Family or an aspect of that (e.g. Parents, Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Grandparents, etc.) as a primary theme that has been a fundamental ‘shaping’ factor in their lives.

Of course, for most Westerners at least, Family is most often the dominant Life Theme in one’s early, formative years, then after a person ‘leaves the nest’ for school or a job or marriage, the original family may be less of a direct, daily influence. Yet because it was THE primary influence throughout childhood, our family is with us ALWAYS, unconsciously if not physically.


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So, reflect about how influential your family has been in shaping the person you have become. For this opening week I invite you simply to journal or tell a story about the role your Family has had in your life. I may add my example next time.

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!