Bricks and Mortar
Foundations are the base upon which facets of life are built, the underlying principles for everything requiring structure and strength. Strong, stable foundations give rise to buildings which stand the test of time. Ask any good architect or mason, craftsmen and women in the construction trade. The cornerstone or foundation stone, as it is sometimes referred to, is the most important first stone laid in the building foundation. This cornerstone once placed, determines the position and strength of the entire building. It often bears a nameplate and date, engravings and possibly time capsule, commemorating the time and era the building was constructed. Cornerstones are mentioned in biblical sacred scripts, both old and new testaments, sometimes referred to and being symbolic of Christ, and also depicted in the hieroglyphs of Egypt, China and Japan. Carbon is the foundation of life on earth.We are carbon-based life forms. Without carbon as our foundation, we would not exist. In Western Astrology, the map of the soul attributed to Ptolemy, contains the foundations of the four elements of fire, air, earth and water. For Carl Jung, they contain intuitive, sensation, thinking and feeling. These are the cornerstones of the psyche.
We know from early childhood stories such as “The Three Little Pigs”written by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillips, that foundations are vital. Straw and sticks thrown together haphazard will not create a stable living foundation. The story and its moral give rise to stable foundations of bricks and mortar requiring harder work, sweat and tears to accomplish and complete. Foundations require time, thought, research and expertise prior to building and erecting structures destined to last many years. Foundations are the beginning structures upon which we build and rise upward ensuring just as much strength in the base as in the rooftops above.The base upon which we grow into the structures set out by design. And sometimes when the foundation and cornerstone are weak, the tower comes tumbling down and we must therefore begin again having learned the lessons of what doesn’t work, revisiting plans and the ground upon which the foundation was first laid.
Building a Family: The Cornerstone
The traditional structure of family has changed, the architect of grand design has laid a new foundation, required with each new generation in every culture on this earth. Despite the changing landscape and structure upon which families of today are built, the cornerstone must maintain the basic elements of healthy relationships, effective communication, appreciation, commitment, healthy coping skills, values and convictions. How we attain these core concepts in the face of evolving family structures continues to be an ongoing challenge, hopefully one in which barriers are deconstructed rather than constructed. The cornerstone of the family contains the health and strength of past generations or is brought forth with the weaknesses and ailments of past generations. Many times it is a combination of both. The key is in recognizing where the weakness lies so that repairs and adjustments can be made, sometimes calling in the professionals to assist with rebuilding that which crumbles, sometimes masons who are able to teach the skills required to keep the cornerstone strong and lasting. Everyone begins their building with the hope of a stong foundation that will stand the test of time. Life deals unknown circumstances which we are seldom prepared for such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and famine. These unknown forces erode the structures upon which families are built. Those built with strong foundations stand a better chance of surviving, of resilience, of hope for building anew and the future.
The cornerstones of family are increasing in strength as individuals become enlightened regarding healthy family dynamics. Clear boundaries between family members, awareness of power and intimacy, honesty and freedom to express ones thoughts and ideas, an environment of warmth, joy and laughter, the ability to negotiate, to be heard and respected are just a few ways cornerstones are increasing in strength for future generations to come. Healthy families acknowlege their weakness and strive to repair, educate, overcome, move forward, have hope, love and courage. Families with a strong foundation are knowledgeable about generational physical health, mental health and emotional health patterns and speak openly about them without blame or judgement, empowering family members and offering support when needed. Healthy families understand that there are times of joy and times of sorrow, hard times and good times, dark nights and clear days, sunny skies and rainy days. Healthy families know that despite what life brings, a family built on a strong foundation with a cornerstone of hope, faith and trust, will always weather the storms of life. Open and honest communication is the key underlying strength in families. Families must empower rather than victimize their members. Families must acknowledge that everyone is here for a reason,their own reason, their own calling which may not be in line with family expectations and values. Empower family members to heed the calling of their soul. Your fear of their becoming has no place in the strenght of the family, the cornerstone of their own soul. All members of the family can shine, if only we lay down the reins of control and instead give them wings to fly.