The family system is multilayered. These layers are not truly separate, but always overlapping and intersecting. However, it is helpful to separate and categorize them in order to better understand them, our role and agency within each one, and how to care for them.

We will begin by addressing the immediate family, meaning the family system within which you now live most intimately. Whether you are partnered or not does not matter, a family can consist of one. Whether you have children or not doesn’t matter. A family system can consist of two adults or one adult and one child. Whether you are in a couple or throuple or any other formation, sexual or not, with other adults, all are family systems. A family system is the people who are most important to you, sometimes related by blood.

Immediate family

Your immediate family is your “closest in” family. Perhaps you are a child in this configuration? I assume most reading this will be in one of the adult roles. But, perhaps not. Also, you may be an adult with an elder or parent living with you who is in your immediate family; an aunt, a cousin, a foster child. These are all things to consider moving forward. There is no hard and fast definition of your immediate family except what you choose it to be. Don’t forget to include pets.

Please note: At this level of membrane work we are dealing with the family systems of humans and the animals they invite into their circle. We will explore the other life systems we are in relationship with and interconnected with as “kin” in subsequent classes which will cover the village, earth and cosmic membranes.

First things first

The first thing to do is to define your immediate family. Who is in it? What is your role in this family?

If you are a responsible adult in this immediate family, do you hold boundaries with and for your family? Do you care for its energetic well being. Do you protect your family and offer it spiritual and energetic care. Are you aware of who you allow into the inner sanctum, the holy of holies, or soul of your family?

As you ponder these questions in your mind, are there some people who should not be in so close psychically, who perhaps need to be moved out a layer or two? Who truly belongs in the inner sanctum of your family?

You may realize there are some changes to be made. We are talking energetically here. I am not advocating for physically removing people from your current living situation or life, rather I am advocating for you to examine and take control of your own psychic space. In this way it is possible to reconfigure your family’s energetic space. These are subtle energies we are talking about. Their locations in your psychic space may have been learned or adopted without your conscious consent and intention at a previous time. I am talking about changing that and making new, clear intentions for your energetic space and your family system.

These are the issues and questions we encounter when we begin the work of tending to the family membrane.

What is a membrane?

Very simply the membrane is the bioenergetic container, boundary, barrier, skin, that protects what is inside from that which is outside. The membrane is permeable, with an intelligence and discernment to decide what gets in and what stays out. The membrane acts as a filter, shield and gatekeeper for what is within the membrane. All lifesystems have membranes from the simple cell to the multicellular, to the complex lifesystems we humans are embedded within. Without a healthy membrane the interior cannot thrive. And that membrane needs support and care, tending to, watching over.

As we become more familiar with our family membranes we will better learn how to listen to them and participate with them in their protection and care for us and our family systems.

The soul of your family

Tending to the family membrane also means actively tending to and caring for the soul or inner sanctum of your family system.

What are the intentions you wish to hold for your family system? What are your values? What do you want to include in the space and what do you wish to not allow? All this can change and modify through time. Start with where you are now.

Is there discord that needs attending to? Can you talk to one another when there is? Is there emotional health? Is there respect for boundaries, respect in general? Is difference allowed and appreciated? Can you all agree on some basic tenets. Can you accept each other? Even for your differences? Is there kindness. Can anger be safely expressed?

A healthy interior creates a healthy membrane.

In the online family membrane class in April 2024 you will have time to examine all these concepts and  questions, become intimate with and learn to care for the family membrane.

This is a rough graphic to give a visual and even worksheet idea of how to begin to think about these layers and how we wish to organize our family membranes. It is only one model. Print it out and write in names, move them around. See how it feels. Feel free to make your own graphic and work with these ideas.

Family of origin, and extended family

The family of origin and extended family may be layers that are somewhat further out from the immediate and close up family. This is all variable and according to your choice and comfort level. It is also changeable through time.

You may feel at this point that you need to establish loving boundaries with your family of origin because some of your values are different than the ones you were brought up with. You may have different politics, different religions, different belief systems. Remaining in relationship with them may require some intentional thought and understanding. Where do they align in the concentric circles of the layers of your family system? Maybe you want some members in close but others moved out a bit further. Maybe some are far away in location and  relationship but you want to hold space for them in the multifamily system so you pull them in to one of the layers and offer them love.

Consider the above issues with your extended family as well.

With the family membrane comes the understanding that all humans are one family. The family membrane extends out that far. Can we hold all humans with love and care for the whole family membrane as well?

Once again I reiterate: Don’t worry. We are not forgetting about the rest of the earth family, the trees, wild animals, plants and mountains etc. We will deal with ecosystems in the village, earth and cosmic membrane classes coming up next.

All of this is a jumping off place for the subject of the family membrane. I hope you will come to the class on April 18 or 19th and we can learn more together.

April Online Class: The Family Membrane, What is it and how to care for it

If you feel compelled to make offerings right away for the family membrane at any layer or level, here are some places to begin:

The next post will be about ancestors and the family membrane.

Stay tuned.

© Theresa C. Dintino 2024

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