KinKeeping. It Matters.

by Jun 5, 2020


Love that word. My Minnesota farm-kid background means I knew about the importance of each family member, the way we each mattered in our family’s ability to keep crops growing straight and true, keep the cows milked and the livestock fed – and the garden producing important food as well as the flowers my mom always loved…. AND There’s the Work of DOING KinKeeping!

 To me, KinKeeping means “helping to Keep the Kin together, doing what I can to help those I love stay connected, helping them know they belong – they matter.”

I have been thinking about the concept of KinKeeping for a long time, ever since that word jumped off the page at me in a college textbook back in 1999. KinKeepers were referred to as the older women in a family who would work to keep the generations of the family connected.

KinKeeping Cows

How I Defined Kin

Immediately, my heart went huge with the thought of KinKeeping – and Kin – and I instinctively re-defined the terms for my own life.

  • Right away, I knew that for me, Kin and KinKeeping were much broader terms than just family I was related to by blood, much more than just older female relatives. Kin were those folks who mattered to me in this world – all the way out to including fellow humans on the planet.

  • Kin included those related to me by blood, those whose DNA I share.

So all those in my family of origin, and from whose bloodlines I descended, yes. But the word Kin represented so much more than that!

  • Kin were also those related by law (as in court decrees of marriage, step-families, adoption, etc.)

  • And especially, Kin also included those related to me by choice – by my own choosing and their choosing of me as Kin as well.
KinKeeping Diversity

We choose those we hold close to us. We choose our dear friends – and they choose us! And we choose all different kinds of KinGroups to belong to, based on values we hold and relationships we have built and want to build. These KinGroups can be any community of people with whom we are connected. They can be small and private, large and public. They are centered around many different things such as shared interests, skills, life season, career, belief systems, personal characteristics, education, backgrounds, abilities, struggles, etc.

“We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.” 

Maya Angelou

5 Ways KinKeeping Matters for You & Me

1. When we are conscious, alert and present to the idea of the value of KinKeeping, we become so clear that we are NOT ALONE. People are connecting in ways small and large with us – all the time! We have places/people where we belong. We receive comfort when people care about us and take time and energy to connect with us.

2. We always have an option to reach out with a KinKeeping offer to those in our KinGroups – we can help them know they are NOT ALONE.  We can become a source of comfort to others!

3. When we have no one around us, in quarantine or some other circumstance that means we cannot be physically close to those we care about, we can sit back, take a breath, and use the time to KinKeep ourselves. We can always do breathwork, meditate, read, think, listen to our own hearts and feel at home in our own bodies. There is much joy in being fully present, tuned in to our own self.

4. As we remain physically distant from people in our hopes to contain the COVID-19 virus, if we still have patches of nature available to us, we can go barefoot in the grass, hug a tree, touch a rock – and receive that energy that comes from being “grounded.” The power of being KinKept by Mother Earth is a magnificent benefit that makes life possible – air, breeze, water, trees, plants – sustain us.

5. In those sheltered times, we can also focus on connecting with the mysteries of life on this planet – we can make choices to KinKeep our own souls by communicating purposefully with our higher power, whatever name we attribute to this Source of energy, love and light that has made us with hearts that beat and lungs that breathe.  Being connected to and having trust at some level in something bigger than us, beyond us, can calm our very souls.

KinKeeping Matters – to us and to the world around us!

Happy KinKeeping!

Judy Keefe


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