One of the most important, impactful and meaningful relationships in my life is also one of the most challenging and traumatic relationships of my life. This is the one I have with my father.
So, when I had lunch with him about a month ago, it was a surprise to me. It was a surprise to me because we hadn’t been in the same room with each other for about 2 and a half years. We both had our reasons for this but the one I want to talk about today is this one… My father didn’t want to be in the same room as me.
Although this answer seems harsh, it was necessary. It’s not black and white either. I also want to say that at first I didn’t want to be in the same room as him either, so we both pushed away. I am also not blaming my father for this choice, nor am I trying to play the victim here. In fact, I made myself remove all the blame on him in a sincere moment to heal within myself. This comes with taking responsibility for myself and that’s work I was willing to do. I could have focused on a lot of things, but I chose this one because It’s the one that made me want to show up better. It’s the one that is making me stronger and it’s the one that is helping me heal.
I thought about why my dad didn’t want to be in the same room as me and I understood why. In fact, it was quite an intelligent decision at first. It was a boundary. I think that has been our greatest challenge, my dad and I. We have been trying to teach each other our boundaries without communication skills that work and we’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember.
My dad and I have different viewpoints on a lot of things and I believe that is normal. Many of you can probably relate. What is dysfunctional is the way we communicate these differences. About 2 and half years ago, on July 4th, my dad and I had a big fight. In fact, it’s what I would call a blow up. I think we both went places we didn’t want to to go with our words and our emotions. I know I did. I pushed all of my pain on my father that day and I said all kinds of things that I’m not proud of. If words were weapons, mine were daggers and I aimed to kill. I may have said some of the meanest things I have ever said to another human being that day to my father.
Fast forward to a month ago when I was in Cleveland Ohio. I was teaching a yoga teacher training and my mom invited me over to her house for my favorite thing, her spaghetti sauce. It had been years since I had spaghetti with my mom and this is my ultimate comfort food so I was SO excited for lunch that day and I didn’t know that my dad would be there but there he was. The 3 of us had lunch together and it was lovely. I loved every moment of it. My dad is smart and he is funny and I was able to appreciate those things in the moment. I could tell my dad was trying hard to be his best and I know I was trying to do the same and in that moment I felt something HUGE in my soul. I felt victory. I am still feeling so victorious - not just for me but for my dad too.
I have been thinking about my dad and that lunch since the day it happened and I cry with a grateful heart. I think about how either one of us could have died before that lunch and how incredibly grateful I am that we didn’t.
Fast forward to last Monday morning and found out one of my friends had passed away. She had been dead for weeks actually and I didn’t know. I thought about her and all of the things I wanted to say and didn’t say (but could have). I thought about why I waited and how waiting sometimes isn’t the answer. I thought about what I wanted her to know and I said those words to her as I closed my eyes and placed my hand on my chest. I believe she heard me and I really wish I would have said those words to her when she was alive but I did the next best thing… the only thing I could do.
I thought about Valerie.
I thought about my dad.
I thought about my life and all of my relationships.
I thought about how I can’t wait another day to tell the people I love that I love them.
I thought about the people I want to stay close to and the ones that mean so much to me.
I thought about how I need to tell them.
I thought about how I don’t have time to not go for it in love, life and art.
I thought about how four words felt more urgent to me than ever before and those four words are:
“I love you” and “forgiveness”.
My Newest Program starts this May. It’s online and it’s the best of the best of everything I have learned and practice in the last 20 years of my life to get strong. 12 weeks, one program. It’s the 2019 game changer. Who’s in?