A Message from My Dad

Father’s Day is one of those bittersweet holidays for me, as it is for many others. I enjoyed a brief chat with my stepfather Walter this afternoon. When my sister returns from vacation, we will take him and my mother out to dinner, to celebrate him.

My thoughts have been on my dad the past few days, with the approach of this time of special recognition for fathers. I had even decided already that I’d write a Sunday Short about an item that belonged to my dad, that has meaningful significance to me. And then, my dad changed that slightly, by visiting me and sharing a short message with me. That’s not unusual. Many people had visits with their fathers today.

The thing is, my dad passed away eight years ago.

A Message from My Dad

I love the award that my dad received, almost 20 years ago, in recognition for excellent customer service at the car dealership he worked for. Dad supervised repairs and body work. He was great with cars…and even better with people. I’m sure the award was well deserved.

What brings me joy is that the award is made to resemble a golden Oscar, the award handed out each year in the film industry, for the Best of categories. It makes me smile for two reasons: I adore movies, and the Oscars is a must-see event for me every spring. And…my dad’s middle name is Oscar. Seriously! How appropriate is that?!

Near the end of his life, Dad had his children look through his mementos and select what we wanted to take home. He was, quite literally, handing out memories for us to keep. He was amused that along with other treasures, I wanted this Oscar. It means a great deal to me. I have it displayed in a little vignette that contains the award, a photo of Dad, and a small container that holds a portion of my dad’s ashes.

A Message from My Dad

There it is, the little story I intended to write. Dad added to it though.

He visited me last night, in a dream. It is common for those who have departed to visit their loved ones in dreams. These aren’t typical dreams though. To me they feel more like a visit. There isn’t anything happening. It’s a face to face conversation with one I love, who is now in spirit.

Dad appeared to me, in my house, looking like he was in his mid to late 30s. I remarked about the dark hair on his head, and even touched his neatly trimmed mustache, which was black as well. He looked so young. It made my heart ache.

Dad hugged me. And then he shared these words:

“I am so proud of you, Sissy, for taking care of your health. You are doing well. And the things you are learning, about the connection between the health of your liver and your pancreas…they are true.”

I know. That seems like a strange conversation for a father and his daughter to have. However, it carried great meaning for me. I have turned my health around. And I continue to learn how to improve my wellbeing even more. I just listened to a webinar, presented by my health mentor, Anthony William, on the very thing Dad mentioned…the vital connection between a healthy or unhealthy liver, and a healthy or unhealthy pancreas.

It’s important information for me. My dad died of pancreatic cancer, a cancer that is on the rise. In addition to my father, I’ve lost three friends to this type of cancer and I know of many others who have succumbed to this horrible disease. If taking care of my liver is good for my pancreas as well, then I’m all for that. I’m grateful that Anthony’s new book, Liver Rescue, is due out this fall. I’ve already preordered it.

I’m grateful as well for my dad. It could be argued that my dream was just that, a dream, created by my subconscious. The hug felt real. The man who spoke to me looked like my dad. His words were relevant to what I am learning. I’m going to accept it for what it appeared to be to me…a loving visit from my sweet dad.

And his advice was sound. Just before he vanished, he looked into my eyes and offered these words:

“Take care of your liver.”

I smile when I think about his words…such a Dad thing to say…even while I feel a little catch of emotion in my throat.

I will, Dad, I promise. Thank you for caring. Happy Father’s Day. I love you.

A Message from My Dad

Conversations with Myself

Today’s post was inspired by a journaling meme that asked three questions. These questions created an opportunity for reflection and also provided a great follow up for last Sunday’s Tips for Living a Full Life post. Unbeknownst to me, they would also mesh perfectly with the chapter I am working through in the It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again Workbook. I love such synchronous collisions.

Conversations with Myself

Journaling is a form of conversing with myself. Writing down my thoughts seems to open access to my higher self, or to my inner child, or to some part of me that has shut herself away. It is very healing for me, as well as revealing. Many of my ahas in life appear as thoughts become words, flowing onto a page.

So I welcomed the questions presented in this meme:

Conversations with Myself

I appreciate that all three questions ask me what I can do…to feel loved, to support myself, to nurture my body…rather than asking what I need from someone else. The moment I look to another for something, expectations are created. And when expectations aren’t met, disappointment arrives. I don’t like putting expectations on another or living with disappointment or regret.

I made a list of ways that I can show love to myself. I’ll share a couple.

What do I need to give myself to feel loved?

1. Connection – This is at the top of my list. To lose connection with myself, with my heart, with my soul, with my body, creates a-lone-ness, otherwise felt as loneliness. Being present with myself, centered in myself, and feeling my feelings creates awareness. I can’t feel alone when I am so connected.

2. Recognition – I need to acknowledge myself, my journey and what I am doing, in a positive and sincere way. I used to reward myself, for accomplishments or for sticking with a tough task, with food, which was unhealthy on so many levels. Now doing things that bring me joy is my way of recognizing who I am and my worth.

Conversations with Myself Spending time, outside, on a quilt, under my favorite tree.

How can I best support myself?

I can support myself, and who I am, with compassionate self-care, self acceptance, openness, curiosity about my journey, and the willingness to continue seeking, learning and growing. When I am aware of myself, and tuned in physically, emotional, spiritually, mentally and creatively I know when a part of me needs extra care and support.

What steps can I take to nurture my body?

My focus has been here the last two years, with astonishing results. Here’s the list I jotted down.

1. Nourish – eat healthy, whole foods. For me this means fruits, veggies, legumes, brown rice, herbs, seeds and nuts. I know my body thrives on such a lifestyle and that my body can heal itself.

2. Eliminate – limit toxins that go into my body and go on my body, and that are in my environment. For me this means no GMO produce, chemicals, pesticides, dyes, herbicides or other poisons. I’ve been switching over to different cleaning products, laundry supplies and toiletries such as chemical and dye free shampoo, conditioner, and soaps. What goes on my skin, goes into my body. I want to create optimal health.

3. Move – walk, garden, stretch, play and do yoga.

4. Be still – journal, meditate, read, go within, keep developing my intuition.

5. Clear – energy, old emotions, old habits and patterns, limiting beliefs, past experiences, anything that weighs my spirit down.

Conversations with Myself

These were good conversations to have with myself, and they are ongoing. I appreciate what I am discovering about myself, and what I am uncovering. I love deep conversations and connecting at a heart level…with another, and most especially, with myself.

Conversations with Myself

Letting Go of What I Fear to Lose

The meme that grabbed my attention this last week at first made me smile. The wise words weren’t from Einstein or a great leader or a well known author. In fact, they weren’t uttered by a real person at all, but rather by a fictional character that is decidedly non-human. The words have stayed with me though, and burrowed deep within my heart, generating ripples of thought.

Letting Go of What I Fear to Lose

The quote is “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”

And the being offering that sage advice is the ancient, green tinged Yoda, from the Star Wars universe. In the scene in which Yoda speaks these words, he is counseling young Anakin about the dangers of the Dark Side.

The conversation includes the warning, “Fear is the path to the dark side…”

Those words bring extra clarity, for me, about what Yoda is talking about.

Letting Go of What I Fear to Lose

My thoughts about Yoda’s wisdom are these:

I notice he says train yourself to let go, implying the act of letting go isn’t necessarily a natural, or easy, response. The verb train comes from the Latin “trahere”, meaning pull or draw. The early verb sense was ‘cause (a plant) to grow in a desired shape’ and it was the basis of ‘educate, instruct, teach.’ Yoda is telling his student to educate himself, grow himself, into one who can let go.

Because, the more natural tendency we have, when we fear losing something or someone, is to cling, and hold tightly. Clenching tenses up the body, clogs up energy, and directs attention negatively to fear.

And that is the key word here…fear. Yoda reiterates that it is fear that leads to the dark side. Fear that causes us to cling. Fear that closes down our world and obliterates the light, casting us into darkness.

Letting Go of What I Fear to Lose

Fear of loss can involve more than losing a loved one, or our own life. We can fear losing status, or a job, or income, or perceived love, or something we strongly identify with. Fear of loss can involve change, which is another level of fear in itself, and the belief that we will lose pieces of ourselves if we lose traditions, habits, beliefs, perceptions, fond memories, comfort or safety.

For me, fear of loss comes down to outcomes. I was afraid I would end up with an outcome I didn’t want, so I did my best to hold onto the way things were or to control what the outcome would be. Both only plunged me deeper into fear.

Training myself to let go of everything I feared to lose meant letting go of outcomes…letting go and opening up to curiosity and faith and trust. I learned to quit clinging. I learned to open my heart and quit protecting it. I learned to be okay with not knowing what was just around the river bend, as I entered the flow of life.

Letting go doesn’t mean I push people away or shun them. It doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy what I have and relationships and my grandchildren and digging in my garden. It means, I hold everything with open hands and an unafraid heart. It means the joy of loving is greater than the fear of losing. It means I don’t attempt to control people or events. It means, ultimately, that I can relax and appreciate all that is, in this precise moment.

Training…growing…is an ongoing journey. Learning to let go is a lesson that continues to pop up for me occasionally, and rather than react to it, I can lean into it and see where in my life I need to let something, or someone, go…where I am clinging instead of flowing.

Because, to the dark side I will not go. I am open to everything…and attached to nothing.

Letting Go of What I Fear to Lose

Let’s Go Get Her

I’ve decided a good name for these posts on self care days is Sunday Shorts. The title reminds me to keep it brief, although I’m still working on brevity! I am enjoying unpacking a few thoughts around quotes or memes that catch my attention during the week and inspire me.

Lets Go Get Her

I smiled when I saw a meme that featured a young girl playing in the water. It had these words written across the photo.

Remember her? She’s still there…inside you…waiting. Let’s go get her.

I’ve thought about the truth of those words all week. I was inspired to pull out photos from my childhood and look at the little girl I used to be. I used the quote and one of my own pictures to create a new meme, which is included below.

When did I disconnect from that adventurous child who climbed trees and created stories and marvelously quirky artwork? As I pondered that question, I realized that while I was a creative and imaginative kid, I was also extremely fearful of my intuitive abilities and connection to spirit. Unable to understand my gifts, I tried to contain them, even if I couldn’t block them.

The older I got, the less I wanted to associate with my odd little self. I kept her gifts and her fears secreted away, losing her and important parts of myself.

I am grateful that part of my healing journey the last few years involved facing my fears and embracing all of me, quirks and gifts, sorrows and joys. Little Me had much to teach me. Moving past my fears opened the door in my deepest heart, and there that little girl sat, waiting patiently for me.

Three years ago, on my birthday, my granddaughter Aubrey and I discussed time travel. She was six years old at the time. When I asked her where she would go, if she could travel anywhere, forward or backward in time, her answer surprised me and brought tears to my eyes. “I’d go back to your childhood, Yaya, and be with you when you were a little girl. I’d want you to know I was with you and that you didn’t have to be afraid.”

I was so moved by Aubrey’s answer. And then I took her words to heart. I could go back and be with my younger self, and help us both understand what was going on. I could help my inner child release her fears. Through Julia Campbell’s The Artist’s Way series, I have done much writing about my childhood to help me return to my past. And I’ve spent hours and hours meditating, praying and thinking and ultimately embraced who I was and who I grew to be.

In return, my inner child has offered to me gifts of renewed creativity in all areas of my life, fresh perspectives, the ability to play at a deeper level and that adventurous spirit. I’m still learning from her, and she’s still accepting love and courage from me.

I deeply appreciate that little girl who waited and waited for me to come and get her. What wholeness she brings into my life.

Let’s Go Get Her