Wisdom from my father.
This one goes out to my pops, Bob the Nice Guy.
Today, and all days, but, especially today, I remember him.
During his time, this kind, gentle, creative soul emanated a love that I'll be nestled within for the rest of my life. Dad modeled how to be a brave, compassionate human, spirit undampened by challenges. He believed in me, and this instilled a confidence in myself to step into the world as I have. He gave me my goofy, and sometimes ridiculous sense of humor, for better or worse. I'm sorry? ;)
There aren't words for all that I could say. Perhaps someday, I'll reach across time and space to him in the Great Beyond, capture the words in poetry like the great mystics Hafiz and Rumi, bottle them up as some elixir to share with you. But that is for another day.
What I have for you today is wisdom he shared with me often during my early decades:
"Life is what you make it."
When I muse over this, I meditate on the essence of what I want to cultivate in my life. Compassion, kindness, joy, wonder, acceptance, love. I aim to help myself and others find relief from pain in healthy ways. To delight in the unique facets of life. To laugh and marvel at the beautiful intricacies that are revealed when we pay attention.
I suppose there are some specific "outcomes" that maybe, someday, I'd like to experience, but I hold them lightly now. I know that life is more than the boxes we check off. It takes twists and turns. Sometimes it pans out as expected and sometimes not. A lot of it we can't control. But the way we choose to show up with what is given, we can. I do believe care, love, wonder, and shared humanity exist in all these moments, though sometimes it can be hard to find or access. Yet, if I trust in my ability to find these qualities within myself and the world, there will be a little more internal grace, no matter what plays out. Even during the hard stuff.
In the months following my dad's passing last fall, the prospect of Father's Day rolling around without him felt pretty grim. Around the new year, inspiration came of an epic adventure to connect with him, and let a shared dream finally come true. This gave me a light and a focus amidst the grief, a way to make a long-held vision come to life. As you read this, I am likely in ceremony, honoring this sweet soul and our shared love of mountains, land, and nature. Making a bit more magic out of this life, and if I'm going to really make Dad proud, a joke of it too. But more on that later... right now, I'm busy.
Happy Father's Day.
So it goes.
P.S. Dad would want me to share this with you. :) If you want to sing out, sing out...
Receive the blessings of your ancestors, and remember those we've lost this year.
This period, from the end of October into November, is known cross-culturally as a time when the veil between the physical world and the nonphysical is thin. For thousands of years, humans have used this time to connect with ancestors and the spirit realm. Perhaps you already celebrate Samhain or Día de los Muertos, and know the significance and balm of reconnecting with our loved ones lost. Given the year we have all had, where we have been tested on numerous levels, and so many have passed, the healing potential of these practices seem as poignant as ever.
My invitation to you, over the next couple weeks, set aside some time when you can be in intentional reverence or contemplation. Think of the ancestors you would like to recognize. These may be cherished ones you have known who have passed, others who were estranged, or family further back on your ancestral line. How would you like to acknowledge and honor these souls? Perhaps you pull out some photographs, and light a candle, make a family recipe, watch a movie you loved to share, or engage in an activity this person enjoyed. If you did not have closure with this person, you may be called to write a letter to them, expressing how you feel. Seal it up in an envelop, leave it out on an altar, and then bury or burn it after a short time. You'll know when. If you had a particularly challenging relationship with one of these individuals, honor your experience by allowing your feelings to flow. Are there any lessons you learned as a result of your relationship with them? If you haven't already, are you ready to forgive them? If not, what to you need to move closer to forgiveness, so you can heal? No matter who you choose to acknowledge, you may find expressing yourself with a poem, drawing, or song cathartic. Trust what feels appropriate, reverent, and healing for you.
Even if the details of the stories may have been lost to time, we all have had ancestors that survived pandemics as well as times of uncertainty, and unrest. Their strength, wisdom, love, and resilience still lives on in your bones, your DNA. You can call on these compassionate ancestors and ask them to guide you, be with you, and offer you strength to continue on during these times. As you invite these energies, focus on the blessings. If you notice any of their unresolved pain or struggles activating within you, witness it with compassion, and remember it is not yours, and therefore not your job to carry it on. Breathe these burdens down into the Earth with love, freeing yourself and your family line from these energies. As you connect with these ancestors, who knows what kind of insight and healing may emerge for you.
Finally, you may feel called to incorporate a ritual in remembrance of the many who lost their lives this year due to COVID-19, violence, or other causes. Create space for mourning within your personal world and communities. We have been through a lot, and though you have survived if you are reading this, many have not. Let us offer them peace on their soul's journey, and healing and comfort for their loved ones (which may include you). If you are in the thick of grief, remember to lean on the support of those around you. The Reiki and I are here for you too, if you need it.
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As you take this time to honor the departed, please share with us in the comments how you celebrated them, and what the experience was like for you.
Lastly, with the election just around the corner, I ask you all to join me in holding intentions for peace, fairness, integrity, safety, and compassion for all Americans as we exercise our right to vote, determine the results of the election, and await the next term.
Take good care,
Reiki Master Teacher and Owner of Embrace Your Essence