Andrea de Michaelis, Publisher
Photographer Debi Buck
Hello and welcome to the June 2014 edition of Horizons Magazine. Happy Father's Day!Not everyone has happy childhood memories of their dad., I didn't always get along with mine.He was very strict, he had a 6th grade education, worked construction and came home to kids who smart mouthed him. I understand now how difficult it must have been, but of course then I didn't see that. My dad was bi-polar and could be fun and charming, the life of the party. He could also be mean and hateful and psychologically abusive. He was a deeply troubled man, I realized years later.
As I was growing up, Father's Day evoked negative feelings since I was expected to buy him a card. None of them ever said what I wanted them to. They were all too loving. In a workshop once with a group, I had everyone create a card for their mother and father and say in the card exactly what it was they wanted to say and be really understood. I remember my first one was a Father's Day card. It was after much healing and forgiveness had taken place within me, and it said:
You were unfair when I was a child, yet through my childlike eyes I judged you for it and saw not that you, too, were merely a victim and in your ignorance knew no other way to treat me. Now that were both older and wiser, we dont have those problems, or at least the confrontations no longer take place. Perhaps you are cowed at my own empowerment, or maybe I'm just a more formidable foe now. A man who mistreats his children is not to be hated, rather we should extend compassion for his lack of control. So now we silently sit together five times a year, the Hallmark card between us like a holy icon, hoping to heal the past without mentioning it. I accept your unspoken apology as I see how frail youve become. Not so much in body, but in spirit. Beaten down from your own abuses coming back to haunt you, I neednt add to the burden, nor can I voice my forgiveness. You understand. We understand each other now and thats enough. And today, finally, I love you very much.
Daddy didn't know how to sort out his feelings, much less openly discuss them. We never knew how to talk to each other. None of us did back then. Now anyone watching tv can learn the process through shows like Couples Therapy, Marriage Boot Camp and Iyanla Vanzant Fix My Life. It took several encounter (sensitive training) groups in my 20s to give me a vocabulary for what I felt emotionally, and to gain the tools to express it. These groups met with the aim of shedding our social masks and expressing our real feelings. They emphasized verbal interaction and activities that encouraged open displays of approval, criticism, affection, dislike, anger and tears. The result was that we learn to interact with others honestly, by openly expressing what we feel. This is important not just for self discovery, but for resolution when there was conflict.
I once asked an ex four (4) exit interview questions for clarification:
(1) Why, after talking daily about always being conscious and honest with each other, would he not tell me when his intentions changed?
(2) Why did he tell other people one thing and me another about the status of our relationship?
(3) When I emailed, a year in, asking for clarification so there was no misunderstanding, why did he get angry and cut me off rather than answer the question?
(4) Why afterwards did he lie about A and B, knowing it was untrue? After all the conversation about being honest and open and morphing consciously, why did that not happen?
Frankly, I didn't expect to hear back from him.
A week later he announced publicly he wanted to heal our situation. But privately it was another story. He offered an exit interview, so I asked the 4 simple questions above. I told him there were no wrong answers, I just wanted him to tell me honestly. Instead of simply answering (Example: Hey, I was confused, I was stupid, Im embarrassed I didnt have the courage then to talk about it, Im working on it) he changed the topic and got angry. In a short series of email exchanges, he came up with more new things to blame me for, more things he'd never mentioned. My commitment issues??? WTF??? So I asked, why did you never mention ANY of these things to me before? It all goes back to, here was someone who I knew had the skills and emotional vocabulary for the discussion, yet he just could not do it when it was about him.
How much more difficult for my father, or any of our fathers, to express themselves?
If it was this difficult for my ex, who I knew had the skills of insight and vocabulary to express himself, how much more difficult for my father, or any of our fathers, to express themselves?
Never having been given the tools, never having been brought up to work their stuff out without being triggered to anger. There are entire generations, in all our families, that dont know to express themselves without a fight. This is why many family conflicts stay unresolved for generations.
We cant make anyone own anything they are not ready to own, or discuss anything they are not ready to discuss. If a simple question triggers them into anger, until someone can be real with you, grant them the honor of privacy and bless them upon their path. Its not our job to monitor anyone but our own selves, and I dont know about you, but Ive got my hands full with that. If I'm doing the work, I'm not worried about who isn't doing the work.
As frustrating as it can be, it IS possible to forgive and find closure with friends and loved ones. That goes for whether the person is right in front of you, across the continent, unwilling, absent or dead.
How to forgive and find closure if
A friend had issues with her father that bled over into her relationships now with men (surprise!) She asked how she could do Forgiveness Work on him when he's been dead for many years. I told her it doesn't matter if someone is alive and unwilling, absent or dead, where the issue lives is in our consciousness, and we are the ones who control our perceptions there. My process is this and its pretty standard.
1. Place a chair across from you. In your mind's eye, imagine sitting across from you anyone with whom you do not feel total alignment or support.
2. Imagine an infinite source of Love and healing flowing into the top of your head (from your Higher Self or the Creator/God/whatever of your understanding), and let the source of love and healing flow down inside your body, fill up the body, and overflow out your heart to heal the person in the chair before you.
3. Have a discussion with the person. Tell them anything you want them to know. Remember they did the best they could under the conditions at that time. You dont know what struggles they were going through. Imagine them responding to you as you would like to be responded to and understood.
4. Forgive them. Tell them youre sorry for your part in whatever happened, and ask them to forgive you. Thank them for their part in your life. Tell them you love them and mean it. I love you, Im sorry, please forgive me, I forgive you, thank you.
5. Imagine standing up with the person before you. With a hand swipe m0tion, cut the cords between you. Cut all around yourself, as if in a circle. Cut the cords from all directions. All past issues are now dissolved. Imagine the person walking away as you feel love and forgiveness for them.
Accept all things. It's the only way to wake upanything else perpetuates the dream.
Enjoy our offering this month.