Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Good Lie

“Truth is such a rare thing, it is delighted to tell it.”
                                                                                                  -Emily Dickinson

I saw a movie a few months ago called The Good Lie. It was with Reese Witherspoon and is about a group of the “lost boys” from the Sudan. These young men made it through a purging of their villages, a trek to a camp in Nigeria, and a passage to America and their indoctrination and integration into American society. It is quite a moving picture. In this movie, one of the young men had to make a very difficult decision. A young leader of their surviving villagers did something during their trek to save his life, and it jeopardized the leaders own. He and his companions thought their friend had perished saving him and felt guilty for his life over the young leader. After a year or two in America, he heard that his friend was alive and in the camp in Nigeria hopefully awaiting passage to America. He decided to make the voyage back to the camp and find his friend and help him to America. When he arrived, he did everything he could to get his friend the documents he needed to leave. In the end, he wasn’t able to. He found his friend and took him to the airport. His friend thought they were both going to America, but he had to give his friend his own documents with his name on them. He stayed and helped others at the camp in Nigeria. This is where the movie gets the name, The Good Lie.

The more I thought about his actions, the more I felt uneasy about them. I don’t know that I think giving his friend his own documents at his own expense was a good lie. I do know doing that assuaged his conscience. But what he, in fact, did was give his friend his own life, and he is living his friend’s life. We all do things like this. We live other friends or family members fates; consciously and also unconsciously. An example of doing it unconsciously is when we become depressed or fail just like our mother or our father. When they live depressed lives, it is often from events that happened to them. When we live in a similar mental and spiritual state, we are not living our own, but we are living theirs. 

Over one of our many breakfasts my father tells of a story where he kept a secret and a good lie so that a patient’s child wouldn’t have to suffer from actions of hers and of her perpetrators. He had a female patient who had suffered at the hands of a group in St Louis my father refers to as cultists. This was a group at a psychoanalytic facility who engaged in sexual activities with their female patients and then blackmailed them into not telling anyone. A woman came to see dad for help thinking he could help her as he had seen her son much earlier and had helped him.  He saw her about four times and then went away for vacation. While he was gone, some of the therapists found out she was seeing him for help, and they were afraid he would make trouble for them, so they put fear in her. She came to him one more time and accused him of sexual activity with her and then bolted from the room. There ensued a lawsuit where his license was taken away. Dad had an opportunity to accuse the cultists and didn’t because he was afraid that if everything came out, her son who he had originally treated, would be hurt, and he couldn’t live with himself if that happened. 

Again, although his motives were good, not wanting to inflict any more pain on a prior patient, in fact, the truth is better in the long run. He cheated this young man from information that might temporarily hurt him, but has the opportunity to enrich his life and his mothers. 

How often do we do such things; keep secrets, live others fates, supposedly to prevent hurt? Does it really do so? Is it really a good lie? Where might you have done something like this in your life? Has it really helped you? Living a full life of wholeness, health and vitality involves being true to us and to our own lives and fate. Changing or withholding does not enrich us. Do you have a story to share along these lines to enrich us?

Recommended Resources:

I recommend seeing the movie, The Good Lie, and I believe it is rentable through all the DVD and blue ray sources. I also recommend seeing the movie, The Imitation Game, as it also poses many questions that are along these lines. 

Afterwards, sit down for a few minutes and ask yourself? What do I think is best in these types of situations? What is best for me, and what is best for all involved? Where have I done something like this in my life? 

In my work with facilitating Family Constellations and therapeutic settings, I find that secrets are almost always hurtful in the long run, and often in ways we are not able to imagine at the time. Let me know what you think on this subject, if you are so moved. You can read more about my work on my website.

Here is to a brighter and better self!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Into The Stillness

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
                                                                                   -Mark Twain

A friend asked me the other day for some insight into why she drinks. The only thing that came to me that was both powerful and simple is that it is easier to drink than to be with the stillness. It is easier to drink or eat or go out or whatever than to be with our uncomfortable feelings. We don’t look to be still and to feel what is underneath our facades. We are taught to look for happiness and that something or someone else will make us happy. So we do that. We emulate our parents and those in our community. Does it work? Are we happy? Do we have good marriages, and do we feel truly, inside happy? 

The answer is not often. The truth is we have to go into the stillness to know ourselves. I watched a 4-minute video called, Will You Marry the Wrong Person (http://bit.ly/14EbPT0). It is a great video, and I heartily recommend watching it. It talks about knowing ourselves before we marry; knowing our madness. Yes because, in a way, we are all a bit mad or weird or crazy, whatever word you prefer. It is crazy to keep doing the same things and expecting a different result. Yet we do that all the time. What we don’t do is go into the stillness. We are often afraid of what we will find there. 
What we do find there is of great value. We find our places of emptiness, our places of loss, our places of feeling lost, our places of hurt, etc. We often react out of those places instead of responding from them. We attack when we feel hurt, for example, instead of feeling our hurt and helping ourselves and possibly telling another that we are hurt. We get into relationships and marry from familiarity more than from a place of greater understanding. It is familiar for us to be controlled or to control; or to be blamed or to blame, and so on.

What helps us understand our crazy places is to look at what is familiar and see how we also have come to embody certain beliefs in our lives. So we look at our parents, for example, and see them through how they acted and reacted and taught; with a much larger perspective. I look at my parents and see their patterns. My father was an egomaniac in which everything centered on him. My mother centered her life around him, he was always right, and he demanded her full attention. This took most of her energy, and there wasn’t much left for anyone else including herself. Dad was very controlling, and mom was controlled by him including how she wore her hair, how she dressed and what she believed. Dad thought he was more intelligent and mom thought she wasn’t intelligent. Under the surface, my father had great anger that he was ready to let loose on anyone who countered him or caused him trouble. These are just a few patterns that were represented to us, their children. 

If we don’t go into the stillness, we don’t see these patterns, how they affect us, and how they affect how we eat or drink, or who we marry. I saw these patterns by going into my stillness. By being still, I see my patterns within my relationships to others and to things. I see how I married someone quietly controlling with a rage burning deep inside him. I see how and why I react to others instead of just responding. I become less afraid of myself. My choices become more informed and I understand them more fully.

What happens when you go into your stillness? What do you see and feel and learn?

Recommended Resources:
Our best resource is us. When we begin to feel uncomfortable inside, take a few minutes and just sit and listen. Don’t react, and don’t eat or drink something, or don’t argue. Just sit and breathe and listen….for as long as you can. Sit in the stillness. Afterward, take a few minutes and access or write down what you thought, saw, noticed, and learned about yourself.

The second resource is one I spoke of in this blog. I recommend watching the 4 minute video, Will You Marry the Wrong Person: http://bit.ly/14EbPT0!

I would love to hear your reaction to the video if you are so moved!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Living In The Past

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards”
                                                                                       -Soren Kirkegaard

Watching older people during the last phase of this life is enlightening. Often, not always, they lose more of their short term memories and retain many of their long term memories. You can sit with them and they will talk about an old family story, probably one you have heard many times. Yet they can’t remember what time you told them you would come by to pick them up. Does this sound familiar? Most likely we all live more in our past than in our present, but it isn't so noticeable in this way.

Living in our past is noticeable through our fears and our anxieties and our anger and our need for control and need for comfort, and such. It is noticeable through our issues or places where we are stuck in our lives. When we are afraid to move forward for any reason, that fear is a guideline to an old memory where something not so good happened. When we are in denial of seeing something in us or in a relationship, we are looking more into the past than we are at what is happening right in front of us. What would happen if we followed that guideline to the place in the past that holds precious information for our souls and our growth, instead of getting lost in our feelings and thoughts, which hold us back? Isn't that a good question, yet we all get caught in the webs of the past.

There are some older people I know who are not telling the same old stories over and over again. There are some older souls who have made peace with their pasts and are able to still live in the here and now. They remember what time you are coming to pick them up and are vitally present. That is their secret; they have made peace with their past and aren't afraid to follow the guidelines to the places of pain. They recognize that those very places are sacred…not to get stuck in, but they hold such vital information for their continued growth. They go back in order to live in the present; even with the fear they may carry.

My father is one of the elders who is lost in the past. Although he still remembers who we are, he has lost most words, he gets confused easily, he re-tells stories over and over again, and he remembers everything negative that has happened to him. I sometimes prod him to tell me something good. He laughs, and then continues to tell me his tales of woe. In the prime of his life he helped many people. When I have spoken with some of his patients and friends, they easily speak of how brilliant he was and how he helped them in so many crucial ways. 

This man who was brilliant in some ways, and one patient called it a crazy brilliance, was able to help others in important ways, and was not able to help himself. He lives in the past. He lives in the past of his early traumas. He is still nursing hurts from his mother and father, and so wasn't able to emotionally treat the love of his life, my mother, the way he wanted to. He couldn't allow himself to really be close to others. He didn’t trust. As a young child, this was for good reason; but he stayed there. His dementia is a generational thing. It also makes me wonder how many others my family got caught in similar webs. And how many others have and are doing the same thing?

When we don’t move on in careers and in relationships, can we be brave enough to use the past to guide us and help us? But be able to let it go when it doesn't help us anymore? When we stay in abusive relationships, or we repeat patterns over and over again, can we begin to use these guidelines and recognize that they take us to traumatic, yes, but rich and fertile places? These are important questions for us to ask ourselves so we can live in the present, be role model elders, and live healthy, whole and vital lives to 92 and on. 

I am interested in your experiences in this regard. What have you noticed with elders in your lives, and in your own experiences?

Small Changes that Promote Big Results:

This exercise will take about 10 to 15 minutes. Take a piece of paper, or for the digital agers, a notepad. Let’s look at one day in our lives. Start with yesterday. Go through your day in your mind’s eye, and start with waking up and what went through your mind, if you can remember. Go through your daily rituals, encounters with family, friends, co workers, bosses, patients, clients, etc. and ask yourself if you were in the present, or if your mind drifted anywhere? If you can pinpoint a drift, where did it drift, if you can remember? If not, just notice it drifted. Go through the whole day and as honestly as possible see where you might have gone into the past as an inappropriate time. 

As with all these exercise, there is no shame or blame, just noticing. 
Write down important things that came up for you during this exercise. 

If yesterday was too long ago, go through your present day and do the same process!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Sometimes Our Actions Aren't As They Appear

“The truth will set you free; but first it will piss you off.”
                                                                                             -Gloria Steinum

I love how our actions aren’t always how they appear. I watched a show last night where one of the main characters, certainly a flawed individual as are we all, spoke about an event that happened in his life which shaped him. He spent years afterwards protecting his daughter from knowing a truth, which he felt would be too hard on her, and he took the blame. This was a great cost to him. He let everyone believe that he was responsible for something instead of having his daughter know that his wife, her mother, had an affair. Many of us have done things and said things which aren’t really true in order to protect ourselves or someone else. I see how over time, these lies and partial truths really do not help. 

Even though my father was a very flawed man, he told me a story, which touched me deeply and reminds me of the man in the show, a detective Carver from the show, Gracepoint. In my father’s case, he made a decision which other’s never understood, and which caused them to have bad opinions about him. His decision wasn’t a complete secret, for the important players, his “uncle” and his “uncle’s” son knew the truth, but no one else did.

When my father was a teenager his mother’s best friend’s husband befriended him. We called him Uncle Harry. He would take dad to baseball games, which they both dearly loved, and he would go to all of my dad’s games. He even talked my dad’s father into going to one of his basketball games. When dad was a teenager he became a member of a Chicago south side gang and Uncle Harry was concerned about that. He tried to get dad involved in other things and move away from the gang. Although it didn’t work, dad loved his help and support. Uncle Harry had four boys of his own. Even so, he was more involved with dad than he was with his own sons. Harry’s oldest boy became a momma’s boy, too close to his mother, and the second boy became a lot like his father in that he carried Harry’s anger. Harry could be mean and corrupt. This second son was becoming like that, felt himself rejecting his dad and becoming suicidal, and didn’t want to do either. He wanted to be able to love his dad.

As a young adult this man came to dad asking him for help. He told dad that if anyone could help him to love his father, my father could. He felt if he didn’t get help he would kill himself. My father realized that in order for him to be able to help this man, he would have to not need Uncle Harry himself, and didn’t know if he could do that. He soon realized he could and knew that he couldn’t have anything to do with Uncle Harry again in doing this. He took Uncle Harry aside and told him he needed to give him two hours to hear him out and not say anything. This left both men in tears, but Harry knew that dad was giving him his own son back. So my father helped this man who did in fact learn to love his father, and today is still doing well. When Harry was close to dying, they wanted dad to come out and see him, and he felt he couldn’t do that. No one understood why he couldn’t be there for Harry at the end except him, my mother, and Harry’s son. He felt good about giving back, but at a great sacrifice.

We don’t know how our actions appear to others. Only we can know. Secrets can be deadly, and can at times be helpful. Only we truly know and are responsible for our actions. If we stopped judging others and in doing so, stop judging ourselves, we would be able to love us and that love would impact the world. Our inner movements and our own clarity regarding them is what is most important for us to live whole, happy and healthy lives.

Small Lifestyle Changes that Promote Big Results:

Take out a piece of paper and writing utensil. Give yourself up to 15 minutes for this exercise. Write out an event that happened in your life, for you or for someone you know who is close to you in which you were affected, in which you questioned their actions or your own actions. Write out what happened, your thinking process involved in your actions, or what someone’s actions seemed like and how they affected you. 

Next, write what might be underneath those actions. What caused you to respond the way you did that on the surface could look so different to someone else? We hear the trite sentence; you can’t judge a book by its cover. What is that sentence really saying, and does it have merit in your situation? Does this help you to see other’s with a slightly different lens? I would love it if any of you are moved to share a situation that pertains in your life and what you might learn from it.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Rivers of Love

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them
pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
                                                                                 -Winston Churchill

The rivers are flowing freely; our hearts are filled with love as this beautiful and flowery month shows us. It is the spring of our nature cycle, and a time to fill our own well springs. If we look at this analogy and connect it with our own growth in life from childhood through all the life stages: childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, midlife, older adult, and crone, we can see many similarities. I learn so much from nature. In nature, when we dont get enough rain in the spring months, our earth dries up at a time of planting. This affects our food bounty and also the very water that is so necessary for life. The same effects happen with our life growth. When we dont have enough love, or our needs arent met when we are little, or we are abused, and the cycle of love isnt able to be freely passed on, we dont have enough. This affects our inner bounty; our inner resources. 

I see this a lot with my patients, and of course with myself and my family. None of us are immune; in some way all of us are affected by our early upbringing. One of the ways this lack affects us is by some of us feeling like we cant get enough..food, for example. Some people literally dont know what full feels like. They keep eating beyond their satiety. They confuse their hungers for love and attention with hunger for food. A beautiful story is with a young client. He is a young man of twelve. For most of his life, he could eat and eat, way beyond his physical hunger, and was still hungry for more. His mother tried to help him to understand his physical hunger, but what ever she tried didnt help. He couldnt get enough. He was adopted, and was taken away from his first mother very young. His adopted mother works full time. In addition, as with all of us, she struggles with her own issues from her mother who was depressed most of her life and wasnt able to be present for her. She cant do very well with what she didnt experience. She found herself repeating her own experience, even though she didnt want to. She has now gotten help for her son and for herself, and she is learning how to change this pattern and to see her son more clearly and be there for him in a more full and consistent way. The difference is stunning. This boy, young man of 12, now stops eating when he is full and states he is full. He feels his physical fullness and doesnt need to keep eating. More of his needs, his internal river is filled. 

I also see this dynamic of not having enough inner resources in other ways. There are people I work with who are service oriented and in the service profession; nurses, doctors, therapists, massage therapists, and so on who feel very drained after their work. Sometimes they feel it physically through aches and pains, and sometimes emotionally by feeling exhausted or drained. After they work with their patients, they come home exhausted or develop symptoms of illnesses like fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. If we dont fill ourselves with what gives us life, we tend to give too much, maybe hoping to receive something we missed when we were young children. Our parents were our first well spring in life. We learn to nurture ourselves, or not, through our parents. When they werent available for whatever reason, we can grow up having an open wound, and unconsciously looking for others to heal it, by their taking care of us and us getting ill, or by our over care-taking of others, hoping by giving, we will finally receive enough. 

My father taught us to care and give to others; probably too much so. He could do this because of his need to save others. He could give and give and this gave him a purpose. This purpose was for him as he needed to be saved. So he gained strength; sometimes at the expense of others. He unconsciously took something from them by saving them instead of helping them to help themselves. As a result, he gave, and had enough of a river inside of him. Neither extreme is helpful. Becoming conscious of our inner wellspring or river, and learning how to replete it without taking from others helps us to live whole, healthy and vital lives. 

Shift Your Story: Guided Visualization/Meditation

Get yourself comfortable. Place your feet gently on the floor in front of you and take 2 or 3 deep breaths. Close your eyes and breathe. Imagine yourself traveling down your inner self. As you are traveling open your minds eye and see around you. You are traveling beside your inner river or inner wellspring. See the spring as you would a creek or river or spring on a walk in nature. Travel along its path. As you walk, imagine yourself stopping and kneeling down beside it and taking a sip of its water. How does it taste on your tongue? Feel its fullness and depth. Watch its gentle ebb and flow and its natural curves as you walk. Stop and breathe in its scent. Take a minute as you stroll and thank it for being there for you even when you take it for granted. Ask it if it has anything it would like to tell you; is there a message for you? Remember it, and if it doesnt, that is okay too. It just likes to be seen and recognized. Tell it you will be back to visit it again, and thank it for being there. Walk along its shores for a couple more minutes and then breathe deeply again. Gently become aware of your surroundings in your body, and open your eyes.

Write down what you remember as soon as possible, and especially the message it had for you. Remember to visit your river again. 

If you feel like sending me a message please do, and what you might have learned from your river of love.

Effects of Illness On The Family

“There is no such thing as accident; it is fate misnamed.”
-Napoleon Bonaparte

This year I have been focusing on BodyPresencing™ issues as presented through my work, and as they relate to what I have learned from my family and my father. Our families are great feeding and learning grounds for us. They present as opportunities for us to learn and to grow; very rich soil. The more I work with people the more I see how in many ways the issues, illnesses of physical, emotional and spiritual nature, impact us. When one person is ill in some way, the whole family is ill; in some way. This is one of the reasons that families present as such fertile learning grounds. We can change how their illness and issues affect us when we are conscious in our lives, and that can be done with a lot of work.

We can see this dynamic in obvious ways, as in when a family member has a mental illness, or when a family member has a chronic illness of some kind, like Cerebral Palsy, or severe rheumatoid arthritis, or long term cancer, etc. That we are taking on their illness occurs in small ways that often can go unnoticed.  As we age, other illnesses impact us, as in Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson's and such. 

My father came from a line of men who cheated others in some way and felt guilty. His grandfather came to America in the early 1900’s as a successful bookbinder. He bound books for Kings and Popes in Europe. When he came to America, he didn’t work. He spent most of his time listening to Opera music and his wife didn’t respect him. No one knew that he had money; especially his family, until his death. At his funeral many people came to pay their respects and thank him and his family for helping them financially in their time of need. This came as a great surprise to his family. Dad’s grandfather had a great secret, which remains secret. Dad’s father then disappeared for a few years during the Great Depression. The secret of what happened to him remains a secret, and in his whole life he was never able to support his family financially very well. Dad supported his parents in their later lives and allowed his father to retire from work as a printer that he never enjoyed. Later in my father’s life, he suddenly began to take great chances with his money and ended up giving all of his money away to scammers who specialize in taking advantage of the elderly. In fact, he also unintentionally lost other people’s money who he talked into giving money to him for a promise of a good return for their money. He continued this pattern, and became entranced in the family secrets. In an unconscious way, he couldn’t allow himself to succeed when his father and grandfather couldn’t. He became ill in the way he thought of money and value and gave everything away. 

I came from a visit with my sister and my father. One is dealing with the effects of cancer and the other with the effects of dementia. Our whole family is reeling from their illnesses. One very important thing we understand more as we get older is that their illness is theirs; not ours. It is their learning lesson. We can care about them, be sympathetic, and be there, but we can’t take their pain or their illness from them, or even make it easier. That is their work. However, we can easily become confused as to whose work is whose. When we are young, we want to step in and help our parents or our siblings when they are suffering in some way. That instinct can come up again and kick us when this occurs as we get older. It hurts to see people we love suffer. We want to do something, and the best thing we can do is to be there as we can and when we can. It doesn’t help anyone when we suffer too; feel stressed, get ill, feel guilty, and so on.

Often an unconscious effect of illness in the family is not doing well ourselves. If our father, in my case, doesn’t do well, or our sister, or mother, in some way we can’t allow ourselves to do well either. When this is unconscious, the “not doing well” can rule us. The not doing well can look like not succeeding in life; not writing the book we want to write, not being successful in our business or sabotaging ourselves in some way, carrying a skin disease like psoriasis, failing in relationships, etc. We can also feel like we have to take care of them and that they need us, and their need takes precedence over our own needs and lives. 

I find I have to work to consciously live my own life and leave dad’s fate and my sister’s fate to them. What good would it do them for me to become ill? What good what it do me if I gave my life over to taking care of them? I can hold them in my heart and love them. I can allow myself to live a healthy, whole, conscious life so their patterns don’t have to repeat. A question we can all look at in our lives is how, if any, do we allow other’s illnesses to affect us? As we can see clearly, we can have some control over our own lives, but not theirs.  Here is to a life well lived of wholeness, vitality and health!

Small Lifestyle Changes that Promote Bit Results:

Let’s take a minute and look at our lives and our families lives. Is there a way in which a family member struggles? Take a look at their struggles. This could be in failed relationships, failed business, a physical illness, a chronic illness, etc. 

What do we do in reaction to their struggles? Do we try to take care of them physically, or emotionally? Do we think we can help change them? Do we feel guilty in some way when we do well, or by not stepping in when it would be difficult for us to do so? Do we do things like them? Do we feel badly about doing well when they aren’t or they can’t? Do we feel in some way that if we get too close we will catch what they have? 

Take a few moments and write down how you might act in reaction to their illness or struggles. Ask for help in seeing these things if it is hard for you to see. Maybe ask a good friend what they see in this situation that you might not be able to see clearly. 

Lastly, read this over to yourself so you can continue your work in understanding your part in other’s illness. This is an ongoing process. What we want in life is to live our own lives as fully as possible. If you would like to share what you find, I would appreciate a little note if this would be helpful to you.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Poetry of Life

“Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him.”
                                                                                        -Groucho Marx

To me, life is often felt as a poem might be felt. Life is poetry in motion and I often feel poetry in my heart and soul; as I feel life. How about you, and how do you feel life?

Often my morning time as the remnants of night is still with me, is a time when I feel poetry move within me. I have what I call my morning window, an east facing window overlooking my yard and trees and the neighborhood. I sit there first thing in the morning as I watch the sun rise or move on its path across the sky, and I meditate, or write, and spend time communing with my soul. I look out my morning window and depth of feeling; usually inspired by nature wells up in me. An example of what wells up in me is below.

The Golden Morning:

The sun’s rays roll over the leaves and branches casting golden hues through the tangles of leaves.
My mind playfully tosses words around in communion with the joyful riot of shapes and colors coloring my day with gladness and tickling my tummy with the happiness of life.

One of the things I have in common with my father is my love of writing and especially writing poems. He loved to write poems. As I am inspired by nature, he was inspired by limericks. As he was growing up he learned a lot of “dirty” limericks which he took great pleasure in reciting and singing. When as a family we would take road trips to places like Chicago to visit his family he would sing as he drove and we all learned many of those limericks. When we, his children, grew up and had children of our own, he loved to sing them to his grandchildren especially as they were going to sleep. They grew up on those nights he put them to bed, with those sounds in their ears as they went off to sleep. My niece remembers many of them verbatim and recited one in tribute to him at her wedding.

As a result of his love of limericks, he grew into writing poetry in the form of limericks. Here is a couple of limericks he wrote.

Fifty Eight is Truly Great

You entered a world full of troubles
From tornados to bursting bubbles.
We left Topeka twice
A place we found so nice
Then settled in St. Louis with all its snobles

Yet as much as you struggled
You never ceased feeling snuggled
The years came and flew by
You raised a wonderful child without being shy
Found a mate who was thrilled to get unchuggled

In the past there were doubts
Unmistaken terrible shouts
This time it is cleared
There is nothing but to be cheered
Anything feared has disappeared.

I would love it if any of you are so moved to share one of your poems with me, or a story as to how one of your parents’s influenced you.

As we remember things we like about our parents, more of our memories can surface.