"Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.”
What do you do on Sunday mornings? I bet most of you have a Sunday morning ritual. Some of my best memories of my father reside with Sunday mornings. If you have been following my blogs for the year, I have been writing a memoir of my father, what I have learned from him, how it pertains to what I learn with my patients, and family stories and tools to help us to live fuller, whole and vital lives. Even to this day my Sundays are influenced by him in a good way. I have written about some of my negative learning experiences, and this is a positive one.
Sundays were a more leisure day which began with a morning adventure and then a breakfast outing. He worked a lot and was very available for his patients, and Sunday mornings felt like our time; me and dad sometimes, and often, me and the family except for our mother. Sunday mornings dad gave her a gift of sleeping in until we were older and she chose to join us. We would go to a park and hike, or we would take a long walk to a bakery and pick up goodies for breakfast, or we would go for a bike ride, or something equally active and outside. I think I got my love of walking and outside from him. After our activity, we would find a place to eat breakfast and we would all enjoy our time together.
My father died a few months ago, and as it is an end of an era, it is also freeing in many ways. If we think about it, I would imagine most of us are held in an active or passive influence by our parents. There are certain expectations they have from us towards them or in general, there are expectations of how we act and how we live and even how we think. There is something about an influential person in our lives passing that allows us and allows me to let a lot go that doesn’t serve me anymore. We can see things more clearly. I also miss him and realize how much he has given me, and am filled with appreciation for him, as well as also seeing how difficult and troubled he was in life and some of his ways of being influenced me and my siblings and others in ways that aren’t so good. The task for us is to see clearly and to accept others as they are, warts and all.
In fact, when my dad was on his death bed I had written a letter for him. He couldn’t read anymore nor understand much, so my sister was going to read it to him. In the letter, I expressed how I saw him and the good and the bad and that I saw his true self and that I don’t blame him, I love him. My sister phoned me and asked if I wanted her to read it to him and I decided that no, I didn’t. I asked her to just tell him that I see him and that I love him warts and all. That night he died.
Seeing clearly, or as clearly as we can, is a very freeing experience. It takes a lot of work and the ability to hold two things at the same time: our inner sense of self and focus, and an outer awareness of things and those around us is an important skill to develop. What memories do you have that influence you in both good and positive ways, and also in not so good ways? Do you have a Sunday ritual that is important to you, and where did that come from? I would love to hear your sharings.
Small Changes that Promote Big Results:
This is a simple exercise to use memories and how they help us.
Get a piece of paper and a pen. Write out the first memory that comes to you that has importance to you. You don’t have to know why; just let it pop in. Take a moment and look at the memory and write out what and how it is a good memory for you, and what and how it might be not so good. What did you learn from the memory and how has it influenced you?
If you want to do this with another memory, please do. The more we do the more we learn. And again, if you would like to share your experience, I would love to hear from you.