Lessons from My old man on the bench
I’m not sure how to start this one. Truth is, I’m wobbling right now, as so many of us are in the World. There is uncertainty. Fear. Not knowing where we’re going or if we’re ever going to get ‘there’. ‘This’ has become the ‘new’ normal – they say – and although I may seem like I have things under control – rest assured that I too have my moment of Falling Apart. I’m not very different from where you are right now in your own minds . We all have a set of reality which varies – yet is all the same. We try to do this to counteract our thoughts. We try to do that – to ward off fear and panic : we are simply doing the best we can, with what we know, IN this very moment. I’m not different from you – yet I was blessed with one of the greatest teachers ever – my Father. Growing up, he taught me so many important lessons. I’m glad I listened and observed because it is in times such as theses that I find myself hearing his voice and thanking him for his lessons. Since I have nowhere to go at this moment, I thought that I could perhaps share a few lessons from my very own Old Man on the Bench. Let me start by saying that I thank the Universe for my numerous blessings countless times a day. It’s been a practice in my personal life for years now – one which I think hold even more weight these days. On my list I write: thank you for allowing my parents the gift of returning to Spirit World before this pandemic. I’ll leave it as such – because you may not understand how much of worriers my parents were. THIS event ? well – it would have destroyed them. However – this is not the time for this kind of conversation. I want to share with you a little bit about my Father and his wisdom.When I was ten years old, I nearly lost my Father. He had a rare form of tuberculosis – and was in the hospital in Toronto for almost 9 months in isolation. He was one of 3 cases of this strain which had ever been encountered – and he was sort of a guinea pig for the medical community. ( fun fact – I was treated also for this ‘thing’ – for 18 months – and thus I have always retained the ‘fragile’ adjective when it came to my health ) . Being in isolation for so many months, away from his family and alone taught him many lessons. He explained to me that Life was always a gift – one full of lessons – should you be attentive. He then went on to tell me that he ‘escaped’ this world of reality when he closed his eyes and fell asleep. He reiterated how reading lets you explore different worlds and ideas, and how Gregorian music can let you float on a cloud, even if you’re sinking to the lowest parts of your Life. I never forgot that – and eventually, he got better. And stronger – and moved on. Life took a few unexpected turns for him. He needed heart surgery – a quadruple bypass. Same story – he escaped through his arts, his heart and his books. He ‘traveled’ through time in space through books and other means, all while dealing with what Life gave him here. He made friends with artists. Musicians. Astronomers and authors. He taught me how it was to live with grace, all while exploring my own purpose. Again and again – he did this. He did this when he said goodbye to my mother as she was diving into Alzheihmers. He did this as he was navigating through my brother’s devastating stroke recovery. He reminded me of the importance to sit, be still and to embrace my challenges – but to also be aware that I was always able to escape, if only through my books and my imagination. No one could touch him there – no one could reach him there – nothing could hurt him there. He allowed no one to touch him – and to hurt him. It was his island – his place of solace – like Simon and Garfunkel described in so many of their songs. It’s become my way of Life.
How do I manage to be ‘so strong’ ? To find positivity in moments that are bizarre and could bring others to their knees ? The answer is simple : I allow these moments to get to me. I cry. I scream. I eat. I get angry – and then I remember the lessons my Father taught me: I listen to gregorian chants. I make my daily gratitude list. I paint. I take care of dying plants and nurse them back to Life. I write and I invent characters who have their own sets of woes. Yesterday, I decided to virtually walk the Camino Trail. I’ve been reading books about it. I’ve dreamt about it. I’ m even writing about it – all from my mind – all from my little space in the World – all from my imagination. I’m safe there – and no one can touch me. I escape the realities and the hurt, albeit temporarily, and I live in my own universes. I allow myself to recharge – and when I ‘return’ , I am more fully present for my family and friends – and we walk along this journey – a step at a time.I thought I’d share this with you: perhaps it may come as your own source of inspiration or comfort in these very uncertain times. I know that it helps me – and that my Father, as usual, knows best … Perhaps you should listen to his advice also …
If you’ll excuse me now, I’m off to read a few chapters of my book while I listen to some music – later on I’ll draft a few more paragraphs and smile ….
I’ll see you on the ‘flip’ side.
Life happens …
*Today marks the second anniversary of my dad’s transition to Spirit. I will forever miss him ….