Happy Father’s Day… and Whitney Houston

I wanted to honor my Dad this Father’s Day in a way that will create space for heart opening for those who may have have difficulty celebrating Father’s day due to strained or estranged relationship with their Dad (or Mom) (and money).

Believe it or not, the patterns we picked up as children greatly affects how money flows in and out of our life. I will elaborate another time. My intention today is to create space for healing and forgiveness.

I didn’t think there was anything to forgive or let go when it came to my relationship with my Dad. I was Daddy’s baby girl and was proud of it. I have no doubt in my mind he loved me. I loved him, too, so much that I blocked most of my childhood memories.

But whatever I conveniently forgot all came crashing back around the time of Whitney Houston’s death. I was already feeling like shit and had already alienated my Mom, siblings and very close friends. Her death and her music triggered me.

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Her songs were my inspiration and guiding light. I believed in each and every word. So I was sad to lose all that she represented to me and devastated that the woman I admired and mimicked died the way she did.

This was me at 20 belting out a Whitney Houston song “You Give Good Love”

But even in her death, she gave me a gift. A wake up call. To open my eyes to what I was not willing to see. To open my eyes and face my demons or continue to die inside and not fully realize all that I was meant to be.

To date, it was my darkest hour. After a meltdown at work, I didn’t know who to turn to anymore. On the outside I was happy, but deep inside I was in so much pain. Nobody seemed to understand or listen at least not at the level that I needed to be heard.

Thus begun my obsession to find out why people self sabotage. My happiness and peace of mind depended on it. It was my key to true freedom.

I came across a book by Dr. David Hawkins “When pleasing others is hurting you” that blew me away. I learned that children of alcoholics are people pleasers, codependent and terrified of abandonment.

Me? Terrified of abandonment? I had been living independently on my own, singlehandedly raising my kids, not bothering anybody for help, and I am afraid to be alone and abandoned? Are you kidding me?

I was livid.

I didn’t know what was true anymore.

My mind wasn’t buying it. But my body told me it was true. And it felt so good to be found out and set free. I felt liberated.

But immediately came shame. I felt so ashamed.

Coz if it were true that I was nothing but a people-pleasing, co-dependent fraidy cat, then who the hell was that woman who was acting like she could do it all on her own not needing anything from anyone?

Who the hell was she and where the hell was she now?

My mind raced. I couldn’t even hear myself think anymore. The voices that took over chattered nonstop. They were vicious and unforgiving and fighting amongst themselves.

Guess who quickly followed shame and dominated the scene? Self doubt.

Nothing kills self-trust, self-esteem and self-confidence faster than self-doubt. Self doubt partnered with the inner critic and they both got a kick out of self-flagellation. All of a sudden I was my own worst enemy.

Why not? I was already everyone’s enemy. I could feel their contempt and judgment burning me alive. Oh God. I was in hell.

Little did I know it was my own self contempt and judgment that was burning me alive and killing me inside.

Looking back I am so thankful I learned the skills  to face my demons without turning into drugs or alcohol. It was excruciating. I thought I was gonna die. But I made it out alive and happier and freer than I have words to express.

What’s this got to do with my father?

Whitney died February 11, 2012. I learned to meditate exactly 2 weeks after her death on my 45th birthday. I signed up for a lenten retreat called Centering Prayer not knowing then it was equivalent to transcendental meditation.

“The spiritual journey,” writes Thomas Keating, “is not a career or a success story. It is a series of humiliations of the false self that becomes more and more profound. These make room inside us for the Holy Spirit to come in and heal.”

I was desperate to practice more frequently so I went outside my church and joined other groups as well. When I received an email welcoming me to an Alcoholic Anonymous support group, I almost did not go.

But I went. And in that moment, I saw my Dad speaking to me through one of the speakers. He was saying how weak he was to not reach for the bottle and that he didn’t mean to abandon me. Tears fell. It was cleansing. It was healing.

And all of a sudden my heart swelled with compassion that I never knew I was capable of. I finally understood why people and myself self sabotage. With that understanding and compassion came forgiveness.

This is my Father’s Day message –

Your Dad never meant to hurt you or anyone. He was just trying to cope with his own pain, his own self hatred and self judgment.

We are all searching for our true self –  the UNCONDITIONED SELF that is free from fear, separation, and lack.

I will end with a quote and prayer from Marianne Williamson:

“Being caught in anger, judgment, and blame is disempowering; it throws us out of our center; it puts us at the effect of the lovelessness of someone else. To be there for a while is one thing; to stay there and try to justify it is wrong-minded and will not lead to peace.

There is a way to hold such feelings in a sacred rather than chaotic way, so they heal us rather than poison us.” — From The Gift of Change

 

Dear God,
Please teach me to forgive myself and others.
Remove the walls that keep love out, behind which I am prisoner.
Heal my guilt and remove my anger, that I might be reborn.
Make gentle my heart and strong my spirit, and show me how to love.
Amen
~Marianne Williamson~

And thank you, Papa. I love you. I feel you all the time when I am in meditation. And I like knowing you’re my angel then and now.

Happy Father’s Day.