As it does most years, Father’s Day snuck up on me this year. I remembered it and then forgot about it many times until the day actually arrived, which is why I didn’t write about it last week. I only celebrated a handful of Father’s Days with my dad because he died in 1975. Because I have lived much more of my life without him, and since I don’t have children of my own, this holiday doesn’t stick in my mind.
I’m not sharing this to elicit sympathy. Of course, I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like had he lived longer, but life without my dad is mostly what I have known, so I don’t think about it much. My mom, my older brother and sisters, and even my mother’s longtime boyfriend did the best they could to fill that role when I was young. I felt very loved. Since then, many of my spiritual teachers have been like fathers to me, and for that I am extremely grateful.
That being said, in my adult years I never felt like I had much of a relationship with my father. That changed one special Father’s Day in 2002. That was the year I started regularly attending Sunday services at Unity on the Bay in Miami. The positive messages I was hearing from Rev. James Trapp along with the fun and uplifting music provided by the choir and music team were beginning to open my heart and mind even wider.
I showed up early on that third Sunday in June like I always did. It was standing room only if you didn’t get there by 10:45. I found an empty seat in the center section of the last row. The seat next to me was vacant too. As I pondered who might sit there, it occurred to me that perhaps that seat was for my dad. I didn’t think he would physically be sitting there, but his presence would be. I dismissed that thought as silly, knowing from past experience that one of the ushers would put someone in that seat after the meditation. To my surprise, that seat remained empty for the entire service. It might have looked empty, but I felt my father’s loving presence sitting there with me the whole time. My eyes are tearing up a little bit now just thinking about it.
From that day forward I have felt a connection with my dad like never before. I think he waited twenty-seven years for my heart and mind to open to that possibility. Ten years later, during my very first Family Constellation, I had another profound experience with my dad. Not only did it strengthen our connection, but it also released me from a false belief I didn’t even know I was carrying. That’s the miracle of Family Constellations. Even though I only knew my dad in the physical world a short time, I’m happy to say that today I feel his love and support behind me very strongly.
I know some of you reading this had a father with whom you did not feel safe or loved. Some of you may not have known your father. If that is the case, or if there was abuse of any kind, I understand why it might be difficult to imagine having any connection with him at all. However, I would encourage you to open your heart and your mind (like I did on that Father’s Day in 2002) to the possibility that the highest version of your dad wants to love and support you. This is the version that was never hurt by his life experiences. This is his true self that only knows pure, unconditional love. This is the version that wants to stand behind you when you’re ready. You are safe with this version.
Having facilitated or participated in hundreds of Family Constellations over the past six years, I have seen how accepting this love and support (no matter how challenging the relationship might have been) has healing ripple effects beyond what could be imagined. Closing your heart to one of your parents is like a jumbo jet flying with only one engine. You can do it, but you will fly much more efficiently and for longer distances with both engines. Let me be clear. This doesn’t mean you have to be in their physical presence. It is only an invitation to open a window in your mind and heart to allow unconditional love in so you can soar to new heights.
If you could use some assistance in this endeavor, I highly encourage you to try a group or private Family Constellations session. What happens in these sessions is usually beyond description and incredibly liberating. Most participants say that afterwards, they feel lighter and more at peace than they have in a long time. For more information or to set up an appointment, please visit my website or send me an email. I would be honored to help you open that window allowing you to live a happier, healthier, more prosperous life.
Until next time, be on the lookout for signs from your loved ones on the other side. Love is always trying to find ways to reach you!
“Communication is not limited to the small range of channels the world recognizes.“
A Course in Miracles M-25.2