Saturday, January 2, 2016

My Father and I

You don't have to try so hard.
You don't have to give it all away.
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up.
You don't have to change a single thing.
(Colbie Caillat, Try)

It was a rude awakening I had some 15 years ago when I took golf classes at the Delhi golf course. No, it was not just the realization that I really sucked at this game, it was even more depressing than that; I realized that I had incredible back pain when the coach asked me to assume the right golf stance. What I had not realized until then was that already at the age 35 I had walked slightly hunched over. The good news, I knew what to do about it. I hit the gym and I built my muscles. I used every opportunity there is to sit or stand upright, feeling my back muscles and being upright like a German oak. The symbol of being hunched over is that of having the weight of the world on your shoulders. Why that may have been even true, I would be sure to do something about it, both mentally and physical.

A few years later I realized why I was so afraid; I discovered how my father's illness deteriorated. He got more hunched over year after year, and as the years went by, even lost the ability to move without the assistance of a walker. Yes, my father was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. He was a judge in the family court, deciding the fate of children, mothers and fathers in case of divorces; despite his beautiful mind, his genuine and loving nature, he was in no position to handle this emotional toll the job took of him. He developed bi-polar - an emotional disorder disease. His demanding job and the disease destroyed him over the years. For some reason unknown to me he never took the medication to help minimizing the symptoms. And also for no reason known to me, my family never had the will to impose it on him despite his protest. I was 4000 miles away from him, watching helplessly how his life and health went downhill.

I can't speak for my father's soul contract. I know that in his final years his soul had made peace despite the fact that his physical conditions continued to deteriorate. I don't know why he felt that he had to take this sacrifice, but I do know that he has given me the opportunity not to go down the same road. They say that there is a 50 percent chance to develop bi-polar genetically, and I am the one within our family closest to him. Well, that's how it might end up in the aggregate, but as an individual I very much have a choice in this. In the last years when my father lived I realized that I have the same emotional imbalance in myself, and was part of a very similar movie set. As a financial strategist, a beautiful mind with little emotional awareness was facing the overwhelming roller coaster stress of global financial markets. My co-author and friend Su Zhen helped me open up to my emotional side, putting thoughts and feelings on equal footing for the first time in my life. I made many changes spiritually, in my behavior, and professionally. Today, I would be the first to just walk out of my job if it gets too overwhelming. I owe that to myself, my family and my friends.

We have a choice, and we always have an opportunity at hand to do things a little differently than the previous generation. We never know whether the sacrifices of our parents were their mistakes, their soul contracts, or a little bit of both. Be it as it may, but we have a choice to do better. "Sacrifice is a notion totally unknown to God", states the Course in Miracles. So let's make sure that we do not lose sight of God's Plan as we face life's complexity.

We see the choices of the giants on whose shoulders we stand, and they have put us in a position to do even better than they. It is our mission to aim high with their help, but please not without undermining our spiritual and physical health. Yes, the heart and the soul need to get what they want, but so does God. And let's not forget in all the moving and striving, we should always leave a little homework behind for the next generation. For it is their birth-right to have the chance to even outgrow us. We simply don't have to try so hard, as Colbie Caillat puts it so well in her song "Try". Children need their parents; let's reach for the stars together in that inter-generational soul contract, while staying grounded at the same time. Let's return Home hand-in-hand, father and son. I love you Papa, and always will!

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