Today is Father’s Day, and while so many take the opportunity to pause, reflect on, and honor their dad, it isn’t a celebration for everyone.
I’d like to share with you a little about my own father, who played a major role in accelerating my journey toward who I was to become. From helping me ride my first bike to eventually supporting my ideas and dreams, I always felt his love, and I went further because of that love. I believe that he did, too.
Yet our relationship had its challenges.
When I told my dad that I was going to be an author and write books for the world, he sarcastically said, “Dream on, kid!”
So, I did.
I dreamed. I created. I wrote the books.
And I taught myself how to live a juicy, wildly succulent life!
(I’d love to support YOU in doing the same, through my all-new course, Succulent Wild Woman: Your Magical Life Blueprint for More Creativity, Love and Joy. You can enroll here.)
It can be challenging to either participate in or ignore the holiday called “Father’s Day” if your father or father figure is/was any of the following: difficult, distant, absent, challenging, abusive, lost, mentally disordered, unloving, or rageful.
The truth is, the imprint of challenging fathers calls for a lifetime of integration.
That’s why I decided to create a new holiday tradition, and I’m calling it “Furthers Day.”
It’s an acknowledgment of how many fathers further great things—and you can carry that furthering even further, even if there are, or were, challenging aspects of your relationship.
My dad did a lot of fabulous furthering, as we were challenged by the difficulties of relating to, and loving, each other:
When he was absent for so much of my childhood, I learned how to love myself.
When he couldn’t express or share his feelings, I created innovative ways to feel and express mine and help others to do the same.
I went further, because of the challenges of our relationship.
In fact, my dad helped me further so many good things in my life!
Witnessing his 46-year marriage to my mother, he furthered my love of myself and belief in partnership. More of a “secret investor” in my projects behind the scenes, his reticence to show his love furthered my insistence that we speak of and show it.
After eventually clearing up so many grudges and withholdings of love, I shared this quote with him. It also became the primary way I learned to further love my dad, after he physically departed in 1996:
“And throughout all eternity, I forgive you; you forgive me.” – William Blake
A note here about forgiveness: I do not believe it’s necessary to forgive, in order to love. I also believe that people rush to forgive as a form of spiritual bypassing to avoid feeling all the feelings first. Forgiveness happens over time, and in layers, as we disentangle from embodied memories and experiences we had.
Perhaps you can relate. Even if it’s not around your father, we’ve all had people in our lives who we have either chosen to forgive, or not.
And hopefully, along our journeys, however different they may be, we women come to realize for ourselves that our greatest joy comes from living like a succulent: succulent plants give themselves what they need—holding extra water they collect from the environment and sharing from the overflow later.
In that way, we cease searching for things outside ourselves to fill us up. We fill OURSELVES up, from the inside out … just like a succulent.
I’ve designed my all-new course, Succulent Wild Woman, to guide you in doing exactly that.
You can join me by enrolling here: https://planetsark.com/succulentwildwoman
Today, in the spirit of furthering the further, I’d like to leave you with a piece I wrote when my dad asked me to write a poster for dads. I later published it in my book. I hope you can take something from it to pedal into your own new world, too.
How To Forgive Your Father
I’m not daddy’s little girl.
I’m a mountain lion in a skirt with prayers in my heart.
When I asked my dad what he wanted in a “dream daughter,” he said, “I wanted a daughter who would wear an apron and make soup from a ham bone.”
I’m a vegetarian who doesn’t cook.
My “fantasy father” would be super literary and work at home.
My father was a traveling salesman who struggled with spelling.
When I was 4, my dad’s head was as big as the world! I rode on his shoulders, clasping his forehead with my tiny hands and laughing as we ran through the grass.
Together we were taller than God.
My dad held my red Schwinn bike as I balanced my first solo trip, and ran alongside before letting me go to pedal into a new world.
My dad always got mad at dinner and I thought it was because of me so I sat up straight and tried to do it all perfect and he still yelled.
His dad got mad at dinner too.
I finally learned that when I could show softness, my dad could show support. I wish I’d had more time to be with him.
I remember whisker rubs and “serious talks” and standing on his feet to dance around the kitchen.
He tied my ice skates double-tight, and there was always love—large and raw and imperfect.
When I prowl through all the prayers in my heart, and in certain photographs in a special kind of light, I can see my dad’s face inside my own, saying “Stick with me kid!”
I know now that he loves me in his language—that the past stuff is just fog on the mirror- that the little girl inside never stopped loving him.
She feels the love and forgives the pain.
Hey dad! I’ll love you forever you know.
In memory of Arthur James Kennedy—my dad.
And to all the wonderfull fathers who furthered someone or something, THANK you.
P.S. One of the things we’ll work on together during Succulent Wild Woman: Your Magical Life Blueprint for More Creativity, Love and Joy is to release familial, societal, and personal expectations, so you can truly focus on what YOU want.
No matter where you are in your own journey, you can go further … you can reconnect with your self, reach your highest potential, be a more fulfilled parent/partner/friend/daughter, and LIVE WITH MORE JOY!
Enroll now, and give yourself permission to love yourself, FULLY: https://planetsark.com/succulentwildwoman