I find it so ironic that three years ago today, I was in Key West, clinging in hope that my Dad would pull through a severe alcohol detox. When I arrived in June 2015, he was barely able to talk, walk, eat or reason. Many of you know our story. As I miraculously relocated him back to Ohio and into an environment of love and safety, he fully improved. For the the last 18 months, he has lived independently, doing almost all the things he had hoped to do; namely, living free. Free of toxicity, free of judgement, free of guilt, free of feeling trapped. Free to live his life as he wanted to.
It’s funny how our lives are so cyclical.
Here we are, three years later…almost back where we started. I thought Father’s Day three years ago was hard, but today have topped the charts. Yes, I am blessed because my Dad is still with me. I’m blessed that he is my best friend and I’m blessed that our conversations have been and will always be from the soul.
My Dad is completely aware of his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, but struggles with understanding how this disease impacts his mind and body. Likewise, he struggles to communicate in general about his own thoughts and feelings. His own space/time continuum and his world is based on HIS perception of how things are unfolding, which may or may not be accurate to reality.
One thing is for certain, we still communicate at a soul level. This morning at breakfast, we entertained a conversation most families sweep under the rug…a conversation about mortality. Specifically, the fact that he does not like living this way, unaware of whether his perception matches the reality of the rest of the world. The reflection in the mirror is not the person he knows.
As the conversation unfolded, I spoke to my own awakening process…and the fact that I have experienced spiritual vibrational energy at a level that transcends the physical being. As such, I have been able to encounter and receive my mother’s spirit in a number of ways – mostly represented symbolically in the physical sense, but also through the feeling of her presence energetically.
All at once, he looked at me and said “That would actually be so cool. Baby, we can communicate no matter where I am”.
I said, “Dad, we do that today and whether you are here physically or not, we will always have our soul connection. You are always with me and I with you.”
His response, “Well, I think that’s okay. Maybe it’s time your mom needs a little break. Maybe I could take over looking after you from where she is on Thursdays and Fridays.”
Some of you may chuckle at the comment. But those of you who know him and who know us best get it. That conversation unveiled a spiritual connection, an awareness of physical mortality and an even better awareness of what lies ahead in the life after life. Not the typical “Father’s Day conversation”, but a conversation that this man embraced.
This man is brave. This man is wise. This man is soul. This man is my Daddy. And we will always be connected at the soul level.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. Soul to Soul.
I’ve seen many social media posts this week taunting “Really 2016!?” or “I’m DONE with you, 2016”. Many have jumped on the bandwagon and indeed, it was a crazy year for obvious reasons.
For me, 2016 was a year of firsts as well as a year of lasts; but in my eyes, 2016 was a great year. I learned many valuable lessons this year and hope that by sharing my top 3, you too will look back with a healthy perspective and embrace these lessons as we approach a new year; for they are timeless:
Lesson 1: Loving Yourself is Not Selfish
Ever since I can remember, I tried to do everything “right” to please others. Amy Pearson would have called me an approval addict. I was raised to put others first, to give as opposed to receive, to be selfless. The “perfect life” playbook said you were supposed to graduate from college, get married, get a job, have kids, pursue your career, buy a house and you will “have it all”. So, I did all that.
What the playbook didn’t mention is this: if you don’t practice loving-kindness toward yourself or allow yourself to experience joy without self-judgement along the way, the process is pointless. It also neglects to mention that if you don’t genuinely love yourself, you’ll never believe you’re good enough.
For many years, I was convinced the playbook was working; but the harder I tried to make others happy, the more insignificant I felt. In 2016 while in the process of my divorce, I learned the most valuable life lesson ever: Stop trying to make everyone else happy and practice loving-kindness toward yourself.
It’s not selfish, it’s not narcissistic, it’s not egocentric. It’s essential to become grounded, remain stable and a beautiful portal for self-discovery and personal growth.
My favorite Brene Brown quote is “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” Loving yourself is the first step in that embrace.
Lesson 2: Keep your Dreams Alive
18 months ago, I transported my Dad from Key West to Ohio. He experienced acute alcohol withdrawal and detox, then was diagnosed with irreversible dementia. A year ago, I asked the head nurse at his secured assisted living facility, “Do you think my Dad will ever leave this place?”
I received a somber “No, Julie. He probably won’t”.
I told her I disagreed; that I knew there was more for him. From that point on, there has been no stopping him.
With each transition, we dreamed. From secured assisted living, to unsecured assisted living, to independent living, we talked, we contemplated, we relished on the “what ifs” and the “wouldn’t it be greats” of life. Mid 2016, he dreamed of having his own apartment in the Short North, within walking distance of people, places, LIFE. Today, he lives there.
Never, ever lose sight of your dreams. Every day, take steps to make them real.
Lesson 3: Live in a Place of Love & Knowing
Living in love and knowing means to live confidently; to know that you are divinely created for a purpose and to know that all your needs will be met. It means knowing that your life is unfolding exactly as it’s supposed to.
I have lived from a place of fear as long as I’ve been an approval addict (they seem to go hand in hand):
Living in fear clings to objects, people and places.
Living in fear says “I’m not good enough”, “I’m a failure” or “I’ll never______”.
Imperfections or “not measuring up” are glorified when living in fear.
Living in fear fosters a mindset of “I don’t have enough (money, clothes, food…)”
Fear avoids the future because of the unknown.
A love-based existence detaches and knows that a situation will turn out exactly as it’s supposed to.
Love knows and says, “I will walk through this ring of fire and become my highest, best and most authentic self in the process.”
Living in gratitude and abundance evolves from a day-to-day immersion in unconditional love and knowing all needs will be met.
Love embraces the future because of the known.
2016 was the year I learned how to live from a place of love and knowing. My intentional mantra for 2016 was ABUNDANCE. Instead of manifesting “not enough” with fear, I sat confidently; knowing that I would be blessed.
Was I ever.
May you be well, may you fondly remember 2016 and may you embrace these lessons as 2017 approaches!
Julie Cline is a Certified Life Coach, Reiki Master, Certified Meditation Instructor and Speaker whose goal is to guide, encourage and help heal individuals who have spent much of their lives trying to be everything to everyone but who have neglected themselves in the process. If you’re looking for space and support so you can become clear and confident about who you are and what you want from your life, contact Julie or apply for your complimentary Heart To Heart Session today.