I am missing my dad. He died in 2008. This was two years after he had been told he was going to die in 6 months, and was subsequently kicked out of hospice when he was trying to get out of bed and they discovered that every bit of cancer in his 82 year old body had disappeared for the time being.
I miss him because I have been truly living full-on every day, and that just makes me want to share my life with him even more. I want him to meet my partner, Thai, and know I am with someone who truly loves me and celebrates me. I want them to sit side-by-side on a riverbank and laugh about me, and for my dad to tell stupid stories about my adolescent fiascoes, or how I found a beer in the neighbor’s backyard when I was 4 years old and then he found me dancing on the windowsill when no one was looking. (Some things never change – except now I don’t mind if people are looking;). I want to show him my cute house in Ashland and let him sit in my hammock under the colorful array of leaves draped above it, I want him to see our land in Alaska and show him moose and bear and fantastic scenery.
I want to show him these beautiful places – tell him stories of my adventures in Africa, the mountains in Alaska, our sailing to snowy peaks and living in a yurt. My pack-rafting trips and my business adventures and celebrations. I want him to witness all I am creating. You see – when you are living fully, you WANT others to watch. Especially those who love you. And you want others to watch not because of ego, but because you want them to see what magic is possible for them. Like: hey, look at me! I’m flying! So can you!!!!!”
I know he would be so proud of the work I am doing, which he would see as me helping people to see God/Source/the Universe in themselves. I used to take him to Muir Woods and he would stop, look straight up at the towering redwoods with sunbeams filtering through the branches, and say, “THIS is my cathedral. Let’s stop and pray.” I want to tell him how much his whackiness inspired me to dance to my own drummer, how he taught me loving and accepting others was more important than trying not to be embarrassed, I want to tell him how no matter how many mistakes he made, that I’d do it all again with him, because I am so fucking happy right now.
Fortunately, I have already said these things to him. I just want to tell him again and hold him. Smell him. Hear his voice.
I suppose the only thing I worry about is that he might feel I am not happy. He was worried about me for a bit because when he died, I had just gotten divorced, and he really wanted me to have a family. However, in the end I know people don’t die and worry about their relatives. They are stoked because they see truth, the emptiness of our suffering and how, in the end, it is all beautiful and perfect and as it should be. And they are rooting for us to figure all that out here and now, because this, my friends, is an epic playground;)
I have some of his ashes here with me in this remote Alaskan village I am at for the next few days. Thai is here too. We are going to try to go to a spot by the majestic Kuskokwim River and sprinkle some of his ashes there. Maybe he can “See” the moose and fish as he flots by, the thunder clouds and lightning, the reflections of the mountains when the water is still…One day I will run out of his ashes, as I try to take a little wherever I go. But until then, it feels really really good to be able to share this with him on a somewhat physical level.
Happy Father’s Day, dad. You truly amaze me.
PS: I am really sorry for the lag in posts. You see, I have been migrating ALL my other material over to one site, FreedomJunkie.com, as well as working on its re-design (all the new eye candy is almost ready to be made live!), moving to Alaska, trying to sell/rent my house in Ashland, launch the next Ziji Up Mastery Program (which started today – yay!), and more. But we’re back in the game. Thanks for waiting!
Note: Ana Neff is a personal life coach, guide and FreedomJunkie™ She helps individuals awaken their lives of freedom and personal success with confidence, clarity, self-love, and passion. Her monthly Jedi Juice™ eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. Her Full-On 365 blog posts stem from her commitment to living full-on, every day, for 365 days in a row. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by visiting FreedomJunkie.com (note: it’s new look will be up to rock your world soon)! Sign up for her next FREE Jedi Juice Training call on the Law of Attraction at anaverzone.com/jedi-juice
Wow…so sometimes when you live full on, the Universe reminds you of exactly how happy this makes her, and how much more beautiful the world is because of it.
When I was facing a serious cancer and going through my inventory of possible regrets, I had but one major one. I was pretty happy about that. I had learned enough to attempt to appreciate life regularly, and had spent all of my 20s adventuring all over the world. I had begun deep healing in my relationships with my parents. I was a whacky but fiercely loyal friend and partner. And I had learned to be compassionate with myself about using the word “regret.”
I had a general rule that if I learned from the experience and made amends for it, I could call it a mistake or a lesson, rather than a regret. But let me tell you this: when looking at not being able to do anything about a regret cuz you may die, even one regret SUCKS.
So…I am guessing you’re wondering: What was my ONE major regret? It had to do with LOVE, of course! I had one great love that I had not fully appreciated or done everything I could for. We met in Kathmandu in our 20s, and all sorts of social “rights” and “wrongs” (too soon after a breakup so maybe I wasn’t clear…having to do the responsible thing…yada yada) kept me from saying “yes” when he asked, “Will you come ride a motorcycle with me through Cambodia and Laos?” Or months later when he came to visit me en route to Antarctica.
We kept in touch, regularly. We had 2-3 hour phone conversations (even until recently!). We tried to date but were always on different continents. Not different continents like North vs South America. Like Antarctica vs North America. That made it challenging.
Then I pushed him away by doing some hurtful things that I didn’t know were hurtful at the time…probably because my heart was closed off after hearing he was dating a woman in Antarctica, or dating a woman in Alaska. Sheesh. How embarrassing. Apparently those things kind of kept him from opening his heart to me anymore then. Fair enough. You can’t expect someone to open their heart to you if yours is squeezing shut.
We talked about “us” and resigned ourselves to the fact that while we both wanted to be together and give it a go, perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be in this lifetime. It was too difficult to make it happen. So we became “just” friends. REALLY good friends. Like he called me from the South Pole, or sent me little trinkets from Egypt or Bolivia when he would barely email anyone else, and called me when he was having a really hard decision to make. Or like I would call him when something awesome happened in my life…like, oh, say…when I got engaged.
We had promised each other we’d tell the other person – not matter how distanced we may ever become – if either of us got engaged. I can safely say we both assumed this was to give the other person a last chance to go for it.
So I called him. And he sounded surprised, then…he congratulated me.
I hate to admit it now, but I was indeed disappointed. It might have been wise to listen to that. It could have spared me my later divorce (albeit an amicable one, for my ex was indeed a super awesome man). However, I was young on my path to understanding my intuition then. I had chalked it up to “grass is greener” syndrome. Plus, he had a girlfriend he met in Antarctica that swam to islands in Fiji with him with a plastic bag tied around their ankle full of their belongings. WTF. How can you top that when you’re stuck doing 12 hour shifts at a hospital while in graduate school in San Francisco (albeit also squeezing in Yosemite walls and climbing trips to Australia, alone)? You don’t. You just are happy for him, that’s what. Sheesh.
In any event, as I was preparing for my cancer excision and renal auto-transplant in 2004, wondering how sick I was (or how sick I was going to be), I thought of HIM. That relationship was my one “What if.” HE was the one thing I had wished I had gone for fully. Not pushing him away. Not making up stupid excuses. Not waiting until it was convenient or easy. And now I was married, and he was about to be engaged (although I didn’t know that at the time), and both our partners were totally amazing. Fuck.
So I let it go.
I KNOW, right?! But I wanted to do what seemed like the “right thing” then… and a big part of me still feels good about that.
In any event, I tell you all this because the Universe is supposed to have come in and given me props for all my full-on living thus far. And she did.
The past few days when I wasn’t writing here, I was fully experiencing love with HIM. I am 38, and I am finally with him. I know now that the decade+ delay was all for good reasons. We appreciate each other even more now, that’s for sure. We learned to love one another as friends. We REALLY know each others’ crap, and knowing that the other person still wants to be with us after all that is rather lovely. And we learned many things in our other relationships that we didn’t have to learn with each other, which surely spared some heartache. And there are many other things to celebrate about having surrendered to the Universe back then. But no matter what, all I know is I am absolutely receiving love from him, fully and completely. And dishing it out.
Yes yes, we are building our lives together, and making all those plans and talking about kids etc. But for me, the point is that I AM FINALLY ABLE TO LOVE HIM FULLY, LIKE I ALWAYS WANTED TO. And I am receiving his love fully, like I never let myself do before. To be honest, even if we don’t stay together “forever,” I can die knowing I experienced my great love. And that is so much better than a “What if.”
Many of you could call my bluff…if you’ve truly been dealing with dying before you were ready before. I have to admit, there’s nothing like that to get you to realize exactly HOW SHITTY it feels to have “What ifs” when you are possibly going to die much sooner than you ever thought possible.
And now I got a second chance. How often does that happen? Probably not often, because actually we also have a huge part in CREATING those second chances ourselves, and we often give up too soon. But having said that, THANK YOU for this second chance (to all involved)!
It wasn’t an easy peasy “I’ll call you and let’s meet up for coffee” kind of thing. We were still almost a continent apart. When we both first opened up to this possibility again, he was heading off to China, and after that trip he returned to his home-base in Alaska (I was currently in Oregon). Getting to be with him took some balls this time around too. I really had to take some risks, and so did he. But it was so worth it. So very, very worth it.
I was talking to a client the other day about wanting to protect our hearts, and I was reminded of my new willingness for it to get hurt again as long as I am honoring my truth all the while. It is NOT worth protecting it at the price of possibly not loving fully again (there are wise ways to do this, but that’s another post;) The risks, while scary, are part of the dealio.
So the past few days have been me receiving fully and loving fully. And I find little notes from him in my stuff, and I watch him sleep and I’m like, “HOLY SHIT! I am with him! Like I always felt I should be! This is SO WEIRD! And so incredibly cool.” Talk about patience and faith and trust. And risk-taking. And … who knows what else.
But what I DO know is that had I not been committed to living Full On, to not making excuses, to not wasting any more of my precious life energy doing anything I do not want to be doing, to being willing to take the risks…I could have missed out on this. All of it.
If you’ve vomited after this, I completely understand. For me, it is The Notebook in real life, after all. Well, The Notebook minus the horse races and white picket fence and white people and one of us being an aristocrat part. Well, minus lots of things from that…but PLUS many more of our own flavahs.
I’ll admit that I own The Notebook, and everyone told me it was Hollywood bullshit, by the way. And yes, I know many of you are devastatingly disappointed by my admitting that, but oh well;) It is the only love story movie I own. The rest are Kung Fu flicks and the Star Wars series. However, I bought it because when I watched it, it reminded me not that my true love was still out there “somewhere,” but that life was too short to make up excuses for not living fully.
I liked being reminded of that, because for me it did so not in a woo woo way, or in a bullshit “Hollywood is trying to make you feel bad about your life” kind of way, but in a “Cut the BS and get off yer ass and go get it, even if you end up disappointing others by staying true to yourself. Life is too short!” type of way. I think it was because I KNEW that was true for me, and I needed to be reminded not to make up excuses anymore. I wasn’t waiting for my prince charming. I just had to have the balls to stop getting in my own way about it.
I still really do believe that it is not about if we stay “together forever” that defines true love, but rather this expansive wholeness that I feel in my heart. To feel this, even only for a brief while, is kissing God. So although I have every reason to believe this is a continuation of another lifetime and will continue to be so, this really, truly, for realz, is enough.
So have you not told someone you care for about your heart? Have you not forgiven someone who desperately wants you to? Have you not apologized for hurting someone, even if you didn’t mean to? Today, PLEASE do something about one thing that you would regret if you put it off. You never know what second chances might open up for you.
PS: I also skied up Near Point and watched cool sunsets;)
Note: Ana Neff is a personal life coach, guide and FreedomJunkie™ She helps individuals awaken their lives of freedom and personal success with confidence, clarity, self-love, and passion. Her monthly Jedi Juice ™ eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. Her Full-On 365 blog posts stem from her commitment to living full-on, every day, for 365 days in a row. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by signing up at anaverzone.com! Sign up for her next FREE Jedi Juice Training call at anaverzone.com/jedi-juice
Do you have a Box? I mean, THE box. The box that holds all those old pictures and love letters, cards, newspaper cutouts, plane ticket receipts, foreign money etc. Some would say Pandora’s Box;)
I had one of those boxes. Today, I went through it and – gasp! – threw stuff out! Full On.
It was a bittersweet tenderness. I looked at maps I collected over the years, ferry passes from sea crossings on my early travels, held money from various parts of Asia in my hand, and ticket stubs collected from fun first dates or with people I idolized (like my first ticket to see H.H. the Dalai Lama in person). I admitted, for example, that I really didn’t need the bulky napkin from a crazy guesthouse in Bangkok where I had stayed up all night with my friend dancing in wigs and sipping various concoctions with this “new” drink called Red Bull. I mean, really…I wasn’t going to bust that out with a grandkid on my lap one day. Maybe the story, but not the napkin;)
I also read beautiful letters from past boyfriends…many from more than a decade ago. I went through little packages they had made for me, sending them across mountains when I was working abroad or in the middle of Alaska or the Sierra Nevada in California.
As I read the loving words and saw the care put into the gifts, my heart twanged as I thought about how they might be doing now, how I feel so blessed to have been loved in such a beautiful way by them, and – yes – I wondered if they hated me.
For realz? For realz.
It takes a lot to disappoint another to honor yourself. Some of those breakups were ones that I wasn’t sure should happen, but I was trusting myself and what I needed, and honoring a future that would be better for both of us if we spent it apart. Inevitably, it was the right thing to do.
But still, I wondered if they hated me for breaking up. I really did love them, and I really wanted them to know that. I just, frankly, also loved myself more.
There…I said it.
While those relationships did indeed come to an end, it was good to remember that I have had some pretty amazing men in my life. I’ve been fortunate enough to generally have relationships in which we communicated well, were trusting, passionate, and involved a lot of life adventure in all shapes and sizes (pan to montage of me in couplehood laughing and frolicking in the mountains…).
Gag. I sound like the female version of Julio Iglesias right now. And I lack the accent to make up for the sappiness. Sorry.
In any event, they were great men, and I just didn’t want them to hate me. But ya know what? You can’t control something like that. I reminded myself that while I like to think of myself as a Jedi on some level, mind tricks were not my forte and I had to simply let go.
Then I wondered: why had I been holding on to all those letters and photos and poems etc anyway? Yes, part of it was lovely and sentimental.
But if I’m being Full On Honest with myself, the other part is because of the remnants of a poverty mentality around love. On some level, my holding on to these keepsakes was similar to the folks with financial poverty mindsets who hoard things, filling up a garage of items they never use in a poverty mindset because they are afraid they may never be able to afford to get another one should they need it someday. And things still sit there, never to be used.
It was like Chris Rock’s description of women’s “plutonic friends” being a – excuse my vulgarity – “Dick in a Glass Case.” Break in case of emergency. This was my Love in a Glass Case. Open, read, and maybe even call in case of a heart emergency.
I say “remnants” of a poverty mindset around love because I have proudly moved through the grittiest part of that at this point in my life (one of the COOLEST things ever about getting older!). I am very clear about who I am and what I want (at least a whole lot more clear than I’ve ever felt before!) and KNOW that I deserve every bit of it. That means I am much more willing to disappoint another in order to honor myself, and this is also more possible because I know there will be someone who will celebrate me and love me even as I fully honor myself: Myself. So, I have less of a need for Love in a Glass Case should an emergency arise.
It is indeed one thing to read through such letters and look over the photos and have internal sounds of “To All the Men I’ve Loved Before” going through my head. It is a whole other beast to toss things out. But I did.
EVERY SINGLE ONE of those things? Hell no!
OK…I admit…DID hold on to a handful of the cutest most intricate little gifts mostly because they seemed like art to me. At least that’s the bullshit excuse I gave myself. But I bet deep down it is because there is still the tiniest remnant of that poverty mentality left. And one day I am sure those final pieces of past loves will also leave my presence. In fact, I bet it will happen pretty soon. Like waiting one more month to bring that sweater you never wear to Goodwill.
The coolest part of this whole thing was finding a card from my current partner from over 12 years ago. We have finally arrived back into each others’ lives after many years – and many interim relationships. We met in Kathmandu when we were wee little ones (mid-20s). I recognized his writing on the back of a postcard and turning it over there was the old photo of an iconic Buddhist stupa he took me to on the back of his motorcycle in Bodhnath, Nepal. He had glued the photo to a thick piece of paper, sending it off to me as a postcard when I was in graduate school at UCSF. I held this in my hands for a long time, amazed at how a part of me always knew we’d end up together.
I stuck that postcard on the fridge for him to see when he came home. And I put a lot of other things from that box into the recycling bin, and others I burned ceremoniously. They deserved more than a landfill parting.
I sat there, quietly, happy that I was not feeling empty as a result of having let go. I felt more full, and at the same time, more spacious allowing love in the present to fill my cup.
Note: Ana Neff is known as the Freedom™ Mentor. She helps individuals awaken their lives, their businesses and their success with radiant inner confidence. Her monthly Freedom Junkie eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by visiting www.FreedomJunkie.com