It’s Sunday morning, June 21, 2020 as I write this. It’s Father’s Day here in the US.
September 25th will be the 100th anniversary of my father’s birth. He died at 86. In the photo, my father, Walter Hewitt, is 30 years old.
If I want to move beyond the sentimental attachments and resentments that fill me when I look at this photo and seek an understanding of the karma of our relationship, how can I do that? How can I, with equanimity, parse out the impact he had on me? How can I distinguish all the parts of our relationship dramas and find my soul syntax, the language of my sense of self?
At 72, I am very much my own self in many ways, yet I remain rooted in being my father’s daughter dealing with my father wounds and my father blessings. Karma is so damn complex!
And who was he? How did his suffering bless me? How did his selfishness curse me? Why and when was he my hero? Why and when was he a demon?. Where was he fulfilled? Did he think he was a good father? Why did he abandon me?
You can see how I am working with the first Sacrament of Consciousness, Questions Only.
Can you take 15 minutes and begin to form your questions about the karma of your relationship with your father? If you get triggered and overwhelmed with sentiment, sorrow, attachment, simply return to the center of your soul by closing your eyes and breathing deeply. Your questions arise from the center of your being and also lead you there. (I love the irony, here.)
Then explore the karma through the second Sacrament, Poetic Imagination. Go through your photographs. Make photocopies and then make a collage. Add images from art and nature. Use colors and words. Let your soul find a visual expression of the karma.
Or write a poem or a fairy tale. This activity may imagine the shadow, the desired dream, or a detail of connection or impact.
The first two Sacraments will free you to then enter into the third Sacrament of Biographical Reflections to see the drift of karma. Do an emotional timeline. Focus on one small event. Find a moment when your father protected you, provided you with something you needed. Recall him giving you moral or creative direction? Did he ever see into your emerging selfhood and name you? Or was there a pattern of abuse or neglect? Calmly live into the impact.
Finally, with the fourth Sacrament, you find Courageous Self-Expression. write down your new insights, your new understanding of why this individuality incarnated to be your father and why you chose him to be your father. Be courageous here. Find the words. They will redeem the karma and celebrate it.
You don’t need to do this all in one day or in one year. Just spending a few moments with one of the Sacraments will begin your journey to the karmic wisdom living in Father’s Day.