Father’s shelter

Post written by Suraj Shah.

Father: one who provides, protects, and creates the environment for growth.

As young children in the playground at school, we would often boast “my daddy is the best!”

What makes your father the best?

When it comes to my dad, I certainly appreciate how he has always been our provider and protector. He has worked hard to keep a roof over our heads, whilst continuing to show his love through hugs and treats.

My earliest memory with dad was probably when I was 4 or 5 years old, when we were standing at the top of the staircase at our old house, and dad was teaching me how to tie my shoe laces. He did it with such care and patience.

A father’s shelter

Over the years, I remember dad for how he has:

  • taught my brother and I how to ride our bikes.
  • taught us how to put up lining paper and repaint the house.
  • taught us how to mow the lawn.
  • taught us how to swim.
  • helped us get onto our own two feet.

Even now, married and living in my own house, my dad recently guided me over the phone how to fix the overflowing toilet cistern. Previously I’d left it to dad to sort out issues to do with maintaining the house, but it’s a wonderful feeling to learn these DIY skills, whilst knowing that I can lean on dad if I need some guidance.

My father has certainly provided for us and protected us over the years, and even better, he has shown us how to become independent and even take care of those who depend on us.

Fear of losing dad

Within weeks of mum passing away in 2006, we had another death in the family.  On the day of mum’s uncle’s funeral, when the body was brought into the house and a pre-cremation ritual was taking place, I could see the sadness that the sons were facing at the loss of their father.

My dad was standing half way up the stairs, and at that moment, deep sorrow hit me.  I darted up the stairs, embraced dad and I started sobbing.  As tears flooded down my face, I held dad tighter and said “don’t leave so soon, I need you here”.  Fear of losing dad, a type of fear that I didn’t know I had, came to the surface, and I couldn’t stop sobbing.

Dad, having only recently lost his wife, did the best he could to comfort me.

Of course, I knew that anyone who is alive, will one day die.  I also knew that my father was not exempt from that.  So why did I sob so much?  Why did I fear the loss of my father? It was my attachment to dad.

Will dad always be around?

I take dad for granted.  I think he will always be around, will always be there to love me, to care for me, to protect me.

But going by how nature works, dad will not always be around.  One day he may face an accident, or he may die of natural causes, or he may change into someone I don’t recognise any more.  Anything could happen.

What would happen if I reduced my emotional attachment to my father?  Would I be free from pain if he is no longer around? I’m not talking about feeling numb, or loving him any less.  I’m talking about continuing to enhance the love I have for him, but minimise feelings of anger and emptiness that would arise from eventually losing him.

By taking the time to understand the true nature of reality, I would realise that my father, who was once born, will eventually die.  By thinking on this, I would learn to love my father, without being dependent on him being around. I would understand that a strong attachment to my dad is futile, but a bond of love without expectation, would help us have an enriching relationship for the time we have together.

So I continue to ask myself: “Should I reduce attachment to my father? Could I?  How?”

If your father is still with you, how would you answer this?  If your father is no longer around, what would you ask yourself?

(Photo courtesy of dariuszka)

Bucket list of a 15 year old

Post written by Suraj Shah.

Alice is a 15 year old with terminal cancer.

On her blog titled Alice’s Bucket List, she writes: “I’ve been fighting cancer for almost 4 years and now I know that the cancer is gaining on me and it doesn’t look like I’m going to win this one 🙁 I’m hoping to write in here as much as I can and I’m also going to show my bucket list which I’m trying to get done before I have to go. Hopefully, I’ll update as I tick each one.”

Alice has very much faced the fact that she may not be around for much longer. Her deteriorating health has already restricted her doing so much, but that still doesn’t stop her from writing out a list of all things she wants to do before she goes.

Such a brave young woman to recognise where she is at, what is likely to come, and what to do about it. Do take a look at Alice’s Bucket List, and see if there is something there that you could help cross off her list.

Whilst you’re there, consider writing your own list. What’s most important for you in your life? Where do you want to go? Why? Who do you want to meet? Why? What do you want to do? Why? Be sure to get to the why. Don’t miss out on the why. Get to the heart of why you want to do what is on your list. Align yourself with the core reason.

If you like, share some items from your list, and your ‘why’ in the comments below.

(Photo courtesy of Alice Pyne)

Every decision is life or death

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Tyler Tervooren.

“Just pick something,” they say. “It’s not life or death.”

Well, actually it is. Every decision you make is life or death. Every single one leads to one result or the other – even the seemingly insignificant ones.

When you decide to do something you love, you choose to live. When you decide to do something you don’t, you choose to die. It really is that simple.

Life is filled with daily decisions and lots of them are tied to these things we call responsibilities. Nothing wrong with that, really, as long as those are things that actually bring you to life. It’s easy to see responsibilities as a kind of burden – something we agreed to do a long time ago and now we’re stuck with it – but they can be rejuvenating and life affirming as well.

Big little decisions

I’ve given myself the responsibility to publish a new article twice a week. I have a whole list of things I feel responsible to accomplish that give me plenty of joy. When I get an email from you, I feel a deep sense of responsibility to answer it the best I can. Doing that makes me really happy.

Every day I decide to keep up with those responsibilities and my life is drastically better because of it.

I know this because sometimes I slip up and pass on an opportunity to get closer to my dreams or an email goes unanswered. When that happens, I can feel a real tug in my heart like I’ve missed something valuable. Like I decided not to live in favor of doing something else that doesn’t bring me happiness.

On the other hand, life is also filled with unwanted responsibilities – things we accidentally agreed to that drain our energy and do nothing but take us one step closer to the grave.

I’ve committed to jobs I didn’t actually want to do. I’ve agreed to help people with things I have no business helping them with. I’ve even committed myself to stupid little things like reading books that I hated because I’d already bought them and didn’t want to “waste the money.”

The big secret

Here’s the thing. Life is filled with all kinds of stuff that’s available to you in limitless quantity, but time isn’t one of them.

Every time you decide to do something that drains your energy instead of brings you life, you’re choosing to die instead of live.

It may seem like an insignificant decision, but do it too many times and you end up with a lot of regrets at the end. These things compound.

So what if today, instead of choosing to die, you chose to live instead? What if you blew off that unnecessary responsibility and found a new one that actually made you happy?

What would happen?

  • Would you die?
  • Would you go to jail?
  • Would your family disown you?

If you can answer no to those three questions, it’s probably in your best interest to go ahead and do it.

All or Nothing?

Sure, we can’t get away from everything we dislike about life, but that’s okay; a little bit of tension is what makes it worth living. There is no sweet without the contrasting sour. The goal is to slowly tip the scale towards life instead of death.

I suppose if I wanted to be morbid, I could say that, yes, we’re all slowly dying, but wouldn’t you rather live a little on your way there?

I know my answer.

So what do you think? How can you start making more decisions to live?

(Photo courtesy of redwood)

Tyler Tervooren blogs at Advanced Riskology. He is a writer, musician, and risk taker on a quest to join the top 1% of the world. Tyler loves helping people do scary things that improve their lives.