I Survived Father’s Day!


My father is deceased so I took time to spend the day with my child doing something that makes us both very happy—the beach. The above picture is where I spent my Father’s Day.

My father left the planet several decades ago and the last time I spoke to him was on Father’s Day 1998. He had disowned me several years before when I told him I would no longer tolerate him yelling and swearing at me. I called him on an urge because I couldn’t get him off my mind, although he had not reached out to make things right with me. I called and we had small talk. He offered no apologies or explanations for his absence. Nothing major changed except– he died 4 days later. It was then that my healing truly began.

Some people have/had amazing father’s who appropriately loved, protected and nurtured them as children- and some of us did not! Father’s day can be a bittersweet day for many. It’s sometimes hard not to wonder “Why did I get this life, and they got that one?” if your father was absent from your life or abusive.  My heart goes out to all you with those circumstances. It’s not about you! It’s about the choices they make/made.

The value of loving, protective, involved father’s cannot be fully measured. If you have/had one like that count your blessings! To all you men living honorable lives as father’s (or father figures) I commend you. Your influence and value is great on the people around you.  You may not know how much you help someone who is not your actual child, but as a nurturing “father figure” you can heal many wounds and affect generations. What a choice opportunity that is.

One thing I learned forcefully in life is this….

Life is Perspective! I believe our happiness in life is based far more on our perspective than our circumstances. When we take the time to focus on any conceivable benefit within the adversity/trial or concentrate on the blessings and advantages that we have, it can exponentially increase our happiness and mental health.

If you’re feeling sad get out and do something you enjoy or attempt something daring and new instead of isolating yourself. My happy places usually involve the outdoors.

Make yourself a “happy list” and commit to yourself that you will do things on your list on a frequent basis. Try to do something on your list daily. If not make sure to do it weekly. Some ideas for a happy list include: Go for a walk, walk in the sand or barefoot in the grass, listen to great music, eat some great food- but don’t get too carried away.

Focus on your senses like touch, sound, taste, smell and sight. It gets you out of your head and the “problems” and into your body. We tend to dissociate from our body and the joy of living in it when we are sad.

In my book “Turning Trials Into Triumphs The Way Of The Phoenix” I revealed some of the “timeless truths” I have learned in my life. One of them is this: “ Each of have life experiences that give us exactly the right opportunities for our highest growth and ultimately happiness-if we can maintain the correct perspective.”

I also have a list of things that can act as mood-shifters to get me out of ruminating on the problems and into a more happy state where often the solution to the problem can just float into my consciousness because I’m doing something I enjoy instead of total focus on the troubling issue. Some of these include:

  • Time in my hot tub
  • Reading a lighthearted book
  • Going for a walk
  • A candle light dinner with a valued friend
  • A massage
  • A good movie
  • Time at the beach
  • Watching a Bonfire

Whenever you feel unhappy, or need a mental health break use your senses and body to create a “happy place” where you can change your perspective to a more empowering one.

–Phoenix Alexander

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