Happy birthday Dad. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you, though I’ve often felt your presence. Maybe it's true like Mufasa tells his son Simba in the Lion King—you live in me. This is a comforting thought and helps calm my fears as I think of dying and living in my sons.
Mufasa tells Simba, "You have forgotten who you are, and so forgotten me. Look inside yourself. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the Circle of Life. Remember who you are; you are my son."
These words help me to remember as I struggle to engage in life and be more than what I have become. As I become more immersed in a world of Mindfulness, I’m reflecting on my life and am more aware of your teachings. You kept asking us to be present with you, to be alive, in that moment, as if no other moment existed, as if there would never be another moment like that one. It made life rich, engaging its extremes, silly and serious, happy and sad, beautiful and horrific, comic and tragic, never a dull moment!
Thoreau wrote that he “never met a man who was fully alive; if I had how would I have looked him in the eye?” It was hard to look at you sometimes. Too intense, you demanded engagement, you wanted connection so badly but at times I wanted to escape. There were many times that you felt like life was too hard and you too wanted to escape and alcohol was your way. It was hard to stay with you when you went down that road.
You loved Einstein’s spirituality—the same ideals lighted your way and gave you courage to face life cheerfully—Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. You too dismissed ease and happiness and derided the trite objects of human desires and efforts—possessions, outward success, status, luxury—which to you were contemptible. Your steadfast refusal to engage in the pursuit of these things was confusing and frustrating at times but serves as a guiding light as I struggle to be in the world and stay on the right path and take my place in the Circle of Life.