Posted By: Portia
It was Spring time and I was four years old. My father and I were out in our Connecticut back yard. We stood in front of a lilac bush in full, fragrant bloom. He asked me my favorite color. I considered the purple of the lilac blossom and the green of the leaves. I decided on the green. As I perhaps sensed by my selection, green is Yoga’s color of unconditional love – that place at the heart from which my love for my father has always sprung.
Traditionally, the father has always “brought home the bacon”, providing food, shelter and the luxury of an education for his children; as well as Zeus-like authority and discipline. Often he is absent while occupied with providing the means for his family’s survival.
Many of us remain close with our fathers throughout our lives. Sometimes we become estranged. Eventually one loses the other through the sands of time.
Some of us are especially thrilled by his nearness, sharing exchanges during outings to the pond or the mountains or the city park. We migrate into his aura when we are frightened or feel alone. He is irreplaceable.
Some are “bad boys”: philanderers, alcoholics, drug abusers, workaholics…. Does that make us love them any less? No matter how much he may or may not live up to our standards, we search for ways to love Dad. It is the only enduring choice.
And they help us grow up. Most of us find a mate, leave the nest in order to establish our own, and learn and work in our chosen fields of endeavor. There are many wonderful stories of how the developing youth finds him or her self through struggles with the father. Consider this story from the early days of Scotland:
The young Robert Bruce was considered to be the lawful heir to the Scottish throne. Yet the British king, Longshanks, had taken over the country with customs such as prima nocta, where governing nobles were given sexual rights to the wife on the night of the wedding. The idea was to breed the Scotsman out of the Scot, and, of course, to intimidate the masses.
A young man from a farming community, William Wallace, after much such personal hardship to his family and neighbors at the hands of the British, emerges as a leader. After they attempt to violate and then kill his new wife he moves his fellow Scotsmen with a will beyond rage to make the country their own again. They go to war with England.
At his father’s command, the young Lord Bruce decides not to help Wallace. Instead he intercepts and wounds him. He feels terrible because he believes in Wallace’s cause, which is his own, to free Scotland from British rule. He feels conflicted about whether to follow the more conservative approach of his father, to negotiate with the King; or to share leadership with the rebel.
In the end Robert Bruce follows his heart. He joins with Wallace, leads the people, and becomes King of Scotland. He achieves the goal of his father through his chosen path.
With or without our father’s approval, each of us develops into a unique mix of adventurer, worker, contemplative, tender of hearth and home, student of the laws of the world and universe, helper of the underprivileged, devotee of God, athlete — any number of variables. When we believe in ourselves, standing alone when necessary, when we walk our talk, we learn to thrive, not just survive. And, during our daily rites of passage we discover much laughter and satisfaction, something we could easily call…. happiness.