By Shawn McAndrew
As Father’s Day comes around each year, I think about healing childhood. I look back on the years since I did the Process with a lot of awe and gratitude. It took me from a place of being stuck in old childhood patterns to being more aware, open, and compassionate. I know my life would be extremely different had I not received this gift of healing. Perhaps one of the biggest gifts was reconnecting with and learning a different way of relating to my father.
A Place for Healing Childhood
When I entered the classroom at White Sulphur Springs in 1997, I was, like most people who enter it, full of emotions and uncertainty. I had done my pre-work, had revisited old wounds, and was ready to get on to a better way of being. Little did I know the depth of healing that would take place over the next week.
I was in a state of anger, hatred, and pushing people away. I disliked my father immensely. The bitterness of negative love had turned our relationship into one where I could love him from afar but barely spend quality, loving time with him. I resented and judged him; was impatient with him. I always had regrets after a visit with him, which I call the “mad-then-sad” syndrome. Why couldn’t I just love him for who he was?
Understanding What’s Beneath
Post-Process, I got it. I hadn’t known who he was, really, because all I saw were his patterns and negative love through the filter of my own patterns. He was who he was through no fault of his own; he had grown up with the same negative love patterns that I had experienced. He felt about his mother the same way I felt about him at times. And there it was – we were both trying to find ways to be loved from people who couldn’t love us unconditionally.
My dad loved me, always told me he was proud of me, but he also said and did things to contradict those positive messages. I couldn’t believe the positive things because the negative ones overshadowed them. In the Process, learning to understand what was beneath the negative love helped to create the turning point in our relationship. I asked him about his childhood. I talked to him about mine, and the negative love I experienced. At first he didn’t get it. But then he started saying things like, “I wonder if I get so angry because of how my father treated me?” “Do you think I push people away because my mom pushed me away?”
The Lineage of Forgiveness
Holy smoke! I think he got it. The way I was now relating to him was affecting how he was relating back to his childhood and, ultimately, to me. That was a miracle, and proof to me that the healing work I’d done in the Process was cellular – it reached back through the generations and could even affect future generations.
As a result, I had many years of improved father-daughter relating. After my dad died in 2014, I knew I had made peace with him, that we had healed wounds from my childhood and he had healed some of his own.
Father’s Day Is Different
Now I ask myself, “How is Father’s Day different after the Process?” And I realize, from a loving and compassionate perspective, the positive gifts I received from my father – curiosity, wonder, adventure, humor, care for others, generosity, and appreciation. On Father’s Day, I’ll be reaching across the ether to say, “Thanks, Dad, for everything. Though my accomplishments are my own, you believed in me and loved me, and that helped me get to where I am today.” I know this for certain, and that I couldn’t have gotten here without my Process.
Please share your stories or observations, below, about how the relationship with your father has changed post-Process.