Advice from a Parent

Photo by Becca A. Lewis

Photo by Becca A. Lewis

Community is one of the most important things.  It is impossible to get through life without support from anyone, and it seems the healthier you are, the more you can reach out to those close to you for help.  I reached out to my father recently about love and relationship.  I reached out because relationship is hard and sometimes I feel blind.  I know where I come from and this was an opportunity to know myself better too.  Have a read if you like, I thought his response was apt and beautiful.

To Breath and Being,
~ Karin


Hey Dad,

I have a lot of questions about love and relationship right now… I don’t know how to make it work. I don’t know how to not feel like an animal trapped willing to gnaw off a foot to escape.

Have you figured it out? What helps you when you love and can’t make it work? Do you try? Do you just not let yourself love?

I love you,


Hey K,

Was sad to read your e-mail, particularly as I can relate all too well. I’m afraid it must have some genetic propensity… or is a cruel atavistic curse. In the past I have discussed this very thing with my sister who struggles with the same lexicon.

I wish I had some answers, but I don’t. I do think it has much to do with our inability to love and forgive ourselves, and (speaking for myself) I can touch that reality sometimes, but holding on to it is the issue. My sister, I think, is trying to make peace by not trying anymore – which I can understand, but seems sad in the end. In clearer moments I have been able to recognize it as an issue of self-punishment, but that is a very complex revelation when two are involved (there is a sharing of dysfunction from both parties and when and where does my positive independence start to turn into its negative shadow?).

I have sometimes found surrendering to the reality more therapeutic than fighting. These are the cards I’ve been dealt, what can I do? I think my expectations have diminished over time, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But overall, it is a conundrum too complex to figure out, so I’m forced to live in the moment, with what I’ve got.

I truly do believe, however, that if I could love and forgive myself more fully, there would be dimensional changes. That I realize is a never-ending process of layer by layer emotional onion skin healing.

I find talking about it with others helpful – any emotional release is a potential onion skin. Being honest with yourself is key, but beating yourself up over circumstances isn’t proactive either. Nonetheless, I think there is an important distinction between wrestling with yourself and beating yourself up.

I’m sorry I don’t have anything more constructive. And I’m so very sorry you are dealing with this as I know how painful it is. Know that I love you dearly, and am here if you want to converse about it more. Sometimes two blind mice are better than one when navigating something like this.

All my love,


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