Two Poignant Things I Learned From My Father
“All human actions are motivated at their deepest level by one of two emotions – fear or love…Fear is the energy which contracts, closes down, draws in, runs, hides, hoards, and harms. Love is the energy which expands, opens up, sends out, stays, reveals, shares, heals. Fear wraps our bodies in clothing, love allows us to stand naked. Fear clings to and clutches all that we have, love gives all that we have away. Fear holds close, love holds dear. Fear grasps, love lets go. Fear rankles, love soothes. Fear attacks, love amends.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch
Today marks the one-year anniversary of my father’s passing, and I know that he would want me to inspire others to live from a place of love, not fear – just as he did for me.
Believe it or not I can be a very private person. There are many experiences I kept private for many years, but now that’s forever changed with the promise I made to serve as many people as an international coach, yoga teacher, writer, and speaker. On a mission to guide others to also find peace and infuse balance, in a world we may not always understand, today I’m sharing what I said at my father’s celebration of life.
When the time came for me to write my father’s eulogy I thought, “Where do I start?” “How do I end?” “How can I possibly succinct his life and legacy in less than 1,000 words?” Well I did my best. And while sometimes words can never be enough they can be a way for us to communicate and express our experience and the energy riding on it. So how did I start it off? My inspiration came from none other than Neale Donald Walsch’s book Conversations with God that I read by my father’s dying bedside, from which a quote I started my speech.
Sometimes we may never know why certain things happen to certain people. But what we can do is continue in this world in remembrance and honour of those that pass before us by living a life completely rooted in love and not fear.
In the loving memory of my father, William Keeler:
“Listen to your feelings. Listen to your Highest Thoughts. Listen to your experience. Whenever any of these differ from what you’ve been told by your teachers, or read in your books, forget the words. Words are the least reliable purveyor of Truth.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch
“My father was a man of few words but when he did speak his words they had their weight in gold and spoke volumes. What some may not know is that my father didn’t really say the words “I love you”. I could count on one hand how many times he said those words to me.
But as I look back through my childhood, as a teenager, college student and beyond…his love was unwavering. He was always there for all the special occasions, and the not so special occasions. He supported everything I ever wanted to do or try even if it was for a fleeting moment. From the day I found out I got accepted to U.S.C. with the heavy price tag to getting engaged, hoping for a dream wedding while moving thousands of miles across the ocean. He never said no but of course every expense was budgeted, not to go unappreciated and I would need to work for it too – for he was a hard working man.
He never complained, always went along with a plan, always finished a meal even if it may have not been good, and was so generous himself – always giving without expecting anything in return.
My most vivid memory is my wedding day. The florist didn’t show up at the church ceremony, she was so late that I had to go on without the flowers in hand that were promised to me and paid for. Instead I lovingly and gratefully borrowed and walked down in hand with a roseary from the church. And I remember my father taking my hand and getting ready to walk down and I was nervous, I was excited, I was everything in between. He said nothing but just squeezed my hand and that’s all that I needed in that very moment – no words.
One poignant thing I learned from my father was that…
there are just moments where words are simply not enough – but rather a look, a touch, a loving energy, a parents devotion is so much more powerful and profound.
And that’s who he was…even until his last days. When he couldn’t speak any longer, but you just knew, I just knew that he was so present with us and divinely bringing our family together…working through each one of us individually in this difficult time.
Through the years as we each had our own children, I would always watch in awe how he started being more outwardly expressing his love and affection with his grandchildren, much different than my own experience as a child. But I would always watch and think “how beautiful, so so beautiful to see him giving in that way and for our children to receive him in that way”. He also started going weekly to church with my mother, much different than when we were growing up. And so in seeing that through the years and seeing him soften, and being by his side these last eight months – flying back and forth from London to L.A. the second most poignant thing I learned from my father was that…
It is never too late, never too late to open your heart, so wide-open to receive and to give love to all of those around you.
Thank you daddy for this.
And so the trip I had made to L.A. end of March through April I have another last vivid memory of my father … I was looking right at him and said “I love you daddy” expecting nothing in return and he looked right at me and with such conviction in his tone he said “I -love -you”…honestly this is the only time I remember him saying these 3 words to me – but even if you didn’t daddy….I know you did…so thank you, thank you for that moment.
An ancient Hindu prayer in Sanskrit:
Lokah Samaste Sukinoh Bavantu
‘May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all’
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Daddy may you be happy and free … I love you … Namaste”
Sending so much love and light to those affected by the pain and loss of a loved one yesterday, today and tomorrow.
As always, I’d love connecting with you and hear about how you’ve been inspired to live a life rooted in love and not fear. Head over to the comments section below to share your thoughts.
With love and gratitude,