by Kelly Redfield Whitworth
Since the beginning of life as we know it, people have been on a journey to find the Meaning of Life. As a matter of fact, we are in fervent pursuit of these answers almost every day here at CV –
Why are we here? Where are we headed? What is holding us back?
I hope that one day we can each live fully, knowing the answers to each of these questions in our own lives. I believe that the path to this reality is scattered with hints – strewn with secrets that can help us along the way if only we stop to gather them.
Looking back, I can see many Secrets of Life shown to me by my Dad in the way he lived. As an adult, I can feel time passing so quickly, and I believe the most important decisions I will make are the ones that allow me to live honestly and be happy. I now understand that I have the power to choose the kind of life I want. During my lifetime with Dad, he has taught me many different ways to look at the world; most importantly, though, he has been my friend and my safe place when I have fallen short. I believe the secrets of life he has discovered are unfolding through me so that I can better help my children. Here are the “8 Secrets of Life: Lessons from my Dad,” which I am now passing on to you to honor my Dad this Father’s Day season.
1.) Anywhere We’ve Known Love, is Home
My Dad’s parents gave him a “home.” It is beautiful property passed down through his family, and four generations of memories have been lovingly established there. It is safe and secure. I always wind up driving to this place if life gets hard or I need some time to think. I leave feeling refreshed and connected somewhere far before and deep down, back to my roots. It is where many dad-son and dad-daughter talks have taken place; even the ones that were not so easy. It’s where we have all gathered to celebrate practically every holiday and special occasion, all of my life. With each moment shared there, another memory is born. The places in which we have given or received great love become filled with that beautiful energy, which is why our childhood homes have the ability to stir such wonderful feelings each time we visit.
I believe the most precious gift you can give to your children is the gift of a place to come home. I will protect this property during my life so we can continue to share the gift of family and the love that we have found there.
2.) Find Joy In Your Everyday – Your Children Will Remember Your Smile
My parents filled my young years with silly and happy times. We had traditions, like making three-foot bubbles in the yard and building forts. Every time my dad changed the sheets, it would take him at least 30 minutes; while he added each new sheet or blanket, he would patiently throw them up in the air and let us run and jump into the bubbles. We pretended like we were flying. I will never forget seeing the joy spread across my Dad’s face as he watched us.
We also played a game we called “tousle.” (Tickling / Wrestling) This was where my dad would tickle-fight my sister and I until we were purple from laughter. My sister still swears that it was from this silly game that she learned to be habitually violent if anyone tries to tickle her. She says it’s a reflex, set in from all the years of tickle fighting. These are memories of silly times that we will never forget, and time that our Dad spent with us. These memories are a constant reminder to create fun times with my own children; not just for them, but for me as well. They will treasure the memories of me smiling and laughing with them.
Even as an adult, I still see my dad loving to play jokes and looking for fun experiences. My most favorite joke he played recently happened on April 1. My Dad texted all of his friends (my adopted uncles) and asked them to help him kill a 20 foot boa constrictor he claimed he found at his Lake. Everyone was on the way with heavy artillery before he confessed to his mischief—bright red from laughing to all their responses to his texts.
3.) The Secret of Life is Gettin’ up Early, the Secret of Life is Stayin’ up Late 🙂
My dad has always said that I have the Redfield “night-owl gene.” To this day, I have the hardest time going to bed early and an even harder time waking up. There are nights I feel tired, but if the clock does not say at least 11 pm, I find it impossible to sleep. It has always felt like the night brings a certain kind of mystery and excitement, one that I might miss if I fall asleep. This happens even when I am totally alone in the house. To these stories, he would say, “Well that’s the secret, if we can figure out how to wake up early but still see the night hours, we can have the best of both worlds.” The mornings have a unique beauty that you can only see if you’re awake to experience it. In the mornings, you will have a natural and creative energy. Mornings are for the mind and body. Most of all the brilliant “work of the mind” will happen with your morning energy.
Evenings, on the other hand, are for the heart and soul. As darkness falls like a shroud around us, natural passion is ignited. We plan exciting activities and enhance our social wisdom. In the night time, the mind will relax as the soul experiences adventure and love. It can be the best time to listen to a story from a friend or find joy in a carefree reality. Even though the night is the most natural time for me, I have now fully experienced both beauties. Waking up earlier helps me feel organized, productive and helps me stay on a healthier schedule. But, of course, the nights are still my favorite. Here, I believe that “living” is the secret.
4.) Say What You Need To Say
Socially, I have been trying to find my voice all my life. I am sensitive to the power of manipulation and find myself easily misguided. It seems that these days, I tend to run from a big voice trying to spin me in circles. Because I hated the idea of making people feel like I am trying to dominate or manipulate them, I grew to hate confrontation. I don’t want to come off as harsh or inconsiderate, and fear hides my voice.
I see that with all things in my life, I just want a balance. In my father’s words, “If you feel someone is dominating you then say it right when they are doing it. Stay true to your opinions and speak them. It will make a difference in your life.” Don’t allow fear to stop you from speaking your truth, loud and clear. You have power, and your voice will help others.
5.) My Talents are Special, I am a Gift To The World
It was obvious to me and most of those around me that I probably wouldn’t study law, crunch numbers, or spend my day in a laboratory curing cancer. It was more likely that I would enjoy a social job, one that allowed me to travel and be artistic. Still, as I struggled, I compared myself to others who effortlessly shined in a conventional school. I determined my strengths to be second-rate, and I quickly lost confidence in my abilities. Throughout the years, my dad explained to me that every person has a special gift…gifts that were given to them because each one is greatly needed in the world. He showed me how over time, by staying true to myself and standing strong in my capabilities, I could help the world as much as any scientist or professor. My gifts would shine just as bright and brilliant.
6.) True Joy comes from Giving
For a long time, I couldn’t understand what my dad meant when he said: “Always Have an Attitude of Giving.” I tried to live life by thinking about how my actions could affect others and practiced generosity in my relationships. Once I looked deeper, though, I could see how there is much more to be done than just “tithing” money or giving time to another. I have seen that when I set my sight on helping others, everything I do is fixed in a positive direction if I first start with “How can my actions help others?” When I focus (unintentionally, of course) on doing something for my own benefit, it usually never actualizes; it has sometimes even hurt others. So now, when I think from the perspective of giving, I know I must stop and ask myself “Why? Why am I giving this advice now? Why am I attempting this work now?” When I try to solve problems in my relationships or the workplace, I have to be consciously giving. I believe my Dad has also seen this activates success in his life, and it is why he speaks of giving as he does; as the first step to feeling immeasurable, abounding joy.
7.) Don’t ignore the mystery of chance and coincidence. God Is Everywhere.
My dad talks about watching for a sign of direction which is given to us spiritually. He has shared many stories to prove why he believes so strongly in the power of destiny and the power of prayer. He explains how one door closing would open another and how watching for evidence of Synchronicity will help us on our path. Anytime I failed at something or was crushed by disappointment; he would remind me that I am on a journey, which is enhanced by wrong turns and failures. The silver lining is the new chapter that failure brings to our lives. It’s leading you to where you are supposed to go. I have become thankful for change and excited for all the new opportunities coming my way. This secret brings the gift of peace.
8.) Health Is Everything – Pure Food is Medicine
I completely understand now why so many words from my father’s mouth have concerned my health. For years he has begged me to eat with caution and intensely persuaded me to see how when you give your body what it needs, your mind, spirit, and even your muscles will work in ways you could have never imagined.
When I was young and living with the ‘I’m going to live forever’ mindset, I would mindlessly listen to his speeches about nutrition and exercise (Healthy Mind, Healthy Body). However, I must have been absorbing some of it; I always felt an agonizing guilt when I went days without a vegetable or a vitamin and treated my body like it was made of steel. Even in those days, deep down, I was grateful for a father who would stop at nothing to give me a true, complete education about health.
Today, I see people who make the choice to live in the dark about the food they eat. Even though subconsciously they know that they might be eating themselves to death, they still choose to eat for fun or to kill pain. I might have done this more often without his voice in my head. We always laugh about how nice it would be not to know the truth about what poisons we are eating, breathing, etc. And better yet if we lived in a world where we could trust all the products available to us! If years of conversations about health give me extra years with my grandchildren, then he did more than his job as my father. I will repeat every speech to my children with pleasure and think of him.
I am so thankful for my Dad. The life secrets he keeps, live on through me. As a father, I hope he feels confident in the job he did raising his girls. We are experiencing “the secrets” because of his closeness in our lives.
I love you, Dad.
Happy Father’s Day!