Author: Gary Stokes

Discovering Dad and the Past Perfect

Years ago, during a recapitulation of my life, I examined every memory I had of my relationship with my father.  I looked at us fearlessly and was, at the end of my examination, finally at peace with Dad.  My explanation of Dad as a father and as a man was loving but now seems almost clinical in its detachment as it documented his failures.  Here is part of my examination: Dad was an alcoholic.  In my last conversation with Mom, a few weeks before her death,  I asked her to tell me about their wedding day in 1935.  Grandpa...

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How to Know What You Must Learn Next

“Every man on this planet is taking his initiation in love.”                     – Florence Shinn, The Game of Life and How to Play It Initiations in love can be painful because they require that we learn disturbing things about ourselves, that we confront our selfishness, self absorption, and destructive behaviors.  Shying away in fear, we may resist our needed learning and even reject it completely, abandoning our very soul. But once we discover that learning to love is the purpose of our life, it is pretty easy to identify what we need...

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Planning for the Life You Want

I haven’t always been as intentional about the life I want to live as I am now. And I haven’t always been as successful at getting what I want. Now I know that simple old-fashioned formal planning about my life makes getting what I want much more of a sure thing.

Earlier in my life I probably could not have easily identified what I wanted. For instance when I had been married 17 years the first time, and I had three teen-age children, I was depressed, confused, and adrift with no vision or strategies for my life.

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Dad, Show Us How to Change

Fathers can show their children how to change by pursuing their own emergence. But my dad did not know that we are emergent beings in an emergent universe. He didn’t know that our assignment in life is to grow and develop. To emerge. To change.

Dad never spoke about wanting to change anything about himself. He almost never spoke to me about wanting me to change. Dad never changed, so he didn’t give me a model for addressing my weaknesses, for turning personal difficulties into opportunities to learn, or for examining one’s life.

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My Victory Over Fear

I was the recipient of some bullying as a skinny young kid. One older boy in my neighborhood entertained himself with me occasionally by trapping me in our garage and threatening to beat me up if I tried to get out. Later, tougher kids would chase me home from school, I wasn’t actually hurt very much, but I became afraid of being beat up.

Even though I became an athlete in junior high school, the fear of being beat up persisted.

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