I’m grateful I had the entire week at home to not only catch up with my to-do-list items, but also to have an uninterrupted week with my girls. This week’s highlight was taking my youngest daughter on her second private pilot flight lesson. We also had the privilege of her sister joining us and taking pictures of the two of us while I instructed her (I got into my “teaching” mode and forgot she was even in the back seat). I’m grateful to have visual memories of our flight together. I will have to say, I never had a student sit there on descent, trying to get a hangnail out of her fingers, oblivious that she had stopped flying the aircraft, more concerned about picking the skin than focused on the airport we were approaching. I can tell she’s used to sitting there with Dad flying, not being the one who’s in control. We both had a good laugh.
This week’s share is something that came up for me this week watching the Netflix Series, Virgin River. Virgin River is about a big city nurse, Mel, recently widowed, who leaves her home town of Los Angelas to become a mid wife for a small town in the redwoods of northern California. She’s escaping the pain from her past where she meets Jack, another person who’s also plagued with past demons, along with some other great characters.
Similar to This Is Us, Virgin River always has a way of tugging at my emotional heart strings. Today’s share is a conversation between Mel and Jack that really affected me.
If you’re interested in watching this scene it’s Season 2: Episode 6 38:00 minutes in.
Let’s set the background.
When I first started recovery, I was more concerned about being a father to my daughters and how much a failed marriage would model negatively on them. I didn’t truly understand I failed at parenting myself.
I was so worried about my marriage and my girls, especially since my daughters were at such a young age, my energy was tied to a timeline of “fix me, fix my marriage, and do it yesterday.” My belief was due to a fear that my time was limited before they too, would have negative patterns wired in their brains for years to come.
And unfortunately, as much as I wanted to be a healthy model for my girls, not learning how to parent myself, kept me locked in this childhood wounded state and a belief that my divorce proved I was unworthy of love, invisible, and not important.
Instead of loving and nurturing me, I held on tightly to a marriage that was destroying all of us.
What I’ve learned through my own recovery, and what neuroscience is now proving, is that we do have the power and the ability to reshape and rewire our brains. We don’t have to stay locked in childhood patterns. Yes, habits and patterns are hard to break, and yet, we can become aware of them and take the necessary steps to change and grow. There is hope.
Dr. Shefali calls this “awakening”.