Philosopher Dad, by Tanya MacIntyre
One of the most challenging things in my life was losing my father – a man who was my mentor, my hero, my best friend – a man who stepped up to the plate back in the 60s to become a single parent to me and my baby sister, and showed us by example what it meant to be an extraordinary human being. My father was a special person for countless reasons, but one that always impressed me the most was that he never spoke negatively about anyone … not even my mother – a woman who: • abandoned her 2 children to have 5 more failed marriages • became a chronic alcoholic • lived with a shit load of emotional baggage and heartache that she unloaded on us at every opportunity I wrote a book dedicated to the memory of my father because I wanted to immortalize his memory and pay tribute to the wonderful person he was. It was also my way of processing my grief, and it was instrumental in helping me to finally forgive my mother and myself. It took me 10 years to finish Philosopher Dad because every time I sat down to write another chapter I was consumed by sadness, so it was easier to walk away that day; and that day then turned into a week, and the week turned into a month, and the process would repeat itself until the months turned into another year! I used to joke with people that if you looked up the word “procrastination” you’d likely see my picture in the definition. But this was more than just procrastination. This was my unwillingness to sit with the sadness and feel the pain of grief. Instead, I would just avoid it – and I would self-medicate with booze to numb and deaden the emotions. Oh yes, I was a “high functioning” drinker for a long time. For most of my adult life I imbibed alcohol as an anaesthetic to endure the operation of life! I had been socially conditioned by all the experts who say I’m genetically predisposed to the “disease” because I had descended from a long line of addicts – so it became easier to live in that reality for many years. “Pain is inevitable because it touches all of us eventually. Suffering, however, is optional.” This was a quote from the mother of Sean Stephenson who imparted that wisdom to me during my interview with him several years ago. Sean lives with a brittle bone disease that leaves him 3 feet tall and using a wheelchair; but, his condition and that reality didn’t prevent him from becoming a psychotherapist, motivational speaker, and self-help author. Sean is among the most inspirational people I am honoured to have interviewed in my long career as a broadcast journalist – a career that initially consumed me with negative news and all that’s bad in the world to one that transcended to positive media and all that’s good in the world. The path of self awareness, self acceptance, self forgiveness, and self love is demanding and gruelling at times, but it’s a journey worth taking to experience a lasting spiritual comfort. It was a blend of effort and surrender that resulted in the completion of Philosopher Dad, and it feels great to be healthy, sober, and finally have it finished. I am grateful to countless people who became my community of supporters on this path to published author, many of whom are named in my book’s dedication page. I intend to now make Philosopher Dad the first in a series of self-help books that will encourage people to love themselves exactly as they are right now… today, regardless of how much they weigh, how old they are, how much they earn, how much they owe, and how much people label them! Today is a gift that holds the miracle of our lives, and you will experience lasting comfort and contentment when you start expressing gratitude for each miracle you unwrap in your life every day. My wish for you is to always ... • Live Well • Laugh Often • Love Always • Be Mindful…. And • Stay Positive!