Is that true, Sweetheart, that you need your dad to have shown you how to be carefree?
Yes, he should have. If I’d learned it when I was little, I’d not be so anxious as a grown-up.
What’s the reality of it, did he show you how to be carefree?
No, not in my recollection. He was just so and very carefull. Things needed to be in order.
So how do you react when you believe that he should have taught you to be carefree?
I feel like a victim. I feel like the damage was done long ago and it’s too late, that now I’m doomed to anxiety. I see pictures in my mind’s eye of going to him in his office where he was working on his Sunday sermon, my 10-year-old self with my Bible, anxious about the verse I’d found about the unpardonable sin of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, which I was worried I’d done inadvertently.
Oh, Sweet dear one. Yes. I can see that picture too.
I see how he tried to answer me theologically and how I felt no better and then my obsessive little mind went all like Tourettes on me, and all I could think were bad thoughts and what I thought were blasphemes!
Yes, Love. I remember.
Come here, Sweetheart. Let’s look at this some more, OK?
So, who would you be if you could not believe the thought that you need him to have taught you how to be carefree?
Hmmmmm. I don’t know. I really don’t. I never used to think that when I was a kid, because I just thought that’s how it was. But now…
So, can you see your dad there in your mind’s eye?
Yes. I’m going to him in his office.
So, see him without the thought that you need him to teach you carefree?
Yes, there he is. He’s a busy man. He’s serious. He’s reading. He’s studying. He’s doing what he does. He’s doing what he thinks is best, just like anyone else. He’s doing the best he can, based on what he believes and thinks, just like anyone else.
OK, Sweetheart, let’s play with some turnarounds. What’s the opposite of “I needed him to teach me how to be carefree”?
I don’t need him to teach me that, which seems to be truer, because it’s not what he taught me, at least not in my recollection. And, I don’t need him to teach me because I seem to have learned it somehow anyway. I do remember carefree times.
yeah? Tell me a few of those.
Well, when I was really little I used to go out in the yard and behind the church and in the garden, and I’d pick grasses and flower-weeds and hazelnuts and I’d find a smooth stone and then I’d grind it all up into all sorts of soups and sauces. I loved doing that and when I played like that I had no cares in the world.
Yes, good. And what about more recently?
Well, a few nights ago, when I was playing trivia with my friends over at Johnny D’s, well, it was lots of fun and I wasn’t thinking of cares. And over the holidays I had some moments like that too, like on the road with P from New Jersey to Canada… I love road trips and road trips with him.
Good! So good to notice all those carefree moments, back then and now.
Any other turnarounds?
I need me to teach me to be carefree.
Tell me about that?
Well, I’m a grown up now. If I think it’s so easy to do and that my dad should have done it, then I should do it myself.
yes, and I see you doing that with this inquiry, and with focusing, and with EFT, and with having good times with friends, and road trips with P… yes, love. Good find! Any others?
Yes. I need me to teach dad how to be carefree. Yes, I was a kid. In one way I was much closer to carefree than he. But I was reading the Bible because I thought I should in order to be better, to be more perfect, to please him and God more, and that verse I found about the unpardonable sin wasn’t the only one I found. I’m sure I also read the verses about Jesus telling his disciples and the people he was speaking with to consider the lilies of the field and the sparrows, how they don’t fret about tomorrow, and they don’t worry about what they will wear and where their next meal will come from… I could right now, in my mind’s eye, march myself right there into that office and say, “Hey Dad! Look at this here verse I found about the lillies and the birds! I just love that they don’t worry. You know, I’ve been worried a lot lately and I’ve been getting headaches all the time and, well, it just seems I’m trying too hard. Dad? Could you preach about the lillies and the birds on Sunday?
Oh Sweetheart, that’s wonderful. In your mind’s eye it’s your dad you see, but it’s you, of course. You are the one that loves noticing the lillies and the birds and the trees and the grasses and sprigs of this and that greenery. You are the best teacher for you, love.