This is our Wealth

I witnessed my parents sacrifice everything and then more to provide a home filled with freedom and security for me and my big sister.  They are an inspired story of dedication, determination, generosity and tenacity.  They contained an all in, no questions asked example of intrinsic motivation.  The endurance they demonstrated is unfathomable and I believe they are a common story of the spirit that America has been built upon!  Interestingly they both worked in manufacturing for inspired American companies.  My mother worked for almost four decades for Eastman Kodak. She worked long hours and for most of the year we would be dropped off at the sitter in the dark.  She never took much vacation and even spent some Saturdays.  She was an absolute powerhouse, who worked her way up to a white collar position and only ever hit a ceiling because of lacking credentials (such crap!).  My father was also a tireless worker for Fisher Price for almost three decades until unfortunately his company was moved outside of America.  He was a man who quietly lead by example and demonstrated a deep well of taking pride in his work with absolutely no expectation for being recognized or congratulated.  These beautiful humans were driven by a quiet internal desire to provide freedom, while never really ever asking for a respite for themselves.  It was a boundless level of self sacrifice and I have no doubt in my mind that even at the age of 70, if required my father would not hesitate to get up out of bed at 3:30 and begin this all over again.  My parents gave me the example and foundation to have my own experience with my work. I have been given the great privilege of spending time in the unconditional presence of children with unique needs since the age of 13 so the numbers add up to almost 30 years for me.  There has certainly been discipline involved, but as an occupational therapist there is also a deep understanding of the immeasurable importance of having a foundation and structure in your life built upon meaningful and productive engagement and immersion in the living experience of occupation.  I will now say that I do however differ from my parents in one very contrasting way.  I have the large question of why there is no cultural teaching of the understanding about the power of taking respite?  When I imagine the work that was absolutely bone crushingly intense for 40 years I have a massive wondering of what they would have been capable of with even brief windows of sanctuary?  This potential seems limitless and is part of all of our common stories.  I am greatly inspired by anyone who carried a great deal of burden and made something out of nothing.  I could tell you the hard details about my parents story of resilience, fierceness and beating all the odds, but that remains their personal truth and I don’t have the right.  So, at the ground floor of the wisdom that I draw from this experience is that we as humans are limitless in the sacrifice we will give to provide for our children.  That our families are everything we are is based on and our only true wealth is our children and their ability to feel secure and then soar!  That all of this great sacrifice and carrying of burden must have meaning in the end.  That we must have not collectively have worked for a vanishing outcome.  That whatever we hold true and find value in must be preserved for posterity.  If you love and find a passion for anything from farming, teaching, care giving, the arts, mechanics or a limitless number of other contributions, I believe you must cultivate preserving the opportunity for others to carry on the lineage of your dedications!  That the idea of beginning cultivation of creating balance, so that we can carry great pressure without entering the red line.  This world is moving exponentially faster everyday and in my belief we did not evolve to physically, emotionally or spiritually be capable to sustaining this mad dash race. The practice of learning to include periodic rest throughout our day can over time expand to become how we live our whole life.  The potential of what we contain if we learn to lift the weight off is not yet known.  The endurance we have already built will become efficient, organized, productive, and most importantly enjoyable and with ease.  This should be our legacy, our children and our unlimited willingness to give it all for them is our gift.  To make space for it to flourish and continue on to prosper for the future is our wealth, our destiny, our birthright.  The deep  knowing of perseverance, that our hearts desire is the longing for our children to live with a restful heart and be happy and content.  We contain hope for their own engagement in meaningful occupation, freedom to make a passionate living and having the longevity to expand upon our creations to make a future filled with their own expansive possibilities.

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