My dad's birthday was this past Friday. He passed away a couple of years ago at age 92 and I have thought much about his world, my world and what might be the same and different.
He was born in 1923, a Jew from Brooklyn, New York. That was how he defined himself, though like all of us he was much more. He was one of 6 brothers and a sister who very much grew up in his ethnic heritage of Russian and Romanian immigrant parents who had come here around 1902. Life was tough for many reasons and family got you through it.
During WW2, a few months after his high school graduation, he joined the Navy and found himself the only Jew and Yankee on a ship's crew of 257. He fought for his life most every day in real ways on that ship. Only because he was trained as a boxer, scrappy and smart did he survive his own countrymen and what he felt the Navy was on that ship.
He found most of the others to be young men from the South. In his memories they were all bigots/racists except for a few who helped him stay alive. They all had their biases. Dad had his. He was a radarman isolated in a small room listening all the time to his equipment in front of him and also over his shoulder outside of that room. He literally didn't sleep much.
He always loved this country and what it stood for but understood that principles are only thoughts, ideals, constructs and not actions. He clearly felt how men define themselves. Didn't endear him to the Navy, officers, and with rare exception, men from the South for the rest of his life.
He was never free of the spiritual, emotional and mental wounds those three years on the ship fostered. For the rest of his life he was always polite, gracious and if you were from the South or a Navy man you had to prove yourself. Commanding respect for the man was not guaranteed because of any title.
It always filled me with sadness to think that what was happening overseas at that time he was dealing with some of the same dynamics on ship, bigotry and racism. Much which are still present in this country.
And my sadness for all the young men who participated on all the sides of engagement who were like my dad, no matter their biases and their positions, to be forever changed by their service.
The ideal of the melting pot assimilation the USA treasures is often only that, an ideal. The thought that it didn't matter what you believed you would be accepted was manna from heaven for so many. Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.
Yet we are creatures of habit, of judgment, whatever that might encompass for each of us. Family, clan, community is always about bias. The biases formed in our original homelands have been brought here. Those biases color our life experiences.
Life is a mishmash of dynamics, time, space, experiences melding into this incredible expression of being. We are fortunate to enjoy life. No matter our sides of engagement and position we are all Consciousness in action.
In the current energies present around us it is the right time to question your self and others in what you assume about life. How important your biases of indentity are to you and for others to have them. Utilizing Heart Centered Awareness we loosen them enough to enjoy a more inclusive sense of being.
My dad was a man of honor. He was loving in his actions and challenging in his thinking. Hard headed, not inclined to change his opinion once formed. And I didn't often share his viewpoints about what Life had to be. As a child of first generation citizens and the Great Depression, his life experiences were very different from mine and he came to different conclusions about his life. I respected them and him as a man of his times.
He helped to bring out the best in me through that challenge of differences, and the support of his love. He helped me to appreciate the bigger picture that we are as Consciousness. And to take nothing for granted as we are inclined to do.
One reason to love him was that my dad would also be the first to lend a helping hand when others were reluctant to, even if he didnt like you. Sometimes I am sure that was confusing to him. It is not to me as I embrace duality as polarity.
Dad, I celebrate and honor you by being the best I can be.