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    The Gifts of The Father

           My dad. An amazing man. I loved him with all my heart. Not because of what he did for me. But because of who he was.
           I saw my dad as a human being, as much as I saw him as my father. That perspective helped create my special bond with him. Because he was so much more than just my father.  
           Seeing him as s full human being, instead of just the mighty patriarch, may have made my dad uncomfortable. Because, despite his claims that he had made "all the mistakes", he was a perfectionist. He wanted to appear perfect to all of his children.
           The other day, my siblings and I met with the lawyers who administer my dad’s estate. The meeting went very well. Afterwards, when my focus could afford to shift away from the practical and immediate issues at hand, my thoughts drifted to my dad. I became extremely emotional when I got home.
           Gratitude engulfed me like a warm blanket wrapping itself around a child. My dad worked hard his whole life, until the day he died, providing abundantly for his family. As a boy, during the depression, he worked for his father, traveling to jobs in Maine in a Model T on the weekends.  As a man, he worked tirelessly to give us, his children, a better life than he had.
           And because he ran his own company, my dad was able to provide work for countless relatives and friends. On his death bed, my grandfather, who started the construction company my dad took over, said to him;  “’s your turn to take care of the family now”. And my grandpa wasn’t just talking about my dad’s immediate family, although we were obviously front and center. My grandfather was taking about anyone with the last name “Piatelli”.
           Talk about a heavy onus.
           Every fight I ever had with my dad, I regret. Every unkind thought, or hostile feeling I had towards him, I want back. Of course I know that is stinking thinking. I can do nothing about the past. Especially regret it. But what I can do is use the past to teach me about my present. And from that wiser place, I create a more joyful, more fulfilling, more beautiful now. And that upgrade of my present creates an upgrade of my future.
           Thanx to my dad, financial freedom smiled upon me as  soon as I became a young man. Working when I wanted to, at what I wanted to, provided me a life that most would envy. I worked in film production; insane hours, but I loved it. I played in lots of bands; great fun, lots of girls, and wonderful opportunity for expression. Creative projects abounded: I created my own very elaborate Christmas cards; recorded and distributed very professionally crafted Christmas music with my talented family; threw amazing parties several times a year; made my own videos; traveled extensively; wrote a lot and started a blog. All wonderful experiences.
           Blessed with the opportunity to fully express myself, I took it. And took it. And kept taking it. With no apologies. I have lead an unconventional life. A blessed life. Not perfectly. But I have done much, seen much, expressed much.
           The freedom to do all that has given me the experience to know that putting myself out there is worth it. That the benefits for showing the world what I think and what I feel and who I am are worth the risks.
           At the same time, I can also see what I missed by not having to do something I didn’t want to do. Like work at a job I didn’t like. I can see the lessons lost because I did not have to get up and toil at something that I could not just quit without serious consequences. I did not have to work to pay the rent. Or put food on my table. I admit, those very real concerns for most have never been a concern of mine. But just because I never lived it doesn’t mean I can’t relate to it. I’ve never had cancer either, but I am compassionate and empathetic enough to know that it has to be a tremendously difficult burden to bear.
           I realize that I have not fully utilized my talents, abilities, blessings, or opportunities. And because my talents, abilities, blessings, and opportunities have been greater than most, perhaps that fact is more distressful. More distressful not only to me but to others in my life who have seen me go through pain, frustration, and lack of fulfillment because of it.
           Moving forward, however, I understand my journey better. Far better than I ever have before. More importantly, I accept it and I embrace it. That means I am more in touch with both the benefits and drawbacks of the life I’ve lead. That connection to what I’ve missed by doing it this way does not depress or discourage me. It has actually help awaken me. I am thus committed to doing more, and more importantly, to being more. I am committed to being more of Me. I am committed to the possibilities created from being more fully My Self. I am committed to the possibilities created by being more fully engaged in My Life.
           But, before the voices get too loud; the voices, both inside and outside of my head, that tell me that this entire post is nothing more than a justification of what I’ve done (or not done) throughout the course of my very blessed life, let me say this: Please Shut Up. I don’t need your judgement. I don’t need your criticism. I don’t need your conventional wisdom. I don’t need you to beat me up. That does not help me move ahead. That does not help me understand what a wonderful, unique, wild ride my life has been, and how the living of that wonderful, unique, and wild ride can best serve me going forward.
           I am very aware of what I have gained, and what I have lost, by choosing to live my life the way I have. I am clear that it has been nobody’s choice but mine. I am completely responsible for both the rewards and the costs. And with that responsibility comes the realization that the best I have to give this life, as always, is All of Me. My whole authentic self. As best I can. To share my experience. My truth. My love. My unique essence. My Being. My “That Which Makes Me Unique From Every Other Soul On This Planet”.
           Those who want it, I invite you to please take it. All of it. Really. For those who can handle it, come all the way in. For those who just want some of it, take what you want and leave the rest. And for those who want none of it, well the door is right over there.
           Thank you dad, for giving me the space to see all of this; the freedom to live all of this; and the opportunity to capitalize on all of this. Your magnanimous gifts have not been wasted. Will not be wasted. I have once again been propelled forward by the generosity of your spirit, the hard work of your mind and body, the openness of your heart, and the essence of your being. You gave me, dear father, the most precious gift you could have ever given me. You gave me the very best you could.
           You gave me yourself.
           And I am passing it forward.

    ©2012 Clint Piatelli and Red F Publishing. All Rights (and Selfless Wrongs) Reserved.


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