Recently an old friend shared with me his sad story about the challenges he's facing co-parenting his daughter's mother. "She doesn't follow the court-appointed schedule. It's been weeks since I've seen my daughter. When she needs a sitter, why doesn't she call me?" The sadness in his eyes and the helplessness in his voice shattered me.
I know this story all too well, as I have several male friends whose efforts to be present and active fathers have been thwarted at every turn by the mother of their children. I also know this story because after my son's father and I split, my anger toward my ex burned like a raging fire within me. Of course, the real victim of my anger was our son. Knowing this to be the case, I enlisted two girlfriends to hold me accountable before interacting with his father (who, by the way, always showed up for our son). And even with the help of my friends to manage my wrath, there were still a few times when the fire burned too hot and I gave up my self-control.
I recall one particular occasion when we were on the phone, and I was screaming. This time felt different from my prior "rage-a-thons," because rather than giving over to it entirely, I felt myself witnessing my behavior from the outside. After we hung up the phone, I went to my sacred space to ask for guidance from within my heart. Immediately I heard my inner voice say, "Heal your relationship with your father, and it will change the relationship you are having with your son's father." I did not hesitate, and the next day I began The Father Project, a 30-day prayer, meditation, and research project to heal my relationship with my father, who had been deceased for 30 years.
Being familiar with spiritual practices, quantum psychics and spiritual psychology supported my journey. Believing that I carry the energetic and genetic imprint of my parents, I went to work on myself to acknowledge, love, and heal the abandoned and abused parts of myself that were undermining my relationships with nearly every man I knew. There was a part of me that hated men, and a contrary part that hated myself for desiring their love so desperately and yet repelled them at the same time.
Four years ago The Father Project was born and I took to my Facebook page to document my journey. I carried a picture of my father or something to remind me of him each day. I spoke to his friends and siblings intending to understand his world and how he became the violent, unhappy man I knew him to be. I interviewed fathers who are present, protective, and loving toward their spouses and children to have a greater understanding of what conscious and mature love can be. I visited my father's gravesite, which I had not done since his death. Each day I wrote I in my journal, nurtured the little girl within me who needed love, and reached out to men who I had mistreated.
This journey helped me understand and fully grasp the power of being a woman and what that means to our children. My anger and unhappiness acted as invisible agent, informing and influencing everyone in my environment. Nothing could thrive in my space. I awakened to the influence women have in our world, even when we see ourselves as victims and powerless. I came to see the split from my ex was not the source for my anger but a light shining upon it. This discovery assisted me in taking responsibility for my participation and creation in the current breakdown my son's father and I were experiencing.
The results were not miraculous, but within a month's time, I had begun the process of shifting my unconscious behavior, healing my anger, and nurturing myself. I started extending myself to my son's father, and within about a year our relationship completely transformed. The inner work I'd done allowed me to soften and to listen better. For years I'd wanted to hear him apologize, but after completing The Father Project, it no longer mattered.
In honor of my distraught friend and the children who suffer because of their parents' anger and distrust, I will be facilitating The Father Project starting this week. All women who yearn to have healthy relationships with their fathers and their children's fathers are welcome. I even welcome women who are currently experiencing healthy relationships with men to offer a model for those of us who struggle. There is no investment, other than a willingness and sincere desire to shift the energy within our hearts, so that our children may experience harmony between their parents. My role will be to facilitate healing and forgiveness, and to encourage the parties to find a place of peace within.
Today my ex-partner and I are able to laugh together like old friends. We still hit bumps in the road, but because I'm committed to harmony, I don't take anything personally. I know my ex's intentions regarding our son are always for his happiness. The beauty for me is I get to witness what a present father can be. The love between my son and his father inspires me and heals the little girl within me that never experienced the presence and protection of father.
For more information about The Father Project email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook