I've written about what a positive influence Gretchen Ruben's podcast, Happier, has had on me in the past. In one of her latest episodes, she talked about imitating your spiritual master.
Gretchen spoke about her own spiritual master, St. Therese of Lisieux and Elizabeth went on to share her's - Barbara Walters. They each spoke about their master's personal characteristics that they were drawn to and inspired to imitate in their own lives. Without a second thought, I knew exactly who my spiritual master is... my Dad.Dad has always been the one to lead by example. He not only talks the talk, but he actually walks it as well. I'm not saying my Dad is perfect... ok, maybe I am... but don't we all want to believe that our parents are the best? There are several characteristics of my Dad that I have always admired and try to imitate myself. It didn't occur to me until a bit later, that Father's Day had just passed... so what better time than now to reflect on my thoughts on this subject. I'm hoping that in doing so, it will remind me to practice these characteristics in my daily life more so than I have been.
Dad is always accepting of people from all walks of life. I've never really seen him judge anyone and he always believes in giving people a second chance. Being that he is Hindu and practices a polytheistic religion, he is always educating himself about other religions as well. He has studied several different religions throughout his life and always try to show me that in the end they all have something in common. I really admire that about him.
For the most part, I believe that I'm a pretty accepting person. However, I can't say that I haven't slipped up once in a while and judged someone before giving them a chance. I could definitely do better.
Be Organize & Prepared:
I'm definitely my Dad's daughter in this sense. He is always very organized and prepared for almost anything. I remember when him and my mom were traveling together to India for the first time and my sister and I could not go. He told me that he had prepared his Will and what do you in case something terrible should happen to them... just in case! I was pretty scared when he told me about this since I was barely a teen at the time, but I do admire that Dad always thinks ahead. I think that is partly why I always want to make sure I have a plan B for any situation. Being organized and prepared gives me a sense of control over my life and makes me less anxious.
Be Patient & Understanding:
My Dad has been living with three women for about 20 something years now. One thing that I really admire and hope to imitate is his patience and understanding. With that much estrogen in the household you can imagine all the mood swings and "drama queen" moments he has endured. In fact the two dogs we have had in the past were both female as well! I have seen Dad really try to understand the female mind. He has actually read books and tries his best to understand why we get so crazy sometimes and tries his hardest to be patient with us.
I'm a fairly understanding person, but I really have no patience... my husband is always testing me, but it's something that I try to be consciously aware of and it continues to be a work in progress.
Don't Stop Learning or Taking Risks:
There is always something new Dad wants to learn. He taught himself to swim in his early 40s, he has taken painting classes, learned to cook Indian food, taught himself to be tech savvy... the list goes on and he has also taken some big risks in his life.
Seeing him always eager to learn something new and taking risks definitely inspires me. I do think that I try to imitate this behavior in my life, but I could do better.
Recently, my husband and I planned on taking a pretty big risk. Many people warned us about the challenges we would face, but my Dad encouraged us to proceed as long as it was calculated risk.
Photography has been something I've really been wanting to learn for a long time now. It's also something that I've been procrastinating about. Every time I think of singing up for a photography class something seems to happen and it just doesn't work out. Excuses... excuses.
Don't Be So Serious:
As my sister and I have grown older, I've also seen Dad grow and change along side us. He has loosened up a lot over the years and encouraged us to have fun and experience life to the fullest. As we get older, I love that I'm able to be fully honest with Dad and hang out with him just as friends.
Sometimes, I can get too serious and worry about what's next. I'm usually the one trying to plan everything and be the responsible one in the group. Dad is always reminding me to loosen up a bit and not take life so seriously. He's often saying "...just learn to enjoy the ride".
So, I'm curious.... who is your spiritual master?