Posted on June 15 2018
My First Father’s Day: A Goodbye Letter to the Old Me
Another day, another first.
On Sunday, I will receive my first ever Father’s Day gifts from a few select family members. My wife couldn’t wait, she already presented to me my “papa bear” t-shirt and matching “baby bear” onesie for our daughter, Eva. I will be wearing it on Father’s Day, FOR SURE.
I’ll probably also receive cards from my mom and my dad. It must be a great rite of passage to help your own child celebrate their first mom or dad’s day. On one hand I feel beamingly proud. On the other hand I feel like an attraction at the circus. “Come one, come all—to see the great dark circle-eyed, exhilarated young man that still feels like a child himself! Please do NOT refrain from taking photos, he will only get more gray and fat in the years to come! Step in line!”
It’s quite the spectacle around here!
When I started writing this journal entry, my intention was for it to be a candid letter to my daughter. I wanted it to be one of those vulnerable pieces about a young mom and dad, totally unprepared for the challenges of parenthood. My thought was that she could read it when she turned 18, or some other adult-ish age decided upon by my wife and I.
But I never got around to that love-letter to my daughter.
Because I’m not ready to write a letter to her.
I am still processing what just happened that led to her arrival.
And so this entry has become a “A Goodbye Letter to the Old Me.”
And it begins with…
“WTF, I’m a dad.”
Wait, let me rewind a minute.
WTF, I’m a husband. WTF, I’m in a committed relationship.
I’m pretty much indiscernible from the man I was 18 months ago.
I mean, shoot, I was single for six years before meeting my wife, Flow.
Well that’s a bit of a lie since, in truth, I was a taken man for the majority of those years. I had many lovers actually, the most prominent of which were marijuana, porn, ego, confusion and shame.
Well, there goes any chances of ever running for office.
Fortunately for me, I’m a white man from a wealthy family in California. So, even though my back-sliding took me most of the way down the mountain, I never hit bottom. That’s because I started on top. Most people that dick off as much as I did end up in jail or dead, or at least depressed or an addict. I’m lucky and I know it.
So, there I was at age 29 living at home, working a soul-sucking job at a hotel and feeling utterly deflated. I had to fold up the dream of being a professional musicians—my music instruments were all packed up in storage. It was a time of great reckoning. In my eyes, this was my last chance to figure out what the hell I was going to do with my life. I had to figure out what was making me feel so empty, powerless and paralyzed. I had to discover who I was.
So I took a chance, quit my job and did a 10-day silent meditation through Vipassana. This experience absolutely SHATTERED me. For the first time, I was forced to sit with the pain and discomfort, instead of running from it, masking it and distracting myself from it.
It was incredibly painful. I paced. I wept. But after years of numbing out, at least I could finally FEEL SOMETHING. A little flame began to flicker deep inside my soul. It felt strange and new, but that’s what I was after. In that moment I made the commitment to myself, “I choose to feel more.”
And feel I did. I dove headlong into “shadow work,” sitting in men’s circles and learning the ancient ways of the spiritual warrior. Wise and kind men taught me about feelings, accountability and boundaries.
It was around this time that I also discovered a lineage of yoga that was as profound as my patterns were dysfunctional. Most yoga styles I was encountering at the time focused on the body. And while I needed to heal my body from years of hunching over music equipment, what I really needed was help for my mind. Viniyoga, as the tradition is called, transmitted to me the tools I needed in order to un-fuck myself. And so I followed this tradition all the way down the rabbit hole and eventually got my 500 hour yoga teacher certification.
And slowly and surely, the old me began to resurface. And something magical happened, I began to play music and dance again. But this time sober. Getting back in touch with my true musical nature was really the catalyst that kicked my healing and soul recovery into high gear.
I began rediscovering my voice too—a new voice that resonated deep inside of me. It wasn’t like the old Andrew that performed on Korean national TV, The Greek Theater or at SXSW. That Andrew used music to entertain others. That Andrew strained and forced the music out of himself.
This new Andrew used his voice to heal himself. This new Andrew was using music to express his heart’s song, to process stuck emotions and to connect authentically to others.
My fire was lit once more. I was in touch with my feelings for the first time in 10+ years and from this place I began attracting my soul tribe.
And as the kindred spirits began to gravitate and magnetize, so too did my love.
Near the end of a blindfolded and silent dance event, I noticed a beautiful, wild woman with sad eyes across the dance floor. She was deep in her own process and I could see that each step and movement she made was highly intentional. She was deep in her dance medicine. She was a powerful Goddess.
“That is my dream woman,” I thought.
Slowly, like two heavenly bodies, we began to influence one another’s path. We began to dance.
That was 2.5 years ago.
And that’s when things got really messy.
To be continued…
Andrew Belinsky RYT-500 is a yogic counselor and music facilitator who's on a mission to inspire joy and wellness in individuals and communities across the globe. He leads online group programs and retreats that are designed to help people activate their inner healer using daily movement, breath, sound and meditation. Keep in the loop with his offerings at www.AndrewBelinsky.com. He currently lives in San Diego with his wife Flow and daughter Eva.