Cry. Forgive. Love.

Today, I woke up with a heavy heart. Yesterday, I went to sleep with a heavy heart. What is going on? I find that sadness and loneliness has taken residence in this heart.

It is when this kind of heaviness arises, and I cannot shake it through ordinary means, that I turn to the gift that daughter mine gave me in late March 1999. What gift? A letter.

Today, I wish to put this letter here. Why? So that I never lose it even if I get parted from the original. Because all that I write here, I have always written for this daughter of mine. Working with these words will heal me. And, I say there is wisdom in this letter that is worth sharing.

On the envelope are written the instructions

“Instructions: open in Switzerland. Must be in a calm headspace. Must not be read while rushed. It’ll take 5-10 minutes to digest. Reread whenever you are sad or doubt yourself. If you experience continued sadness call your daughter.”

The letter

“Dear Papa

Wow, how do I even begin to say thank you.

My whole life, you’ve done nothing but love and support me. And, I am so incredibly lucky to have known nothing but love.

Whether I like it or not, you are such a big part of me. And, it makes me incredibly sad that this part of me is moving away. But, I know that distance will not break our relationship, it’ll strengthen it.

You spend your whole life caring for me and although your leaving is bittersweet, I know that in the end this will be good for you. You might be able to start a life where you can put yourself first and think about what you want. You always talk about having hopes for us kids – well this is my hope for you: let yourself come first.

It’s scary to love yourself but you need to so it to live a fulfilling life. I’ve put this self love into 3 different steps: CRY. FORGIVE. LOVE.

CRY – you’ve gone through so much pain in your life and are about to begin feeling a new pain. Let that pain exist, don’t push it away, or let reason make it extinct. Cry. Let yourself feel your pain. Pain demands to be felt.

FORGIVE – forgive yourself, don’t punish yourself for feeling pain. Whatever happened or is happening, you did the best you could and you loved unconditionally. I know you – you give everything for other people. Forgive yourself, you couldn’t have given any more. Secondly, forgive your self for loving so much, you love people so much that you no longer have enough love for yourself – you work yourself crazy for other people and demand nothing for yourself. Forgive yourself for not being able to love you.

Knowing you, you’re probably reading this and thinking, “What, of course I don’t do that, I get happiness from caring for my family.” But I dare you to think about how much you do for us and what this has done to you physically and emotionally. Forgive yourself for this.

LOVE – you are not a failure, you’re not a failure, you are not a failure, you are not a failure

1-I am not a failure.

2-I am worthy of love and happiness.

3-I can succeed in whatever I do, I simply must keep trying.

Remember this! It’ll do you good.

After you say this mentally to yourself – allow yourself small acts of love. Love yourself in your doing. Love is both mental and physical.

Cry. Forgive. Love. That’s what I want for you.

Papa, finally, I want to say thank you. I don’t mean thank you as a small passing pleasantry. I mean THANK YOU. I would not have survived without your love. You made me who I am. You have showed me what it means to love someone and care for them full heartedly. All in. That is a lesson on one else could have taught me. A valuable lesson.

Through your love, you’ve showed me that I can love myself and that there is something I can love about myself. This, to me, is evidence that you have succeeded as a dad. And, for me you will never be a failure.

I love you papa, that love is unconditional. I love the good and the bad. This love isn’t going away any time soon. You are more than just blood. You are my flesh and soul.

Be Brave. Love yourself.

From Clea – your favourite child. “

So here I am. I have cried in reading this letter – tears of gratitude for my daughter, and the love that is present between us. I have forgiven myself and the other – daughter has reminded me that I be/do the best that I can. As for love, there is now a smile in heart and on my face.

Thank you daughter mine, I am so grateful that you exist! And, that you see me – the good and the bad – and you choose to love me. So grateful that life has blessed me with you. I never forget that you are miracle – in the fullest sense of that word.

A Priceless Gift On Father’s Day

Today, I wish to ‘record’ and share with you the song that my daughter sang for me yesterday. A song that shows up as priceless for me. And which left me deeply moved, tears rolling down my eyes. Why?

Put simply, over the last couple of years I have experienced a deep sadness and loss. Why? Due to a certain distance with my daughter where once there was simply love and laughter, hugs and connection.

Perhaps, you are experiencing that which I have experienced. Perhaps this song will touch you as it touches me. Perhaps, this song will awaken possibility. What possibility? The possibility of connection with all who matter to you, and to whom you matter.

Father’s Day Song

You would hold me when I was crying

and rock me back to sleep.

Now trust me I ain’t lying

you were the world to me

and you always knew

one day I would grow up and get older.

And, I wanted to be just like my dollies

and be smarter.

I love you, I love you

don’t let anyone tell you different

yes, I need you

daddy, I need you

even though it don’t look like I do.

You would tell me I’m smart

even though I didn’t think it was true,

You would tell me I’m loved

even if you thought I didn’t love you!

And I look at myself in the mirror

just waiting to get older.

But daddy I love you,

I love you

don’t let anyone tell you different.

Yes, I love you,

daddy, I love you

even though it don’t look like I do.

I need you, you need me

I remember all this rubbish you taught me

“For mash get smash”,

‘One Cornetto give it to me,

one Cornetto fresh from Italy!”

It’s rubbish and it’s funny

so I remember it from you.

I love you, I love you

don’t let anyone tell you different.

Yes, I need you

daddy, I need you

even though it don’t look like I do!

– Clea 

For my daughter, I wish simply to say that I am deeply grateful that our lives touched. And I am committed to being around as long as possible. I love you deeply and find you to be amazing.

To be me or my reflection?


I am the being of a father. I choose to be the being of a father. As such concerns show up when it comes to all of the children.  And I notice, in particular as regards daughter, Clea. Why?

She is at that age, 12 years old, where there is the change in biology occurring. And at the same time she is acted upon by strong social forces.  The kind of social forces that make, bend, break us.

So it was with delight that I read the following piece. A piece written by daughter where she asks a powerful question – perhaps the most powerful question of all.


A chair small. I guess it’s how others interpret it cause in the reflection of the chair it’s tall and big.  A bit like humans.

Humans. There is what we are. And there is our reflection, how other people see us.

But let me ask you this, which one is more important? In our days everyone cares about their reflection: how other people see them.

But is it useful just having/being a reflection? I mean is it useful having a reflection of a chair? I think it is more useful just having the chair, the real chair.

Humans, it is more useful to have/be the real you than your reflection because your reflection is worth nothing to you.

So today ask yourself this question “To be me or to be my reflection?”

Love and Life – not your usual perspective!

Occasionally I read or hear something that introduces a glitch in the ‘matrix of my mind’, lifts me out of my default state of ‘fallenness’ and provides an opening into a ‘new world’, new way of being. Before I share that with you let’s get present to what is so in the ordinary way of living in which almost all of us are embedded almost all of the time.

Ordinary living: love as finding someone special and ‘being in love’

What is ordinary way of think about love?  If you are like me it is likely to be something like:

  • Love as a feeling – as in ‘I love you’ which more accurately said is “I feel love for you”;
  • Love as quest for that special someone – as in ‘I need to find someone to love me for me to feel OK, to feel complete’; and
  • Love as in falling in love – it is not enough for us that someone loves us, we strive to find that someone we love and who loves us!

What shows up when we approach love standing in this clearing: one of wanting, need and feeling?  If you are like me and I say that you are, more accurately most of you are, then it does not work out that great, does it?  It is not that easy to find that someone special.  And even when you do, how long does that feeling of ‘being in love’ last?  How do we react when that feeling is no longer there?  Does frustration, disappointment, anger, bitterness, self-criticism ofr choosing the wrong person (again!), restlessness, feeling cheated, feeling deprived – do these seem familiar to you?

In life and living there is risk and there is pain – that is simply what is so.  What is not within life itself is suffering.  Suffering –  this is what we introduce into our lives because we have a faulty view of life, of reality.  And I cannot think of a domain of life where are as mistaken as we are in the domain of life called ‘love and loving’.  Consequently, we suffer greatly.

Extraordinary living: Clea Iqbal speaks a forgotten ‘truth’

Here are the words that introduce a glitch in the ‘matrix of my mind’, lift me out of my default state of ‘fallenness’ and provide an opening into a ‘new world’, new way of being.

“Love is something everyone wants,

many do not realise they are loved,

someone cares for them lovingly,

and watches out for them.

Many people go out looking for love to be happy,

and they don’t realise,

to be happy,

you don’t need to love someone,

nor have someone love you.


You need only to love life itself!”

Do you get the wisdom, the beauty, the power, the freedom, that Clea has made available to each of us?  Being alive – see, hear, feel, touch, play, create, taste – is a privilege!  That is what Clea is pointing out.  What would show up in your living if you lived your life from this vantage point, from this stand?

Leadership is about disclosing new worlds, new possibilities and modeling that behaviour.   What impact would you have on those close to you, those you work with, those come across, the world at large?  Would it not show up as a transformation in the quality of your living and of our world?   Are you prepared to be that big and ‘play BIG’?  Are your prepared to be a leader?

About Clea Iqbal

Clea is daughter to me as I am father to her.  From time to time she comes out with profound insights that blow my mind and my heart.  So I invited her to share her voice and her insights with all of us both as self-expression and as contribution.  She took me up on this invitation and we set up a blog for her: Clea’s Blog

A final thought: perhaps one of the practices that we can incorporate into our living and of loving life is allowing/encouraging/enabling our fellow human beings to speak authentically and put that speaking into the world.

How would you experience living if you lived from this stand? I love me!

I walked into my daughter’s room and saw this morning and upon seeing it I marvelled at and simply have to share this with you:

How would our experience of living (individually and collectively) occur / show up for us if each and every one of us operated from this stand: I love me!!!

And loving ourselves would’nt we be more generous, more accepting, more considerate, more validating of all our fellow human beings?

And loving ourselves wouldn’t we put ourselves fully into the world as our natural self-expression?

And in doing that would we not create the space for our fellow human beings to do the same: love themselves, play full-out in the game of Life, put themselves in the world as their self-expression, Be just as they are and as they are not?

If I were to make any change to what daughter has written I would say the following, this would be my manifesto:

“I love me! And I love you!  And I love him/her! And I love them! And I love us!  Let’s ‘join hands and hearts’ and co-create a ‘world that works’, none excluded, where joy is present for each and every one of us!!”

What kind of transformation would occur, in your experience of living,  if you were to join with me?

How about you?  What would be your heart’s wish, your manifesto for your life and the world that you and I live in?

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