Today is International Yoga Day (yep – apparently that’s a ‘thing’ now). Here in the UK it’s also Father’s Day. To celebrate the global day of bendiness there’s lots of stuff going on in London, but I can’t go to any of it because I’m visiting my Dad in The Shire. When I realised I was missing a heap of free yoga-tastic stuff I’ll admit I was a bit miffed. (Even though, I hasten to add, I have chosen to come and visit him – so it’s entirely my own fault. But we all know that reason has no role to play when we choose to feel hard done by.)
But it’s actually perfect that International Yoga Day and Father’s Day happen together – because my Dad is my Guru. And here’s why:
1.) He is happy in my true happiness.
I’ve made some interesting life choices. Many of which, I know, he has accepted with a total and utter sense of confusion as he watched me do the exact opposite as to what he thought would be the most sensible option. But all those times I’ve gone to him feeling that I was about to let him down by making yet another leap from a frying pan into what might be a blazing inferno, his response has always been the same – “as long as you’re happy.” And it’s because of that constant, unwavering sense of support and never-ending belief in me, I’ve found the courage to grow into the person I am today.
2.) He wants nothing for himself.
My Dad is the most difficult person in the world to buy presents for – and not because his wish list is worse than Maria Carey’s rider. Apart from a little tipple of whiskey (nothing fancy), trifle (but not the posh one because it’s got too much fruit in it) and the occasional new dressing gown, I’ve never known him actually ask for anything. If there’s anyone who deserves to spend his days sitting in a dressing gown, eating trifle and washing it down with a bit of Whyte and McKay it’s my 87 year old Dad.
3.) He is my dispeller of darkness.
Feeling sad? Ask my Dad to stand behind an open door and pretend that ‘his brother’ is with him. It used to make me helpless with giggles when I was little enough to stand on his feet so we could dance in the kitchen. Whilst I still occasionally stand on his feet when we dance together (sorry Dad) I am never happier than being twirled around as he makes me look like I know what I’m doing. And the whole ‘brother’ thing? Still hil-frickin-arious.
4.) He has profound knowledge which he graciously shares.
Dad was a Rector for many years and he used to come into the local village school and teach us Religious Education. Apart from the eternal confusion as to whether I should call him ‘Dad’ or ‘Rector’ in class, one of my enduring memories is a session he taught us on drawing perspective which involved sketching a line of lampposts, just because it was a skill he thought we should have. Add to that the fact that his church fetes and harvest festivals are still talked of decades later; he could knock up a toy theatre out of nothing more than a Weetabix box and newspaper; and he was a demon on the hockey pitch, and you’ve got yourself a bit of a legend.
5.) He is a source of wisdom and strength to many more than just me.
Okay – I know I’m biased, but I believe that it is impossible not to love my Dad once you’ve met him. Any Facebook status update which mentions him gets far more response from people than anything I ever write. The first question of almost any old friend I meet is always ‘How’s your Dad?’ before they embark on a story that begins with ‘I remember when he…’ and usually ends with a.) him doing something kind; b.) him doing something silly or c.) him doing something remarkable.
So on this International Yoga Day, this little yogini could not be happier than to be spending it with the man who gave her deep enough roots to never feel unsafe, the freedom to grow in whichever direction she chose, and the nurturing to feel loved unconditionally. My Dad – my guru.