A Letter To His Daughters: A Lesson For All
by Jimmy Brandmeier
When my dad died, he left his only daughter with nothing to hold on to but his blind insecurity disguised as a grudge.
Your Grandpa Frank went through life holding grudges with lots of people. In the end, it was my sister Mary's turn. Don't get me wrong, Grandpa Frank had many great qualities, but like many of us, facing problems and knowing how to express his love, weren't always among them.
His funeral was a whirlwind. Uncle Michael and I joked about our "to do" list: pick up some milk, identify Dad's dead body, clean the kitchen, break the news, write an obituary, take out the garbage, choose between a $10,000 casket or a rental, tell Dad's girlfriend he died, find her first, feed the dog, find a will, get some gas, do the laundry, pick up the dry cleaning, and oh yeah, have Dad cremated. Check!
It wasn't until we got up north to spread Grandpa's ashes around his beloved cabin that emotions hit hard, not because of his passing; I know with his death came the gift of awakening. I snuck off to the side of the cabin, where no one could see me, and cried deeper than I've ever cried in my life, because of how Grandpa's displaced resentment was hurting my sister, Mary, even more, after he died.
I wasn't just sad. I was mad!
After not seeing the inside for years, Aunt Mary rushed into the log cabin, in our family since 1910. Despite the one-sided quarrel, she loyally sent Grandpa pictures of her life and family along with his birthday and Christmas presents. He never responded. When I saw her scramble into the cabin, I knew what she was looking for.
My heart dropped.
Pictures of your uncles, you, and your cousins were proudly displayed everywhere. Mary flew directly to the photo albums and rifled through—nothing. She searched in the storage rafters above the kitchen—still nothing. Below the beds, nothing. Under the cabinets, but she saw nothing, nothing, nothing. None of her gifts and not one picture of Mary and her beautiful family.
I know Grandpa loved Aunt Mary. He told me so and always bragged about her. I could see the fear driving his behavior. Still, a fearful person can be a hurtful one.
I have my own fears.
As I laid my dear father to rest at his cabin in the woods, I promised myself that my fear would never become your problem. I swore that while I'm here on earth, and after I'm gone, you'll never have to scurry around searching for evidence of my love.
This book is part of that promise.
It's love made visible.
Know you are valued and valuable.
Feel you are safe and protected.
See you are deeply loved, even when the fear of your flawed father may be blocking the view.
But layers of reasons drove me to write this book.
Be Who You Are: A Song for My Children was created from my love and pulled from my pain. I was grabbed by the gut to plant a conviction like a fortress around your spirits. The creed is simple, empowering, and rare:
Be who you are, inside and out, No matter what! No matter how far!
My philosophy has always been "Use your talent to serve." You cannot use your talent to serve if you don't use your talent! You cannot love others if you don't love yourself. To love yourself you must be yourself. Authenticity on the outer road of life requires vision, purpose, courage, and commitment. On the inner road, it takes intention, awareness, devotion, and faith to be who you are. It seemed, at least for a while, your dad lost all of the above.
I hit rock bottom.
If you didn't understand or know about it at the time, you probably felt it. The music company I launched to secure our financial future crashed and burned. Every avenue of escape was either obsolete or closed for the recession. There was nowhere left to turn.
After throwing every ounce of my being into the ring, I crawled off the battlefield wounded and wiped out. I've lost before, been rejected a zillion times, struggled forever. But for the first time—for the very first time—something previously inconceivable seeped through the cracks of my confusion. I felt defeated, like my chances were over.
Even as my ego was flailing and wailing and trying to hold on at the surface, I did the inconceivable.
And without knowing it, the "pain of events," pulled me into the inner road of life. Every day, I prayed for clarity.
It was only later, I realized an answer to those prayers was part of the guiding force pulling me through these pages.
My mother, your Grandma Hanky, was fond of saying, "God writes straight with crooked lines." Like Ray Kinsella in the movie Field of Dreams, who was blind to the real gift hidden in the baseball diamond he cut from the corn, I never saw it coming—the unexpected grace and surprise ending of this book—"Ease his pain."
It turns out, the message I was so passionate about giving to you, was the one I most needed to hear. Live what you love.
Be who you are.
The message finally blew up in my face, and broke through my defenses, creating an opening for insight, as the company and my spirits crumbled.
Somewhere along the line, I stopped being myself, let limiting beliefs and the life-sucking cancer of "I can't" drip into my subconscious. Being a musician wasn't "normal." My friends all had "real careers" and security. I didn't accept my gifts. Instead of embracing my uniqueness and finding a way, I turned my back and lost it.
My love of creating music got lost in the business of selling music.
My pain was a gift, a straight path home through the crooked lines of God Grandma Hanky told me about.
In the end, trying to help you, helped me; trying to guide you, guided me; trying to inspire you, inspired me. That's the beautiful nature of giving, and the irony of parenting; our children, like a mirror, show us who we are, and help us to grow up.
Now I know what I've always known.
I want you to learn from my mistakes. After going through the fire, which seared through my ignorance, scorched my fear like the earth, and burned down the illusions of the ego—I can finally see. I can see the magnificent, indestructible spirit inside of you, me, and everyone. I can see the amazing power radiating with possibilities inside all of us.
I can also see the tiny tragedies, first-world problems, and itty-bitty storms in a teacup that keep us from reaching our potential. The forces that suck the smiles from our face have nothing to do with anything happening outside of us. It's our inside life that creates our outside world. Happiness is not an external event. Our inside life is life.
And I see an unrepeatable, amazing life shining inside of you.
Do you have any idea who you are and what you can do?
If you did, you'd be happy no matter what happens. You'd never cling to dream-killing comfort zones, or flatline routines. You would never seek anyone's approval but your own. You wouldn't waste a single second on worry, want, or anger. You wouldn't need to substitute false pride for true confidence.
You would judge no one, including yourself; forgive everyone, especially yourself. And you'd love others, because you'd love yourself.
You'd be happy.
You'd be fearless.
You'd be free.
If you could look through the clouds of fear and catch even the tiniest glimpse of who you really are, living a counterfeit life would be unbearable—horrifying— like the walking dead, a fate worse than death. And no, that's not an overstatement!
Oh, I can see the so-called hardships of life. I can see the inevitable pain. So what?! Pain may be inevitable, but suffering is a choice! There is no greater pain than living a lie and missing your own life.
I'm so sure of what I see in you, I wish I could just shout your eyes wide open, to spare you from the pain it may take to see it on your own. It's true! It's true! It's true! These are not just fluffy words on a page! You are an infinite spirit, with infinite possibilities. All this fear- based, ego-driven, programmed, cow-herd, moo-moo-moo, limiting belief, "I can't I can't, I can't" garbage, is a big, big, big waste of time!
Trust me! You don't have to let life suck the life out of you!
I see your invincible spirit;
I see your unlimited potential;
I see your creative genius;
I see your goodness;
I see your courage;
I see your love;
I see your wings;
But I also see fear, which is a birthstone we all share, blocking the way.
I see standard-issue guilt, worry, want, whining, vanity, and negativity, which is all part of being born a human with an animal ego, programmed like a computer for survival and gain. The ego is not real. The layered-in, wired-on programs that evolved over time to help us survive only seem real.
I see you rising above and looking in—thanking the robot of an ego for its service, then pulling the plug—free at last from the only things that could ever enslave you.
Fear and negativity: Ignorance of who you really are.
You are a spiritual being having a human experience.
And your spirit is breathtaking!
I can already see the perfect happiness, unlimited power, and natural freedom that are your birthright.
I swear, I swear, I swear, what I'm saying is true!
I am certain! I am certain! I am certain!
You are infinite! You are unbreakable! You are unrepeatable. You are awesome!
Deeply, deeply loved.
My purpose, my intention, my prayer for this book is to help you see what I see.
Be Who You Are, A Song For My Children: Jimmy Brandmeier
Advance autographed copy with free gifts available at www.jimmybrandmeier.com
Ebook available at Amazon.com/author/jimmybrandmeier, and everywhere online now: Available in stores worldwide, October 9th, 2018