My dad was an artist who sold carpets for a living while raising his family in the beautiful, wealthy suburb of La Canada, California (just outside of Los Angeles). During McGovern’s 1972 Presidential campaign, my dad was listed among fifteen registered Democrats in a city of 25,000 Republicans. He lived in that area for forty-seven years. Known for his activism in holding back big developers, he was a worthy adversary who used his charms to disarm his opponents.
As an artist, he was a tad different from the norm. He loved it when someone would say he was crazy. “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he’d say as though it were a wonderful joke. In his later years, post-it notes with scrawled inspiration covered his kitchen cabinets. His wall calendars seemed as though A Beautiful Mind and Picasso collided causing an explosion of bold colors.
Life Lesson 1 – Be True to Yourself
Two of dad’s post-it-notes art that impacted me the most included; “It takes tremendous courage to be yourself” and “You’ve got to recognize who you are.” When I started my career at age 26, I was blonde and wore glasses to look smart. I realized that the more I was myself, the more people trusted me and wanted to do business with me. Sometimes, when we take ourselves too seriously, it just doesn’t work.
It works best if you embrace who you are. In my case, I was smart, funny and an airhead wrapped up in one. Once I recognized and accepted that my career took off. Hence, my Pearl of Wisdom “Be True to You.” My dad did not realize it back then, but he set me up for success in life and business. He also taught me that being true to yourself is the greatest gift you can give your children.
Life Lesson 2 – This Too Shall Pass – Have Hope!
Fathers can be a source of comfort when everything else seems like it’s falling apart. My dad was no different. Throughout the trials of my life, my dad always gave sage advice. While he was not successful by material standards, he was a treasure trove when he gave his words of wisdom. We all go through trials in life.
He lived through the death of his parents by age 12. The death of his daughter at 21 and the death of his brother soon thereafter. If anyone knew that storms always pass, it was him.
Mine included the death of a sister, near miss with 9/11, divorce, major surgery, and many more trials along the way. I can hear him saying it now “This too shall pass”…and he was always right. He always provided words of hope when I felt hopeless.
There are countless times that I have used “This too shall pass” not only with my kids, but my friends as well. It is one of those timeless legacies that my father taught me.
Life Lesson 3: DO, Act as if it is Already Granted
I have always wondered how I came about using the art of visualization to achieve success in sports and business. My dad painted a painting called “Italian Scene” in 1983. Twenty years later, we got up early to watch the sunset. We were on a cruise ship. As the ship turned the corner, magnificent Venice unfolded…and it was a replica of his painting from twenty years earlier. I said, “Dad, you painted this!”…he just smiled.
In his later years, he would write his prayers down. He left us 60 yellow pads with his prayers and confirmation that they were all answered. Before he passed away he said, “Therese, all of the answers are in my calendars.”
Flipping through his calendars, I found “DO, act as if it is already granted”, “Believe”, “Trust God like a child”, and “He gives you the clues, but not the answer just yet.” There are many more “clues” in his calendars. He left them to teach us how to manifest success, answer to prayers.
Thank you dad for everything you taught me through your art. Your life lessons have been invaluable, and now I am sharing them with the world in my new self-help memoir with your art. To learn more about my book and dad’s paintings and calendars, please go to http://thereseallison.com