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My father-in-law…

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went from thinking self-development was for idiots and never having meditated to going through 3 Kambo purges followed by 7 Aya ceremonies among other experiences we curated during his 5 weeks visiting my wife and I in Colombia..

My wife had never spent more than 24 hrs together with her father since she was an adult..

and for VERY good reasons.

Recurring alcoholism and violence would have her mother and brother constantly beaten up and sometimes in the hospital.

Controlling tendencies and lack of empathy made for a tyrannical environment growing up.

When he was 1 year old his father committed suicide and his stepfather would later beat him up daily.

He grew up resentful of his dad for being “weak” and violently punished perceived weakness wherever he went.

My wife escaped home when she turned 16 to avoid the drama and toxicity that came with these kind of situations.

Fast forward to recent years, she realized she wanted to heal her relationship with him in order to work through some of her own relational blockages.

But it was hard!

He wouldn’t inquire about her life, he had no curiosity or good things to say about her choices..

When she told him she was a Breathwork teacher his answer was “What kind of idiots would pay for that?”

When she shared with him how happy she was she had overcome her scarcity mentality and we were living prosperously, he replied “rich people always steal from someone.. no way you’re wealthy unless you’re tricking people or stealing..”

When she sent him a video of me proposing to her in our medicine temple, covered in flowers next to a bonfire, he did not say a thing.

Not “congratulations”

Not “Wow!”

Nothing.

She grieved and asked him a few weeks later why he didn’t say a thing and his answer was “What do you want me to say? I’m happy for you.”

I think that paints a good enough picture of where he was at and their relationship.

A while back, out of formality and politeness, my wife told him “you should come to Colombia!” knowing he’d never follow through on that invitation…

Yet to her surprise, two months ago he sent her a message:

“Is the invitation to Colombia still up? I want to come.”

He’d never left Russia or been on an airplane.

My wife came to me nervous and with so many fears…

He wanted to come for an indefinite amount of time (30 days minimum)

“I’ve never spent so much time with him and the little bit of time we’ve shared isn’t really the greatest.”

I listened and encouraged her to keep her word while drawing a couple of boundaries – since I knew that most of this trip would be paid from our pocket.

I said:

“I’m happy to support your father’s visit, but not if it’s a vacation.

If he wants to have a good time he can go somewhere else and pay for it himself.

If he wants to come to Colombia, it will be to do medicine work.

I will take a stand for his transformation, not for his vacation.”

She agreed and told him the conditions.

He agreed because he really wanted to come, whatever the conditions.

What unfolded the next 35 days was a wild rollercoaster of emotions…

My wife would go from sharing the deepest conversations and connection she had had with him..

To deeply rooted anger, resentment and frustration about the way he communicated, her perception of his lack of appreciation, and the child-like tendencies.

At some points she felt like her father’s mother, when she was dying to feel like a cared-for daughter.

At some points she felt that -left to his own devices- he would eat like sh!t and destroy all the positive effects of the healing and medicinal ceremonies he attended..

At some other, he’d surprise her with how connected he was to nature and how much humility he’d developed.

Long story short, he went through a radically life-changing experiences through the itinerary we organized for him.

He cried tears of gratitude for life..

He wrote and send a letter to his mother, telling her he loved her for the first time and that she was the best mother.

He said he saw all the people he had hurt in his visions and apologized to them..

He told my wife he was sorry for not being the best father he could’ve been..

He’d recently cut a couple of trees in Russia and said he now understood that they also felt pain and with tears in his eyes he promised he’d plant many more..

He said he had not learned how to live his life, until now..

That he had lived avoiding his pain and therefore inflicting it on others.

But NO MORE.

He said he wanted to eat differently..

To spend more time in nature..

To spread joy and kindness..

To propose to his girlfriend..

and so much more.

But among all his insights, one of the key ones for him was to learn what true, supportive, masculine friendship was.

During this trip he met men who were kind and generous but also strong.

Men of purpose.

Men who lived with an open heart, yet far from being weak in any way.

He met elder, shamans, medicine men and leaders.

He sat with them and was touched by healthy masculinity.

He had never had that in his life.

Definitely not from his father or step father..

And not from his group of “friends” (whom told him he was stupid for flying to Colombia, casting all their judgements and calling him names out of envy and jealousy.)

He felt truly embraced by other men.

Respected.

& Lovingly corrected, when needed.

He cried and teared up so many times, as he hugged men he had just met but felt more connected to than any of his male peers at home.

He also cried for he saw that he was far from being like them..

Yet he felt inspired to shorten the gap and walk his path so that, one day perhaps, others would benefit from the work he’s done.

Wow…

My wife said she would have never believed it if someone told her that her father would say such things.

In fact, I held off from writing this post because I wanted to see what would happen once he went back to Russia..

For I know it’s easier to feel like you love the world when you’re surrounded by loving people.

Yet he did not disappoint .

My wife’s mother called her recently saying “After 15 years of not talking to him, your father reached out. We met in person with him and he apologized for everything. We’re in good terms now.. I cannot believe it.”

This and many more miracles have started to unfold.

So..

Where am I going with this?

Men NEED men.

We need to be around masculine beings of integrity and strength..

Men who are not the woo-woo, promiscuous. “tantric”, pseudo-spiritual bali festival dude..

Nor the chest-beating, self-annointed “alpha”, hustle & grind, all head and beef no heart macho guy..

We need the guidance of men who are not afraid of their masculinity, nor compulsively driven by it.

Men whose instinct is transmuted for the service of all…

Fathers, brothers, friends and partners..

Solid allies in our quest towards living more impeccably.

It would’ve been easy to judge my father in law for his history and not give him a chance..

It would’ve been simple to dismiss him as incapable and not extend a guiding hand..

Easier to ignore and punish than to repair and rebuild..

Yet that’s what a conscious man does:

He takes upon himself the duty of caring for all of life.

He shares his heart openly so that others may drink from the wisdom and compassion he’s cultivated through trials and tribulations.

Back in my 20’s I wish I had had more available mentors and role models.

I wish I had had spaces where men of integrity were present and their messages available to be heard.

Often in life, your gift and mission becomes giving to others that which you wished you had received..

So in recent months I was asked to be one of the speakers at a men’s summit:

The “Calling All Men Summit.”

A place where -among others- a handful of the very few men I admire and respect were also invited to speak.

A virtual gathering aimed to create that space that most men have never had:

A space among brothers.

My father-in-law needed family, not alienation.

It was male love that healed him, not punishment or rejection.

He opened himself up to the Colombian shamanic medicines because that’s what was available… but the greatest medicines of all are love, community and connection.

And that’s available everywhere if you are open to them. 🙏🏽

So if you’re a man (or know one) that cares about living life in more harmony, honesty and truth..

I invite you to attend this (FREE) summit (starting tomorrow).

I will share the link on the first comment.

Feel free to forward it to the men you care about in your life, or to share this whole post if it touched you.

Transformation is not only our possibility,

but our duty and responsibility.

Miracles are possible.

But we gotta do our part!

See you there.

👊
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