A Father’s Perspective
By Co-founder Doug Pinto
(Originally published on Don’t Go Nuts Facebook page, April 2013)
In an instant, we were reminded of what really matters to us.
My daughter Lily was diagnosed with a life-threatening allergy to peanuts and tree nuts when she was 3 years old and, despite our best efforts, suffered her first anaphylaxis incident at age 8.
It was one of the times in my life that I was aware of my relationship to fear.
On a very deep level the fear of the moment subjugated my analytic mind, and I found myself in a place of such uncertainty that I did not know which direction to turn for help.
From those moments, we realized it is possible to move into and through and with daily worry. As a family, we have travelled the road of recovery together. We have learned what is productive about worry and what is unproductive. We have learned to ask brilliant questions to keep Lily safe. We have learned to listen. We have discovered our “heartmind,” the place in us where care meets the capacity and competency to blend knowledge and wisdom into a strategy to be mindful of how, when and where nuts threaten Lily’s right to thrive.
Our journey has been everything from uneasy to transforming. Lily has been an incredible teacher of present moment awareness. Her ability to ask of herself and her family, “Where am I?” has enriched and energized our lives together in ways we could never have imagined.
We don’t see allergy to nuts as a sentence, punishment or dark wilderness, though we have come to intimately feel and know desperation, hopelessness and the depths of uncertainty. What we didn’t do as a family system is allow the fear of what could happen to keep us from what is happening in our lives. We choose to live wide open with care. Lily chooses to inhabit her days with a loosened heart, wings, a torch and a promise to use her allergy as a way to bring together what fear and worry threatens to take away – the right to safe food and a life of freedom of being – like a child on a swing.
She looks. We look. Our family, friends and community look for where the presence of nuts threatens Lily. What we see when we look is both what threatens Lily and what transforms us. We see the importance of our own compassion and the power of service to each other. Today, Lily leads us to discover unimagined bridges. Together, we ask the question: How can we widen our circle of care to embrace every child, family and community and encourage each other to transform our wounds into teachers? I can truly say, as Parker Palmer so beautifully writes, “I am living the life that wants to live in me.” This is where we are meant to be shining.
Lily and Gray’s Father
Co – Founder