HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! A Tribute: Stories of the Early Days with my Dad (Papi)

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emailheader6Happy Father’s Day!


This Father’s Day is bitter-sweet for me. My beloved Dad, the sweetest man I know, has been navigating stage 4 pancreatic cancer for the last ten months.


blog-fathers-6In this blog, I share stories of our early days together, in honor of this sweet, strong, steadfast man. His name is Valentine – and, he has lived up to his name, emanating LOVE wherever he goes. I call him: Papi ; – )


One summer, while on vacation, I had an experience with Papi that imprinted my psyche with an empowering mindframe that I’ve held my entire life. I was around 3 years old.


We were at the pool. Papi jumped in the water; my mom (Mami) sat on a beach chair. I walked around the pool, and noticed something I’d never seen before! A diving board.


The water seemed infinitely farther than it was. Papi saw me on the edge, and shouted, “Jump!!!”


Mami turned her head, and screamed, “Don’t jump!!!” Then, she yelled at Papi. “VALENTINE!!! Don’t you dare have her jump!!!”


Papi paid no attention, and urged me on.



Mami persisted, “NO! Stop! Don’t jump!!!”


I was in a double-bind — a crisis for a 3-year-old!!!


I had to make a decision. Do I listen to Mami or Papi?


Then Papi quipped, “If you jump, I’ll take you to Disney World!”


I got excited, and jumped! The intensity of that moment, and the result of my decision, carved a profound imprint in my psyche:


When I take risks, and jump in, even if it’s scary, even if those in authority say “No! … I Am safe, and rewarded.


Since then, I’ve consistently transcended fear to take risks for what’s important to me.


blog-fathers-5Deeply imprinted experiences from childhood form the mind frames through which we perceive, and create reality.


Papi was present and careful when he urged me to jump. If another child in a similar scenario jumped and broke a bone, then she would likely perceive life through a very different mind frame.


Transforming (or re-coding) disempowering psychological imprints from childhood is central to my life’s work. It’s the great work we accomplish at NEO and SIIA.


Here’s another short story with Papi that touched my heart, and influenced how I perceive time.



My first cousin had just come to America from Cuba. I was 8, and she was 7. She had never owned a doll.


blog-fathers-4Papi took us to the toy store. He said we had five-minutes to get “whatever we want,” as much as we could fit into one cart!!!


It was an exhilarating day that left a profound imprint in my psyche —
I can have whatever I choose as long, as long as I am smart with my time.



I’m so grateful for Papi, and for his dad, my grandfather, Raimundo. His name means: the light, and king of the world. I call him: Ayo.


It was Ayo’s courage that fortified him to leave everything he had built behind, and bring his family to America from Cuba, when Fidel Castro’s regime came into power in 1959.


I remember him telling the story. Fidel Castro’s guards came into his home. They said, the house and everything in it now belonged to the government. On their way out the door, they grabbed my grandmother, and stole the wedding ring right off her finger.


I am so deeply grateful for Ayo’s empowered decision to leave Cuba in the midst of chaos – for I would not be who I am today – had he not had courage to take action. I have cousins my age who have very different realities because they were born in Cuba vs. the U.S.


One clear decision has power to change the entire trajectory of your life… AND, your lineage!


Here’s a pic of Papi and Mami in Cuba right before they came to the U.S.




Life is a precious gift. There are no guarantees.


This Father’s Day hug your Papa a little tighter; savor the moment a little longer. If you have grievances, let them go and return to love. Appreciate the time together, because you never know how long you’re going to get.


To all the awesome Dad’s in the world… I am sending you a wave of Supreme LOVE from my heart. Thank You for your steadfast presence, and fatherly love. Thank you for having our backs, and being our rock! We see you, appreciate you, and love you.


To my Papi… I LOVE you…. forever <3


Happy Father’s Day!


If you’re inspired, leave a comment for Papi. I’m sitting here next to him, and I’ll be delighted to read it to him ; – )


With Divine LOVE,


niurka blog signature


PS… If you or someone you know is having difficulty navigating transition of any kind, know that we are here – with love and resources – to support you through this process.


P.S… If you want to deepen your relationship with your parent or child, experience one of our live courses together. Years ago, Papi attended SIIA. It was a supremely epic to share the journey with him! Here’s a picture of Papi and me at SIIA in 2009.



Here’s a picture of Papi participating in exercises with his classmates at SIIA. He’s so cute!


Fathers dAY eMAIL mEME-16

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