ACT with love – A Father’s Day tribute

Ilze GroblerAcceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), special events

My father taught me that to be a loving parent myself, I have to ACT with love through connecting, caring and contributing to the relationships that matter in my life. Mindfulness offers us the tools to open our hearts fully, live deeply and savour the sweetness of those precious moments in our life. 


As we pay tribute to all fathers this Sunday, I look back to all the sweet moments that I have shared with my father. Recalling the memories as if it is happening here and now, I remember the beautiful bouquet of 12 red roses on my 12th birthday from my father. Tapping into the richness and savouring the sweet scent of that moment there is one word that springs to mind: LOVE. In that moment I felt loved, adored, protected and safe.

I am always surprised by the contrast of the affect that my mind reveals when I allow myself to savour the sweetness of the memory and make room for all that arises – sweetness and sadness; love and longing; connection and disconnection. When we allow ourselves to be fully present with ourselves, we discover that our emotions too are intimately connected like two sides of the same coin.

I have also learned from my father that to be a loving parent myself, I have to ACT with love. In his book “The Reality Slap”, Russ Harris describes love as more than just a feeling. To act with love, he believes, we have to connect, care and contribute.

Whether you are a father, grandfather, parent, son, daughter, friend, neighbour or co-worker, ask yourself:

  • How can I connect with others or myself with openness and curiosity?

Connecting with me from a mindfulness attitude of openness and curiosity my father pays attention to my words, my tone of voice, my body posture.

  • What can you do to show you care?

My father tries to understand my world and needs no matter how old I am!

  • What can you do to contribute to his/her/your own life?

My father contributes to my life in many different ways, big and small – from the beautiful bouquet of red roses, servicing my car or carrying me in his prayers.


Acts of loving kindness towards our selves from a mindfulness perspective implies connecting with our own thoughts and feelings by simply noticing with curiosity what they are doing and how you are responding to them. Are you criticizing yourself or do you care and acknowledge that your thoughts and emotions have an important role in your life? You can show care towards yourself by reflecting on the personal qualities that you want to embody or the values that you want to stand for. Contributing to your thoughts, emotions and mental wellbeing may involve giving your mind a rest, sending a soothing breath and opening up space to those painful thoughts and emotions, giving yourself more compassion and non-judgement.

My wish for you on this Father’s Day is to savour the sweetness of those precious moments in your life through the tools of mindfulness to live deeply, connect authentically and open your heart fully.



Harris, R. (2012). The Reality Slap. New Harbinger Publications, Oakland, CA.

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