May 08

The Serenity Prayer

The Serenity Prayer reminds us that the First Step is not something that we “do” once but rather an ongoing process.  The Steps become a new way of living; they become a part of our everyday lives.  Some people have gone through them officially several times but even if you only “go through the Steps” once you are never really finished working the Steps.

“Be calm. God awaits you at the door.”  ~ Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

For some of us this simple prayer has become a mantra, repeated daily, sometimes multiple times per hour as a reminder to take the First Step and let go.  Much of what has led us to behaviors that numb the emotions comes from the struggle to control.  As we ask for serenity we remember that there are some things that we truly cannot change and that we have to release them if we ever want to find peace.  The prayer then takes us further through the Steps as we ask for courage to take responsibility, to take action on those things that really do fall within our circle of control. Finally we’re reminded to look to our Higher Power for wisdom and guidance, to take a deep breath, get quiet and listen.

The mention of God in 12 Step Programs can be a stumbling block for those who aren’t sure how they feel about a Higher Power.  The Steps themselves and the Serenity Prayer that we repeat so often are not intended to infringe on religious beliefs if you have them or to push them on you if you don’t have any.  Finding a Higher Power of your own understanding is an important part of the process, but believing in a specific idea of God is not for anyone but you to decide.

Much like exchanging the word alcohol in the First Step for a word that applies to your condition some choose to replace the word God in the Serenity Prayer with a word or phrase that works for them.  Some say, “Through my efforts I gain serenity” or “My highest self leads me to serenity.”  Reading the chapter called “We Agnostics” in the AA Big Book can be helpful for those in any kind of recovery to come to terms with the use of the word God in the 12 Step Fellowships.

There is great peace that comes from centering prayer or meditation.  If the Serenity Prayer doesn’t work for you do some research to find a few phrases that bring you to a state of calm and clarity.  The following example is an adaptation of the advice given on page 86 in the Big Book regarding the Eleventh Step that is worth memorizing.

As I consider my plans throughout the day, I divorce my thinking from self-pity, dishonesty and self-seeking motives. I now place my thought-life on a higher plane, cleared of all wrong motives, striving always for peace.

For those who embrace the Serenity Prayer, say it often, commit it to memory so that it is always with you.  Meditate on it and journal about it until it has become a part of you.  Any time you begin to feel overwhelmed by things that are outside of your control or by the responsibilities that truly fall on your shoulders take a few deep breaths and repeat the prayer until you return to peace and acceptance.  If you feel confused or unsure meditate on the words for comfort and guidance.

The beauty and simplicity of the prayer have great power.  Take comfort in the knowledge that it is being repeated all day every day somewhere in the world delivering strength and hope.

 

May 07

Journaling

Journaling can be an extremely helpful tool for self reflection.  There is therapeutic value in having a place to release emotions, solidify goals, track progress and record the experiences of the day.   When used on a regular basis for problem-solving and stress reduction the healing process is greatly enhanced.  In the early stages of recovery there is a lot going on inside of us and journaling creates an opportunity to express thoughts and feelings in a constructive and private way.

“Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.” 

~ Francis Bacon

Most of us have started a journal at some point but it’s through the regular practice of writing that we begin to realize the true benefits.   Being able to look back over the progress you’ve made is especially encouraging.  The two most important things about journaling are consistency and honesty.  A consistent and rigorously honest record of your experiences and emotional reactions provides a great deal of information about our habits and recurring patterns that can’t be accurately reproduced simply through memories.  Journaling is a method for looking back through our own eyes at events as we saw them when they actually took place.  Reading through past journal entries without judgment teaches us about ourselves.  We begin to understand ourselves more fully and encourage the process of self discovery.

There are many types of journals but here are some that are especially useful in recovery:

  •  Step-work or other Recovery Journal
  • Daily Journal of Experiences
  • Goal Setting Journal
  • Success Journal
  • Stream of Consciousness Journal
  • Meditation Journal
  • Prayer Journal
  • Dream Journal
  • Gratitude Journal
  • Health, Fitness or Yoga Journal

Tips for journal writing:

  • Find a notebook or open a word document and dedicate that space for journal entries only.
  • Write frequently, daily if possible, allowing the time and privacy to fully explore the topic for that entry.
  • Date your entries for future reference.  Reading through past entries can be even more useful when you attach a timeframe for each writing.
  • Don’t over think.  Just start to write.  Allow the raw truth to show itself on the pages without censorship or concern for writing style.
  • Use writing prompts, step work, quotes, daily meditations, music, artwork and photos to get you started.  Consider writing about specific goals, conflicts, emotions and memories.
  • It can be helpful to have several journals used for different purposes.  You might want to combine a journal for goals along with one recording your successes, a prayer and gratitude journal or a journal for your experiences with yoga and meditation while keeping separate journals for step-work or other topics that serve a specific function.

Think about starting with a journal devoted to the Steps and other recovery writing.  If you feel inspired add a second journal that is more multipurpose depending on what seems most helpful to you at the time.  Starting out with too many books at once can get a little scattered.  Sometimes having a second journal used for writing about whatever you’re in the mood for each day is all you need. Just make sure that if you’re using this method you clearly date and label the type or topic of each entry so that when you look back on it you can remember why you wrote it in the first place. Once you get into the habit of writing on a regular basis you’ll know what makes the most sense for you.

Much more to come in future posts on the different types of journals, tips and prompts to keep you writing.  Check the category “The Mind” in the right sidebar for ongoing posts.  Visit the page on “Journaling” under the “Mind” menu for books and more information on journaling.

 

Online Journaling Links:

Journal Me Now (journalmenow.com)  Online 10th Step journal to track your progress. The goal is to become balanced through taking a daily inventory and journaling. This site is free for the first 30 days, then $10 per month or $100 for a year subscription.

My Therapy Journal (livingfile.com)  My Therapy Journal is a therapy-oriented online journaling tool. It provides a private and secure venue that tracks progress of personally set goals using graphing software based on cognitive behavioral therapy. 14 day free trial membership.

Penzu (penzu.com)  This site has free sign up to create your own online journal. Visit the site and watch the video on the home page for more information.

Living File (livingfile.com)  Online journaling made easy. Offers insightful information about your life in a new way. Sign up for a free account.

 

Recommended Reading:
     

 

May 06

Taking the First Step

Whether you’re in a 12 Step program or not the Steps originally provided in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous hold value.  They have been modified slightly in different fellowships for different conditions however the verbiage is nearly identical with one exception.  The word alcohol in the First Step has been replaced with the word narcotics, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, food, cigarettes, other people and many, many more.  This exception is especially important on this site, where we are exploring recovery from…insert your addiction, condition or situation here….

“We admitted we were powerless over our addiction — that our lives had become unmanageable.” ~ Step One

For the purposes of this discussion I have chosen the fairly common practice of replacing the word alcohol with the word addiction.  It makes sense to me that people seeking recovery are often addicted to something in some way, even if only to their own thought patterns.  Co-dependents as well as family and friends of alcoholics or addicts often replace the word alcohol with the word “others” or “my loved one.”  In some ways we have actually become obsessed with, or addicted to, another person or the desire to control their behavior.  For those who grieve or have been abused perhaps the pain has developed into an obsessive way of thinking that has become an addiction of sorts.  Replacing the word alcohol or addiction with the word grief, abuse, depression, etc. can be helpful.

The First Step starts with recognizing the need for change.  We look around and assess our current state of affairs in order to realize that our struggle to control our condition is now controlling us.  Simply put, we acknowledge that our behaviors and emotions are not serving us and that life in fact has become unmanageable.  This unmanageability can present itself in certain areas of our lives or in all of them.  In most cases there have been specific events or ongoing difficulties that stand out.  This is the part of recovery where taking a look at why we’re here and how we got here is necessary.  When we are honest with ourselves we are fully convinced of the need for change.

Noticing the areas of unmanageability in our lives brings us to the subject of powerlessness.  In the beginning some may resist the word powerless.  We have hung on so tightly for so long that the mere idea of letting go can be terrifying but pretending that things are okay turns into a burden.  Sucking it up and trying to be strong in the absence of healing leads to exhaustion and frustration.  The time for denying that there is a problem or believing that we have everything under control must come to an end before lasting change can occur.  In this step we begin to see, maybe for the first time, that admitting our powerlessness frees us.

Taking a hard look at our current circumstances and admitting our lack of power is not the same as throwing our hands in the air and giving up.  Realizing the futility of the fight for control allows us to detach and see things as they are more clearly.  Letting go of the lies we’ve been told, including the ones we’ve been telling ourselves allows us to begin the real work of recovery.  We admit that our efforts to manage the situation have failed and we take responsibility for ourselves in a new and healthy way by reaching the point of surrender.  To some that may seem like weakness at first but it is in this honest assessment of our condition that we find the strength to move forward into healing.

Working Step One: 

Consider starting a journal either in a notebook or on your computer to record your thoughts and feelings.  Writing is one of the best ways to express your feelings and track your progress. Here are some questions from a few of my favorite resources to get you started. It isn’t necessary to answer them all at once, write until you feel that it’s time to move on to the next question.  If it feels overwhelming then take it one or two sections at a time as daily journaling prompts over the next week or so.  The timing is up to you, but find the willingness to fully express your feelings on each topic.

  • Rewrite the first step at the beginning of your journal entry, replacing the word addiction if needed to help you connect with your primary purpose for recovery.  Then repeat the First Step slowly, either in your head or out loud and let it sink in for a moment.
  • In what ways have you been trying to control this negative behavior or thought process?  Have you been trying to exert power in areas where you may actually have none?  What does the word powerless mean to you?
  • Do you feel like your life has become unmanageable? In what ways?  Give some examples of the ways in which this behavior or thought process has made life difficult to manage effectively.
  • What brought you to the realization that you might need to make some changes?  Why now?  Was there a specific event or conversation that brought you to this point?
  • Take a look at the different areas of your life and evaluate where you stand today.  Consider your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual condition. How about your relationships, your career, finances, and home environment?  In what ways has this behavior or condition negatively affected each area of your life?  Has it affected your goals or your plans for the future?
  • What causes stress or anxiety in your life?  A person? A certain situation?  Is your own behavior or way of thinking causing you stress or do you feel that it comes from an outside source that you have no control over?  How could the practice of letting go make a difference in your stress level?
  • Do you feel guilty, resentful or victimized?  Does that feeling stem from a relationship with a specific person or situation?  Does it come from your own behaviors or thoughts?  Explore the primary source of those feelings.
  • Have you minimized, ignored or excused your behaviors or feelings?  Have you minimized, ignored or excused the behaviors or feelings of others?  What is the truth?  In what ways have you been in denial?  In what ways has denial contributed to the problem?
  • Spend some time thinking and writing about the First Step. Write down whatever comes to mind. What sort of feelings does it bring up for you? What do you think it means for you?

As you read through the posts to come this week see if you can apply them to the work you’re doing on the First Step. Plowing through your feelings can be draining, it can be frustrating and at times it just plain hurts.  Use what has been put into place on this site and in the posts in the way that it is intended, consider the holistic approach. Take the ideas presented and try them out. Put them into practice and allow them to soften and comfort the body, mind and spirit as we tackle the hard issues that must faced in the process of recovery.

Going through the steps takes time, so take all the time you need.  Write it out, think it through, discuss it with a friend or sponsor.  Be kind to yourself and give yourself credit for taking the First Step.  The Steps will be posted here weekly for the next twelve weeks but don’t feel rushed.  All posts can be reviewed in order at any time by going to the sidebar on the right and selecting the “The Steps” category.  Remember there are many books and websites on the 12 Steps that you may find useful.  Explore the pages of this site, scroll down for some recommendations or do your own research to find more resources and ideas on step work.  This is for you and no one else so do what feels right.

Finally, take a moment to consider the Promise that goes along with Step One.  There are many variations of the Promises in different fellowships and all of them are beautiful. They are presented here as they were first introduced in the Big Book.  Believe.  Be encouraged.  If we are painstaking about this phase of our development we will be amazed before we are halfway through.”  The promises really do come true.

“We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.”  ~ Promise One

 

Recommended Reading:

The AA Big Book and Guide for Working the Twelve Steps are recommended reading for anyone in recovery of any kind, not only because they were the first but also for their inspirational and direct content.  Two great resources for those working the Steps for codependency are also included here. More books on 12 Step Work from other fellowships and programs can be found in the “Steps” drop down list under “Programs and Literature.”
  

Featured image for this page taken from Hazelden 12 Step Pamphlet Collection – The Complete 12 Step Collection used by patients in recovery centers throughout the nation, these easy-to-read editions are a sure way to gain a basic, and yet thorough, understanding of the significance of each Step.  Pamphlets are available individually or in a money-saving full collection.

Recommended Links:

The questions above are fairly generalized in order to apply to a variety of conditions.  The basics are the same but if you are working the Steps specifically for drug/alcohol abuse or codependency the following links may help you to explore further. There are many other formats and workbooks available through a simple web search.

 AA First Step Worksheets

CoDA 12 Step Worksheets

May 05

Anonymity

It’s pretty obvious that Jane Doe supports the idea of anonymity, hence the name of the site.  The most glaring  reason is that it protects us all and gives us the freedom to say what we mean and be who we are without any fear of repercussions from the outside world.  Perhaps even more importantly anonymity unites us.

 “The word anonymous has for us an immense spiritual significance. Subtly but powerfully, it reminds us that we should always place principles before personalities.”  ~ Page 7 of the Understanding Anonymity Pamphlet

There is a freedom that comes along with remaining anonymous.  We step into a space where no one needs to know any more than what we are willing to share and some of our inhibitions automatically disappear.  Our mere presence is all that matters in recovery, all we have to do is show up.  In spite of all our differences and details we can tell each other’s stories without even knowing each other.  We are not alone anymore, we are among friends who have felt our pain and maybe for the first time ever we feel understood.

We are strangers drawn together only by our shared desire for change.  As we move forward we begin to open our minds to the possibility that some of these fellow travelers have been where we are today, that someone really does know how we feel.  We look to those who’ve walked ahead of us and we are inspired and strengthened by their success.  In time most of us become willing, even driven, to share our experiences with others and pass on the hope that we have found.

I encourage you to remain anonymous in your comments on this site.  Don’t let your name keep you from engaging, choose any name and join in with your thoughts and ideas.  I truly believe that we all have something to contribute.  A single sentence, sometimes just one word, can make the difference in someone else’s life.  Know that I look forward to hearing from you; I invite you to share often and freely.   As we travel the road of recovery it becomes more and more evident that there is always more to learn through the stories of another’s experience, strength and hope.

 

May 04

Promotion or Attraction

Before we really dive in here I thought it would make sense to address the issue of promotion or attraction.  In the tradition of 12 step programs this website does not seek to promote any particular product or program.  The goal is to provoke thought and encourage the exploration of options that support the recovery process.

“Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films”   ~ Tradition Eleven

I have said before that I have found great comfort in 12 step programs and personally witnessed transformations that I consider truly miraculous.  For that reason there will be much discussion on that topic here.  Since working the steps has been nothing short of life changing for so many I feel compelled to include them.  Even if you aren’t a member of any program I believe there is value in taking a look at the steps.  If the concept of step work speaks to you then take it a little further and look into finding a meeting, a sponsor and a fellowship to support you on your journey.

Maybe step work topics will simply provide some food for thought or the inspiration to find something else that works for you.  Perhaps a certain book or link will lead you to something that makes more sense in your life.  I have no interest in what you join or purchase.  The programs and products shown on this site are intended to be a starting point.

As you look through the resources know that these are just a few of many, I don’t care where you buy them or if you buy them at all. The ads displayed apply nicely to the site and can be helpful but they are certainly not meant to be the focus.  The opinions are just that, my opinions about what has worked for me.  Go to the library, use the web links, just start looking and do your own research.  I have no doubt that once you start investigating in earnest you will be led to the right place, the right book or right person at exactly the right time for you.

It is my hope that this site and what is posted here will attract those who need help and that this will be a place for healing.  Please take what is offered in the spirit it is written, with love, promoting nothing but the hope and the miracle of recovery.

 

May 02

Healing Opportunities

Healing is an essential part of recovery. The process begins with the realization that our lives have become unmanageable and acknowledging that there is a need for change. As we learn to let go of the past and move into a new way of life it can be helpful to explore natural options that address and relieve some of the pain that lingers from the physical and emotional damage that has been done.

Healing Touch

“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.” ~ Hippocrates

Creating opportunities for healing is our responsibility. As we create new habits to improve the general health of the body and mind we may find that some of what we’re learning about taking care of ourselves is really more like remembering. We take what we know down deep inside and start putting it into practice. Sometimes though we are introduced to an idea that is totally new to us and we open a door for enriching the healing process. Exposing ourselves to a variety of options for healing greatly increases the odds for finding something that works.

The holistic approach to recovery works on the basic principle that we already have what we need inside us. The following is a short overview of some healing opportunities you may not have considered:

Energetic healing is a basic term for any sort of therapy that manipulates the way energy moves through the body to bring the systems into balance and facilitate the body’s own healing mechanisms. Massage therapy is probably the most straightforward procedure and the one most accepted by society as a whole. While not always considered energetic healing many believe the immediate results of massage on the body and mind are produced from the movement of energy throughout the system.

The benefits of touch have been scientifically documented beyond any shadow of a doubt. Extensive research has been done on babies isolated from human touch that fail to thrive even to the point of death. Touch heals at a level we may not understand but we have all felt it. Whether it’s a mother’s hand on a child’s fevered forehead, a hug from a friend, a simple caress from a loved one or a nurse that holds the hand of a dying stranger we have the innate urge to reach out to those who suffer. As you explore different approaches to healing keep an open mind and see what feels right for you.

Some energetic practices offer treatment specifically targeting recovery. Acupuncture for example is said to be an effective method for cessation from addictions as well providing treatment for many physical, mental and emotional conditions. Acupressure, reflexology and auriculotherapy also fall into the category of techniques that use meridian points throughout the body to affect healing. Tapping, often referred to as EFT or meridian tapping is another means for moving energy to different centers in the body that is often overlooked.

Some less well know therapies that fall under energetic healing include Reiki, Kinesiology, Chakra Balancing, Aromatherapy and Flower Essences and Crystal Healing. Many practitioners have been trained in several overlapping modalities and often combine one or more healing practices. The idea behind most of these holistic treatments is that once the blockages have been cleared the body can heal itself.

Once again I flash my disclaimer, consult with your doctor, but the wonderful thing about natural healing is that it almost always enhances traditional medical treatment. Start with something simple. Some methods like EFT can relieve a headache or provide an almost immediate mental and emotional shift. Aromatherapy and flower essences can be used for calming or invigorating the mind and body with the practical advantage of leaving an appealing fragrance wherever you use them. Carrying a healing gemstone or crystal in your pocket or worn as jewelry can be comforting in the moment in addition to any healing value they might have. Nature has provided us with many opportunities to heal ourselves that we have either forgotten or chosen to ignore. So do your own research, watch a video on tapping, listen to music that makes you happy, start a journal or go get a massage to get the energy moving and see how you feel.

More ideas for natural and creative healing options to come in the near future. As always, look around, explore and try something new.

 

May 01

Recovery

Recovery is one of the most beautiful words I know.  We’ve been to the very bottom of the pit.  Climbing out of that dark place has been far from easy but as we step out into the sunlight we realize that there is something waiting for us that is more wonderful than we ever could have imagined…

“Like myself, he had admitted complete defeat. Then he had, in effect, been raised from the dead, suddenly taken from the scrap heap to a level of life better than the best he had ever known!”  ~ Bill Wilson

So who is in recovery? It’s a loaded question. Very few people make it into adulthood without suffering some sort of trauma or dysfunction. The details vary but whether from addiction, grief, abuse, depression or just insert your personal burden here – most of us have had some pain to work through. For some the cause has been entirely outside of their control while others have made decisions that led them to this point but no matter how you got here you have a choice about what you’re going to do next.

Recovery means taking responsibility for what happens next, knowing that we do have some control over our lives and our choices even if that just means changing how we feel. Recovering from addiction requires a physical change, an action that has to be stopped for any meaningful healing to begin but that isn’t where it ends. In AA you often hear people refer to a “psychic change” when the burden of addiction is lifted. From the Doctor’s Opinion in the Big Book, “…unless this person can experience an entire psychic change (also known as a “spiritual awakening”) there is very little hope of his recovery.” A quote by Jungian Robert Johnson applies nicely here, “The process can be summed up in one sentence: it is the relocating of the center of the personality from the ego to a center greater than one’s self.”

This site’s only real goal is to assist those seeking to free themselves of the ego, to reach out to those who still suffer with encouraging methods for natural healing. No matter what we are recovering from I believe that the general process is the same. There are a few basic components that seem to apply to everyone: some sort of program that offers a community and direction, a relationship with a Power greater than ourselves and natural alternatives for healing and happiness. Different things work for different people so the resources explored here reach out in many different directions. I am not endorsing or promoting any product, technique or program, simply offering a place for personal exploration to begin. Click around, do some research of your own and see what works for you.

No doubt there is often physical action that we must take, things we absolutely must stop or start doing today no matter how hard it seems at first.  That alone might seem like a tall order but it’s just the beginning. What I’m interested in is healing, the psychic change, a new life.  I want the whole thing…. I want the miracle.

Apr 30

Yoga

First things first.  Yoga is not a religion.  It is a practical, systematic and scientific method for quieting the mind that in no way interferes with religious convictions.  The practice of calming the mind can in fact be a valuable tool for creating union with the Spirit, specifically the spirit within or the true self, however it does not specify the Source or require a belief in any Higher Power.  While religion most often seeks to connect with a particular deity, the most common goal of yoga is to connect with the self.

“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar
Yoga is an ancient practice with the primary aim of self-realization.  There many styles of yoga and many paths to this ultimate goal.   For most of us physical yoga is the most practical place to start.  The purpose of the asanas, or postures, is not only to strengthen and renew the body for long periods of meditation but also to give the body something to do in the early stages of learning to quiet the mind.  The physical, mental and emotional relief that can be gained through regular asana practice alone can be profound and often becomes a meditation in itself.

For those who would like to go a little deeper the sitting practice, what people normally think of as meditation, is where we begin to pursue and experience the spiritual connection in earnest.  The primary paths of yoga are listed below although there are many.  For the purposes of this blog we will most often investigate the basic physical practices and postures of hatha yoga, especially those that are most beneficial for recovery.  The study of various forms of meditation is of great value in the ongoing process of healing.  Read on, take what works and leave the rest.

Jnana Yoga – The path of wisdom and knowledge. For the jnani, the goal is absolute Truth.

Bhakti Yoga -The path of love and devotion. For the bhakti practitioner, the goal is to connect with pure love.

Raja Yoga – The path of self mastery. The practice in Raja Yoga involves exercise, stillness and meditation. For the raja yogi, the goal is balance and control.

Karma Yoga – The path of selfless service. For the karma yogi, the goal is true selflessness.

Kundalini Yoga – This yoga focuses on purifying the physical and psychic systems to awaken the spiritual power in chakra at the base of the spine.

Hatha Yoga – Sometimes called the physical aspect of yoga this is probably the most common form of yoga in the west.  Besides its innumerable health benefits, hatha yoga is of great value in supporting the other paths.

 

 

Apr 29

Connections

The simple realization that all the systems of the body, mind and spirit are connected opens new doors in recovery.  True healing occurs when we bring the systems back into balance and start living the life we were meant to have.  Understanding those connections and the methods for deepening them is one of our greatest tools for success and genuine happiness.

“Body and mind, and spirit, all combine, To make the Creature, human and divine.” ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

It all sounds pretty simple and it is but the simplicity itself is often what’s so hard to grasp.  For those of us who have fallen so completely out of balance in one or more (or all) areas of life it’s difficult to imagine that change can be so basic.  However simple and easy aren’t necessarily the same thing.

The synergy between the systems has broken down for most of us at some point and the connections are no longer serving us.  Oh everything is still connected but it’s turned into a downward spiral.  As the body declines the mind and the spirit follow.  When the mind becomes obsessed with destructive thoughts the body and spirit are weakened.  Likewise when the spiritual aspects of life are ignored the body and mind no longer have access to the positive energy required for true health and healing.

Exploring ideas for making these connections and reversing the cycle is a journey.  It doesn’t all happen in one day.  Different things work for different people. Some of what you read here may not be in line with what you believe, some of it may not interest you or feel right for you but remember you don’t have to everything – just do something.  If what you’ve been doing isn’t working anymore look around, be open and inspired to try something new.

 

Apr 28

The Spirit

The word spirit can be somewhat controversial and hard to define, but let’s try.  Webster says spirit is “an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms; a supernatural being or essence.”  An animating principle to give life, a supernatural being…. something inside of us that is more than the physical body.  Spirit is something more.

“This we can all bear witness to, living as we do plagued by unremitting anxiety. It becomes more and more imperative that the life of the spirit be avowed as the only firm basis upon which to establish happiness and peace.”  ~ Dalai Lama

Investigating the spiritual life takes an open mind. There are so many different views on this issue that it can be difficult to even have the discussion without offending or alienating each other. For some the origin of spirit relates to another realm that stems from religion, metaphysics or the universe. For others it’s about the mind, simply a part of the brain that we don’t use or don’t understand.  Of course there are also those who don’t believe in anything at all, that we are simply here in this physical body with no origin or destination.  To me what you believe about the spirit isn’t nearly as important as believing that it exists.

“Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.”  ~ Yoda, Jedi Master

Once we’ve decided that there is more to us than “this crude matter” we have options.  In 12 step programs people are encouraged to start with what they are willing to believe today. The willingness to believe is all that is required.  Bill Wilson says in the AA Big Book that, “It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a Power Greater than myself. Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning. I saw that growth could start from that point.”   I believe that this applies not only to a Great Power outside of ourselves but to the part of that Power that lies within us.  To me this is that something more.  This is spirit with a capital S.

The belief in something greater than ourselves and something innately great within us gives us hope.  Here we find a source of strength, a place to lay our burdens and ultimately it is where we find peace.  There are many paths to that connection with the Divine and although my personal beliefs lie in the realm of Christianity I read, explore and even practice many different methods from vastly different traditions.  Many of those ideas and practices will be discussed in future posts.  See what works for you, see what feels right and go from there.

On the pages of this blog you will often hear me refer to Spirit as the Source of Energy, the Divine and most often as God.  This is simply my opinion but see if you can use it as a starting place for you to begin your own search for what Spirit means to you.  Start with the willingness to believe.

Older posts «

» Newer posts

Social Media Icons Powered by Acurax Website Design Expert