Archive | July 2010

The Affliction of Addiction

Addiction is a nasty bug and once it gets its hooks in you it refuses to let go.  Add in the ego which thrives on weakness, and you have a lethal dose of insanity.  As the genius Albert Einstein reminded us many moons ago, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”  Many people have the misconception that ego is full of confidence and direction but it is quite the contrary.  Ego is  an insecure  little child who wants what he wants and will stop at nothing to claim the attention that he craves.  Often, attention one never received in his formative years.  This starvation reaches toward outer avenues to feed the hunger.  The mind trains itself (fostered by ego) to think that if I take that drink, or have sex, or eat that hot fudge sundae,  or purge, all my problems will go away.  Any of you stuck in this cycle know that it is, once again, a trick of the mind and a temporary fix that only gets worse and more chaotic down the road.  When you wake up from your inflicted numbing your problems are still there and you’ve only created more problems feeding your addiction.  How much energy does it take to cover your tracks?  How much chaos have you created along the way?  How many loved ones have you hurt keeping up with your craving?  How much hurt have you inflicted upon yourself?  There is hope.  All this energy put into feeding this monster can be redirected and geared toward healthy choices in your life.

It has been said that you remain stagnate at the age you were when you first started using your “drug.”  Growth cannot, and will not, occur until you get clean and mature with the tools you need to recover and claim a healthier lifestyle.  The first step is admitting you have a problem.  That is when humility steps up and pushes ego aside.  The second step is reaching out and asking for help.  There are many rehabilitation facilities and programs to assist you in staying on your course to sobriety.  The third step is staying on your course, one day at a time.  There is a better life for you if you take these steps and stay with it.  This I can promise you.  Allow Spirit to guide you, step outside of yourself, have faith, and your hope will not be lost.

Below are the 12 steps followed by many programs dealing with addiction.  The steps were developed by Sam Shoemaker and Bill Wilson, originally printed in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, back in 1939.  It has saved more lives  than can be counted.

The 12 Steps

  • Step 1We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable
  • Step 2Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
  • Step 3Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
  • Step 4Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
  • Step 5Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
  • Step 6Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
  • Step 7Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
  • Step 8Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
  • Step 9Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
  • Step 10Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
  • Step 11Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out
  • Step 12Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs
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Spiritual Healing

I’m so happy to let you all know that my sweet and wonderful friend, Maria, has started a website/blog titled Spiritual Healing.  This fits Maria to a tee as she heals so many hearts with her love, empathy and compassion.  When I am around Maria’s energy I can’t help but smile and feel a warmth in my heart!  You will experience this too when you visit her site.  It is full of beauty, love, and yes, HEALING.  You can’t help but feel calm and relaxed when you finish reading her words.  More centered, somehow.  Some people just have that knack of giving love and they fill the room with light…this is Maria!

If you are in need of a spiritual lift today, or would just like to visit something and someone of beauty, visit Maria at http://spiritualhealing.yolasite.com

You can also find Maria on my list of links under the title, Spiritual Wellness.

Wishing you all a JOY-FULL day!

Good Grief

“People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. ”  ~ Elisabeth Kubler Ross

How perfect.  I’m writing this on a rainy day.  A day where the sun is hiding but will show her smiling face again, after she has had her rest, after she has allowed herself to regenerate.  Much like times in our own lives when we need to feel feelings of sadness, grief, or just plain exhaustion from life.  Your body, spirit and mind (conscious and unconscious) will give you signals when you need to go into the quiet and experience all that you are feeling.  If we don’t pay attention to these signals it will come back to bite us harder down the road.  Deal with it NOW and your path will be paved for a brighter future.

I had a recent meeting with a client whose son passed tragically just weeks ago.  None of us can really know her pain.  Excruciating doesn’t even begin to cut it, in my opinion.  We were discussing the stages of grief, as created by Elisabeth Kubler Ross…denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.  My client asked where she should be in her grieving.  The only “right” in grieving is that you allow yourself to experience it.  Pushing aside and pretending it didn’t happen won’t help you or loved ones in your life.  This includes many types of losses in your life;  a job, a relationship, moving from your home, traumatic experiences that have attempted to steal a piece of your being, the list continues.  You must jump into the abyss of darkness to emerge with a lighter heart.  Running away from what you must feel only accumulates a dust cloud that will keep you blinded from yourself.  As I told my client, everyone grieves differently, most important is that you grieve.  One may be in the stage of anger longer than depression.  Some people go out of order in the stages and mix it up, while others stay right on target.  Some people grieve for months, some for years.  Your grieving process is your own, the main thing is that you allow it!  I do recommend that as you grieve, and your wounds are open, you seek the help of a professional counselor to guide and support you.  If you choose not to go that route, keep those you trust with your feelings close.  Those that will listen and JUST BE there for you.  One who will hold your hand through your tears.  And remember, if the tears don’t come, that’s okay too.  They will eventually IF you allow the hurts to emerge.  Surround yourself with those you feel safe.  Healing will come.

Keep your light from within.  Allow the rain to clear the dust, allow love to hold you as you work through your pains, the sun will shine again.

I’ve Got to Find My Own

Ever since I posted “Listen” the other day, this song continues to play in my head.  It too is titled “Listen” and is sung by Beyonce with such force you want to stand up and cheer for her conviction.  This lyrical gem is from the movie Dreamgirls.  It is a story of reaching your dream…full of artistic talent, struggles, control, and in the end, sisterhood.  Beyonce belts this one out, and as she finishes, I always catch myself saying, “Take that!”  A woman controlled by her manager/husband who finally stands up for herself and does what she knows is right for her and those she loves…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vpjUCSMw_4

Reinventing Self

I had a great conversation with my oldest brother, Norm, as we walked the streets of Seattle during our family reunion.  We talked about how a life worth living is a life where you never give up on reinventing yourself.  A life where you tap into your creativity and explore what stirs that drive inside, that excitement that rises when you know it is right for you, and that connection your creation has to others in your surroundings.

Reinvention is an ongoing process.  Think about where you were ten years ago compared to now.  We are constantly reinventing, but the key to the process is to realize the value in reaching for your heart’s desire versus settling for what you know is not working for you anymore.  Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but fear held you back?  Think about taking that first step, you may be pleasantly surprised when you do.

When I started my practice I had no idea where I was going with it.  I jumped in and allowed my intellect and Spirit to guide me.  One thing led to another and I learned along the way.  When I started this blog, I barely knew what a blog was.  I googled WordPress and explored set up until it was done.  My recent radio interview was started with an email and it took off from there.  It has peaked my interest and I’m currently exploring other radio opportunities.  Oh, and I still want to learn to play guitar!  Interestingly, that’s how Norm and I got into this conversation. He is an amazing guitarist who writes his own music and lyrics.  He was telling me how he became involved with this group called Bread and Roses.  It was developed by Joan Baez with the idea of giving with your heart and musical talents.  Musicians travel around to nursing facilities and play for the residents.  Norm was telling me how the gift of giving bounces back.  The connection and appreciation he feels with these wise older owls is overwhelming.  They truly FEEL his music and tune in to his tunes.  Both the player and the listener have an exchange that fills them more than all the material wealth in the world.  When you get this, and know this feeling, no THING can touch you.  It is an island unto itself.  Giving service is so important in any invention.  It is a reminder that the true filling is in the giving.

What is it that you have been thinking about reinventing lately?  Take that first step.  Breathe in deep, eyes wide open, and GO!  The learning is in the experience.  You just might be surprised by what you find.

Listen

One of my clients brought this poem to our session a few months ago.  As I read it,  so much rang true in the scheme of real life and real people.  When I work with couples, I have them practice these skills.  One talks, the other listens, then I ask them to repeat what the other said.  Often, so much is misinterpreted or missed.  Listening is a skill unto itself.  It is its own tunnel of communication between two people, and when one truly tunes in to the other breakthroughs and healing take place.  It’s miraculous to watch paths unfold as one feels supported and HEARD by the other.  There are many bumps in the road but the direction clears as one works through their challenges in life.  There is a saying, “Don’t just stand there, do something!”  Well,  there’s also a reverse to that saying, “Don’t just do something, stand there!”  Just BE with someone you care about.  Allow them to feel your presence, not your preaching.  They will come to terms with their life lessons.  Give them love, allow them to fall, and reach out your hand when they ask for a lift to their feet.

Listen

When I ask you to listen to me

and you start giving advice

you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me

and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way,

you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me

and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem,

you have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen!  All I asked was that you listen,

not talk or do – just hear me.

Advice is cheap: 10 cents will get you both Dear Abbey and

Billy Graham in the same newspaper.

And I can do for myself, I’m not helpless.

Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself,

you contribute to my fear and weakness.

But, when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel,

no matter how irrational, then I can quit trying to convince

you and can get about the business of understanding what’s

behind this irrational feeling.

And when that’s clear, the answers are obvious and I

don’t need advice.

Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what’s

behind them.

Perhaps that’s why prayer works, sometimes, for some people

because God is mute, and He doesn’t give advice or

try to fix things.  “They” just listen and let you

work it out for yourself.

So, please listen and just hear me.  And, if you want to talk,

wait a minute for your turn, and I’ll listen to you.   ~Author Unknown