My personal journey of recovery - my search for a way to live
life that would help me to Love myself more, to find some peace, happiness,
and freedom - lead me to looking at life in larger and larger paradigm.
The expanded perspective of life - what in my book I call a Cosmic Perspective
- helped me to change my relationship with myself into one that works to
help me relax and enJoy life much more than I ever thought possible.
That to me, is the bottom line about my personal Spiritual belief system
- it works for me.
In sharing my experience, strength, and hope, in sharing what works
for me as part of my growth process, I have discovered that it works for
many other people also. The bottom line for me in terms of what I
attempt to communicate as a teacher, is a way to live life that helps people
manifest more Love in their relationship with themselves. Intellectually
remembering the Truth of a Loving God-Force, Goddess Energy, Great Spirit
will not greatly change the quality of our intimate relationships unless
we can integrate that Truth into our emotional relationship with ourselves
"Almost any statement can be shown to be false
on some levels and True on other levels, so it is important to realize
that the use of discernment is vital to start perceiving the boundaries
between different levels.
In the next section, Part Five, when I discuss
the Cosmic Perspective and the Cosmic Perfection of this life experience,
I will be discussing the paradox, and confusion to human beings, that has
been the result of these multiple levels of reality - but I have devoted
Part Two and Part Four to discussing the Spiritual growth process and our
perspective on that process because the Cosmic Perfection does not mean
crap unless we can start integrating it into our day to day life experience.
In order to start changing life into an easier,
more enjoyable experience by attaining some integration and balance in
our relationships it is necessary to focus on, and clear up, our relationship
with this Spiritual Evolutionary process that we are involved in."
(All quotes in this color are
from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls)
In the second article in this series about spiritual integration, I
discuss the concept of spirituality in terms that are different from my
Spiritual belief system. I did that in the hopes that some people,
who were reacting negatively to my beliefs, could get past their emotional
triggers and old beliefs to see that the formula that I share for inner
child healing works. In hopes that readers could start applying some
of the tools and techniques to their own life in a way that can help them
be more Loving to themselves.
I believe that some of the quotes that came to mind as I was writing
this series might be helpful in presenting a little bit different perspective
on what I am trying to communicate. On this page I am going to share
some of those quotes that are related to finding some emotional balance.
Sometimes hearing something from a little bit different outlook can help
us to relate and/or understand a facet of the process in a way that works
better for us individually. I am hoping that these excerpts about
my process and how I apply the tools and techniques in my life can help
some of you see more clearly how you can apply them in yours. Maybe
you will find that some of these insights will help you to find a way of
relating to yourself and life that works better for you.
"This dance of Codependence is a dance of dysfunctional
relationships - of relationships that do not work to meet our needs. That
does not mean just romantic relationships, or family relationships, or
even human relationships in general.
The fact that dysfunction exists in our romantic,
family, and human relationships is a symptom of the dysfunction that exists
in our relationship with life, with being human. It is a symptom of the
dysfunction which exists in our relationships with ourselves as human beings."
Some Different Perspectives
Excerpt from Joy to You & Me Newsletter
Working on the positive affirmations page was also
a perfect part of my process as usual. While I was doing it I got
a perfect example of how wonderful and powerful positive affirmations are
- and how dramatically they have changed the quality of my life.
My car broke down.
It was a wonderful opportunity to be reminded
of how much work I have done over the years in integrating my Spiritual
belief system into my emotional responses to life - when some seeming tragedy
occurs like my car breaking down, my very first reaction is gratitude that
it happened when and where it did instead of when and where it could have.
I used to react to life events (like car break downs) and other people's
behavior out of my childhood programming that told me that if something
"bad" happened it was because I was bad. I had gotten the message
in childhood (in a variety of ways) that there was something wrong with
me, that I was unworthy and unlovable, and that God was going to punish
me for it. So life events felt like punishment.
Due to all the work that I have done in changing
my subconscious programming (including at several different times making
recordings of positive affirmations and messages of Love in my own voice
to myself that I would play as I was going to sleep at night) my first
reaction to life events now, and for the last 4 or 5 years, has been acceptance
followed by gratitude because whatever it was could have happened at a
worse time and place than it did.
It is amazing to me to see my capacity to let
go of things that used to drive me crazy with worry and feel like punishment.
The key for me has definitely been integrating the belief that everything
is unfolding perfectly into my emotional process - it makes life so much
Of course, that does not mean to ignore the feelings.
Unfortunately, a lot of people use tools like affirmations, meditation,
gratitude lists, etc. as another way of denying the feelings. These
tools are meant to be used to balance the feelings not negate them.
After my initial reaction of gratitude, then I let my adult take charge
in terms of doing the footwork - finding a mechanic, calling a friend,
calling a tow truck. As the car was being towed and I was following
with my friend then I relaxed into the feelings and let myself cry with
the pain of how hard life can feel sometimes. And when I say cry
I mean cry - with heaving sobs. I can access those feelings and release
them because of the energy/breath techniques that I have learned on the
way (I describe these on the Grief
Just using the affirmations to keep from feeling
my feelings would be out of balance, just staying in the adult to keep
from feeling my feelings would be out of balance, just feeling the feelings
and letting myself feel like a victim is also out of balance - we need
to be able to use all of the tools and own all of the parts of ourselves.
What we are working toward is to find balance.
That means using tools like the positive affirmations to integrate a supportive
Spiritual belief system into our inner process, as well as using them to
balance the feelings that come up. It does not matter what happens
in my life - I start immediately to tell my self and my inner children
that it is all perfect somehow, that everything is going to work out in
the long run - that way I can keep from buying into the shame and doom
messages that are coming from the disease so that I can maintain some emotional
Excerpt from Joy to You & Me Newsletter
About frustration, since I mentioned it several times.
10 years ago when I was in a 30 day treatment program for codependence
(clinically called: depression) one of the counselors gave a definition
of frustration that made me angry then, and still riles me when I am getting
frustrated and I remember his words.
Frustration (he said) is what you feel when
you are in a power struggle and you are losing.
Which means, for me, that there is something I
need to let go of - some part of my plan, my picture of how I think things
should be that I need to surrender - so I can see and accept reality as
it is and then make the best of it.
A small example: I go to the post office,
or the bank, and the line is longer than I want it to be (now that is kind
of an oxymoron - I mean really, when has a line ever been "shorter" than
I wanted it to be.) I am standing in line and I realize that I am
"revving up" (getting wound up tight inside, feeling turmoil, conflict
inside) because these people are in front of me (and the nerve of them
- some of them have a bunch of packages (never mind how many I have)) holding
me up. That is when it is time to stop, take a deep breath and talk
to myself. "Now really, this is only going to take 5 or 10 minutes
and we've got a half hour to get to the next place. So chill our,
lighten up, relax and look around - maybe there is someone or something
here you are supposed to see."
And then I can relax and go with the flow of life.
My programming is to want to rush, hurry, force things along - so it is
very important that I catch it when I am starting to create anxiety for
myself - because those feelings are my responsibility, they are not the
fault of the people in line or the post office for not having enough people
at the windows (It is always so easy to blame bureaucrats - and it is also
insane of me to expect reality to be different than it is.)
Every day in my life there are plans, expectations
that I need to let go of. I realized at some point in my recovery
that the days I was calling bad days were actually the days that things
weren't going the way I wanted/expected them to go - and those were the
days that I was actually learning the most - so I had to stop calling them
"bad" days. (I started calling them adventures instead. What we name things
has power - the more we call something hard or bad, the harder it is -
attitude adjustment.) That brings to mind one of my columns - here is a
quote from it:
"There is an old joke about the difference
between a neurotic and a psychotic. The psychotic truly believes that 2
+ 2 = 5. The neurotic knows that it is 4 but can't stand it. That was the
way I lived most of my life - I could see how life was but I couldn't stand
it. I was always feeling like a victim because people and life were not
acting in the way I believed they "should" act.
Learning how to let go of my "shoulds," surrender
my picture/idea/plan of how my life is supposed to work or other people
are supposed to act, and be willing to accept reality as
it is, are the Principles of the Twelve Step Program at work. They
are ancient Principles that are an invaluable part of both empowerment
and finding some peace within
I expected life to be different than it is. I
thought if I was good and did it "right" then I would reach 'happily ever
after.' I believed that if I was nice to people they would be nice to me.
Because I grew up in a society where people were taught that other people
could control their feelings, and vise versa, I had spent most of my life
trying to control the feelings of others and blaming them for my feelings."
If we are in a power struggle that we are losing
(with trying to control someone, or with how our life is unfolding - trying
to force things, or with the God/Goddess Force - something I tend to want
to do a lot) then the best strategy is to surrender that fight and find
a way that is going to work for us to meet our needs. I spent most
of my life with my insides churning, feeling frustrated and angry, because
life wasn't what I wanted it to be. (I can remember the first time in recovery
that I was aware of feeling serenity - it was like, ick, what is this?
I feel empty inside - because there was no turmoil or conflict going on.)
It is so much easier to accept life as it is and
make the best of it - there is a catch however. When we accept reality,
and let go of trying to force our will on life and other people, there
are feelings to deal with. One of the reasons we keep trying to control
someone else (to get an alcoholic to stop drinking for instance) is because
with all that frustration and anger, mental obsession and rumination, we
don't have time to stop and feel how much is hurts, or how scared we are,
or feel the grief of letting that other person go. The reason
we try to control other people is to protect ourselves from our
feelings - and it is important to admit that. Of course we want
what is "right" for them, what is good for them - but we don't know what
their "right" path is. Some people are supposed to die of Alcoholism
- that is their path.
Excerpt from Joy2MeU Journal article "1, 2, 3, and
a 1, 2, 3 - The first three steps"
Recovery is a process of learning to accept reality.
Empowerment is about accepting reality as it is and making the best of
it. In order to accept reality, it is necessary for me to be honest
enough with myself to realize that I am not in charge of this process.
I cannot make life do what I want it to - so I need to continuously surrender
to the plan of The Great Spirit rather than try to force my plan on the
Universe (and feel sorry for myself, or blame others, when that doesn't
work.) It is not bad or shameful for me to try to make things happen
the way I want - it is just human, dysfunctional, and painful. The
sooner I catch myself not accepting reality as it is, the sooner I can
let go of my picture of how I think things need to be, the more serenity
I have in my life.
Melody Beattie says "Learn the art of acceptance
- it is a lot of grief." She is right. Many times the
reason I am not accepting reality is because I do not want to own the feelings
involved. The grief and anger over a loved one self-destructing.
The grief over having to let go of something or someone that means a lot
to me. The grief over accepting that life - from my perspective -
is not fair or just. One of the reasons that I try to control life
is to protect myself from having to see someone I Love in pain. I
cannot protect others from the reality of life, or from themselves, - and
if I think that I am trying to control someone else just for their sake
I am lying to myself.
The principle behind the first step, and the foundation
of the twelve step, or any Spiritual program, is self-honesty. If
we are not being honest with ourselves, then we are not capable of being
honest with anyone. It is vital to start stripping away the layers
of denial, self-delusion, disassociation, magical thinking, victim thinking,
blame, resentment, and dishonesty that we learned to protect ourselves
with in childhood. Again, it is not shameful or bad that we have
used these behavioral and emotional defenses to protect ourselves - it
is because we were wounded in a variety of ways in childhood.
We can go out of balance with anything. I can
use acceptance as an excuse for not taking action or responsibility.
I can use forgiveness as an excuse for not standing up for myself - to
avoid confrontations. I can say I am taking care of myself when I
am really isolating and indulging in instant gratification.
Recovery is a continuous balancing act.
What is so important to get clear on, is that the answers are not in our
head - they are in our heart and our gut. We can't think our way
through recovery. But in order to start trusting our feelings we need to
do the grief work. It is a complicated and complex process that has
to be taken one step at a time - literally, I am saying just keep putting
one foot in front of the other doing what is in front of us - following
where our Spirit is leading, where our Higher Self is leading us.
. . . . About a year before I went into a thirty
day treatment program for Codependence I read a meditation in a meditation
book that really made me angry. It said something to the effect "that
knowledge of the path does not replace putting one foot in front of the
other." I always wanted to think my way through recovery but there
is no way - recovery is like life, it is messy and I don't know what the
outcome is going to be - there are feelings involved and that is real scary.
I had programming that told me that it was shameful to make mistakes or
be wrong - so I was always trying to figure out the outcome before I committed
to the course - does not work that way. We can't figure out the outcome
because we have never been to the places we are going. Every year
in my recovery has brought me to new dimensions that I didn't know existed
before - I never knew that I could possibly live my life with as much serenity
and happiness as I do now without having some of the things (financial,
relationship, etc.) that I thought were necessary for happiness and peace.
I keep learning and growing. I keep going back to kindergarten again
just about the time I think I have finished graduate school - it is a continual
Excerpt from Joy to You & Me and Joy2MeU Update
Recovery is a dance of balance. As I talk about
in Energetic Clarity:
"And once again here, I want to make the point
that clarity with our self is not an absolute destination. This healing
is a gradual process of finding a sense of balance - a sense of what clarity
feels like, so that we can look for and recognize when we have it and when
we do not. In order to do that it is vital to learn how to
be emotionally honest with ourselves so that we can be discerning in our
relationship with our own mental and emotional process. Through that honesty
we will achieve some energetic clarity as well.
Through that energetic clarity we will be able
to access Love from the Source - and we will learn to Love and trust our
Self to guide our self through this boarding school that is life as a human."
A sense of balance - not a destination.
We are on a Journey - the point is to be present for the journey, not to
reach a destination.
It is important to have goals because that gives
us a direction - but then we need to let go of reaching that destination,
at least in the way we picture it is going to be.
That is part of the paradox of recovery.
It is very important to know that it is Ok to have dreams, to affirm and
visualize our dreams coming true, to take action and plant seeds to make
them possible, to open up to receiving all of the abundance of the Universe
- and then we need to let go of believing that we will not be Ok until,
or if, those dreams come true. We need to let go of the future and
be present today. And know that we are Unconditionally Loved today
- and every day, rather we reach our goals or not.
Excerpt from Joy2MeU Journal First Issue
More Will Be Revealed about how this is all going
to unfold. And, of course, we all know (or any of you that have read
) that my plans usually end up giving way to the Universes Plans (what
am I saying usually - always is more like it!) I was talking to someone
the other day and really liked how I said something (this sort of thing
happens a lot - when I listen to myself consciously I learn. It was
a little over 15 years ago when I first realized that I could consciously
"move" my ego-self aside and allow myself to be a clear channel for my
Higher Self / The Spirit.)
"The purpose of me making plans is to provide God
with a framework in which to teach me about surrender, acceptance, patience,
I think that is really beautiful and True - and it
also pisses me off some. Oh well.
We are powerless over outcomes in the
future. The future is not really our business - it is our Higher Powers.
We worry about the future because of our innate human fear of the unknown
- it is natural and normal for humans to fear the unknown - but ultimately
the future is not something we can control.
Now that does not mean that we are not co-creators
of our lives - that doesn't mean that we just sit around doing nothing.
There is an old story about a guy who wanted a garden and went out on his
land and spent every day praying to God for a garden. This went on
for days and then weeks and then months - finally one day the man got fed
up and yelled at God "Where is my garden?" A gentle voice came down
from heaven saying, "My son, you must plant the seeds."
We need to do any footwork necessary, gather any
information that is helpful, make any connections that can help us, etc.
and then let go of the outcome. Some days are seed planting days
and some days aren't - if we put all of our energy into trying to create
the future we want then we miss out on today - but if we just think of
today and never think of the future then we are not being co-creators of
We need to have a balance between being a responsible
adult and being free to be spontaneous in the moment. By having internal
boundaries and starting to change our patterns so we are not always reacting
to the past - we can start having the choice of being present in the now.
It is very important to be available for life today. I heard someone
in a Twelve Step meeting not long ago say "What if today is the happiest
day of my life and I miss it because I am busy getting better?" Balance
is what we are seeking - balance between being in the now and taking care
of business so we can eat tomorrow. . . . .
And most important, remember to lighten up and
enjoy life when you can - take time to smell the roses and hear the
birds and watch the sunset - we need to own the anger and the pain
and the fear but they are not what defines us - who we really are is Light
and Love and Joy and Beauty - and that is the Truth. We are the music
of The Great Spirit - we've just been way out of tune.
Excerpt from Joy to You & Me Newsletter
Which brings me to what I wanted to talk about.
I am so incredibly grateful for this path I am on. The miracle of
the Twelve Step Recovery Program Spiritual Principles first saved my life
when I was trying to kill myself - then saved my life again when my Codependence
was close to killing me. My Codependence Recovery then turned living
from something which was miserable and unbearable for me into a Glorious
Exciting Adventure. I am so glad to be alive today - and have a life
work that I passionately believe in, Love doing - and which brings me great
Joy. I am not sure how I am going to pay my rent next month, haven't
had anything close to a Love relationship for several years, and have some
health problems - but those don't matter today. I am free to be Happy
and Joyous in the moment for the majority of the moments of every day.
What I can see now is that my response to my car
breaking down last month (Newsletter 10-25-98 below) broke me through to
a whole new dimension of existence. I have for years had a bumper
sticker on my car that says Happy Joyous and Free - and I have had increasing
tastes of what that means over the years - but now I am Truly living in
a space where that is my reality most of the time. I am Free to be
Happy and Joyous in the moment most of the time because I am also free
to be angry or sad or scared or hurt in the moment. I am Free because
I have let go of the "What ifs" and "If onlys" which are just my disease
wanting me to feel deprived and victimized. I am Free because I know
in my heart and in my gut that I am Unconditionally Loved and I don't have
to earn it. I am Free because I know the future is not in my control
- and I know that I am doing all of the seed planting and footwork that
the Universe is prompting me to do. I am Free to relax and enjoy
life because the Spirit is guiding me.
Years ago I ran across a saying that I really
liked and wanted to set as a goal - "Serenity is not Freedom from the Storm
- Serenity is Peace Amidst the Storm." I always thought that I had
to stop the storm. Now I can be serene and peaceful no matter what
the storm brings - life events like car breakdowns, other peoples behavior
which is just them dancing with their own wounds, apparent financial insecurity,
that I am still doing some unhealthy behavior health wise, whatever - I
don't have to be perfect, I don't have to have money, I don't have to be
in a relationship, to be happy.
Joy2MeU Journal Newsletter Second Issue - May 8, 1999
My process works in cycles [I talk about the dynamics
of this on the Self
Nurturing page of my web site, and in Chapter 6 of the Trilogy] that
are always rising to higher levels - but it doesn't always feel that way.
When I break through to a new level, I am at the bottom of the new level
but it feels like the bottom of the whole thing again.
. . . . Whenever I get to a new level it feels
like shit (fertilizer) for a while because I am having to let go of some
of my old ego definitions and I don't get to know what is going to replace
them until I get to know. An analogy I used to use that just came
to mind is this: It feels like I am flying through the air on a trapeze
and I have to let go of the one I am holding onto before I even see the
one that is going to swing down for me to grab a hold of - an incredible
act of faith. The empty handed leap into the void.
. . . . . This "hanging here terrified" is a perfect
part of my process. It is confusing and scary and very, very painful.
I am getting to revisit it, in part, to heal some of the shame that I allowed
my disease to heap on me so many of the other times I have been in transition.
It feels very familiar - this place. And
the disease (and unsafe people) want me to believe that it is my fault
that I am here again. This is the time when I most need to be Loving
and nurturing to myself - and the hardest time to do that. It is
a time when I really get to see who is my friend and who isn't. Anyone
that will lay any judgment on me at a time like this is someone that is
not going to be in my life anymore. It is a great time to discern
who I want in my life and who I don't.
It feels like the same place I have visited before
- but it isn't really. It is the same wound, the same abyss of pain
- but I am visiting it now on a higher level.
The Path of one Recovering Codependent - the dance of one wounded soul
It is quite common - especially with "New Age" types,
but also in 12 step recovery programs - for codependents to give other
codependents the message that "you must be doing something wrong" or you
would not be: 1. in financial difficulty, 2. sick, 3. out of a job,
4. in a relationship, 5. not in a relationship, 6. whatever.
For people to judge others for how their life looks on the outside.
No one has a right to judge someone else's path. No one can know
what Karma someone else is settling, and what is necessary to settle that
Karma. If one person is able to cure themselves of cancer and another
person dies of cancer - that doesn't mean one person did it right and another
did it wrong. Each of them is perfectly on their path. There
is no right and wrong. We are all one. We all get to go home.
We have different lesson plans while we are here. There is no right
. . . . . I do not have the power to screw up
The Great Spirit's plan. I am perfectly where I am supposed to be
on my path. I don't have to like what is happening in my life - but
in order to have any serenity I need to accept my reality as it is today.
quality of my life today, in this moment, is directly related to how much
I am allowing the disease to shame and judge me. When I have
internal boundaries with the disease so that I can choose not to give power
to the shame and judgment, then I am a success. I am being successful
in Unconditionally Loving myself in this moment. When I have a Higher
Power that Loves me Unconditionally and I can accept that State of Grace
- then I am Loving myself. Then it does not matter what anyone else
thinks of me. That is True empowerment. That is Love.
I am a great success today. I really have it together right in this
The Recovery Process for inner child healing - The
Process of Processing