Time flies and another week is here. Today let's talk about spirituality as a part of the six areas of balance. As Carol Lynn Pearson says in her great little book, "Embracing Coincidence", "I have lived my life by faith, choosing to believe that life has to make sense, choosing to believe there is Spirit behind matter, choosing to believe consciousness survives death, choosing to believe there is a God and that God is good." Today, I believe this with all my heart and mind. As a child growing up I was taught to fear God if I was not "good enough" or if I was not perfect. As stated in the title we are human beings here having a spiritual experience. Being human, I learn and grow through trial and error. I am not perfect, nor do I need to be. It is enough to "always do my best". Today, I know God's love is unconditional and that I can choose to live in love or fear. I choose LOVE. In his book, "The Four Agreements" Don Miguel Ruiz gives us four important truths to guide our life. First, is be impeccable with your word and to cultivate faith. "To have great faith is to have great power, because your intent, your will is undivided. When your work isn't dissipated by doubt, the power of your work becomes even stronger." Faith is not sure knowledge it is more a belief. What do I believe? Do I believe in God and his love for me and his desire for me to become the best me? Do I believe there is a higher, best me and I can become better? Do I believe that God or the Universe supports my growth? Don Miguel Ruiz's fourth agreement is "always do your best". My "best" is differenct from day to day. Ruiz states: "You do your best when you are enjoying the action or doing it in a way that will not have negative repercussions for you. You do your best because you "want" to do it - not because you "have" to do it; not because you are trying to please the judge, and not because you are trying to please other people." Have you heard it said, "It is progress not perfection"? Am I better today than yesterday, am I better this year than last year? How is my progress? Spiritual balance indicates the need for progress and so recovery is about continual growth. To me an important part of spirituality is gratitude, being grateful for all good gifts and grateful for my life just as it is today. Do you have a gratitude list? To increase spirituality, it is helpful to write down each day, five to ten things for which you are grateful. It is a great reminder of how blessed I am and I try to do this daily. Give it a try, perhaps it will work for you too. In her book, "Lovingkindness", Sharon Salzberg reminds us: We may look for that which is stable, unchanging, and safe, but awareness teaches us that such a search cannot succeed. Everything in life changes. The path to true happiness is one of integrating and fully accepting all aspects of our experience. Ying and yang, circle half dark and half light.... Unity, integration, comes from deeply accepting darkness and light, and therefore being able to be in both simultaneously. We must move from trying to control the uncontrollable cycles of pleasure and pain, and instead learn how to connect, to open, to love not matter what is happening. I will close with the Serenity Prayer said at the end of 12 Step meetings. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference. Today, I choose LOVE and light even living amidst the darkness.
Sue Judd, MSS, LSAC
Licensed Substance Abuse Counselor