"...when I can Keep It Simple I'm walking with the guidance of my Higher Power." (From "Having Had a Spiritual Awakening", p. 37, Alanon Family Groups)
I have spent a lifetime analyzing, reanalyzing, figuring things out, studying a question from all it's angles, trying to explain, complicating, attempting deeper understandings, and until I found Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon I was unable to find any real clarity about anything.
The older I get with the corresponding length of time in recovery the more I cherish and find most of my answers in the most simple practices.
I used to spend a fair amount of time thinking about how to pray, looking for the perfect formula for prayer only to discover that the most effective prayers I say are the simplest ones. My favorite is "God help me".
I also spent a lot of time looking for the perfect formula for meditation. Today I know that if I can get out of myself, get the focus out of my own mind, I can move into meditation. This can happen while sitting on the porch concentrating on the breeze that moves the air or hearing the repetition of a lovely tune or sitting quietly in church.
I spent a lifetime looking and searching for God in books, in churches, everywhere only to discover that God was always right with me. I have found God in the beauty of a flower, the endless expanse of sky and sea, the wiggling nose of a bunny, the beauty of a hymn, the smile that lights up a face, the happiness expressed by another, and the love I feel deep inside me.
I looked a lifetime for a deeper understanding of life and searched for the deeper meanings of life only to discover that the depth of life is to be found in a simple loving, healing touch and the simple words, "I love you". Prayer Girl
(Photo credit: Delight by Ellen Hodges-Kodak picture of the day)
Her flowing auburn hair fanned out over the white silk pillow. Her richly brocaded blouse seemed to sparkle and vibrate with life. Her eyes are closed, no movement of the silky top. All this beauty is in stark contrast to gray, plastic skin.
Dressed up, but going nowhere. Dressed up, but no one is home.
(This 55 came to life as a result of my being at a funeral yesterday evening for a beautiful 46 year young woman who finally lost her two year battle with the type of cancer that killed Farrah Fawcett. I was introduced to her by one of my sponsees and I only met her twice, but the first time I saw her I placed my hands on her. That created a special bond between us that I don't understand. I loved her.)
This is a week of celebration. Every year during the week that leads up to Memorial Day, our household is full of celebrations. Husband Steve's birthday is May 25th, our wedding anniversary is May 27th, and my birthday is May 29th.
As today closes, it is one down and two to go. Today included husband sporting the new gold chain I gave him from which dangles the gold crucifix he received from me the Christmas before last. A birthday dinner with Boston Cream Pie to complete the meal and cards from me and daughter rounded out the day.
Tomorrow we are making a quick getaway to Sanibel Island for the night. We have a favorite restaurant, The Embers, we enjoy and there will be beach walking, shopping, and whatever else sparks our fancy.
On Saturday I've chosen The Cheesecake Factory for my birthday meal. Seems my diet is down the drain this week and I'm O.K. with that. The only downside to all the festivities is that I mark myself another year older. Then again - maybe just maybe - I am at least a tiny bit wiser. :)
Happy day to all you bloggers.
(Photo credits: Celebration by email@example.com CELEBRATION by firstname.lastname@example.org)
Prayer Girl (Photo credits: Cherry Blossom by email@example.com nearly perfect by firstname.lastname@example.org Pink Azalea by BeachGirlNikita@deviantart.com Queen Anne's Lace2 cherry blossom by Sarah Christiana@deviantart.com)
She was sober. He wasn't. She was sane. He wasn't. Abuse was escalating and sobriety was threatened. What about the sweet children? Stay or go? She was relying on living one day at a time and praying for God's will to guide her. And she prayed for him. The decision came. Peace settled over her.
(Photo credit: Fates Hand by email@example.com)
Life can take us into waters that seem sure to drown us. Sometimes life's challenges seem like a fire that will surely burn us to ashes. We feel weak, fearful, unsure, lost, abandoned. Those of us who have walked through these dark places to the other side are called to be a beckoning beacon of light for those finding themselves on a frightening journey.
My alcoholism brought me to a place of despair and hopelessness. Many of the blogs I read are written by people who have also experienced days and nights of darkness - alcoholism, drug addiction, abuse. This may sound melodramatic, but for those of us who have been there, it is no exaggeration. We were trapped in situations that no matter what we thought, did, or said, we were unable to escape.
God is the source of my hope and the power that brought me slowly and gently out of the pit of Hell and into light and health. As He led me I was often unaware at the time of his gentle guidance, but in the retrospect of many years I can now see some of the ways He was there. I have learned that most of the time I do not know what is best for me, but God always knows what is best. The moment I surrendered my illusion of power over alcohol or much of anything else, realized how desperately I needed help, and handed the entirety of my life over to a power greater than myself, He was able to do for me what I was unable to do for myself.
God is my great and gentle "Shepherd". He led me to Alcoholics Anonymous where I found sobriety. He has led me into deeper and deeper levels of sobriety and given me the grace to be able to share some of what He has given me with others. I share my faith and trust as I share my experience, strength, and hope. I know many who are struggling - sponsees, friends, bloggers. I write this blog for them. There is hope. It is possible to navigate the deep waters without drowning and to emerge from the flames unscathed. I hope this blog will bring a measure of comfort.
Recently I have had trouble sitting down and writing a blog. A dear sponsee, L, told me this morning she looks often for my next blog to lift her spirit. I got motivated.
L finds herself in a most difficult time and being led to take steps that will be some of the most painful of her life. I love her and this blog is for her and the many others in deeply troubling circumstances. God is shepherding her, shepherding all of us out of the darkness and into the radiance of the light if we ask Him.
God bless L and all of my blogger friends.
(Photo credits: On the Waters of Bleached Rock by firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Photo credits: Transformations by Katha Shawver-Kodak picture of the day The Universe Blooms by Lady of email@example.com Stain Glass Window by Mozie @deviantart.com finding spirituality by bent firstname.lastname@example.org Centre Stain Glass Window by Catty@deviantart.com)
Prayer Girl (Photo credits: The Adorables by Katherine Jolly - Kodak picture of the day Spring Lamb by Joy Cobb - Kodak picture of the day In Trouble by Els Bax - Kodak picture of the day Mother and Child by Richard A Votz - Kodak picture of the day New by Kilayi@deviantart.com)
"Life is a succession of moments. To live each one is to succeed." - Corita Kent
My moments have become so precious to me. My appreciation for life has grown slowly, but surely from the day I got sober July 5th, 1985. For the first time in a long time I felt hope when I opened my eyes that day and I began my lessons in "Life Appreciation".
I took "Art Appreciation" and "Music Appreciation" in college, but what I really needed was "Life Appreciation". Surrender was my entry into that class. I had to be dragged down so far by my own character defects as I stumbled through the years that I became willing to open my eyes, ears, and mind to the material God wanted to present.
The years since then have provided one lesson after another in the art of appreciating life each moment as it unfolds. Yesterday was no exception. Someone else's life brought me a deeper appreciation of my own.
When I volunteer in the hospital I work a 4 hour shift. Typically I take about a 20 minute break midway through to have a coffee and a little something to eat. I typically see from 10 - 15 patients. It varies. My philosophy is quality, not quantity, but I do make sure I see all those where a visit has been requested. Yesterday I worked the full 4 hours with no break whatsoever and I visited 7 patients. This was unusual.
I spent at least an hour with a lady who has been battling breast cancer for 7 years. She was planning a trip to her daughter's college graduation in two weeks. She went to to the doctor to be sure all was stable with her medical condition and they did an MRI and found three brain tumors. One was very large and wrapped around a major blood vessel. She was told she had 10 days to 2 weeks to live. They were sending her home with a referral to Hospice and pain medications.
This woman told me she did not believe in God or Heaven, was abused as a child, married what she termed a useless man, and has had a terribly difficult life including her battle with cancer. My impression was that she wasn't as much bitter as sad. She kept telling me she was angry, but the emotion expressed was deep, deep sadness. She had been looking forward to her later years - watching one of her children graduate and both children marry. She had hoped to enjoy grandchildren. She had a dream - a plan - with a dear friend to share a home together. None of this will happen and it will all be cut short very soon.
I just kept praying silently for direction. I listened. She told me during our conversation that she had been a massage therapist till the strength in her arms left her. Near the end of our time together I told her that since she had done massage I assumed she knew the power of touch. She agreed and I asked if I could place my hands on her head. She said, "yes". As I placed my hands on her she said, "This world is touch-deprived". I know God had his purposes in this visit. I know they weren't about me and I place no limits on God. If God placed some peace into this woman, I am happy.
When I got home I was exhausted. I took a nap, walked the dog, and had several phone calls from sponsees during the afternoon and evening. Each activity was a blessing for me.
I wonder what God has ready for the moments of this day - AND YOURS.
(Photo credit: Water World by Connie Publicover - Kodak picture of the day)
I'm sober in AA since July 5th 1985, and a grateful member of Alanon since November 2004.
I joined the "blogosphere" in September, 2008.
In December 2011 I became a grandmother for the first time and now understand why it's such a big deal. I'm wildly in love again with that little guy.