Thursday, May 31, 2012

Awakening to the Miracles of Community

We sat in the car outside the meeting as the rain poured down on the windows, and we healed together.  The first miracle of my day today was the opportunity to secretary a meeting and to be of service in a city I don’t live in, along Lake Union’s waters edge in a yacht club.  The second miracle was an opportunity to say thank you and please forgive me to an old sponsor who was a fantastic sponsor and yet we didn’t always see eye to eye.   We had a moving conversation that was beautiful and challenging all in different moments throughout and with the rain pattering down on the window and the movement of Spirit in my body I began to sense and tap into the Principle of flow.  A gentle flow of life moving so beautifully through the expansiveness of my being.  An expansiveness that has been co-created by all of the wonderful mentors and friends in my life lately.  An expansiveness that has been created by my fourth and fifth steps(the three that I have done this year but especially as a result of the work I did at the retreat last weekend) An expansiveness which I showed up for, even when it has been tough.  It has been so tough at times, to the point where I wondered for just a moment… do I need some medication to get me through this?   No, folks, this is the real deal.  The real deal is sustainable and builds upon itself into new experiences and it comes with its fair share of ups and downs.  It has become increasingly clear to me that as a sober woman I don’t have the option to just check out anymore… sometimes I wish we could take safe vacations from sobriety but it’s just not a healthy option and sooo, being with the pain of the world when it rises like a wave is the choice I have that is in alignment with my goals and dreams… so I take it in and I breathe it out.  I followed an intuitive nudge to a yoga class this morning which was so beautiful because the instructor invited us all to gather at the front of the room when class begun.  With slight hesitation wondering why we would begin class in such a way we all gathered.  She said “I just want to check in with you about how you are feeling about the shootings yesterday.”  Wow! Wow! Wow!  After a moment of awe filled silence, people began to share their feelings and thoughts on the matter and once again I was in place for a deep and powerful healing with others.  When two or more gather in the name of Good, miracles happen.  I have already been privy to two of these sessions this morning.  It is evident that there is truth in the notion that the day of the lone wolf is over as people are hungry from a deeper place than ever to be bathed in the love of community.  This is being demonstrated by the budding communities and gatherings around the world...just today in the dressing room before yoga I smiled as I listened to a woman talking about moving to Peru to build a spiritual retreat center where all paths lead to the same One God... deep smile.  Together we face and perservere through the darkness that marks the dawning of a new day in the world.  I believe the world is going to be unrecognizable in a good way in our lifetimes and perhaps in the very near future.  I believe that we are in the midst of the biggest paradigm shift ever.  Therefore I know that now more than ever before my sobriety, spiritual practice and the activation of my deepest levels of faith are of the utmost importance, as are yours.  Show up for the miracle of two or more gathered and be as honest as you possibly know how to be.  The world is dying to be born anew through you, your honesty and your courage today.  Join us as we trudge the darkness that will soon fade to the light.  Love, Honesty, Light and Courage to you this day.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Don't Look Back, Dig In

Two shootings within a half hour and several suicides in the last few weeks, doesn’t it seem that there is some type of exodus happening on the planet?  I have gotten into this conversation with a few of my close friends in recent weeks.  Often times we conclude that some really great souls are being called to a better place…. some parallel Universe needs them for some giant cause on another plane, right?  Or is it simply that we as a planet are walking through the darkness before the greatest light?  When I came out of yoga today feeling refreshed and somewhat renewed after a rough morning, my sister informed me that two shootings had occurred in the city and police were advising us to take precaution as both suspects are on the loose.  It drew me back to the question that I have been asking myself lately…is it just me…. or is there a darkness in the world that is tangible to the masses.  I surmise that yes, we are as challenged as we every have been and I am so grateful to have the tools of AA because it seems that in a moments notice I can find myself down the rabbit hole… then I start using the tools on my list to drive myself back into the light... 1.) calling my sponsor 2.) writing this blog 3.) getting to a meeting 4.) reading out of the book 5.) finding another (preferably alcoholic) to help 6.) Pray/meditate… and recently having the profound experience of doing deep inner work the way the original founders of 12 steps had originally intended it.  We did this in a 12-step retreat format whereby the creators created a loving container established in the unconditionally loving consciousness of two ministers who have long time sobriety and an intention powerful enough to offer the first true taste of freedom that every single one of the 25 people had felt in a LONG time.  Rev. Heather Venegas and Rev Collin King taught us the difference between sand box spirituality that includes drive by prayers and one aspect of the program too heavily relied upon AND real deal spirituality whereby you get to the the nitty gritty of it all.  They walked us “into the woods” of our consciousness and introduced us to our “little me’s” which they call “passengers” who took up jobs as we experienced the really tough shit in our lives and although we have grown into what is often a much more stable environment and life my little 5 year old warrior is busy protecting me as if we were still in the warzone of my childhood.  I now understand the 4th and 5th step like I never have before.  Now I am free to take care of the little me's that like to run the show and harmonize them with the woman I am today, assuring them that I(the grown woman) am connected with God and together we have it(life) handled… she is now free to play and be loved up by me.  I am learning such a keen awareness of myself that I am automatically empowered into greater heights of existence.  I suggest the deep quick work which requires a level of vulnerability in the safety of facilitators who have done their work and live Love.  As I dive through the layers of my soul I too see, sense and feel the pressure of the world, calling me to rise or die baby… staying the same just isn’t gonna cut it in this paradigm shift.  Link up and dig in.  Much Love

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Practice Especially When You Don't Feel Like It

It worked, my super hero life force activation worked!*!*   This morning I had an awesome opportunity to chair another big meeting along the waters edge, downtown Seattle, and I feel fantastic!   This activation my super hero life force has something to do with one of the following practices or better yet, all of them put together.  1st – I kicked up my prayer practice; I committed more deeply to my meditation; I have been in better contact with my sponsor; been going to lots of meetings AND(the things I have added are) I got the prime and beautiful opportunity to help another alcoholic last night; I have completed my 5th step and begun my 6th and; I have re-engaged a conscious gratitude practice.  I’m telling you… I went from the dumpy dumps to feeling GREAT.  So activate your super hero life force by taking just a little time to do a bit of each of these things… it’s worthwhile… the gift is freedom, joy, happiness, empowerment, serenity, oh and did I say joy and NATURAL GRATITUDE.  My sisters and I were having a good laugh about my facebook page the other day.  I am involved in 365 day Gratitude Practice where 300 of my closest friends ;-p and I are using our daily status updates to practice our gratitude.  My oldest sister who has a very dry sense of humor commented on her thoughts when she sees my daily updates “oh great, Ash is having another fucking fantastic day again”… lol… we were all rolling on the floor laughing.  It got me thinking that wow… this is a practice and the point is not to boast about having another fucking fantastic day but more to put in the forefront of my consciousness what I have going for me so that I may be a magnet for more of that.  Sometimes folks, its' a stretch to list my gratitude and I'm not exactly feeling it... but that is the point of practice... to do it especially when I don't feel like doing it.    To break it down by practicing gratitude, I am excercising my spiritual muscles and expanding my “I already have” consciousness and therefore receptivity to the All Good of the Universe.  I forgot to practice for a couple of days, ok so it was a couple of weeks, and non-coincidentally, I started to slip into somethin’ funkayy!  The first two days of three days that I have been back on my gratitude game didn’t really feel all that genuine… but it’s a practice people and I did it anyway!  "Fake it ‘til you make it," baby!  There is something to these annoying little slogans we here the old timers throwing around the rooms as if we were at a pro-sports arena… TODAY, my GRATITUDE is the GENUINE, AUTHENTIC Expression of Divinity through me.  Thank you for my sobriety and my clarity today.  Praise and Love to you and your journey!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Activate Your Real Life Super Hero

What’s the capital T Truth of me?  Well, that I am expression of the Infinite Love of Divinity.  No matter how far down the rabbit hole I have ventured the Truth of Spirit has never changed.  No matter how many layers of “stuff” I have hidden this truth beneath, it is the eternal truth.  Got that?  Eternal?  It’s the eternal Truth of you too.  The 12 steps, yoga and spirituality are all about peeling back the layers of conditioning of belief systems that no longer serve the evolution and unleashing of my soul’s desire.  You see, there is something that is planted in me that is mine to be, just as there is something in you that is planted in you that is yours to be.  At least in my life my happiness is a direct correlation of my dedication and motivation to be more of the God seed within me.    For a while I tried to do the program as if it was separate from this path of revealing the True me.  But I was blind to see that the 12 steps are one of the most powerful tools in becoming the real life superhero that I am.  You have a real life super hero stashed inside of you too.  Your super hero may be a singer, a poet, a traveler who treks the highest peaks, a lawyer, a professional athlete, a philanthropist…. Whatever it is, these 12 steps and yoga are about harmonizing ourselves with our superhero within.  I went to a Spiritual Conference in LA a few weeks ago and did some breath work with a company called – incredible! One of the founders Rabya Hyak who co-lead this breath work was talking about how breath work is the life force of the super hero.  The breath work was profoundly powerful creating the experience of feeling cleansed and light and providing the space for me to drop into one of the most powerful meditations of my life.  Anyway, it got me thinking about each of us as real life super heros…. and for this dreamer, that’s perfect.  I believe we are real life super heros.  The quickest way to take our life forces away are to put substances in our bodies.  It’s the false non-sustainable, short lived mini-version of what we are meant to feel, for real.  The search and the practice may be longer than popping a pill, smoking dope or drinking alcohol but it’s the REAL activation of the same chemicals in our bodies.  I’d rather feel the consistent, subtle buzz of a real and natural high than plug myself with the false.  I am going for the full activation of my real life super hero powers today through my meditation, prayer work, breath work and fellowship.  I remember that I am the Divine bursting forth as Infinite Love and Divinity and from this place my super hero powers are activated.  Sobriety is my launching point.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Exploring My Creativity

When I am too attached to the outcome I can’t possibly let life flow with the sheer loving power and intelligence that it would without my arms wrapped so tightly around it with my plan.  Here in lies my exploration of my creativity?  I was asked the other day, what kind of speaker are you, extemporaneous(a word I had to look up which means with little or no preparation) or planned?  This is a question I have been exploring over the year and have adamantly identified myself as indeed an extemparneous type but in the past week and with a revelation in my morning meditation I think I might just be a little bit of both.  I am finding that creativity moves from the heart AND it has intelligence, clarity and power when it is expressed in a structure.  As someone who’s primary drive in life is dedicated to discovering and unleashing the creativity at the center of my soul, you bet it’s my business to be in the inquiry of the quality and nature of creativity.  What I mean by this is that with my recent exploration of creativity I am finding myself abandoning such one sidedness with the idea that it’s only those who spontaneously unleash from the heart that win my respect of their creativity.  It is true that creativity is and must be unleashed from the heart but I think it can be supported, magnified and gain clarity and therefore power if there is some structure provided for it’s flow.  Now I am seeing more broadly as I begin to understand that there can be a loose plan or structure, a framework for the creativity to flow.  Without any real attachment, I have a desire that my creativity be a gift to those around me.  I have a true desire to express myself beautifully, lovingly and impactfully.  So, I study those who express their soul’s gift beautifully, lovingly and impactfully.  What I am noticing is that a.) the language of the creator is always of the heart and b.) that some creators are best expressed through a framework of mild preparation.  Mediocrity for me is doing less than my best.  It is opening the nozzle of my creativity only partially and leaving knowing that I could have opened it up all the way.  Simply in that knowing I feel the presence of mediocrity.  I am again breaking my agreements with mediocrity and tapping my creativity with the intention to open the nozzle all the way, which is why for now I will also prepare a strong framework for my creativity to flow.  If you are wondering where this is all coming from I will tell you that recently I had two opportunities to be creative in healing forums.  First, I chaired a giant meeting and second, I led a meditation at church.  In both cases I left with the feeling that I had re-engaged my agreements with mediocrity.  In both cases I did little to prepare.  Because my life is the tapestry of my creativity and there is no other higher aspiration than for my creativity to be lovingly unleashed, these two instances are rich opportunities for my growth.  I could just let them go or I can pay attention to the “bummer” feeling that I felt and recognize that it is pointing to an area of my growth.  I am sober to tap into my greatness, to recognize your greatness and to participate in this world in profound and powerful ways.  The most powerful way to participate in life, in my eyes, is to be the most authentically creative expression of love that I can be.  Dedicate yourself to this with me.  

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Grateful for My Friends

Another beautiful Sunday jam packed with Spiritual Beauty.  During the week I have been cracked open to the experience of Love from close friends… a group of individuals that I began my journey with a number of years ago.  Over the years we have witnessed each other’s growth through the pain, the joy, the girlfriends and boyfriends, death of loved ones, celebrating triumphs and supporting each other through losses.  All in all, this group of people are very special to me and I am steeped in Gratitude for their love.  Although I will be leaving them here in Seattle in a few weeks I am glad that a new stage of my ripening has occurred and I have realized from a deeper place how blessed I am to have a group of people like these.  I realize how important it is to consciously choose my friends.  To choose people who are interested in Love and Dreams and in having high thought conversations.   To chose people who hold me to my best when I am playing small and remind me of who I am when I am genuinely beat down by the hurly burly of the world.  A friend said to me the other night after a bliss filled evening of purpose and passion filled conversation… “don’t be a stranger, Ash.”   I’ve heard it so many times before and I know my propensity to get lost in the adventure and be bouncing from group to group.  But now, it is my time to serve the place of stability and accountability in my friendships.  I need my tribe… my family in order to both survive and thrive.  I have a joyful responsibility to participate in their dreams unfolding too.  I am sober to be in powerful and profound relationship with great people and those that I am connected to through my blood lines.  I am sober to remain consistently powerful and peaceful in these relationships but mostly so that I am free to actively and dynamically participate in relationships and life!!  I lean into the love of my friends today and allow my human self to be as imperfect as it needs to be.  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Drop The Rock & Be Effective

I had a dream that I was moving rocks of all sizes around a garden and removing old and used wine glasses from my personal bag and putting them on a shelf.  I woke up with a feeling that I should read a book called Drop the Rock… if I remember correctly I think this is a 6th and 7th step AA approved literature book.   Yesterday I had a fantastic yoga teacher who spent the class facilitating growth in the area of recognizing the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.  “Efficiency” she said “is doing items two through ten on your to do list and never getting to the two most important things, effectiveness is doing now the most impactful thing” for our highest goals in life.

 I think I am at a place in my journey where I am ready to unload some of the burdens – rocks of judgment of self and others, rocks of shame for things I have done in the past, rocks of worry for the future, rocks of other peoples feelings that I have been carrying for years.  I am ready to face the fear and walk through it.  I am ready and standing for an expansion in my perception and to become the efficient AND effective woman of love and power that I am.  I feel myself as I write these words moving into clear seeing again.  I have been in a tunnel of what has felt like confusion and darkness turning to the light within me which continued to remind me that although it felt dark, I was on track and in alignment with my souls purpose and to keep forging the trail of unknown.   I noticed that this is the time when my disease likes to sneak in and attempt to coerce me into it’s trap…. Gently presenting itself as a sweet desire to have a glass of wine or a cold beer, but just like any other time I have continued to make the choice for my happiness, health and wholeness by not drinking, the Universe is rewarding me with a life that is better than I could have imagined.  It’s crazy to think that I would even consider trading this for a glass of wine, and yes, I have to remind myself that if I chose to pick up that drink, I am trading it all in for old grapes that have been stepped on by somebody’s dirty feet anyhow.

So in the light that I reside I chose again, my “blissipline,” as Michael Beckwith calls it, over my temptation and I am launched into the next orbit of my being.  It’s just that sometimes the cycle gets more rigorous than others and I find myself wrestling with my disease and sometimes it sits quietly in the wings because my recovery is so strong that there is no place for it to be in my mind.  The point is not that I am not doing something right or wrong.  The most important thing is that I am thoroughly honest about where I am in my disease.  Right now, I am dropping the rocks, I am releasing my burdens, one by one I am putting them down and at the same time I am putting my wine-glasses on the shelf.  No amount of time means you do or don’t experience wanting to drink or use again, but not saying something can be the catalyst – the fast track to trading it all in for another experience of the same.  Stay the course today, brothers and sisters.  Look at your life the day you began your journey in sobriety and look at your life now…. is it worth it?  Love and Joy to you.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Root Down Ash Girl

“It’s always darkest before the dawn….”  -Florence and the Machine

Yep, I have 366 days of consecutive clean time as of this morning and I keep thinking of  the ridiculousness of the question all of the jokester’s in my life like to ask me every year when my belly button birthday arrives, “do you feel older?”  except, I think the question here is “do you feel any more sober?”  Well, I suppose I feel about a day older and a day more sober.  It is definitely something to be celebrated and since I got the last section of my fourth step on paper I haven’t wanted to drink….surprise surprise.  I will say though that I didn’t have a great day yesterday.  I found my character defects glaring in my face, from my face, as me and I cornered myself with my reactivity into a slump that was a bit hard to get out of.   You see, I realized that being the traveler that I am I have been traveling since the day I got sober and have spent equal amounts of time in three different parts of the country since my sobriety birthday.  My friends joke that they never know where I am and for a long time with a shit-eating grin on my face I would smile from my soul knowing that I was perfectly where I was meant to be, all along the way.  Now though, I am craving home like never before, I am craving home earth that wraps itself so warmly around the roots of my being and sends serenity through my life.  I am craving the beginning of the chapter of my life that starts at Year One, Day 27 of my sobriety. I am craving a connection with my sobriety family and freedom from the ways of my gypsy soul that I may have friends and family who know where I am 90% of the time and count on me to celebrate momentous days of theirs and mine alike.  I miss my sponsor and the friendships that I haven’t even made yet.  I’m ready to take the lesson and hear the truth that I too want to feel a part of the community of AA and the Aspen community at large.  I relinquish my membership with the Gypsy Soul Club of World Traveling Mexican Jumping Beans.  I crave home.

I have spent a lot of time praying for clarity in my life and clarity is exactly what I have received.  Everything is unfolding exactly the way I had hoped it would and now I am met with my next great character defect, Varouka Salt Syndrom “I want it now, Daddy.”  Patience has never been my fortay… well at least with some areas of my life.  So now, I have another glaring opportunity to expand and grow in yet another way…. I have the opportunity to practice my patience and complete faith in God’s timing.  I need to constantly remind myself that things are happening God Speed and I am just along for the ride.  Today I put my boxing gloves down and stop wrestling with the momentum of the Universe – it’s tiring.  Now that I have a clear look at my defects of character I turn in steps 6 and 7 toward the only Being that could ever begin to remove these growing edges, God.  I am more than willing that these growing edges be invited by my willingness back into the nothingness from where they came and my life soften into the sweet joy that is the natural state of my being.  I SURRENDER.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Surrender. Stay. Shine.

I just finished watching Country Strong and the message is still vibrating in resonance in my body.  I can’t help but notice that it wasn’t until the moment that Gwyneth Paltrow’s character surrendered completely that she stepped back into her True self.  Unfortunately, for her, knowing that she was about to check out of this world, freed her from the grip of her disease and allowed her to un-cloak the layers of her ego and reveal the light to shine that was always waiting to be revealed.  And it(her light) did… big time.  I’m coming to understand that this is exactly what the 12 steps does… it unveils the layers of the ego and the disease and reveals our connection with Source.  You see, that portion of the 4th step that I have been resisting with so much of me for what seems like forever… I finally completed to the best of my ability, today.  But, first I had to have a revelation regarding my resistance.  Of course as an answer to my prayer and, intention to complete this step…. God led me to a meeting on Saturday morning (one I had never been to before) to hear a lead on the 4th & 5th step that was in and of itself enlightening but paired with the shares that followed, something was unlocked within me.  I realized that a.) My disease did not want me to acknowledge and address my shame, guilt and remorse(because such it held such powerful healing in it’s acknowledgement) and so told me that I didn’t have any(guilt/shame/remorse.)  You should have seen how long this section of my fourth step was… Boy did I almost have myself fooled.  But I knew something was up because my desire to drink was increasing despite me increasing my program and sharing my desire to drink as honestly as possible.  Well, to be honest I wasn’t sharing it enough with my sponsor and there was some hesitation to share this portion of the 4th step with her.  Not because she is not one of the most lovely, non-judgmental people on the planet who I love and feel so much gratitude for; not because her story did not involve drugs; not because I don’t trust her(all questions I had asked myself before in seeking reasons to why I wasn’t completing this portion of the 4th & 5th), but it finally dawned on me – I am about to start working with this woman on my dream and we are going to be serving a very large vision together.  My pride and fear did not want her to know the things I feel shame for because it did not want her to lack respect for me as a leader, a speaker, a teacher or a facilitator and there certainly is and was something to be addressed here.  I sent her this portion of my 4th step and asked her to prayerfully consider my concerns but leaving it up to her is where we stand. 

No matter what, I feel about 1000 lbs lighter just having written that stuff on paper and being willing to share with somebody I trust.  I feel good about discovering my block and addressing it like a woman.  You know what… the desire to drink is completely gone and I already feel more connected to my program and the people I love so much in the rooms….those people I am looking forward to being close to when I get back to Aspen and those sweet souls that welcome me into every meeting I go to.   Surrender is first, working the steps is second, your light will shine brightly again.  Love Out

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Celebrate Sustainable Thriving Life

My mental bodies and my physical body are opening in the wake of my discipline and it is the dawn of a new day.  It is in perfect alignment with the gorgeous morning sunshine resting on the brick buildings of old town Ballard, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Seattle.  Seattle’s famous coffee is brewing and the gentle hum of a Saturday morning has begun.  There is rich spiritual community here in Seattle and for the next few weeks I am diving deep into this ocean of rich spirituality and like a sponge I am soaking up as much as I possibly can before I head home.  I feel myself in alignment with my intention to fill up and spill over with goodness into the world.  It seemed doubtful to my surface mind during the first few days that I was here that this could hardly be what was occurring but I reminded myself of the dark night that often comes before the greatest dawn and today…yet another great dawn of my existence…  the greatest?  I would hardly call it that because I know that my soul is infinite and saying things like the greatest or the best is a meak attempt by my ego to limit me from the next greatest dynamic experience of richness that my journey has to offer.  4 honest days away from my one year sobriety birthday and I feel my disease trying to kick me off the track.  One year has some type of milestone for me for sure….last time it was the milestone which for me meant that I was good to drink again… hahahaha…I hear my angels laughing because everyone but me knew this was some type of new heights that my insanity had taken me.  So, when my sponsor asked me how I was feeling about approaching a year… I replied “not nearly excited without the plan to drink.”  I guess this is bitter sweet because for an alcoholic who’s disease loves to CELEBRATE, celebrating a year still feels a little dull compared to the party with champagne and viognier followed by some cold micro brews and topped off with some whiskey(you know the party that the disease in me would like to celebrate with) but hey, my life is sustainable and thriving and that my friends is the pure gift of this program.  The truth is, I LOVE my Life and the shifts for good that have and continue to occur within me are undeniable MIRACLE after MIRACLE kind of living.  I certainly know that the party might be fun but as Rita says “my only failure would be to trade what I want the most for what I want in a moment.”  Pray with me that our collective and individual obsession(masked as a sweet desire) to use whatever, be completely lifted.  I love you so much I choose your sobriety and mine, today!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Get Your Old Stinkin' Self Outta the Way, God's Gotta Good You May Not Be Able to Handle

I had a dream that I was at a ski resort(appropriate for this ski town girl) that everyone was drinking icy cold, malty, hoppy beer in frosty glasses(lovely how my alcoholic mind can so romance this little thing which wants me dead ;-p) and well, to put it simply, (in my dream) I chose to have just one beer with some random dude with overgrown facial hair and head hair that looked like it hadn’t been washed in years.  The feelings that followed were a mixture of “see, all I needed was one,” and “do I need to share this in my next meeting” and “perhaps I can get away with it….I”m just not going to say anything at my next meeting.”  I hopped on the chair to the top and when I got off, I skied across the gorgeous bowl of snow down to an area where there were three women who had just competed against each other in some type of ski competition (which without a doubt I would have won) and were being awarded really cool prizes like big puffy jackets and sweet new ski helmets.  As for me… I was too late…. I missed the contest all together because of WHY?.... because I decided to have a beer with someone else who’s Spirit and livelihood were dying because of their disease.  The message : don’t take yourself out of the way of the gifts that are headed your way for a measly beer…. This was just a dream but a very poignant dream warning me and encouraging me at the same time to hunker down into my program.  I did, I upped my meetings and my prayer and meditation and my surrender and specifically prayed to have the desire to drink be removed because I’ll tell you….I’ve been in recovery and still felt locked up by my desire to use/drink and it is, no fun!!! I too have been so extremely blessed to feel the way recovery is supposed to feel(eventually and maybe from day 1… who knows…everyone’s program is different…but at least eventually) where you are so filled up by way of purifying the heart through the recovery process and becoming so filled up that you don’t even want a drink or drug!  That’s the kind of recovery that I want.  This morning’s topic was a “total psychic change!”  That doesn’t mean a partial change of old ideas and ways, it means a “total” change and that’s what I intend.  When I hear people share about a total change I know that this is the formula for freedom and the fullness of life that is possible in sobriety.  So, today as I intend a total psychic change… I throw myself into my recovery…into my reading, my sharing, the last portion of my fourth step and a phone call to my sponsor…. I also look for way to help another alcoholic…so if you have any ideas… let me know. I know my prayers are being heard and my God is nurturing me through my disease because I have been invited on a full scholarship to an awesome recovery retreat coming up and to chair a meeting the day after my sobriety 1 year birthday.  Thank you God… I feel your love in spades.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Consistency and Constancy in My Practice is My Freedom

“I want to be anywhere but here….what I really want to do is lay down on my mat in this hot heat, the first nice warmth I have felt since I arrived in Seattle, and take a nap….no not another chatarunga dandassana… why does my body feel so so heavy…. Hmmmm…. Interesting how crazy my monkey mind is going right now.”   This was my first yoga class in a few weeks and the first of a 30 day challenge I am preparing myself with for yoga teacher training.  About halfway through a very long but what is normally considered a very short one hour class I began to feel the walls of stagnant energy cracking and slowly the energy of my body began to feel more fluid and I knew and know with all of me that this type of work most definitely carries off of my mat.  So why then do I resist going again for my scheduled class in a half hour?  Why am I sitting here finding a million reasons why today, on day two of this challenge for myself am I already feeling like it’s ok to take shortcuts?  Interesting how I do the same things with meetings but always always when I get there and find myself in the midst of my discipline do I find myself feeling so good?  I truly believe that this whole thing works only if we are consistent in our practices.  Yoga, sobriety, spirituality… it really all is a direct proportionate ratio… what you put/you get out.  For example, I spent several long weeks working the hazelden fourth step with my sponsor and when we finally sat down to do my fifth step I realized that the entire week where I was supposed to focus upon shame, guilt and remorse I heard her say BLAME, guilt and remorse and so spent another week pointing the finder outward.  Now several weeks later not feeling the lightness that usually follows a 5th step am wondering…a sneaking suspicion you see…. If perhaps this is a major key to unlocking the freedom that I was so blessed to feel during the majority of my sobriety.  I’ll let you all know when I complete this if it was this that has been nagging me from the inside….but somethin’s goin’ on because when a drink starts to look like somethin’ that might be good….I know that this is a direct call to up the old program and like a heat seeking missile…pick up the tools and unveil this little disease of mine which likes to work solo in the dark.  I’m putting it out here to all of you and to my sponsor and to those who are close to me who are advocates of my sobriety and in the rooms.  I am upping my meetings and using the antidote for my ego’s repeated whispers that I am somehow different with a cler dedication to finding the Unity and similarities between myself and others in the rooms.  We are one, I Am a true blue alcoholic and there is nothing that a drink will make better in my life today.  Just for today I commit myself to the gift of being sober.  Much Love and urgings to take the high road of consistency with your practice and your program today.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Seeking the Smoothness in Transitioning from Within

Sober straight, free from all mind altering substances for almost a year now and the gifts in my life continue to blossom.  I have been dreaming of yoga teacher training for years and it appears that I will be heading off for level 1 training on June 9th.  So, the emphasis of this blog will be a better combination of both yoga and sobriety as I begin a personal 30 day yoga challenge in preparation for training.  Of course, I am going to make sure that this is the ideal way to prepare for what is known to be a rigorous week of pushing oneself to their limits, emotionally, spiritually and physically.  I’m going to admit that I have hit the doldrums a few times where the wind in my sails seems to be more still than what I am comfortable with.  Kundalini yoga is all about finding your edges and going through them.  The trickiest part for me is to remember that those doldrums are the edges of my comfort zone, not a permanaent place in time that I am stuck.  On Sunday we talked about a reading out of the Science of Mind text that talked about “swinging from inspiration to action, contemplation to accomplishment and, from prayer to performance.”  I sometimes tend to love being in the quiet, with God, so much that I struggle to find my footing in this human reality.  I get so raised up by turning my attention within and turning my attention on high that it has been(once or twice) less than graceful when I open the outer eye and have my attention reflecting back to me, this world of effects.  I am, currently, in a growth stage as I feel that I am in gestation… well, to be honest, I hope in the gestational stage and not just “stagnant.”  I believe I am in the gestational stage and I hear the reminder from within that “it gets darkest before the light.”  I think it takes a spiritually mature person to walk this kind of faith when the dark nights of our soul begin to arrive.  It is an honor to have these presented to us by the Uni-verse because in some fashion it means that we are ready to face the inner patterns which have held us back for so long.  I lack patience in the process sometimes… I know I lack patience because it almost feels like if I’m not moving forward at Mach 12 with my hair on fire than I begin to doubt that there is anything happening at all for my good.  Yep, you could say I have a little growing to do in the arena.  So, today I am committed to remembering that it is ok to surrender the entirety of my life to the Presence and Power of Good that I call God and allow the tides of life to gently guide me and wash over me, all the good that I could possible need.  I allow the gifts of the day, the gifts of sobriety, the gifts of yoga and the gifts of my dedication over the years to flourish and to be just what they are.  I focus myself here in this day, fully present and available with all of my senses and the harmony of my mind, body and spirit to the perfection.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Choosing What I Want Most over What I Want in the Moment

“My biggest failure in life is trading what I want the most for what I want at the moment…”  written on the back of a quote note that an old timer gave me in the noon meeting today 

I didn’t have the chance to stop Rita and thank her again for gifting me with this quote.  I say “again” because this same old timer with about a million years of  sobriety gave me a card with the same quote on it a few years back during another period of sobriety.  I carried that card in my wallet and found it helpful at the most perfect times along my journey.  I even pulled it out at treatment and shared it with a small group.  The fact is that I had carried it throughout my relapse because it makes so much sense to me.  I get it that there are those who need to take more risks in life and learn to soak up the moment for what it is and not be so controlled by the ir plans but for this alcoholic I have a large enough dose of that in my inherent nature and I think….no, I know… that there are countless times when I threw away my progress toward something I wanted in the long run for what I wanted in the moment.  Sometimes it wasn’t even about what I wanted in a moment but a matter of chosing anger in a moment verses peace in the long run or chosing to want to eat a chocolate bar and sit on the couch in the moment verses my long term goal of physical, emotional, metnal and spiritual health and fitness.  I also get it too that we as alcoholics are learning to nurture and care for ourselves with some tenderness after abusing ourselves for so long but something I often ask myself now is “am I chosing what I want in this moment over what I really want most.”  Brothers and Sister s I invite you to join me in taking Rita’s quote and seeing if it can’t be the platform to launch ourselves to our next level of greatness.  Take a breath and breathe that in for a moment.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Fine Lines Between Mine and Thine

Where do you find that balance between focus and surrender?  It’s as sweet spot indeed and one to be cultivated.  I have been thinking a lot about this as I journey through what seems to be a time of both lightness and dark.  Through my addiction and simply as a person who lives in this world which often lacks balance I have found myself either just plain down and out or, on the other end of the spectrum - blissed out. I seem to be dancing somewhere in the middle and although I would rather be walking around blessed out…this is my lot and I am in the work of dedicating myself to the revelation of purity and clarity in my soul….I have come to understand that there are valley’s and peaks on this journey….thank God for the diversity for without one I could not experience the true gifts of the other.

 I have studied and practiced in schools of thought which say that we are responsible for all of it – everything… and I have practiced with others in well established and successful spiritual programs whose primary principle is “thy will be done.”  I somehow think that this being human is a forum for a balance of both.  The one thing I know for sure that is common among all spiritual programs that resonate with me, is that the place where the work is done is within…inside of ourselves….in consciousness.  This is contradictory to the quick fix, “outside in” paradigm that the majority of people subscribe to.  Our dominant beliefs and thoughts manifest in and as our world… I know this…. I have seen it for myself in my own prayer work.  The loophole with this paradigm is that I find myself “manifesting” things that I don’t want and having to create something new in consciousness.   This is fine and well but can be pretty exhausting sometimes and quite honestly all of the fluff is not all it’s cut out to be.  I’ve gotten the relationship, the car, the job and after a few weeks of enjoying them thoroughly I find myself re-aquainted with the feeling that there has got to be more than this.  The only thing truly fulfilling is the inside out expression of my connection with the whole and finding perfect avenues of the service of my soul to others.  So I flip back to my prayers of “thy will be done.”  But truly there has got to be a balance between the co-creative process we use to “stabilize the systems” of our life and the surrender of “thy will be done.”  Today I am dancing and playing with this balance and these ideas.  For now my prayer is “thy will and my will be one will BUT/AND when there is a discrepancy.. please God, thy will be done!”  I remain focused on the Divine Purpose burning in my soul and befriend it, become intimate with it without crossing the line of being obsessed with it(if however it is a choice between being obsessed with it(my soul’s purpose) and not being familiar with it at all then I chose obsession with Divinity within me) AND I release the How and the When turning those over completely to Divine Intelligence which is Pure Unconditional Love(a principle, a feeling, a concept which I can only court in awe with a pure knowing that I will never from my finite mind begin to fathom the Infinite nature of Love) which is everywhere present and all knowing…. I think God is a better captain for the sea’s of my life.   

Friday, May 4, 2012

We Are All Connected, I Surrender Myself to The One

With three conscious breathes I open myself to the language of the heart, the message coming from my heart for this page.  I was reminded recently at a conference of the healing and uniting power of the breath.  Instead of a pill or a person or some other "outside in" solution that is unsustainable why don’t I simply return to my breath.  At any moment I have the choice to re-member with and In the One through the breath.  Through the breath I consciously and intentionally open spaces in my energetic and physical bodies allowing them to be flooded with Universal Light energy.  So, with three conscious breaths I return home, to my heart, to the heart of the One and with complete trust… I ask my higher self…. What would you like to share here today, via this forum?  I empty myself of anything that came before this moment and anything that is to come after this moment and become fully present in this moment now.  What, my higher self, would you like to share here today on sobriety, yoga, recovery, any journey which reveals the True self(the wholly One) and the dissipation of the false imagery of walls of separation that the ego has built to keep me falsely identified with separation?  You see, today was the second meeting in a row where the chair person began the meeting by holding up their phone and declaring the hundreds of numbers of brothers and sisters in AA that could call and that each day when they wake they are excited to connect with several people from the rooms.  When I hear something almost verbatim two days in a row my attention is commanded and I begin to, with a soft curiosity, get into a relationship with the concept that is being introduced to me by the Universe.  I have excuses up the wazoo of how I am different and it’s ok for me to ride the outskirts of the group…. “I travel a lot,” “I have other forms of spirituality” “I have other spiritual communities” etc etc but the bottom line is that I am a garden variety alcoholic and if I don’t start treating the growing edges(character defects) with a strong dose of honesty and willingness than I will remain, less than well.  The three major growing edges that I have identified that keep me in the hell of feeling separate from others are(gulp) grandiosity, selfishness and (double gulp) dishonesty.  So taking another deep cleansing breath, I remember that this are factual discoveries about my personalities human condition AND that my Spiritual Nature, just like every single other person, is absolutely flawless and my eternal life is never less than whole.  However the whole point of this thing is that my human vessel be as clear as possible for the fullness of my Divine expression.  So, through admitting these here, with my sponsor and in the repitition of step 7 and 10 I am bringing out the window washers of my consciousness and the quality of the washers that I hire is a direct correlation of how open and honest I am willing to be.  In this case, I will swallow my pride with my willingness to be the best version of me possible today.  Much Love and an arm around you in the fellowship of connection.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I Empty Myself Before Spirit

I was meeting with my mentor on Monday and exploring with him the idea of preparing to “give a talk” as it appears that I will be facilitating Sunday services as soon as a few months from now.  I have been exploring this idea of “emptying myself before God” and allowing Life or God to use me as It’s vessel.  My intention is to be consistently and constantly turning my life over to the Universal Life essence for the good of all.  That may seem like a bold statement….my life, for the good of others?  Well, the truth is, that’s all I can really ever think about anymore…being of service to others under the deep remembrance and realization that we are not islands separate from the human life.  Our lives are always, whether I like it or not, having an impact on those around us.  So it’s up to me to be positive and intentional about what I am “bringin’.”  I was reminded that I can be selfish recently and it triggered a curiosity and a desire to know this selfishness, to confront this selfishness and to release it because, let’s face it,  “being selfish” is not exactly in alignment with my goal to be selfless and to live a life of service.  Without delving too much into this idea…. I will just mention that unless I am first aquainted intimately with myself and the God within, which does require a level of self-focus, attention and discipline then I am not able to serve the world with the fullness of the gifts within me that is my potential.  But that’s not what she meant, I don’t think and I somehow sense that “emptying myself before God” has to do with identifying(as we do in step 6) and asking or intending that these growing edges(character defects) be removed(step 7.)  Through these and other tools such as breath work I am cultivating an emptiness before God.  I intend to be willing and sometimes just willing to be willing to release the safety of thinking I know anything at all that I may become available to the full influx of Spirit in, through and as me.  Today I intend to know more about what it means to empty myself, humbly, before God…. and by the way God, I intend to know this with ease and Grace J