Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Breathe Light Into the Old & Be Transformed

So, as I become more familiar with my character defenses, thanks to Baron Baptiste, my sponsors and anyone I have ever dated…. Which reminds me of something someone said after the meeting this morning, he said “relationships are like putting miracle grow onto my character defects.”  Oh my goodness, lol… that’s the funniest thing I have heard in a while and soooo true… so anyways, as I become more familiar or aware of my character defects I am finding that I can now begin to examine them a little more closely.  As I do this I am beginning to discover a few things about my little defeses…. A.) they worked for me at some time in my life and I just forgot to take them off when they stopped working, B.)  I get to keep em if I want to continue to see through the lense that they create and keep acting them out until I’m ready to heal them, C.) they are sneaky little buggers and can often be visible to everyone but me.  So today, I get to pray to be shown those things that I don’t know that I need to know for the full expression of my wholeness.  But the question that Baron posed and that I love and one that is not easy to answer IS, what is the payoff that I get from keeping my defenses.  For example, what do I get from being Right… besides the fact that being right stimulates the same area of the brain as alcohol and drugs do giving me both the high and the low that they did, it also allows me to be justified in cutting people out of my life and doing things my way.  This realization took me several days to arrive upon and only after asking myself, the universe and God what the payoff is that I get from being right.  So be gentle with yourself, but take one or two of your character defenses and ask yourself, what is the payoff that you get from living in these ways.  Feel free to share with your sponsor, at a meeting or on my page.  Together let’s breathe light into those old ways of being and shine a new light as a result.  May your sobriety and your practice be deep and rich with inquiry.  Love Out!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Turn Breakdowns Into Breakthroughs

Gooood morning sober yogi’s around the globe.  Well, I just had quite the sobering experience at the Baptiste Level 1 yoga teacher training in Sedona, AZ.  All I can say is “wow.”  Ok, so I have more to say on the matter… but still, wow!  I did not know what to expect going into the experience and now I am blown away by the incredible gifts that were born in a week packed full of emotional, spiritual and physical growth.  Our schedule looked a little something like this, 6:45am – breakfast, 8:30am – meditation for an hour or two, 10ish-yoga for 3-4 hours, 1:30ish – lunch, 3ish – “chair session”, 5:00ish – snack, 6:00ish - 2-3 hours of yoga, 9pm – dinner, 10:30 – chair session, 12:30-1am’ish – bedtime(phew)!  I’m amazed first of all that this girl who likes to be in bed no later than 9pm had the capacity to endure and eventually thrive on such a schedule.  The fact is we were eating clean and living clean and it’s amazing how much energy is freed up to flow, hint hint(**if you’re passed the stages of early sobriety where anything goes – perhaps now is the time to start to court the idea of eating and living clean ;) More importantly, we were exploring our boundaries and pushing passed them.  In this way, we were discovering new possibility in our life.  How often do we cruise through life uninterested in going anywhere near the edge of our comfort zone and therefore unengaged with new possibility?  Baron Baptiste(world famous yoga teacher, leader, and writer) was secretly dedicated to, sometimes gently and sometimes not so gently, nudging  us toward the discovery of the blind spots within our consciousness, otherwise known as the places that we play small.  It became apparent very quickly that he was dedicated to creating crisis(which simply means crossroads) for us, so that we would have the opportunity to turn a breakdown into a breakthrough.   Let me tell you, I discovered a few…in fact I have a whole new list of step 6 character defenses – 1.) the need to be right 2.) the need to know & charmingly, 3.) the concern for looking good.  I am aware of these now and each time they arise I take the opportunity to let them go.  This is a truly liberating process of revelation and recovery. In the coming days I will share more in depth the details, revelations and breakthroughs of my experience at this life changing training.  For now though, I want to encourage you to develop the awareness that any breakdown that is happening in your life has by it’s nature,  the potential for a breakthrough. If you’re in the rare experience of cruising along without a single breakdown in your life, then chose a place where you feel stuck in your life and commit yourself to a breakthrough in this area.  In the next week, we will explore this process.  Happy Breakthrough’s today yogi’s, on and off your mat!  Big Love! A

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Life shrinks or Expands in Proportion to One's Courage

The steps and yoga postures have so many things in common.  But the biggest and most foundational similarity is that they both hold everything we could possibly need for our maximum growth.  They are the place where we find our growing edges and work past them.  They unlock the great magic of Divinity within us.  I was explaining in meeting full of people that I had experienced some depression in my first year of sobriety and that there was an undeniable correlation between making my final amends (of this list) and a genuine freedom and joy that broke out in my life.  I had made it to step 9 in earlier periods of sobriety but had always thrown in the towel somewhere around the first or second amends(fishy?  Nooooo wayyy!! :P).  I would find my edge and I would back down, back away, pull out right before true and lasting growth was about to be anchored.  This can be true on my mat as well, like the day I found my edge in prayer twist and decided to try to move through it… and almost without effort, I floated up into side-crow.  I literally laughed out loud in class because it was so shocking to me that I had played small for who knows how much time that I could have been in side crow.  Whether it soaring into the freedom that is on the other side of an amends or soaring into the freedom of side crow, it’s all the same, it’s the place of bliss that exists just past our growing edges.  

Friday, May 17, 2013

I Get to Be Wowed By Life

Here I am God resting your arms, a sweetness that exists because of that choice which I made over and over again to pick up the tools of the program instead of a drink.  I shared this morning as I picked up my two year chip that I believe that my recovery began after the pink cloud drifted away and I once again found myself with the desire to drink.  This time(like no other time before) I picked up the tools of the program instead of that drink.  I upped my meetings, I called my sponsor, I told on myself at meetings… annoyingly, I think I told everyone in the world that I wanted to drink.  For more than two months right around the year mark, I wanted to drink so badly.  Instead I picked up the tools that were suggested.  Between this and the last and most profound amends on my list, I have found a great joy and peace in the program again.  There were two journeys that I was on here.  The first was the journey from the outer edge of the fellowship of AA to the center of the rooms, where life is a sweet as it possibly can be, like a slice of Grandma’s warm apple pie with Haagen Dazz ice cream. The second is the journey of unveiling the “blanket shame” that I believe almost every alcoholic walks through the doors wearing. 
I’m 2!  I can’t believe it!  There were times that I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to 2 and if I did, I was pretty sure that I would be prime to head back out into the big bad hurly burly of the world of drinking and using.  Not so, God’s Grace is better than I could have ever imagined and I am turning this corner with a great gratitude and renewed conviction and engagement with the 12 step program of recovery… who would have thunk?  Wow, the WOW factor…. By staying sober I get to be Wowed by Life & God.  I get to be WOWED by the possibilities, the unexpected experience of miracles unfolding and unfolding.  I GET to be there for the tough stuff, and I GET to be there for the Sweet Stuff.  There is nothing more precious than being here, I mean REALLY being here, not just the shell of me, ALL of ME… sound mind, body & Spirt To EXPERIENCE ALL OF LIFE.  Happy Birthday Me.  All Praise Be to God, to the fellowship, to my sponsors, to my brothers and sister on the path of the spiritual warrior.  Gratitude fills my every cell today.  I am going to keep coming back and I sincerely hope you do too!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Glad I Stayed

Miracles upon miracles unfolding like waves onto the shore of my existence leave me with a gratitude that is so deep that it is hard to explain.  Today, I thank myself for staying sober in all of those moments when sobriety didn’t seem like the life for me!  For a while there, I would peer out of a lonely eye onto the landscape of my family, who seemed to have it all, in their merriment sipping wine and whiskey at their fancy parties and nice dinners.  I would sometimes wonder what happened to me, why couldn’t I drink and function as they did?  Now, almost two years ago, with a high level of self awareness, especially for an alcoholic, I knew that it was time to begin my path in sobriety.  NOW I know why it was my time to begin my path in sobriety.  Recently, I watched as my brother who seemed to have it all (and still does in the realm of finances and career) become prey to the disease.  I stood amazed as the first beverage that hits his lips in the morning always had a little of that sneaky little devil inside...cunning, baffling and powerful.   I watched as the disease clasps him in It’s vicious claws and baffled by the craziest part of alcoholism, the denial(Don’t Even Know I Am Lying).  The thing is, NOW I know why I began my journey when I did.  It is a gift precious beyond measure to be available to stand in the clarity of my being in loving support of my baby brother.  I see without judgment and I know without a doubt that there is a SOLUTION, a way of living that will far exceed the puny ideals we had previously placed upon life.  I give thanks to those who have gone before me, those who have held this vision so clearly.  Whether my brother chooses to be supported or not, I am still here holding loving vigil until he decides.  You see, I wouldn’t possibly be available to truly help another until, as the Big Book so clearly states, “my own house is in order.”   I can honestly say that I am proud of a relatively clean house of consciousness that I live in.  Loving someone truly gives me courage today.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Uncovering Gifts Through Releasing Defenses

It’s the dawn of a new day and the silhouettes of the palm tree’s in the early morning sky, bring a smile to my heart.  I’m tired this morning but I’m up to meet my commitments of writing and heading to a 6:30am yoga class.  I got to share “my story” at Betty Ford last night and it’s amazing how, with time, overall clarity increases.  I’m becoming more clear each day about who I am.  I am becoming increasingly clear about who I am not.  And now, I am beginning the journey of discovering the deeper thought patterns & belief systems which lead to my emotional sobriety or lack there of.  A few months ago, I identified the root of emotional hangovers as the result of my character defenses taking the wheel.  The longer I allowed myself to be run by that character defect the longer and more fierce the emotional hangover(which oh by the way feels strikingly like a drinking/using hangover).  I don’t know about you, but I hate hangovers(what a fine waste of good time and life energy) so this alone continues to be the motivation to do the work to alleviate and remove the hangovers altogether!  It never ceases to amaze me when I hit another layer of understanding of the Principles offered by the Program…. This latest understanding is of that of the removal of Character Defects.  In order that I might find more freedom in my program, I must first IDENTIFY my character defects – those ways which I react(to protect my self) to fear as it arises.  The removal of these character defects gives me the ability to respond – ie response-ability!  When I am able to respond instead of react, I am empowered instead of depleted and bowled over.  Yep, this work is definitely for me.  Today, I identify righteousness, control and impatience as ways to respond to the fears that I am not good enough and the fear that nothing is going to work out without my direct hand it(lack of faith) and I ask God to please remove these that I might experience my true state of humility and faith.  Thank you God. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

I received the huge blessing of seeing Marianne Williamson speak at Agape International Spiritual Center yesterday.  She rocked my world with her Intelligent yet Loving dose of Inspiration that she catapulted right to the center of my heart, expanding my consciousness with force and immediacy.  I left feeling expanded and activated.  Here is a woman in recovery who clearly demonstrates to me that we become sober for something.  I’ve been pondering this idea lately.  The idea that there is a deeper meaning in my sobriety…. That I am sober for something.  That  something is my purpose, that something is to make a difference on a planet with a broken heart.   My purpose is that way in which I serve the whole – it feels choice-less and is a great source of drive and joy.  I’m not so sure that I would stay sober if I didn’t have some deep knowing that I am here to participate in the evolution of the whole planet in my own unique and powerful way.  I’m not so sure that life in sobriety feels good enough to just hang out in when the world and it’s craziness dance all around me, without some deeper reason for my sobriety.   Sobriety is the groundwork for my house of purpose.   I was reminded yesterday that I have a responsibility to work in harmony with other individuals, expressions of the same “One Life of Love-Intelligence,” toward a greater good.  “Love is our bottom line” Marianne said and went onto affirm that Love is not a flimsy word used just for the lover or the sweeter things in life.  No, Love IS a dynamic and intelligent force for Good. Your sobriety is a vast opening for the mighty force of Good that I call Love.  Let your Love Light shine Brightly with all of It’s Beauty and Intelligence and Dynamism – for these are your truest nature.  In this, we shall discover the truest meaning of our incarnation.  In my sobriety and on my mat, I can't help but unleash the Power of Love Into the World.  I Live Love.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I Am Committed To Changing Within

Sometimes I dig this journey of sobriety more than others just like the fact that sometimes I dig coming to my mat more than others.  This is the journey of awakening.  This is a journey for the dedicated, the committed, the fierce.  Those, not only willing to change but those actively, consciously making the choice, over and over again, to participating in positive change in their own life.  Not changing others.  Changing oneself and in so doing being a positive and potent agent for evolution and enlightenment on the planet.  Am I dedicated to awakening and integrating my fragmented pieces or will I fall prey to the sleep states so readily available in society today?  Will I stay sober, stay the course and live for my purpose or will I live for my senses.  One is not better than the other, it is simply a question of who am I today?  One of the quickest ways for me to accomplish “staying the same” would be to drink, or to continue thinking that others are the cause of my feelings.  I have to remind myself that this is an inside out deal and remember that true power lies in my willingness to do the work within.   Whatever I am seeing out there is a fragment of my consciousness.  What have I not cleared?  How can I dig deeper?  Sometimes I feel quite strange in a world where things that are so meaningful to the masses, matter so little to me.  What does matter to me however is to do my spiritual work, to integrate my own fragments and to forget forever the idea that someone else might ever be responsible for how I am feeling in any given moment.  I am ready to take my power back through a renewed dedication this day to my inside out journey of integration and ultimately the revelation of my wholeness, of your wholeness, of wholeness as it exists at the center of all of life.   I know no matter what, when I show up to my mat, when I show up to do my spiritual work, when I show up to a meeting, when I show up… I am never sorry that I did… I am always so grateful that I did.  Find that thing that you least want to show up for and show up for it today for these are our greatest opportunities to maximize our growth and evolution. Today, I show up for life in all of its fullness.  I especially look for the opportunities that disguise themselves as those things that I do not want to do and I conquer them with a clear awareness that my doorways for growth live here.