Finally, finally I have started actively working on my 8th Step again (Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all). It terrifies me because I am afraid to face the darker parts of me that seem to spring up and toxify my most treasured relationships. I have been procrastinating for almost two years now on completing my 8th Step with my Sponsor against my own better judgment, but obviously I just wasn’t ready. But I am ready now. I am ready to face the falling out with my aunt, and my stepmom, and my mom, and my old roommate, and my Higher Power. Most of all though, I’m ready to face the parts of me that I haven’t wanted to bring to light, for fear I would hate myself even more because of them.
In reality, it’s not facing the things that continue to bother me in my heart that is keeping me stuck in the past or the future. Ignoring them hasn’t made anything better or increased my self love, and finally beginning my 8th Step with my Sponsor the other day brought a surge of relief and inspiration that surprised and comforted me. My life is beginning to feel like an adventure again instead of something I must survive until it’s time for me to die. Thank God!
And speaking of God… the greatest Mystery in my life. The more I try to understand It or put It into a box or a role, the more uncertain I become. Lately I often ask myself, do I actually believe in a Higher Power? Why do I? How do I? The tentative answers that I have come to are this: Yes, I do actually believe in the existence of my Higher Power. Why? Because I can, because I want to, because it is the most logical explanation for the incredible perfectness of our planet. And then the most important question, how do I?
How do I continue to cultivate my trust in my Higher Power, the God of my Heart? Well in the recent past I haven’t been concentrating on that very much, and it’s ultimately led to a lot of confusion, anxiety and suffering. The most golden time of my life so far was a period of a year when I lived on Kaua’i. I was single and living on my aunt’s farm, focusing solely on working, praying and practicing Yoga. Then I met a guy and slowly but surely I stopped thinking about God when I woke up and when I went to sleep, I started thinking about him instead. There were a lot of beautiful moments with my ex-boyfriend, but ultimately I took my eyes off of my Higher Power and stumbled down a road with my ex that was riddled with danger and pain. BUT a new day has come for me, and there are three things that I do every single day that have begun to dust off my relationship with my Higher Power again and leave me feeling renewed and inspired.
Eknath Easwaran says it exquisitely: “As meditation deepens, compulsions, cravings, and fits of emotions begin to lose their power to dictate our behavior. We see clearly that choices are possible: we can say yes, or we can say no.” Basically, meditation keeps me from becoming a combination of a sociopath and a psychopath.
If you’ve never heard of Pranayama before, it’s basically one of the most powerful limbs of Yoga. It’s the practice of using your breath to control your thoughts and emotions. Truly life and mind altering for me! It’s important to have a good teacher though. Here’s a video on YouTube I found that I like to show people who want to start.
3. Work the Steps
“Love is so exquisitely elusive. It cannot be bought, cannot be badgered, cannot be hijacked. It is available only in one rare form: as the natural response of a healthy mind and healthy heart.” Eknath Easwaran, once again, says it better than I can. The Steps ultimately teach me how to love and enjoy my life and everyone in it and everything that happens. The Steps are a powerful way to heal the mind, body and spirit.
So, I will leave you for now. It’s time for me to make some lunch and then go to work. I want to hear from you… how do you build your relationship with your Self, your Higher Power, your God? How do you stay inspired?
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