I have been on my personal healing journey since the 1980’s, and of one thing I am certain: I’m always learning and growing. I experience sunny days and cloudy days, and sometimes it’s partly sunny or partly cloudy. There are times when I remember who and what I am, and other times when I forget. When I’m in the forgetful place, I stumble along the path and busy myself with the chore of trying to change things that I really don’t have the power to change. When I finally “get” that I can’t change some things, I am able to take a step back and let it go.
I thank creator spirit for light bulb moments, popularly known as epiphanies. On Friday morning, the light went on while I was in the middle of praying my anxiety and drivenness away. In that moment I saw the folly of trying to get rid of something I don’t even have. I am certainly plagued by feelings of anxiety, which create fear and drivenness within me, but here’s what I saw. ANXIETY HAS ME….I DON’T HAVE IT. It is like an addiction that carries me along like a leaf blowing in the wind.
Knowing this helps me to better understand addiction. Those things in our life that drive us and have us in its clutches, are things WE can’t change. They’re all simply behaviors that we have adapted to, in order to survive our life as we know it. Fear, uncontrollable anger, passive-agressive behavior, the need to control people and events, fear of speaking and of confrontation, and anxiety, are just a few of these behaviors.
It behooves us to understand that the wound that lies beneath all of this is the same for all of us. It is fear of not being enough, the soul-eating feeling of worthlessness, an abysmal sense of inadequacy. These are the beliefs that drive us into our addictions. We learn at an early age to cover up our fear of being seen as less than. How we keep the lid on what’s underneath may have a different face for each of us, but the disease is the same.
I’ve never been a member of AA, or of any of the Anonymous groups, but I can see that the wisdom of the “way” is in teaching us the limits to what we can do on our own. The Serenity prayer, which is a big part of learning to be present to what is, finally makes sense to me.
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.
The things I cannot change are my addictive means of coping. Anxiety, and fear of not being enough have been my bedfellows for close to seventy years. I now know that there is not enough will-power in the world to enable me to get rid of my fears. Instead, I see the need for serenity, so I can be okay with all of myself, instead of trying to change the parts that seem to cause me problems.
How do we stay serene as we sit with stuff we’d rather not see? I’m learning to do it by remembering that there in an energy that is larger than me, which totally embodies my being. This energy, which I call creator, goddess/ god, divine mystery, Spirit, and/or Higher Self , endows me with the courage I need to stay present to it all and to love and accept who I am. I don’t need to try to pray something away, or try to get “it” under control; all I need to do is stay conscious to that which is greater than me, which is at work in my life.
I’m learning that I don’t need to know the source of my wounds , because knowing who did what won’t heal the pain or change the methods I use to survive. It’s only by holding it all to the light, and recognizing those life-long behavioral patterns, that we are transformed and healed.
Like an alcoholic, drug addict, workaholic, shopaholic, anxietyaholic, rageaholic, or whatever has us in its clutches, the wise thing to do is to remember the serenity prayer and give your addiction a name. None of us can grow in grace until we can see and name that which drives us.
When we remember to hold everything in the light, take deep breaths, and offer self to a higher power, we can learn to take life one moment at a time, trusting in that which is greater than us, which abides within.
Thank god for the light, without which we would not be able to identify what is hidden in the dark.
“Your anger and damage and grief are the way to truth. We don’t have much truth to express unless we have gone into those rooms and closets and woods and abysses that we were told not to go into. When we have gone in and looked around for a long while, just breathing and finally taking it in-then we will be able to speak in our own voice and to stay in the present moment. And that moment is home.”
Results of last weeks poll:
How have you learned what to avoid and what to conquer?
75% answered through personal experience and listening to what others say
25% said other. One of the others was: I have not learned that I’m not responsible for everyone’s feelings around me.