- January 2019
- October 2018
- January 2018
- November 2017
- June 2016
- May 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- October 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- March 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- July 2013
- May 2013
- January 2013
- May 2012
- February 2012
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- May 2011
- February 2011
- October 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- 12 Steps
- Addiction Counseling
- Authentic Listening
- Eugene Gendlin
- Felt Sensing
- Healing Circles
- Making Amends
- Paper collage
- Positive Psychology
- principles of recovery
- Recovery Focusing
- Self Help
- Step 12
- Step Eleven
- Step Five
- Step Four
- Step One
- Step Two
- Steps Eight and Nine
- The Focusing Pause
- Tools of Recovery
After winter’s death, grow yourself.
Plant seeds of being
between your toes,
on your palms,
Smear the parched lands of your soul
with green tears of grief and laughter.
Become your own Earth:
thick, lush, sacred.
Overflowing with the miracle
of all that you are
and all that is.
Happy New Year everyone!
Each day a new beginning, together in Recovery.
January 2, 2019
It has been many months since I shared. Since today we Focused into the felt sense of authentic sharing and authentic listening in a Step Five Recovery Focusing workshop, I decided to share a bit about what came for one person.
Here is part of her process, relating to authentic listening:
It is as if she had had a soul thirst. She had been floating out in the ocean, drinking salt water, which never quenched this thirst. By giving and receiving authentic listening, it was like she was drinking fresh water. It was like a bending, twisting river. She felt streams inside her body. Her thirst was finally quenched.
I love the magic of Focusing and Listening! May we all quench our thirst for authentic relating through real sharing and heart-felt listening!
Step Five: Admitted to our Higher Power, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Focusing helps us discover the “exact nature” of a pattern we wish to work on. By finding its symbol, what it needs, and sharing it with others, it is heard and released. New insights come. New ways of behaving, thinking, and feeling are revealed to us.
We had a wonderful, powerful workshop today. We experienced “Healing through We-ing” by practicing sharing and listening, together!
Here are the promises of Step Five:
“Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted.
We can look the world in the eye.
We can be alone at perfect peace and ease.
Our fears fall from us.
We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator.
We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience.
The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly.
We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.”
Alcoholics Anonymous p 75
Thank you for listening!
The first principle (Step) of all 12 Step programs is Honesty. (And, with it, acceptance.)
For me, as I sense inside now, it means taking off the mask.
From behind the mask, the world is dark, thick, foggy. I cannot see clearly (denial).
The mask’s intention is to protect me, but it is really disconnecting me — from myself, from others, from belonging.
From the outside, people only see the mask. There is no real relationship.
Practicing Honesty slowly grows a new me, an adult me — as I shed the “mask” of all my learned defenses and dysfunctional patters of thinking, feeling, and behaving. With the help of others, of course! I cannot do this alone. It is a “We” Program within a spiritual dimension.
Invitation to myself: Practice the solution (my Program) so that I can step out of the swirling inner storms. Step through the hole in the atmosphere (clarity, honesty) and step INto the new world of Recovery.
Just for today (and for this month), I am willing to be honest. 🙂
To be honest, I pause to sense inside to wait for and discover my truth. I share this vulnerably.
As the mask comes off, I FEEL. I see. I hear. I am seen.
(If I can survive the terror of being seen, I will find that I love and am loved. There is no need to hide.)
What comes from inside you, as you sense into your felt meaning of “Honesty?”
Thanks for listening.
Happy New Year.
As I nervously picked up the phone just now to speak with someone to whom I owe an amend, I remembered a “brilliant flash of the obvious” I had a few months ago regarding making amends to others. (His phone went to voice mail, so while I gather the courage to call again later, I will share this with you.)
Just like making amends frees us from our resentments, it also frees those to whom we make amends from their resentments against us. They too know a new freedom and a new happiness! (As is written about Step Nine in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous about Step Nine.)
What a gift to all involved!
Step Nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.
As I close my eyes to sense inside about this, I see one person giving another a white “peace” flower. As the other receives it, the piles of rocks they both carry on their shoulders fall to the ground. They are both happy with this surprising and welcome lightness of being. They dance together, free to be friends again.
As I hold this image, my upper chest feels warm and light…and the word “nurturing” comes to mind. When we make amends to others we begin nurturing our relationships. It’s like watering a thirsty plant with our care. We pull out the weeds, cut back some branches to let the sun shine in, and the results follow. Our love blossoms once more.
Know that when you make amends to others, you will be released from both guilt and resentment. AND, you will be releasing others as well.
Not only are you healing your relationship with yourself as you heal your relationship with others, but you are helping them heal their relationship with themselves.
Love in action. That is what the program is about for me in this moment.
I close with the “promises” of Step Nine:
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
Big Book pages 83 & 84
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
They will always materialize if we work for them.
Big Book pages 83 & 84
Alcoholics Anonymous. (2001). Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition. New York: A.A. World Services.
A VILLAGE CALLED FORGIVENESS
We are “rocketed” into this fourth dimension of existence, the spiritual,
when the dimensions of our physical, mental, and emotional states
are in harmony and balance, each with the others…
Barefoot’s World 2013
Besides the logical dimension and the operational dimension of knowledge,
there is also a directly felt, experiential dimension.
Meaning is not only about things and it is not only a certain logical
but it also involves felt experiencing. …
Meanings are formed and had through an interaction
between experiencing and symbols.
Eugene Gendlin 1970
A year or more ago, I was blessed with having a Sponsee who loved Focusing. She had been introduced to it at Costa Rica Recovery Center, which uses Recovery Focusing as part of its treatment plan. I was able to invite her to use it in her Program of recovery.
It was amazing to me how powerful Focusing was to help her find her way through life without her addictive process. I am honored to share one of her experiences, one among many such experiences that helped to keep her on the path to healing — with the 12 Step pathway as the foundation, of course!
I suggested she work Self Empathy daily for a while before she started her fourth Step (“Made a fearless and searching moral inventory of ourselves”), as she dwelled a bit in the Third Step of trusting her Higher Power.
Below is one of her Self Empathy processes, which, she said to me, crying tears of gratitude, was “like a Quantum Leap for her, taking her “from one dimension to another.”
Self Empathy Process:
What do I need from myself today?
Forgiveness. I need to forgive myself.
It is not my fault that I am sick. Nevertheless, I am responsible for opening myself to the light of God, I am responsible for being loving and friendly with the people who surround me, I am responsible for giving smiles and good moments.
How would it be to forgive myself? (Welcoming phase of H.O.W. We Heal Model)
It would be like replacing fear with a lot of love. A love which is like ambar, a warm and healing honey. I can breathe underneath this sacred substance.
It would be like arriving at that beautiful place where I am welcome.
The people and the families come out of their houses to say hello to me and hug me. They bring me flowers and gifts and touch my head with lots of love, and they cry with happiness with me. Some say they love me, others say Welcome Home!!!
As I walk, I pass the village and I can feel in my heart how close I am to my house. To my home.
When I open the door to my little adobe house (that is painted white on the outside) I can feel completely forgiven and safe.
What is the best of all of this? (Expanding the Carrying Forward question of H.O.W. We Heal model)
Coming home. The security that I don’t have to run anymore.
The comfort of my home, the smell of my pillows, the delicious soup that is cooking on a slow fire, the certainty that this is a sacred place, that in this town no evil whatsoever exists.
In this town called Forgiveness I come to rest for the rest of my eternity.
I am already at peace, after millions of years, after millions of reincarnations my soul has finally found peace.
She told me she the rest of her day was like no other since she came into recovery. That she was able to be with people and her boyfriend in a loving, kind, calm way.
The next day she called and shared another process that shifted her “from the dark spirit of her darkness in the cemetery as she opens up the graves of the past (Step Four) to a forest of trees.”
This is the first Sponsee with whom I have crossed Focusing into our working of the Steps.
I am soooooo grateful that this powerful process of the Focusing PAUSE is being crossed with recovery from addictive processes, not just by me but by others (Ann Weiser Cornell, Jan Winhall, Alan Tidmarsch, among others).
Who knows what will emerge in the future?
If she stays on this path, she just may pass on Focusing to her sponsees in the future. 🙂
I asked permission to share this story from my ex-Sponsee.
I see Focusing as a complement and supplement to the Twelve Step Pathway of Recovery. I do not wish to imply anything other than this when I share about Recovery Focusing. I do, however, know that research has shown that felt sensing is a key to meaningful and lasting change (Hendricks, 2001). As such, it is a powerful practice that enhances and deepens our Program of Recovery.
I do have a bit of discomfort around publishing something related to my Twelfth Step of carrying the message and being of service. I need to trust that this is OK and that my Higher Power has lead me in this direction for a reason. I think I am not breaking any traditions because I am not mentioning my Program. I see lots of writing on recovery, the 12 Steps, sponsorship, etc. on the internet.
Recovery is an upward spiral of ascending to higher levels of awareness while more fully embodying ourselves as we truly are. It is a process. We may occasionally fall back into the dark, swirling tornado of overwhelming feelings. But, with our new tools, we can find our way back to the light. The principles of the program and the practices of Focusing can be our empowering companions on this unfolding journey.
I hope my friend finds her adobe house in the Village of Forgiveness and stays there, where her own garden can blossom with flowers, fruits, and vegetables. She may occasionally wander into unfriendly villages (like self criticism and shame), but I hope she finds her way back home.
Gendlin, E.T. (1970). The significance of felt meaning. In R. Cormier, E. Chinn & R.H. Lineback (Eds.), Encounter: An introduction to philosophy, pp. 561-566. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman & Co. From http://www.focusing.org/gendlin/docs/gol_2084.html
Barefoot’s World (2013). The fourth dimension. Obtained online on 27 June 2016 http://www.barefootsworld.net/aa-4thdimension.html
Hendricks (2001). Focusing-Oriented/Experiential Psychotherapy. In Cain, David, and Seeman, Jules (Eds.) Humanistic Psychotherapy: Handbook of Research and Practice, American Psychological Association, 2001.
UN PUEBLO LLAMADO PERDÓN
Por primera vez, hace como un año, tuve una “ahijada” de programa de doce pasos con quien yo estaba usando el focusing para su recuperación. Para mi es maravilloso lo poderoso que fué esta práctica para ayudarla a vivir la vida sin su proceso adictivo.
Abajo comparto una de sus experiencias, una de muchas, que la ayudaron a mantenerse “limpia y sobria” (sin matarse a sí misma ni a nadie más, que son sentimientos que a tenido muchas veces) — por supuesto con los doce pasos como la base de todo.
Le sugerí que trabajara la Auto Empatía cada día antes de empezar su cuarto paso (inventario moral de nosotros mismos). Empezó la parte de “resentimientos” del cuarto paso hace como una semana.
Abajo esta su proceso de Auto Empatía de hace unos días, que (me dijo llorando con gratitud) “fué como un salto a través del tiempo, llevándola desde una dimensión a otra.
Que necesito hoy de mi misma?
Perdon. Perdonarme a mi misma.
No es mi culpa estar enferma. Sin embargo yo soy responsable de abrirme a la luz de Dios, soy responsable de ser amorosa y amable con la gente que me rodea, soy responsable de dar sonrisas y buenos momentos.
¿Como seria perdonarme a mí misma?
Sería cómo reemplazar el miedo con muchísimo amor. Un amor que es como el ámbar, una miel tibia y sanadora. Yo puedo respirar debajo de esta sagrada substancia.
Sería como llegar a este hermoso lugar en donde soy bienvenida. La gente y las familias salen de sus casas para saludarme y abrazarme, me traen flores y regalos y me tocan la cabeza con mucho amor y lloran conmigo de la felicidad.
Unos me dicen que me aman, otros me dicen bienvenida a casa!!! Conforme voy caminando, voy pasando el pueblo y puedo sentir en mi corazón lo muy cerca que estoy de mi casa. De mi hogar.
Cuando abro la puerta de mi casita de barro (que por fuera está pintada de blanco) yo puedo sentirme completamente perdonada y a salvo.
¿Qué es lo mejor de todo esto?
La llegada a casa. La seguridad de que no tengo que huir más.
El confort de mi hogar, el olor de mis almohadas, la sopa deliciosa que se cocina a fuego lento y la certeza de que este es un lugar sagrado, de que en este pueblo no existe el mal de ningun tipo.
En este pueblo llamado Perdón yo vengo a descansar por el resto de mi eternidad. Ya estoy en paz, después de millones de años, de millones de reencarnaciones mi alma finalmente ha encontrado descanso.
Me dijo que el resto de su día fué como ningún otro en su recuperación Que pudo estar con gente y con su novio en una amorosa, gentil y calmada manera.
El da siguiente me llamó y compartió otro proceso, cambiando desde el espíritu oscuro del cementerio al abrir las tumbas de su pasado (en el cuarto paso) a entrar a un bosque de árboles.
Estoy muy agradecida por este poderoso proceso de cruzar la Pausa de Focusing con la recuperación (y no solo por mi, pero también por otros como Ann Weiser Cornell, Jan Winhall, Alan Tidmarsch, entre otros).
¿Quien sabe qué emergerá en el futuro? Si se queda en este camino, podría ser que élla transmite el Focusing a sus Sponsees en el futuro. 🙂
Sabemos que la recuperación nos lleva a la cuarta dimensión, según los escritores del Libro Grande de Alcoholicos Anonymous. Cruzando esta dimensión con la dimensión del significado sentido abre nuevas puertas a un nuevo vivir.
Here we are in May, the month when “April showers” have brought “May flowers.”
The month when twelve steppers embrace the principle of “sharing with others”
as one of our stepping stones to recovery.
The idea of April showers reminds me of the tears we shed writing out our
“fearless and searching moral inventory of ourselves” (Step Four). This humbling process of discovering who we truly are slowly releases us from our resentments, from our shame and guilt — from our crippling remorse. Our healing tears water the cracked ground of our past, of our broken selves, so that the seeds of a new life can begin coming alive.
As we share “the exact nature of our wrongs” with another person in Step Five — and in general as one of our new recovery behaviors — the sunlight of human presence and forgiveness shines down on us. We discard our hard shells, break through old patterns, and change. Recovery enables us to shift from being a tight, closed bud, to a blossoming flower, reaching out into the vast skies among other flowers, adding our unique beauty to the planet.
“Sharing with others.” Connecting with each other at meetings, through sponsorship, and simply being emotionally “sober” and present. It is through this sharing that we continue the journey of healing our relationship to ourselves.
I pause. I close my eyes. I bring my attention into my “inner space.” I wait for felt meaning to emerge about this topic of sharing with others. I see a mental image of the desert in Chile where millions of flowers suddenly came into bloom. My whole body breathes, feels like an opening and closing, breathing being, taking in the glory of the planet and exhaling a song of hope. My chest feels totally clear inside, and it is as if the rains of authentic sharing clear the way for new vistas, new perspectives. This is one of the gifts of relationship: as we share and listen to others, we do think differently. Out of these new spaces, new behaviors can happen. We change. We flourish.
I close with this message that was on a greeting card I received many years ago:
“When the lotus opens
the bees come
of their own accord
to drink the honey.
So let the lotus of your character
be full blown
and the result will follow.”
Today, I will practice the principle of opening myself and sharing with others (as I am indeed doing by sharing this morning’s process with you!). AND, I also share with you one of two new paper collages. 🙂
Thank yo for listening!
Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awaking as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Here we are in December, the last month of the year, and the month in which we re-connect with the principle of Service which is the heart of Step Twelve.
Step Twelve is about continuing to maintain our conscious contact with others by carrying the message of Recovery to others. What is the message you wish to carry in thought and action?
As I close my eyes and sense inside, I see an image of me opening my arms and taking others into my heart, letting them know they are precious to me. It’s a full feeling in my chest and throat area, cuddly, like a cat rubbing against someone’s legs. My message today for others is: “I love you. I want to make contact with you. Thank you for being in my life.”
P.A.U.S.E. a moment to sense inside about the message you wish to share with others.
As we continue to relate in a caring way with our loved ones and friends, and with our human family in general, our spiritual awakening moves forward into whole new dimensions of loving. We are better able to practice the principles of the Program in all our affairs.
Now choose a Principle (Honesty, Open-mindedness, Trust/Hope, Courage, Sharing, Willingness, Humility, Self Responsibility, Forgiveness/Brotherly love, Self Awareness/Perseverance, Spirituality, and Service). How would it be to practice this today? Let your body and mind imagine this.
As I sense inside, I choose honesty. The feel of this is transparent, like I am a clean, clear, green environment with blue skies. The song comes up, “the world is alive with the sound of music.” 🙂 May I help others sing their song with my honest presence!
My wish for you for the holidays is that you may take a moment to pause and appreciate your loved ones and friends, your companions in the fellowship and in your communities…a moment to appreciate the loving nature of our human family (when trauma is healed or absent). May this pause lighten your being. May you rest in that pause. May you share this lightness and restfulness with others.
Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it! Happy Holidays to all!
Tradition 12, short form: Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities. Long form: And finally, we of [12 Step Programs] believe that the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance. It reminds us that we are to place principles before personalities; that we are actually to practice a genuine humility. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all.
Twelfth Concept for World Service: In all its proceedings, the General Service Conference shall observe the spirit of the [12 Step Program] Tradition, taking great care that the Conference never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power; that sufficient operating funds, plus an ample reserve, be its prudent financial principle; that none of the Conference members shall ever be placed in a position of unqualified authority over any of the others; that all important decisions be reached by discussion, vote, and, wherever possible, by substantial unanimity; that no Conference action ever be personally punitive or an incitement to public controversy; that, though the Conference may act for the service of [Twelve Step Fellowship], it shall never perform any acts of government; and that, like the Society of [Twelve Step Fellowship] which it serves, the Conference itself will always remain democratic in thought and action.