I don’t have to know that today. I don’t have to decide that today. I can let it go for today

“I didn’t have to live in fear and make myself crazy about something that didn’t happen”

October 29, 2013 at 1:31pm (I originally wrote this as a note on Facebook)

Yesterday I got the results of a biopsy and it was negative – great news! What was also really great is that in the 10 days between the time the biopsy was taken and when I got the results, I didn’t have to live in fear and make myself crazy about something that didn’t happen. That is because of my recovery and having had the blessing of learning how to set internal boundaries emotionally and mentally so I can keep letting go of the outcome, of things I can’t control. In the past, waiting for an outcome that was important to me – like the results of this biopsy – would have been excruciating. I am so grateful for my recovery. For having learned how to have the ability to let go of my fear in the moment and say to myself that is about the future, I don’t need to know that today.

My disease wants to project horror movies into the future of impending doom, financial tragedy, being along forever. Because of my recovery I don’t have to get all emotionally caught up in things that haven’t happened yet, in outcomes in the future which may never happen. I am very grateful that I have the tools and knowledge to not allow my childhood wounding and programming to dictate the quality of my life today.

“When I was about two years in recovery there was a time when I was talking to my sponsor on the phone. I had just lost my job, the car had broken down, and I had to move out of my apartment in two weeks. Talk about tragedy and impending doom! I was laying in bed feeling very sorry for myself and very terrified about how painful it was going to be when I became homeless. After listening to me for a while my sponsor asked me, “What’s up above you?” It was a stupid question and I told him so. I was pissed that he wasn’t giving me the sympathy I deserved – but he insisted that I answer. So I finally said, “Well, the ceiling.” And he said, “Oh, so your not homeless tonight are you?”” – Gratitude – a Vital Tool in the Recovery Process

“One of the things I say often, is that I realized I had spent most of my life before recovery worrying about decisions I never had to make – because when it became time to make the decision it was obvious what to do. The situation had changed or new information had come in – and the days and weeks (and sometimes months) I had spent worrying about that decision were a waste of time and energy. One of the greatest recovery tools I have learned is just to be able to say, “I don’t have to decide that today” or “I don’t have to know that today” – and let go of the outcome I am worried about for today.” – Joy2MeU Update Newsletter April 2009

“They say that God made the world round so we can’t see too far over the horizon. The details about how those events over the horizon are going to work out are not my business today. If I am putting all my energy into figuring out how I am going to cross the mountain way off in the distance, then I am liable to step into a hole that is directly in front of me on my path today. (Could cause me to hurt my leg 😉 I need to keep an eye on the horizon so that I can make any adjustments to my heading that I need to make – but most of my attention and energy needs to be focused on what is in front of me to do and experience in my life today. I want to be present for my life today and be able to enjoy the scenery that is part of the texture of my journey today. In my codependency, my fear and shame driven relationship with life caused me to be incapable of being present in the moment because I was focused on the future or the past. One of the gifts of my recovery is the ability to be here today, to be available for moments of happiness and Joy no matter how many frightening unknowns are looming on the horizon – no matter how impossible it looks to me for me to ever get there.

I haven’t reached a point in my journey from which it is possible to see the details of how this transition is going to unfold. My part as a co-creator in this life experience means that I am responsible for planting seeds and gathering information and doing the footwork to prepare myself for those events on and over the horizon – but the details will not become clear until I have reached the point in my journey when I need to see them clearly. One of the greatest stress reducers in my recovery was the insight that it wasn’t doing me any good to worry about decisions that it was not yet time to make – that worry was in fact a symptom that I was in my disease trying to figure out how to control life because of my fear, and it created more fear. A very dysfunctional dynamic – that is the essence of the condition of codependency – which prevented me from ever really living life, until recovery.

“Worry – which is negative fantasizing – is a reaction to fear of the unknown which creates more fear, which creates more worry, which creates more fear, etc. This fear is not a normal human fear of the unknown. It is codependent fear: a distorted, magnified, virulent, mutated species of fear caused by the poisonous combination of a false belief that being human is shameful with a polarized (black and white, right and wrong) perspective of life. This self perpetuating, self destructive type of obsessive thinking feeds not only on fear, but on shaming ourselves for feeling the fear.

The disease of codependency is a dysfunctional emotional defense system adapted by our egos to help us survive. The polarized perspective of life we were programmed with in early childhood, causes us to be afraid of making a mistake, of doing life “wrong.” At the core of our being, we feel unlovable and unworthy – because our parents felt unlovable and unworthy – and we spend great amounts of energy trying to keep our shameful defectiveness a secret. We feel that, if we were perfect like we “should” be, we would not feel fear and confusion, and would have reached “happily ever after” by now. So, we shame ourselves for feeling fear, which adds gasoline to the inferno of fear that is driving us. The shame and fear that drive obsession becomes so painful and ‘crazy making’ that at some point we have to find some way to shut down our minds for a little while – drugs or alcohol or food or sleep or television, etc.

It is a very dysfunctional, and sad, way to relate to life. The fear we are empowering is about the future – the shame is about the past. We are not capable of being in the now and enjoying life because we are caught up in trauma melodramas about things which have not yet happened – or wallowing in orgies of self recrimination about the past, which can not be changed. Codependents do not really live life – we endure, we survive, we persevere.” – Obsession / Obsessive Thinking Part 1

I am not writing the script, am not in control of this human experience, so I need to do what I am led to do when I am led to do it – with faith that a Loving plan is unfolding. Worry is negative fantasy. Fear of the future does not serve me on my path today – takes away my ability to be here now. The fear will come up certainly – just as it did when I wrote the paragraph above – but that is normal and human. I can use my recovery tools to let go of that fear of the unknown – and have boundaries with the critical parent voice in my head which wants me to project a fantasy of impending doom, a horror movie in my mind, that will cause me to create artificial fear in my life today. As I talked about in my article on Acceptance (Serenity – Accepting the things we cannot change), I learned that 90% of the stress in my life before codependency recovery was my responsibility, something I had some control over – and I do not have to create that kind of stress in my life any more, thanks to recovery and my faith in the Great Spirit.” – Joy2MeU Update Newsletter November 2002

“The number one tool of the ego is fear. Anytime we feel fear, there are multiple levels involved – multiple perspectives from which that fear is originating. And, like all the other emotions we experience, fear has a purpose and needs to be honored as a gift. Emotions do not have value in and of themselves – they just are. What give emotions a positive or negative value is how we react to them. Most of us learned to have negative reactions to emotions because our perspective of our own emotions was all messed up in childhood. (Due to the messages and role modeling of the adults around us.)

Fear is an important tool in living. It is there to protect us, to help us avoid situations and people who will do us harm. It is our relationship to fear that is dysfunctional because of our childhood experiences.

There is a level of fear that is unavoidable in being human – that is fear of the unknown.

“This human experience is a process that involves inherent conflict between the continuously changing nature of life and the human ego’s need to survive. In order to insure survival (which is the ego’s appointed task) the human ego needs to define things. What is food? What is friend or enemy? Who am I and how do I relate to them? What can hurt me and what brings me pleasure? It also learned that it is healthy to have a fear of the unknown (it was important to check an unknown cave for saber toothed tigers before strolling into it.) As a result, the ego fears change and craves security and stability. But because life is constantly changing, security and stability can only be temporary.” – Loving and Nurturing self on your Spiritual Path

Fear of the unknown is a natural, normal part of being human. It has a purpose – and deserves to be honored as something which serves us. But, like our relationship with all the aspects of our being, our relationship with that fear is dysfunctional.

The damaged ego responds to it’s programming by generating fear of the things we learned to fear as a child: making mistakes; doing it wrong; being emotional; speaking our Truth; taking risks; being alone; not being alone; whatever. We then empower the fear by focusing on it, magnifying it, and generally giving it the power to define us and our life – or by denying it, which also gives it power because in denying our fear we are denying our self and reality. Going to either extreme results in the inability to see the situation clearly.

Because our ego was programmed to react to life from fear, negativity, scarcity, and lack (again due to emotional trauma we experienced, and the messages and role modeling of the adults around us) the disease focuses on and magnifies fear – and then it scrambles around trying to find something to cover up and repress the very fear it is generating. The disease blows the fear way out of proportion and then leads us to addictive and/or compulsive behavior as a way of stuffing the fear.” – The Recovery Process for inner child healing – through the fear

“Learning to apply the Serenity Prayer has helped me to stop creating so much artificial stress in my life because I wasn’t accepting reality as it was being presented to me.  About 90% of the stress I used to experience in my life was artificially created – was created by my attitudes and expectations.  As I say in that journal entry:

“So, I accept whatever it is that I perceive as deprivation today – and make the best of today.  That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t generate stress for me.  But the stress is like the 3. earthquake as compared to the 8. earthquake that my perspective of life used to generate for me.”” – Serenity – Accepting the things we cannot change

1/19/17 – I added this last quote while publishing this on my blog today.  I have been neglecting this blog – apologies to all my followers.  The main reason is that I have been posting quotes and links on Facebook almost every day – and that is much easier than publishing these blog entries.  I will try to post more of these in the coming weeks but if you want to get an almost daily dose of my writing, sent me a Friend request on Facebook.

Sacred Spiral

The key to codependency recovery is the inner child healing work I describe on my site.  A key element of that work includes learning to set internal boundaries. It is learning to set internal boundaries that can help us stop living in fear of the future or regret about the past – and be more present to experience today.

The formula that I pioneered for inner healing – which includes learning to set the internal boundaries – is something that I teach people through telephone counseling   (It is now possible to get phone cards for very cheap rates from many places in the world – and also to use Skype for free from anywhere.)  I talk about how the phone counseling can work to really change a persons life for the better in a short period of time on this page which includes somespecial combination offers.

The Dance

Reading my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls (links to all of my books in both hard copy, ebook, and audiobook format are on that page – or you can get Books, eBooks, and Audiobooks through Amazon) really help people take their understanding to a whole new level. Understanding codependency is vital in helping us to forgive our self for the dysfunctional ways we have lived our lives – it is not our fault we are codependent.

DancingIn the last few years I have also published two more books that can be very helpful. Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing and Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth.Coversm-Arena I have special offers for either or both of these books (or for all three of my books) on this page.

I also offer periodic day long workshops to teach people how to apply my inner child healing formula.  (There is now a downloadable MP3 recording available of my Life Changing workshop  – and I have a page with special offers for both the workshop recording and an MP3 download of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls. )

Codependency causes us to feel like the victim of our own thoughts and feelings, and like our own worst enemy – recovery helps us to start learning how to be our own best friend. Getting into codependency recovery is an act of love for self.

Chapter 14 Emotional honesty – Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1

Cover of Inner Child Healing Book

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light

 

cover of Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

“We learned about life as children and it is necessary to change the way we intellectually view life in order to stop being the victim of the old tapes. By looking at, becoming conscious of, our attitudes, definitions, and perspectives, we can start discerning what works for us and what does not work. We can then start making choices about whether our intellectual view of life is serving us – or if it is setting us up to be victims because we are expecting life to be something which it is not.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

In the course of writing a chapter for an online book some years ago, I realized that though I talked a lot about the importance of emotional honesty in my writing, I probably had not given a lot of down to earth, easily understood examples of what the term means to me. I wrote the following for that online book as an example of one of the ways in which I learned about emotional honesty – and am adding this excerpt from that online book to this book.

It was focusing on the dynamic of expectations that was the key for me in starting to get emotionally honest with myself. Starting to understand the cause and effect relationship between my emotional reactions and my expectations was essential for me to start understanding why my relationship with life was so dysfunctional. I, of course, in my codependency, had swung between the extremes of feeling, and believing, that it was all my fault because of my shameful defective being – and being angry and resentful at other people, the system, something or someone external to my being.

The twelve step recovery application of the disease model in the treatment of alcoholism – the concept that I had been powerless over my past behaviors because I had a disease – helped me to take enough shame out of my perspective of myself to start seeing my life with a little bit of objectivity. The spiritual approach of the twelve step program – that there is a Power greater than myself that is on my side, The Force is with me – helped me to shift my intellectual paradigm enough to start to see life as something other than a test I could fail by doing it “wrong.” The definition of insanity that I heard in my first days of recovery – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – caused me to start focusing on cause and effect.

It was the concept of powerlessness that led me to start becoming empowered to take responsibility for my life. Instead of viewing life through a perspective that was black and white – either I had to be perfect or I was shameful – I was able to start to see what my part had been in how painful and miserable my life experience had been. How I had some responsibility – how I was creating cause in my life that had negative consequences – but that it did not mean that there was something inherently wrong with me. I started seeing that my relationship with life was dysfunctional, was not working, and that I could take some action to change that relationship.

Insane Expectations – Road Rage

The specific area that opened me up to a new perspective on my insanity, was starting to understand what my part was in the road rage I was experiencing driving on the streets and freeways of Los Angeles. Looking at the cause and effect relationship between my expectations and the rage I was feeling at all the stupid blankety blank drivers in Southern California greatly accelerated my process of becoming emotionally honest with myself – and opening up my mind to a Spiritual Awakening, a paradigm shift in consciousness. (In that online book I use a longer quote from the article below – but since I included that article as an earlier chapter of this book, I will just use a short reference here.)

“I had to learn to be honest with myself about my expectations – so I could let go of the ones that were insane (like, everyone is going to drive the way I want them to), and own my choices – so I could take responsibility for how I was setting myself up to be a victim in order to change my patterns. Accept the things I cannot change – change the things I can.” – Serenity and Expectations – intimately interrelated

Expecting other drivers to drive the way I think they “should” is absolutely, incredibly insane. Talk about egotistical and arrogant. I, being an excellent driver myself (how many people do you know that don’t think they are excellent drivers?), knew how people should drive – I was right and anyone who didn’t drive the way I thought they “should” was wrong. I felt extremely, righteously justified in ranting and raving and cussing out other drivers – sometimes cutting them off and giving them the finger, while wishing I had a laser mounted on the roof of my car so that I could just vaporize them. Luckily, this was in the days before people started shooting each other on the Freeways, or I may not have ever made it into recovery. Actually, this was something I continued to do into my first few years of recovery.

Detaching enough to look with some objectivity at how I was relating to driving a car in L. A., allowed me to awaken to how insane it was to allow my emotions to be dictated by such a ridiculous expectation. Then I was also able to look at my emotional reactions and get in touch with how dishonest I was being emotionally in relationship to other drivers.

What I came to understand about my emotional experience of driving, was that one of two things was happening. One was, that other drivers were scaring me. The way they were driving – either too slow or too fast, cutting me off, swerving back and forth between lanes, etc. – was causing an actual fear of survival reaction. That kind of primal human emotional response that is generated by a sudden loud noise or any perception of a threat of physical harm.

When something scared me, and I reacted to the fear with anger – that was emotionally dishonest. (Getting angry when we are scared is a human survival mechanism – one that has caused a lot of violence in the history of humanity.) I wasn’t owning my true feelings. In reaction to the jolt of fear energy that shot through me, I became the angry, self righteous victim of the other drivers “idiocy.” The reality that this happened almost every time I drove on the freeway, just proved to me how many idiots there were out there – because I was relating to the experience from a victim perspective. It was impossible for me to have any serenity because I was giving other drivers the power to throw me into anger – which often triggered the suppressed rage I was carrying at how unfair, unjust, and painful life was.

Once I started to look at what my part was in those emotional reactions, at how I was setting myself up with my expectations, then I could start to take responsibility for changing that which I have the power to change. I learned to accept the thing I cannot change – other drivers – and change the thing I can, my attitude towards other drivers. It was when I realized that this anger was emotionally dishonest, and what my part in empowering that emotional reaction was, that I was able to start taking back the power over my feelings that I was giving to those “idiots.”

After that, when something another driver did scared me, I would own the fear. I would say out loud, “That scared me.” Then I would say a prayer for the other driver. I would ask that the other driver be helped to become happy, joyous, and free (knowing that the process of them opening up to that possibility would involve having their denial ripped away so they were not so unconscious – a prayer both Spiritually aligned and humanly selfish 😉 – and would offer up the incident as an amends for one of the thousands of times I had done something while driving that scared other drivers.

(During my years pursuing an acting career in Hollywood – the role of suffering artist being perfect for both my alcoholism / addiction and my codependent martyrdom – I lived out the romantic vision of the struggling actor by making my living by waiting tables and parking cars and driving a taxi. Driving a cab for several years – often stoned – really built up the number of driving amends I owe. Seeing those incidents as Karmic – what goes around comes around – also played a part in helping me to stop buying into the belief I was being unfairly victimized on the freeway.)

The second thing that I realized was happening, had to do with fear also. This was the fear that caused me to try to control life. That fear caused me to be very self obsessed. I was getting angry because those people were getting in my way. The immature, self centered perspective of life which was dictating my relationship with life, caused me to think and act as if I was the only person who was important. I reacted out of an ego selfishness that told me these idiots should get out of my way because I had places to go and things to do that were much more important than anything they were doing.

This ego driven, self centered fear was directly related – both as cause and effect – to my unconsciousness, my inability to be present in the moment. I was always caught up in the past or the future, and related to driving in traffic as a great inconvenience that was slowing me down. (Which, also, sometimes led to me driving too fast and cutting between lanes.)

The society I grew up in taught me that reaching the destination was what I should focus upon, was the thing that was vitally important. I was always striving to reach the destination where I would be fixed, where I would be respected and loved. When I reached that destination (college degree, fame and fortune, the right relationship, the Academy Award, etc.) then I would live “happily ever after.”

I was forever in pursuit – either of the illusive “happily ever after,” or for something to distract me from, or kill the pain of, feeling defective because I had not already reached the destination. I was always bouncing between the extremes: trying to figure out how to control my life, how to do the “right” things, to get “there” – or working on going unconscious (with alcohol, drugs, obsession, rumination, food, whatever) to escape the pain of being “here.” Being “here,” being present in the moment in my own skin, was too painful because I had a dysfunctional relationship with my own emotions – and was carrying a ton of suppressed grief energy.

And it was so painful emotionally because the subconscious intellectual paradigm that was dictating my relationship with self and life, was insane, delusional, and dysfunctional. I could never relax and enjoy life (without some chemical help, either from a substance or from an illusion/fantasy about love or success that would affect my brain chemistry) because wherever my life was at that point – according to the critical parent voice in my head – was not good enough and was my fault, or their fault. I was always feeling like a victim.

I needed to start letting go of that destination programming and start learning how to be in the moment. To actually be present and conscious while driving my car. (What a concept!) To start relating to driving as being a perfect part of my journey, a classroom – a wonderful arena for Spiritual growth.

When the rush hour traffic was disrupting my plans of getting someplace by a certain time, I would practice my Spiritual program. I would take some deep breaths to get into, and conscious of, my body. Then I would thank the Universe for this wonderful opportunity to practice patience and acceptance. I would take some steps to let go of the urgency I felt – the inner child’s fear of doing it “wrong,” the feeling that the world would come to an end if things did not go the way I had planned them. I would remind myself that life was a journey, and that this moment was a perfect part of that journey. I would talk to my inner children and tell them it was okay – that if I was going to be late, that was a perfect part of God’s plan. I would let go of my picture of how I thought things have to unfold for me to be okay. I would affirm that I am Unconditionally Loved and am being guided on my journey.

I would look around me, to see if there was something the Goddess wanted me to see – and that perhaps, was the reason I was stuck in traffic. I would remind myself that it was possible that this delay was really a wonderful gift. That perhaps because I was being delayed: I would not be in a traffic accident later that day: or the timing would be perfect for me to run into someone I needed to see, that without the delay I would have missed; or something to that effect.

I would remind myself that I am not in control of life, I am not writing the script, so:

I need to surrender the illusion that I am in control;
remember that I have a Loving Higher Power who is in control;
and be willing to accept reality as it was being presented to me, and take whatever action I could to make the best of the situation – to align with God’s will so I could flow with the Universal plan. (Work steps 1, 2, & 3.)

That action may just be to relax, be in the moment, and do some prayer and meditation (talk and listen to The Great Spirit – which can certainly include expressing my irritation for the delay.) The action may be to figure out an alternate route, get off the freeway at the next opportunity and take surface streets – but not with that feeling of life and death urgency, rather with sense of adventure. “This is an interesting twist, let’s see how this unfolds.”

I started to learn to take responsibility for my feelings – to own the things I have some control over. Learning how to be emotionally honest with myself allowed me to start becoming empowered to take responsibility for my life and stop empowering insane expectations. By focusing on letting go of the belief in victimization that was caused by my attitudes and perspectives – the mental level of my being – I could greatly decrease the feelings of victimization, the amount of emotional energy that was being generated on an emotional level. I still had some feelings of being victimized, but I could be nurturing and Loving in relationship to those feelings – and set some Loving boundaries with my inner children who were reacting out of the immediate gratification urgency of a child. (I am just going to die if I don’t get what I want!)

I learned to develop an observer self – a mature, recovering adult with a Spiritual perspective – that could tell the critical parent voice to shut up with all the shame and fear messages, and assure my inner children that everything was going to be okay because there is a Higher Power in charge of my life.

(This an excerpt from my online book Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life – which I am going to start getting ready to publish after I publish this Book 1)” – Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing Chapter 14 Emotional honesty

I actually did not start to prepare Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life for publication after finishing Book 1 but went onto two other books.  I will eventually publish Book 2 – but for now it is only available in the subscription area of my site called Dancing in Light A subscription to that area of the site is currently for sale on this page;

Cover of Inner Child Healing Book

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light

 

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing

Available as an eBook from Amazon  or Barnes & Noble  (This book in hard copy format is $27.95 – although I sell it for $20 on this page – but is only $9.99 as an eBook.)

I am in the process of publishing my eBooks through Smashwords which will allow me to make them available through many more outlets, including: Apple iBooks, Kobo, Scribd, Oyster, the Diesel eBook Store, Aldiko. Hopefully I will be able to figure out the formating and get my old reluctant computer to comply enough to get that done in the next week or so.

Chapter 16 of The Greatest Arena – A Valentine’s Day Prayer “have compassion for your wounded self”

“I needed to learn how to set boundaries within, both emotionally and mentally by integrating Spiritual Truth into my process.  Because “I feel feel like a failure” does not mean that is the Truth.   The Spiritual Truth is that “failure” is an opportunity for growth.  I can set a boundary with my emotions by not buying into the illusion that what I am feeling is who I am.  I can set a boundary intellectually by telling that part of my mind that is judging and shaming me to shut up, because that is my disease lying to me.  I can feel and release the emotional pain energy at the same time I am telling myself the Truth by not buying into the shame and judgment.”Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

When I wrote the original version of this article to be published in February 2000, I wanted to help people take some of the emotional charge out of Valentines.  I had realized in my recovery that Holidays – as well as times like birthdays and anniversaries were times that can really be emotional triggers for us.  (In fact it was my pattern of setting myself up to be abandoned on important days – specifically my birthday in July 1987 – that was what finally caused me to surrender to the need for me to do the emotional work that I was so scared of doing.)

“After I had been in recovery a few years – in the course of trying to figure out how I set myself up to be a victim with my expectations – I had a very important insight about holidays.  I realized that holidays – not just Christmas and New Years Eve but Thanksgiving, Valentines Day, etc. – along with days like anniversaries and my birthday were the times which I judged myself the most.  My expectations of what a holiday “should” be, of where I “should” be at a certain age, of how my life “should” look at this particular time, were causing me to unmercifully beat myself up.  I was buying into the disease voice which was telling me that I was a loser and a failure (or going to the other extreme and blaming someone else for my feelings.)  I was giving power to the toxic shame that told me that I was unworthy and unlovable.

I realized that I was judging myself against standards that weren’t real, against expectations that were a fantasy, a fairy tale.  The fairy tale that everyone should be happy and cheerful during the Christmas holidays is ridiculous just like the myth of happily-ever-after is a false belief that doesn’t apply to this level of existence.  The holidays are just like every other day of the year only magnified.  That means there will be moments of happiness and Joy but there will also be moments of sadness and hurt.” – Holidays, Anniversaries, and Birthdays

So, this is what I wrote for what I came to call a Valentine’s Day prayer.

Valentines Day.  The high holy Codependency feast Day.  That is, a day when, for most of us, the disease treats us to a feast of self recrimination and self flagellation.

For a small minority of us, a true holiday of love.  A time to celebrate the love we are feeling for a significant other in our life.  A time to be grateful for the gift of romance, and to honor the partner who is enriching our life.

For a significant number of us – who are alone in a relationship – a time to pretend, or blame.  To focus on what is good about the relationship we are in, in an attempt to convince ourselves that the payoff we are receiving is worth the price we are paying.  A time to put on a happy face to cover up for a sad heart.  A reminder that our hopes, and the dream of what the relationship would become, are sadly under fulfilled and that we have settled for less than we deserve.  Often that internal conflict is deflected outward in blaming the other.

For another significant portion of us – who are alone – a painful reminder, usually accompanied by self judgment and shame, bitterness and cynicism.  Unless our level of denial is great enough for us to truly convince ourselves that it is just another day and does not bring up any feelings – a day of sadness.

If you are one of the lucky few, enJoy it to the fullest.  Glory in the magic of love.  Let your Spirit soar on the wings of love.  Let yourself feel the Love and Joy in the moment as if you have never been hurt, and as if this love will never go away.  Grab the moment with gusto and let yourself cherish the fairy-tale-come-true feelings.

If you are part of the majority – either in a relationship that isn’t working to meet your needs, or not in a relationship – focus on being kind to your self.  Use this Valentine’s Day as an exercise in Loving you.

Allow yourself to feel the sadness without buying into the messages of judgment and shame from the critical parent voice in your head.  It is not your fault that you are alone – or that you have settled for crumbs in a relationship when you deserve the whole cake.  It is not because you are unlovable or unworthy.  It is not because you have made “stupid” “mistakes,” or because you are a “loser” or a “failure.”

And if you find yourself wallowing in resentment and blame, realize that underneath your need to point the finger at another is a place within you that needs to be forgiven by you.

It is extremely difficult to have a healthy relationship in a society that is founded on dysfunctional beliefs about the nature and purpose of being human.  In a society that is not only emotionally repressive and dishonest, Spiritually hostile (based upon belief in separation instead of connection,) and shame based – but one that promotes, and programs us for, dysfunctional codependent relationships and toxic love.

We were set up to have unrealistic expectations of our self and of romance.  We were set up:  to make choices that would cause us to repeat dysfunctional patterns in relationships; to choose exactly the people who would repeat the emotional dynamics of abandonment, deprivation, unavailability, verbal abuse, etc.;  to choose to open our hearts to people who would ignore, or stomp on, them.  Often then, we learned to shut down our hearts in order to survive the emotional pain.

It is very sad.  It is very sad that we have had our hearts broken.  It is very sad that we have let go of getting our needs met.  It is very sad that it is so hard to connect with another being in a healthy, Loving way.  It is very sad that so many of us have had to shut down our hearts and locked the romantic part of us away in a deep dark place within us.

It is very sad – but it is truly tragic that we blame ourselves.  We have been victimized by societies dysfunctional programming and we beat up on the victim of those forces that we were powerless over.

We do deserve Love in our lives.  We deserve companionship and support and friendship.  We deserve touch and affection and sexual fulfillment.

We all do!

That is the good news. The bad news is that we may not get to have that experience in this lifetime.

We do not have to like that reality – but we do need to accept it.  Because accepting it is the key to stopping the self judgment and blame.  Accepting that you can be happy and whole without a relationship, is the key to being able to let go of expectations and judgment so that you are be free to be happy, peaceful, and Joyous in some of the moments of today.

We have all lived multiple lifetimes in this hostile environment.  That environment is now being changed.  This new age we are in, is the time when – by healing our wounded souls and learning to manifest Love into our relationship with our self – we will bring about a critical mass that will shift the whole planet’s relationship with Love.

Everything without is a reflection of within.  As long as individual human beings are hating and resenting them self, feeling unworthy and unlovable – the world will remain an angry, violent, love retarded, hostile environment.  By learning to overcome our programming to have a hostile environment within us – in our relationship with our self – we will change the world, transform it into a healthier more Loving place for the Magnificent Spiritual Beings who we Truly are to come into body and experience.

Make this Valentine’s Day a True celebration of Love by choosing to Love and have compassion for your wounded self (own the emotional pain) at the same time you are allowing your Spiritual Self to nurture (tell yourself Spiritual Truth) and protect you (tell the critical parent voice to shut up.)” – Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth  Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior  Chapter 16 – A Valentine’s Day Prayer

Cover of book on romantic relationshipsI have special offers for Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth on this page. (which includes offers for my other books also.)

When you purchase Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth  Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior through Joy2MeU you get a personally autographed copy;-) but you can also purchase through Amazon.com and Amazon.UK.

The Greatest Arena is also available as two ebooks (each only$9.95) eBook 1: Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior (the first 20 chapters of The Greatest Arena) is available on Amazon  and on Amazon UK.

Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth eBook 2: Deeper Within (emotionally) & Further Out (metaphysically) From Fear of Intimacy to Twin Souls (chapters 21 through 40 of The Greatest Arena) is available on Amazon and Amazon UK.

Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth eBook 1: Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior now also available as an audio book.

Learning to Love our self – Inner Child Healing / Codependence Recovery

     “Codependence is an emotional and behavioral defense system which was adopted by our egos in order to meet our need to survive as a child.  Because we had no tools for reprogramming our egos and healing our emotional wounds (culturally approved grieving, training and initiation rites, healthy role models, etc.), the effect is that as an adult we keep reacting to the programming of our childhood and do not get our needs met – our emotional, mental, Spiritual, or physical needs.  Codependence allows us to survive physically but causes us to feel empty and dead inside.  Codependence is a defense system that causes us to wound ourselves.”

    “We need to take the shame and judgment out of the process on a personal level.  It is vitally important to stop listening and giving power to that critical place within us that tells us that we are bad and wrong and shameful.

    That “critical parent” voice in our head is the disease lying to us. . . .  This healing is a long gradual process – the goal is progress, not perfection.  What we are learning about is unconditional Love.  Unconditional Love means no judgment, no shame.”

    “We need to start observing ourselves and stop judging ourselves.  Any time we judge and shame ourselves, we are feeding back into the disease, we are jumping back into the squirrel cage.” – Quotations in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Codependence is a dysfunctional defense system that was built in reaction to feeling unlovable and unworthy – because our parents were wounded codependents who didn’t know how to love themselves.  We grew up in environments that were emotionally dishonest, Spiritually hostile, and shame based.  Our relationship with ourselves (and all the different parts of our self: emotions, gender, spirit, etc.) got twisted and distorted in order to survive in our particular dysfunctional environment.

We got to an age where we were supposed to be an adult and we started acting like we knew what we were doing.  We went around pretending to be adult at the same time we were reacting to the programming that we got growing up.  We tried to do everything “right” or rebelled and went against what we had been taught was “right.”  Either way we weren’t living our life through choice, we were living it in reaction.

In order to start being loving to ourselves we need to change our relationship with our self – and with all the wounded parts of our self.   The way which I have found works the best in starting to love ourselves is through having internal boundaries.

Learning to have internal boundaries is a dynamic process that involves three distinctly different, but intimately interconnected, spheres of work.  The purpose of the work is to change our ego-programming – to change our relationship with ourselves by changing our emotional/behavioral defense system into something that works to open us up to receive love, instead of sabotaging ourselves because of our deep belief that we don’t deserve love.

(I need to make the point here that Codependence and recovery are both multi-leveled, multi-dimensional phenomena. What we are trying to achieve is integration and balance on different levels. In regard to our relationship with ourselves this involves two major dimensions: the horizontal and the vertical. In this context the horizontal is about being human and relating to other humans and our environment. The vertical is Spiritual, about our relationship to a Higher Power, to the Universal Source. If we cannot conceive of a God/Goddess Force that loves us then it makes it virtually impossible to be loving to ourselves. So a Spiritual Awakening is absolutely vital to the process in my opinion. Changing our relationship with ourselves on the horizontal level is both a necessary element in, and possible because we are working on, integrating Spiritual Truth into our inner process.)

These three spheres are:

1.  Detachment

2.  Inner Child Healing

3.  Grieving

Because Codependence is a reactive phenomena it is vital to start being able to detach from our own process in order to have some choice in changing our reactions.  We need to start observing our selves from the witness perspective instead of from the perspective of the judge.

We all observe ourselves – have a place of watching ourselves as if from outside, or perched somewhere inside, observing our own behavior.  Because of our childhoods we learned to judge ourselves from that witness perspective, the “critical parent” voice.

The emotionally dishonest environments we were raised in taught us that it was not ok to feel our emotions, or that only certain emotions were ok.  So we had to learn ways to control our emotions in order to survive.  We adapted the same tools that were used on us – guilt, shame, and fear (and saw in the role modeling of our parents how they reacted to life from shame and fear.)  This is where the critical parent gets born.  It’s purpose is to try to keep our emotions and behavior under some sort of control so that we can get our survival needs met.

So the first boundary that we need to start setting internally is with the wounded / dysfunctionally programmed part of our own mind.  We need to start saying no to the inner voices that are shaming and judgmental.  The disease comes from a black and white, right and wrong, perspective.  It speaks in absolutes: “You always screw up!”  “You will never be a success!” – these are lies. We don’t always screw up. We may never be a success according to our parents or societies dysfunctional definition of success – but that is because our heart and soul do not resonate with those definitions, so that kind of success would be a betrayal of ourselves. We need to consciously change our definitions so that we can stop judging ourselves against someone else’s screwed up value system.

We learned to relate to ourselves (and all the parts of our self – emotions, sexuality, etc.) and life from a critical place of believing that something was wrong with us – and in fear that we would be punished if we didn’t do life “right.”  Whatever we are doing or not doing the disease can always find something to beat us up with.  I have 10 things on my “to do list” today, I get 9 of them done, the disease does not want me to give myself credit for what I have done but instead beats me up for the one I didn’t get done.  Whenever life gets too good we get uncomfortable and the disease jumps right in with fear and shame messages.  The critical parent voice keeps us from relaxing and enjoying life, and from loving our self.

We need to own that we have the power to choose where to focus our mind. We can consciously start viewing ourselves from the “witness” perspective.   It is time to fire the judge – our critical parent – and choose to replace that judge with our Higher Self, who is a loving parent. We can then intervene in our own process to protect ourselves from the perpetrator within – the critical parent/disease voice.

(It is almost impossible to go from critical parent to compassionate loving parent in one step – so the first step often is to try to observe ourselves from a neutral position or a “scientific observer” perspective.)

This is what enlightenment and consciousness raising are all about.  Owning our power to be a co-creator of our lives by changing our relationship with ourselves.  We can change the way we think.  We can change the way we respond to our own emotions. We need to detach from our wounded self in order to allow our Spiritual Self to guide us.  We are Unconditionally Loved.  The Spirit does not speak to us from judgment and shame.

One of the visualizations that has helped me over the years is an image of a small control room in my brain.  This control room is full of dials and gauges and lights and sirens. In this control room are a bunch of Keebler-like elves whose job it is to make sure that I don’t get too emotional for my own good.  Whenever I feel anything too strongly (including Joy, happiness, self-love) the lights start flashing and the sirens start wailing and the elves go crazy running around trying to get things under control.  They start pushing some of the old survival buttons:  feeling too happy – drink; feeling too sad- eat sugar; feeling scared – get laid; or whatever.

To me, the process of recovery is about teaching those elves to chill out.  Reprogramming my ego-defenses to knowing that it is okay to feel the feelings.  That feeling and releasing the emotions is not only okay it is what will work best in allowing me to have my needs fulfilled.

We need to change our relationship with ourselves and our own emotions in order to stop being at war with ourselves.  The first step to doing that is to detach from ourselves enough to start protecting ourselves from the perpetrator that lives within us.

The key to codependency recovery is the inner child healing work I describe on my site and in my second book (below.)  A key element of that work includes learning to set the internal boundaries I talk about in the article above.

Cover of Inner Child Healing book

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light – Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child

This book Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light – Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child is a process level – how to – book about the inner child healing approach discovered by Robert in his recovery.  The approach to inner child / emotional healing shared within is the missing piece – the missing perspective – of the puzzle of life that so many people have been seeking.  It is a formula for integrating intellectual knowledge and spiritual Truth into one’s emotional relationship with life.   It is the key to learning how to be more Loving to your self – and to turning life into an adventure to be experienced instead of an ordeal of suffering to be endured.

Joy to You & Me Enterprises offers an Empowering & Life Changing Intensive Training Day Workshop in San Diego with Spiritual Teacher, inner child healing pioneer Robert Burney.  Learn his innovative Spiritual Integration Formula for Inner Healing.  To find out the locations and dates for upcoming appearances go to Day of Intensive Training. (Next workshop is January 4th in San Diego.  The day after my 30th Sobriety Birthday.;-)

Emotional Discernment – taking power away from the fear

“We are all carrying around repressed pain, terror, shame, and rage energy from our childhoods, whether it was twenty years ago or fifty years ago.  We have this grief energy within us even if we came from a relatively healthy family, because this society is emotionally dishonest and dysfunctional.

    When someone “pushes your buttons,” he/she is activating that stored, pressurized grief energy.  She/he is gouging the old wounds, and all of the newer wounds that are piled on top of those original wounds by our repeating behavior patterns.

    We are terrified of this pressurized pain, terror, shame, and rage energy – of “having our buttons pushed” – because we have experienced it in the past as instances where we have explosively overreacted in ways that caused us to later feel ashamed and crazy, or as implosive reactions that have thrown us into that deep dark pit of emotional despair within.

    We are walking around with this set of buttons available to be pushed by any person, place, thing, or combination thereof that recreates the dynamics of the situation wherein we were originally wounded.  (For example: a certain smell, the texture of a fabric, a tone of voice, a gesture, etc., can be emotional triggers that throw us back to an age of our inner child.)

    We carry this set of buttons, this baggage, with us until we release that stored, pressurized grief energy in a healthy grieving process.  This society’s answer to behavior caused by unresolved grief is to shame you, label you, lock you up, and/or give you drugs.  We do not have to play that game anymore.  We have new tools now, and we have rediscovered the healing power of the natural grieving process.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney

As long as we are unconsciously reacting to our emotional wounds from childhood, we are doomed to keep repeating our dysfunctional behavior patterns.  It is vital to start becoming more conscious of our childhood emotional wounds so we can stop allowing them to dictate our behavior and define our experience of life.

We all have reactive emotional “buttons” – an internal emotional mine field – that cause us to have intense emotional reactions when a button is pushed, when one of the unhealed wounds in our psyche gets activated.  Other people, life events, an old song, etc., can trigger these emotional wounds.

Having these strong emotional reactions is not a sign that we are crazy, it is just a symptom of codependency.  It is important to stop judging and shaming ourselves – or blaming others – for these reactions.  It is vital to start learning how to disarm those buttons – how to heal our emotional wounds.

Consciousness is the key.  We need to become more conscious of our reactions so that we can stop reacting to our reactions.

In recovery it is important to start realizing that any time that we have an intense emotional reaction with a lot of energy behind it, a lot of power – whether it is terror and panic, despair and helplessness, rage, or whatever – that is a sign that an old wound has been triggered.  It is an indication that unresolved grief is involved in our reaction.

One of the first clues to start paying attention to in recovery, clear evidence that inner child wounds are involved, is when our reaction to a situation, person, job interview, whatever, feels life threatening.  That is, the situation is not actually, factually, life threatening but it feels like a life or death situation – it feels like our survival depends upon the outcome, the other persons reaction, etc.

In childhood our survival was dependent upon our parents.  They were wounded – had their own internal emotional mine fields – so they wounded us.  It felt like there was something wrong with our being that was threatening their love for us – and therefore our survival.  We learned to focus externally to try to manipulate and control life and other people to try to ensure our survival.

This survival fear is the codependent fear that I spoke of in my article Obsession / Obsessive Thinking Part 1: “a distorted, magnified, virulent, mutated species of fear caused by the poisonous combination of a false belief that being human is shameful with a polarized (black and white, right and wrong) perspective of life.”

This gut wrenching survival fear has been running our lives – whether we were charging through life in denial of it, or allowing it to totally dominate our reality.  It is vital to learn how to start taking power away from this survival fear.

Emotional discernment starts when we can detach from the feeling enough to take an honest look at reality.  It may feel terrifying, may feel life threatening – but is that the truth?

There is a tool that comes out of Transactional Analysis that can be very helpful in taking some power away from fear.  It is called a fear slide.  The way it works is that you write down what your fear is – say, I am afraid I will be alone on Valentine’s Day, or I am afraid he won’t be my friend any more, or I am afraid I won’t get the job, etc. Then on the next line you write the answer to this question: “If that happens, then what?”  Then I will feel hurt, or whatever.  On the next line you write the answer to that same question, “then what?”  And you keep doing this down the page.  Eventually, you will come to: “I will die.” or “I will cease to exist.”

I am afraid _______
If that happens, then what?
If that happens, then what?
If that happens, then what?
If that happens, then what?

Then you go back to the original fear, and ask yourself, “Will I die if I am alone on Valentine’s Day?”  The answer, of course, is “No, I won’t die.”

You may feel like you want to die, but that feeling is a result of codependency.  It is very normal to feel sad about being alone on Valentine’s Day, but the reason we end up feeling like we want to die is not just because of the sadness.  The reason we end up feeling like we want to die is that we are allowing our reality – and our relationship with our self – to be dictated by a combination of inner child wounds and false intellectual beliefs.  We react emotionally out of a desperately lonely, love starved, inner child place within us – at the same time we judge ourselves for being alone, and for our feelings.  The critical parent voice in our head beats us up unmercifully for being a “loser” and a “failure” in romantic relationships.

By starting to use some emotional discernment to recognize that the feeling of life and death urgency is not reality – it is just a feeling – we can start to take some power away from the fear.  As we start taking power away from this mutant variety of fear, we can start to see ourselves and the situation with more clarity so that we can begin to disarm the emotional minefield within.  We can start taking power away from those “buttons.”” – Emotional Discernment – taking power away from the fear

This is the fourth of a 9 article series on The Serenity Prayer.  The first article is
Discernment – The Wisdom to Know the Difference in Serenity Prayer

Making Healthy Choices During the Holidays

Love Your Self First
Love Your Self First

Happy Holidays is a greeting many people say even if they are feeling lonely or blue. We often hear people say that Christmas is about LOVE! So many of us respond to the Holiday Season by running around shopping for gifts, volunteering, making donations, preparing meals and planning our annual family traditions. We may act like one of Santa’s Elves in out in the workshop making toys for everyone we love all day and night.  We love this time of year but there can be times when it gets to be overwhelming and we tend to neglect the most important and only person we are responsible for our self!

I am reminded that the Holidays are not only about LOVE but are also celebration of birth and rebirth. The Winter Solstice is the time of the longest darkness and marks the point of  increasing light, the new beginning.  Hanukkah is a time for re-dedication.  Kwanzaa is a time of re-commitment.  These are all times of both celebration and  introspection.  A quiet time given to us so we can reflect on the past and consider what we want to create in our future for the New Year.

There is just one catch! With any new beginning, any birth or rebirth is a also an ending.  With every  ending there is sadness, feelings of loss and grief.  We may have lost someone close to us who will not be available to celebrate. We may have ended a relationship and feel the sadness during this time of year. We may have grief over the emotional unavailability of those family members we are celebrating with.  These are just a few examples of the ways that the Holiday Blues can creep in and make our lives unmanageable during the Holiday Season.

What I have to share with you today is a realization I had about my expectations of my self and how I recovered from the Holiday Blues using the Twelve Days of  Christmas to illustrate the recovery principles I teach the best because I need to learn to practice them all year long!

On the first day of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me….Acceptance and Emotional Honesty

My version of  Happy  Holidays  includes completely is allowing myself to accept the reality of my life (looking at both the half of the glass that is full as well as the empty part) emotionally – that is, allowing myself to be emotionally honest with myself.

On the second day of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me… Grief processing
Acceptance and Emotional Honesty!

If I am feeling grief because I am alone during the Holidays it does not serve me to share that with someone who is not being  emotionally honest – someone who will shame me for not being cheerful.  If I am feeling hurt or scared or angry I will only share that with someone who is a safe person to share with emotionally – that is, they won’t discount and invalidate my feelings or try to fix me.

On the third day of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me…Honoring my Feelings
Grief Processing, Acceptance and Emotional Honesty!

I don’t have to live up to some false expectations about how I “should” be feeling today.  It was my own self defeating behavior of trying to deny the pain and sadness, the anger and fear, while judging myself as shameful for not feeling what I “should” feel or being who I “should” be, that caused me to get depressed and suicidal.  When I am in my feeling process I actually am a lot happier and feel more Joy than I ever did before I learned how to be emotionally honest.

On the fourth day of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me…Friends in Recovery
Honoring my Feelings, Grief Processing and Acceptance and Emotional Honesty!

It was on Christmas about 10 years ago that I got clear that I was capable of feeling more than one feeling at once. I was sad that it was Christmas and I was alone. I had feelings of grief for all of those past Christmases that I was sad but never acknowledged it. and alone – which were very valid and legitimate feelings. But as I went around to various clubhouses and friend’s homes that were having open houses, I could feel happy to see people I cared about.  I could feel Joy and gratitude that I was in recovery and feeling my feelings at the same time I was owning the sadness of that day and the grief of all the lonely holidays that I had experienced.

On the fifth day of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me.. A Higher Power of my OWN understanding
Friends in Recovery, Honoring my Feelings, Grief Processing, Acceptance and Emotional Honesty!

It is so very important to stop judging ourselves against someone elses standards and shaming ourselves due to a fantasy of where we “should be.”  We are exactly where we are supposed to be. We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience. We are perfect in our Spiritual Essence, we are perfectly where we are supposed to be on our Spiritual path and from a human perspective we will never do human perfectly.

On the sixth day of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me..Inner Child Healing
A Higher Power of my OWN understanding, Friends in Recovery, Honoring my Feelings, Grief Processing, Acceptance and Emotional Honesty!

A natural normal part of our human experience is feeling the  feelings – we need to accept that.  No one who is being  emotionally honest with themselves can go through the holidays  without feeling sadness and hurt, anger and fear. The good news is that the more we are able to own those emotions the more moments of peace, Joy, and happiness we can have.

On the seventh day of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me..Awareness of my Fears
Inner Child Healing, A Higher Power of my OWN understanding, Friends in Recovery, Honoring my Feelings, Grief Processing and Acceptance and Emotional Honesty!

I am aware of my feelings and my fears whether I am happy, merry, sad, Joyous, painful, peaceful, scared or cheerful in the moment. I am experiencing what it feels like to be alive in human body.

On the eighth day of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me…Time to Practice Self Care
Awareness of my Fears, Inner Child Healing, A Higher Power of my OWN understanding, Friends in Recovery, Honoring my Feelings, Grief Processing and Acceptance and Emotional Honesty!

Practicing self care includes exercising, relaxing, taking care of yourself physically but it also includes learning to set boundaries and is vital part of learning to communicate in  a direct and honest manner. It is impossible to have a healthy  relationship with someone who has no boundaries, with someone who cannot  communicate directly and honestly.

On the ninth day of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me…Internal Boundaries 
(I may have preferred the Nine Ladies Dancing) Time to Practice Self Care, Awareness of my Fears, Inner Child Healing, A Higher Power of my OWN understanding, Friends in Recovery, Honoring my Feelings, Grief Processing and Acceptance and Emotional Honesty!

Learning how to set internal boundaries is a necessary step in learning to be a friend to yourself. It is your responsibility to take care of yourself –  to protect yourself when it is necessary. It is impossible to learn to  be loving to yourself without owning yourself – owning your rights and responsibilities as co-creator of your life.

On the tenth day of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me..Positive Affirmations
Internal Boundaries,Time to Practice Self Care, Awareness of my Fears, Inner Child Healing, A Higher Power of my OWN understanding, Friends in Recovery, Honoring my Feelings, Grief Processing, Acceptance and Emotional Honesty!

Positive Affirmations are the single most powerful and vital tool in the Recovery process.  Codependency is a condition caused by growing up in a shame-based, emotionally dishonest society which teaches us false beliefs about the nature and purpose of life.  We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience, not shameful, sinful human creatures who have to earn Spiritual salvation.We are magnificent Spiritual Beings full of light and LOVE!

On the eleventh day of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me..Speaking my Own Truth
Positive Affirmations, Internal Boundaries, Time to Practice Self Care, Awareness of my Fears, Inner Child Healing, A Higher Power of my OWN understanding, Friends in Recovery, Honoring my Feelings, Grief Processing, Acceptance and Emotional Honesty!

Owning our own voice is important for us to do for ourselves. Many of us have been crippled by the shame we experienced in our childhoods. By stating what we are feeling out loud without placing blame on the other person, we can begin to take responsibility for our personal truth. It is not important whether or not the other person hears us. It is important for us to do for ourselves. We can develop ourselves in being able to recognize that we are capable of asking for what we need as a request or invitation for others to participate or not. We will begin to attract those who are trustworthy and in the process we are recognized as our authentic selves not the masks that we have been wearing.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me..Prayer and Meditation
Positive Affirmations, Internal Boundaries, Time to Practice Self Care, Awareness of my Fears, Inner Child Healing, A Higher Power of my OWN  understanding, Friends in Recovery, Honoring my Feelings, Grief  Processing, Acceptance and Emotional Honesty!

God Grant me the Serenity to Accept the Things I can not Change, The Willingness
to Change the Things I can and The Wisdom to know the Difference. AMEN.

Sending you Wishes of Joy and Peace,
Robert Burney
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MP3 Downloads of
Codependence-Dance of Wounded Souls and Inner Child Healing Workshop

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Life Changing
Telephone Counseling with Robert Burney
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Intensive Training
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Robert Burney Give yourself the gift of Recovery

Serenity – Accepting the things we cannot change

“One of the gifts that came to me early in my healing process was a little expression that helped me start changing my perspective.  That expression was, “I don’t have any problems – I have opportunities for growth.”  The more I stopped focusing on problems and obstacles, and started looking for the gifts, the lessons, attached to them, the easier life became.

    I became a part of the solution instead of getting stuck being the victim of the problem.  I started seeing the half of the glass that was full instead of always focusing on the half that was empty.

    Every problem is an opportunity for growth.

    My subconscious Codependent attitudes and perspectives caused me to take life personally – to react emotionally as if life events were being directed at me personally as a punishment for being unworthy, for being a shameful creature.

    Life is a series of lessons.  The more I became aligned with knowing that I was being given gifts to grow from – the less I believed that the purpose of life was to punish me – the easier life became” –  Quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney

I had stated in my last article that I would devote the next couple of articles here to discussing discernment.  However the Universe just provided me with a wonderful example of how very blessed I am to have learned how to practice the Serenity Prayer in my life, so I am going to postpone that discussion and devote this article to the power of acceptance.

I just got back from an annual summer trip that I take with my 12 year old son (who lives in Albuquerque) to visit his grandparents – my parents – on the farm I grew up on in Nebraska.  Some years in the past I have flown into Albuquerque and rented a car so we could drive up.  Last year I flew him out here and we took an Amtrak ride back to the Midwest.  This year, because of time and financial constraints we flew.  I got us tickets that would allow us to meet in Phoenix and fly together from there to Omaha, and then return the same way.

Both on the trip there, and on the return, we had delayed flights that caused us to miss our connections.  On the return I got to spend the night in Phoenix at the airlines expense.

Delayed flights and missed connections are a supreme pain in neck.  I was not happy that these things happened.  I did not like that it happened.  I was however, able to very quickly accept what was happening and take responsibility for what I could change.  On the initial trip that involved calling the airline as soon as I realized I wasn’t going to make my connection so I could see what was happening with my son’s flight.  I had to smile when I found out his flight was delayed also.  That meant he wasn’t going to be stuck by himself in the Phoenix airport for hours.  Everything worked out okay – both going and coming.  I took the action I could take, which was primarily making phone calls to coordinate things – and did not waste a lot of time and energy being upset about the reality of what was happening.

It had taken me several years in early recovery to realize that I did not have to like some condition to accept the reality of it.  As I have mentioned elsewhere in my writing, a large component of personal empowerment is accepting reality as it is and making the best of it – instead of wishing it was different.  Wishing it was different puts me in a victim place.  I spent my life prior to codependency recovery being the victim of life not being what I thought it “should” be, of people not acting the way I thought they “should” act.  It did not serve me.  It was a dysfunctional way of relating to life because, not only did it not work to help me find happiness and serenity, it created the opposite result.  I was always trying to control life and other people – and being the victim of life events and other peoples behavior.  And because of the toxic shame at the core of my being – which drove me to find some reason that it wasn’t my fault that things were as they were – I would always look for someone else to blame for the reality of my life.  In my former life, in my codependent black and white thinking, I would have blamed the airline because the other option was to blame myself for choosing the “wrong” flights.

That is what I got to watch at the airports I was in the last few weeks.  People absolutely freaking out – experiencing major melodramatic trauma dramas – because their plans were disrupted.  People crying and screaming, abusing airline personnel (I asked the woman I dealt with at passenger assistance if she got combat pay.)  It wasn’t the people behind the airline counter that were at fault – but that didn’t stop people from abusing them because they did not have a clue about how to accept something that they didn’t have the power to change.

Delayed flights are life events.  Life events happen.  Combing a common phrase in our language with something I say in my book:  fertilizer happens.  Life events are opportunities for growth – in this case, a very clear reminder to me of what a gift twelve step recovery is in my life and how much progress I have made in my recovery.  I was able to accept reality and flow with life instead of fighting reality and creating a lot of artificial stress.

In some writing I did just before the trip – for the personal journal I share in my Joy2MeU Journal – I talked about how life events used to be like an 8 point earthquake in my life.  I reacted – not only to important things like delayed flights or car breakdowns or losing a job, but also to small things in people’s behavior or the way my day was unfolding – as if they were life threatening, as if my whole world was being destroyed.  Learning to apply the Serenity Prayer has helped me to stop creating so much artificial stress in my life because I wasn’t accepting reality as it was being presented to me.  About 90% of the stress I used to experience in my life was artificially created – was created by my attitudes and expectations.  As I say in that journal entry:

“So, I accept whatever it is that I perceive as deprivation today – and make the best of today.  That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t generate stress for me.  But the stress is like the 3. earthquake as compared to the 8. earthquake that my perspective of life used to generate for me.

The great majority of stress felt by any codependent is manufactured out of dysfunctional beliefs and definitions – perspectives and expectations that cause us to feel victimized.  Most of the stress I used to feel had to do with trying to figure out how to control life, worrying about what is right or wrong, obsessing about trying to change someone else.  By learning to accept the things I cannot change, and integrating a Spiritual belief system into my subconscious programming and emotional relationship with life, I reduced my perception of stress by maybe 10,000%.  Learning to let go has removed the illusion of stress from my life that was being caused by living life as if it were a test I could fail.  There is still some legitimate stress that is caused by life events and circumstances.  It is not bad or wrong to feel stressed.  There are times when it was real important for me to own that it was OK to feel stressed – what was important was not to let the impending doom, fear based programming of the disease blow things out of proportion.” – My Unfolding Process 11 Joy2MeU Journal

By learning to be discerning enough to accept the things I cannot change, I am able to change something that is in my power to change – my attitude towards the things I can not change.  By learning to let go of any attitudes I am empowering that are causing me to not accept reality, I have found a level of serenity in my life that is mind boggling to me at times.  It is also kind of mind boggling to be reminded that the majority of the people in the world still do not have a clue about how to make their lives easier and more peace filled.

It is the inability of people to practice acceptance in their lives that is the cause of so much of the conflict in the world.  When enough people learn to apply the Serenity Prayer in their lives is when we will be able to create world peace.  It is through focusing on our individual recovery that we will heal the planet.”

 
This article which I wrote in 2002 is the second of a 9 article series on The Serenity Prayer.  The first article is  Discernment – The Wisdom to Know the Difference in Serenity Prayer

 
The example in this article about practicing serenity in airports is very timely with the Holiday Season approaching and many of you traveling during the Christmas Season – remember that Acceptance is the key to your “problems” today. Serenity and Expectations – intimately interrelated