Bringing Codependency Recovery Pioneer to the UK in 2017

Robert Burney’s Trip to UK canceled

May 27th, 2017 – I have decided to cancel the planned trip to the UK for October.  As we were closing in on finalizing the plans for my trip there, a major change took place in my life as I got custody of my 12 year old grandson.  At first it wasn’t clear if he would be living with me in the fall or not, so I pushed the trip back from September to October based on the possibility that he would still be with me.  Since then it has become clear that he will be living with me – and that taking an 8 or 10 day trip to UK would present significant challenges in getting taking care of him during that time covered.  If we would have had people signing up for the retreat and putting down deposits in the over 2 weeks since we posted the page, that could have impacted this decision.  But since no one has signed up, it seems as if it is part of the Divine Plan to go ahead with the cancelation.  Hopefully we can make this trip to the UK happen at some point in the not too distant future.  Maybe even next summer and I can bring my grandson along.

Robert Burney Trip to UK 2017

Book cover

Robert Burney is an author, spiritual teacher and counselor.  His first book “Codependence – The Dance of Wounded Souls” has been called “one of the truly transformational works of our time” and he has been referred to as “a metaphysical Stephen Hawking.”   He is a counselor /coach and Spiritual Teacher whose work has been compared to John Bradshaw’s “except much more spiritual” and described as “taking inner child healing to a new level.”  His book “The Dance”  is an insightful, clearly written narrative that has helped countless people to understand and heal from the shortcomings of their relationships with self and others.  Robert’s work resonates strongly with those that have been fortunate enough to come across it.

Codependency Recovery / Inner Child Healing Formula

A pioneer in the realm of codependency recovery and inner child healing, Robert discovered and developed a pioneering holistic approach to codependency recovery – an inner child healing paradigm – that offers a powerful, life changing formula for integrating Love, Spiritual Truth, and intellectual knowledge of healthy behavior into one’s emotional experience of life – a blueprint for individuals to transform their core relationship with self and life.

This blueprint can be invaluable to people just starting the recovery / healing process, and is often the missing piece that people who have been healing /  recovering / on a spiritual path for decades have been seeking.  What is unique about the approach is that all of the tools are brought together in a focused system for achieving integration and balance – and even someone who has a very good therapist (or is a very good therapist) right now, can still find it very beneficial to attend one of his workshops.

Creating the Possibility of bringing Robert Burney to the UK

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Robert Burney

In order to share his experience, strength and hope – and teach others his integration formula – Robert has offered intensive workshops and retreats in the US, Canada, and twice on the Spanish Island of Ibiza, as well as on cruises in the Caribbean.  In spite of having a healthy following in the United Kingdom Robert has not physically presented his work in a similar fashion.

Several years ago Angel Morrison (who had both attended a retreat in Ibiza and been on a cruise with Robert) suggested the idea of working to bring Robert Burney to the UK.  Angel understood the importance of expanding the knowledge of Robert’s work.  Rachel Hawadi who had read Robert’s work (and done phone counseling with him) agreed and the two agreed to volunteer and commit to making this a reality.  This has then given birth to a Facebook Group which aims “To make the possibility of bringing Robert Burney to the UK” in 2017.

As of February 14th, 2017, initial plans are being formulated.  The goal is to make this trip happen in September 2017.  This page is being created to survey people who might be interested in meeting and/or attending an appearance by Robert, to ascertain what formats people would like to have available and where it would be best to offer these opportunities.

Location

It is assumed that London would be one of the locations – and both Birmingham and Nottingham have been proposed by people interested.  Email us to let us know if you could attend in London or want to suggest another location in the UK.

Formats

In order to make the best use of Robert’s time the following mixture of sessions could be offered during the tour.

  • 1 to 1 sessions: These could either be face to face/Telephone and Skype sessions for those in the UK.   Depending on availability these can be 1 hour sessions.   Given that the unique selling point of this tour is being able to see Robert face to face it would seem that a “face to face” would be the main offering.

  • Weekend Retreat: A residential retreat in a comfortable, peaceful setting starting on Friday with a 6:30 arrival, dinner and a session until 10 pm.  An intensive session on Saturday which would end on Sunday around 4 pm.  It would be important to ensure that those attending have excellent food and a general feeling of being cared for.

  • 5-day Retreat: A transformative retreat for those needing a radical overhaul in a similar setting as the weekend retreat but going deeper with more workshops, 1 to 1 sessions.  The setting will also be comfortable and nurturing.   There should be an additional offering of holistic therapies e.g. massages, reflexology, yoga, deep breathing, walks etc.

  • 1 day Intensive workshops: These would follow the exact same formats that have been offered and could be done both during the day or evening.  More than likely, evening sessions could be more successful in London – although it would need to be for 3 evenings in order for Robert to teach the formula that he teaches in his Intensive Workshops.  There might be a requirement to juggle between different towns in the UK.

Please send us some feedback so that we can ascertain the amount of interest and what people are interested in so that we can know if we can make this possibility manifest this year.  Email us to let us know.

Here is some of the feedback from the Intensive Training Workshops / retreats that Robert has done in the past.

“I found this session to be very useful in seeing the what & the why of “my” reality.  The understanding I have gained gives me hope in my future.  This has been the greatest gift I have ever given myself.”

“I really enjoyed Robert Burney’s Intensive Training on inner child work. . .  I had many revelations about my inner child and how I can reparent and stop the critical parent that has followed me my whole life. . . Thank you so much Robert.  You are a truly unforgetable person. So glad I said yes to attending.”

“Exceptionally understandable; very clear.  This was LIFE Changing – I am so thankful.  I would Absolutely recommend it.”

“Robert Burney’s training day was so inspirational and enlightening.  He was loving and warm and presented profound life changing material in a very not intimidating way.  Magical!”

“My life has been much better since I went to your seminar.”

“Brilliant.  Liberating.  So profound it is sometimes ! hilarious  I feel you completely get the dynamics of the human experience and the truth you teach can set people free.”

“It was very empowering, uplifting and gave me new hope.  The information was invaluable.”

“Robert is a very , compassionate intuitive, and intelligent soul who shares his insights to you in such a clear, fun, and poignant way that your life will be forever changed.” –  Testimonial Page for Robert Burney Seminar

Email us to let us know if you are interested.

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.  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 some special combination offers.

Reading my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls  (links to all of my books in hard copy, ebook, and audiobook format are on that page – or you can get Books, eBooks, and Audiobooks through Amazon) would really help you take your 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.

In 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.  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.

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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.

Serenity and Expectations – intimately interrelated

Book cover

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

  “I spent most of my life doing the Serenity prayer backwards, that is, trying to change the external things over which I had no control – other people and life events mostly – and taking no responsibility (except shaming and blaming myself) for my own internal process – over which I can have some degree of control. Having some control is not a bad thing; trying to control something or somebody over which I have no control is what is dysfunctional.”  – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Self-honesty is the foundation of the Twelve Step Recovery program – the principle underling the first step. There are many different levels of honesty, including “cash register” honesty, emotional honesty, being honest in interactions with others, etc. All levels of honesty are important in various ways but early in my recovery process I learned a great deal about being honest with myself from Dr. Paul’s chapter in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous – “Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict.” That level of honesty had to do with being honest with myself about my expectations.

There is an old joke about the difference between a neurotic and a psychotic. The psychotic truly believes that 2 + 2 = 5. The neurotic knows that it is 4 but can’t stand it. That was the way I lived most of my life, I could see how life was but I couldn’t stand it. I was always feeling like a victim because people and life were not acting in the way I believed they “should” act.

I expected life to be different than it is. I thought if I was good and did it “right” then I would reach ‘happily ever after.’ I believed that if I was nice to people they would be nice to me. Because I grew up in a society where people were taught that other people could control their feelings, and vise versa, I had spent most of my life trying to control the feelings of others and blaming them for my feelings.

By having expectations I was giving power away. In order to become empowered I had to own that I had choices about how I viewed life, about my expectations. I realized that no one can make me feel hurt or angry – that it is my expectations that cause me to generate feelings of hurt or anger. In other words, the reason I feel hurt or anger is because other people, life, or God are not doing what I want them, expect them, to do.

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.

When I first started realizing how much my expectations were dictating my emotional reactions to life, I tried not to have any expectations. I soon came to realize that it was impossible to live in society and not have expectations. If I have electricity in my home I am going to expect the lights to come on – and if they don’t, I am going to have feelings about it. If I own that having electricity is a choice I make, then I realize that I am not being the victim of the electric company I am just experiencing a life event. And life events occur for me to learn from – not to punish me.

The more I owned that I was making choices that caused me to give away some power over my feelings and that those feelings were ultimately my responsibility – the less I reacted out of a victim place – the more serenity I had about events that occurred. To believe that unpleasant stuff should never happen to me was a truly insane, dysfunctional notion. The reality of life is that ‘stuff’ happens.

Of course, getting to the place where I could accept life on life’s terms was only possible because I was working on letting go of the belief that it was happening to me because I was unworthy and bad – which I learned growing up in a shame-based society. It was essential for me to stop blaming myself and feeling ashamed of being human so that I could stop blaming others and always feeling like a victim. In other words, it was necessary to start seeing life as a Spiritual growth process that I couldn’t control in order to get out of the blame them or blame me cycle.

I found that there were layers of expectations I had to look at. I wanted to feel that I could be a righteous victim if someone told me they were going to do something and didn’t. But then I had to own that I was the one who chose to believe them. I had to also realize that falling in love was a choice and not a trap that I accidentally stepped into. Loving is a choice that I make and the consequences of that choice are my responsibility not the other persons. As long as I kept buying into the belief that I was being victimized by the person I loved there was no chance of having a healthy relationship.

The most insidious level of expectations for me had to do with my expectations of myself. The “critical parent” voice in my head has always berated me for not being perfect, for being human. My expectations, the “shoulds,” my disease piled on me were a way in which I victimized myself. I was always judging, shaming and beating myself up because as a little child I got the message that something was wrong with me.

There is nothing wrong with me – or you. It is our relationship with ourselves and life that is dysfunctional. We are Spiritual beings who came into body in an emotionally dishonest, Spiritually hostile environment where everyone was trying to do human according to false belief systems. We were taught to expect life to be something that it isn’t. It isn’t our fault that things are so screwed up – it is however our responsibility to change the things we can within our self.

God/Goddess/Great Spirit, help me to access:

the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (life, other people),

The courage and willingness to change the things I can (me, my own attitudes and behaviors),

And the wisdom and clarity to know the difference.
(adapted version of Serenity Prayer)

Serenity is not Freedom from the Storm – it is Peace Amidst the Storm. (unknown)”

I have a series of articles about the Serenity Prayer on my website – the first one is Discernment – The Wisdom to Know the Difference in Serenity Prayer

There are ways that I say things when doing my workshop or talking to a phone counseling client that are not exactly the way I have written things.  This joke about the neurotic and psychotic is one of them.  What I say when speaking to someone is this.

There is a joke that someone told me at a perfect point in my recovery that really helped me.  The joke is “What is the difference between a neurotic and a psychotic.”  When I tell the joke, what I say is, “What is the difference between most of us codependents and the really crazy people?

The really crazy people – people who are schizophrenic or psychotic – will tell you that 2 plus 2 is 5 and truly believe it.  Codependents know it is 4 and can’t stand it.

What this helped me to see is that I could see how life is and I can’t stand it.  lt is not fair.  It is not just.  People aren’t nice.  We are destroying the planet and have all this violence and wars and it shouldn’t be that way!

Well, that was just making me a victim.  I was a victim of reality because I couldn’t stand how it was.  Being a victim wasn’t serving me because when I am buying into the belief that I am a victim then I am not owning that I have choices.

What I learned is that I need to accept reality as it is – which doesn’t mean I have to like it, acceptance doesn’t require me to like whatever it is.  But by accepting reality as it is, then I can see it more clearly and I can make the best choices for myself instead of being the victim of it not being what I want it to be – of another person not being who I want them to be.  I often didn’t want to accept that the reality was that someone I loved was not available to me, was not trustworthy or whatever – because if I accept reality then I need to own that I have a choice to let go of the relationship instead of focusing on trying to change the other person and being a victim of them not changing.  As the quote from my book above states, trying to have “some control is not a bad thing; trying to control something or somebody over which I have no control is what is dysfunctional.”

Here is another quote from one of my articles about how important acceptance is to – not only learning to have some serenity in our lives – but to owning our choices so we can become empowered to change our relationship with our selves into a more loving one.

“Recovery is a process of learning to accept reality.  Empowerment is about accepting reality as it is and making the best of it.  In order to accept reality, it is necessary for me to be honest enough with myself to realize that I am not in charge of this process.  I cannot make life do what I want it to – so I need to continuously surrender to the plan of The Great Spirit rather than try to force my plan on the Universe (and feel sorry for myself, or blame others, when that doesn’t work.)  It is not bad or shameful for me to try to make things happen the way I want – it is just human, dysfunctional, and painful.  The sooner I catch myself not accepting reality as it is, the sooner I can let go of my picture of how I think things need to be, the more serenity I have in my life.

Melody Beattie says “Learn the art of acceptance – it is a lot of grief.”  She is right.  Many times the reason I am not accepting reality is because I do not want to own the feelings involved.  The grief and anger over a loved one self-destructing.  The grief over having to let go of something or someone that means a lot to me.  The grief over accepting that life – from my perspective – is not fair or just.  One of the reasons that I try to control life is to protect myself from having to see someone I Love in pain.  I cannot protect others from the reality of life, or from themselves, – and if I think that I am trying to control someone else just for their sake I am lying to myself.

The principle behind the first step, and the foundation of the twelve step, or any Spiritual program, is self-honesty.  If we are not being honest with ourselves, then we are not capable of being honest with anyone.  It is vital to start stripping away the layers of denial, self-delusion, disassociation, magical thinking, victim thinking, blame, resentment, and dishonesty that we learned to protect ourselves with in childhood.  Again, it is not shameful or bad that we have used these behavioral and emotional defenses to protect our self – it is because we were wounded in a variety of ways in childhood.  Some of those ways include being: abandoned, betrayed, rejected, invalidated, shamed, discounted, deprived, degraded, abused, violated, damaged, put down, spiritually broken, emotionally raped, intellectually dishonored, hurt, humiliated, diminished, heart broken, molested, etc.

It is only by stripping away the defenses and false definitions of self that we had to adapt to survive that we can start getting in touch with our True Self.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with who we are – it is our relationship with ourselves that got so screwed up in childhood.  By learning how to be honest with ourselves we can change our relationship with our selves – and with our Self.” –  The Miracle of The Twelve Step Recovery Process: The first three steps

Sacred SpiralReading 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) would really help you take your 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 / that we learned to do life backwards.

In 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. I have special offers for either or both of these books (or for all three of my books) on this page.

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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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