A Higher Power of my own understanding – the beginning of empowerment

“This revolutionary idea was that an unconditionally Loving Higher Power exists with whom the individual being can personally communicate.  A Higher Power that is so powerful that it has no need to judge the humans it created because this Universal Force is powerful enough to ensure that everything unfolds perfectly from a Cosmic Perspective.

This reintroduction of the revolutionary concept of an accessible Loving God has been clarified to specifically include the concept that the individual being can define this Universal Force according to his/her own understanding, and can develop a personal, intimate relationship with this Higher Power.

In other words, no one is needed as an intermediary between you and your creator.  No outside agency has the right to impose upon you its definition of God.”

“Enlarging my perspective means changing my definitions, the definitions that were imposed on me as a child about who I am and how to do this life business.  In Recovery it has been necessary to change my definitions of, and my perspective of, almost everything.  That was the only way that it was possible to start learning how to Love myself.

I spent most of my life feeling like I was being punished because I was taught that God was punishing and that I was unworthy and deserved to be punished.  I had thrown out those beliefs about God and life on a conscious, intellectual level in my late teens – but in Recovery I was horrified to discover that I was still reacting to life emotionally based on those beliefs.

I realized that my perspective of life was being determined by beliefs that I had been taught as a child even though they were not what I believed as an adult.  That perspective caused my emotional truth to be that I felt like life was punishing me, and that I was not good enough – that something was wrong with me.  I felt like a victim of life, like a victim of myself, at the same time that I was blaming others for not making me happy.

I had to start trying to find a concept of a Higher Power who could Love me even though I was an imperfect human.  If my Creator is judging me then who am I not to judge myself?  On the other hand if the Goddess Loves me unconditionally then who am I not to Love myself?  And if the God/Goddess/Great Spirit/Universal Force Truly Loves me then everything has to be happening for reasons that are ultimately Loving. . . . . The only way that I was able to make significant progress in the process of stopping self-judgment and getting rid of the toxic shame was to become conscious of the larger perspective.  When I started to believe that maybe a Higher Power, a Universal Force, existed which was Truly All-Powerful and Unconditionally Loving then life started to become a lot easier and more enjoyable.” – All quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Twelve step recovery is a program of empowerment.  Many people erroneously assume that the fact that first step involves admitting powerlessness means that 12 step recovery disempowers people. The Truth is exactly the opposite.

It was only when I admitted that I was powerless to control my drinking that I gained the power to stop drinking.  As long as I was trying to control my drinking out of ego and will power, I was powerless to stop drinking alcoholically.  It was when I opened up to getting help from a power greater than myself that I gained the power to transform my life.  (There are some people – alcoholics – who can stop drinking using will power.  They are what is referred to in the program as dry drunks.  They are some of the most miserable, resentful, angry people on the face of the planet – because they have no spiritual belief system that is Loving.)

In the beginning for me, that power greater than myself was just the group – the people I met at AA meetings.  Those people shared their stories, their thoughts and feelings, in a way that I identified with.  Previously I had thought I was the only one who thought those kind of insane thoughts and had those kind of feelings of utter despair and hopelessness.  When I first got to AA, I realized that I was not alone – I felt a connection to these people, felt a part of something larger than myself.

I however, had a real problem with the talk of God that I heard at meetings.  I was raised in a shaming religion that taught me I was born sinful and shameful.  I was emotionally and spiritually abused as a young child by being taught that God loved me but might send me to burn in eternal damnation in hell.  I was taught that being human was shameful and sinful. (In one of my articles in my series on sexuality, gender, and relationships, I explained that it is not necessary for a person to be raised in a shaming religion to get the message that it is shameful to be human: Sexuality Abuse – the legacy of shame based culture.)

So, I had a real problem with even using the word God.  And this was not just because of my personal experience, but also because of what I had learned about the history of the planet.  I saw that throughout history “God” had been used as an justification for genocide, torture, plunder, and rape.  I saw that a civilization based upon the “command” to go forth to subdue and conquer, not only destroyed peoples and cultures that were much kinder and more Loving than the conquerors – but was an integral part of going a long way towards destroying the planet we live on.

In my younger days I had been involved in activism with Native Americans – whom I could clearly see had been victimized by subdue, conquer, and slaughter mentality of the dominant culture.  I found much beauty and harmony in the respect for nature and natural laws that was involved in the Native American concept a Higher Power – The Great Spirit.  In the beginning of my book, I state some reasons that I wrote it – which included the following sentence.

“This is my way of standing up for my Truth, and of honoring “All My Relations,” which is a Native American term that refers to the Great Spirit whose essence is present in everyone and everything.  We are all related to everyone and everything.”

If I had been told in January 1984, at the beginning of my recovery from alcoholism, that the only way I could quit killing myself with alcohol was to accept the standard version of “God” – I would never have gotten sober.  I would have been dead long ago.  But what I was told, was that I needed to find a concept of a Higher Power that worked for me – a Higher Power of my own understanding.   That was what saved my life – the revolutionary concept that I could develop my own idea of a Higher Power, and develop a personal relationship with that Higher Power that did not have to conform to what anyone else believed.

So, in the beginning of my recovery, I allowed the fact that people in meetings – whom I identified with – seemed to have found a way to live life that worked for them, to help me stay sober one day at a time.  I used the group as a power greater than myself, while I worked on trying to find a concept of a Higher Power that would work for me.

In those early days, I would call that Higher Power The Great Spirit – or The Force.  I remembered clearly that when the Star Wars movies first came out, I strongly resonated with the idea that “The Force is with you.”

It was when I was about 3 months sober that a book came into my life that altered my life, and my perspective of a Higher Power, immeasurably.  The miracle of the “coincidence” of discovering that book – a book that reached out and grabbed my attention from the paperback rack in a grocery store – is something that still reduces me to tears of Joy and Gratitude 20 years later.  I quoted that book several times in my book – and in this article I am going to use a quote from an online book I wrote that includes a quote from my book within it.  That online book is the one that I wrote about the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.  I wrote that online book because I saw the terrorist attack of 9/11 as a blatant manifestation of the human condition of codependency – and I will in this series of article be touching on some of the cultural and international manifestations of codependency that are causing the world conditions we are facing today.

“One of the first things I was guided to, when I was only about 3 months sober, was a mind boggling, paradigm smashing book called Illusions by Richard Bach.  It presented me with concepts that it took me years to understand intellectually.  But I knew instantly that the book was full of Truth.

“In order to become aligned with Truth so that we can stop the war within and change life into an easier, more enjoyable experience, it is vitally important to become clear in our emotional process and to change the reversed attitudes that we had to adopt to survive.  Those reversed attitudes are what cause our dysfunctional perspectives – which in turn, have caused us to have a lousy relationship with life. 

I am going to quote from a book now, and again a little later, that is my own personal favorite book of Truth.  I feel a great deal of Truth in this book.  It has guided me and helped me to remember my Truth and to become conscious of my path.  It was a very important part of my personal process of enlarging my perspective – of being able to see this life business in a larger context. 

It is a book called Illusions by Richard Bach.  This is one of my favorite quotations from that book. 

The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. 

What a caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.

The “depth of your belief” is about perspective.  If we are reacting to life emotionally out of the belief systems we had imposed on us as children we will then see change as tragedy and feel that being forced to grow is shameful.  As we change our attitudes toward this life experience, when we can start viewing it as a process, a journey, then we can begin to see that what we used to perceive as problems are really opportunities for growth.  Then we can begin to realize that even though our experiences in childhood have caused to think of ourselves as, and feel like, lowly caterpillars – we are in Truth butterflies who are meant to fly. 

We are all butterflies.  We are all Spiritual Beings.

I used to use the caterpillar – butterfly quote a lot when I spoke.  I would usually say something like “a measure of your Spiritual Awakening” instead of “mark of your ignorance” in order to soften it a bit.  We codependents are such experts in beating ourselves up and shaming ourselves, that we tend to see the word ignorance as being something that is our fault.  In fact, the word ignorance refers to a lack of knowledge, of not being informed.  The reason we didn’t know how to set boundaries, or have healthy relationships, was because of ignorance caused by not having anyone to teach us – no healthy role models, no resources for learning how to be healthy.  We not only did not have resources to teach us how to relate to life and other people in a healthy way – we were taught the very opposite of healthy behavior in most cases.” – Attack on America – A Spiritual Healing Perspective

The caterpillar and butterfly quote was incredibly powerful to me.  I saw quitting drinking as a great tragedy – as the end of life as I knew it.  And gratefully it was the end of life as I knew it, and the beginning of life as an adventure in learning to Love.

It was the concept that I could develop a belief in a Higher Power of my own understanding that helped to empower me to realize that I had a choice in the beliefs and definitions about “God” that I was allowing to dictate my relationship with life.  It was this revolutionary concept that started me on the path to realizing that I was Lovable – that I could reconnect with, and access, an Unconditionally Loving Universal Force in a way that would help me remember that I am a beautiful butterfly that can Fly.

So are you.  At least, that is my Spiritual Belief.

Sacred Spiral

The Dance

It is possible to get personally autographed copies of my books from my website Joy2MeU  or You can get my Books, eBooks, and Audiobooks through Amazon,  Books or eBooks through Barnes & Noble, or eBooks through Kobo.


Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to quote from: Illusions  “The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah” by Richard Bach.  Copyright 1977 by Creature Enterprises, Inc.   Reprinted in Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney by permission of Bantam Doubleday Dell, New York, NY.



A Higher Power of my own understanding 3 ~ Spirituality – a broader perspective

The Dance

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

“Perspective is a key to Recovery. I had to change and enlarge my perspectives of myself and my own emotions, of other people, of God and of this life business. Our perspective of life dictates our relationship with life. We have a dysfunctional relationship with life because we were taught to have a dysfunctional perspective of this life business, dysfunctional definitions of who we are and why we are here.

It is kind of like the old joke about three blind men describing an elephant by touch. Each one of them is telling his own Truth, they just have a lousy perspective. Codependence is all about having a lousy relationship with life, with being human, because we have a lousy perspective on life as a human.”

“So now I share this message with you, the reader of this book, in the hopes that it will help you to remember the Truth of who you are, and why you are here. This information is not meant to be absolute or the final word – it is meant as an alternative perspective for you to consider. A Cosmic Perspective that just might help to make life an easier, more enjoyable experience for you.”

“We were taught that death is a great tragedy and that we should spend our lives fearing and ignoring it. We were taught to fear death and to never live life. That’s backwards.

Death is a transition, a transformation, death is a milestone in the longer journey. It is not a tragedy to be feared – it is an eventuality to be accepted. What is tragedy is not enjoying living while we are here.” – all quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

In this series of articles, I am sharing my beliefs. As the quote from my book above states, I am not trying to impose my beliefs on anyone else. I am sharing them as an alternative perspective for you to consider. These are the beliefs that work for me. I do not need for other people to agree with me, I am just sharing my perspective because I have found that many people find it helpful.

I do not waste my time and energy arguing with people who think I am wrong. People who believe that their beliefs are the only “right” beliefs, and any others are “wrong” – are reacting out of the black and white thinking of their codependency, in my opinion.

I have over the years had many people – usually ones who were raised in a shaming religion – who objected to any use of the word God, or anything they thought was “religious.” I wrote an article for them on my web site – in an attempt to help them stop reacting to the extreme so that they could start seeing the gray area between the extremes of “right” and “wrong.” For anyone who would like to check that article out, here is a link to it: Spirituality for Agnostics and Atheists

I have also over the years received periodically, what I call Christian hate mail. People who would write to me and tell me how wrong I was, how I would be damned for my beliefs – how I had to be “washed in the blood of the lamb” for my soul to be saved.

That there could even be such a thing as “Christian hate mail” is to me evidence of how twisted and perverted the teachings of Jesus Christ – whose message was about Love – have been in some versions of Christianity. I believe that Jesus Christ was the greatest Master Teacher in the history of mankind – and that great harm has been done in his name throughout the history of the planet because of twisted, rigid, black and white interpretations of the bible by wounded, terrified codependents. (I shared my beliefs about Jesus and the bible in my Update Newsletter for December 2004. I will be quoting from that later in this article – and provide a link to it for anyone who is interested in my personal perspective.)

Codependency is at it’s core, a relationship with life that is based upon fear, shame, and scarcity. Codependency recovery in my belief, is about changing our ego programming, changing the conscious and subconscious beliefs that are dictating our relationship with self and life, to ones that are more aligned with the belief in a Loving Higher Power / God-Force / Goddess Energy / Great Spirit – not a punishing one.

In a follow up article to the one for agnostics and atheists, I offer a definition of spirituality that is based upon being open to enlarging one’s perspective of self and life.

“My own personal Spiritual belief system is one form of spirituality. It is certainly not the only one. Mine works for me very well in helping me to have a relationship with life that allows me to be happier today. It is not necessary for you to accept my belief system in order for you to use the tools, techniques, and perspectives that I have developed for emotional healing / codependence recovery / inner child integration.

For the purposes of this discussion of spiritual integration, I would now define what I refer to as a Spiritual Awakening in the quote above, as: being open to a larger perspective – awakening from being trapped in a limiting perspective. In this regard, spiritual would be a qualifier, an adjective, that describes the quality of one’s relationship with life.

This adjective, spiritual, would be (in my definition) a word describing an expanded level of consciousness. A level of consciousness, of awareness, that is expansive and inclusive and facilitates personal growth – as opposed to limited, exclusive, rigid, and inhibiting growth, development, and alternative view points.

By this definition, any religion that claims to be the chosen one, that excludes alternative perspectives or certain people, is not spiritual.” – The Recovery Process for inner child healing – spiritual integration

This particular column has grown out of the fact that this past Sunday was Easter. Easter, like other “Christian” Holidays, is a celebration that was designed to replace the pagan holidays of the people the early Christians were trying to convert.

“Christmas, like almost every other Christian Holiday, is a celebration that was usurped from Pagan religions that preceded Christianity. The early Christians obviously included some people who were very good at marketing, because they made Christianity more palatable to the people they were trying to convert by stealing Pagan celebrations and making them Christian Holidays.

“This early pragmatism of Christianity laid the foundation for Christianity to become the state religion of Rome. That state religion then became very dogmatic in using Christianity to conquer, subdue, and control the masses.” – Joy2MeU Update December 2004

Easter is scheduled in the same time period as the Spring Equinox. Spring is the time of new beginnings – of new growth, of rebirth, of resurrection. Easter is about resurrection and the Truth of eternal life.

When I began my quest to understand how it was possible that there could be a Higher Power, a God-Force, that was Loving – one of the first limiting perspectives I needed to enlarge was my perspective of life and death.

As the quote from my book above states, death is a transition. The Soul / Spirit leaves the physical body at death – but the Soul does not die. The energy that is the Soul existed prior to birth and continues after death. The Soul has eternal life in my belief.

Here is a another quote from my online book about the terrorist attack of 9/11, that I quoted last month. Again, within this quote is a quote in italics from my book.

“One of the first things I needed to do was to change the context in which I viewed life. I realized that if I looked at this life experience as if it were a one time thing – that our existence began with birth and ended with death – there was no possible way that it could be fair and Loving. Not with billionaires on one hand and children starving to death on the other.

The only way I could see that it was possible that there was a Universal Force that could possibly be Loving, that could possibly Love me in my imperfect humanness, that could possibly have a Divine Plan that was somehow fair and equitable – was over the span of multiple lifetimes. Reincarnation is what made sense when I started searching for some Spiritual answers.

“All the worlds a stage and the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”
– William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II Scene 1

“We have all lived multiple lifetimes. We have all experienced every facet of being human.

We are now not just healing our wounds from this lifetime, we are doing Karmic settlement on a massive scale, at a very accelerated rate.

Karma is the Loving, wonderful law of energy interaction which governs human interaction. Like the other levels of Universal Law, it is about cause and effect. In this case, “what you sow, you reap.”

Karmic Law dictates that every action of cause on the Physical Plane is paid for with a consequence of effect on the Physical Plane. In other words, no one can end up in the hole, or in some hell in an afterlife. (Hell is here on earth, and we have all experienced it already.)”

Starting to see death as a transition, as a milestone in a longer journey, made life make more sense to me. It at least had the possibility of being fair and Loving, if the part of it I could see was only a small piece of a much larger puzzle.” – Attack on America – A Spiritual Healing Perspective

Codependency involves relating to life out of fear because of getting the message in childhood that life is a test that we can fail. Codependency involves relating to life and self out of shame because we got the message that it was shameful to be imperfect humans. Living life out of fear and shame is hell.

There is a quote I heard some years ago – whose origins I do not know – that I resonate with very strongly.

Religion is for people who are scared of hell. Spirituality is for people who have been there.

Again, these are my beliefs I am sharing here. I do not need any communications from people who believe I am wrong. You have a right to your beliefs, I have a right to mine.”

Sacred SpiralThis is the third in a 10 part series focused on A Higher Power of my own understanding – the first one is A Higher Power of my own understanding

Reading my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls  (links to all of my books in both hard copy, ebook format, and audiobook 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.

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 in San Diego to teach people how to apply my inner child healing formula.  The next one is on August 9th.

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.

I have a new site focused on my work that is designed to be mobile friendly for all those people using mobile devices these days: http://recoverycodependence.com/

Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light ~ Chapter 1 Introduction to Inner Child Healing

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 (aka A Formula for Spiritual Integration and Emotional Balance)

“One of the reasons for the human dilemma, for the confusion that humans have felt about the meaning and purpose of life, is that more than one level of reality comes into play in the experience of being human.  Trying to apply the Truth of one level to the experience of another has caused humans to become very confused and twisted in our perspective of the human experience.  It is kind of like the difference between playing the one-dimensional chess that we are familiar with, and the three-dimensional chess played by the characters of Star Trek – they are two completely different games.

The Dance

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

That is the human dilemma – we have been playing the game with the wrong set of rules.  With rules that do not work.  With rules that are dysfunctional.” – Author’s Foreword, quotes in this color from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

This book is about healing.  It contains tools, techniques, and insights into the healing process that work in a powerful, effective way to change the quality of the individuals life experience for the better.  They work because they help the individual to align with the way life really works instead of expecting it to be something which it is not.

The approach to healing detailed on these pages is one which has evolved in my personal recovery since January 3, 1984 and in my counseling practice since 1990.  I have been guided to discover and develop an approach to inner child healing 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.

My work is firmly grounded on twelve step recovery principles and emotional energy release / grief process therapy.   I specialize in teaching individuals how to become empowered to have internal boundaries so they can learn to relax and enjoy life in the moment while healing.  It is the unique approach and application of the concept of internal boundaries, coupled with a Loving Spiritual belief system, that makes the work so innovative and effective.

My belief is that we are Spiritual Beings having a human experience and that the key to healing (and integrating Spiritual Truth into our emotional experience of life) is fully awakening to our Spiritual connection through intellectual reprogramming, emotional honesty, grief processing, and inner child work.   It is not necessary to agree with my Spiritual beliefs to apply the approach I share on these pages to help you transform your experience of life into an easier, more Loving and enjoyable journey.  I consider Spirituality to be a word that describes one’s relationship with life – and anyone, regardless of religious belief or lack of it (who is not completely closed minded), can benefit from doing this work.

The wounding that needs to be healed is the result of being raised in a shame-based, emotionally dishonest, Spiritually hostile (based upon belief in separation rather than connection) environment by parents who were raised in a shame-based, emotionally dishonest, Spiritually hostile environments.  The disease which afflicts us is a generational disease that is the human condition as we have inherited it.  Our parents did not know how to be emotionally healthy or how to truly Love themselves.  So there is no way that we could have learned those things from them.

We formed our core relationship with ourselves in early childhood and then built our relationship with ourselves on that foundation.  We have lived life reacting to the wounds that we suffered – and the programming we integrated – in early childhood.  Living life in reaction to old wounds and old tapes is dysfunctional – it does not work to help us find some happiness and fulfillment in life.

The approach that is detailed on these pages does work.  It works to help the individual being learn to relax and enjoy life in the moment.  It works because it entails healing the wounds from the inside out – it is focused on changing our core relationship with ourselves.  Once an individual starts loving, honoring, and respecting her/him self more on a core level, everything on the outside changes.  External manifestation such as setting boundaries, seeing life and other people more clearly, letting go of trying to control and the worrying that accompanies those attempts, stopping the victimization, etc., start becoming more automatic and intuitive.

“It is necessary to own and honor the child who we were in order to Love the person we are. And the only way to do that is to own that child’s experiences, honor that child’s feelings, and release the emotional grief energy that we are still carrying around.”

There are a multitude of teachers, books, churches, etc., these days that are telling us that we need to learn to love themselves – but no one really tells us how to do that.  Learn to Love your self.  Easy to say, hard to do.  Love is like faith, in that both are pretty meaningless as intellectual concepts.  Love is a verb.  Verbs are about action.  Learning how to be more Loving in how we treat our self is the challenge.

The approach to healing detailed in this book is a formula that can help people learn to be more Loving to them self.  We learned how to relate to self, to life, and to other people in early childhood from people who were wounded in their childhoods.  We have been reacting to the intellectual programming and emotional wounds of our childhood ever since then.  In order to change our relationship with self and life, it is necessary to change the subconscious and conscious programming that is causing our relationship with self and life to be dysfunctional.  In order to start having some peace within us, it is necessary to be healing our emotional wounds and to stop our minds from being our own worst enemy.

The approach to inner child / emotional healing shared herein 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.

It is possible to feel the feelings without being the victim of them or victimizing other’s with them.  It is possible to change the way you think so that your mind is no longer your worst enemy.  It is possible to become empowered to have choices in life at the same time you are letting go of trying to be in control.  Life can be an exciting, enjoyable adventure if you stop reacting to it out of your childhood emotional wounds and attitudes.

The tools and techniques, insights and beliefs, set out in this book work.  They work to support the idea that each and every one of us is Lovable and worthy.  They work to help change life from an unbearable ordeal to a often enjoyable adventure.  Try it – you might find it works for you also.” – Chapter 1 Introduction to Inner Child Healing from Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1: Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing (aka A Formula for Spiritual Integration and Emotional Balance) by Robert Burney

When you purchase Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light   Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing through Joy2MeU you get a personally autographed copy;-) but you can also purchase through Amazon.com or  Amazon UK or Barnes & Noble.

Available as eBook from Amazon or Amazon UK or Barnes & Noble or Kobo ereaders

Special offers available for Dancing in The Light plus Telephone / Skype Counseling.

An audio book version of Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1: Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing (aka A Formula for Spiritual Integration and Emotional Balance) is available on  Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.


Happy Holidays, Sad Holidays

Book cover

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

 ““We need to become clear internally on what messages are coming from the disease, from the old tapes, and which ones are coming from the True Self – what some people call “the small quiet voice.”

   We need to turn down the volume on those loud, yammering voices that shame and judge us and turn up the volume on the quiet Loving voice.  As long as we are judging and shaming ourselves we are feeding back into the disease, we are feeding the dragon within that is eating the life out of us.  Codependence is a disease that feeds on itself – it is self-perpetuating.

    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.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

    The holidays were always a very hard time for me emotionally.  Being alone on Christmas and New Years Eve was very painful.  So painful that sometimes I would arrange to be with someone or with a group of people just so I wouldn’t be alone.  That often was more painful than being alone.  And on those occasions when I was in a relationship during the holidays it was also painful because there was something missing, somehow I was failing the other person or she was failing me because even though there were moments of Joy and Love, it never felt quite like it “should” feel.

    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.

    Christmas is about Love and birth – rebirth.  The Winter Solstice is the time of the longest darkness and marks the point of increasing light, the new beginning.  Hanukkah is a celebration of, and time of, rededication.  Kwanzaa is a time of recommitment.  These are all times of both celebration and introspection.  Of assessing the past and focusing on what we want to create in the future (New Years resolutions.)  Any new beginning, any birth or rebirth is a also an ending.  With every ending there is sadness, feelings of loss and grief.  Loss because of Loved ones who are no longer in our life, grief because Loved ones who are still in our life cannot see us or understand us, sadness because of things that ended and people we have had to let go of during the past year.

    What is so important, what has changed my experience of these Holidays 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) and be wherever I need to be emotionally – that is, allowing myself to be emotionally honest with myself.  That does not mean that I have to be emotionally honest with other people.  If I am feeling grief because I am alone on the Holiday 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.

    I don’t have to live up to some false expectations about how I “should” be feeling today.  It was 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.  It was on Christmas about 25 years ago that I got real clear that I could feel more than one feeling at once.  I was sad that it was Christmas and I was alone, and I was grieving for all of the Christmases that I had been sad 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.

    It is so very important to stop judging ourselves against someone else’s 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.

    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.

    So, have a happy, merry, sad, Joyous, painful, peaceful, scary, cheerful in the moment Holiday season experiencing what it feels like to be alive in human body.  Whatever your celebration: Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, New Years, etc. let it be about the new beginning; the rededication to: the recommitment to: the rebirth of; life.  But most of all, let it be about Love by first of all Loving yourself enough to tell the critical parent voice in your head to shut up with all the comparisons and shame and judgment.”

Sacred Spiral

Special Holiday Offers – Give the gift of recovery this year by giving some people you care about a personally autographed copy of Robert’s Joyously Inspirational Book.  3 copies of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls for the bargain price of $12 each plus shipping – save almost $18.00 off of retail price.  There are also links to special offers for phone counseling, subscriptions, MP3 downloads, and Robert Burney’s Intensive Training Day Workshop on that page.


Changing the Music: Love instead of fear and shame

This is Chapter 13 from Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light  Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life

“When I was working on these two chapters focused on codependency and the New Age Movement, I got an e-mail from someone who had recently ordered my book Codependence:  The Dance of Wounded Souls that said the following:

Dance, Dance, wherever you may be.  That’s what the Lord of the Dance said He.  Dance, Dance, wherever you may be and I’ll be with you in the Dance said He.

The trick is to change the music!  I got it!  The trick is to get free, so you can dance to a different music.  The freer you get the more you hear, or should I say feel or see the music.  You did a great job – Thanks

“The dance of life for humans has been grounded in shame and fear, empowered by belief in separation, lack, and scarcity.  These are lower vibrational emotions and beliefs based on the three dimensional illusion that humans experience as reality.  As long as the dance of humans harmonizes to music – vibrational emanations – that are rooted in shame, fear, and separation the only way to do the dance is destructively.”

“It is on the Spiritual Plane that the highest vibrational frequency range naturally available to human experience is generated (by the Souls). This frequency range is the transcendent Emotional energy of Love. This Love frequency range also contains frequencies which are experienced as Truth, Joy, Beauty, and Light as well as sometimes being called; the God within, the Goddess within, the Christ within, The Holy Spirit, etc.”

The later two quotes are from my page: The True Nature of Love – part 3, Love as a Vibrational Frequency.  The second one in a different color because it is a quote from my Trilogy that I used on that page.  I believe that the first part of the person’s e-mail – up to “I’ll be with you in the Dance said He.” – is from a song called Lord of the Dance.

What is important about this e-mail I received is that the person did “get it.”  We need to change the music we are dancing to – and in order to do that we need to change the subconscious intellectual paradigm that is dictating our emotional reactions.  And we cannot do that without doing the deep emotional healing.

“We grew up in dysfunctional families living in dysfunctional societies that were part of dysfunctional civilizations.  The definitions we learned in childhood about who we were, how life works, and how to relate to other people were false, distorted, and twisted.  Because the definitions, attitudes, and beliefs we were programmed with in childhood were false, they set us up to have emotional reactions to life that gave us inaccurate information.

“Our experiential reality is determined by the interpretations of our mind – by the intellectual paradigm which we are using to define / determine / translate / explain our reality.  The attitudes, definitions, and belief systems which we hold mentally dictate our emotional reactions.  Attitudes, definitions, and beliefs determine perspective and expectation – which in turn dictates our relationships.  Our relationships to our self, to life, to other people, to The God-Force / Goddess Energy / Great Spirit.  Our relationships to our own emotions, bodies, gender, etc., are dictated by the attitudes, definitions, and beliefs that we are holding mentally / intellectually.  And we acquired those mental constructs / ideas / concepts in early childhood from the emotional experiences, intellectual teachings, and role modeling of the beings around us.  If we have not done our emotional healing so that we can get in touch with our subconscious intellectual programming then we are still reacting to that early childhood programming / intellectual paradigm even though we may not be aware of it consciously.” – The True Nature of Love – part 4, Energetic Clarity

Our emotions are what drive us, what propel us, through life.  Our emotions tell us who we are.  If our relationship with our own emotions is messed up, we cannot see reality clearly.

If life is a dance, then our emotions provide the music.  Dancing in the dark according to rules that are dysfunctional is not much fun.  Dancing through life believing that we have responsibility for the feelings and behaviors of others, doesn’t allow us to relax and enjoy life very much.  Believing that we have to earn love by doing the dance “right,’ by being perfect, in order to reach the destination where we will get to live happily-ever-after – sets us up to be unhappy and blame ourselves for being unworthy and unlovable.” – Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility Part 2 – codependence recovery

It is through doing our deep emotional healing and changing the subconscious intellectual paradigm – changing the music that we are dancing to – that we can start having discernment internally that allows us to more clearly hear / feel the messages of our intuition.  There is a huge difference between our emotional truth – the feelings that are triggered by our emotional wounds and/or created by the perspective we are viewing life from – and intuitive Truth that is coming from our Soul.  As long as our emotional truth – what we feel – is being dictated by childhood emotional wounds and the perspectives of self and life learned in childhood, then our relationship to this human dance will be dictated by music provided by our damaged ego self rather than the intuitive Truth that is coming from our Spiritual Self.

Book cover

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

Truth, in my understanding, is not an intellectual concept.  I believe that Truth is an emotional-energy, vibrational communication to my consciousness, to my soul/spirit – my being, from my Soul.  Truth is an emotion, something that I feel within.

It is that feeling within when someone says, or writes, or sings, something in just the right words so that I suddenly feel a deeper understanding.  It is that “AHA” feeling.  The feeling of a light bulb going on in my head.  That “Oh, I get it!” feeling.  The intuitive feeling when something just feels right . . . or wrong.  It’s that gut feeling, the feeling in my heart.  It is the feeling of something resonating within me.  The feeling of remembering something that I had forgotten – but do not remember ever knowing.

In this dance of life that we are doing there are different levels – even of Truth with a capital T.  There are ultimate Truths, and there are relative Truths.  The ultimate Truths have to do with the eternal, everlasting reality of the God-Force, the Great Spirit.  The relative Truths have to do with each individual’s own intuitive guidance.  These are the messages we receive individually to get us from point A to point B on our individual paths.  The guidance we get from our Souls that tells us what the next thing in front of us is.

Our individual, relative Truths expand and grow as we expand and grow.  We each have our own unique path to follow – our own individual inner guidance system.  No one can tell you what your path is!  Your Truth is a personal thing.  Only you can know your Truth.

It is through following and being True to our individual Truths, as they relate to our path through this physical experience, that we reach balance and harmony with the ultimate Truths.” – text in this color is used for quotes from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

We have been dancing through life in disharmony and imbalance – in dis-ease.  It is by clearing up our relationship with our own internal process – so that we can change our core relationship with self and life – that we can start to dance with some balance and harmony to the music of the ultimate Truth of Love and Joy.

Codependent, shaming New Agers, Twelve Steppers, Spiritual Seekers, Health Fanatics

At the end of the last chapter of this work, I shared a quote from my online book about the Attack on America in which I called on spiritual and New Age teachers and healers and practitioners to be willing to be open to expanding their intellectual paradigm so that they could stop empowering polarity and shame about being human.  I cannot emphasize too much how important this is – for all of us who are doing this healing and spiritual work.

I will be talking more about the metaphysical aspects of this in a later chapter, but in this chapter I want to focus on integrating Love into this human horizontal dance we are doing – and how vital and freeing it is to stop empowering polarity.  Learning how to stop viewing ourselves, life, and other people from a black and white / right and wrong perspective is the key to manifesting Love into the World.

“I am mentioning it here because the sharing I am doing here about how I take power away from the black and white thinking in my internal process, is at the core of the work that I refer to in the slogan / bumper sticker Work for World Peace:  Heal Your Inner Child.  What I am talking about here, is how we manifest Love into our internal process – how to integrate Spiritual Truth into our emotional relationship with life.  It is The Work – not just to learn how to relax and enJoy life, which it does make possible – but The Work that will change the condition of polarization of the Lower Mind.  It is through doing this work individually that we will change the world.

So, I guess you can see why I think it is pretty important.” – May 23, 2001 Update Newsletter  Part 2

It is very normal for people who are:  spiritual seekers of the New Age or any type;  trying to learn how to be healthier and have better relationships;  in recovery and terrified of drinking and/or acting addictively again;  attempting to find some meaning and purpose to life that makes sense and brings inner peace;  etc.;  to be shaming and judging of self and others because they are not in recovery from their codependency – are not doing the emotional healing that will allow them to change the subconscious beliefs that they learned in childhood.

“It is quite common – especially with “New Age” types, but also in 12 step recovery programs – for codependents to give other codependents the message that “you must be doing something wrong” or you would not be:  1. in financial difficulty,  2. sick,  3. out of a job,  4. in a relationship,  5. not in a relationship,  6. whatever.  For people to judge others for how their life looks on the outside.  No one has a right to judge someone else’s path.  No one can know what Karma someone else is settling, and what is necessary to settle that Karma.  If one person is able to cure themselves of cancer and another person dies of cancer – that doesn’t mean one person did it right and another did it wrong.  Each of them is perfectly on their path.  There is no right and wrong.  We are all one.  We all get to go home.  We have different lesson plans while we are here.  There is no right and wrong.” – Joy2MeU Journal: My Present Situation – Having “IT” together 6-99

This quote from the personal journal I share in my Joy2MeU Journal is something I wrote in 1999 while I was homeless – something I talked about in the Newsletter portion of my January 2002 Update.

“I spent 6 months in 1999 being homeless.  Not on the street homeless – I had an office for my computer – but crashing on someone’s couch kind of homeless.  The lessons in acceptance and patience and letting go that I learned during that time were sacred gifts.  The level of faith that it forced me to access and practice, the depth to which I was forced to integrate my Spiritual belief system into my relationship with life, was a manifestation of Love from my Higher Power that I am now – and have been – reaping great benefits from.” – January 2002 Update Newsletter:  Part 1

Being homeless for that period of time – something that happened because I invested in starting this web site – was a perfect part of my lesson plan.  It was an incredible opportunity to practice what I teach.  To keep affirming that my path was unfolding perfectly even as the human part of me felt abandoned and betrayed.  It was an invaluable opportunity – a sacred gift – to work on not buying into the polarized perspective of my ego programming that was trying to tell me I was being punished for doing something wrong because of the external conditions in my life.

The fact that other people were giving me the message that I was doing something wrong – were saying things like, “what did you do to cause this?” or “how are you blocking abundance in your life?” – was additional practice in saying, “I am not doing anything wrong, I didn’t cause this, I am perfectly where I am supposed to be on my Spiritual path.”

It was a very important part of my recovery to stand up for myself in response to people who were conveying those types of judgmental statements.  That doesn’t mean that I did not have some responsibility in creating whatever external condition those people were judging me for – or that I didn’t have a lot of issues around abundance that I have been working through for years.  We have been creating cause all of our lives – and what is manifesting in our life right now may be a result of the unconscious behavior of many years ago.  In other words, someone who has been on a spiritual path for 10 years gets some kind of physical illness – that doesn’t mean that their part in causing that happened since they started their spiritual awakening.  It may be that many years of unconscious behavior have contributed to that condition – behaviors that we were powerless over in the years prior to recovery.  So, when someone has a cold and you say, “well what are you doing to cause that?” – stop and think about the kind of message that conveys.  It conveys a message that the other person is doing something wrong – that they are being punished.  That is not a Loving message to convey.  Why do it?

Of course, the reason why people convey messages like that is because they are judging themselves.  The judgment externally is a reflection of the judgment internally.  That is something I realized in early recovery when I was trying to learn how to get in touch with my feelings.  I realized that if I went into the grocery store and experienced it as being full of jerks and idiots, that I needed to stop and ask myself what I was judging myself for that day.  When I am judging and shaming myself, I have a very negative perspective of other human beings.  When I am Loving myself by accepting that where I am at in this moment is somehow part of my healing process, then I have more capacity to accept that wherever you are at in this moment is okay also.  By learning how to have compassion for me, I gain the ability to have compassion for you – to see you as a wounded soul doing the best you know how to do at this moment.

And having compassion for me includes having the ability to set boundaries with you if that is necessary.   As I have said previously, Unconditional Love doesn’t mean being a doormat.  During that time that I was homeless – and many other times in my recovery – I was given the opportunity to stand up for myself externally as a reflection of what I was learning about having boundaries with the critical parent voice in my own head.  The more I am able to have boundaries internally, the more naturally, normally, and spontaneously I found myself setting boundaries externally.

Learning to have internal boundaries allowed me to start changing my relationship with my self from the inside out – rather than trying to do things on the outside “right” to try to feel better inside.  Healing is an inside job that needs to be done with compassion, patience, and Love, not something to be judged according to external conditions – or in comparison to others.

Moment of Clarity

Part of the reason I was able to stand up for myself and know that whatever was happening in my life was a perfect part of my path, was a moment of clarity I had in early recovery that I wrote about a few days after the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 – when I started to write my online book.  I ended up not using the passage about that moment of clarity in that book – and now it fits in perfectly in this one.

Even though I was at a pretty rudimentary level of consciousness back in 1985 or 86 when this happened, I was open enough that I had started to experience moments of Knowing, feelings of intuitive Truth.  I was already starting to access the mystical channel within me even though I had not yet at that time begun my conscious codependency recovery.  I was awake enough to recognize moments of clarity – where an insight would come to me, and the Truth of it would resonate powerfully in my being.  Here is that passage:

“Once such moment of clarity came one day at an AA meeting in my then home group in Studio City.  It related to a news story I had heard earlier in the day.  The story was about a man who had been drunk and had been driven home by friends.  After getting home, he had gotten another set of keys and started off driving down the street in a black out.  He had smashed his car into the front of a house and narrowly missed killing a little girl asleep in her bed.

The street was one that I had lived on towards the end of my drinking career.  It was a street that ran off of Ventura boulevard into the Hollywood Hills – and then curved back down to the boulevard again after the name of it changed to Cahuenga West.  I had thought living on that street was great because I could walk about a half a mile in one direction to a good drinking bar – and a half a mile in another to a party bar with live bands.  I had gotten a DUI a few years before and had realized that drinking and driving didn’t mix – so with perfect alcoholic logic I would drink and walk.

I related to the story, not just because of the street, but also because I had driven so many times in black outs.  For those of you who are not alcoholic, a black out is when alcohol causes some kind of short circuit in the brain.  A person in a black out still walks and talks and drives – but has no memory of what occurred during the black out period the next day.  I had a black out the first time I got drunk – and continued to have them for 17 + years of drinking.

Sitting in the meeting that day, I was of course, profoundly grateful that I had never killed anyone in a black out.  That I hadn’t driven onto a freeway going the wrong way and ended up in prison for years having to live with wiping out a family.  That I wasn’t the guy who had driven into the house the night before.

Beyond the gratitude however, came a profound Knowing.  The insight that I had that day – perhaps my first experience of pure, clear humility – was that I wasn’t sitting in an AA meeting a couple years sober because I was better than the man who ran into the house.  I wasn’t even sitting there while he was in jail because I had done something right while he was doing something wrong.

What I saw so clearly that day, was that I was where I was – and he was where he was – because that was how the Divine Plan was meant to unfold.  That we were both children of God, extensions of the Divine, and that we each had a path we had come into body to fulfill.  For whatever reason – Karmic Settlement, certainly playing a large part – he was perfectly where he was supposed to be and I was perfectly where I was supposed to be.

When I watched a good friend die of alcoholism a few years later (The Death of an Alcoholic – codependency kills alcoholic), besides learning some huge lessons in letting go and acceptance, I also saw clearly that he was following his path perfectly.  That some people die of alcoholism, of drug addiction, of violence – and it is a perfect part of the unfolding of the Divine Plan.

In my Spiritual belief system, this perfect unfolding also includes death by terrorists who turn airliners into bombs.”

“What a caterpillar calls the end of the world, God calls a butterfly.”

That moment of clarity was a very powerful building block in the foundation of my Spiritual belief system. It is not okay in my Spiritual belief system to judge where another person is on their path.  As I say in the quote from my Journal above:

“No one has a right to judge someone else’s path.  No one can know what Karma someone else is settling, and what is necessary to settle that Karma.”

This is something I have been working to integrate into my emotional and intellectual relationship with life since that time.  It was an invaluable insight for me in my process of learning to Love my self and honor wherever I am at on my path today.  It is something that I have made great progress integrating – which is what allows me to work with other people in a way that is not shaming and judgmental, that gives me the space to allow them to follow their path.

“There were two interrelated things that I had to get clear about when I started working as a therapist:  One is that I am powerless over other people – over the pace of their progress, over whether they hear what I am saying to them, over where their path leads.  I watched a good friend die of Alcoholism (which is in a column in the Alcoholism section) and saw how clearly he helped other alcoholics stay sober because he couldn’t – he did more to keep more people sober than many of the sober people I know.  I can’t know what someone else’s’ path is – therefore I can’t tell them what is right and wrong.  What I can do is help them see themselves clearer (especially as to understanding how their childhood experiences have dictated their lives), see their choices and the possible consequences clearer, and know that we are Spiritual Beings going to boarding school not taking a test we can fail.

Which brings me to the second thing, which I believe is a Spiritual Truth – I teach best what I need most to learn.  I teach people how to Love themselves because I am trying to learn how to Love myself.  I learned to always listen to what I was saying because, though I have no control whether anyone else hears me, I do have the power to choose to hear myself – and there is always something in what I am saying that applies to me and my process in that moment. . . . .  I am in process just as my clients are – just as we all are.  There is no hierarchy as far as I am concerned – just one wounded person / Magnificent Spiritual Being sharing what has worked for me with another wounded person / Magnificent Spiritual Being. I am doing what I need to do for myself, to heal myself – it doesn’t have to do with anyone else – that it helps other people is just a bonus (and an opportunity to settle Karma).” – Joy to You & Me Newsletter I – July 1,1998 quoted in Choosing a therapist or counselor with discernment

[I wrote a whole section here about how our language is polarized – which makes it very difficult to talk about the multiple levels of this dynamic without sometimes sounding like there is a right and wrong.  I will probably include that in a future chapter, but want to note briefly here that when I am talking about judging another persons path I am talking about taking ego strength – feeling better than – by judging where they are in comparison to where we are, or where we think they “should” be.  When we judge another human based upon the external conditions in their life, or their outward behavior or appearance, to feed our egos, we are being emotional vampires.  We all need to observe our self (to make objective judgments about whether our behaviors are working for us) and others (to decided if they are someone we want to be around) – but to judge their worth as a being based upon externals, or to compare ourselves to them (either negatively or positively), is being codependent.  In other words, we need to observe and make objective discerning evaluations not value judgments.  (To say, “He is an idiot” is a value judgment.  To say, “He is acting like an idiot” is focused on behavior rather than being which is good, but still involves some name calling / assigning a negative value judgment to behavior.  To say, “From what I see of his behavior he must be really wounded and insecure – probably someone I don’t want to spend time with.” is a more objective evaluation.)

No one can see where another person has come from to get to where they are now – how much progress they have made on their path.  None of us can know the depths of the wounds that are driving another persons behavior.  No one can know what Karma another person is settling.  A New Age spiritual seeker can be just as self righteously shaming as a religious fundamentalist when they making value judgments about other people based upon a black and white belief system – that is not Loving.]

curing cancer / manifesting abundance

One other thing I want to note from that quote from my journal.  The thing I mention about cancer was a result of something that happened in a workshop I did at a Unity Church in Santa Barbara a few years back.

“If one person is able to cure themselves of cancer and another person dies of cancer – that doesn’t mean one person did it right and another did it wrong.”

In some context I mentioned someone I knew who cured themselves of cancer.  Later when I was answering questions, a woman in the group asked a question that obviously was very emotional for her – and also made it clear that she had taken my reference to mean that her husband who died of cancer had not done his healing “right.”

At that point I got to share with that person, and the people in the workshop, the message from the passage above about our paths unfolding perfectly.  The reason I want to make note of this here, is because of the irony involved in what happened in that workshop.  I know a number of people that have been able to successful heal themselves of cancer, but the one I was thinking about whom I made mention of on that day is a perfect example of the kind of sophisticated level of the process I am talking about in this chapter – and in much of this online book.

That particular woman did not cure her cancer because she was so enlightened, because she was so far along in her recovery.  It was because of her codependency that she was able to cure that cancer.  It was a project to her.  She was one of the types of codependents who are addicted to doing projects – and doing them perfectly.  She used her black and white thinking to do the “right” things to cure her cancer.

Accessing and manifesting the power available to us from the Universe doesn’t require codependency recovery.  This woman was a perfect example.  She was doing it “right” – and because she was following a formula that worked, she was able to do something modern science says is impossible.  But like so many codependents who believe they are doing it “right” – from health fanatics to anyone who believes their way is the only way to God to the New Age authors who tell people that Love and fear are the only choices – they will judge and shame other people for where they are at on their paths.  Some of the more enlightened people, who have been on a spiritual / healing path for years, may do that shaming very subtly because their ego self image is invested in what a loving person they are – but unless their intellectual paradigm is large enough to be Truly Loving, a discerning person can sense their judgment (especially if you disagree with or challenge them.)

This experience with cancer for the woman I knew, did not help her relax in her relationship with life, did not help her to access more Joy in her life – because she was still relating to life from a black and white intellectual paradigm that required her to try to control life.  She had been able to heal her cancer but hadn’t changed the fundamental music of her dance.  When she finished her healing cancer project she went right back into her remodeling her house project to try to do that perfectly.

We cannot control life.  Trying to control life will keep us in fear of making “mistakes,” of doing life “wrong” – will keep us destination oriented.  We were programmed to relate to life as if it were a test we can fail.  That type of relationship with life does not allow us to relax and be present in the moment today.

“Many of us have pursued healing and Recovery just like we did the rest of our lives – as if it were a destination to be reached where we would find “happily ever after.”  We have gone to healers and psychics and therapists in order to learn the “right” way to do life.

Recovery is not a dance of right and wrong, of black and white – it is a dance of integration and balance.  The questions in Recovery are:  Is it working for you?  Is the way you live your life working to meet your needs?  Is the way you are living your life bringing you some happiness?

Metaphysical laws can be used for purposes other than manifesting Love into the world – like the Americanized version of Buddhism I ran into years ago that used the vibrational power of chanting to manifest new cars or whatever.  I believe that in this new Age of Healing and Joy our job is to integrate Spirituality into our relationship with life.  We are here to heal our relationship with our self so that we can manifest Love into our internal process and into the world.  It is by healing our codependency that we will not only learn to develop a more Loving relationship with ourselves so that we can learn to relax and enjoy life much of the time, but will also heal the human condition.

“The goal in this Age of Healing and Joy is integration and balance.  To integrate the Spiritual Truth into our physical experience so that we can fill the hole inside and find wholeness within.  As we integrate our True Spiritual nature into our relationship with our physical being we can begin to achieve some balance and harmony with and between all of the parts of our being.

This age is a time for growing and learning, a time to become conscious of the True nature of the Source Energy, a time of Spiritual Awakening.  We have been given the wonder-full gift of having the ability and the tools to start integrating the Truth of a Loving Universal Force into our day-to-day experience of life.  We now have the knowledge and guidance that we need to start bringing some balance to our relationships – with ourselves and our God/Goddess, with other people and the planet – so that we can live in a way that allows us to experience some Peace and Love on our life path.

We can heal our wounded souls enough to change the dance of life from a dance of endurance and suffering to a dance that celebrates living.  We now have access to the power to transform the dance of Codependence to a dance of healing and Joy.”

Now there is nothing wrong with new cars, or any other material goodies.  I would love to have a new car.  But to access the power of the Universe and focus our energy on manifesting money, property, and prestige, is to be too attached to the Illusion.  As long as we are looking outside of ourselves for the people, places, and things that will fix us and make us feel good about our self, we are stuck in our disease.  As long as we are taking ego strength from comparing our self to others we are empowering codependency – which means we are empowering the illusion that separation is the highest Truth instead of connection, instead of ONENESS.

Dance of Karma

We are works in progress.  Wherever we are at in this moment is a perfect part of our path – is a transitory moment in our journey through this lifetime.  We are involved in a dynamic transformational process that is unfolding perfectly according to the Divine Plan of a Loving Universal Source.  We are not in control of this process.  What we can have some control of is our perspective of / attitudes towards / relationship with, the journey.  By learning to accept where we are at today with compassion and Love, we gain the capacity to get some enJoyment out of this day of our journey.  By learning to start stopping the shame and judgment internally, we start seeing with more clarity anything in our life that is not working in our best interests, so we can do whatever we are capable of today – in our imperfect human way – to change the things we have the power to change.  We are co-creators here, not The Creator.  And nothing we do as co-creators is powerful enough to cause us to be separated from The Source.

“Free Will – free will is an illusion that exists within certain levels of the illusion.  On the highest level, we are all part of the ONENESS and nothing any of us do can change that – because ONENESS is the highest Truth.  On Lower levels we have free will to a certain extent.  All of our actions on the physical plane however are governed by the Law of Karma – so that free will exists within the context of Karmic settlement.” – New Age Misinterpretations of Metaphysical Truth

We do not have the power to separate from The Source because separation is an illusion.  The Age of Healing and Joy which has dawned in human consciousness on the planet is an age in which the old souls are doing Karmic settlement for lifetimes of Karma.  We are not being allowed to create new Karma in this lifetime – we are here to settle Karmic debts.

“We have all lived multiple lifetimes. We have all experienced every facet of being human. We are now not just healing our wounds from this lifetime, we are doing Karmic settlement on a massive scale, at a very accelerated rate.

Karma is the Loving, wonderful law of energy interaction which governs human interaction.  Like the other levels of Universal Law, it is about cause and effect.  In this case, “what you sow, you reap.”

Karmic Law dictates that every action of cause on the Physical Plane is paid for with a consequence of effect on the Physical Plane.  In other words, no one can end up in the hole, or in some hell in an afterlife. (Hell is here on earth, and we have all experienced it already.)”

We do not have the power to do anything except the Karmic settlement we are here to accomplish.  Abundance is a good example of this reality.  Just because abundance has not manifested in our life financially does not mean we are doing something wrong – or that it is a situation that we necessarily have the power to change.  Karmically it may be necessary for me, or any one of us, to learn to be fully alive and access Joy and serenity in this lifetime without ever having financial abundance.

“Abundance – as long as we are in the Karmic realm, let me address abundance.  Some of us came into this lifetime with issues to heal around money and financial abundance.  Other people had already done their healing around abundance issues – or will do it in some future life.  People that have a very easy time manifesting financial abundance are not better than, or more evolved than, people who have struggled financially in this lifetime.  It is just about having different types of paths – it is not something that rich people are justified in judging other people for (or vice versa), or that anyone needs to feel ashamed of because it means you are doing something wrong.

Now, all of us have childhood experiences that are reflections of the Karmic debts we need to settle.  That means, that things in childhood wounded us around the issues we are here to work on and heal.  So, like any other issues, abundance is an area that many people need to work on – to remove the dysfunctional, self sabotaging programming that comes from our childhood.  As long as we are working on uncovering our wounds and healing them, we are doing our part in the process.  It is important to learn to accept and Love ourselves no matter where we are in regard to any issue, and not give any issue (such as not having money) the power to affect our sense of self worth – or set us up to think that we are doing something wrong if we have not reached “there” yet.  We may never get “there” in this lifetime – it is important not to buy into being the victim of ourselves in relationship to any issue.” – New Age Misinterpretations of Metaphysical Truth

There is no destination to be reached.  Doing the work does not mean we are going to be rewarded in some specific way in this lifetime.  Being willing to do the healing work does not necessarily mean we are going to get that special relationship or the financial abundance or whatever – in this lifetime.  Doing the work makes us available for the possibility of having all of our dreams come true – it is not a guarantee the we will reach some specific goal / destination in this lifetime.

“So, I am walking to the post office exploring the idea of this new type of web page and the following interaction took place within me (in my inner reality these are fleeting thoughts rather than a formal conversation.)

ego/critical parent:  “Your giving away all of this information for free and meanwhile you can’t even pay your rent.  That’s really stupid”

Magical thinking inner child (who believes in fairy tales):  “Oh, but we’re going to be rewarded.  All kinds of good things are going to happen – including getting a lot of money.”

Adult on Spiritual Path: “Now, settle down you two.  In the first place, it is very important and wonderful to give away what I have been given – that is how to keep the energy flowing – and that is what works, it is what I need to do for me/us.  And I am going to do it because it feels good, it feels right – like the next thing in front of me to do.  We’ll worry about the rent when it is time to pay the rent – for today, for this moment, we will do what feels right for today.  And I need to tell you that our reward may just be to feel good about what we’re doing – and if that is all there is, that is still a wonderful gift.  On top of that we are getting positive feedback from all over – and that is a great bonus.  There may never be a lot of money, but that is not important.  There is enough money for today.  And we are very blessed to have something to do today that is fulfilling and makes us happy.”

So I set a boundary with the critical parent by not buying into the criticism, I set a boundary with my inner child by not building up expectations of some kind of reward, and I work my recovery program by focusing on the half of the glass that is full (my needs that have been met) and being grateful for the gifts I have been given, instead of allowing the disease to focus on fear and scarcity, on the half that is empty (my wants that have not been met.)

The purpose of doing the inner child healing work is to improve the quality of my life today – not to reach a destination or reward.  Today, I have choices about how I respond to my internal process.  Today, I can let go of the future and the past for this moment, which gives me the freedom to be happy and joyous in the moment for quite a few of the moments of my day.” – Setting Boundaries with inner children

The reward for doing this work is in the quality of our day to day life – and in our next lifetime.  Of course most of us want very much to believe this is our last lifetime – but I believe that though we are close to graduation, we are not quite there yet.

“We who are doing this healing are about to graduate from the school of Karmic human experience.  Any minute now . . . or any lifetime.

What graduation means is that we can be released from the Karmic merry-go-round, from the Karmic dance that was necessary because of polarization and “reversity.”  It does not mean that we will cease to exist;  that would be a pretty hollow victory indeed.

What I believe it means is that when peace prevails, when the thousand years of peace begins, when a balanced, harmonious, Spiritually aligned world evolves, then we can come back and play with all of our friends.   With our Kindred Spirits and our Soul Mates, and in union with our Twin Soul.”

The destination thinking is part of codependency – part of the intellectual paradigm we learned in childhood.  As I say in the quote from my book that I use earlier in this work, the Universe has the power to get us where we are supposed to be when we are supposed to be there – our choice is to follow the carrots or wait for the stick.  The purpose of doing this healing is to be able to stop being so afraid of doing life “wrong.”  The reward for remembering who we really are and doing what we need to do to tune in more clearly to our intuitive guidance is that we get to relax and follow the carrots.  It makes life so much easier and more enJoyable.

“I learned to focus on my recovery as my number 1 priority because it worked to make my life easier and less painful in the long run.  It took me years in recovery to really understand all of this – and to give recovery the priority focus – but eventually I came to understand that I could make a conscious choice to be a positive co-creator in my life instead of a negative one.  That I could start creating cause that would have better effect.

I focus on recovery because it works.  By paying attention, being conscious and willing, I get to follow the messages instead of forcing the Universe to use the stick on me.  Choosing to make recovery the number one priority in my life makes life easier and less painful.  Bottom line.” – January 2002 Update Newsletter: Part 1

“Recovery is a process of learning to forgive ourselves, of making amends to ourselves.  It was not our fault.

Healing is, however, our responsibility.  Today you know that there are choices – you know that there are resources and groups and tools – or you would not be reading this book.

The part of you that has been making up excuses for not getting more aligned with healing is your disease.  Don’t judge yourself for it – observe it.  Say to yourself, “Oh, isn’t that interesting, I don’t think I want to do that anymore.”  Or you can say, “Hey, this denial is still working for me, I think I’ll stick with it for awhile.”  Whatever works to make you happy.  (You might want to remember, however, that if you don’t follow the carrots – the Universe will use the stick.)”

Comparison = empowering belief in separation

One of the ridiculous aspects of the condition of codependency, of the human condition as it has been dictated by planetary conditions, is that it has caused human beings to focus on differences between us and fear those differences, instead of seeing all that we have in common and celebrating our connection to each other.

“We are all more connected than we are different.  As human beings, we share a basic emotional process that is the same for all of us.  We share connections with other human beings that can allow us to feel on the same wave length with any human being in the right circumstances.  We can watch a television show about someone who is completely different from us in terms of race, culture, language, etc. – and still resonate with them emotionally in a moment of tragedy, or triumph.  Someone from our home town, who we might pass on the street without a second thought in the normal course of daily life, becomes a kindred spirit when we meet them in a foreign country.

Our relationship with a certain subject can cause us to feel a connection to someone else – because of their similar relationship with that concept or group or thing.  Some examples: fishing or dogs or skiing or an athletic team or a specific cause or a certain philosophy, etc.  Every human being on the planet is someone who we could feel connected to – feel on the same wave length with – in the right circumstances in relationship to some shared feeling, interest, and/or experience.

We are all kindred spirits in terms of our humanity – in terms of our relationship to the horizontal human experience.  We are all kindred spirits with more connection than differences without even taking the vertical – the Spiritual relationship – into consideration.” – The True Nature of Love – Twin Souls, Souls Mates, and Kindred Spirits

Simply as human beings we are all connected in our experience of physical existence – are more alike than we are different in this horizontal dance we are doing.  The outer / external dependence of the condition of codependency causes us to focus externally and fear the unknown – which means fear and judge other people based upon what we see of them externally.  At the same time we are judging others based upon external appearances / conditions, we are trying to determine our own worth based upon external observation – and we are wearing masks and trying to hide the feeling of shame we are carrying deep within ourselves.  A ridiculous, dysfunctional dance without even taking our Spiritual connection into account.

“The reason that we have not been Loving our neighbor as ourselves is because we have been doing it backwards.  We were taught to judge and feel ashamed of ourselves.  We were taught to hate ourselves for being human.

We are here to learn to Love ourselves so that we can Truly Love our neighbors.  We’ve been doing it backwards:  hating our neighbors like we hate ourselves.

It is kind of a cosmic joke, see.  We have been taught that we are human and that it is bad and shameful, and that we have to somehow earn the right to be Spiritual.  The Truth is that we already are Spiritual and there is nothing bad or shameful about “being human.”

We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience.  We are here to experience feelings and touch and Love.  The goal of the healing process is not to reach someplace where we are above all the human experiences and feelings. We are here to feel these feelings.

When we become willing to feel the pain, then we become capable of feeling the Joy.  The Joy of doing this healing is incredible!  Our job is to heal and enJoy.  Our job is to be.  We are here to be human beings, not human doings.

Our job is to follow the Joy to the Truth.  Our job is to feel in the moment.

As long as we are reacting to old wounds and old tapes we cannot respond to the now.  The more we heal, the more responsibility we have – that is, ability to respond.  The ability to respond in the moment.”

The mystical Truth (which has now also been scientifically proven by Quantum Physics) that we all spring from the same Source – that we all are ONE with everyone and everything – makes this dance of codependency truly a tragically sad farce as long as we are still stuck in our codependency.  Once we start to awaken and recover, then we can start to lighten up and not take this cosmic joke so seriously and personally.  Then we can start accessing moments of Joy in our journey instead of always comparing how we feel to how the lives of others look on the outside.

“Looking outside of ourselves for self-definition and self-worth means that we have to judge people in order to feel good about ourselves.  There is no other way to do it when you look outside.

We were taught to have ego-strength through judgment – better than, prettier than, smarter than, richer than, stronger than, etc., etc.

In a Codependent society everyone has to have someone to look down on in order to feel positive about him/herself. This is the root of all bigotry, racism, sexism, and prejudice in the world.

True self-worth does not come from looking down on anyone or anything.  True self-worth comes from awakening to our connection to everyone and everything.

The Truth is that we are like snowflakes:  Each individual is unique and different and special and we are all made from the same thing.  We are all cut from the same cloth.  We are all part of the Eternal ONENESS that is the Great Spirit.

When we start looking within and celebrating the Truth of who we Truly are, then we can celebrate our unique differences instead of judging them out of fear.”

Buying into the belief that outer or external circumstances are a measure of any human being’s worth makes the determination of self worth a competitive issue.  In our codependency we look outside and compare our self to others to feel good about self – to gain ego strength.  But as long as we are looking outside in comparison, there will always be people that we feel less than as well as people we feel better than.

In our codependency we put people up on pedestals as having made it.  We buy into the illusion that they have arrived at “happily ever after” – because it means maybe we can get there also.  We glory in their triumphs because we are like them and can vicariously share in how they must be feeling at such a moment.  We have dreamed and fantasized about such triumphs / accomplishments / validation / vindication / success – so we share their glory because we can emotionally relate to such a moment.  We make people stars because we want to be stars – we think that will help us feel worthy and lovable.

Once people are up on those pedestals however, we eventually feel jealous of them.  They have made it – and we have not.  They are enjoying the fruits of success and victory – and we are still trapped in our mundane lives.  We end up resenting them and needing to pull them off of their pedestals.

Thus idolizing celebrities in our culture can quickly turn into a feeding frenzy of media vultures when that celebrity proves to be human.  Talk about emotional vampires – the news media is progressively manifesting uglier behavior in their frenzy to suck emotional blood out of the triumphs and tragedies of others.  This is a direct reaction to the emotional dis-ease of a society full of wounded souls who are starving for some emotional sustenance – so starved they will watch Reality TV to try to get an emotional fix.

Our codependent culture loves to see people become media stars, to put people up on a pedestal and shine the spotlight on them, because we all crave recognition and respect – we all want to feel valued and validated.  External validation is not a bad thing, but if we think that is what gives us worth we are being codependent – and we are set up to keep chasing the ego validation that makes us feel worthy as long as we are looking externally to determine our self worth.

Some of the New Age authors and mystical messengers I mentioned in the last chapter have gotten quite caught up in being celebrities.  Because they are not in recovery from their codependency, they can get sucked into the quicksand of money, property, and prestige – into the heady experience of other people putting them on a pedestal.   It is pretty easy for any codependent to get caught up with being seen as an “expert” – as a messenger who has impacted the lives of others in a very valuable way.  The fact that they may get caught up in their codependency does not diminish the value of the ways in which they have been teachers and way showers for others – what it means that they may lose the ability to have some healthy perspective on their own growth process.

The e-mail about changing the music which I mentioned at the start of this chapter, was one of several e-mails I got while writing this that fit in some way with the process of the creating these last few chapters.   Another one of them was an e-mail from one of the therapists on my referral page.  He had dropped me a note to let me know he was working on creating a web site called Why Dr. Phil Failed Us.  I will be interested in checking that site out once it is online because I really don’t know much about Dr. Phil – except that he has become a celebrity phenomena.  I haven’t paid any attention to him, or watched what he does, because in my opinion (hopefully an objective observation) Oprah is still coming from a very codependent ego driven place – so anyone that she thinks is wonderful is not likely to be someone who would challenge her intellectual paradigm or the level of her personal emotional healing.

As I said in the last chapter, I believe that Oprah is a mystical messenger who has helped millions of people open up to larger concepts – has helped millions of people break out of limiting belief paradigms.  But like any messenger / teacher / therapist / etc., she can’t lead people someplace she hasn’t gone herself.  I am sure that Dr. Phil, like Oprah, can be very helpful to many, many people in exposing them to different perspectives of the healing and awakening process.  And each of them is a wounded soul, a codependent, who is on a path that is unfolding perfectly for them.  As with any therapist or author, sponsor or coach, counselor or healer, they may be very helpful to us at a certain stage in our growth – but that does not mean that we should put them up on pedestals.  We want to honor and value anyone who we have found helpful, but it is important to use discernment in how much power we give to anyone.

“The reality is that inner child healing and codependency recovery are still pretty new – and many very well meaning professionals out there do not know a lot about this work.  My approach to the work is unique and pioneering, and no one out there is doing exactly what I do and describe. You will find very few counselors and therapist who define codependence in as large a context as I do; many who do not see it as a Spiritual disease; many who have not done their own emotional work. . . . . . . . But you can find good people out there doing important work.  You can find people:  who can lovingly facilitate grief work;  who can be very helpful in seeing your codependence when you are blind to it in certain areas;  who are very good at teaching Loving Spiritual concepts;  who can help you understand specific dynamics around such issues as verbal abuse or sex addiction etc.  It is possible to find counselors and therapist who can be very helpful in your process.

What is important is to be careful about giving them too much power.  The purpose of the work as I see it, is for each individual to become empowered to access and trust their own inner guidance.  There will come a point when it is time to move on – or when you only need to see them once in a while.  The goal is to stop making any outside source your higher power – including your counselor or therapist.

It is important to recognize that no one has the right to judge or shame you – especially a counselor.  Counselors and therapist are wounded human beings who sometimes let their own agendas influence what they say to you.  There may be things about you that trigger their wounds.  Pay attention.  Recognize if you have outgrown what they have to offer.  Do not buy into thinking that because they were helpful for awhile, that means they are always right.” – Inner Child Healing – choosing a therapist or counselor with discernment

I also got an e-mail from someone who thanked me for how much my site had helped her – but asked “why do you share so much info on the internet?  Usually people put a little to interest you so then you will go buy their book.”  Here is part of my response to this person (who I haven’t been able to get a reply through to because her mailbox is full.)

“I was never very good at that business and marketing stuff. 😉   Actually, it is just how my path has unfolded.  What I do is share my experience strength and hope.  I feel that part of my mission in this lifetime is to serve as a messenger and that I get the honor and privilege of being able to share a very wonderful and Joyous message.  So, I want to spread the word.  Also, I have lots and lots of Karma to settle. ;-)”

There is another level to my motivation which has to do with molecular biology which I will touch on later – but the reason I am adding this here is that within a day or two of getting that last e-mail another serendipitous thing happened.  I found a link to my site on another web site which commented on how much information I share on the site for free – and said that I share almost my whole book on it.  That isn’t really true, the sharing the whole book part – although I do share a lot of quotes from my book Codependence:  The Dance of Wounded Souls on the pages of this site.  And a person can get a sense of my book from those quotes – but reading it is an experience in and of itself.

The thing that I have heard from so many people is that reading the book – or listening to the audio tapes – can bring about a shift in a person’s relationship with life.  That reading the book can, in and of itself, bring about a change in the music one is dancing to – can help a person relax and start enjoying life a little more because their perspective of life and self has shifted into one more aligned with Love.  That is the goal of codependency recovery in my view – to change the music of our human experience from a dance based upon shame, fear, and separation to a dance aligned with Joy, Love and ONENESS.  It makes my heart smile to know that I was the instrument in creating a book that can facilitate a musical metamorphosis in the dance of life for others.

So, I guess that this last is my version of a marketing strategy.  If you resonate with what I write here, there is a good chance that reading my book will help you change the music of your dance.  But rather you buy my book or not, I hope you can hear the music of Love in Truth as I understand it. ;-)” – Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light  Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life  Chapter 13: Changing the Music: Love instead of fear and shame

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light  Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life is available in a subscription area of the Joy2MeU website entitled: Dancing in Light

A special offer for that subscription (as well as for the Joy2MeU Journal quoted herein) is part of the Holiday Special Offers posted a couple of days ago.

Much of the information on this page was incorporated into my eBook The Law of Attraction – Misunderstood & Misinterpreted A Larger Spiritual Paradigm

Thanksgiving ~ Gratitude – a Vital Tool in the Recovery Process

I am reposting this blog for this Thanksgiving Season – and adding a quote here to the beginning of it of something I wrote in one of my Update Newsletters several years ago.

“There is something that I share with phone counseling clients and in my Intensive often that I believe I have written about some place, but can’t find it – which may mean it is in one of the millions of words in one of my password protected sites (where I can’t do a search to find things.)  It has to do with how at one point when I was living in Cambria I had a sprained ankle and couldn’t take my daily walk on the bluffs that were such an important part of my physical, mental, emotional, spiritual nurturing and recharging of my internal batteries.  And for some reason while I was incapacitated with this ankle injury it occurred to me that I didn’t ever think of my body parts unless they weren’t working – unless there was something wrong with them.  Made me realize that I need to start being grateful every day that I can walk.  That I can see and hear and all the things that I take for granted until something goes wrong with my body.  So, my car starting was another one of those things that I take for granted until something goes wrong.  Remember to be grateful for your car and your body working today. ;-)”

The Dance

 ““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.

Everything happens for a reason; there is always a silver lining.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Since it is Thanksgiving time it seems only appropriate to talk about one of the most important tools in the recovery process – gratitude.  Being grateful for what we have, and keeping things in perspective, is vital in the struggle to stay in the now and enjoy today as much as possible.

There are two aspects of empowerment that come into play here.  One is;  that empowerment involves seeing life as it is and making the best of it (instead of being the victim of it not being what it “should” be);  the other is realizing that we have a choice about where to focus our mind.

To have a healthy, balanced relationship with life we need to see life as it really is – which includes owning and feeling the pain, fear, and anger that is a natural part of living – and then have a Spiritual belief system that helps us to know that everything happens for a reason, that allows us to choose to focus on the silver linings rather than buy into the belief that we are victims.

Society teaches us to view life from a perspective of fear, lack, and scarcity.  Rather we view life from that place of fear or go to the other extreme and deny that we feel any fear – either way we are giving power to the fear, we are living life in reaction to the fear.

Growing up I learned from my male role model that a man never admits he is afraid – at the same time that my role model lived in constant fear the future.  To his death my father couldn’t relax and enjoy himself because impending doom is always on the horizon.  The disease voice, the critical parent voice, in my head always wants to focus on the negative and expect the worst just like my father did.

This programming to focus on the negative was compounded by the fact that I learned conditional love (that I would be rewarded or punished according to what I deserved – which, since I felt unworthy, meant I had good reason to expect doom), and that I had to learn to disassociate from myself in childhood.  I had to learn to go unconscious and not be present in my own skin in the moment because emotional honesty was not allowed in my family.  All Codependents learn to find things outside of self – drugs, alcohol, food, relationships, career, religion, etc. – to help us stay unconscious to our own emotional reality, but the primary and earliest way almost all of us found to disconnect from our feelings – which exist in our bodies – is to live in our heads.

Since I could not be comfortable in my own skin in the now without feeling the feelings, I spent most of my life living in either the past or the future.  My mind was almost always focused on regret for past or fear of (or fantasy about) the future.  When I did focus on the now it was with self-pity as a victim – of myself (I am stupid, a failure, etc.), of others (who victimized me), or of life (which was not fair or just ).

It was wonderfully liberating in recovery to start learning that I could start to see life in a growth context.  That I had a choice to focus on the half of the glass that was full instead of giving power to the disease which always wants to focus on the half that is empty.  When I focus on what I have, and have been given, that I am grateful for – instead of just focusing on what I want that I don’t have – it helps me to let go of the victim place my disease wants to promote.

What works for me is to remind myself of the difference between my wants and my needs.  My Truth is that every day that I have been in recovery all my needs have been filled – and there has not been a single day that all my wants have been met.  If I focus on what I want that I don’t have then I feel like a victim and make myself miserable.  If I choose to remind myself of what I have and how far I have come then I can let go of some of the victim perspective.

Ninety-eight per cent of the time when I am in fear it means that I am in the future.  Pulling myself back into the now, turning the future over to my Higher Power, and focusing on gratitude, frees me to have some happy moments 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?”  And of course, everything worked out fine in the next two weeks.  My Higher Power always has a plan in place even when I can’t see any way out.

We all have much to be grateful for, to give thanksgiving for, if we just choose to look at the half of the glass that is full.  So, have a grateful Thanksgiving.”

Logo of Joy2MeU

Robert Burney is a counselor, Spiritual Teacher and pioneer in the area of codependency recovery / inner child healing. His first book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls has been called “one of the truly transformational works of our time.” His work has been compared to John Bradshaw’s “except much more spiritual” and described as “taking inner child healing to a new level” – and he has been referred to as “a metaphysical Stephen Hawking.” Robert’s main site http://Joy2MeU.com/ shares over 200 pages of free original content on codependency recovery, inner child healing, relationship dynamics, alcoholism/addiction, fear of intimacy, Twelve Step Spirituality, New Age Metaphysics, emotional abuse, setting boundaries, grief process, and much more.

Reading his book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls (links to all of his 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.

In the last few years he has 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.  He has special offers for either or both of these books (or for all three of his books) on this page.

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.

A Higher Power of my own understanding ~ Balance on the horizontal, Integration of the vertical

I mentioned in my February column in this series (A Higher Power of my own understanding 2 – the beginning of empowerment) that the twelve step recovery concept of powerlessness was actually a step towards empowerment.  Codependency and recovery are both multi-leveled, multi-dimensional phenomena.  What we are trying to achieve is integration and balance on, and between, different levels.  One of the ways it is helpful to me to think of this is in terms of the horizontal and vertical.  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.

In this context, what we are trying to achieve in recovery is to integrate the Truth of a Loving God-Force / Goddess Energy / Great Spirit into our relationship with the horizontal,   That is what helps us to achieve some balance in our emotional, physical, and mental relationship with being human and in how we relate to other humans and our environment.

Living life on life’s terms according to the definitions, beliefs and attitudes we learned in early childhood does not work.  As I say in my book:

The Dance

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

“Learning discernment is vital – not just in terms of the choices we make about who to trust, but also in terms of our perspective, our attitudes.

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.” – quotations in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

As I point out often in my writing, the intellectual paradigm that we are allowing to dictate our relationship with life – the attitudes, beliefs, and definitions both conscious and subconscious – are what determine our expectations and perspectives and those in turn dictate our emotional reactions and relationships.  In order to change how we are relating to, and reacting to, being human we need to change the intellectual beliefs that are dictating our relationship with being human.

It is vital to start realizing that we have the power to make choices about what attitudes, beliefs and definitions we are allowing to dictate our relationship with life.  We do not have to keep being the victim of the beliefs that were imposed upon us in childhood.  We do not have to keep living life based upon shame, fear, and scarcity just because that is what was role modeled for us by the adults who were our higher powers in childhood.  Once we recognize that we are powerless to make life be what we want it to be out of our ego programming, then we become empowered to change the quality of our relationship with life.

By owning that we have the power to make choices about our perspective of life – and to choose a spiritual perspective – we can vastly improve the quality of our human experience.  This is what I am trying to communicate in this series of articles on a Higher Power of my own understanding.  It is specifically what I talked about in my March column here: Spirituality – a broader perspective.

Looking at the horizontal and vertical dimensions of life helped me to start being and to start doing in a more balanced way.  It helped me to stop being a human doing – thinking that what I accomplished, or how I looked, on the outside is what gives me worth.

I talked in my last blog about the transcendent emotions of Joy and Love and how we can access these emotions by being in the moment when relating to nature for instance.  I am going to close out this months column with a quote from one of my Update Newsletters where I talk about transcendent vertical emotions and horizontal human emotions.

“I capitalize words such as Truth, Joy, and Love in my writing because that capitalization indicates that I am referring to the Transcendent vibrational energy that flows through the Illusion on the vertical plane.  When I do not capitalize joy and love, I am referring to emotions of the horizontal plane. . .  . .

. . . . . Happiness is a term I use in relationship to external circumstances.  It (happiness) comes from doing, experiencing, interacting, etc.  Joy – with the capital J – is about being, not doing.  This has to do with the different dimensions – horizontal and vertical – of this human experience that I talk about in the Trilogy, and mention in various articles including the online book I am now writing

    “The horizontal emotion of joy can feel very much the same as Joy – and can in fact help us to access the Transcendent emotional energy of Joy.  But the horizontal emotion that is joy is a relative reaction to external stimuli.  That is, joy is felt because of some outside or external condition that raises our vibrational frequency within the vertical component of the horizontal emotional spectrum.  This can be: an accomplishment such as achieving a goal or winning a contest; the feeling we get from experiencing the Love of another being – or an animal; a sensual experience such as the taste of food, or the feel of silk, or the touch of another being; or any of a number of other types of stimuli that are dependent upon outside circumstances or agencies.  There is nothing wrong with feeling joy in reaction to these outer or external stimuli – what is dysfunctional is believing that they are the only source of joy.  When we buy into the belief that the only joy or happiness we can experience is dependent upon external circumstances or outside agencies then we are giving power over our relationship with self to the illusions – we are worshiping false gods.

    The Transcendent emotional energy of Joy on the other hand has nothing to do with winning or accomplishing – it is about being.  About tuning into the Joy that is the Truth of who we really are – Spiritual beings who are part of the Holy Mother Source Energy.  It is about the Love that is our True essence.  Outside influences can help to remind us of this connection – a sunset, a baby, the Love we see reflected in another’s eyes – but the connection is made in the quality of our interaction with that outside influence.  It is in being in the moment that we can tune into the Love, Light, and Joy of our connection with everyone and everything.

    There is nothing wrong with feeling joy at doing, or receiving, or experiencing, on the human level – but the more that we are aligned with Truth, the more we can magnify those moments of joy to include the Joy of being Unconditionally Loved and Lovable.  This also helps us stop giving power to the illusion by believing that something or someone outside of us is the source of Joy – the Source is within.” The Dance of the Wounded Souls Trilogy  Book 1  History VI

In recovery, we start learning how to change our relationship with life so that we can be present in the moment, so that we can own our True Self and our connection to the Source. . . . . ” – March 2004 Update Metaphysical Addendum page

In adding this article as a page on my Joy2MeU.com in September 2006, I decided to add a quote from my book about “the quality of our interaction” dynamic that I mention above.

“The first time a messenger came to me carrying the message, the reminder, that I was a Spiritual Being having a human experience, I got really angry.  My first reaction was anger.  My first thought was, “That means that I’ve got to be out among them.”

I never wanted to be out among you-all.  I always wanted to go up on a mountain and meditate my way to God.  What I have learned in this healing process is that I find God through “being out among them,” through my human relationships.  We are here to learn to relate to each other.  We are here to learn to Love ourselves and each other.

One of the ironies of this whole business is something that physicists have learned from quantum physics.  They have learned that the physical world is made up of energy fields that are temporary manifestations of energy interactions.  All of the energy fields of the physical world are temporary.  Some last for fractions of a second, some last for billions of years – but they are all temporary illusions.

This means that the Truest reality in the physical world is in the interaction.  It is in our interactions that we can access Truth and Joy and Love.  In other words it is in our relationships.

The most real thing here, the place where the highest Truth exists, is in the interactions: in our relationships.  Our relationship with ourselves is a reflection of our relationship with our Creator, with the Great Spirit.  And our relationship with ourselves is reflected out into our relationship with everyone and everything in our environment.

Spirituality is about relationships.  God exists in the quality of our relationships.

When I look at a beautiful sunset – I am a temporary illusion and  the sunset is also a temporary illusion – the most real, God-like quality is the energy of Beauty and Joy that I allow myself to access by being open and willing to experience the sunset.  If I am caught up in one of my ego’s “trauma dramas,” then I will not be conscious of the sunset or open to experiencing the Joy and Beauty of the moment.” – Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Sacred Spiral

Logo of Joy2MeU

Logo of Joy2MeU.com website of codependency recovery expert inner child healing pioneer Robert Burney

Integrating Spiritual Truth (the vertical) into our relationship with being human (the horizontal) is powerfully facilitated by the approach to inner healing that I describe on my site in the inner child healing section and that I teach people in my telephone counseling and Intensive Workshops – I highly recommend it for improving the quality of your relationships and life experience.

I am going to be in Boston area next week – at the New England CoDA Convention and doing a workshop on November 23, 2014.