"Earth's crammed into heaven
and every common bush afire with God."
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Today I'm grateful for reminder of something very important to me from a past life. Well, not actually a past life, as in re-incarnation. But in the life I lived before I moved back to my Florida home back in 1995. One of the things that helped save my life and return to me some sort of sanity was being involved in a 12-Step group. I participated in CoDa (Codependents Anonymous) and Alanon before settling into a group for family and friends of drug addicts - Naranon.
Before those meetings I had turned my back on any form of religion and had no relationship to speak of with any kind of higher power. Actually I did have a twisted, angry relationship with an old fashioned God who sat on a throne in heaven and meted out punishment to all sinners. Since I was pretty sure I was a mighty sinner, I stayed away from this almighty finger pointer unless it was to rage back at Him for deserting me.
I soon found out that 12-step programs are based on a very spiritual concept - that of a higher power. The first meeting I attended I almost through up when everyone began holding hands and saying the Lord's prayer. I would have gotten up and walked out except that I was on the opposite side of the room from the door and I was too much of a people pleaser and too afraid to call attention to myself to do so. Once I wrapped my mind and my heart around the spiritual side of the program and worked through the steps I found a place of great comfort in the meetings.
I also made some really close friends. I willingly took a leap of faith and opened myself up to a group of strangers. The surprise was that no one judged me or my poor choices. Instead they nodded their heads in full understanding ... they'd "been there done that." They cried with me, laughed with me and hugged me. I learned to speak out loud in front of a group of people. I learned to share my secrets, character defects and pain. And I was loved in return.
As I type this I remember that Saturday night was meeting night. I haven't talked to most of those people in years. But I have a few girlfriends from that group whom I should pick up the phone and call. I'm so very grateful for their friendship, I think I should tell them so and see what's going on in their lives.
I started thinking about this subject because of reading Dani's blog. Dani and I have become blog buddies. We've exchanged emails and found that we have a lot in common. Not the least of these is our love for Terri St. Cloud. Dani quoted the 11th step:
“Sought through prayer and meditation
to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him,
praying only for knowledge of His will for us
and the power to carry that out.”
and called it her personal favorite.
Prayer, meditation, conscious contact with God. These are things that can really get lost in a day that is filled with to do lists, caregiving, doing the laundry and blogging. Like Dani, I'm better at praying and asking for things then being quiet and listening for an answer.
With the news of the last couple days, I have increased my heavenly pleas for peace in this world. Who else but a power greater than all of us is going to be able to change the minds and hearts of men and women that share this planet? It will take all of us working together to make it happen. And to do that each of us might have to sit in silence and listen for "His/Her will for us."
I don't mean to sound all religious here. I have learned/am learning what works for me. While I don't know what will work for you, I feel pretty sure that each of us is created with a Divine spark and our souls are continuously looking for an opportunity to be reconnected. Wherever that is for you I encourage you to go there and listen for the small still voice that will guide you to a place of peace.
And we all said "Amen"!
Before I close this post I have to say I am also grateful for the sweet, buttery taste of avocados mixed with just the right amount of tomato an onion to make a delicious bowl of guacamole, and piping hot tortilla chips fresh from hot grease for dipping. Sweetie and I tried a Mexican food restaurant for lunch and I have to say I'm still pleasantly stuffed. Ole!
Wishing for you some time of peaceful silence and a yummalicious snack,
[Photo: This picture is from an email entitled God's paintbrush.]