Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Recovery Wheel Week 3 – Learning to Let Go and Concentrate




This week begins a little later than the last one. I shifted my schedule so this blog would be posted by midweek. Expect next week’s by Wednesday if not sooner.

As we move closer to the midway point between fall and winter, I feel time quickening. These seasons of fall and winter are about slowing down, but as a culture we pick up the pace and race towards the end of the year. This Recovery Wheel work asks us to slow down early in the process. Not always easy this time of year if you’re living by the culture and not Nature. Follow the lead of the sun, Nature reminds us. Hang low and turn down your outward attention. It’s time to go within.

Surrender

I continue to step into my story by surrendering it to a higher consciousness. In the 12 Step program, this step is called surrender to a higher power. The point is to let go of control. I can’t control what happened in the past. No matter how many times I ruminate on it, it’s the past and it is done.

Also, the story I tell about myself needs me to step in and get curious and not be in rewrite mode. A new story will emerge when it is time. For now it’s important to stay curious as I move deeper within. The next step is challenging and before I do this work, it’s good to practice being curious and letting go of the outcome.

Fall and Via Negativa/Release

The season of fall is about letting go out of necessity. The trees shed their leaves in order to help them get through the long winter of ice and snow. They slow down. It’s important to do the work of letting go before the next season on the Recovery Wheel.

The Creation Spirituality path of Via Negativa is perfect for this part of the wheel. It’s all about letting go. It’s about emptying out. It’s about releasing not only the past but ourselves from judgement.

The season of fall and the path of Via Negativa help us release, empty and let go. We won’t be able to bear the weight of the pain if we are holding onto judgement and old stories. Neither will we be able to gather new insights when we are holding onto the old story and our rightness. Letting go opens us up.

Things aren’t working as I’d like in my life because I’ve focused on everyone but myself. I let go of trying to control the world around me as well as myself. I take a deep breath and know there is only this moment. How do I feel now? What am I thinking now? No more wondering about what the other person is thinking or feeling. It’s none of my business unless they bring it to my attention because of something I did. Even then, I need to stay curious and wonder if something I did caused them distress or triggered a past event of theirs. Was I speaking my truth without judgement of the other and with love?

Right Concentration

And speaking of focus, my insight about my focus going off in many directions is also a part of things not working. It’s time to bring in another part of this aspect of the Recovery Wheel, Right Concentration, which is on the Buddhist Eight Fold Path.

Right Concentration is about cultivating a mind that is one-pointed. The Chinese character for concentration is “maintaining evenness” or remaining on the middle path.

Last week we talked about Right Mindfulness. Is there a difference between Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration? In my experience, Right Mindfulness is the cultivation of a pattern of being. Right Concentration is the cultivation of a one-pointed mind.

There are two kinds of concentration: active and selective.

Active: This is to notice what is as it arises and passes away and then to notice what comes next. It is to dwell in the present, which means you learn to let go of the past.

Selective: Here you choose one object to focus on. Other things may be going on, but you stay with your chosen object.

Right Concentration gives rise to insight because we live each moment deeply. If you use concentration as an escape from yourself or a situation, that is wrong concentration. That’s not to say we can’t use diversion sometimes in order to give ourselves a rest, but we need to be aware that is what we’re doing and to not let it get to the point of total avoidance. When we avoid we suffer because we’re not dealing with that which is causing our suffering. Right Concentration can liberate us.

Developing our concentration helps us stay focused on the work and allows us to just be with whatever comes up. It will help us stay curious about our story and to know what it is we need to let go of.

Right now, it’s important for me to practice concentration to help me stay focused on those things I want to cultivate in my life as well as do this inner work. Selective concentration will continue to be a part of my daily meditation practice, and I’ll use it to keep focused on the work at hand like writing this blog post.


What to Keep in Mind as You Begin this Work

The second part of the wheel looks like this:

Season: Autumn
12-Step: Surrender to a higher power.
Rising Strong Process: Reckoning
8 Fold Path: Right Concentration
Creation Spirituality Path: Via Negativa

Three Main Principles to focus on for Recovery Wheel work:

Oneness/All is Love
Basic Goodness
Spiritual Law

Three Main Tools:

Meditation
Journaling
Self-care

Each week I’ll focus on one or two of these principles and tools.

Week 3

Journaling/Reckoning Practice:

Where do you need to let go of control in your life? Can you surrender your story (about yourself and your past) to a higher consciousness? Can you stay open to what your story means and has meant to you? How has telling yourself this story brought you to where you are today?

Right Concentration Practice:

During your meditation time, practice both active and selective concentration. Feel the difference? What one do you think will help you most on your path right now?

Via Negativa Practice:

Spend some time outdoors and let yourself relax into the moment. Let go of worries, stories and just be. Notice and reflect on how plants release leaves, flowers or fruit.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Recovery Wheel Week 2 – Stepping Into My Life with Love



Photo by HeidelX on pixabay

My mind gets carried away, often. I start off reading one book and suddenly I’ve got 10 or more on the go. I come up with one business idea and suddenly I’m doing three. I work with one modality or program for healing and suddenly I’m using four.

This isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. It can be a creative tool. I branch out so I can synthesize and come up with something new. But too often, it’s not a tool for me. It’s a pervasive pattern that hampers me and could even be called self-sabotage.

During my reckoning work this week, I journaled to understand how I got where I am. Above is just one insight. I don’t journal enough. It’s one of the things that I lose focus on. But it always brings so many great insights.

I’ll continue to bring awareness to this pattern and do things that help me stay focused on one thing at time. This isn’t easy for someone who is multi-passionate. And it doesn’t mean I only have to ever do one thing. For me it means I need to create times specifically to focus on one thing. I need to go deep enough to create a pattern and a rhythm in that thing.

For instance, I want to publish my ideas/writing and get paid. I’ve focused on a platform that pays me to write for others. I’ve got that down, but when it comes to getting into the rhythm of writing my ideas and pitching them I’ve not given it enough time to develop. And that’s because I lose focus. I start working on other things. We lose focus when we haven’t taken the time to make something ingrained.

Some of the other insights come back to this one about focus. And this one about focus comes back to my inability to fully believe in myself. The Recovery Wheel work is to help me recover from my feelings of unworthiness. And it will help as long as I continue to focus.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness, the other aspect of the first part of the Recovery Wheel, is the basis of this work. When I’m mindful of my patterns, they can’t control me and I can change them. What I’ve noticed is I lose touch with basic mindfulness when I spread myself too thin. Mindfulness helps me not only remain aware so I can make other choices; it helps me to realize if something isn’t for me. I don’t have to stick with something that isn’t working.

Via Transformativa

I talked a little last week about this Creation Spirituality path. This week I realized the Path of Transformativa also says, if we deal with our unhappiness, we’ll step into it and change it. That’s kind of what Brené Brown says about The Reckoning. It’s the work I did with journaling this week.

The Path of Transformativa also reminds us to lighten up. Last week I talked about how it acknowledges this work is often two steps forward, one step back. It also says that being hard on ourselves makes it more difficult that it need be. Transformation takes mindfulness, kindness and patience. To say it more simply, transformation takes love.



What to Keep in Mind as You Begin this Work

The first part of the wheel looks like this:

Season: Lammas
12-Step: Admit life isn’t working.
Rising Strong Process: Reckoning
8 Fold Path: Right Mindfulness
Creation Spirituality Path: Via Transformativa

Three Main Principles to focus on for Recovery Wheel work:

Oneness/All is Love
Basic Goodness
Spiritual Law

Three Main Tools:

Meditation
Journaling
Self-care

Each week I’ll focus on one or two of these principles and tools.

Week 2

Journaling/Reckoning Practice:

Use your journal to discover the deeper reasons why you are where you are today. Ask: How did I get here? Take a few minutes to write what comes to mind. When you think you’re done keep going or pick one insight and go deeper into it.


Mindfulness Practice:

Begin a mindfulness meditation practice if you don’t already have one. Susan Piver, founder of the Open Heart Project, is a great teacher. Sign up for her free weekly meditation instruction video or simply visit the link every week.


Via Transformativa Practice:

Spend some time this week doing something you absolutely love. Have fun. As we loosen up it becomes easier to transform.


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Recovery Wheel Week #1 – Basic Goodness, the Reckoning and Transformation


Photo by HeidelX on pixabay

This has been a crazy week. I’ve experienced a wide range of feelings for friends and family over illness as well as the pain and anger around the Ford/Kavanaugh hearing. This is the most triggered I’ve been, and I’ve been triggered a lot over my own past these past few years. You can read a little more about my week over at Soulsayer. But today I want to stick with the personal as I delve into the work I’m committed to doing based on the Recovery Wheel I created.

Basic Goodness

As I look within and examine why I am so triggered, I realize it’s just time for things to change. It may not all be personal. But what is personal is how I see people and how I respond to those who have done harmful things and to those who support them. I was not sexually assaulted, but I experienced emotional abandonment and felt dismissed. Doing the work of the Recovery Wheel is about recovering from feelings of unworthiness and recovering inner power. It involves being able to claim my own basic goodness as well as seeing it in those who have harmed. It’s the only way to begin to move forward.

This hasn’t been easy work. I often think if only my mother had been able to find her strength, things would have turned out better. But she didn’t. After the anger, I breathe and look deeper. She was doing the best she could. Within her, basic goodness was alive just covered over with her own pain and anger.

The other part of this is to realize that basic goodness lives within me. It is what I can hold onto when I’m so angry I just want to lash out. It’s what allows me to see it in her, in all those I’m seething at right now.

The Reckoning

In Brené Brown’s book RisingStrong, she talks about the reckoning, the rumble and the revolution. It’s a way to work through difficult feelings. Here’s what she says about the reckoning:

“You either walk into your story and own your truth, or you live outside of your story, hustling for your worthiness.”

It’s a process of taking a close look at where you are right now. You calculate where you’ve been and what has influenced you in getting there. Without doing this work, you can’t move forward.

I’ve included this step in the Recovery Wheel because it deepens the first step in the 12-Step Program which is to admit life is not working.

Well, my life isn’t working. I love my husband and I have a nice place to live, but I’m not fulfilling my potential. Because I haven’t stepped up, we don’t have the money we need to take care of things let alone just enjoy life. Just getting by isn’t working for me. I’m frustrated, and mostly I’m tired.

The biggest influence on my current situation has been my past. The emotional abandonment led to feeling unworthy and that has hampered everything. I’m still working through my feelings about the past. And I’m going to journal more about the story behind my feelings. Perhaps it’s also time to reach out more for help.

The Recovery Wheel begins with the season of Lammas which is August 1. It’s the first harvest of the year, a time to look back and see what has come to fruition. Reckoning fits with this. Ultimately it’s time to ask if we’re trying to go it alone. Lammas is the season of co-creation with the Divine.

Transformation

Our connection to the Divine sparks our transformation. But why is the Creations Spirituality path of Via Transformativa a part of the first section of the wheel? Because it’s important to remind ourselves that this work of transformation requires our whole heart in order to become wholehearted. It involves us completely, body, mind and soul. To feel is to feel the pain as well as the joy. To feel is to revolve through the turning of our very being. As we move through our emotions, our emotions move us ever closer to the transformation we seek.

The path of transformation contains many obstacles and struggles. There will be doubt and confusion along the way. And that’s okay. It’s as it should be. We are doing no less than unwinding our human selves to uncover our souls.

And this personal is political. To do the work of transforming ourselves is the beginning of doing the work of transforming society. The work of changing the world begins with becoming the change.

As Brené Brown says, get curious about yourself as you are now and how you got here. Keep asking yourself some hard questions. Acknowledge you want and even need change. Be ready to embrace whatever that may mean in your situation. It’s time for a new creation.

What to Keep in Mind as You Begin this Work

The first part of the wheel looks like this:

Season: Lammas
12-Step: Admit life isn’t working.
Rising Strong Process: Reckoning
8 Fold Path: Right Mindfulness
Creation Spirituality Path: Via Transformativa

Three Main Principles to focus on for Recovery Wheel work:

Oneness/All is Love
Basic Goodness
Spiritual Law

Three Main Tools:

Meditation
Journaling
Self-care

Each week I’ll focus on one or two of these principles and tools.

Week 1

Basic Goodness Practice:

During your daily spiritual practice, take a moment to focus on your own basic goodness. You can do this via mirror work or simply focus on your heart center and feel the love as much as you can. Once you do that, experiment with seeing the basic goodness in others by starting with someone you love and then an acquaintance and then with someone more difficult.

Reckoning Practice:

You really might want to get Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong and work through each part as you move through them in the Recovery Wheel work.

To reckon is to figure out where you are now in your life and how you got here. Once you admit things aren’t working for you, take some time to journal about how life is for you now and explore about how you got here. Get curious. No blame or judgement, just look and then feel the feelings that come up as you go along.

Transformation Practice:

Spend a few minutes acknowledging that this work is worth doing, but requires much from you. Transformation is possible, just know it comes with a price, letting go of your old life.

**If you'd like to learn more about the Recovery Wheel or would like some guidance in doing this work, please feel free to contact me.

Recovery Wheel Week 3 – Learning to Let Go and Concentrate

This week begins a little later than the last one. I shifted my schedule so this blog would be posted by midweek. Expect next week...