Sharing Experience, Strength, and Hope - My Recovery Process and Taking Action
In my March 2000 update, I was processing through an issue. Some people seemed to be a little confused about that update - and there were also inquiries in regard to my reference to forcing myself to take some action. So, I started to write this new page about processing to try to explain the process of processing - and taking action - a little bit more. What started out to be one article has evolved into three (at least). This one is going to be about my choice to share my process on these web pages and about how I have learned that it is sometimes necessary to force myself to take action in my personal recovery process.
Processing through my personal issues is something that I did in the Newsletters from my original Joy to You & Me web site on silcom.com. (You can find links to those Newsletters on the Joy to You & Me page of Joy2MeU site - which is listed on the Information index page, which also has links to recent update announcements - and on the Index Q & A page of the original site.) It something that I do in alignment with sharing my experience, strength, and hope. I believe it is very important for me to be willing to role model that it is OK to be human. I also know that it is helpful for people to have me discuss how I apply the principles of the twelve step spiritual program in my life in a concrete way instead of just as abstract concepts.
On the Miscellaneous Topic/Former Online Columns index page of the Joy2MeU site, I quote from one of those Newsletters about the personal nature of my writing. Among the things I say in that quote are these paragraphs.
"The thing that was the most damaging to us was the role modeling of the emotionally crippled adults we grew up around - the role modeling is what taught us the dysfunctional definitions of who we are as emotional beings. It is vitally important, in my opinion, that we have some beings who are willing to role model what emotionally healthy behavior is - which includes being emotionally vulnerable at times.
Traditional therapy/counseling in this society is set up as a one up-one down situation - that is the therapist is set up as the expert who treats the poor unfortunate patient. I happen to agree with something Ram Dass once said about this - "If you meet a therapist who thinks you are the patient - run!""
"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)."
Once I started my Joy2MeU Journal, things shifted somewhat. I started doing most of my online processing about more personal issues in that Journal rather than in my update announcements. I had gotten feedback from several people that thought that my online processing was too intimate. I had a good chuckle about that because the level of intimacy which I was processing at, in both my old Newsletters and in my recent online personal journal in the Journal, was/is not that deep a level. Not nearly at the depth I process with someone in person who is safe. (Safe meaning someone who knows how to be present with me and supportive - who will not judge me or try to fix me - unfortunately, at the level I am at, a rare and precious commodity.) The people who thought it was too intimate were making a statement about themselves and their own level of emotional intimacy that really had very little to do with me.
The reactions I got from that recent update included quite a few thank you e-mails from people who understand the process and were reminded to be patient with themselves by my example. It also included such reactions as:
concern that I was worrying too much about other peoples opinions because of what I said about trying to communicate in a Loving way - when what I was really talking about was communicating in non shaming language. I am powerless over anyone else's opinion of me and have had numerous lessons from the Universe that helped me let go of that one having much power. In trying to communicate in non shaming language what I am attempting is to maximize the possibility of people being able to hear what I am saying - and not use it to beat themselves up. We are so good at beating ourselves up that I want to minimize the possibility that anyone can use what I say to do that to themselves. I am, of course, powerless over how people react - but I try to make it as clean as possible.;
several messages telling me not to be afraid - when what I was doing was processing through levels of fear so that I could take the power away from it. I will talk more about that in the emotional balance article.;
a person I know who is quite emotionally unavailable said "You sounded human. Ha Ha." - implying that perhaps I had made a mistake. I, of course, took it as a compliment since part of my message is that it is OK to be human. The more we can accept and embrace our humanity through taking the toxic shame out of the process, the easier it becomes to reconnect with our True Spiritual nature - and vice versa. If my sharing helps you to be a little more patient in your relationship with your own humanity, then I have accomplished part of my mission.
I was not as clear as I could have been about the fact that I was processing in that update. Which I am not beating myself up for because it was, of course, perfect - because it brought to my attention the need for this article. I had written part of this article back at the end of March when I got those reactions. But then I couldn't finish it and had to shift my focus to doing some redesign and some writing for my Journal. The work that I did on the Journal, plus the most recent article I have written about spirituality for agnostics and atheists, both needed to happen before I could finish this article properly.
Get this, this is part of the reason that I Love this process so much, and how perfectly it unfolds (in the times when I am not hating it of course.;-)
So, my procrastination about finishing this article in March in response to some people's reactions to my Update in which I was processing about writing an article in an attempt to not buy into beating myself up for procrastination, was perfect to allow the process to unfold until such time as it was time to finish this article at the end of May (well almost, one article became three - and then 5 - and my trip interfered and now I am publishing them in July.). In addition to that, there was a another right on reason I was not aware of for my resistance in March to writing the article about which I procrastinating - which caused me to process about procrastination. (I mention that in my latest update. The structure of the article was not working for me - and I did not see that clearly until after I had published it. My resistance was not that much about the content or the writing process.)
Integration and Balance - The Process
The process of processing is a dynamic that in many ways is easier to demonstrate over time than it is to explain. Explaining it on an intellectual level is complicated and difficult because the process itself involves being able to look at multiple levels. The recovery process is spiritual, emotional, and mental. These levels are separate but intimately interrelated.
In learning how to achieve some emotional balance in our lives, it is necessary to be able to look at our self, our own inner process, and the life dynamic itself, from different perspectives. It is this looking at different levels that is the process of processing. Processing is a matter of looking at, filtering, discerning, getting clear about what is happening at any given moment in our relationship with life, with ourselves, with everything that is stimulating us.
In trying to explain this dynamic here, I am going to be describing a relationship.
"Everything within the Illusion exists in relationship to the rest of the Illusion. This means that communicating Truth about any facet of the Illusion can be done in relationship to a variety of factors. This involves perspective through multiple levels. It can make a great deal of difference rather a facet of Truth is being described individually, or in relationship to (i.e. God, objective reality, human emotional process, etc.), or if the relationship itself is being described."
The Dance of the Wounded Souls Trilogy Book 1 History V
In the articles that have grown out of this one I am going to be looking at processing from the perspective of integration and balance. In other words, I am going to be explaining this relationship with life and with ourselves, in relationship to - using the parameters of - integration and balance.
"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?"
Quote from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls
A very important part of my process of finding some balance in my life - of learning how to see myself and how I relate to others and life more clearly - was to get clear that everything in my process relates back to me and my growth process. I had to get past my codependent belief that I was doing something for you - or you were doing something to me. Here is another quote from the Newsletter that is excerpted on my Topics index page.
"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."
Miscellaneous Topics/Former Online Columns Index Page
A part of my process is doing this writing - as well as the counseling I do in person or on the telephone. I not only get insights into my own personal recovery process from my interaction with clients/other wounded souls, I also get insights into the overall process - that is, the dynamics of the phenomena: that is codependence; that is recovery; that is life in human body.
My mission in this lifetime is to be a messenger and teacher. I have known since a very young age that I was going to write a book of Truth. I didn't however have any idea what Truth was for much of my life. It was only after I got into recovery that I started pealing away the layers of denial and lies so that I could start unearthing Truth.
As I mention in my book The Dance of Wounded Souls, and go into more detail about in the stories of my Spiritual Path in the Joy2MeU Journal, the most important book of Truth in my personal recovery process was Illusions by Richard Bach. I quote that book several times in my book. One of the quotes from Illusions that had a lot of impact on me was something to the effect that: "Learning is remembering, teaching is reminding others that they can remember also. We are all teachers and students." (This is a paraphrase which I am using rather than pulling out the book and getting the exact quote. If I quoted the exact quote, I would need copyright permission - which I had for the quotes I used in my book. So this is a weak way of not violating copyright - my apologies Richard, I am sure you understand.)
I learn from every person I teach. I often do not know the answer to a question until I hear myself answering someone. I can not attempt to answer a question I have never been asked (either by myself or someone else), or look at an aspect of the dynamic I have never looked at before, until someone or something brings it to my attention. We all need other people in our lives in order to stimulate us to look at life - all the levels, issues, and facets that entails - from different perspectives.
I write a great deal about the importance of being open to looking at anything and everything from alternative perspectives in my latest article Spirituality for Agnostics and Atheists. I was stimulated to look at some different aspects of spirituality by a client who is an agnostic. I am very grateful to her for being my teacher. It has caused me to see some different facets of spirituality that I had not previously brought to consciousness.
That I was stimulated to look at spirituality and spiritual integration from some different perspectives during the same time period that I was reflecting on how to explain the process of processing was of course perfect. Integration in my definition is a necessary component of finding some emotional balance. So, for me to be able to look at spiritual integration from an enlarged perspective makes it possible that more people will be open to exploring the approach to emotional healing and balance that I have developed. The procrastination about finishing an article in response to queries about processing about procrastination was a perfect part of finishing that article (articles.)
Thus were the new articles The Recovery Process for inner child healing - spiritual integration and The Recovery Process for inner child healing - finding emotional balance born. (To be followed by several more .)