When I mess Up, Is there really forgiveness, love and grace?

February 10, 2015

Sharing about my mistakes doesn’t seem like the best thing to write about on a blog.  What is the point of expressing the insanity of my life.  I prefer to be a vessel of encouragement and rightful living, than disclose that life isn’t always easy for me, and sometimes this is do to the choices I make.

Being a chronic pain survivor is something that is often beyond myself.  Though I can impact my pain by eating right, exercising and reducing stress, I still have pain.  Even though at times I can blame myself, in essence I know when I wake up in the morning with pain, I didn’t create it.

I also struggle with an addiction.  My addiction, my past, and my chronic pain are all intertwined.  When I went to therapy to deal with things I struggled with in the past, I began to escape into addictive behavior as I couldn’t deal with it.  As these behaviors continued, I got sick with a cold, took antibiotics, and my pain and fatigue started to take hold.  I coped with more addictive behaviors to deal with the pain.  I both sought help in a higher power, and sought help in other powers.

Eventually, I found help for myself through a support community, and through the medical community.  Over the years, I was able to reduce my pain, and not live in addictive behaviors.  I took myself off of pain medication, and felt like my life was going well.  I was still limited, mainly because of the fatigue, but overall had a fairly active life.

So why did I relapse?  Pretty complicated – life, opportunity, desire, denial, pain, resentments, selfishness, etc.  Something I continue to explore.  Unfortunately, the pain it has caused is great.  I feel much shame.  Many people can’t separate my action from who I am, and do I blame them? Not really, it doesn’t make sense.  Addiction and clearly harmful actions generally don’t.

I titled this blog post, Is there forgiveness, love and grace? I really believe that the healing of my body, mind and soul and connecting to something spiritual lies in the forgiveness, love and grace.  As much as I have hurt people, and can see and feel the effect in my life and in my body, I also believe healing can come and effect my life and my body.  Forgiveness, love and grace come through my higher power, my spiritual source that I hold onto.  Each day, I feel this more.  I am blessed to have several people in my life and a community group, who have also shown me the power of grace.  As I continue to integrate this into my belief about myself, I change.  I become more loving and other centered, and give grace to others.

Unfortunately, it can be easy to not love the ones who have hurt us.  This makes sense, and I have compassion for those I have hurt.  I don’t expect them to love and forgive me.  When those moments happen, I do feel the gift of such grace.  I take responsibility for my actions, and continue to do so as I see more.  Healing is a process, and it takes time for all.  Layers and layers often continue to be pealed away.  Much pain – yet a deeper love can develop.  May I become more forgiving, loving and graceful, and be able to give these gifts to others.  Not because of something they have done but because it shows my gratitude for what has been given to me.


Book review: What I know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey

February 10, 2015

I have always admired Oprah Winfrey and the difference she has made in so many lives.  She shows honesty, vulnerability, spirituality and wisdom.  When I saw her book at the library, I thought it might be a good read, but wasn’t expecting the degree of insights this woman shared.  She also had a way of making me feel like I was sitting next to a good friend, who understood my journey.  Some of the topics she discusses are possibility, gratitude, connection, and power.

Though I have heard it before, her writings on gratitude, made me start looking at things in a different way, and I have started to pay more attention to what I am grateful for.  “Here’s the gift of gratitude:  In order to feel it, your ego has to take a backseat.  What shows up in its place is greater compassion and understanding.  Instead of being frustrated, you choose appreciation.  And the more grateful you become, the more you have to be grateful for” (page 79).

Lately, I have been experiencing more physical pain and fatigue. Much of this is do to some increased stress in my life as a result of some choices I made.  It can be hard to see the gratitude when I can feel so empty inside.  Yet, when I look around, every day brings something beautiful and a source of life.  I see this through calls and texts from friends, through looking outside at the trees blowing in the wind, and through reading books that make me go “aha”, I want to live this way.


Gratitude for silence

November 13, 2013

I love the sound of music, of children laughing, of cheers at a sporting event.  Hearing life is an amazing thing.  I also really appreciate the stillness of a quiet moment to reflect and hear my own thoughts.  To contemplate something greater – something spiritual around me and within me.  To hear the wisdom that brings clarity to a problem.  To look around at the beauty of creation, to see what surrounds me, to look at the details that I often overlook, to be aware of my feelings.  Being able to remain in the silence can be a way to let go and accept what is.

I am grateful for my walk yesterday, where I turned off the headphones, and took in the silence.  I felt refreshed, gained some new insights, and enjoyed the beautiful fall day.  May I remember to step away from life’s busyness periodically to take a moment to breathe in what is around me….


My understanding of a spiritual power

November 13, 2013

I have been reading and contemplating what my spiritual power means to me.  I find that I grow in my understand and relationship with a greater power when I ask the questions and watch for answers.  As I have been working through steps 2 and 3, I have written where I am today regarding this step, ways I rewrite the step to mean more to me, and questions/struggles I still have understanding the concept.

Step 2 from AA:  Come to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

My wording of this step:  I am reception to spiritual guidance for restoration and am willing to work towards it.  I believe there is something spiritual beyond my understanding that has the capacity to create miracles.

I struggle with the idea that a spiritual power would care and chose to cure my addictions and my chronic pain, as I have been spiritual yet still struggle.  I see the spiritual everywhere, but don’t always believe it can be personal to healing my pain or cares about the details.

I wonder if my definition of insanity is different than HP.  May not mean I don’t struggle but have clarity and spiritual growth in the process.

Step 3 from AA:  Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand him.

My wording of this step:  I am willing to grow along spiritual lines and seek a HP.  I am willing to turn towards a spiritual source for guidance in my choices and understanding of my needs.  I seek to have this spiritual power guide me in releasing what I have no control over (pain, addictions, peole and outcomes) and guiding me on where I can make an impact and be open to a new way of doing things.

I struggle with giving up myself to another person or spiritual source and the idea of a caring God.

I wonder if it is more about being willing to follow principles for living such as love and grace verses perfection, contol and rules.  To bring unity and allow this Spirit to nourish us for what we really need.


Gratitude – Explore and discover something new

November 12, 2013

Had a fun day yesterday with my daughters.  It was a day off to recognize the Veteran’s who have served for our country.  Much of yesterday reminded me of the beauty of something new.

My oldest daughter, will be joining FC Portland to play some competitive soccer.  It was fun to watch her excitement picking up her new uniforms and the wonder of what the season will be like with a new team.  She has never played at this level, so much to learn as we navigate through the new channels.

When we came home, we decided to go for a walk along some nature trails in our neighborhood.  They had added some new trails that we haven’t been on before.  It was fun to explore the path (and the non-path), go over the bridge, and meet a friendly cat along the way.

My younger daughter, had this desire to learn to be goalie for her soccer team.  We went to the local high school and shot some goals on her.  She was a trooper trying to figure out how to slide, catch the air balls, and anticipate where the ball was going.  Love her spirit and desire to try something new, whether this is for the weekend, or the season.

May we take some time to look for new opportunities, new experience and new memories.


Gratitude – technology and the ability to text…

November 9, 2013

I have enjoyed using my phone as a quick way to check in with friends when life seems overwhelming or to encourage me in my day.  I find if I send a text to a friend before doing something stressful, than I have more strength for the journey.  If I have a rough day, or feel upset by something I can give a quick vent, and continue to address what I need to do.  I have a few friends that are also my texting friends, where we check in with each other periodically.  Texting is quick, can be done in a minute or two, and readily available.

As much as I love texting, it only works for me as a supplement for relationships that are already strong.  The reason it works, is because it supports conversations we have already had, and a relationship that has been built by regular visits and conversations.  It is meant for the positive, not for debates or conflicts – this is much better dealt with in person.   It feels like twitter – where you give a few sentences reminding you of what is most important.


Gratitude for Friends who understand

November 7, 2013

I had a great conversation with my friend, Lavelle, yesterday.  It was one of those conversations where you are completely in tuned with one another, and understand where the other person comes from.  There were many times I couldn’t believe she was expressing exactly what I felt or had been thinking about.  She is insightful, smart, always wanting to learn and grow, and makes me laugh.  I am so grateful to have Lavelle in my life.  We have gone through many challenges over the years, and somehow we seem to keep coming back to a common place.  Thanks Lavelle.  

In my life of chronic pain, I have found that friends and support are extremely valuable.  Though not everyone understands my pain and the physical problems I go through, I have many friends that keep me going through the day to day stuff.  I have other friends that are involved in my soccer world, friends that center around my children, and friends I have met in groups I am part of.  Many of my family members also feel like friends, sharing a common bond.  

I may not always understand why some friends last for a season and others for the long haul.  Often it seems to be a willingness to work through what comes our way, common values, and to be open minded in forgiving.  Most of my relationships have gone through conflict, some pretty difficult ones.  When there is communication we can move forward, learn about ourselves and others, and move towards healing.  Willing to look into how we contribute to the problem and what issues may be related to something else seems to help.  Also being willing to give some grace and compassion, realizing many things in life aren’t always understood and don’t always need to be talked through.  Some areas of life we may not agree upon, and it doesn’t help to keep hashing it out or trying to change a person’s point of view.   Keeping focused on the strengths of the other person and how they enrich my life is helpful, humor is also of great benefit.  


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