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.

Advertisements

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.


12 steps for chronic pain, looking at harms – step 4

February 26, 2013

Step 4 is about looking deep into ourselves – our fears, how we were harmed, how we harmed others, our struggles and our strengths. It isn’t meant to be a point of condemnation – a list of how awful we are, but of confirmation of what has made us who we are. Without looking truth in the face, it is hard to break out of patterns and behaviors. The truth also allows us to see what works for us, and when we are most how we dream to be.  Since there are a lot of complexities in step 4, I will start with harms done to me.

In the Big Book, step 4 is “We made a searching and moral inventory of ourselves”. I find this step life changing when I am able to dig deeper into my own responses to situations and how this also impacts my current behaviors. For example: One of my friends, “Cailyn”, reacted to my physical symptoms with a lot of questions and assumptions about my psychological state. We had been close at one time, but less connected prior to my illness. I felt hurt by her comments and questions. What she said to me and her lack of support effected our relationship (social) and how I viewed myself (security). I however reacted by being angry, criticizing her, felt doubt, self-pride, rationalized, resentful, suspicious and self focused. Though many of these reactions were internal, I reacted to this hurt by causing additional harm. I am not responsible for her actions, but I am responsible for mine. As time went by, I allowed the relationship to fade, which was a good thing at the time as we were going different directions. However, I continued to resent her and her reaction to me when I was sharing my physical struggles.

Such as with Cailyn, there are many people who caused me harm when I became ill. The list includes family members who weren’t able to recognize my pain, other people who thought I was seeking pain medication for an escape, doctors who were unkind and unhelpful. Some of these harms may have been more about my own assumptions of why I felt they did what they did. In general, most of us are fairly self-absorbed, and on a given day are unable to give everyone the support they need or desire. When I am listing my harms, I found it was helpful not to analyze too much about what I didn’t know, and reflect more on what I felt was a harm, because this is what I react too. Later I can look and pray for clarity on whether my perception could have been off (many times it is) or whether my perception is only slightly true, such as I may think someone is overreacting, yet still might agree mostly with what they say.

Much of my reactions to harms done to me are similar to reactions I have had since I was a young child. I believe many of my reactions are almost automatic especially when the situation brings up old feelings of abandonment, criticism, abuse and/or neglect. If I feel shame, I tend to look for ways of self-preservation. Often this is done by accusing other people, in order to feel ok about myself. When I recognize what I am doing, I can look more clearly at what is being done or said to me, and process whether this is something that is true, where I need to make a correction, or something that isn’t, where I may need to move away from the person or situation. If I am wrong, my guilt can move me to make changes while holding onto who I want to be. If I can’t see clearly something I did, I can ask questions for clarification, and try to understand where they are coming from (which may not be related to me). Though doing the right thing doesn’t necessarily keep me from being resentful, it does give me space to make the choices I want to make, and lessen the impact.

In my world of chronic pain, I hope to find grace and forgiveness for this journey. May I be free of shame, and have a heart that seeks to understand.


Stuck in Time – Roles we play

February 25, 2013
Solid Rock

Solid Rock

As I have run into many old friends and acquaintances this past week, I am reminded of how I feel stuck in a time zone. I have played a variety of roles over the years, and built many relationships. Different situations and time periods have brought out different parts of who I am or who people perceive me to be or how I perceive them to perceive me (generally not the same thing). When I run into a variety of people from different time zones, or different role periods, I find myself confused, as if I am struggling to feel solid in my identity.

Over the past 14 years I have belonged to a community of people from a place I call my “church home”. I love what the church brings – hope, love, faith, service, community, strength, and relationships. It also brings for me confusion, judgement, conflict, vulnerability, and questions about my beliefs and experiences. In my church home, I have gone through periods of sporadic involvement, little involvement, outsider, regular attendee and active leader. In many ways, the best and worst parts of me have been known in this community I call my “church home”.

As I walk the halls of the church building I feel like the wind is blowing in a variety of directions. I see teenagers and girls who are in my coaching world. The place of today, and where I spend much of my extra hours and devotion. I also run into people who were active in a mom’s group which I led, or a committee I was on, where we connected together for a purpose and passion. Then I turn around to the people who were around in the middle of my darker/addicted mind-set, watching me spin out of control. Next to them might be the person who recalls my early fibromyalgia days, and has compassion for my illness. And then, almost worse than the rest, is the new leaders and attenders, who are completely unaware of my existence and history, seeing me as “the newbie” or “nonexistent”. I can’t make sense of the history and the various feelings that emerge from within. How do I change and intersect these places, and block out the negativity that can haunt and paralyze me?

I often believe that the healing and transformation is in the process. Perhaps all my feelings are a way for me to be more graceful to myself and just step into the fears that permeate my whole being. I tend to believe that I have to do something to make up for the things I did that were destructive to my soul and hurtful to others. It is easy to simplify people’s responses, when I move into a shame based center. When I find my own place of peace, is allows me to be more centered and have a better balance of inward and outward focus. I may still feel the fear and shame, but my decision won’t come from that place. Maybe things will change for me if I look to receive the grace and love, than to question or seek to understand the complicated thoughts and feelings of another towards me.

I feel ready to get out of this zone. I honestly don’t know how this will happen – but I aim to at least see the next layer. Instead of focusing on what I perceive from others and the role I am playing, I can focus on the vision for myself and where the Spirit leads me in that moment. It isn’t a battle to win, I have nothing to prove to myself – this is about being open – about seeking to grow and build relationships with this community I am in. It doesn’t have to look a certain way, and I may not ever be “the leader” I once was, yet I can be someone with greater love and grace that continues to transform me from within.


Relationships and humilty – the darker side of life

November 29, 2012

Recently I have been having an inner battle with exposing the darker sides of life in order to reach out to someone who is struggling.  Much of the time I feel content in dwelling in the blessings of life and portraying an optimistic viewpoint.  I prefer to dream, plan, and encourage others to live in the moment, follow their values and seek meaningful relationships.  Talking about chronic pain, mental issues, dysfunction, crazy thoughts I might have, and addictions are topics I would rather stay in the shadows, or allow a slight exposure for a sense of humanity.  However when someone is hurting, it is hard to look the other way.

Sharing about the darker side can bring panic and fear.  What will people think of me?  Will I lose respect from people I care about?  Will they use the information to harm or threaten me in the future. Integrating these parts of myself can bring shame and fear of abandonment until full acceptance gives grace. I prefer to compartmentalized and move on losing this part of myself verses taking these pieces as the masterpiece they can become.

Opportunities always present themself in life.  Every difficult situation I have encountered has the potential to bring good, especially as I face the truth and find strength to move forward by both digging deeper and taking steps to make necessary changes.  I feel this responsibility to offer my experience, my compassion, possible guidance to resources, and wisdom that has guided me along the way.  I also need to be open to learn, to hear, to challenge my viewpoint, so I can learn what others have to teach me and to see the beauty in their life.  I don’t know if it will make a difference, but I can’t ignore the opportunity.

What I know to be true is that each of us has a unique path – what works for one doesn’t always work for another.  However, my greatest growth and wisdom has come from hearing stories, seeking truth and prayer, and finding resources through people and words of wisdom.  My greatest teachers have all have different opinions and values in some area, yet can still be a guide for enriching my life and growing spiritually.  I have learned to connect more easily with those who come in humility, willingness to listen, gave some hope, cared about me and were able to enter into the darker aspects of both my life and their own.  They had an inner strength , compassion, grace and love, and wisdom from their own experiences, yet were open to learning from the experiences of all they came into contact with.

May each of us keep our hearts open to allowing life to unfold in the most mysterious of ways – seeing the light shine in the darkness.

Step 12:  Having had a spiritual awakening because of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in our lives.


%d bloggers like this: