It feels like I could write 10 posts about the seminar I attended this weekend with my niece. However, if I were to sum it up, I would say what I gained most from this experience was a deeper understanding of the acceptance of all things as perfect gifts from a higher power, and a willingness to examine every aspect of my life for the potential lesson. To quote the seminar leader, "Everything is of service." I simply have to be willing to accept that even when I don't like what it going on in my life ... it has some purpose. This same truth shines through on page 449 of the AA Big Book. "Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today."
I picked up a lot of tools at this seminar ... some affirmations, some ideas for deeper and more meaningful meditation and connection to my Higher Power, and a reminder that any story can be told from a variety of different angles -- and it is up to me what I choose to focus on. The seminar leader had us tell the story of the most disturbing experience of our lives first in our own words, with our own focus. Then she asked us to get up, shift to the next seat and tell the person in front of us the same story as if it were the funniest joke we'd ever heard. (This was VERY hard for both me and the listener, who had to laugh. However, it oddly lifted a big burden from me.) When we got up again, we sang our stories to our listening partner. It was the fourth time that we told our story that I had a major shift. We were asked to tell our story from a new vantage point -- as if we had intentionally attracted everything in our most disturbing story to ourselves for the purpose of fulfilling a need to have a certain set of experiences that filled a critical void in our spiritual beings. Talk about taking on responsibility. Wow. This was at a whole new plane. The thought that I could or would attract something horrible to myself was very tough to swallow. But as I was able to retell this often told tale of my childhood sexual abuse, I shifted my focus from the pain and horror, to the lessons I had learned, the soul-deep experiences I have had, and the realization that forgiveness is a gift I give myself, not something I give away to others. This whole experience goes a lot deeper, and I am thankful to still be processing all that I learned, applying it to my life and to my recovery.
For me, recovery has been a process of self-discovery, filling the voids in my life that were never filled at the appropriate age. This weekend focused on "getting to the core" of myself and setting intentions for my life was very helpful in propelling me past a "stuck place" I was in.
Another helpful part of me moving past that "stuck place" was my willingness to speak, after all these years, with my dear niece, who is the closest member of my family to me, about my past acting out and my road to recovery. For years I have believed that as much as I didn't want my husband to know about my extramarital affairs, I wanted her to know even less. She went through her teenage years watching her mother (my sister) have one affair after another and it scarred her deeply. I feared if she ever knew I had been unfaithful she would know longer hold me close in her heart and that she might reject me outright. Those feelings were based in fear, and by the grace of my Higher Power about a week before she arrived, my heart began to open to the idea of sharing with her the basics of my behavior. I feel this opened a huge door in my heart and it also brought her and I closer together than ever before.
One day at a time, the Promises are being fulfilled in my life and I cannot possibly express the depth of my gratitude.
My next post will be about losing my religion
1 month ago