A Power Greater Than You…

* This blog is dedicated to my daughter and anyone who suffers from an addiction, as well as the loved ones that are standing by watching, loving and encouraging them to wholeness again.**

The 12 steps are a group of principles, spiritual in nature, that are to be practiced as a way of life for those suffering from addiction. The idea is to help expel the obsessive behavior (drinking, drugs, or any addiction) so the person can feel and become happy and whole again. These principles are so powerful they can be used to overcome not only addiction, but limiting beliefs and harmful thoughts and behaviors in the non-addict as well.

Reference:  Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (1981), Alcoholics Anonymous World Service, Inc.

Step #2:  Come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
~Albert Einstein

As most of you who are regular readers know, I am working my way through the 12 steps in honor of my daughter who is a recovering addict. In order to better understand her and the process, I decided to do the 12 steps myself and as I did, write a blog about my experience with each one.

Step #2, to me, is all about believing in miracles. We all have had moments in our lives where we are faced with something so big or so terrible that we have no choice but to surrender. Surrender to whom? Surrender to that power that you know exists but cannot define, see or touch. We all feel that power. We all know there is something that exists that is greater than we are. Some call that power God; others may call it the Universe. All that matters is that you feel that something else is with you watching out for you…willing to take on what you feel you cannot do yourself.

My lesson during this step was not so much believing in my higher Power, but trusting my higher Power. I have had enough spiritual experiences in my lifetime that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are not alone in this journey through life. My struggle exists with feeling worthy enough that my Power knows I exist. It sounds kind of silly when I say it out loud to myself, now that I think about it…but true none-the-less. Letting go and letting God was never something that I really could understand. We recovering control freaks think we can control and handle anything that comes our way…usually a side effect of having to deal with a lot of life situations on our own. Once I was able to realize that I really do not have control and stopped fighting it, I began to see more clearly and really feel that Power in my life. I, for the first time, felt as if God had my back. When I looked back at my life challenges, I realized I was never alone to begin with…he was there the whole time. I am reminded of the poem “Footprints,” which is a perfect metaphor for Step #2. It is through our most challenging times that God does not leave us…he carries us. Michael, a facilitator in one of the Nar-Anon meetings I attend has us say a prayer at the end of every meeting. It is very simple yet powerful: “Your will God, not mine. Your time God, not mine.” I slowly came to realize that it is not about MY will, it is about God’s will for me and my life. And let me tell you, when you finally realize that, it is a huge relief!

It does not matter if your beliefs match mine. What matters is that you know your own beliefs and they need to work for you. They must be yours. It does not matter what anyone else in your world believes…only what you believe. Your beliefs are the blueprint from which you live your life and make your choices.

I will share with you several questions I pondered and answered as I worked through this step:

  • What higher Power do I believe in?
  • Do I trust my higher Power? If not, why not?
  • Do I feel worthy of help from my higher Power?
  • Do I have an open mind? Am I willing to change my beliefs if my current ones are not working for me?
  • If my higher Power “has my back,” why do I sometimes not get what I pray for?
  • Do I believe that my higher Power believes in me?
  • Am I able to receive?
  • What is my bottom? Do I have to hit bottom in order to have faith in my higher Power?

Your relationship with your higher Power starts and ends with your relationship with yourself. God is in you, works through you and IS you. He is expressing himself through you.

Ernest Holmes, the author of The Science of Mind, says the following about treatment and your own personal role in it which I think is a perfect summation for Step #2:

Treatment is not willing things to happen; it is to provide within ourselves an avenue through which they may happen. Treatment opens up avenues of thought, expands the consciousness, and lets reality through; it clarifies the mentality, removes doubt and fear, in the realization of the presence of Spirit (your higher Power), and is necessary while we are confronted by obstructions or obstacles. We already live in a Perfect Universe, but it needs to be seen mentally before it can become a part of our experience. Every problem is primarily mental, and the answer to all problems will be found in Spiritual realization…(your own personal relationship with your higher Power).

God-Speed,
Chris

Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

Cast Aside All Doubt

by:  Ernest Holmes

Cast aside all doubt, O Soul of mine, and be unafraid, for Thy power is from On High.
He who sitteth in the heavens shall be Thy champion;
Thou need not fear; Come forth, O Spirit, from within and express Thyself through me and let not my doubts hinder Thy approach.
My faith shall go forth to meet Thee, and my confidence shall embrace Thee.
My waiting thought shall bid Thee welcome to my house of Love,
And joy shall accompany us through the ages yet to come.
I lay aside all fear and doubt.

Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

 

Choosing the Life You Were Born to Live:  How Changing Your Thoughts Will Change Your Life” by Chris Sopa published by Balboa Press.

Purchase your copy!

Choose Your Illusion Wisely

I believe that everything and everyone is healed right now.  I choose to focus on this truth instead of on illusions of fear.”

Everyone has seen a magician at some point in their life.  David Copperfield is my all time favorite.  I still remember watching when he made the Statue of Liberty disappear.

Even though I do believe in magic, or some may call it miracles, I also know that the brain is an amazing organ.  With a small shift in attention and focus, an entire reality can change…making a several ton statue in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world seem like it disappeared.  Did it really disappear or were you just distracted enough to shift your attention?

Where we place our attention is the very energy that creates the reality we see in our lives.  Do you look around and see hatred or love?  Do you see the good in people or only judge the bad?  Do you choose to focus on what can go wrong or what can possibly go right?

The way to change what we see in the world is simply with one thought at a time.  Reacting to others programmed behaviors only keeps us all in the same energy that got us here in the first place.  Be the one to shift your attention first.  Change the “illusion” and create a new reality.  If so many follow such a negative one, as we have created, imagine what would happen if someone, anyone, shifted their attention to a positive illusion?

If you are going to be living in an illusion anyway, why not choose one of healing and joy rather than fear?  Why not choose one that is your own that benefits all of mankind so we can finally come out of the darkness we have created?

No harm shall befall you, my friend, for Divine Presence attends your way and guards you into The All Good.
Loving kindness awaits you at every turn of Life’s road.
Guidance is yours along the pathway of experience,
And an Infallible Power protects you.
~Ernest Holmes, “The Science of Mind

Living in a beautiful “illusion” of my creation,

Chris

 

Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

Purchase your copy of Chris Sopa’s new book, “Choosing the Life You Were Born to Live:  How Changing Your Thoughts will Change Your Life” published by Balboa Press.

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Oh My!!!

As we must plant a seed before we reap a harvest, so we must believe before our prayers can be answered.”  ~Ernest Holmes, “The Science of Mind

Do you ever feel as if the line “Lions and Tigers and Bears, OH MY!” from the Wizard of Oz is your life this month?  There are many things happening all around us; people who are acting out of sorts, places that just do not feel the same and situations that seem to no longer fit in our lives.  This is all part of the process…the process of ascension.  What is ascension?  Ascension is simply the process of moving your soul, your inner self, to a new level of awareness.  It is happening to all of us as we speak.  2012 is not about the end of the world; 2012 if about a new way – a new consciousness.  One of which we work together, we honor ourselves and our brothers and sisters, one where there is no judgment, no deceit, no lies; one where we all finally realize the true meaning of unconditional love.

August finds us all facing many realities in our lives.  With two full moons, the last one being tomorrow, August 31st, we are asked to look once and for all at our lives and “clean house.”  Have you noticed the turmoil this month?  Have you noticed the constant bombardment of chaos, drama and upset?  Although you may perceive these things as “bad” because they do not feel so great, they are blessings for you.  They are coming up to show you, as they have time and time again, what you need to balance, release and work on in your life.  Are there people in your life that just cause constant drama, that do not make you feel your best?  Are you in situations or a job that causes you undue stress?  Are you tired of not having enough money and wonder why no matter what you do money slips through your fingers and you just never have enough?

As we move through these times, we need to remember two things to cope:

1.  Your feelings are the physical manifestation of guidance – Your feelings are the language of the universe.  You have them for a reason – and that reason is not to make you feel miserable.  If you have been feeling down this month and ready to throw in the towel (trust me, I have been there all month as well!), try to look at what is happening from a different perspective.  The situations that are causing you stress and bringing up these “not so good” feelings are there to show you what needs to change in your life.  The feelings are the answers to your prayers.  They are the things showing you what you need to do to change for the better.  The challenge is having the courage to do what you already know needs to be done.  Is it pulling away from certain people in your life?  Is it ending a relationship?  Is it changing jobs?  Is it finally kicking an addictive habit?  And my all time favorite; is it changing how you think about who you are so you can finally live into the Divinity which is your birthright?

Try unconditionally loving yourself for once-it’s not so easy.  You are your worst critic.  If you spoke to and treated your friends the way your treat yourself, how many friends would you have?  That’s what I thought…

 2.  Know what you need to do to keep your center – Do you know what things you like to do that make you feel good?  When you are stressed beyond belief, what are some things that relieve your stress (good, healthy things – wine does not count!)?  We all need to know how to cope when things just don’t seem to be going our way.  I spent 4 years on the Board of Education and one of the areas I saw in our youth and that I see in adults in my Coaching practice that is the cause of most illnesses is the lack of coping skills.  How do you cope?  Crawling in bed and throwing the covers over your head is not coping.

Honest moment – for the last two days I have been depressed beyond belief.  My trip out east to visit my “old life” was disappointing to say the least.  Nothing out east had really changed…but I have changed…for the better.  Any endings bring sadness and when we allow sadness in for too long its best friend is usually fear.  I had every fear in history come up for me the last two days; fear of not having enough money, fear of my future, fear of success, fear for my children who are both starting new chapters in their lives, fear of being alone for the rest of my life, fear of not making it to where I want to go in my business, fear of what others were thinking of me…blah, blah, blah.  I had to re-group and cope.  How did I do that?  I pulled back, took a walk, listened to music, read passages in books that inspire me, re-read my bucket list and surrounded myself with friends who inspire me and lift me up and I shut everything else out.  I took care of me.  Did I snap out of it?  For the most part…but remember that your life is about the journey, not the end point.  We signed up for it all; sadness and joy because that is the beauty of being human.

Why not make your “Oh my” feel good for once!  😉

This is a kind Universe and everyone and everything in it is working in your favor.  There are no tests, blocks or obstacles in your way, except your own projections of fear into your future.”  ~Doreen Virtue

I like my ruby red slippers!  Click, click!

Chris

Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

Ouch! Don’t Touch Me There!

“The greatest good that can come to anyone is the forming within him of an absolute certainty of himself, and of his relationship to the Universe, forever removing the sense of heaven as being outside himself.” ~Ernest Holmes, “The Science of Mind

When my youngest daughter was 3 years old, she had a “thing” with band aids.  Every day she would find a reason to want a band aid.  I would buy those silly ones that had pictures of Barney, Mickey Mouse or Barbie on them for her and she would choose her band aid in the morning just like she would chose her clothes.  If anyone ever touched her where she had her band aid that day she would yell, “Ouch! Don’t touch me there!  That’s my boo-boo!” even if what was under the band aid was perfectly healthy skin!

When we physically have a “boo-boo” we know it is there because when we touch it, it hurts.  The pain lets us know that part of our body is unbalanced at the moment, needs attention and is in the process of healing – which our body knows how to do naturally.  We do not have to think about how a cut on our hand heals, it just does.  We may put medicine on it to aid it along, but for the most part our bodies naturally know how to heal.

Emotional pain is no different.  When we feel emotional pain it hurts.  Where it hurts may be little harder to place than if you are physically hurt but the pain tells you the same thing – to pay attention to the feelings that are coming up because they point toward something that needs to heal.  The “band aid” we use to heal our emotional pain depends on what our “internal environment” is like.  If we are emotionally healthy, we know we create our own reality and what we see in our outside world is a reflection of what is going on in our inside world so we allow the painful feeling to come up, feel it, release it and take a step in a different direction next time the particular situation that causes us pain comes up.  We “band aid” our pain using healthy modes such as being in nature, deep breathing, talking to friends or a counselor we trust, exercising, or doing any one of the many things we love to do to raise our vibration, clear the heavy energy and move on.  If we are not healthy emotionally, we ignore the pain hoping it goes away because it hurts and we do not want to feel the pain (who does!), we stuff it down, try to forget about the event that happened to cause the pain, and then take out our pain and frustration on others by yelling, letting anger rule our thinking and behaviors, physically or emotionally abusing others and ourselves, and cover up the pain with numbing, addicting habits such as smoking, drinking, drugs or any one of the many “isms” that constitute an addiction (work, sex, etc.)

Just as our physical bodies naturally know how to heal, our emotional bodies do as well.  Our emotional body knows that what is causing the pain, the toxin, needs to be released – the same as if a toxin was in your physical body.  Let’s face it though…we don’t like to feel emotional pain.  But what needs to be realized is that if you just allow the feeling to surface, deal with the situation that caused the pain once and for all and LET IT GO, healing occurs.  It’s funny how human behavior works because what we choose to do is hold on to the pain, keep repeating the scenario that happened in our head over and over again (thinking we somehow will be able to figure it out) and allow the pain to linger for much longer than it needs to.  (That is called masochism by the way!  Lol!)

Today, when an uncomfortable feeling arises (the pain), allow yourself just to feel it for a moment.  Sit in the feeling and let it come up.  As it comes up, breathe deeply and ask for healing to occur around whatever situation is bothering you.  Then, go do something nice for yourself.  Get a cup of coffee, take a walk, listen to your favorite song, etc.  Allow yourself to heal!

Our heaven, my friends, is not an external place we must earn our way into.  Heaven is the reality we create inside ourselves.  Our internal environment is dictated by the feelings that we allow to rule the roost inside our heads that drive our daily behaviors.  You can choose your attitude and thoughts in ANY situation!  Every thought leads to a feeling so be careful what you choose.  Don’t ever let the behavior of others dictate how you feel.  Only you have control of those switches – don’t give your remote over to someone else.  Create a “green” internal environment, trash what needs to go, recycle old limiting thoughts to new ones that serve you and live in a reality that YOU create!

Do you want to live in a Heaven or a Hell?  That is your choice…

Needing a band aid on my heart today,

Chris

For more information on Chris Sopa International, Inc. go to www.ChrisSopa.com.

“I Want to be a Millionaire”…BUT….

Most of us were brought up to believe the following formula:

DO » HAVE » BELIEVE

In other words, if I DO something (whatever that something is), then I will HAVE whatever it is I am wanting and THEN (and for most, ONLY then!) will I BELIEVE it is true.  Say, for example, you want to be a millionaire.  If we follow this belief, you would DO what millionaires do, then HAVE what millionaires have, and then you would BELIEVE you are a millionaire because you SEE it, TOUCH it and FEEL it…right?

Reality check…THAT IS NOT HOW IT WORKS!!!

Here is the real formula:

BELIEVE » DO » HAVE

Your emotions and feelings are the language of the Universe.  You have to believe in what you want, feel in your bones that you already have it and THEN the law of attraction kicks in!  Law is law.  Universal law says like attracts like.  Your thoughts and feelings send out a vibration.  The Universe is made up of matter and matter has energy.  Energy vibrates.  Your vibration (which you send out based on where your attention is currently…i.e., what you are thinking about most and feeling the most), is the signal the Universe picks up from you.  That signal tells it what you want.  It does not know the difference between good/bad; right/wrong; what you want or don’t want…it assumes that what you are focusing on the most (what you are feeling the most) is what you want.

So, back to the millionaire example…if we now follow this formula you first BELIEVE that you are a millionaire and feel it in your bones what it is like to be a millionaire.  Hang out where millionaires hang out, talk to them, and get a feel for how it feels to really be one.  Then, because you feel you are one, you proceed to naturally DO the things millionaires do (use your imagination here!  Lol!).  Once you are doing what millionaires do, you then will eventually find that you HAVE what millionaires have.  The key is FEELING IT and BELIEVING IT, regardless of if it is currently in front of you yet!  The believing is what draws it to you!

Below is an excerpt from one of my favorite authors, Ernest Holmes.  He is a bit deep but the following excerpt speaks perfectly to this topic.  Enjoy!

(The entire excerpt below is from “The Science of Mind; A Philosophy, A Faith, A Way of Life,” by Ernest Holmes – A Formula for Effective Prayer)

 

CAST ASIDE ALL DOUBT

Cast aside all doubt, O Soul of mine, and be unafraid, for Thy power is from On High.
He Who sitteth in the heavens shall be Thy champion;
Thou need not fear; Come forth, O Spirit, from within and express Thyself through me and let
not my doubts hinder Thy approach.
My faith shall go forth to meet Thee, and my confidence shall embrace Thee.
My waiting thought shall bid Thee welcome to my house of Love,
And Joy shall accompany us through the ages yet to come.
I lay aside all fear and doubt.

THE THINGS WE NEED, WE ARE TO ASK FOR – AND WE ARE TO BELIEVE THAT WE RECEIVE THEM!

This plumbs the very depths of the metaphysical and psychological law of our being, and explains the possibility of an answer to our prayers.  When we pray we are to believe that we have.  We are surrounded by a universal law which is creative.  It moves from thought to the thing.  Unless there is first an image, it cannot move, for there would be nothing for it to move toward.  Prayer, which is a mental act, must accept its own answer as an image in mind, before the divine energies can play upon it and make it productive.

As we must plant a seed before we can reap a harvest, so we must believe before our prayers can be answered.  Prayer should reach a point of acceptance, an unqualified and undisputed place of agreement.  Let us take the mental images of our desires to the bosom of the Creative Life, and here make them known by impressing them upon It with positive belief.  If we do this, our prayers will be answered.

But let us remember that true prayer is always universal.  There can be no good to us alone, only as that good is for all.  This does not mean that we are to refrain from asking what we desire, but that we should wish only for that which is good.  For instance, it is good to have a home; it is good for all people to have homes while here on Earth; it is right to ask for one, but it would not be right to ask for one belonging to another.

If we wish to pray for a home, we should take the idea of a house with us into the silence and meditate upon its actual being.  We should believe that we have and own a home, but we should leave the idea free to fulfill itself, without any definite choosing of how, where, why or when.  In this way, we pray aright and when we so pray, we pray effectively.

God wills us to have everything.  As we express life, we fulfill God’s law of abundance, but we do this only as we realize that there is good enough to go around – only as we know that all of God’s gifts are given as freely and fully as the air and the sunshine…alike to all.

Believing I am a “New York Times Best Selling Author and Speaker”,

Chris

 

For more information on Chris Sopa International, Inc. go to www.ChrisSopa.com.