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 .

Beating Holiday Burnout

Mankind has a moral duty to seek joy.  ~Shirley MacLaine, “The Camino”

  • Identify your priorities and stick to them.  Your priorities are those things that are most important to you right now.  Your priorities are your decision making tools.  If something is not on your priority list, why are you putting your energy there?
  • Know what you need to do to stay “centered” (in a state of joy and enthusiasm) – make a list of things you like to do that make you feel better when you are down and do those things as often as possible.
  • Live in the moment – don’t future think or past recall.  The “present” is where the miracles occur.
  • Be an observer of what is going on around you as well as of yourself and your own emotions.  Self-awareness is the key to self-actualization.
  • Protect your power – know what people, places, thoughts and things take your power and adjust accordingly.
  • Engage in self-nurturing activities – make sure to have some kind of self time every single day (5 minutes while in the bathroom does not count!).
  • Take in nature and its beauty as often as possible.  Nature has its ebbs and flows for a reason.  It follows the energy of the earth instead of working against it.  Learn from her.
  • Don’t take things personally.
  • Don’t make assumptions.
  • Define what the holidays mean to you and the type of experience you want to have and make it so!  Live into the reality you want to create – not the one presenting itself to you.
  • Allow your internal reality to drive your external reality – not the other way around.  You choose your thoughts, feelings and actions…no one else.

Never forget that this is not a dress rehearsal…this is your life.  You get one shot, so make it a good one!

Joyfully yours,

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 .

 

Still on the Balboa Press best seller’s list:  “Choosing the Life You Were Born to Live:  How Changing Your Thoughts Will Change Your Life” by Chris Sopa.

Click here to purchase your copy or a gift for a friend!

Ch..Ch..Ch..Ch..Change??

The word will either send shivers down your spine or get your adrenaline rushing to the point you can’t sit still.  Change. It is the only constant we have in life yet it sometimes gives us that feeling we get when we are sitting in the front seat of a roller coaster just before it is ready to take off.

For the first half of 2012 for many, many people, change has been an understatement.  Lives are shifting and making room for new and wonderful things to enter that have to do with the path you are going to follow from here on out…but in order for that to happen, things have to change…the old has to be cleared out to make room for the new to enter.  I know in my life in particular just in the last six months I have seen:  a sudden, very painful break-up of a relationship, a dramatic shift in my business; a loss of 20 pounds (Thank God!); my youngest daughter graduating from high school; my oldest daughter announcing she is pregnant (yes, I will be a 42-year-old grandmother in January!) and countless synchronistic events that have helped me make the decision to move my entire life 3000 miles west to Scottsdale, Arizona (and that’s not even all of it!).

I have always been intrigued by the deeper meaning of things, especially numbers.  I could not help but notice that in my new address in AZ there are five 5’s between my street address and my zip code!  So, I looked up the meaning of 5, 55 and 555 (I would have gone further but the book only went to 1,000).  Here is what I found:

5 = A significant change is occurring, always for the better.  It is a good idea to call upon Heaven for help with life changes.

55 = This is a period of “out with the old, in with the new.”  Welcome these changes, as they bring about new blessings.

555 = Huge changes are rumbling about your entire life!  To keep these changes on the highest possible course, be sure to keep your thoughts positive, and stay centered in prayer and affirmations.

(Angel Numbers 101,” Doreen Virtue, PhD)

Releasing the old and getting ready for change, whether big or small can be scary.  We are familiar with the old; we know how to navigate it; we know how it feels and we can predict it pretty clearly.  New stuff?  Not so much.

Dealing with change and “the new” takes courage, stamina, a positive frame of mind and trust.  Yes, trust in the Divine but more importantly, trust in YOU!  Trust is not easy.  It is one of those things that we are asked to do and at first as we do it we feel as if we are walking in the dark with no light in sight.  But when we can turn that trust inwards and learn to trust ourselves, it is amazing how it isn’t as scary.  You see, when we put our trust in anything or anyone other than ourselves and the Divine, it WILL be scary.  It is an unknown based on how someone else thinks, how they feel and the mode in which they operate.  But trust in the Divine is simple…it consists solely of what I like to call “open heart living.”  Trusting those inner nudges you feel inside, acting on them and having pure faith that the plan of the Divine is at work in your heart guiding you every step of the way.  It is a team effort between you and God.

As you go about your day today, pay attention to those inner nudges you feel.  They may come across as a random thought, a strong feeling to do or not to do something or it may even be a dream you had last night that you can’t seem to get out of your head.  These are all ways the Divine speaks to you and helps guide you along your path.  Trust what comes through and whether it makes logical sense or not (the most Divine guidance usually makes NO logical sense what so ever…how else would they keep you praying!) take some small action toward your guidance.  Make a change in how you do one thing today!  When I give keynotes on change, I have the audience take off a piece of jewelry they have on their finger or wrist and ask them to put it on the other hand just for the day.  Weird sensation but it gives them the practice of living in the feeling of change.

Have fun with it, know you are safe and don’t be afraid to ask for help.  You are surrounded by more help than you know.  Just because you cannot physically see “them” does not mean they don’t exist.  Trust me… 😉

Living in the Unknown,

Chris

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