Author Archives: newthoughtmama

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Today is the day I consider my real birthday. It is not the day I came into existence on this earth in this incarnation; that happened a few days ago. Today is the day I consider that I got a new chance at life, at a successful life that I never knew was possible. I had to unlearn a bunch of stuff, and learn some new stuff, and for that I am very grateful.

I’ve officially been sober for half of my life today. 32 years in a 64 year old journey! WAHOO!

I’ve been participating in a private group where we’ve been making a gratitude list each day for the month of November, and I want to share part of today’s gratitude list with you.

November 27

Today I am most grateful for my sobriety. 32 years ago today, it was Thanksgiving Day, although I did not know it at the time. I also was unaware that another biological birthday had passed and I had turned a year older. That is how enmeshed I was in drug and alcohol addiction. I walked into a treatment center, alone, angry, puzzled and very very lonely; and just a teeny bit willing to listen to what they had to say, although I didn’t think drugs or alcohol was the problem. Turns out I was partially right. It wasn’t the complete problem. Today I know that I have an allergy to alcohol that will never go away, and that my thinking got me into a lot of trouble back then, because I thought my thoughts were the boss of me and because, well, my thoughts were addled with substances. I got sober in that treatment center, and have never taken another drink again, and in 32 years haven’t taken a drug stronger than aspirin or antihistamine. Sober living is way cool, and I am very grateful for it.

I am also grateful for that wonderful 100 year old teaching called Science of Mind, for that is what taught me that I could change my thinking. And Science of Mind is also what taught me that I did not have to go mainstream and get an outer God in order to get and stay sober. I would not have been able to do that. Today, changing my thinking and my Huge Inner Resource, and my continued sobriety, is what makes life worth living.

If you are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, know that there is a way out of that morass of ICK. I’m always here and willing to talk about that. I may laugh during our conversation. Don’t worry, soon you’ll be laughing too.

When I first got into recovery, I was told that if I did not do steps 4 and 5 I would get drunk.  In fact, that is a so-called “dark promise” in the text book of AA.   The fear of getting drunk far outweighed my fear of that inventory process and I went ahead and did it.  And discovered that the fifth step promises came true.  Here they are: “Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.”

I had indeed begun to feel the nearness of a God that I did not yet have a complete understanding of, and I could indeed look people in the eye, and I did find being alone much easier.  And perhaps most importantly of all, my personality was changing.  That spiritual experience that is described in the appendix as a “personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism” was happening to me.  I rarely thought about drinking, and yes, I did not feel alone or lonely because I felt that Presence that was always with me, even if I couldn’t define It.

Fast forward to when I began to study New Thought, and started learning about a trained mind, and the power of my thoughts.  Ernest Holmes said that a trained mind is far more powerful than an untrained one, and I wanted a trained mind.

I was already well versed in steps 10 and 11, doing inventory and meditation daily.  What I realized with New Thought was that these two steps were the same as what were called spiritual practices in Science of Mind.  Self inquiry or introspection are the same as an inventory.  And while there are many ways to meditate, all work equally well and meditation is one of the top spiritual practices recommended to live a more joyous life.

This is the recipe for joyous living, in my opinion:  daily introspection and meditation.  The introspection leads to self awareness, which is key to knowing our truth.  And it is also key to keeping our thoughts positive, because they do set in motion what becomes manifest in our lives.  We are what we think, so it behooves us to think good thoughts, and a trained mind helps us do that.

Doing steps 10 and 11 every day, or, if you prefer, introspection and meditation, trains our mind and ensures as nothing else will that we live happy and productive lives.

Today I want to address that age old question:  what is God’s will for me?

It seems to me that for those of us in 12 step programs, doing God’s will seems to look something like this:  “I have no clue what God’s will for me is, but I’m just going to do the next indicated right thing, go to meetings, call my sponsor and work the steps.”  Which is a very good beginning.

But I think there is more to it than that. ...continue reading

September is National Recovery Month.  Created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration  this month is devoted to celebrating and publicizing the fact that people can and do recover from substance abuse and lead successful lives.

While Recovery Month is sponsored by an organization whose policies I don’t always agree with, the premise is a good one.  Recovery is a beautiful thing.  It isn’t about lack, limitation or denying oneself things one wants.  It’s about opening up into a new way of living that is vastly more rewarding than anything you could imagine.

I’ve been in recovery for 31 years.  I’ve seen a lot, done a lot, studied and researched a lot, and witnessed a lot.  Life happens in 31 years.  Through it all I’ve learned a few things.

My area of expertise lies in the 12 steps, taken from a New Thought perspective.  I’ve written a short little book about it, called A New Thought Journey through the 12 Steps.  You can purchase it here.  A workbook is in progress.

I’ve been blessed in my journey in recovery because people took the time to teach me simple things every step of the way.  I went to a treatment center and came out with two takeaways, in addition to being clean for the first time in 20 years.  The first takeaway was that alcoholism is an allergy.  I will always be allergic to alcohol and any other substance that alters my mind.  This removed the shame that is typically associated with addiction.  Because I was not ashamed of my disease, I didn’t hide it.  We are only as sick as our secrets and that was a secret that was well and thoroughly outed, brought into the light to heal.  My other takeaway was that living life without alcohol was not only possible but desirable, and that to do so, I needed to incorporate the 12 steps into my life.  Once I began attending meetings and talking with folks to learn about those steps, powerful wisdom was shared with me every step of the way.  It was pointed out to me that if I did not think I was powerless over alcohol, I was free to allow it back into my life.  With the same results.  It was pointed out to me that if I did not think my life was unmanageable, to just do a quick little review of recent events.  It was pointed out to me that it did not matter that I could not agree with the way those first three steps were worded.  Agreement was not necessary to recovery.  Work was.  I was to work those steps, and incorporate them into my life.  Comprehension could come later.  I did and it did.  This was how I got through those first three steps. ...continue reading

“The eternal inquiry concerning God is an inquiry into the nature of our own being.“. Ernest Holmes, Living Without Fear

”We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found.”  Alcoholics Anonymous textbook

”...enter into the inner secret communion with that great Reality, which is our Universal Self—God...” Ernest Holmes, Science of Mind textbook

When I first entered recovery, I was not religious.  I never understood the concept of a God separate from me, which is what most religions teach, at least on the surface.  I never cared to explore such things, instead preferring to explore the nature of this substance or that, and how it effected me.  When I stopped exploring substances and began to explore the nature of God, I was very frightened.

I was frightened because I did not want to drink, and what the steps seemed to be telling me what that I had to believe in some sort of outside God in order to not drink.  It wasn’t the belief in God that was bothering me.  I got the concept that it was a God of my understanding.  It was the belief in a God separate from me that did not make sense to me.

Today I know that belief in a God separate from me is a sort of Religion 101. It’s beginner religion.  I accepted that outside God for a while, which is probably a good thing for a newcomer to do.  My mind was still a dangerous neighborhood back then, and not only did I not know how to explore that unknown territory, but I was afraid to do so.

But the steps set me up to do inner exploration that I continue to this day.  Back then this exploration was also a bit surface, but it was a beginning.  Today, inner exploration means deep communion with God.  The Great Reality is indeed deep within me. I will never forget how much fun I had when, in my research, I realized that both Bill W. and Ernest Holmes used the same phrase to describe the same thing in their writings.  I do not know who got it from whom, but it is important to me to know that two wise spiritual teachers used the same phrase for the same concept.

Inner exploration is a beautiful way to live.  By going within I commune with God as well as discover the nature of my own humanness.  Daily I realize new insights, discover new aspects of spirit, and feel the presence of a power that feeds me with faith when I would feel fear, with peace when I would be agitated.  This daily practice also is a source of no small amount of humor as the opportunities to laugh at myself are endless.  This Inner Presence allows me to know the right things to do, and when to do them.

Today I am so grateful for the 10th and 11th steps.  The 10th encourages me to continue that daily practice of inner exploration.  The 11th encourages me to continue to explore how God works in my life. Taken together, these two steps provide a strong and unshakeable foundation for successful living.

Buy the book, A New Thought Journey through the 12 Steps here on my web site, or on Amazon

 

 

 

I’ve often wondered about the word “moral” in the AA text book.  It implores us to make a “searching and fearless moral inventory.”  The word “moral” is mentioned 34 times in the text.  If we look at the word as spoken in some of the stories, it does seem to imply that most people’s understanding of the word is about behavior.  But the good Dr. Silkworth speaks of “moral psychology” and the chapter to the agnostic suggests that there might be something different going on with that word.

Something deeper.  I always ask sponsees, when we get to the part in the book where it speaks about a moral inventory, what they think the word moral means.  I am not so much interested in their definition as I am in getting them to think about it and what it means to them.

I think moral is more about our own enlightenment...our own awakening.  I’ve never felt comfortable with other people or societies prescribing what they think is good behavior for me. It feels disempowering and a bit insulting.  I’d rather know myself and what is and is not acceptable for me, and then walk my talk.  This, to me, is what the inventory is all about.  Learning our talk, and then either walking that talk, or changing it if needed, without shame or blame.

If we go to Ernest Holmes, specifically the Science of Mind textbook, there is one mention of moral, and it speaks to what I am describing:  “We realize, however, that to attempt this self-expression at the expense of society or other individuals is to defeat the very purpose for which freedom exists, for back of all is a unity. Hence we find that the laws of necessity and not of theology (of which all religions and ethics and moral and social systems are but feeble lights) do ultimately compel experience into the path of true righteousness.“

He goes on to explain, “The criterion for any man as to what is right or wrong for him is not to be found in some other man’s judgment. The criterion is: Does the thing I wish to do express more life, more happiness, more peace to myself, and at the same time harm no one? If it does, it is right. It is not selfish. But if it is done at the expense of anyone, then in such degree we are making a wrong use of the Law.”

So, moral is more about our own personal freedom than about behaving according to other’s rules, as long as we harm no one else.  And we get this freedom by introspection.  Personal inventory in AA speak.  Which leads to righteousness, or right thinking.

George Washington said, “Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.”  I believe he is also speaking to this.  We have a moral duty to ourselves first...we must know ourselves, and accept, or...change with love, that which is not acceptable.  Only then can we experience happiness.

I know the writing is hard to read in this meme, but if you enlarge it you should be able to see it.  It is written by David Ault, and I believe this declaration of personal independence speaks beautifully to happiness and morals.

And, to conclude this post, I have another meme for you......and wish you a personal liberation and freedom from limiting thoughts on this 4th of July!

Today marks the three year anniversary of publication of the book!  That's pretty exciting to me.  I've been a published author for a long time, but I honestly never thought I would publish a book.  The writing of the book itself was easy, I had something to say and the words flowed effortlessly from my mind, through my fingers to the key pad.

It was the editing, design of the cover and finding a publisher that took some doing.  I did a self edit by running the manuscript through Microsoft Word.  Then I had some people read and edit the manuscript for me. A final check was made by the publisher, Balboa Press, but mostly, they checked to make sure I wasn't violating any copyrights and listed my sources properly.

I knew what I wanted for the cover, it was just a matter of finding the right kind of steps to photograph.  I wanted an illustration of a set of steps leading up through the clouds and into the sunshine.  I already had the background photo, just needed the stairs.  At the suggestion of another friend, I journeyed one day to Amador County, California, where my friend said there were a lot of stairs to choose from.  Sure enough, after wandering around for a while, I found the perfect set of stairs......they were leading up to a cemetery!  LOL!  You'd never know it by looking at the cover.  Once I sandwiched the two images together the stairs didn't look right.  I had the help of a graphic designer, who gave me the feedback I needed to get them the way I wanted them.

I also had to solicit some folks to write some cover blurbs, and I have to say I was so pleasantly surprised by what they had to say!

Then came the publishing.  Balboa Press kept me informed every step of the way, and sure enough, one day I woke up and there it was, big and bold:  my book for sale at Balboa Press and on Amazon!

Since the publication of the book, it has been translated into Russian for use in the Ukraine by Temenos Center for Spiritual Living.  I have traveled all over parts of the western United States giving workshops based on the book, and I'm currently working on a downloadable self directed course also!

And...now that I'm over the initial write/publish a book hurdle, I'm working on two more!

I created this meme as part of a project for grad school. I spend a significant portion of time most mornings in a delightful exploration of the inner. Awareness of and communion with self and Self.

And yes, there is indeed a time and a place for inner work, and a time and a place for action.  For me, if all my action is based on what came of my inner work, I can trust that my actions were the right thing to do.

In recovery, I first learned about inner work through steps 1-4.  It was said to me that steps 1, 2 and 3 were two conclusions and a decision.  This implied to me inner stuff, not outer.  It also implied to me that I only needed to come to those two conclusions one time, and I only needed to make that decision one time.

As I progressed in my recovery, I began to remember that I had never really believed in a god that was separate from me.  I grew up hearing New Thought wisdom, the result of which meant that god was within me, a part of me, working in, as and through me.

As I progressed on my journey through the steps, I was told that steps 10 and 11 were where I would “live” for the rest of my life.  They aren’t just maintenance steps, they are growth steps.  And I learned that I got my power back in step 10.

As I continued to research and study the literature, I realized that the text book of AA, also known as the Big Book, was written for newcomers.  “Substantial sobriety time” was two years.  Check out the Foreward to the Second Edition, where it is talking about the first group having been formed in 1935, the second in 1937, at which time “the number of members having substantial sobriety time behind them was sufficient to convince the membership that a new light had entered the dark world of the alcoholic.”

This means that steps 1, 2 and 3 are for newcomers.  It was good to realize that I wasn’t doomed to a life of victim hood, being powerless over everything.  It was good to realize that the sanity referred to in the seconde step meant sobriety.  It was good to realize that I only need to make a decision one time, and that immediate action was necessary to cement that decision.  It was good to realize that steps 10 and 11 are for a deeper dive into personal self awareness and communion with god.  A way of living that increasingly allows me to feel and know the presence of god in everything I do and feel, and a way of living that not only allows me to know what I am thinking and feeling, but to be ok with all of that, and to change what I am thinking and feeling if it no longer works for me.  Can you say “no more unworthiness?”

In New Thought we advocate and teach about inner self awareness.  Meditation, journaling, affirmative prayer, looking at belief systems, values and thought patterns are all ways to go within and discover just what makes us tick, and what used to make us tick that no longer serves so well.  And likewise, those same practices also allow us to go deeper with that god stuff.

For me, Steps 10 and 11 are where the true power of the program lies, and it is also where the power of New Thought lies as well.  I find that I am much more at peace and joyful when I can spend a little bit of time each day in inner exploration and communion.

Buy the book A New Thought Journey through the 12 Steps here.

I’ve just had something serendipitous happen!

I get a texted daily meditation from a good friend of mine, who is also a New Thought/program person.  The other day she quoted Ernest Holmes and I loved the quote so much I asked her where she got it.  She said “365 Days of Richer Living.”  It is the daily inspiration book created from Holme’s writings.

I wanted to investigate this quote, because it so happens that Face Everything And Recover is my motto in sobriety.  See, I was paralyzed with fear when I first got sober.  I couldn’t drive in the snow, couldn’t talk, couldn’t do much of anything.  Fear was an overwhelming presence that took over my life.  And until I began working the steps, that presence had a lot of power.  The good news is that with each step, more of the fear went away.  By the time I got to steps 10 and 11, I was basically living a fearless life.

So....I went to investigate the quote, and discovered that the passage was written on my sobriety birthday, November 27.  Isn’t that cool?!?!?!?!

I love things like that!  They tell me that I’m on the right track.  They reaffirm my faith.

Here is the meditation, copied in its entirety, from “365 Days of Richer Living” by Ernest Holmes:

“TODAY my heart is without fear, for I have implicit confidence in the good, the enduring and the true. Fear is the only thing of which to be afraid. It is not the host encamped against us, nor the confusion around us, that we need to fear; it is the lack of confidence in the good alone which should concern us. Through inner spiritual vision, we know that evil is transitory, but good is permanent. We know that right finally dissolves everything opposed to it. The power of Spirit is supreme over every antagonist. Therefore, we should cherish no fear, and when we neither fear nor hate, we come to understand the unity of life. I put my whole trust in God. I know that the Spirit will gently lead me and wisely counsel me. I know that the love which envelops everything flows through me to everyone, and with it there goes a confidence, a sense of joy and freedom, a buoyant enthusiasm for living, a zest for life. “For all thy ways are ways of pleasantness, and all thy paths are peace.” I realize that fear is not Godlike, since it contradicts the divine presence, repudiates limitless love and denies infinite good. Therefore, I know that fear is a lie, a fraud. It is neither person, place nor thing; it is merely an impostor that I have believed in. I have entertained it so long that it seems as if it really were something, and it attempts to make me believe that two and two are seven, that the earth is flat and that God is limited. Today I repudiate all fear. I renounce the belief in evil. I enter into conscious union with the Spirit. I accept the good as supreme, positive and absolute. With joy I enter into the activities of the day, without regret I remember the events of yesterday, and with confidence I look forward to tomorrow, for today my heart is without fear.”

I hope you enjoy this little serendipitous moment as much as I have.

Thomas Moore: “If you need to demonize someone, your heart is blocked with emotional and spiritual plaque.”
Edwene Gaines: “No one can steal from you unless you are a thief. No one can cheat you unless you are a cheater. No one can gossip about you unless you are a gossip.”
Alcoholics Anonymous 12 and 12: “It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us.”

While I love the quote from the 12 and 12, I have a major problem with the word “wrong.” There is never anything wrong with us. Never ever. However, the wisdom of the statement is true and strong. Anytime we are speaking in terms of them versus us, or gossiping out someone, or judging someone, or pointing the finger of blame outward to someone or something else, it is a signal. That signal is really a deep inner desire, on the soul level if you will, to address something within that wants to be brought out to the light, revealed and healed. In my daily practice of introspection, I watch for areas in which I judge others, or blame others, or am thinking in terms of myself versus them. That is separation and duality at its worse, and it will harm no one but me. When I find those things, I know it is a signal for me to stop and take a look at myself and discover what is going on that needs changing. This is usually about behaviors or ways of thinking that I developed early on as defense mechanisms. The only problem is that there is no longer any need for defense. The circumstances under which the behaviors and ways of thinking developed simply don’t exist anymore. Those ways of thinking and behaviors are now simply limitations. And we argue for them when we continue them. Stop arguing for your limitations. Use the daily practice of introspection to become aware of those thoughts and behaviors which would hold you back, and change them.

This is the latest entry for the daily meditation book that I am writing.  If you would like to be a part of the creation of this book, and have access to things the general public doesn’t see, I would love your support!  Go here to check it out.