Serenity Can Be Yours

Balance of Serenity

“I am serene, carried by the winds to places where I am held in balance with great beauty and strength.” This is the verse that accompanies this image in my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart A Journey of Healing.

Serenity is defined as the art or state of being serene, which is defined as un-troubled, calm, and tranquil. It is a space we find ourselves living in when we go through the process which has been presented in this blog.

When living a life of serenity, we find ourselves unruffled by calamity; instead, we are able to take things in stride. We do not become freaked out, or “wigged out” about things in our life when they go awry.

We are able to calmly assess situations and react with assuredness and certainty. Certainly, we are still concerned about difficult things that arise, but they no longer throw us off-kilter.

To get to this place of serenity, we have looked at ourselves and have begun to heal old wounds through the practice of acceptance and forgiveness.

We no longer attract to our lives the drama that we were involved in before, thus allowing us to remain serene through difficult times. Our ability to be in that space of serenity strengthens our sobriety, and the more we stay sober, the more serenity we experience. 

All of this is achieved through using the process that has been described in this blog, from the development of trust in a power greater than ourselves, to courage. Then we throw in honesty, openness, willingness, and humility, and we are able to look at ourselves through a self-appraisal, in order to discover things that need to be corrected, righted, or changed.

Once this occurs, we are able to offer kindness, gentleness, tolerance, and respect to others and to ourselves. We learn the art of forgiveness and we are set free to live our lives, fulfill our dreams. 

Today, look at how far you have come on your journey to serenity and peace. Be humble, yet commending of the actions you have taken to get to this point. Notice how your sobriety is strengthened. Enjoy your serenity today.

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How Sobriety Leads to Joy

If we’ve stuck together through all of the stages and changes in thinking that have occurred along the way in these blogs, we have begun to see how sobriety leads to joy. We have begun to see that, if we have stayed sober, we are experiencing joy.

Joy is defined as a very good feeling, happiness, a great pleasure, delight, and anything causing such a feeling.

If joy is not happening for us, perhaps we want to examine our willingness level. Perhaps we’re stuck on a self-appraisal, or are having trouble forgiving. If so, we need to return to those topics and look again.

(I tried to supply links back to those topics, but I was not able to do it due to an uncooperative computer. Just like I am unable today to upload the image that goes with joy. Too bad, as it’s one of the best photos.)

“I never thought this could happen. My heart BURSTS with joy!”  This is the verse that accompanies the photograph of a gate’s center section, which is a diamond with rays, or bursts, of metal coming from the center, reaching upward and outward.

I never DID think I could feel this level of happiness. All my life, I had looked to others to supply it for me. Suddenly at one point in my recovery, it dawned on me that my happiness comes from inside and it is what I choose to make it. Soon after realizing this, I started experiencing joy.

Happiness and joy were the effects, the feelings that I sought from alcohol and drugs, yet, I never could find them there. So to have found them in sobriety, in much bigger levels than I ever dreamed possible, is something for which I am grateful every day.

You, too, can find this incredible joy. It come from within your being. It is a choice you make. If you are grateful for every little thing that occurs and surrounds you in your life, you cannot help but look at the world in great wonder, great awe, and from that grows joy. 

I hope for you to stay the course, to stay sober through all the rough times. It is so worth it on the other side. Once you find joy, you will know serenity and peace. 

 

 

 

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You Can Live Your Dream

Fulfillment of Dreams

From my experience, I have determined that, in sobriety, it is possible to live your dream that you have held in your heart forever. 

Even when not in sobriety, our dreams can come true, although we may not be grateful for them at that time. Instead, we want more than is given.

But, if we remain sober, do our healing work, and take action in the direction of our dreams, one day we just find ourselves in the middle of them. 

The key is taking action in the direction of our dream, saying yes to ourselves, and acting upon those things that come across our path to align us with that dream.

It takes courage, despite the fear we feel. It takes being self-responsible and holding ourselves accountable for our stumbles. It takes surrender to and acceptance of where we are being led.

We each, after all, have our own unique gift that we are intended to share with the world and when we align ourselves with our unique gift and stay sober, opportunities will arise for our taking. 

When we begin to see our dream coming true, our sobriety allows us to express constant gratitude, which results in abundance that further leads us on our path. You may not be sober and your dream still comes true. It will have a different feeling than if you were sober.

For example, while I was in the middle of my drinking heyday in 1995, I moved from Colorado to California to live aboard a sailboat and to go cruising one day. I did live aboard for three years, at which time I left my troubled marriage and the boat.

I had held in my heart the dream to sail since the mid-eighties. Suddenly, here I was, about to live my dream to cruise and enjoying the boating lifestyle in the meantime.

Instead of spending each day in gratitude and wonder that my dream was a reality, I was always finding fault and wanting more. More things, a nicer boat, more happiness… I could go on, but you get the idea, I’m sure.

This picture is in such sharp contrast to what I am experiencing today in sobriety. As a result of God’s grace and keeping sober, my childhood dream to become a photographer has been fulfilled. I photographed and published the book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing. 

Now, I am living my 1980s dream of being a speaker, empowering others to gain the serenity and peace I have found. All I am doing is taking the next indicated step that comes along my way that moves me toward my dream.

Today, get or maintain your sobriety. Reach in your heart and find your dream that is held there. Make the decision to live your dream. Gain the courage to stay sober and to take action on those things that will further your dream.

Don’t push, just let things evolve naturally. Do the things in front of you to do, day in and day out. One day, you may be surprised to find yourself living that dream. 

 

 

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You Can Live Your Dream

Fulfillment of Dreams

From my experience, I have determined that, in sobriety, it is possible to live your dream that you have held in your heart forever. 

Even when not in sobriety, our dreams can come true, although we may not be grateful for them at that time. Instead, we want more than is given.

But, if we remain sober, do our healing work, and take action in the direction of our dreams, one day we just find ourselves in the middle of them. 

The key is taking action in the direction of our dream, saying yes to ourselves, and acting upon those things that come across our path to align us with that dream.

It takes courage, despite the fear we feel. It takes being self-responsible and holding ourselves accountable for our stumbles. It takes surrender to and acceptance of where we are being led.

We each, after all, have our own unique gift that we are intended to share with the world and when we align ourselves with our unique gift and stay sober, opportunities will arise for our taking. 

When we begin to see our dream coming through, our sobriety allows us to express constant gratitude, which results in abundance that further leads us on our path. You may not be sober and your dream still comes true. It will have a different feeling than if you were sober.

For example, while I was in the middle of my drinking heyday in 1995, I moved from Colorado to California to live aboard a sailboat and to go cruising one day. I did live aboard for three years, at which time I left my troubled marriage and the boat.

I had held in my heart the dream to sail since the mid-eighties. Suddenly, here I was, about to live my dream to cruise and enjoying the boating lifestyle in the meantime.

Instead of spending each day in gratitude and wonder that my dream was a reality, I was always finding fault and wanting more. More things, a nicer boat, more happiness… I could go on, but you get the idea, I’m sure.

This picture is in such sharp contrast to what I am experiencing today in sobriety. As a result of God’s grace and keeping sober, my childhood dream to become a photographer has been fulfilled. I photographed and published the book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing. 

Now, I am living my 1980s dream of being a speaker, empowering others to gain the serenity and peace I have found. All I am doing is taking the next indicated step that comes along my way that moves me toward my dream.

Today, get or maintain your sobriety. Reach in your heart and find your dream that is held there. Make the decision to live your dream. Gain the courage to stay sober and to take action on those things that will further your dream.

Don’t push, just let things evolve naturally. Do the things in front of you to do, day in and day out. One day, you may be surprised to find yourself living that dream. 

 

 

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Who Is This Lady Behind Blogs About Sobriety, Serenity, and Peace?

Who is this woman who blogs every day on sobriety, serenity, and peace, this gate lady? How did my “previous life” propel me into what has ended up being a daily blog on these topics?

To answer my questions is to describe to you why I am passionate about blogging for you, why I am passionate about sharing words about sobriety, serenity, and peace. It involves telling you where I came from to get to the point where I am today, in these blogs. I relay this in the hopes that it will be useful information for you.

In my prior life, meaning prior to sobriety, I was tremendously unhappy, miserable, in fact. Yet, I put my bright face forward, not letting others know I was aching inside. I spent a lot of time drunk or high, in self-pity, blaming my parents and others for that misery. However, I was doing nothing to claim my own unhappiness. I just kept drinking more.

I was in a dissatisfying, dysfunctional, and verbally abusive marriage, one I was afraid to leave for fear of being alone. My now ex-hisband and I were drinking and drugging buddies, so there was no encouragement or desire to stop drinking and getting high. I stayed for 20 years.

In late 1999, I developed feelings for another man and believed he reciprocated those feelings. I left my marriage in June 2000, only to find out the man did not share my love. I was devastated. My drinking escalated as did depression. I was unable to do anything but drink and cry for two months. I was unable to function with daily activities, such as eating.

After that two months, I quit my job because I had decided to go on a road trip to “find myself.” I was barely able to perform it anyway… I left the San Francisco Bay Area to go to San Diego, stay for a couple of weeks, and “get a handle on my drinking.”

Thus began a new life for me, a life of sobriety. I had no clue what was in store for me, I just did whatever came across my path that seemed in my best interest.

Although I have experienced many situations, and much growth and healing during my sobriety, my story is really about what it’s like to show up for life, to be present and take action as a sober person, to be responsible for myself. The gates and the verses that appear in my book are a reflection of what it took to get to where I am today, a life lived in serenity and peace.

It is this background from which I come to blog my thoughts every day. It is from a space for which I was looking in drugs and alcohol. Interesting how I found that incredibly rich and vibrant space in sobriety. I know how painful it is to be struggling emotionally, and I hope my blogs are of use in your pursuit of serenity and peace.

 

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The Gift of Choice

Celebration of Choices

Once we have realized the realm of possibilities open to us, we discover the gift of choice. Like the little man in his top hat pictured to the left, we can raise our arm high and celebrate the choices that we have.

The reality is that we have a choice about everything that occurs in our lives. Even when we think we have no choice, we do.

When I was in the throes of my healing work, I thought I had no choice about my feelings of angst. The fact was, I was exercising my choice, allowing those feelings to overcome me.

At the same time, I was choosing to heal, simply because I chose to get sober, and because I chose to do the healing work.  If we are working on self-improvement, then we have made the choice to heal and to grow. Even if we’re not consciously aware of it, we have made a choice.

All choices have consequences. For example, I chose to stay in a dysfunctional marriage in which I was bullied, demeaned, and criticized continually. It took me a long time to choose to leave it behind, and even then, I wasn’t acting consciously with purpose.

The consequence of me staying in that marriage was a wounded self-image and esteem. I was accepting an assault against my being, rather than getting out and moving away from the relationship. That was a choice I was making.

When we look at the choices we are making, consider the consequences to ourselves and others. In the journey to serenity, peace, and a strong sobriety, we want to make choices that are in our highest good. Sometimes the consequences of those choices are difficult, yet, if they’re for our highest good, we will get help from our Source.

Today, look at all the choices you are making in your life. Are they in your highest good? If not, what is keeping you from making a different choice that IS in your highest good? Walk through your fears with faith and courage, and consider making a different choice. See the gift of choice that is yours, and exercise it.

 

 

 

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There Are a Wealth of Possibilities In Your Life

Realm of Possibilities

Having experienced all that we have, we now discover that there are a wealth of possibilities in our lives that we can tap into. There is nothing to stop us, except ourselves. 

The gates are flung wide, offering us a stairway to climb that leads to serenity and peace. It leads to a stronger sobriety for us. The way is beckoning us.

All we have to do is keep climbing, taking with us the wonder and gratitude that surround us in our lives. We just keep practicing these, along with honesty, willingness, openness, compassion, kindness, and all the other positive ways to live in the world.

What we will find is a softening of out heart, our soul. As we recognize some possibilities, more will appear to us. Soon we are surrounded with possibilities in our lives.

Today, look at all the possibilities of ways to be in the world, with yourself and with others. Revel in all of these possibilities. Choose a couple to follow up on, and you will begin to feel more serenity and peace. Notice how, as you follow up on those, that more possibilities appear to you.

 

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Gratitude As a Way of Life

Visions of Gratitude

When we see things with eyes that appreciate, everything around and within us becomes more pleasing, more beautiful. Such is the case with gratitude. It becomes a way of life, whereby we are grateful for everything we have and do.

When living a life of gratitude, we begin the day by being grateful for another day, for waking up. Then we can be grateful for our sight, that we can see a myriad of colors and objects when we awake in the morning. And so forth throughout the day.

When we can live this way, our sobriety becomes easier and richer, and we are able to find serenity and peace.

But if you’re like I was in early sobriety, you are not able to be grateful. You do not see anything for which to be grateful. However, if you have followed the process we have been discussing, in the order it was presented, then you will have had a chance to look at old resentments, and hopefully, to resolve them.

With them resolved, hopefully you were able to forgive. Even if you have not gotten to the forgiveness stage, however, it is possible to see the world around you with gratitude. 

Start by making a gratitude list every morning or every evening, whichever is the time for you that writing flows. Your list will be obvious things at first, like… you are grateful for a home, food, family and friends, your job. Keep doing this every day.

Really reach within for things about which you are grateful. After a while, you may notice a change in your list. You may begin to add things like your sobriety, your belief in a power greater than yourself, the guidance you receive from that power.

You may begin to feel gratitude for things such as the expansive feelings in your heart that you feel toward others you meet in your day. You may be grateful you are an alcoholic, for it brought you to this journey of healing.

Gratitude may well up inside as you consider that your difficult past occurred so that you could heal from it and then pass your message of healing along to others, to be of use to them.

When you can live with gratitude as the foremost thing in your heart, the road becomes easier and joyful. 

Today, consider all the things for which you are grateful. Make a list of those things. Let your heart sing as you write each thing down. Really feel that gratitude as a deep feeling. If you are having difficulty with this, just start where you are and write down what you can.

Continue this as a daily practice until being grateful for the things in your life is second nature and happens easily. Feel that freeing feeling, that feeling of deep satisfaction and peace. You are experiencing gratitude as a way of life.

 

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Living a Life of Acceptance

Path of Acceptance

Our level of acceptance is directly proportional to the amount of serenity and peace that we experience. The more we are able to accept our life, others, and ourselves as they are, the more serenity we will have. Our sobriety will be that much stronger.

I used to think that acceptance meant giving up in defeat… accepting things, but with an attitude of defeat. After a few years of sobriety, I learned that acceptance is not like that. It is a joyous action we take, a conscious choice we choose. 

When we are accepting of our lives, ourselves, and others, things flow as smoothly as the moss on the stairs in the picture above. In order to experience this, we must first become willing to accept.

How do we become willing? We reason that there is nothing we can do to change a situation, and when that thought hits home, it will then resonate with our heart.

This assumes, of course, that we have already taken action on anything we determine requires action. But we do not push. There is a fine line between taking action and pushing. Taking action will flow smoothly, like the Universe is with us. When pushing, we will run into resistance of all sorts.

After we become willing to accept situations that are beyond our control, we direct our attention to things in front of us to do, things that are our business, not another’s. We engage in our task. Then, we go to the next task, then the next, and so forth.

If we practice this enough, we will soon notice that we are graced with the ability to live in that space of acceptance. We become adept at looking at a situation, assessing our actions and behaviors as they relate to the situation, and owning anything that was unkind or disrespectful to another.

Then, we feel clean about how we responded in that situation, and we move forward to determining if there is any action to be taken to improve or complete the situation. We take that action. Then, we wait to see what happens, while turning our attention to our affairs.

The point here is that we learn how to live our lives within the larger space around us which is life happening. We center, or anchor, ourselves within the fray of our lives and we objectively acknowledge it for what it is. We start from that point to reach acceptance through the process I described above.

Today, how well do you practice acceptance in your life? Be as objective as you can while you honestly look at this. Remember, the more you can practice acceptance, the more serenity and peace you will have, and your sobriety will become easier. 

 

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Living in Harmony with Ourselves and Others

Shades of Harmony

After all the hard work we have done, after reaching a state of grace, we begin living in harmony with ourselves and others. Starting within, we begin to notice our harmonious thoughts and feelings. We recognize a oneness with ourselves.

In this space, we discover serenity and peace. Our sobriety is easier to manage. Overflowing, we project harmony onto those people surrounding us. We are being of service.

Often, we do not feel we are living in harmony because we are too busy with our day’s activities. We move from one task to the next, without stopping to pause to feel the oneness and harmony which is all around us. 

How can we change that? How can we learn to bask in the wonderful glow of harmony with ourselves and others? The key is to slow down, to take a few moments every day to just do nothing but notice all the harmony that is around and within us. 

That’s all it takes… a slowing down, a pausing to reflect and notice. Watch yourself living in harmony. Let the recognition of it bring a smile to your face.

Today, take the time to stop and notice yourself living in harmony within and with those around you. Make room for the harmony to flourish. Feel the peace that comes when you are choosing to live in harmony.

 

 

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