In the Quiet with Gentleness

Good morning to each of you. May this day be a quiet one, filled with gentleness.

I really liked the search term, “in the quiet with gentleness.” It took me immediately to a place of serenity, of peace, and I felt my soul washed clean with the gentleness spoken of in the query. I am excited about the term, because it speaks so eloquently, yet simply, of the place where I live today, where you can live also.

When we have been on a journey of peace, searching for it, finding it, then we know quietness like never before. We have learned to see ourselves with gentleness, rather than the harshness of days past. We offer ourselves and others that gentleness, and it feels expansive in our soul. It is a deep knowingness that all is well.

How do we find the quiet with gentleness? We learn peace… peace with ourselves, peace with the world around us. We find forgiveness of others and ourselves; we actively seek this out. Our primary goal is to find that peace-of-mind and to live in grace, in gentleness. Ah, yes, gentleness is living in grace, that place of unearned favor, that quietness of the soul, where everything just flows smoothly.

This is a lovely place in which to live and I enjoy that place every day. But it wasn’t always this way. No, I used to be pretty hyper, very judgmental and critical, both of myself and others. I was angry and bitter, blaming everyone and everything for my woes. Then, after I found sobriety and worked at being sober in my life, I began to find forgiveness… of others and of myself and I began to live in gentleness of spirit, gentleness of soul.

It was a choice I made, to find that place of peace, that place of gentleness. You, too, can find that place. All it takes is willingness, and some work on your part. Let’s spend a couple of days and look at how to find that quiet place where gentleness resides. Over the next few days, I’ll write about the process I underwent in hopes that you, too, can find the place of gentleness, that place of quiet in your mind and spirit, you soul. Join me, won’t you?

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Living with Grace

Sweep of Grace

Good morning! I liked the search term “living with grace” as a topic to continue with in the new year. I like Webster’s definition that grace is beauty and charm of form, movement, composition, or expression.

In my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, I speak of grace. “Gently, quietly, an unearned favor of great beauty and pleasure is bestowed upon me.” I say this because, for me, grace is a gentle and quiet gift I receive when I live with love in my heart.

I found grace in sobriety. It just happened one day after a few years of staying sober and working through my issues. I noticed a calm and quietness, a gentleness, which pervaded my being. Ah, I thought. This is grace. It is a lovely and comforting feeling that I experience frequently these days.

When I am in grace, kindness, gentleness, tolerance, and kindness just come naturally and quietly, gracefully, with no effort. It’s a gift from the Universe, from the powers-that-be, and I am grateful to have it in my life.

I found the following quote in my papers. I don’t know where it came from, but it is grace in action. “When the voices of self-destruction scream and slowly alienate any sense of self-worth, the healing perspective of soul dialogue will prevail.” That’s grace in action.

You will know you are experiencing grace when things just fall into place gently and quietly. You will feel a deep knowingness in your being. You will be at peace.

For 2013, I wish for you grace.

 

 

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Gracefully Accepting the Path of Sobriety

I added “of sobriety,” and chose “gracefully accepting the path” to talk about today because it raises the point of the positive. Showing grace, knowing when it has descended upon you, is a positive, as I see it. Only in sobriety did I even know grace existed! It took several years for it to reach me, for me to know I was experiencing it.

Let me explain to you one moment of grace that I am experiencing as I type. It is the wee hours of the morning and I just popped awake, so got up and started writing on my website, changing it around, especially the description of my speaking and coaching services. And it is raining… spurts of fast, staccato drops, interspersed with slow, lazy ones.

I am not fond of the rain, especially when I am driving in it. Makes me nervous, especially because my wiper blades are the pits and I can barely see. You could even say I hate the rain, which is true. I hate being wet and cold… soggy. So, what am I going to do about it? I have a choice. I can bitch and moan about it to everyone when it rains, or I can accept that I don’t like it and then take action.

I choose to take action, and so I go to the auto parts store and buy a new pair of blades. Oh my gosh! What a difference. I have been missing out on this pure delight for months now. I really digressed here… The point is, the fact that I am able to accept the rain as a fact of nature, and move forward in a positive manner, I define as grace. The fact that I can smile at the rain, knowing the season will end, and so being pleasant about it, is called grace.

Here’s another example. My sobriety is because of the grace of God. You can call that higher being, or source, whatever you wish, and the point is, it was their grace that led to sobriety. It was a gift and I choose to graciously accept it as such.

Grace is what allows me to “flow” in the, with the, present moment. For example, I just got done taking a dozen eggs off  the stove where I was making hard-boiled eggs. I was multi-tasking, I admit, writing the blog, as well as doing small things around the house. I actually got sidetracked because I went to fill up my coffee cup.

Anyway, grace allows me to flow from one activity to the next, just doing the next indicated thing that’s presented for me to do, and being okay with that. It’s like a dance, this flow, this going from one indicated thing to the next, and when we learn to join in the ballet, we experience grace.

How do you experience grace in your life? Is it similar for you to what I described? You’re invited to share your thoughts. Leave a comment and let us know.

I see I have deviated from the topic implied by the title, and the discussion is equally interesting and valuable, I trust. Perhaps tomorrow I will address Gracefully Accepting the Path of Sobriety.

p.s. I notice a lot of people are visiting my website each day, and that number has been consistent lately. I am thinking that many of you are repeat visitors, following my blog. That’s cool!  I’m thinking that the blog is useful to you, or you wouldn’t return. If that’s the case, my heart fills with joy, for this is my hope, my passion.

 

 

 

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Feelings of Grace

“Feelings of Grace” was the search term many times over this morning, so I will write about grace. I invite you to look up the meaning of the word in the dictionary or in wikopedia, as the description is lengthy. Just to recap, though, it is a pleasing quality, a favor, or thanks. It is an attractive quality, feature, or manner.

For me, grace is something that comes to me, that is a gift. Here are the image and verse that are in my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing. 

Sweep of Grace

“Gently, quietly, an unearned favor of great beauty and pleasure is bestowed upon me.”

 It swoops down on me and does things like give me the ability to show true compassion for another’s plight, another’s sufferings. And I mean at a very deep level. And grace allows me to offer understanding to that other through my words of solace and comfort. Grace is that gift that came to me in the form of a book that has allowed me to even know what words of solace and comfort are actually comforting and which are not.

I got that information, btw, from The Grief Recovery Handbook, 20th Edition, by John W. James and Russell Friedman. This book is appropriate for any of us because they deal with all losses that we experience, such as the familiar – due to death or divorce – yet they expand the scope of the need for grieving by adding losses due to moving when we were children, or even adults, to moving or losing a job, or losing a pet. They define it as any loss and we all have endured many losses during the course of our lives which they contend we have not addressed and which continue to affect our feelings, and, thus, our actions and behaviors in the world.

Grace is that pleasing favor which descends upon me and allows me to write these blogs, to share about my past, my personal life in a desire to  be useful to you. It just quietly shows up. I feel knowingness deep within when it does, and that’s what part of being in grace is for me. Deep knowingness, abiding peace.

Grace is one of the multiple gifts I have received as a result of my sobriety. I’m sure I felt grace before getting sober, yet, I didn’t recognize what it was, probably thought it was my due right and something I caused through my efforts. Not that getting to grace doesn’t involve action on your part – it does – yet, I am referring to things that occur in my life due to the Universe’s grace, or God’s grace, that I set in motion the energy from which it evolved.

This is getting very deep for me and I will close by saying that grace is one of those things that brings a slow smile to you face, a deep contentment to your heart and soul, and I invite you to let it in by relaxing and seeing what flows into your life after you take action on a need, want, or dream.

May you have joy and peace on your journey.

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Living with Gates Flung Wide – Ah, Peace

Yesterday, I talked about how to forgive… an actual process to use to get there. Once you find forgiveness, you will move into all the wonderful benefits of freedom and peace. You will begin to live with the gates of your heart flung wide open.

What do I mean by this? Well, first of all, you will begin to see the world around you with wonder… awe and wonder. You will seek out that attitude, applying it to everything you encounter.

When you find forgiveness and begin to see things around you with wonder, you will live in grace. Grace is a feeling of goodwill and is a favor which is bestowed upon you. It is a virtue given to you by the powers of the Universe, or God, or whatever you call the divine in your life. It settles quietly… gently… like a soft and comforting cloak.

It is hard to describe what it feels to live in grace, but one thing that happens for me is that everything falls easily into place. I have a deep sense of knowingness that life in its essence is perfect, and I sort of float from one thing to the next, not in a dizzy state, rather, in a calm and conscious way.

When you can find forgiveness, your life begins to be lived in joy… great happiness. Joy is a feeling of great pleasure or delight. You know when you are living with joy in your life when the little things become so pleasurable for you, that you wear a smile on your heart throughout the day.

And, finally, you will know peace. This is a feeling that all is well. It is felt at a deeper level. Regardless of the strife that arises, you know that everything is as it is intended to be, and you are alright in the world. It is a sense that pervades all others.

These are the things that you will experience once you go through a self-appraisal, and begin to learn to express compassion for others and yourself… once you find forgiveness for others and yourself. It is a truly beautiful space in which to live each day.

This is a state-of-mind that I have looked for all my life. I tried for 26 years to find it in alcohol and drugs and I thought I was experiencing joy all those years. What I realized after a few years of sobriety is that I didn’t have a clue what joy was, what wonder or grace was, and I certainly never experienced peace while I was drinking.

In other words, what I have found since forgiving and doing my grief work is a feeling that is so far greater than anything I had ever imagined possible. The journey to get to this point becomes well worth it once you get to this point.

For those of you who are dealing with long-standing anger or resentment, it is possible to get through that to another place, a place where you feel relaxed with others, with yourself, with the world around you. I wish you well in your journey and hope for you the path to forgiveness and peace.

 

 

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Enjoy Grace

Sweep of Grace

One of the nicest benefits of doing all the work we have been doing is the feeling of grace that we will most likely experience. “Gently, quietly, an unearned favor of great beauty and pleasure is bestowed upon me.”

That’s how grace comes to us… quietly, gently. It settles upon us like a soft cloak. Grace is a feeling of good will and is accompanied by great thoughtfulness for others. 

We know that we are feeling grace when we feel at home inside and with those around us. For me, when I feel grace, I feel a deep knowingness that all is well and right with the world.

When I feel this way, I know that God, or my Source, has and is giving me the gift of feeling good about things around and within me. I have been graced with the ability to forgive, for example.

By myself, I was unable to forgive, but with my Source’s grace and goodness, I have been able to get to that place of forgiveness, which leaves me with a feeling of goodness.

To get to grace, we need to do the work that I have outlined throughout the blog. When we do, then grace will find us. When we feel grace, we will experience great peace, and our sobriety will be enhanced a great deal. 

Today, relax and see if you are experiencing that glorious feeling of grace, where everything you do seems to flow from a place of ease and goodness. Enjoy grace as it falls upon you, gently, peacefully. 

 

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The Gift of Grace

If we are following through on the topics as I have presented them from my book, right about now we are going to experience the gift of grace.

Sweep of Grace

Sweep of Grace

“Gently, quietly, an unearned favor of great beauty and pleasure is bestowed upon me.”

Grace is defined as an attractive quality, feature or manner. It is the unmerited love and mercy given to man by God, or the Universe, or whatever you consider that power greater then yourself to be.

It is a feeling that overcomes us, settles all around us like a warm cloak. When we feel grace, we feel complete, whole, and right. It has a flowing quality.

We feel at one with ourselves and the world around us. When we feel grace, we feel at peace. We are able to maintain our sobriety when we feel grace, as we feel our wounds and pains minimize; they don’t have the “sting” that they have had in the past.

Grace is that which allows us to meet calamity and unrest with smoothness, calmness, and quietness, knowing at a deep level that everything will be okay.

Grace is the reward we experience for having followed all the things we have talked about so far. It is a gift and we want to be thankful for it.

How do you experience grace? Is it something you feel often? What actions on your part bring you to grace? Today, notice when you are enveloped by grace. Cherish it, be grateful for it, and enjoy it.

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Accepting What Is Can Bring You Peace

Path of Acceptance

Path of Acceptance

“When we become entwined with our path, the steps become as soft as velvet, and the ascent flows smoothly.” Ah, the result of accepting what is… a life that flows.

I used to think that accepting what is was giving up, failing, a resignation, defeat, and I would walk away from letting things be with shame.

Then at some point, I began to realize the difference between acceptance of life as it was, and giving up or letting go with shame and defeat. Letting go in acceptance can be a pleasant feeling.

Acceptance is a place you can get to by saying to yourself that you have done all you can do in any given situation, and now it is time to let the powers that be do the work, let flow the results. You can let go with grace.

Acceptance does have a component of action to it, because if there is something which can be done in a situation, you must take that action. Then, leave the outcome alone and don’t try to force it.

When the outcome is known, understand that this is how things are and there is nothing more you can do to change the situation. Humbly accept that this is how things are going to be, and go on about your day without regrets.

When you can do this, and not feel defeated, there is a great deal of peace to be gained, as you are not expending your energy trying to change everything to your liking. You just trust and believe that things are working out as they are intended to be, even if you don’t see the reason right now.

Accepting what is does not mean you have to like what is happening; you just admit that that’s how things are going right now. Then, you pay attention to whether or not some action is required on your part and you take that action.

How are you at accepting what is? Do you push against what is happening, such that you are uncomfortable? How do you reach acceptance? Leave a comment and let us know…

 

 

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Growth of Character

I was drawn to the beautiful sweeping staircase behind this gate, and the interesting growth on the wall made me think of our lovely growth of character that develops as we follow the principles of living.

Growth of Character

Growth of Character

The verse asks, “Do we notice the character of another, grown over time on the wall of one’s being?” Then it asks if we notice our own character, evolved over time on our own wall. “Do we groom the moss and mold, encouraging new growth to flourish?”

One of the kindest things we can do for others and ourselves is to notice one’s character, and to recognize its growth over the years. It is a form of acknowledgment, of respect.

We each are interesting beings, with a character that has developed over time because of our unique experiences in life. This is to be honored – in others and in ourselves. 

When I titled this photo, I was thinking of Joe, an elder gentleman I met on a bus on the way from the parking lot to the Wooden Boat Show in Port Townsend, Washington. It was September of 2004.

He was hampered by a disability, and, yet, he was filled with enthusiasm and life. We struck up a conversation and I could not help but notice he was full of character. A nice friendship developed from that and the lunch we later shared.

We each have a character, grown over time on the wall of our being. We can continue to cultivate it as we age, lending grace to that process, as with Joe. Just as we notice that growth of character in another, we can notice it in ourselves. And, through living good principles of living such as we have been discussing, we can groom it, such that it flourishes.

Just for today, notice the character of another and offer it acknowledgment and respect. Just for today, notice your character and do something to encourage new growth. Then stand back and admire the beauty you find.   

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How to Trust in God

I would like to preface this post with two things. When I say how to trust in God, I am using the term God to mean a power greater than yourself, and it can apply to any other source of deity that you choose. I also present what worked for me to begin to trust, and do not claim to have all the answers.

That said, let’s look at how to trust in God. I had great doubt about God off and on throughout my sobriety. Yet, a belief in a power greater than myself to keep me sober was essential. Trust for the simple things came easily, but there was still the element that I needed to watch my back.

The photo in the book for doubt shows the predominant side in the shadows. When we doubt God, I believe we are in the shadows, a murky and somewhat dismal place to be. In opposition, the other side of the gate is bathed in sunshine and is the place where we wish to go.

How do we get there? In my experience, I felt that God was punishing me when bad or negative things were happening. I didn’t get that job I so desperately needed; it must be that God was punishing me.

The amount of belief I had that God was punishing me was directly proportional to the amount of fear I had that I would be punished by another. This was directly related to the healing work I needed to do about having been punished while growing up, and I had a lot of healing to do around that issue.

Nonetheless, I struggled to trust, as I knew my sobriety depended upon it. My spiritual advisor gave me the following advice. For me, it worked and soon I discovered how to trust in God.

Every time I took action on something and then let the results go – in other words did not force results – and something glorious happened that was far beyond my expectation or desire, I was told to consider that that was God working in my life. 

I was skeptical, to say the least, but I did this anyway. What I soon discovered was that there were lots of little things happening to me that I did not orchestrate but that moved me along in my healing process. Things like, a healer for the PTSD from which I suffered just showed up on my path. I partook of her services and was healed from my PTSD.

Lots of these type things began to happen and I was noticing them all. After a period of about a year or two, I was realizing that I was trusting that God would do for me what I could not do for myself. I began to see God from the sunny side of the gate.

So, for me, it worked to notice all the things in my life that happened when I didn’t plan them or force them to happen. They occurred with grace. That is what I suggest you do to learn how to trust in God.

Do you currently trust in God? Did you struggle for that to occur? What worked for you to be able to trust? Leave a comment and help another to discover a method that works for them.

 

 

 

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