How to Trust a Higher Power

Hello and good morning in the pre-dawn hours. : ) I am wondering how things went for you with the forgiveness challenge. Were you able to do the exercises? How did/does it feel? Do you think you’ll be able to get to the point of forgiveness? I hope so.

This morning, there was a search term “how can I trust my higher power,” and I wanted to address this today. It is crucial for your peace of mind and your sobriety to have a belief and trust in a higher power. To relay how you can do that, I’d like to tell a story…

When I came to sobriety, I did so having just read Conversations With God. This was a very powerful book for me; the effect on me was astounding. I had begun to believe that God was everywhere around me, in everything and everybody. So, when I entered sobriety, I thought it was God urging me to do so. I now know this was the case, but about 3-4 years into sobriety, I began to have difficulty with God.

I was working through my childhood issues, dealing with the anger and rage, the confusion and hurt, the wounds I was left with from my childhood. I began to trust God only so far, and then I felt I needed to take over, I needed to watch my back. I had reverted to a survival mode, one which was familiar and necessary from childhood days.

Soon, this lack of trust in a higher power began to get in my way, and I got to a deep despair, wondering why a higher power would have allowed me to experience what I did as a child. The way I got out of the despair is a whole other story; let me focus on trusting my higher power…

Right about the time that I was in deep despair, my sponsor suggested I begin to notice the things in my life that were going well, the good things that were occurring that I did not plan nor force to happen. So I did. I began to notice these things. What I soon discovered was that  wonderful things that were happening, small, little things that I did not design or orchestrate.

My sponsor said this was my higher power working in my life. Ahhhh, I thought to myself. So, this is the higher power. I began to trust that I was being cared for, watched over. Slowly, I eased the need to watch my back, and began to believe that it was being watched by my higher power.

Today, I believe there is a higher power at work in my life. I see evidence of it every minute of every day in the small things, the things that fall into place as a result of me having taken action. Opportunities arise, people are there to help me… it all just falls together like a beautifully choreographed dance.

This is how your higher power works, in small ways, effortlessly. As things begin to fall into place for you, as others appear on your path to guide you, think of it as your higher power at work in your life, for it is. : )

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Stay Sober with the Trust in a Higher Source

Offer of Trust

As we move forward in our journey into sobriety and my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, we come to the topic of trust. Remember, we are in search of ways to get and stay sober, and to find peace.

Of paramount importance in the journey to and through sobriety, or simply through life, is a trust in Source, or the power of the Universe, or God, or whatever you call that force in the world which guides you, offers you solace, offers you opportunities.This force will take a front seat in your journey, and it will become your companion, your confidant.

This is necessary because when you have difficulty, and want to drink, you can call upon this Source to help you, and it will! It’s the most amazing thing! I came into sobriety just having read the book “Conversations With God” by Neale Donald Walsch, and I was smitten with the idea of God. I believed He was everywhere, in everyone, in me.

This became very important to me when the feelings of my emotions began to surface without alcohol or drugs to numb them, and it was this belief to which I turned to help keep me sober, to lessen the emotional pain I experienced. I got relief, and I was able to keep from drinking, so I kept believing.

But I lost trust as the hurts and pains of my old wounds surfaced in years two and three of sobriety, leading me to feel that God could not be trusted, that I still had to “watch my back.” This lack of trust went on for some time. Even so, some force graciously helped me stay sober, and I thanked that force daily.

At one point, my spiritual advisor suggested I notice every time something good happened in my life that I had not arranged, had not orchestrated. Something that was for my better good, or that fulfilled a piece of my dream. I did what was suggested and started noticing.

Sure enough, little things kept happening that furthered my dreams to become a photographer. Opportunities began to present themselves that I knew nothing about until they showed up. I began to make gains and strides in my healing work.

I finally made the choice to believe there was some guiding force that was grander than me, that would guide me through the maze of life -my emotions, my dreams, my challenges. That force comes to me in small voices in my head, telling me a certain course of action to take, being my conscience, guiding me when I listen to it.

The point is, you need to make the choice to believe in a force greater than yourself to help you stay sober. You do not need to do this alone any more. It is safe to ask for help. There are people waiting for you with out-stretched arms, ones who have done it before and are guiding you. These people show up in your life at just the right time, as if sent by Source.

It is my deepest hope to be considered by you as one of those people with out-stretched arms, guiding you through the process I took to stay sober and find peace. I share my story here to be of use to those of you still suffering, whether with an alcohol or drug problem or just plain emotional turmoil not complicated with substance abuse. May you find something in my words to further your journey in a positive manner. 

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Developing Awareness of All Around and Within You

Today we’re going to talk about awareness of all that is wondrous around and within you. I call it a birth of awareness, because it happens over time and it can be painful, yet, the result is beautiful and well worth it.

Birth of Awareness

Birth of Awareness

The first step toward developing awareness is to acknowledge our feelings, which includes, but is not limited to, hurt, anger, sorrow, and sadness. Then we make the decision to turn our attention to the lushness beyond the gates of our heart.

It usually follows that we begin to notice our surroundings first – the beauty of the simple things right in front of us. We focus on the beauty we find, keenly developing awareness of more and more that exists in our world.

Once we notice our surroundings, we are more able to go inside and notice bits and pieces of ourselves that are beautiful also. We take note of those, ever-expanding the discovery of ourselves.

This awareness that we develop is always growing. Once we begin to take note of the simple things around and within us, we cannot help but become even more aware as time goes on. We recognize the depth of all that exists in our world.

As we become more sober and the fog begins to lift, we begin to wonder about the origin of it all. Call it the Universe, or God, or Buddha, we begin to wonder if there is a power greater than ourselves that is behind all that we behold.

So, our developing awareness expands to include that which is bigger than us. This is a crucial step in getting and remaining sober. We have proven to ourselves that we cannot get and stay sober through our will power, and we have come to the realization that we are powerless about dealing with our addiction.

We gingerly become more and more aware of this greater power in our lives. We hold it up for inspection and we examine it logically, but there is no logic which can explain all that we are discovering. It just “is.”  This fact makes it even more awesome.

Now that we are developing awareness around and within us, life takes on new meaning. We want to remain sober to continue experiencing the awe and wonder we feel.  Do you feel it? Do you experience that awe and wonder? If you do, then you are on your way to experiencing a birth of awareness.

 

 

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How to Commit to the Journey

Today we are talking about how to commit to the journey you are on, whether that is of awareness, healing, growth, or recovery. The verse begins, “The gate stands open, beckoning me to climb.”

The Steps to Commitment

Journey of Commitment

It goes on to talk about how each step leads further in your journey, offering the opportunity to examine yourself and your life – leaves that have fallen, leaves that will fall, and buds yet to form.

Once you begin the climb and commit to it, you recognize and accept that you will experience both rocky and smooth times, that it will be positive and negative, easy and hard. This is just how life is. It cannot be escaped.

You commit anyway, because you know that the reward of the journey is in each blossom and each leaf along the way. That IS the journey… the blossoms and leaves along the way just keep changing faces as one part of your journey ebbs and another flows. The journey changes, again and again, as you learn, heal, and grow.

You see, when you learn how to commit to the journey, you do not know what experiences and lessons will come your way, but you agree to yourself that you will stick it through. The experiences may be terribly painful, even unbearable. Yet, if you stick through it, you will heal from the pain with time and effort on your part. You will find your way to peace.

If you decide to commit to the journey of healing, I can only offer you what worked for me. I found it useful to engage in activities such as reaching out for help from therapy and support groups, and reading books about the type of pain with which I was dealing. Journaling about my deepest, most agonizing feelings was most useful.

Finding a close friend or confidant to talk with about my thoughts was also extremely helpful. That person became my spiritual coach and learning to rely on that power greater than myself became indispensable.  Learning to use all  the tools we have discussed, such as honesty, openness, willingness, humility, courage… these all helped.

It was most helpful to be useful to others, as that gave me a sense of mattering to someone in the world. What I discovered when I did all these things was that my journey’s face changed from pain and deep despair to that of joy and inner peace. Now, unpleasant situations occur, and I am curious to uncover the lesson to which the journey is guiding me.

I hope I have given you a sense of purpose for your continued journey, and let you know that there is great reward, even in the hard times.

 

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The Power You Gain by Trusting

The power you gain by trusting in a force greater than yourself is incredible. Part of being able to move forward with awareness and discovering yourself involves being able to trust in something bigger than you are.

The Power You Gain By Trusting

Offer of Trust

The verse from the book reads, “A way presents itself to me. But I cannot see where the path leads. Still, I am asked to trust. Is it safe? Do I have a choice?”

For me, I had no choice but to trust in something bigger and more powerful than me if I wanted to get and remain sober. After all, I had tried and tried to quit, but wasn’t able to until I let go, surrendered, and began to trust that a greater power could help me.

That was my story; yours may be quite different and have nothing what-so-ever to do with drinking.

The bottom line is, no matter what we try to do in our lives, there is a power greater than ourselves. Call it the Power of the Universe, the Powers that Be, Great Spirit, God, Buddha… the name doesn’t matter, it is the concept, the act of trusting a greater power.

We cannot see this power; it is intangible. And, yet, if you believe it exists, it can give you courage and strength to move forward and do things you are not able to do on your own.

Are you trying to love yourself, to have faith in yourself, to let your light shine? All of these things are achievable when you believe that there is something bigger than you, guiding you.

How does that work? I have no idea, yet, I have found it works very well. If you give up trying to accomplish things using your own will power, and focus on a power greater than yourself, almost effortlessly, things you have tried to accomplish begin to happen. You must take action, however.

It is not a matter of sitting around and expecting that this power will do things for you or drag you from one good thing to the next. Oh, no. It is more that opportunities begin to be presented to you, and you follow up and take action on them. You determine what that shows up in your life will be beneficial for you, and then you follow up.

When you do this, amazing things begin to occur. All it takes is faith in that power greater than you. It is amazing the power you gain by trusting in that force, believing that it can accomplish what you are unable to do using your own will power.

What are the ways in which you trust in that force? How does it work for you? I invite you to leave me a comment and let others see what works for you and the power you gain by trusting.

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Do You Trust Yourself, Others, and God?

Offer of Trust

A way presents itself to me, but I cannot see where the path leads. Still, I am asked to trust.

Is it safe? Do I have a choice?

We continue to journey through the book, talking about each topic in the order that it appears in the book. Today’s topic, trust of self, others, and God,  is a foundation which allows us to work toward and reach inner peace. Without trust, we are constantly looking over our shoulder, waiting for the other shoe to drop. It is most exhausting.

What does it mean to trust yourself? Perhaps it means the knowledge that in every situation, you will do what is best for your highest good. It is the opposite of doubting yourself.

How do you gain trust in yourself if it is lacking? It takes introspection, an examination of your beliefs and actions in all situations. It is a prevailing belief that you can and will act to your benefit in every situation.

It takes courage to do this, as you move past whatever fears you may be dealing with. When you notice that you have trusted a decision, for example, it is helpful to recognize the trust you showed in yourself and to praise yourself for displaying it. Over time, this becomes easier, and you begin to see patterns emerge which you can change with awareness and practice.

Trusting others can be a real problem, especially if you have been hurt or betrayed. The more hurt you have endured, the less likely you will be to trust others.  The normal response is to shut down your heart and decide not to trust. Here again, courage comes into play, as you slowly observe others, assessing how trustworthy they are.

First and foremost, it involves the determination that it is safe to trust another.  In the face of abuse, for example, you  perhaps have seen a pattern of behavior and you have good reason not to trust. In those situations, be gentle with your response and realize you are doing the best you can to keep yourself safe. Seek help. Try to remove yourself from that situation. That will help you learn to trust yourself.

When you feel betrayed by another such that you cannot trust them, do some introspective work and determine if your expectations are too high. This can often be the case, that we set our expectations too high and others cannot reach them. Remember, the other person is a human being, prone to mistakes simply because they are human. If it occurs occasionally, you may be able to gain the courage to open you heart and trust them again.

But if this person repeatedly shows that they are not trustworthy, learn from that and stop trying to get them to be trustworthy. That is insanity, doing the same thing expecting different results. Move on and try not to become bitter from others’ betrayals.

Perhaps the belief in a power greater than yourself, call it God or whatever, is the saving grace for learning to trust. You can learn to place your trust in that power, believing that it will take care of you in all situations. The results may not look like you want them to, but on closer examination in these situations, you may see that the way things turned out are for your highest good.

Learn to be aware of when a higher power has worked in your life, and take note of the results that are better than you could have imagined. Over time, you will stop looking over your shoulder and will begin to trust in that power. You will begin to turn to it to ask for help to gain courage to trust, when it’s appropriate.

How do you handle trust in yourself, others, and God? Is it difficult for you?

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Offer of Trust – for Self, Others and the Divine

A way is presented. The gate stands open ever-so-far, beckoning. The path looks inviting, enveloping. Our eyes travel to the top of the path; we cannot see where it leads, cannot see what is up there. Hesitation occurs. And still, a way is presented, steadfastly.

Do you follow the path when you don’t know where it will lead, when you can’t see what is ahead? Do you trust your instincts, accept the invitation, open the gate which stands ajar and walk through? Perhaps your belief in the Divine and your trust in that entity enables you to travel and open yourself to the unknown. Maybe your belief permits you  to trust others and yourself.

Or, perhaps, you allow fear to stand in the way, thwarting your attempts to traverse the path, to open up to others, to a higher power, to yourself.  When you have opened yourself to any of these, have you been disappointed, sorrowful, hurt, thus rendering you incapable to trust the next time?

The second example was me for most of my life. I was constantly trying to trust, only to continually experience disappointment, hurt and sorrow. With a higher power, I could trust only so far and then I felt I needed to watch my back, to take charge.

During my journey in sobriety, it was suggested that I notice each time when the forces of the Universe were acting in my best interest, when things turned out better than I had planned or imagined.

So, I became willing to take this advice and began to gain trust that something was taking care of me because situations did, indeed, turn out better than I’d thought could happen. Over time, my trust in the forces of the Universe, a higher power, the Divine, God, or whatever you choose to call that force, grew slowly. Trust has evolved.

As far as trusting others, I have learned I need to lower my expectations. Then, I am pleasantly surprised when something happens. I have difficulty with this, so have much opportunity for practice.

Trusting myself has become easier; yet, it was difficult for a long period. I began to notice the times when my intuition was” right on” in a given situation. That gave me courage to trust myself in the next instance. Gradually, I lowered the expectations I hold for myself and learned to forgive myself when I was not trusting. I am getting much better at this. Again, it’s practice.

As the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band says, “They’re all practice.”

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