Category Archives: Spiritual Practices
Forgiveness is something we know we should do. So we usually put it in the category of “I’ll get around to that someday”. But with recovery we learn that that little pile we’ve built of the things we’ll do someday is the very pile we have to clean out before we can move on. Bitterness, regret, hatred, etc. all use our energy negatively. God can’t plant flowers until we till the soil. That means get out those big lumps. Forgiveness gets rid of a lot of the big lumps. Let go and let God.
How others learned to forgive:
1. From karenlessscripted (A Life Less Scripted): “Why I Forgave My Bully”:
Kids are being brutalized by other kids. Children are taking their lives because they can think of no other way to end their pain. Some studies show rates of bullying as high as 81% for school-aged males and 72% for school-aged females. The girls who got bullied by Teresa bullied back. I, in turn, bullied Heather. In the 33 + years since these incidents occurred, I never considered myself to be a bully. That leads me to wonder if all bullies know what they are. In the right circumstances, the victim becomes the perpetrator.
I forgave my bully because I recognized a generational pattern of aggression and hate that I refuse to perpetuate. I’m doing my best to model the values to my kids that I want to instill in them. When someone is mean to me, I pray for the strength to show them love. I follow Jesus and remember the Sermon on the Mount and pray for those who persecute me. This isn’t easy. I spent many years building defenses so that I wouldn’t be an easy target. Those defenses hardened me and I’ve had to work to not expect the worst in people. I couldn’t live with myself if I mirrored that to my children and they became the same way.
Behavior is a continuum. We are all capable of loving behavior and hateful behavior. It never feels good in my heart to meet hate with hate and it’s my responsibility to show my kids another way. I will lead with my most valuable strength: Love. You can’t overcome darkness with more darkness.
I pray for my bully every day. I pray that she lives a joyful and purposeful life. I pray that she hasn’t built defenses against God’s light and that she doesn’t live in shame. If she has children, I pray that she loves her children more than she hates those who harmed her.
The cycle ends here.
2. From Annette (Journey of recovery…search for serenity): “Grateful”:
Someone commented on an old post this morning. It was this post. I went back and read it and I was so surprised….I had forgotten about having all of those hurt, angry feelings toward my mom. I think back on the 6 weeks we spent together before she died and I am SO INCREDIBLY grateful for that time. Really, there are no words. It was so honestly the right thing for me to do for so many reasons. And I am so glad and grateful that I got to give that to her. So much healing took place for she and I and hopefully for my siblings too.
Awhile back a friend started an ACA group and wanted me to come. At first I was excited to go and then it dawned me I wasn’t in that hurt place anymore. I had just had this beautiful time with my mom and I didn’t want to dredge up all of that stuff that I really felt like we had just wordlessly worked through. I recently ran into the same friend and she told me that someday even though my mom is gone, it would “still do me good” to go to the meetings. I just knew in my heart that that wasn’t the truth for me.
That I was really ok and not still all wrapped up in the past and my childhood. Those things happened, many things were hurtful, yes, she wasn’t a glowing mother most of the time, my emotional needs were unmet in some large ways, but she did love me so much and I believe completely that she truly did do the best she knew how to do….and what more can I ask from anyone? So today I am grateful to love my mom, to feel that we both are free in forgiveness, that I can see so much growth and change and progress, I am grateful to not be mad anymore.
3. From DAAve (higher powered): “Amazing”:
The act of forgiveness is the act of returning to present time.
And that’s why when one has become a forgiving person, and has managed to let go of the past, what they’ve really done is they’ve shifted their relationship with time.
~ Caroline Myss ~
Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment.— GARY CHAPMAN
The spiritual practices I’ve chosen to include in Spiritual Practices 1 are forgiveness, deep breathing, becoming centered, mindfulness, and serenity. I learned most of these principles through daily meditation.
Early in my recovery which began in 1976, I was deeply influenced by a 13th century monk, Brother Lawrence. His book is titled “Practice in the Presence of God”. I loved the concept of practicing in the presence which told me that I never had to worry about being perfect. That,in fact, I would never graduate on this earth from the practice. What a wonderful gift this 13th century monk gave me. Thank you, Brother Lawrence.
If you, the reader, has other spiritual practices you would like to see included–write your own lenses. You will love the experience and feel a deep sense of joy to be sharing yourself with the world.
To introduce each of the spiritual practices I have chosen, I will be using definitions for each of the spiritual practices from one my favorite amazing resource, Wikipedia.
(1) Deep Breathing
The following definition is from Wikipedia–
“Diaphragmatic breathing, or deep breathing is the act of breathing deep into your lungs by flexing your diaphragm rather than breathing shallowly by flexing your rib cage.
This deep breathing is marked by expansion of the stomach (abdomen) rather than the chest when breathing. It is generally considered a healthier and fuller way to ingest oxygen, and is often used as a therapy for hyperventilation and anxiety disorders.
Performing diaphragmatic breathing can be therapeutic, and with enough practice, can become your standard way of breathing.
To breathe diaphragmatically, or with the diaphragm, one must draw air into the lungs in a way which will expand the stomach and not the chest. It is best to perform these breaths as long, slow intakes of air – allowing the body to absorb all of the inhaled oxygen while simultaneously relaxing the breather. To do this comfortably, it is often best to loosen tight-fitting pants/belts/skirts as these can interfere with the body’s ability to intake air.
While at first one may not feel comfortable not expanding the chest during breathing, diaphragmatic breathing actually fills up the majority of the lungs with oxygen, much more than chest-breathing or shallow breathing.
According to http://www.swamij.com/diaphragmatic-breathing.htm, in diaphragmatic breathing abdomen does NOT move.”