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Inspiring Success on the Road to Recovery

Monday, October 29, 2012

Change Your Frequency

While staying at a hotel, I signed up for wireless Internet service. To my disappointment, the service kept going on and off. A call to tech support did not help much. Finally the technician concluded there must have been some interference near my room. He suggested I change rooms. So at 1 A.M. I packed my gear and trudged to another hotel room. I logged onto the wireless service and found that the reception in this room was no better. Stymied, I scanned for other wireless services in the hotel and found there was another one available. I logged onto it and it worked perfectly. So I didn’t need to change rooms after all. I just needed to change my frequency. Many of us are tempted to change jobs, houses, or spouses, and sometimes that works. Yet it’s not unusual that when you get to your new situation you find it to be simply a repeat of the old one. In many cases you didn’t need to change the situation. You just needed to change the point from which you were looking at it. More often we need to make a vertical move rather than a horizontal one. Instead of moving to the side, move up. Dr. Michael Ryce offers a workshop called, “Why is this Happening to me Again?” He cites this example: “You fly away from New York to get away from a relationship that isn’t working, and the person who meets you at the airport in Los Angeles finishes the sentence that the person you left in New York started.” The world we experience is not created by people or situations. It is created by our thoughts. The most powerful place to start changing the world is in your mind. If you try to change your world without first changing your mind, the world will not change. When you change your mind, everything changes. We are entering the holiday season, which often brings up lots of juicy material for spiritual growth. You might face family and social gatherings with people who annoy, insult, or drive you crazy. While you may attempt to avoid such situations, if you find yourself in a position where you have to attend, you can seize the moment to practice vertical rather than horizontal movement.

 To illustrate: A woman called into my radio show Get Real on Hay House Radio (www.hayhouseradio.com) and reported that she had to go to a weekend family meeting with members who bug her. I suggested, “Before the weekend, sit quietly for a few minutes and make up your mind that your only goal for the weekend is inner peace. No matter what anyone says or does, you will stay centered in your calm inner space. Completely withdraw any power you have given your relatives to make you unhappy.” That might be a good practice for all of us to adopt. If you can hold your inner peace in the presence of someone who has regularly irked you, you earn your spiritual graduation diploma. Consider yourself in a seminar called, “Happiness before all else.” Reframe that person as an angel who has come to help you find inner strength. You have a spiritual contract with that person to assist you to build soul muscles. If you can choose to thrive in their presence, no matter what they say or do, they will likely spin out of your orbit. If they don’t, you won’t really care because you have mastered the lesson they have come to help you learn. A Course in Miracles tells us, “The holiest spot on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love.” Think of life a big radio tuner or Internet browser. There are millions of stations or web pages to choose from, some delicious and others horrid. You get to experience the station or URL you tune in on. If a bad show comes on, it will do you no good to yell back at the station or curse the web page. You have the option to choose another frequency. An old Microsoft tagline is quite appropriate here: Where would you like to go today? I’m not suggesting that you never change relationships, jobs, or hotel rooms, or that you have to attend gatherings with energy vampires. Sometimes a move is indicated, and “no” is the most helpful response. But there are times when changing your mind is far more effective than changing your position. Ultimately your mind is your position. Your problem may not be, as the tech support fellow told me, interference from somewhere outside your room. Your problem might be interference from illusion. The answer to interference from illusion is not to substitute one illusion for another. The only answer to illusion is truth. Reality doesn’t move illusions around. Reality sees beyond them. The secret to a great holiday season may be what you have heard millions of times from your favorite radio and television shows: Stay tuned.   

Alan Cohen is the author of many popular inspirational books, including the newly-released Enough Already: The Power of Radical Contentment. Join Alan this February 10-15 in Hawaii for the extraordinary program Miracles, Metaphysics, and Maui. For more information about this program, Alan’s other books, and free daily inspirational quotes via email, visit www.alancohen.com, email info@alancohen.com, or phone (800) 568-3079 or (808) 572-0001.

Thanks Giving

Dr. Hew Len walked into a high security mental hospital for the criminally insane and discovered there were three or four attacks on inmates or staff each day. The energy was angry and oppressive. The majority of the 30 patients were shackled, put into seclusion or restricted to the ward. Both doctors and nursed walked with their backs to the walls for the fear of being attacked. This was a scary place. And yet, without out seeing a single patient face to face for therapy and armed with just a bit more than genuine grace and gratitude, within months there were no more shackles, there was no more seclusion and patients and staff were working together, playing sports and the fear lifted? (Read the story in Joe Vitale’s book Zero Limits) Gratitude, thanks giving is a mighty warrior. When asked, Dr Len said, “I had to take complete responsibility for the problems outside myself and replace all negative thoughts with love.” I know, I know…this sounds entirely too therapisty and new agey. The problem is, however, it happens to be true. Let me give you an example: The other day before my seminar, I realized I needed ice for the guests so I grabbed my wallet and my keys and I ran to the store. I got the ice and returned home and as I was pulling in my driveway, I realized I left my wallet in the basket. Immediately, my heart started to pound remembering months it took clearing the mess from the last time my wallet was stolen, and I thought, Oh god, I am going to have my identity and credit cards stolen again. The anxiety kept coming until I backed up and started pulling out of the driveway to return to the store. Then it hit me, in one exasperating deep breath, that I was creating this reality and it was all my stuff. So, I started using Dr Len’s process and said, over and over all the way back to the store, I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you. I realized I was projecting my own fear on to the situation and I was genuinely sorry for putting that on anyone and I was truly grateful that this circumstance had given the opportunity to heal another place inside of me that felt vulnerable and at risk. I walked into the store, asked if anyone had turned a wallet in and the clerk said, “Yes, right after you left a young man brought it in.” I vaguely remembered a shabbily dressed young man at the door when I left and hoped I had not felt any judgment about him the first time I saw him. I asked if he was there so I could thank him and she replied that he had left. I didn’t even check the wallet because I intuitively knew everything was still safely inside. This simple Hawaiian ritual/teaching is called Ho’oponopono, 

 The concept is to remember that what we see in others is actually a reflection of something in us and if we heal whatever that is in us, it becomes healed in the other. Once the issue is healed, if the issue or person is no longer needed as a teacher it stops being a concern or it goes away. The “I’m sorry, statement is an acknowledgement” that with or without being conscious of it, you have called this lesson or person in to teach yourself something you need on your path. You don’t even need to know how or why I got there, such as in the case of addiction, or being overweight, you just need to take responsibility for it, forgive yourself for it and heal it. Another beautiful thing is that no one else has to do this but you. 

 Every Moment Counts....

Every lesson is priceless. Every person is a master teacher for us. Every thought and action creates our reality and all of it is in perfect service to our soul. What’s not to feel thankful for? This is an exquisite plan! Every day should be Thanksgiving! Think about how much anger and angst would simply leave your life if you knew hat every challenge and person in it was teaching you something invaluable about yourself that brings you closer to your true path — closer to peace and purpose. This Thanksgiving, take a minute to look around the table, look around your world and in your heart and mind simply say… I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you. When you do, notice how your heart opens, your belly softens, your mind relaxes and somehow a grace returns. And, since I created all of you…I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you ad have a great Thanksgiving.

Fantasy Island

At a recent 12 step meeting a man with 28 years of consistent sobriety spoke about how even with that amount of clean time he still periodically lives on “Fantasy Island.” I laughed and silently agreed. This gentleman was holding up a mirror to my own life, as his words reminded me of how my denial about my disease kept me out there using — because in my fantasy it really wasn’t all that bad.

And I will be the first to admit I still take mini trips to Fantasy Island once in a while. When life isn’t what I expect or want I can easily take-off in another direction — whether to reduce the pain from a lesson I need to learn or a thousand other reasons. And this is why I must stay grounded and connected in recovery. My mind has the ability to create scenarios that will never happen, review what has — and still try to change the end result, as well as pre-judge what may be awaiting in the future. I read somewhere, “we believe everything we think.”
A powerful statement to ponder. Many addicts and alcoholics spend a lot of time living in their heads. Inside the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous it says we are, “Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion…” We believe our self should be in constant pleasure. Besides trying to kill us, our addiction feeds our fantasies, and we forget there is a whole big universe beyond our own little needs. Addiction is so powerful it can tell us we don’t have it, even after years of sobriety. Listen closely to the stories from people who have relapsed as there seems to be a common thread. Their fantasy (addiction) told them having just one drink or drug wouldn’t do any harm. Yet as these stories continue the horrors of what happened under the influence can make your hair stand on end. Those who are lucky make it back alive — but not everyone does.

 I am grateful I’ve been taught the best way out of ‘me’ is to get in, be in and stay in service, take my seat in the fellowship, honestly share my journey and surround myself with like minded people. It always works. With gratitude and thanks, we at Together AZ wish all our readers a blessed Thanksgiving.

Thank you for your readership and support of the Art of Recovery Expo. Each and everyone of us who made it out of the depths of darkness caused by our addiction, no matter what it is — are living miracles and proof that we are now residing on an island of sobriety — surrounded by love, support and camaraderie.