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Inspiring Success on the Road to Recovery

Friday, July 31, 2015

ANGER The Misunderstood Emotion

By John Lee

Many psychologists and counselors are confused about this most misunderstood emotion. One of the main reasons for this gross misunderstanding is due to the fact that these learned men and women are still confusing anger with rage. Once we stop using these very different-meaning words interchangeably, then anger will no longer be the crazy uncle in the family of feeling and thus no longer need be avoided.

Expressing Anger Creates more Anger

Some well-intentioned psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and spiritual leaders claim letting out our anger creates and perpetuates more anger. This is true only if the person is a continuous rageaholic, which the majority of people are not. Most people in this country are “repressives” who may rage sporadically. Most well-intentioned critics are afraid of anger, both their own and other people’s, so they have a vested interest in their clients suppressing their anger. If a grieving man cries gallons of tears, it doesn’t make him cry even more. He weeps until the water in his grief well is dry, and then he stops. A woman doesn’t avoid laughing at a joke because she is afraid she’ll never stop laughing! When allowed to run its natural course, every emotion has an end. If I release a pound of pent-up anger at my alcoholic father, then I don’t have to release that same pound again; I’ll go on to feel and release the next pound of anger until it is all gone.

Expressing Anger is Dangerous

Some people who are anger-phobic claim getting angry increases the blood pressure and strains the heart. In twenty years of facilitating the appropriate release of anger for thousands of people, I’ve never seen anyone die from high blood pressure or stroke at an anger workshop. However, I bet you have known someone who died full of anger, and you were sure their high blood pressure and heart disease were caused by all those years of pent-up emotions.
I’m not a physician, but I can tell you that for years I’ve seen thousands of people express and release their anger, then celebrate as their blood pressure went down. They slept better, medicated less often, ground their teeth less, had fewer nightmares and felt and expressed love more readily.  Indeed, they felt much better for finally being allowed to express their feelings and get them out of their bodies.

Anger is a Chameleon

Most genuinely compassionate psychologists believe anger is a secondary emotion and, therefore, not even real. What we are really feeling, they tell us, is not anger at all, but fear or sadness, depending on the therapist’s personal history and training. Remember, therapists are people too, people who learned that anger equals pain, just like you and I did. They may encourage you to “understand” your anger or “go for the feeling that anger is covering up.” At best they tell you “to say more about this.” Most will not tell you to feel it and express it — unless they have done some anger work themselves. Unless they have experienced and expressed their own anger, they will tend to tell you to “dance with it,” forget it, move on, or get over it. These are all intellectual ways of avoiding anger, which will we discuss shortly. Only a handful of professionals will tell you to face it, feel it, express it and release it.

A Deadly Sin

Some religious counselors consider anger one of the “seven deadly sins.” Now that should make you wary—anger is “deadly” and a “sin!” They conveniently ignore the instances in the New Testament where Jesus gets angry, such as the time when he encounters the moneychangers in His holy temple. He doesn’t sit down with these scalawags and try to “interface” with them or mirror back to them what they are saying and ask them to do the same. He kicks their butts, turns over some tables and cracks a whip. If Jesus never sinned, then anger is not a sin. What some religious people do with their anger, however, is a whole different ballgame.  Do you remember when basketball wasn’t an angry contact sport? How about that time you went to a fight and a hockey game broke out?

Forgive and Forget

Another misconception often pervasive among religious groups is that people must instantly offer forgiveness when someone harms them. It’s a lofty goal, but beyond the capacity of the average mortal. For many, forgiveness can only be given after the feelings of anger, hurt and injustice have been addressed and worked through. Otherwise, the person can only offer premature forgiveness, a superficial remedy that never deals with the real problem.
The Bible says to turn the other cheek if someone slaps us, but it doesn’t tell us what to do after being slapped twice. I believe it is okay to get angry and move out of the slapper’s range. After all, sometimes anger’s purpose is to get us out of threatening or unsafe places.

Do a Step on it

I position this section squarely between the religious and intellectual sections because it is a combination of both. Old-time Twelve Steppers will tell newcomers to “turn their anger over,” “let go and let God,” “do a step on it,” or “make a gratitude list.” All of these are great things to say when appropriate, but often these phrases are code for “don’t feel your feelings—especially anger.” Most recovering alcoholics and addicts are as afraid of anger as anyone else is. They too have been taught that anger equals pain.

An Avoidable Evil

The intellectual person tries to think away their feelings of anger, sadness, loneliness, fear or anxiety. Most of these people are so cut off from their bodies they wouldn’t know a feeling if it bit them on the butt. I should know since I was a classic pseudo-intellectual escape artist. I was always flying up into my head so I wouldn’t have to feel. When people asked me what I was feeling, I’d invariably tell them what I was thinking.
Intellectuals think they are too smart to stoop to the level of being angry, because emotions are primitive and “illogical.” They believe anger is an avoidable evil and should be omitted from any “rational” relationship.

Caution: Danger Zone

Bill was a client who had been married and divorced four times. When his wives were angry he used to say to them, “Now just calm down. We can discuss this like two intelligent people. If you don’t calm down right now, I’m out of here.” What was wrong with Bill trying to calm them down so they could discuss the matter? The ex-wives just wanted to feel their feelings and express them—it’s called communicating. Bill interpreted their normal expressions of anger as a threat, because he associated anger with being hurt. In order to feel safe, he tried to shut down their anger. Bill was six feet tall and weighed two hundred pounds, but when someone near him got angry, he felt as small and helpless as he did when he was a small boy.

Don’t Feel!

Most alcoholics and addicts learned at an early age not to show their feelings. Many men and women are embarrassed by their emotions and avoid displaying them in public at all costs. If they happen to cry in public, they immediately apologize or run for the bathroom until they regain control. Many of the men I’ve worked with over the last twenty years have said things like my last client, Bob, “I haven’t cried publicly since I was seven years old.” Bob is now sixty-five. Many men have bought the lie, “Big boys don’t cry.” I didn’t cry in front of people until I was thirty-three.

Nice Girls Don’t Get Angry 

Many women are afraid to display anger because they were told: “It’s not nice;” “It’s not pretty;” “It’s not polite;” “Angry people are ugly;” and “Good girls don’t get angry.” They have been called “ball-busters” and “bitches.” Women have just as much right to their anger as anyone. I repeat, women have lots of reasons to be angry.  Hell, they didn’t get counted as a full person with the right to vote until 1920, and they still get paid two-thirds of what men do for the same jobs.

Reality and Acceptance

Alcoholism and addiction, among other things, is rage acted out by people who have been angry for a long time and been encouraged not to feel it, threatened not to feel it and, thus, afraid to feel it. Most alcoholics and addicts have a lot of anger about how different they are, things are, situations are, and people are as opposed to the way they want themselves, others and situations to be. There is a huge space between what we want to be and what is, and that space is filled with alcohol and drugs, people and processes. That space between the way it is and the way I would like for it to be could be filled with anger, grief, acceptance and then love. However, most of us were not taught how to express our anger, or how to “accept” people, places and things as they are. So we may drink and drug in lieu of this acceptance.

Excerpted from The Missing Peace: Solving the Anger Problem for Alcoholics, Addicts & Those Who Love Them (Health Communications Inc. 2006.) 

John Lee, best-selling author of The Flying Boy: Healing the Wounded Man, has written 23 books, including his latest release, Breaking the Mother-Son Dynamic. John’s highly innovative work in the fields of emotional intelligence, anger management and emotional regression has made him an in demand consultant, teacher, trainer, coach and speaker. His contributions in the fields of recovery, relationships, men’s issues, spirituality, parenting and creativity have put him in the national spotlight for over twenty years. www.johnleebooks.com

A Line on Sand, a Line on Rock and a Line on Water

By Coach Cary Bayer www.carybayer.com

We have the expression in our language about drawing a line on sand, which usually means setting your boundaries, and defending them against anyone who would choose to cross the line. It’s used a lot in political conversation, and in different kinds of negotiations between parties.

The expression drawing a line on sand also has another connotation in terms of how the nervous system responds to events. The first time that I heard the expression was on my Transcendental Meditation Teacher Training Program many moons ago. It was held in a giant tent on the beach on the southwest coast of Spain as the Atlantic Ocean roared outside. Leading the training course, of course, was the great sage, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. “Maha” is the Sanskrit words for great; “rishi” the Sanskrit term for seer.  He then went on to talk about how rigid people, those whose nervous systems were highly stressed, react inflexibly to things that they don’t want to have happen. He said that such nervous systems have a difficult time handling things that don’t go their way. 
Often, such an experience lingers in the mind, causing people to dwell on it long after the event is over, sometimes literally losing sleep about it.  He added that the stress that deposited in the nervous systems of such folks is analogous to what happens to a rock when you scratch something on it with a knife or something else that’s very sharp. The line is deep and not easily erased; it will last for years. 

He then went on to say that as one learns to meditate the nervous system gets rejuvenated twice a day by releasing stress. This enables the system to become more evolved and adaptable. Instead of behaving like a rock, it becomes more like the sand on a beach. You can trace a line on sand with your foot and the line will be a deep impression, but it can easily be washed away by the tides or even by the very foot that made it.  In other words, the line drawn literally in the sand is much less permanent than a line drawn on a rock.
The longer that one meditates the more flexible the nervous system becomes. It’s like the difference between the shock absorbers on an old beat-up car like, say, a ’55 Chevy and a ’15 Mercedes. Each car could drive down a bumpy road, but the experience for drivers and passengers are very different: the old Chevy, whose suspension system is worn out, will feel every bump and feel it quite dramatically. A 2015 luxury car, however, has a brand new suspension system which functions in a highly efficient manner — that’s part of what makes it a luxury automobile. 
As the nervous system evolves through meditation, events don’t throw one the way they did prior to learning to meditate. One can take life’s challenges more in stride, taking things more easily as they come without getting bent out of shape about them. Maharishi expanded his analogy by discussing the drawing of a line in water. The line displaces the water, of course, but only for seconds. The reason, naturally, is that water is fluid — literally — and adapts in a highly flexible manner, flowing around obstacles that are put in its path. Water doesn’t fight things the way human beings do when their nervous systems are more nervous, and less fluid. 

Maharishi said that the nervous system of a person who’s enlightened, who has attained Self-Realization, is like that of water. He then explained that it’s possible for the human nervous system to behave more like air—draw a line in air, and all that gets displaced are some molecules, all of which are invisible to the naked eye. He compares such a highly evolved nervous system to that of the person who has gained the highest state of enlightenment possible — Unity with all that is.
I now practice and teach the Higher Self Healing Meditation that I founded in 2010, and watch the people I teach enjoy transforming their nervous systems from old Chevys to brand new luxury cars.

Q & A with Hazelden’s Dr. Marvin Seppala on Medication-Assisted Treatment

By Celia Vimont 
Join Together News Service from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Traditionally many addiction treatment programs have focused only on 12-step programs and avoided medication-assisted treatment, which is the use of medication, along with therapy and other supports, to help address issues related to opioid dependence. Join Together spoke with Marvin D. Seppala, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, about how some treatment programs are starting to change their view of medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence.

  • Why have many treatment programs traditionally focused solely on 12-step programs and avoided medication-assisted treatment?
Dr. Seppala: The treatment of addiction in the U.S. developed outside of the medical system at a time when most doctors wanted nothing to do with addicts and alcoholics. This limited significant medical involvement in the treatment of addiction until recently. There have also been numerous incidents of medications deemed safe and non-addictive by medical literature, only to be later recognized as addictive. Trust in the medical system, especially big pharma, and its research has been part of this issue.

Twelve-step programs are effective and recent research has supported their use, but this is neglected by some academics. Many people working in the addiction treatment field are in 12-step recovery and some see the 12 steps as the only way to treat this illness. Some treatment programs are basing decisions on philosophy and opinion rather than science. To be fair, the science is not definitive in regard to addiction treatment.

The primary controversy is about the use of maintenance medications for opioid use disorders. Strong evidence supports the use of these medications. However, there are legitimate concerns about maintenance medications that some people use to negate their benefits. They are sometimes misused, and we have little research defining who they are most appropriate for, and for how long; so all-or-nothing arguments ensue. One also has to wonder, from a neurobiological perspective, if the maintenance medications provide healing of underlying pathology or just limit some of the disease manifestations while underlying pathology is unchanged. At the extremes of the argument, some people would only prescribe medication and others  — only 12-step meetings.

  • The lack of consensus is unfortunate

Addiction is a complex, chronic brain disease and we should be using the best, evidence-based methods to treat it. This is especially true for moderate to severe opioid use disorders, which one can compare to aggressive cancers that quickly become severe and threaten life. With cancer we would seek out the best programs in the country, and use the best means of treatment available, but with addiction, outcome data for most programs does not exist so we don’t know the best programs, nor do we have adequate research to fully define the best treatments. The lack of definitive research and the lack of standardized outcome data allow addiction treatment providers to do whatever they believe in. These limitations undermine the ability to improve upon our treatment outcomes. The field needs to come together and demand that these two inadequacies be amended to provide the knowledge base necessary for continuous improvement of the quality of care and the outcomes for our patients.

  • Are you seeing a change in this treatment strategy? Is there still a lot of resistance to using medication?
Dr. Seppala: There is still a great deal of resistance, but it is rapidly changing. I have been contacted by multiple medical colleagues around the country who work in settings that don’t offer medication-assisted treatments. They are asking about our program and how we combine strong 12-step, abstinence-based treatment with medications. I spoke at the NAATP (National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers) annual conference several weeks ago and experienced tremendous support for what we are doing. That was not the case the first time I described our program two years prior. We have been criticized for using medications and this continues, but to a lesser degree.

  • How has Hazelden’s approach changed, and why?
Dr. Seppala: We recognized the opioid crisis as well as our inability to attract and engage patients with opioid use disorders long enough for them to enter into solid recovery. When people are dying in record numbers, it further motivates any group interested in healing. We altered our programs to provide group therapy sessions specific to opioid use disorders and added the use of buprenorphine/naloxone and extended-release naltrexone. We still provide a robust 12-step orientation and use multiple psychotherapies, including MET (motivational enhancement therapy) and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). Basically we have combined multiple evidence-based practices. We also inform every patient of the risk of opioid relapse and death. We have learned that long-term outpatient involvement is necessary for this population. We have a program, COR-12 (Comprehensive Opioid Response with the 12 steps), that provides long-term care, the option of these medications, and specific programming for opioid use disorders.

  • What results are you seeing from blending the two approaches in your patients?
Dr. Seppala: We have had a marked improvement in patient engagement, with atypical (early) residential treatment discharges for those with opioid use disorders improving from over 22 percent to 2.5 percent.

We are also keeping these people in outpatient treatment much longer, and witnessing tremendous success in recovery, with those on medications as well as those who don’t take medications. We are in the midst of a research project which we hope to publish within a year; this will detail our experience and our outcomes. People are staying in treatment longer and becoming engaged in recovery-based behaviors, which does result in better outcomes. We are seeing fewer people die upon relapse to opioid use, an essential outcome.

Children of Alcoholics

By Mark S. Gold, MD

More than 28 million Americans have seen at least one parent suffer alcohol’s adverse effects lead to serious family problems. More than 78 million Americans, or 43 percent of the adult population, has been exposed to alcoholism in the family, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (NCADD).

For decades, efforts at understanding and treating alcoholism have focused primarily on alcoholics and the havoc this disease has brought to their lives. Later, groups such as Al-Anon and Alateen examined the effects alcoholism has on relatives and friends of alcoholics. Children of Alcoholics groups have drawn considerable attention to this subject.

Growing up in a family where one or both of the parents are alcoholic can prove to be so painful and emotionally traumatic that years later the adult child will still be suffering from the scars. As children they had to become “superchildren,” responsible for running the family, feeding their parents, while constantly living in fear of their parents.

These psychological scars, combined with the strong possibility that the genetic traits for alcoholism may be inherited, result in a very high percentage of alcoholism—25 percent— among children of alcoholics. Even if the child does not become an adult alcoholic, other psychological problems may result, such as obsessive-compulsive disorders and the unrealistic need to be “perfect.” Regardless of the particular problems that may befall them, many adult children of alcoholics benefit from the many associations that offer help and support. Visit http://aca-arizona.org

Netflix & Grace

by Dr. Dina Evan

I believe everything unfolds in divine right order, but I have discovered a few more swear words in my process of living that belief.

I left home at 13 and have been a goer ever since. I raised kids by myself. Put myself through school, published books, and started my business by my self. I truly loved the connections and the challenges in all of it. In the last couple of years, however, having been born prior to the health awareness movement, my body has taken the toll. 

My generation didn’t know about the importance of exercise or healthy bone building nutrition. Consequently, a few compression fractures in my vertebrae, a broken femur, and other odd and sundry health experiences have slowed me down. 

And Netflix has become my friend.

Netflix, Smart TV, computers and cell phones create a slippery slope. Before I knew it, I had, slipped down that slippery slope on my tushie. My world, when I was not at work, which was my saving grace — was filled with sound, distractions and sensory overload. Since I believe everything unfolds in divine right order, I had to face my addiction to these distractions and ask myself what this circumstance was here to teach me.

Facing Vulnerability

Clearly being even temporarily disabled in some ways teaches me empathy for others in suffering pain. It also teaches me patience, and for the first time in my life I had to face how vulnerable I was.
The thought of a child running down an isle at the grocery store, a sudden trip with my cane or any other unexpected, unforeseen occurrence could put me back in the hospital. I have great compassion for those wrestling with our medical system after learning the only medicine that would truly help me, I could not afford at $2000 a month. Receiving was a big lesson I had never had to learn because I was always the strong one, the one in charge. Not so much now.

However, the most important lesson I learned is, that in the silence between the words and between each breath, I hear myself best. In that silence I could create more compassion for myself. I could tap into the healing energy in the Universe and become stronger just by being mindful...without the noise. That mindfulness, or moment-to-moment awareness, gave me answers for each next step and decision.

The judgment of myself, and the medical profession seemed to diminish and a simple grace and patience arrived. I began to trust myself, and the answers I was receiving without pushing so hard. There was a sweet relief in the center of the silence that felt more healing than anything else I was experiencing.

Don’t get me wrong, when the pain is too much for even meditation, Netflix is still my friend but I have found the best friend is me, when I am listening. So I listen more now. I turn down the static and sit in that precious place between the words and the hearts beats and I listen. Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “Meditation is the gesture of welcoming unflinchingly whatever arises, welcoming it into awareness.”

The more plugged into our electronics we are the less we are connected to nature, each other and ourselves. I recently asked my family how many phone numbers and addresses they could remember without looking at their phones. We were astonished to realize we had become so dependent on our toys, there were very few — if any.

Every person and circumstance in our life is a master teacher for us. When we don’t listen to what the universe is teaching, these masters come around again and again. Spiritual maturity is about embracing these lessons without self-judgment because WE have created them to push our souls forward into enlightenment. Great gifts come from being in the moment, in the silence with a receptive mind, an open heart and a soft belly.  Take a few minutes to give yourself the gifts that are waiting for you there.

Dr. Evan is a life/soul coach in Arizona working with individuals, couples and corporations.  She  specializes in relationships, personal and professional empowerment, compassion and consciousness. For more information 602-997-1200, email drdbe@attglobal.net or visit www.DrDinaEvan.com

Somebody Needs the Wood

“Pain does not beget peace, and fear does not lead to love. Sorrow is the parent of sorrow, and joy is the parent of joy. One does not create unlike itself.”

An eccentric but likeable guy in my town has literally taken upon himself the admonition to bear the cross. Years ago John fashioned a small crucifix out of wood, and since then he walks regularly along the side of a highway carrying the cross. He used to bear the cross on one shoulder while waving and blowing kisses to the folks in passing cars. Local people know John, and many blow kisses back or toot their horn to say hello as they drive past him.

Recently John performed a penance upgrade and fashioned a much larger cross out of PVC. Now he needs two hands to hold the cross rather than one. The sad result of his new format is that his arms are occupied with the cross and he is no longer free to wave and blow kisses. Personally, I was disappointed at his trade-in.

I liked him better when he was broadcasting love. When your arms and shoulders are taken up carrying a cross, you can’t give the love you are capable of sharing when they are free. Self-imposed suffering is not a gift to the world. It renders you less capable of loving, not more.
Could it finally be time in the evolution of humanity to revisit our belief in the value of suffering?

Many religions and belief systems accept suffering as an inescapable reality, and even glorify it. Christians stoically sing of bearing the old rugged cross. Hindus justify poverty and disease as the paying off of karma. And the answer to the question, “How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a light bulb?” is, “None—but that’s all right, I’ll just sit here in the dark.”

By a bizarre twist of reason, pain has been forged into a breastplate for the downtrodden.

Does suffering really lead to happiness? 

Does sorrow really grow peace? Does self-punishment really pave the way to heaven? Whatever we focus on, we get more of. Attention is intention. Apple seeds do not grow oranges, pain does not beget peace, and fear does not lead to love. Sorrow is the parent of sorrow, and joy is the parent of joy. One does not create unlike itself.

I saw an interesting movie that reveals a fascinating dynamic nested in the recesses of the human psyche. The Brass Teapot tells of a young couple severely strapped for cash. Then they come upon a genie-type teapot that produces money for them — but only when they experience pain. A little pain begets a little money and a severe pain begets big bucks. So the couple starts punishing themselves, then each other, then other people, to grow their bank account. I am not necessarily recommending the movie, which contains some silly violence. But I did find the premise fascinating. Many people believe that they deserve good things only if they suffer to get them. You must struggle and sacrifice to earn enough money to have what you want. If you don’t, you are a slacker. Ease equals cheating. Pain buys worthiness.

Are we ready to emerge from the dark ages of crucifixion? Is there more to life than putting yourself down so you can put others up? Do you really have to lose to win?
In the film Straight Talk, Dolly Parton plays a radio talk show host who gives listeners a dose of good old country wisdom. When one caller complains about her predicament to the point of glorifying it, Dolly’s character tells her, “Get off the cross. Somebody needs the wood.”
There are better things you can do with the energy you invest in suffering. You could actually be happy.

Strange as the concept sounds, you are not in here to struggle. You are here to experience joy. If this notion seems confrontive or self-indulgent, you prove my point. To expect anything less of life than well-being is a compromise none of us can afford to make.

When my friend Lou was a young man, he entered a monastery. There he was taught to mortify the flesh. The monks were given leather straps and instructed to beat themselves daily. They wore their undershorts while showering so as not to rile their passions. Meanwhile many of them were engaging in homosexual activities behind closed doors. You cannot beat yourself into goodness. What you suppress you empower.

Lou left the monastery to become a public high school teacher, where he instituted a class called Humanities, in which he treated the students as important, intelligent, loving, capable people. He set up creative opportunities for them to express themselves and do community service. The students themselves became the curriculum, and they loved it. Lou’s goal was to find, draw forth, and celebrate the best in each person. As a result, he was voted best teacher every year. Lou and I shared a house, and during that time he regularly received phone calls from former students telling him that his class above all others had prepared them for life.

Crucifixion does not prepare you for life. It ends it. We are here to live, not die. When death comes, it should signal the end of a life well lived. Today would be the perfect day to begin that life.

Alan Cohen is the author of many inspirational books. Join Alan’s Life Coach Training Program, beginning September 1, to become a professional life coach or incorporate life coaching skills in your career or personal life. For more information about this program, Alan’s Hawaii Retreat, books, free daily inspirational quotes, and his weekly radio show, visit www.alancohen.com.

TogetherAZ Blog: God Opens Doors No Man Can Shut

TogetherAZ Blog: God Opens Doors No Man Can Shut: God Opens Doors No Man Can Shut by Barbara Nicholson-Brown Why the seven words above resonate with me is easy to explain. When I ma...

God Opens Doors No Man Can Shut

God Opens Doors No Man Can Shut

by Barbara Nicholson-Brown

Why the seven words above resonate with me is easy to explain.

When I made a commitment to recovery — the first, and most important door of all opened right then. As frightened and fearful as I was, I walked through it.

Little did I know how many doors would shut through the years, yet others opened at just the perfect moment. 

I’ve fought to keep some open as they closed, and wanted to run past others that were opening without even peeking in.
I’ve come to realize this....

I do not always KNOW what is best for me. 

I must remember many times a day, that a great power, a loving and generous God of my own understanding —has the plan. I do not.

Everything does unfold the way it is supposed to. So I need to practice patience. It’s so easy to leap ahead and create ‘the results’ in my mind before ‘the results’ are in. 

Listen. Be still. Breathe. God knows what to do and He’s not on my clock.

I’ll let the waves of my life ebb and flow in their own perfect rhythm, and walk through the next door God opens for me, because one thing is for sure — I will not walk through it alone.