As your Coach on this web site, I will invite you to face deep issues of meaning and spirituality. I make a significant distinction between religion and spirituality. It is for you to choose what religious path you travel. Our coaching relationship will focus deeply on your assumptions about your spirituality and how it affects your life. I will help you explore the qualities within your Higher Power relationship that support your recovery.
"Four Qualities Needed In Your Higher Power Relationship" in order for you to grow as quickly and deeply as possible. These qualities can help make healthy change the path of least resistance. I would never impose my spiritual beliefs on you. I do want to share with you a way of exploring your spirituality more deeply.
"My Own Personal Higher Power Relationship" is shared to help illustrate how to explore these important principles of spirituality deeply at a personal level.
"Abundance Paradox" reflects a unique view that allows you to have the most meaning and purpose in your life.
These nuggets of wisdom are deep and require reflection and sharing with someone whom you feel safe being transparent and real. This material is to be experienced, not just read.
There are four key qualities necessary in your relationship with your own personal Higher Power to make healthy growth the path of least resistance. How you experience your personal Higher Power is often at a subliminal level of consciousness. I am speaking of a relational experience, not an intellectual construct. I am referring to spirituality in your recovery, not religious questions about your salvation!
These four Higher Power qualities capture the core elements of the Fundamental Principles of Healthy Change:
1. Giving unearned grace and love,
2. Giving unchanging consistency about Truth,
3. Giving honest, accurate feedback nonjudgmentally,
4. Having absolute faith in your ability to continue moving forward in your recovery.
To the extent any of these qualities are missing in your Higher Power relationship, you need to find a way to add the missing dimensions. Again, I am talking spirituality in recovery, not religious issues of salvation! Please recognize the difference. Alcoholics Anonymous meets these four dimensions in their process of recovery. I have had clients who utilized A.A. as their Higher Power. They developed deep relational connections with the fellowship as they continued to work the steps, and grow in the program. Reflect on your own Higher Power in light of these needed qualities. Are there areas that need attention?
Normally my clients can share directly with me regarding their spirituality. I work within the frame of my client’s spirituality in Therapeutic Coaching; being open with them when they want me to share my spirituality in sessions. Imposing my beliefs would go against everything I believe. Since I can not ask you directly about your own personal Higher Power on this web site, I will address key issues of spirituality from the perspective of my own person Higher Power relationship. I consider myself a “liberal fundamentalist.” I understand that this sounds like an oxymoron at first glance. Let’s look deeper.
“Liberal,” refers to my freedom to relax into becoming a new creation in Christ, “Fundamentalist,” refers to the depth of my relationship with God. I believe in His Perfect Plan of Grace and accept personal responsibility to desire and allow His Holy Spirit to transform me, as a new creation, through a deeper, growing relationship with Him. My grateful humility for His free, unearned gift helps create the emotional and perceptual ecology necessary for His Spirit to transform my life.
This “No-Fault” attitude toward noticing and changing helps make my growth the path of least resistance. I am free to make changes in my life. I am free to want to want to make changes. I am free to accept myself right where I’m starting in the present, as I continue to be becoming in His Nature. It takes a lifetime to learn to believe this core truth of my identity, and I’ll never live it perfectly.
I welcome Him to use as much of me for His Purposes as I am able to make available at any given moment. It is exciting to me to be on an amazing team with my Big Brother, who is my own wonderful coach. What is so amazing to me as a coach is that His Plan is so powerful that you don’t even have to believe in the Author – Jesus - for His Plan to help your recovery.
Grace is a key to healthy change. In recovery, grace is freely embracing an attitude of grateful humility, which grows out of the unearned, unconditional love from your Higher Power. This grace is then given imperfectly to yourself and others in an attitude of unearned mutual respect and valuing. It leads to increasing honesty and transparency.
I believe this is the heart of God’s Plan for our recovery and growth – A NEW IDENTITY IN HIM. Although His Spirit is fully formed at the point of accepting Him as Lord, learning to believe and apply this truth in our lives takes a lifetime and can never be done perfectly. This identity in Him has allowed me to grow and develop healthy choices in my life today. I have a long way to go, and I know I’ll never get there. The meaning is in the journey. We are given a new role/function in His Service: to be His ambassador in the reconciliation process. This is true reaching out to others and also reaching inward to the wounded parts of us, currently stuck in our old nature.
When you think about “who” you really believe yourself to be, your true identity, does it reflect yourself as a new creation or your old nature? Is your identity based on the “rear view mirror” of your life story up until now, or the “windshield” of becoming, as a new creation? Your identity will strongly shape your perceptions; what do you believe about your real identity? In CAIRing Grace Groups we embrace this special relationship: "Because of God's loving Grace, who I am is 'becoming' in His Holy Spirit, and my recovery is the process of experiencing the adventure of becoming like the person and nature of my Big Brother Jesus." These words capture who I believe I am at my core.
The more I pour grace inside myself, as His ambassador, to help in the reconciliation process between my true identity in Him, and the wounded parts of myself, that are stuck in my old nature, and the more I pour grace outwardly to those I touch, the more room there is inside me to receive His ongoing Grace.
I believe that life is precious and that we all have the right to live it abundantly. Consider the following paradox: To live life most abundantly you must live as if it may be your last day; while living as if you will live a very long time. Imagine that you’ve suddenly learned that this may be your last day alive. What would you be feeling and how would you experience your last 24 hours?
A healthy response would be to live it very consciously and deliberately, savoring each moment to the fullest, seeing the sunrise as if for the first time, hearing birds differently, smelling familiar things deeply, taking in the sunset with the ones you love, sharing things with the important people in your life that you had always meant to say. Interactions would be experienced from a very different perspective, priorities suddenly coming into clear focus.
You would begin getting to know people in your life again for the first time, as you experience yourself and them differently – as becoming in the precious time remaining. You would begin living life manually; consciously noticing the various “Nuggets” that are present in any given situation.
You can decide to live your life with meaning and purpose today! You can deliberately choose to relax into New Program principles and attitudes consciously, imperfectly. This allows you the greatest chance of making healthy changes in your life. It also allows you the most pleasure and enjoyment possible at any given time. If you are willing to invest the time and thought necessary, you can learn to live this way. It’s nice to have a choice! Reflect deeply on this truth, it is a key to freedom and growth.
At the same time you are living each day as if it might be your last, imagine living your life as if you are going to be around a long, long time. What do you notice as you look from this long-range perspective? Living life as a long-term investment has a significant impact on your perspective. When I was first married to my wife, Sonia, 35 years ago, we both made the conscious decision that “since we are going to be married for a very long time, we may as well make it as good and enjoyable as possible.” That commitment has been very helpful over the years when deciding whether or not to invest energy in dealing with problem situations.
As a long-term investment, my marriage pays the best dividends and interest if I deal with things as quickly as possible, so we have the longest time to enjoy the rewards of our efforts. This long-term perspective helps you own the fact that you are chooser in your life, that you live out the long-term consequences of your choices – whether you are conscious of choosing or not. How do you like your consequences up until now?
Compare this sense of permanency with one of constantly wondering if your relationship is going to end today or maybe tomorrow. There is a high price for avoiding commitment in important relationships. The Fundamental Principles of Healthy Change reflected throughout this material help you live your life to the fullest by embracing the paradox of abundance.
© Copyright 2008 Psychological Asssociates James O. Henman Phone: 209.765.9528