I am not a religious person. Not at all. But I highly respect those people who have strong religious convictions and feel that it works for them. That being said, I am a highly spiritual person. There is a difference. I don’t necessarily believe you need religion to be spiritually minded. I’m sure people will challenge me on this issue, but this isn’t really a post about religion. This is a post about freedom.
When I first got sober, I had huge issues with religion and spirituality. I was angry at any God out there for putting me through the pain and anguish of my previous years. I now believe those things had to happen for me to be the person who I am today and to be able to be as successful as possible.
One night I was at an AA meeting and the topic was choosing a higher power. I immediately stood up and went to the back of the room, lighting a cigarette, but fuming more than my counterpart. Another religious God meeting! I was quickly followed by a rather large woman who came back and attempted to hug me, but I resisted. She smiled and stood back at me.
“Why did you leave the meeting,” she asked.
I stared at her, taking a long drag off of my cigarette. “Because I don’t want that God shit shoved down my throat.”
She laughed, “Is that what you heard in there? Baby, take what you like and leave the rest. Find a God that resonates with you.”
I have no idea who that woman is and I never saw her again, but I tend to believe that was what we choose to call in the program, a God moment. Without knowing it, she set forth a path to my spiritual foundation that I had no idea at the time. Since then, I have read in depth and worked with mystics, Rabbis, Christians,Buddhists, Zen masters, psychics, nuns and Native Americans full of simple wisdom. Through all of it, I have somehow found what, for me, works as a very visual and masterful high power. The journey has been long, but it has been extremely worth it.
Years ago, I sat in a room full of people, listening to a woman give an Al-Anon speaker lead. She shared her story about being the wife of an alcoholic and not much of her story connected with me, but something about her presence made me feel alive. At the end of her lead, she said that she always ends by reading her favorite poem. I have since learned it is a favorite among many Al-Anons. While she read it, I bawled in the back of the room because it’s words were so true about my life experience. And no matter if you choose to call your higher power God, Buddha, Mother Nature, Earth, whatever or nothing at all, there is a power in giving things up and letting go, even if it’s just to the tides.
Since that day, I have ended all of my leads with the same poem. It still has the same power for me today that it did back then because even as I was reading it to a dear friend on the phone today, I began to cry. Not out of sadness, but out of the fact that I was able to find freedom and feel truly happy and grateful for my life. That’s a truly powerful thing.
As children bring their broken toys
With tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He was my friend.
But then instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried,
“How could you be so slow”
“My child,” He said, “What could I do?
You never did let go.”
– Author Unknown
Oh..and please my book on iTunes or look for it on Goodreads before it’s official release date on 7/29! I’ll really love you if you do! xo
Stay tuned for the release of my book The Before Now and After Then July 29th 2014! It would really mean a lot to me if you’d add it to your Goodreads to-read shelf and go there to find out more and visit my author page! Thanks!