Michael’s 12 Steps and Footprints In The Sand

Golden Footprints In The Sand Prayer RingI never knew anything about 12 Step programs until….a crisis fell upon my suburban “perfect” little family. The crisis is called “addiction”. My oldest child at 20 years old was in the hospital in a drug induced psychosis. We had no idea what to do or where to turn. I talked to anyone I could for advice and found a friend in recovery from alcohol addiction. My friend, Michael told me that if I wanted to change anything I needed to get myself to a 12 Step program ASAP. I am a middle child and an overachiever so I went in with a vengeance thinking the sooner I do this, the quicker my son would be “okay”. The first thing I learned was that the program was not about changing my son but about changing myself. At first I thought this concept was crazy but this crazy concept is what got me to a life brimming with peace and serenity. It was not an overnight process and was filled with many bumps along the way but it was well worth the work to get where I am.

For today, my son is clean from all substances for 4 plus years and I have my friend Michael to thank for guiding me to a place I never knew existed. To show my gratitude to Michael for always being there for me I bought him a Golden Footprints In The Sand Prayer Ring from Rush Industries. I attached a note that said:  “When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you. Michael, thank you for carrying me and showing me the miracle of the program. With much love and gratitude…..”

Upon reading the card, he had tears in his eyes and said if it wasn’t for someone who carried him into program, he would never have been there to carry me. The message of the 12th Step is to Pay It Forward. Thank you Higher Power and Michael for guiding me and always being there for me. I am ready, willing and able to Pay It Forward and guide someone in need into peace and serenity!

Do You Feel Love?

Have you ever heard it said that love cures? I heard someone say that love cures those who give it and it cures those who receive it. 
I’m not sure I believe it but a friend of mine who is battling cancer told me that this is what helped her through the challenges of her illness. She said love is no mystery, but its results are magical in many ways. It’s generally accepted by many people that a lot of illnesses are psychosomatic. Many of us often feel anxiously alone, abandoned, lonely, fearful, and unloved. As a result of these feelings we often express our need through our bodies. It is so sad that so many of us are so hindered. We have the power to change that if we are willing participants in a solution. The action one must take to achieve this is simple. The only requirement is the decision to act with favor toward one another. Try using your eyes and give a struggling person a loving look offering him or her the strength to try and try again and thus succeed with whatever their challenge may be. With no more effort than a genuinely warm glance, you can change the course of history today, tomorrow, always. She told me that she was so sick and was losing her will to live until two of her friends nursed her back to health. She said it was their love that nursed her back and she is now on the road to recovery.

She bought them Cancer Bracelets to show her gratitude for all the love they showered upon her. “What Cancer Cannot Do: corrode faith, shatter hope, destroy peace, silence courage, invade the soul, steal eternal life, conquer the spirit, cripple love, kill friendship, suppress memories.”

A 3-Step Formula For Peace Within

I have Serenity Bracelets that help me seek peacefulness at times of uncertainly. It seems that few of us would admit to wanting anything but peace then why does it evade us so often? Have you heard that we receive that which we seek? Then if we are feeling stressed, uncertain or afraid we are obviously not seeking peace. What we obsess about and what we think we want are frequently far different. The former is what we usually get. I have a formula for discovering peace and it is quite simple if you try following 3 steps:

Step 1: Stop Thinking
Step 2: Quiet Your Mind
Step 3: Turn your attention to your Spirit within and ask for clarity, for a perspective, for a forgiving heart.

If you follow these three steps peace will come.

I know you are asking, if it’s so easy, why aren’t we surrounded by more peaceful companions?
The answer is because the noisy ego self is so seductive. Our egos clamor for our attention just as it clamors for control of our lives and the lives of others. The ego is so strong it convinces us we will be more secure if it is in charge. By painfully learning, again and again, that that’s not the case eventually leaves an indelible mark. When we reach that point of desperate pain peace will seek us. Change the path you are on and let your Higher Power guide you and you will find the peace within. It is a fool proof formula! I use it on a daily basis so I can attest to the claims! Try it and see for yourself!

“God Grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to Change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.” Look within, find inner strength, peace and serenity…I did!

I Gave The Steering Wheel To My Higher Power

Have you ever heard of a Hamsa? I don’t think anyone really knew what it was before Madonna and other Hollywood starlets started studying Kabbalah. Madonna is now often seen sporting a Hamsa and in fact may even have one tattooed somewhere on her body.

The word Hamsa is Arabic and the Hamsa is a palm-shaped amulet once only popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa, and commonly used in jewelry and wall hangings. It is now a universal symbol derived from an ancient symbol of protection and gives the energy of unconditional love and is believed to provide defense against the evil eye. Therefore, many societies view it as a sign of protection.

I’m feeling very spiritual today and would like to share some of my thoughts with my faithful readers: Before we can plan the first step on any journey, we must find out where we are… 

In all aspects our lives are a journey toward a destination, one fitting to our purpose, our special gifts, and our particular needs. Each and every day contributes to our journey, carrying us closer to our destination. However, the route is often circuitous and we get stranded or waylaid by our selfish desires, by the intrusion of our controlling egos. It helps to reflect on the progress we’ve made toward our destination, the steps we’ve taken that have unknowingly contributed to our journey. For myself, I have found that the easiest steps have been the ones I took in partnership with my Higher Power whom I choose to call God. I have discovered that I am exactly where I need to be today. My experiences through the journey are like points on a map; some them are rest steps and others resemble high-speed straight-aways. Our journey to our destination is not always smooth but the more we let our Higher Power sit in the driver’s seat, the easier will be our ride. I have vowed to plan my journey with my Higher Power’s help and I know my ride will be smooth as long as I keep my faith and leave the wheel in his hands.

To feed my spiritual soul I went on a search for a Stainless Steel Hamsa Macrame Bracelet. I found a really chic one at Rush Industries. In fact, all my friends loved it so much they are all wearing them now. Higher Power, thank you for driving me to Rush Industries!

Until The Miracle Occurs…

My friend Beth is a changed person from the bitter, resentful and angry person she used to be. We met for coffee last week and I inquired about the drastic change in her personality:

Beth: “We learn by watching others; when we watch others, we learn how to ‘act as if’ For example: watch a patient person and then ‘act as if’. Result? We potentially will become a patient person in time. Try watching how a good listener listens and ‘act as if’ to learn how to listen. Over time, one realizes we’re really listening. Watch people who have faith and ‘act as if’ and presto, over time we become spiritual people. Try asking your Higher Power to help you find your Higher Power in the people and events of the day ahead. The action I choose today: I will ‘act as if’ God, my Higher Power is standing next to me throughout the day.

How powerful is that? Life is so hectic and filled with bumps along the way but my faith in a Higher Power guides me through the bumps. I never was a person who looked for God in my life. I basically didn’t even think about it until…. My daughter Jenny was a typical teenage girl but there were small changes which we didn’t notice until… We received a call… Jenny had fainted and EMS was on the way. Sheer panic permeated through my soul. Jenny was in a coma by the time I found her in ICU. My family and I cried and cried expecting the worst, not comprehending what happened to our beautiful angel. A hospital Chaplain stopped by and began reciting prayers. I felt nothing and in fact, was annoyed by his presence. He said: ‘Beth, God can carry you through this if you just surrender, find your inner strength and look for Him. Just try.’ I was numb, terrified and emotionally spent and simply surrendered. Something just snapped inside and I felt a sense of something within. Sound hokey? It was but I made a decision to ‘act as if’! I found my Higher Power and let my heart and soul cry out in pain until… A MIRACLE occured… The doctor appeared and said Jenny woke up. He had no explanation how she defied death but said, ‘God works in mysterious ways!’

We didn’t know Jenny developed an eating disorder. People judged us and wondered how we didn’t notice the changes in Jenny before it was almost too late. Denial is a dangerous tool; we are educating ourselves and learning to watch for red flags. I hope to never be in a dire situation again but know my Higher Power will be there as long as I am open and willing… He will guide me through.”

I was quite impressed with Beth’s transformation, I bought her Women’s Stainless Steel Jewelry from Rush Industries, a Heart Shaped Footprints Prayer Pendant and a Golden Footprints Prayer Ring with a card: “Your courage and transformation is an inspiration. Wishing you the strength to pass your newfound faith forward to all until….the miracle occurs…”

A World of Estrangement Led to Serenity…

All of us know Complaining Jacks and Joyous Johns. They go to a ball game together and John loves the seats and Jack complains they are uncomfortable. John loves the food and the beer and Jack complains the hot dogs are cold and the beer is warm.

Jack’s complaints are justified. The hot dog wasn’t hot enough and the beer was warm. What all the Complaining Jacks and Criticial Craigs don’t realize is that negativity exacts a price that no healthy person can afford to pay. We tend to think of negativity as the tendency to criticize, blame, hate, fear, or be depressed as a psychological disposition… Here’s a thought, what if you viewed negativity as a spiritual disease? The understanding of what negativity really is and how it operates is crucial to dealing with this plague. While one is engaged in the act of criticizing he or she is confined to a World of Estrangement, like a prisoner in a cell. Negativity creates a world of estrangement and there is no love or joy in that world. Fault-finding, blame, resentment, hostility and anger are the plane tickets that land us in the World of Estrangement. Some of us have taken up permanent residence there and those that have are destined to suffer from poor health both physically and mentally. Living in the World of Estrangement, the State of Negativity, is equivalent to living atop a nuclear-waste disposal site. Why would any intelligent person stay there? Why wouldn’t they just move out? After all, the World of Estrangement charges its inhabitants an exorbitantly high rent.

It seems as if people just get stuck and can’t seem to get themselves out once they are dug in so deeply. My friend Jacqueline was one of those Complaining Jacks until recently. She told me she got sick and tired of being sick and tired and decided she needed to make a change before she wound up either in a psychiatric ward or the cardiac unit.

Jacqueline told me she had to let go of her long-held resentments, her cherished grudges, her precious claim to be the innocent victim of someone else’s wrongdoing. She proclaimed that she was the rightful owner of those legitimate gripes but soon learned that the gripes owned her and were literally destroying her. The key to her success she told me was her Serenity Necklace. I found it hard to believe that something materialistic had the power to change her so drastically. She told me it wasn’t actually the necklace which she bought from Rush Industries but it was prayer that is etched on the Serenity Prayer Cross Pendant. “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change…Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference…”

I am so happy Jacqueline found her serenity. She is a different person and I am so happy to spend time with her now. I now call her Joyous Jackie!!!

Happiness Is…

HAPPINESS! What does it mean to you? Have you thought about what it truly means? Does happiness mean always making perfect choices? Do you think it is something only “lucky” people can have, people who seem to never face problems or make mistakes? Is happiness just beyond our reach, over the next hurdle, past one more setback? No one could ever be happy if this were true. Believe it or not, happiness is always available to anyone who chooses. Search your heart and soul and listen to what you hear. I’ve done some deep, deep soul searching.

My life has been full of decisions, choices, problems, errors, setbacks and obstacles. I have learned to find happiness in my life ‘as it is’. I made a decision not to wait until… There will never be a more perfect time than ‘here & now’ to be happy.

Life is full of choices and none of us will ever make perfect ones but that doesn’t mean we can’t be happy. FYI NEWS FLASH: Happiness isn’t perfection; it’s acceptance, contentment, enjoyment, peace, faith and growth. Just as I must live my life here and now, I made a choice to be happy here and now…because that’s the only place and time I will ever find it. I have made a choice to live happily!

My newfound happiness is flowing through my family and my co-workers. It seems to be contagious and everyone around me appears to be happier. In addition to celebrating birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas, I established “Happiness Day” for my family and co-workers. My son told me that Rush Industries sells Stainless Steel Rings and he found a “Happiness” Ring With CZs that he surprised me with for “Happiness Day”. Although they seem to be humoring me and going along with my zany ideas, I suspect they like my new happy attitude.


Freedom From The Bondage Of Resentments

My friend Christa shared this with me: “…Sanity is living with the present, insanity is living from the past.” What a powerful, interesting statement! Christa is a recovering addict, in other words, according to her: “We are never recovered, we may be recovering or in recovery but it is a forever, ongoing process. In fact, saying I am recovered can be dangerous. I must always remember, yesterday I was an addict; today I am a recovering addict but that can only be true if today is lived fresh. For me that is following the steps of the program. In order to get to the point I am at today, I needed to stop living from the past because that kept me living a life of insanity. For today, I can say that I am sane because I am living with the present. I have learned to forgive and let go of my resentments that kept me in bondage.”

I was quite impressed with the way Christa spoke and worked the program. I needed to learn more about how she got to the point where she lived and breathed recovery. She told me about a relationship that changed her:

“Believe it or not, dear girlfriend, the heart knows best… My heart was bleeding and I was in so much pain from a toxic relationship with my brother Phillip. Our relationship hurt so much, it was all consuming then a miracle happened… We both changed our attitudes, we put Higher Power between us, since then we have opened up to possibilities. It freed me from my resentments that kept me in bondage and defined me in the past. I now have a companion on my spiritual path whom I choose to call God. My brother and I let each other be and enjoy our time together; one of many blessings. I have let go of the insanity from the past; the physical, sexual and emotional abuse we both suffered and made a decision to allow my Higher Power to guide me. Our relationship is not perfect but no longer toxic and we are now best of friends. I have a Black Cross Pendant from Rush Industries and I bought an identical one for him to celebrate our renewed spiritual connection. Thank you God and thank you Phillip for coming back into my life! I love you dear brother…”

John Lennon & St. Patrick’s Day Fun Facts

Did you know that there is a legend says that each leaf of the clover means something? The first leaf is for hope, the second leaf is for faith (I wonder if that’s where the phrase “leap of faith” comes from), the third leaf is for love and the fourth leaf is for luck. “Luck of the Irish”?

We always searched for four leaf clovers when we were kids but hardly ever found one. When we did, it was as if we hit the jackpot. Don’t you wish life was simple today and that we would be pleased with the simple pleasures in life? I don’t know any children who search for four leaf clovers. Do you? They are usually searching for the latest gadget… It saddens me that children are no longer able to entertain themselves playing simple games with each other without material objects. I seem to be getting off topic again, sorry LOL… I do that quite often when I get caught up in ‘stuff’ that ‘disturbs’ me…

Here’s another interesting tidbit: It is believed that the first president of the United States, President George Washington may have been of Irish descent.

How’s this for a fun fact? Do you know the colors of the Irish flag and what they represent? I bet you don’t…the Irish flag is three colors: green, white and orange. The green represents the people of the south, and orange represents the people of the north. Last but not least, the white represents the peace that brings them together as a nation.

My last interesting fact is…. John Lennon along with Yoko Ono wrote the song “The Luck of the Irish”. They wrote this song in support of the republican movement in Northern Ireland, a cause which John Lennon felt affinity.

In memory of John Lennon I sent some Irish Jewelry to Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon. Their beloved husband and father left an indelible mark not only in America but all over the world. May this St. Patrick’s Day be filled with love and peace. Let’s at least “Imagine” peace and hopefully it will come true….and we will live as one!

“Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one”

Rest in peace John!

Tips For A Sober St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner. Unfortunately, many people associate St. Patrick’s Day with drinking and losing control. I have had a lot of experience with Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous and many other 12-Step programs. I am a big proponent of sober living. My friend John who has been sober for 15 years shared some of his recovery wisdom and I was so impressed, I wanted to share it with you:

“Enjoy St Patrick’s Day or any holiday without drinking and drugging…

Personal Success Sets An Example: Just being sober helps others. Think about your children. They learn by example. If your children see you drinking then most likely, they will do the same. If you are sober and present in the moment, you are conveying a positive message.

Faith & Effort Make A Big Difference: While it is important to make the effort, that is not always sufficient. I needed to find my Higher Power and trust Him to bring my efforts to a successful completion.

Find Your Inner Voice: I’ve heard it said that we should be guided by our inner voice. I had a difficult time with this one because I had an inner voice that was telling me I could have just one drink. As I worked the steps, I learned it was not a voice but an urge, I began to hear my inner voice telling me loud and clear that I COULD DO IT!!! Once I recognized the message of my true inner voice I was able to overcome my urge.

Growth Requires Courage: Growth is not comfortable. It is easier to stay the way you are than to change. When I reached the point of desperation and no longer wanted to live under the crushing restraints and oppression of my limitations, I found my courage to take risks in order to recover. Growth requires courage and praying for the courage to change the things I can became my mantra.

Learn From The Past: I’ve stopped ruminating about something that cannot be undone and learned that flagellating myself does nothing except absorb scarce time and energy. I now know it is constructive to look at the mistakes of the past to avoid repeating them. This helps me look forward to positive achievements.

Like the lion in the Wizard of Oz, I have finally found my courage. I do not pray to God to change but rather to give me the courage to make the changes.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I bought St. Patrick’s Day Rings for my sponsor and sponsees as a token of my gratitude for all they have done to support me through my recovery.”

John, you are an inspiration on so many levels and I am so grateful to have you in my life. Wishing you and your friends a very happy and sober St. Patrick’s Day! It takes a lot of courage to share your experience but in so doing you help so many! Bravo!