The Boy Scouts of America has a new face. On May 23, 2013, the organization decided to openly accept members of the gay community into their ranks. With this measure, all boys, regardless of sexual orientation, will be allowed to be proud scout members. By facing such a monumental change, the BSA is showing the country and the world that they are prepared to be a part of an open society to all those who wish to be included.
Unfortunately, this is a face that not everyone agrees with. With every push forward, there seems to be another pull from behind. Across the country, the new motion by the BSA has been return with some serious backlash…from nowhere else but the Church itself. As a result of this new policy, many churches, including the Southern Baptist Convention, the Assemblies of God, and (possibly) the Roman Catholic Church, are deciding to sever their ties with the BSA completely. With nearly 70% of troops being supported by religious organizations and over 47,000 of these organizations wishing to withdraw their support from the BSA, these decisions made by the church will displace millions upon millions of youth looking to be a part of something greater than themselves.
With this in mind, what could possibly possess these religious intuitions to take such a stance? As any institution goes, it’s from fear of change. At all levels of those who object to this motion, fear runs deep in their words. As remark by Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee and advocate for the continuation of the gay scout ban, “We don’t hate people, we don’t hate anybody, but we just felt like there’s got be some objective standard, and we felt they were maintaining that until recently.” Also, noted by Tim Hester, executive pastor for the Southeastern Christ Church with over 300 of its members involved in scouts, “We want everyone, including ourselves, to live by biblical standards. We cannot be distracted from the mission God has called us to.” And finally, in an official statement released by the Assemblies of God, “we believe that the BSA policy change will lead to a mass exodus from the Boy Scout program, as Assemblies of God and many other churches can no longer support groups that are part of an organization allowing members who are openly homosexual.” Notice a pattern?
In all three of these statements, the same themes run through all: standards, missions, and a terrible prophecy. No matter if it is the BSA’s new policy or any other challenge to a religious institution, the need to maintain the social order (by the means of standards) is reinforced by some moral duty/obligation (by the means of missions) and of a message of doom for all those who follow this new path (by the means of a terrible prophecy). If this sounds familiar, it should, because ALL institutions (religious, economic, political) have been using this same formula to keep their members in fear and their own numbers in check. In its current regeneration, we see this playing out with the Boy Scouts. But when will it stop?
Until these institutions are willing to let go of their fear and accept their changing world, this cycle will continue. While living in their own fear, the only thing that they have chosen to accept is that they are becoming even more fearful of the world around them. Until the Church’s level of acceptance of change and for change will change, they will continue to see more people tuning out of their congregation and tuning in to another message that is more open to new idea, new interpretation, and new thought. By limiting their expression, they have limited their own growth. And THAT is their own cross to bear. Unless…they accept the changing times and ideas.
I’ve never been a GLBT rights activist, but I accept that people should love in the highest expression of their love. Though it is different from the way I know and the lifestyle that I have chosen, I accept that there are different ways to live, and different ways to love. In these days of such rapid change, I accept that my level of acceptance is changing as well. Right now, I have friends who are awaiting to become Eagle Scouts. They have readied themselves for the obstacles ahead – in their own lives and in society. As these hard working boys, with the other 2.7 million youth members, 1.1 million adult volunteers, and 110,000 troop units comprise the BSA, they are willing to accept the challenge. Though the Church may not, there are some who are prepared to change. Are You Prepared?
(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at Lauren@TheGlobalConversation.com)
LET’S DISCUSS IT: What do you know about the new virus, Middle East respiratory symptom coronavirus, or MERS-CoV — called by the World Health Organization “a threat to the entire world”?
The great challenge facing Humanity, if it wishes to evolve to the next level, is finding a way to release negative emotions without harming ourselves and others.
In the first installment in this series–found here–we discussed the problem and the presence of violence in our world—as well as the source of it. Much of it, we said, has to do with sudden eruptions of unwanted data in one’s mind.
We said that you can shove your unwanted data (bad memories, traumatic events) into your personal “trash bin” (the subconscious), but can never get it completely out of your mind. You can “overwrite” it with dozens of newer and better memories, and soon the bitter memories can begin to fade, but they will never be deleted.
Unlike computers, however, there seems to be no way to control if or when this “unwelcome data” shows up in our lives, triggered by something that causes it to spontaneously arise out of the subconscious and take over the conscious mind.
I believe that this is precisely explains the state of human affairs on this planet today. Yet there some ways open to us through which humans can release these negative emotions without harming others or themselves.
Now, in Part II of this series, a look at what psychology offers around all of this.
Because such spontaneous eruptions can apparently be stimulated, and thus occur, at any time—nearly always temporarily controlling, and sometimes severely warping, our behaviors—mind scientists such as Arthur Janov and Elisabeth Kübler-Ross spent years looking at ways that this reservoir of emotional content could be emptied on command, at will, under controlled conditions, so that people took control of them, rather than they taking control of people.
Their idea was to engage in deliberate triggering of the subconscious to release the buried pain through the voluntary expression of it even before it is actually felt. The theory is that expressing emotion does just that: express it. That is, push it out.
PART TWO OF A THREE- PART NEWS ANALYSIS
Processes such as Janov’s tool (which he called Primary Therapy) and Kübler-Ross’ device (which she termed the Externalization of Repressed Emotions)—to cite two examples—involved top-of-the-voice screaming, or beating a set of old telephone books on a mattress, using a rubber compressor hose. Persons were encouraged to begin the screaming or the banging even when no negative emotion was being experienced in their present moment.
The result was in many cases remarkable, if surprising to the participants: the spontaneous “appearance” on the surface, a bringing forward to a place of present-moment consciousness, of intensively negative and apparently deeply-held feelings about another person or a long-past event—negative emotions that shocked many participants with their intensity, with many swearing that while they certainly understood that they held “bad feelings” about some things, they never knew they had such mountains of anger within them.
As Janov and Kübler-Ross suspected it might, the expression of these negative energies in such a dramatic way turned into the expulsion of them, releasing them from their captivity in the subconscious, where they had been held in some cases for many years, and allowing patients to “let go” of them permanently.
The idea, once again, is to release these long and deeply held emotions on purpose, under controlled conditions, rather than have them overtake us, becoming an episodic (or, worse yet, a chronic) aspect of our personality, behavior, and experience. (As in the case of the man who shot people in a Colorado movie theatre, or the person who kidnapped, beat, raped, and imprisoned three women in Cleveland over the past ten years.)
What can possibly cause such repugnant and repulsive deviant behaviors? Clearly, mental aberration, abnormality, anomalousness. Yet what causes this? Is it possible that there is a pain even more deep-seated than that caused by obvious childhood traumas or life-impacting tragedies? Or there be something along the lines of a “primal pain” that precedes all the others, and actually gives weight and substance to them?
If we can find the answer to that question—or at least one answer—we could go a long way toward eliminating eruptive anger, malevolence, violence, and killing from the collective human experience. We could create a society in which, at last, its members were much more safe, much more secure, and much more free from fear.
Will we, can we, ever completely eliminate every cause or source of attack, one human upon another? Perhaps not. Can we enormously reduce the number of such events occurring in our communal lives? I believe we can. Yet the solution I propose will come from the spiritual, not the psychological, community of healers.
And that’s where you come in.
(In the final installment: The source of the original pain—and the way to get rid of it. A surprising description of what you can do as an average, ordinary person to offer a non-psychological solution that, if it swept the planet, could change the world.)
I’m a believer in the power of positive thinking, I know I feel better and my life seems better when I look on the bright side of things, but what I don’t understand is what are you supposed to do when something really upsetting happens and you’re, well, upset? It doesn’t feel right to try to force myself to be positive and look at the bright side in that moment, and honestly sometimes I physically can’t! Yet what I continuously hear from others is “think positively”, “expect things to work out”, and that only irritates me further. Don’t get me wrong, I want to believe in this line of thinking, law of attraction and all of that, I just don’t think I fully understand it. Can you clarify?
I can’t help but giggle a little upon reading your words, not because I’m laughing at you but because I so know what you’re talking about, and what it feels like when you encounter someone who is trying to talk you out of the way you are currently feeling. You’re right, it kind of just makes you want to slap them upside the head! (Figure of speech, of course, meant lightly.)
There is something that you may not currently understand about this whole positive thought thing, the understanding of which could change everything. I love that you noticed that “it doesn’t feel right to try to force myself to be positive”, because that feeling is informing you of something right there – that it’s not yet time to move on from what you’re feeling. Okay, without getting too wordy I will try to clarify. Our feelings and emotions are some of our greatest tools, and CWG says “feelings are the language of the soul.” That is, your soul communicates with you through your feelings, so to try to condemn what you are feeling, no matter what it is, and force it away is denying yourself communication from YOU, communication that could be very helpful to what you’re currently experiencing in life. Not to mention it’s impossible because “what you resist persists”, and if you attempt to push those feelings away, you can bet your bottom that they will just keep coming back. So it’s always in your best interest to acknowledge and validate what you’re feeling, and look to see what it’s pointing to. Are you sad? What does that tell you about what you want? Does something feel “off”? What needs to be adjusted to feel “on” again?
Regarding the law of attraction and positive thought movement, the piece that many miss is that it’s not wrong or bad to feel down, negative, upset, etc.; accept that that is going to happen in life. Even the greatest of masters and enlightened ones out there feel those “negative” emotions still, but the difference is they also recognize they are gifts, tools, and use them for the purpose in which they were intended. They allow themselves to feel what they are feeling, and decide what it means. But they don’t stay there. That’s perhaps the most important part: feel what you’re feeling, but don’t stay there, be willing to “move up” the emotional scale as soon as you’ve gotten what you need. If you wallow in your despair, sadness, anger, frustration, etc., the process of creation/law of attraction will bring you more of that. But if you give it meaning, and choose your next highest thought, word or deed, you will vibrate at a higher level and the process of creation/law of attraction will bring you more of that. A much better route if you ask me.
So, Marion, strive to give yourself permission to feel however you feel without judgment. Then, take a deeper look at those feelings, and ask yourself, or your soul, what they are showing you about you, your life, and what you want. It is very helpful to sit down and journal about this, even write out a dialogue with your soul. Some of the answers may even surprise you. Positive thinking, focusing on gratitude and the “good stuff”, is an incredibly wonderful practice to adopt, but you will find the most success with it if you factor in all of the above as well. Besides, we are all of it, the good and the bad, the positive and the negative…we are wonderfully and beautifully human.
(Nova Wightman is a CWG Life Coach, as well as the owner and operator of Go Within Life Coaching, www.gowithincoaching.com, specializing in helping individuals blend their spirituality with their humanity in a way that makes life more enjoyable, easy, and fulfilling. She can be reached at Nova@theglobalconversation.com. )
(If you would like a question considered for publication, please submit your request to: Advice@TheGlobalConversation.com, where our team is waiting to hear from you.)
An additional resource: ChangingChange.net offers spiritual assistance from a team of non-professional/volunteer Spiritual Helpers responding to every post from readers within 24 hours or less. Nothing on the CCN site should be construed or is intended to take the place of or be in any way similar to professional therapeutic or counseling services. The site functions with the gracious willing assistance of lay persons without credentials or experience in the helping professions. What these volunteers possess is an awareness of the theology of Conversations with God. It is from this context that they offer insight, suggestions, and spiritual support during moments of unbidden, unexpected, or unwelcome change on the journey of life.
“True love and a sense of security, which we all seek, only comes from within, from that heart-centered place where our god/dess essence resides. We are all part of the Divine.”
What do you consider important in your life? Before you were slapped upside the head by your life-altering experience, did outer material things such as your job, your title, your clothes, your house, your car or similar markers of success dictate your life? Did being recognized and admired by others mean a lot to you? What about people that you encountered, including not only your family and friends but also those who came into your life at any given moment, for whatever reason? Where did they fit in your life? What about your own health and well-being? Did that have any bearing on how content you were with your life? Now that your life has probably taken a turn, are you content with the way your life is going? If not, why not?…
As I see it, if you are being guided by an open heart… if you are imbued with love for yourself and for others, everything else takes care of itself. For example, if it is your destiny to be successful in your endeavors, then it will manifest because it is in perfect alignment with what the universe wants for you. Everything is as it should be at every moment of our lives.
When you are operating from your true essence, your heart center, life takes on new meaning. No longer do outer forces run your life. You realize that your success in life isn’t about outer recognition and accoutrements you have in your life. It’s about the relationships you have, with yourself and with others. It’s about moving to that deep place within your heart from which the divine fiber of your being resonates.
This transition to heart-based consciousness begins with you feeling unsatisfied with and uninspired by those things that used to draw your full attention. They have less meaning and purpose in your life, as they no longer provide you with the validation that you need to affirm your place in the world. When your outer reality is the basis of your being, you are in a constant state of fear, fear of being alone and rejected, that you don’t “have enough,” so you become defensive and always want more. You have separated yourself from the Divine; no wonder you feel alone and abandoned. True love and a sense of security, which we all seek, only comes from within, from that heart-centered place where our god/dess essence resides. We are all part of the Divine…
If you are seeking love and security from outside yourself, feeding on outside energies, you are turning your attention away from yourself. Your self worth becomes rooted in the outer world’s judgments of your outside appearance, not your true inner being. Thus, you feel you have to “control” your actions, your behaviors, and your personality, so that you are accepted in the world.
But what if you were to surrender that control and turn inward to accept yourself – the inner self – the center of your true personal power, with all its self love, self admiration and a soul level of security, true security? When you are working from this heart-centered place of self love and self awareness, you no longer need the approval from the outside. You free yourself from all outer attachments. By no longer spending all your energy on controlling your thoughts and behavior to accommodate the opinions of others, you can create an open space from which your divine power can radiate within, then beam its immense light outwardly into the world. You feel liberated. You begin to feel at peace with yourself as you are. And when you are content with who you are, you begin to feel compassion for others, for who they are just as themselves. There is no judgment about who they “should be.” And your actions and behavior instead of being directed by the “what’s in it for me” mindset, become “they” oriented. Ultimately, we are all put on this earth to help each other. We cannot accomplish anything in this world alone…
I do hope that as you evaluate your life, you come to the conclusion that what’s really important in life is that beautiful relationship you have with yourself that will serve as a beacon of light that will brighten the path of others as they follow their own personal journey.
(This is an excerpt from Erica Tucci’s book “Radiant Survivor: How to Shine and Thrive through Recovery from Stroke, Cancer, Abuse, Addiction and Other Life-Altering Experiences” that she is publishing around Thanksgiving 2013, the time she wishes to express gratitude for being alive! For more information, visit www.facebook.com/radiantsurvivor.)
“Worry is just about the worst form of mental activity there is—next to hate, which is deeply self-destructive.“ – Conversations With God, Book 1.
If you suffer from anxiety and worry, or if you ever feel hate, then you need yoga. Worry and hate will destroy you. Once you decide to be healthy and change your habits away from worry and hate, yoga can help you through difficult times.
Doing yoga daily is a great practice, but even adding yoga once a week will benefit you. If you aren’t active, then yoga is a great place to start. Yoga will benefit you in many ways. Here are some of the benefits of doing yoga one time or for years and stop your self-destructive mental activities.
Flexibility – you will gain added flexibility every time you do yoga. The more you practice, the more flexible you will become. Many people shy away from yoga because they claim they can’t do the poses. However it is called a yoga practice because it doesn’t matter if you are a first-timer or experienced yogi, there is always a next step in your pose and your whole practice. Even your thinking will become more flexible with time. You will be exposed to gentle, flexible, loving teachers whose way of thinking is contagious.
Detoxification – you will detoxify your tissues by stretching, bending, compression, and releasing poses. There is no better way to detoxify than to do it naturally. Yoga will detoxify your mind as well – you will come into the practice feeling one way, and you will leave feeling completely different. Even hate will drain from your body during a yoga session.
Stress Level – As you exercise and your attitude improves, your entire stress level will drop. Your tendency to worry will slowly disappear as you realize that living in the present is possible and worry cannot exist there.
Growth and Progress – Your yoga practice grows and changes with you. You may just need the physical exertion now and the mental or meditation qualities later. You may need flexibility next week or balance when you are older and at risk of falling. Yoga is there to help you throughout your life.
I challenge you to decide to reduce and eliminate the anxiety, worry, and hate from your life. Stop self-destructing and share your light with the world!
(Beth Anderson is a certified Holistic Health Coach and founder of Holistic Health Hotspot in Evansville, Indiana. She is also the author of “The Holistic Diet: Achieve Your Ideal Weight, Be Happy and Healthy for Life.” Beth received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She is a speaker and also presents workshops on health and nutrition topics. Beth offers in-person and phone consultations – contact her through Facebook or email for more information. You can find Beth on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/HolisticHealthHotspot or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Before we light up that barbecue and have a “Happy Memorial Day,” let us stop and remember why the day exists.
As a Veteran, I wish to honor and pay my deepest respects to all of my Brothers and Sisters in arms who have given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. Dying for freedom is perhaps one of the noblest causes one could give their life for, as freedom is the essence of life and who we really are.
Freedom is at the heart of every individual’s right to be and choose the kind of life one wishes to live. God/Life grants everyone freedom, yet to this very day not everyone is free. Fortunately, there are those among us willing to stand for, serve and answer freedom’s call.
Historically, the love of power has led individuals, groups, companies, and countries alike to attempt to control human beings, as there are always those who seemed determined to undermine freedom for personal or financial gain. Oppression is alive and well everywhere in our world today, but have faith, tyranny is always met by a few courageous souls willing to sacrifice it all for the good of the many. They are everywhere, including inside of you.
Though Memorial Day is traditionally set aside to honor those who served and sacrificed in the United States Armed Forces, I also wish to remember and honor all the many spiritual warriors who have paid and continue to pay the ultimate price for freedom as well. There are those courage few who stand for peace, freedom, individual rights and civil liberties, who are willing to give it all so that others may simply live free. They are heroes, one and all.
Freedom cannot exist without personal responsibility. Freedom and personal responsibility must go hand in hand, for the truly free are responsive to other’s needs and desires, not just their own. It is only when the illusion of need turns toward manipulation, coercion and force that peace and freedom become in jeopardy.
Freedom does not trample on another’s rights in order to have its own way; that is the absence of freedom. Being free is a balance between an individual’s rights while still being responsive to other’s rights and desires as well. This is where personal responsibility plays its greatest role.
I honor all who have the courage to stand for their beliefs without the need to force them upon others. They represent themselves, their path and freedom well. These are some of the greatest challenges faced by humanity today. We all have the ability to meet the challenge of integrating the above ideas into our lives, and as we do so, it will change everything for humanity.
Personal freedom and responsibility are an essential part of the “Conversations with God” messages. One of CwG’s core messages is: “Ours is not a better way, ours is merely another way,” and it is offered to humanity as a new possibility for living free and in peace.
Peace becomes immediately possible with respect and tolerance. My Father use to say, “Respect and tolerance would heal the world today!” and he was right. It is not necessary for us to agree about anything, since we always have the ability to extend respect to one another. We can agree to disagree and we can do so respectfully. This takes great courage and insight, knowing that my path may not be your path, nor does it need to be.
When critical mass is reached on any subject, change happens. Our world is waiting, not just for the few, but for the many to stand and be counted. What do you take a stand for? Who do you choose to be in relationship to the events and circumstances going on around you? These are powerful and important questions that life presents you. What you decide about yourself in relationship to these events will determine your experience of them. Who you choose to be is creative.
My favorite question within the Conversations with God books is, “What is your next grandest version of the greatest vision ever you held about who you are?” It takes on a whole new meaning and importance when looked at through the events happening your life.
“Who am I?” or perhaps more importantly, “Who do I now choose to be in relationship to the events in your life?” becomes a powerful creative question with consequences. Choose wisely, as your answer will be creating your experience and reality.
Always remember you are free to choose, no matter what the circumstances or consequences. Your choices represent who you are and now wish to be, and those choices will be creating your real life experiences. Check in to see if your choices are in alignment with who you really are. You will know they are if they set you free.
Many that have come before us have offered grand possibilities through the choices they demonstrated. Many have given it all to be who they really are. It is why we remember their names. They have inspired us, changed us, and forever created possibilities for us that we might never have known if it were not for their courage and willingness to be who they were and act the way they did.
I think of the choice Christ made. I think of the choice Mother Teresa made. I think of the choice Martin Luther King made. I think of the choice Gandhi made. I think of the choice Rosa Parks made. I think of the choice Nelson Mandela made. And so on.
I now think of the choices I can make… and I hope you are, too. Think of those who inspire you to be a grander version of yourself and then BE it. Your demonstration may very well inspire another to become their grander self. Before you know it, we change the world.
It is the courageous few who answer freedom’s call, yet it is possible for the whole of us to do so. It is in memory of all who have given the greatest sacrifice to serve humankind who have my deepest respect and gratitude this day. I will remember you today as I celebrate my freedom and I thank you for the inspiration to be a grander version of me.
May we all be touched, moved and inspired to be grander versions of ourselves this day. I can think of no greater way to honor those who have given it all so that we could simply be.
J.R. Westen, D.D., C.A.d.
(J.R. is a Holistic Health & Spiritual Counselor who has worked and presented side-by-side with Neale Donald Walsch for over a decade. He is passionate about helping individuals move beyond their emotional and spiritual challenges, transforming breakdowns into breakthroughs. His counseling and coaching provides practical wisdom and guidance that can be immediately incorporated to shift one’s experience of life. As is true for most impactful teachers, J.R.’s own struggles and triumphs inspired him to find powerful ways of helping others. Sober since June 1, 1986, J.R.’s passion for helping individuals move through intense life challenges drove him to also specialize in Addiction and Grief Recovery. J.R. currently shares his gift of counseling & coaching with individuals from around the world through the Wellness Center, Simply Vibrant, located on Long Island N.Y. In addition, he operates “Change House” a place where people come to transform. He also works with Escondido Sobering Services and now serves as the Executive Director of the Conversations with God Foundation.)
My family and I just spent a week in a big city that we had never been to before. We were there to help our 19-year-old son move from where he went to school to the city where he will be looking to start his career. Much like the drama found in reality shows, we felt the stress of having to search for a place that was available, connect with the person who was renting, get the background checks done, and move his belongings with enough time to catch our scheduled flight back to where we live, which is clear across the country.
Our trip began with a thorough cleaning of a bachelor apartment and the packing of all its contents. Once we were packed, it was time for our 7-hour drive to the destination where our son would pursue turning his passion into a profession. The one-week time frame had now dwindled down to 4 days, and we had only a few leads which we found on Craigslist. As we drove around to check out these leads, we quickly realized how precious our time was and how fast it was going by.
The odds started to appear to be stacked against us. We did not know the area at all. We had a budget we had set which was a random number we had all agreed on prior to even knowing what the market value was. We were following directions from our Smart Phone map programs and a GPS unit, all of which wanted us to take traffic-jammed freeways just to travel short distances.
As a group, our frustration began to build. We had been driving around for four hours and had only seen three properties. Taking a look at the reality of our situation, we had decided it would be wise to take two cars so we could cover more ground. Although this was not the way we had wanted our trip to go, it was not very long after this decision that it became clear things were exactly the way they were supposed to be.
I knew in my heart that we would succeed in our mission. This was never really in question for me. What I failed to keep in my mind was the bigger picture that is always present. Think small and you will surely experience little results. The bigger picture always includes engaging all people on a deeper level than “what can I get from you.” True happiness seems to always come from a place of mutual energy exchange.
We had not kept in our awareness that all of our human tasks, no matter how big or how minor, revolve around one very important thing: our relationships with others. Our relationships with all people are the single-most important aspect of the contextual field we are here to experience. When we bring the energy of Oneness to each and every interaction with others, the heavens rejoice and the treasure chests are opened.
Here is what we began to do that changed everything: We made a decision to not go it alone. We began to engage strangers in our plight. As we were driving around, we saw “for rent” signs and would call them. If the person did not have a property that was suitable to us for one reason or another, we ended the phone call by asking a uniting question: Do you know of any apartments or people we could contact that may have something for us to consider?
This simple question seemed to bring out the best in everyone we posed it to. Every single person took the conversation to the next level. We had simple suggestions like “try this part of town” or “stay away from this particular area.” A few said, “I do not, but here is the number of someone who might.”
We had one person whose name was Harold go way above and beyond by not only giving us three great leads right away, but also called us back the next morning and gave us two more!
Not one of those we engaged on our journey did we meet face to face, nor did we have any prior relationship with them. They had no financial reason to help us, as they were also landlords looking to rent their own properties. So why did they do so? Why did they take time out of their busy schedules to help us, someone they didn’t know and would likely never meet?
I think I know why. I believe that we all want to help others and have an internal and eternal desire to be of service to Humanity. I feel they were as empowered and enriched by helping us as we were by their generosity. I know, in the core of my being, that we all want to give freely our gift, and we are just waiting for the invitation to do so. Great joy always seems to involve doing something for another without the thought of what is in this for me.
So how does this article end up in the Addiction in Recovery column?
Recovery only works when we engage those who have gone before us and ask them to share their experience, strength, and hope with us. The founders of the Twelve Step method knew right away recovery could not take place without the support of those who could relate to the plight of the addicted.
Addiction is a solitary disease. Many start off using in a social setting in order to fit in. At first, the disease seems to be the cure for all of our ills. We become social and outgoing. Ironically and slowly, the disease progresses and takes all of that away again. We become lonely, isolated, and avoided. Sick, tired, and dying, we are faced with the decision: Do I continue to use and kill myself slowly? Or do I reach out for help and give someone the opportunity to experience their purpose, helping others?
Would you like to be part of a group of recovering people who share a similar belief system? Join us for the CwG on Recovery Path to Peace retreat in Medford Oregon June 23 – June 26.
Kevin McCormack, C.A.d ,is a certified addictions professional. He is a recovering addict with 26 years of sobriety. Kevin is a practicing auriculotherapist, life coach, and interventionist specializing in individual and family recovery. You can visit his website for more information at www.Kevin-Spiritualmentor.com To connect with Kevin, please email him at Kevin.Spiritualmentor@gmail.com or call 407-808-6431.
Angelina Jolie, 37, recently underwent a preventive double mastectomy after finding out she carries a mutation of the BRCA1 gene, which significantly increases her risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer, a disease her own mother died of at the age of 59. “My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman,” Jolie wrote. “Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.”
There are many people who are applauding the proactive choice Angelina is making to minimize her chances of getting cancer. But her radical decision has also been met with some controversy and her actions are being challenged by members of the holistic and natural health community.
Dr. Lissa Rankin, M.D., a former OB/GYN for eight years and author of Mind Over Medicine, Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, says on her website, “By labeling a patient with a negative prognosis and robbing a patient of the hope that cure might be possible, we may ultimately prove the poor prognosis we have bestowed upon our patient correct. Wouldn’t we be better off offering hope and triggering the mind to release health-inducing chemicals intended to aid the body’s self-repair mechanisms? Is it really healthy for any of us to know that we might have an 87% risk of any illness? Do we really want to poison our minds with such fear-based thoughts that then force us to make decisions about whether or not we will electively cut off perfectly healthy body parts? When we live in fear, we predispose ourselves to illness. To live in fear of what might happen only triggers stress responses in the body.”
And so we find ourselves as a society continually and more increasingly faced with a difficult choice of what is behind Door Number 1, the marvels of modern medicine, and Door Number 2, the miraculous power of our body’s own ability to organically heal and sustain. And as Dr. Rankin is suggesting, how much do our thoughts come into play in actually creating — and healing — so many of the illnesses we see in our world today?
Conversations With God, Book 1, offered this to us: “You never do die. Life is eternal. You are immortal. You never do die. You simply change form. You didn’t even have to do that. You decided to do that, I didn’t. I made you bodies that would last forever. Do you really think the best God could do, the best I could come up with, was a body that could make it 60, 70, maybe 80 years before falling apart? Is that, do you imagine, the limit of My ability?”
And so with all of the information we have placed before us, upon what do we base our decisions? Is there a space where science and spirituality harmoniously intersect and work in conjunction to benefit humanity? Is Dr. Rankin correct in the idea that our fear-based thoughts are actually creating our illnesses and preventing our body’s natural ability to heal? Or are the medical doctors correct that we are predisposed to certain types of illnesses – cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc., — and we are best served to surgically or medicinally prevent and/or cure these diseases? Or could it a combination of both?
What are your thoughts?
(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)
In the past few weeks, I was given the opportunity to be one of the two student scholar speakers at my commencement ceremony. I knew that giving the speech would be easy, but writing it would be extremely difficult. Through The Global Conversation, I have been used to writing to a very aware, very attuned audience. However, I knew my graduating class hadn’t been as into their greatest version of their greatest vision of themselves. So how to compromise? With some spiritual SWAG.
For many of the teens reading this, swag is probably the last thing they would associate with spirituality. Besides being one of the biggest culture slangs of this decade, swag has taken up many different meanings. But in its simplest form, all swag means is “the way one presents oneself”, which sounds A LOT like “the way one projects their state of being”. Does it sound spiritual now?
The point of swag is to outwardly display that inner state of oneness and beingness. And, it’s totally easy. So easy, that it can be broken down to a four letter acronym (using s, w, a, and g, of course). And here it is:
First, S for Style. We are all unique souls on our own unique journey with our own unique purpose. There is no single ‘right’ way; there is only the way that we choose. So, choose to make it yours. Personalize it with your own elaborations. Feel more attuned to Taoism than Buddhism? That’s fine. Feel like science explains spirituality better than metaphysics? That’s fine too. No matter how or what you believe, have your own personal spirituality, because with it, you will always be closer to your source.
Next, W for Wonder. We never stop wondering, even when our traditional classroom setting may end. For when we wonder, we question; and when we question, well, that’s when things really start to happen. When was your greatest expansion in thought, when you decided to just take on distorted beliefs or when you wondered if there was more to the picture? Always expand the boundaries, of consciousness and awareness, to understand even more of Who You Are.
Also, A for Accept. On our spiritual journeys, we will encounter challenges and obstacles that hardly seem ideal, but are aligned with our greater purpose. Sometimes we don’t understand why we don’t get the perfect grade, get the perfect job, get the perfect relationship. Once we accept that there is a deeper reason for what is happening, we can explore why it is happening and how this happening contributes to our spiritual evolution. For when we accept the fact, we can detach from the fact, and then understand the fact from an entirely new perspective. As long as you accept that new perspective.
Finally, G for Go. Go out there and never stop finding out who you are. Go explore, go discover, go out and constantly recreate your greatest vision. Some have said that staying in a static state is the closest thing the soul can experience to death. Go and expand your vision, and expand your awareness. You will never regret it.
With these ideas, we can project ourselves and our own spirituality in a way that truly promotes our unique journey. Once others recognize your ‘swag’, they will find it in themselves as well. And so the spiritual process goes on and on and on.
Using the same acronym, I presented these ideas to my graduating class, though using a bit more ‘Fenton High School’ oriented ideas and themes. Regardless, my final paragraph rings true here the same as it did in my gym:
“So, with a little bit of Style, Wonder, Acceptance, and Go in our steps, we are ready to walk out of here and rise as leaders of this brave new world with S-W-A-G swag. Though our emergence may not be as monumental as The Harlem Shake, it can be just as dynamic. It is now our choice, of whether the world will rule us, or if we will rule the world. So let’s go out there, let’s emerge with our heads held high and our spirits even higher. We ARE the class of 2013, and we got swag.”
(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at Lauren@TheGlobalConversation.com)