“There is a universal, intelligent life force that exists within everyone and everything. It resides within each one of us as a deep wisdom, and inner knowing. We can access this wonderful source of knowledge and wisdom through our intuition, an inner sense that tells us what feels right and true for us at any given moment.” ~~Shakti Gawain
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” ~~Nelson Mandela
“Growing up is difficult. Strangely, even when we have stopped growing physically, we seem to have to keep on growing emotionally, which involves both expansion and shrinkage, as some parts of us develop and others must be allowed to disappear…. Rigidity never works; we end up being the wrong size for our world.” ~~Jeanette Winterson
The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.
Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.
The meme’s and quotes are readily found; “I am not adulting today” or “Who let me adult? I can’t adult.” It can be easy to fantasize about a younger or past self, a self with less responsibility or a snapshot of a simpler time, yet to maintain sobriety and recovery continued growth is essential.
The practice of Statement #8 can feel obvious when returning to a place that remains unchanged, whether it be a physical location or even a relationship. Sometimes the differences are stark, at other times growth may not be quite as visible. In early sobriety the freedom from substances are vivid, almost if a whole new world just opened up.
Over time though, growth can be shelved or its priority lessened. From our Program Booklet, “We can gain useful self-knowledge from reflecting on our life experiences. Continued emotional growth improves our ability to manage the ups and downs of life. It provides us with our own path to emotional peace and contentment. We uncover our inner strength.” Here are 4 questions for continued growth:
- Are you aware of your strengths and weaknesses? This awareness can help maximize strengths while encouraging growth in other areas.
- Do you practice personal responsibility? In-between a life situation and your response to it is a fleeting moment when you decide how to respond.
- How do you define your ideal self? You can increase emotional and spiritual maturity when you define what this means for you.
- How do you acknowledge growth in your life? Comparing ourselves to where we were as to where we are now can move us forward. Liking who you have become can propel us onward.
Hi 4C Women,
The guidance for emotional growth as expressed in the Program Booklet is an accurate description of what will keep us on track to understanding what our priorities are – a continuing exploration of our life experiences, willingness to accept what needs to change and an action plan(s) to create the growth we desire to be able to establish our priorities.
I found an article online from Lifescript.com/well-being/articles that provided 10 Steps Toward Spiritual Growth that reflected the WFS Program so well that I would like to share them in this message:
10 Steps Toward Spiritual Growth
By: Ashleigh Frank
Spirituality is a belief system in which a person seeks to relate to the rest of existence (whether that is God, humanity, the universe, nature or life itself). It is a pursuit of peace, love and understanding. Many people want you to believe that the secret to spiritual growth and development can be found in a book, a lecture or some other product that will magically unlock the doors to happiness. But the truth about spiritual growth is that it comes from within. It is all about you and the way that you view the world. Here are 10 steps to help you on your journey of personal spiritual growth, and none of them cost a thing.
1. Want Change
It may sound silly, but the first and most important step toward personal spiritual growth is the desire to grow. All of the self-help classes, spiritual gurus and inspirational books in the world won’t make a lick of difference until you make a conscious decision to change. Spiritual growth and development is not a goal; it is a lifelong journey that requires time, energy and dedication. If you are looking for a quick fix or overnight results, you will be disappointed. When the novelty of your new spiritual growth technique wears off, you may be tempted to give up. It is much easier to let life carry you along as it pleases. The only difference between people who exist and people who really live is motivation. If you are properly motivated, keep reading.
2. Start Small
There are many spiritual practices out there, and information is readily available over the Internet. But don’t make the mistake of trying to take on too much too soon. It is best to start with one new practice. Begin a meditation, prayer routine or yoga class at your gym. Attend a lecture on reiki at your local community college. Once you are comfortable with your new skill, add another element.
3. New Adventures
One of the great joys in life lies is learning new skills. If you never tried anything new, your life would grow stagnant. Take up an activity that you are curious or passionate about, such as writing poetry, practicing yoga or painting water colors. Enjoy the process of learning and improving your new skills. By embracing people and things that are outside of your ordinary routine, you open yourself to personal and spiritual growth, and you diminish your fear of the unknown.
4. Release the Past
The past is history, and there is nothing you can do to change it. Holding on to past events keeps you from experiencing new ones, and the emotional baggage will only weigh you down. Accept these past events, both good and bad, as learning experiences and move on with life.
5. Take Responsibility
Sometimes you cannot control the events that happen to you or the people who do them. But you always have control over how you respond. Focusing your attention on what or who caused a problem does not offer any solutions. Instead, concentrate on your response and what you can do to improve the situation and prevent it from occurring again.
6. Pause and Reflect
Life moves so fast that sometimes it is important to stop, take a step back and really examine yourself and what you are doing. You can do this by practicing meditation. Meditation allows you to quiet your mind and clear your thoughts. Through meditation, you can step outside yourself and observe your life. Are you using your time wisely? Are you taking proactive steps to reach your goals? Are you happy? These quiet moments of reflection, when performed regularly, can help you right yourself on your spiritual path.
7. Stay Open
From a young age we are taught to judge and label actions, thoughts, words and people as “good,” “bad,” “right” or “wrong.” Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly judging others by how they look, what they say and more. But to feel connected to everything around you, first accept people and things as they are. It takes a conscious effort to stop looking through the lens of a critical eye, but if by looking for the possibilities and potential resources in life, you begin to grow spiritually.
Consider the difference between these two life philosophies: “Everyone is out to get me” and “Everyone is doing the best they can.” Imagine how much more stressful the first person’s life must be? Allow others to be themselves around you. Treat their uniqueness with respect rather than criticism. Remember, love is the heart of spirituality.
8. Appreciate the Present
It is easy to get caught up in a materialistic mindset and focus on wants, needs and desires. When you begin pursuing possessions, you lose sight of what you already have. The world becomes an obstacle, standing between you and what you desire. Increase your personal spiritual growth by developing what you already have. When you do this, the world becomes an ally in helping you achieve your goal.
9. Accept Unhappiness
We all know someone who seems perpetually happy. She is always smiling, and her can-do attitude never fails. You might envy this person or even resent her. You might think, She’s so lucky. I wish I could be that happy. In reality, happiness is not a personality trait. It is not a gene that some people are born with and others aren’t. Happiness is a choice. And unhappiness is a natural part of life.
Everyone has their good days and bad days. It is how you deal with those bad days when they come along that matter. You are quick to treat your physical ailments, so don’t hesitate to treat your emotional and spiritual ailments (such as depression, insecurity, fear, mood swings and bad tempers). Use meditation, yoga, prayer or relaxation techniques to soothe your soul when you find yourself unhappy.
10. Don’t Fear Mistakes
Mistakes and bad decisions are some of our greatest teachers. If you never did anything wrong, you would never learn anything new. Think of mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow, and give yourself full license to make them. We are all imperfect people. If you are able to embrace your imperfections and laugh at yourself, you will become more flexible and open-minded. Remember: We live in an imperfect world so that we can better understand perfection.
Have patience on your quest for spiritual growth. The process toward enlightenment is slow and unnoticeable at first, and you may feel compelled to give up. Just keep in mind that spiritual growth is a lifelong commitment to love, peace and understanding, and it is meant to be taken one day at a time. Like so many other things in life, spirituality is about the journey, not the destination. To quote the Buddha, “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”
Everyone’s spiritual journey is extremely personal. I hope you find some wisdom, guidance and/or support in your spiritual journey to love, peace and understanding with the suggestions above.
Bonded in creating emotional and spiritual growth.
Love, 4C WFS Member