“That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way.” Doris Lessing
“We go through life. We shed our skins. We become ourselves.” Patti Smith
“We have to continue to learn. We have to be open. And we have to be ready to release our knowledge in order to come to a higher understanding of reality.” Thich Nhat Hanh
#8 The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.
Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.
When in school, graduation to the next grade was the goal. I lived life seeking a reward for my efforts. Like a carrot on a stick in front of me, I blindly moved through life without really being in it. Goal, reward, another goal, then missing reward. Ut oh. Life began to feel like when Charlie Brown tried to kick that football that Lucy was holding. Alcohol became the goal and I was flat on my back. Growth stopped.
Sobriety paired with the WFS New Life Program, and especially Statement #8, paves the way for growth to return. Emotional growth was held back in active addiction, as well as mental, physical, and spiritual growth. Statement #8 is about development instead of a destination. This was a new and exciting concept to embrace and I still feel enthusiastic about learning.
Statement #8 has taught me that the ball wasn’t the point but the experience is. Growth is ready and available anytime or anywhere. Even the most accomplished continue to learn and grow, and there is a vast universe to delve into. Begin where you are and expand learning. The world is wide open!
Dear 4C Women,
Learning is a never-ending journey and I am glad to have accepted that. I use to be so hard on myself if I made a choice that didn’t support my emotional and spiritual recovery even when I thought it did. When I finally decided to view my choices as learning tools, I experienced a whole new attitude about “me.” I began to feel that emotional/spiritual growth and threw away that beating me up tool and started building a toolbox of “great try, wonderful acceptance of learning and growing emotionally and spiritually, positive change in attitude, keep going, you’re worth it.”
Why do we need emotional and spiritual growth? It guides us in recognizing our feelings as teachers and allies that are there to tell us what our needs are, whether our needs are being met, and what circumstances in our lives may require change in order to meet those needs. That was hugely challenging as I was such a people pleaser that it seemed selfish to consider my needs first or at all. Emotional growth taught me that I matter, that loving and respecting my value was what I needed in order to have compassion for myself as I had for others. The biggest lesson was that quitting drinking was not the complete answer to recovery – not even close. It became clear to me that it was about changing my thoughts which began to change my actions and reactions, making myself a priority in meeting my needs, uncovering my spiritual path, learning to be proactive, speaking my truthful voice and loving, respecting and forgiving myself enough to make these changes.
When you think about where you are at this moment in your emotional and spiritual growth, are you aware of your needs? If not, what actions do you feel are important to take to know and meet your needs, to put yourself on your priority list? I encourage you to start small and work through any fear of creating your personal path of emotional and spiritual growth if you realize that it becomes confusing, difficult, or uncomfortable. For those who have been working on setting priorities, can you share with others how you were able to dig deep and discover your needs and follow through with actions to accomplish them? We are together on this path. This is the beauty of the WFS community. We support, share and encourage each other.
As you go through this week, I hope you will consider setting priorities that are personal to you. In other words, not what you think or you are told you “should” do but what you discover matters to you. May you discover and uncover your wants, needs and value, finding a way to meet them. You deserve it!
Bonded in continuing to be open to learning and growing emotionally and spiritually, Dee
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