A Life Handbook, The Heart

Wouldn't it be grand to have a handbook we could turn to whenever we were in a life glitch of any sort? The handbook would have the answer about just what to do, how to proceed and how to get about it all. It would tell us precisely how to ameliorate the situation, what to say and when to get to our activities. No matter what the circumstances that handbook would have the answer for us. Wouldn't that be grand? There is a song that I have loved for many years now, called "My Life is in Your Hands". (http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/k/kathy_troccoli/my_life_is_in_your_hands.html) The recording I listen to is by Kathy Trocolli. I believe it was recorded and intended as a spiritual, perhaps Christian, song. Not having been raised in a particular faith, I could listen to it and let the words mean whatever resonated for me as my spiritual path evolved. What I love about the song is the comfort and inspiration it provides to me about living life and knowing that there is a higher order to rely on within and around us as we turn our hearts towards spirit.

While I was in the throes of offering addictions counseling work daily, I became quite involved with talking about the 12 step program and the meaning and intent behind these steps as a way of engaging in life. Nearly 24 years ago, my first introduction to this grass-roots movement of healing was when I attended Adult Child of Alcoholics meetings. I did not involve myself with the step work process in formality, but did ponder the steps and adopt a belief that they indeed were a meaningful life path to journey. In addiction counseling sessions, the step I often spent the most time talking about was Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God. It was often imperative to discuss this step in some detail with the folks I was working with because their individual wills often kept driving them back to using a substance as a way to cope with life, with their feelings and their thoughts. Many of them often struggled with this step, not really knowing what it meant and how to go about turning one's will over to another power. Many, not wanting to readily give up the illusion of control, could relate much more easily when I offered the idea that perhaps it was not about giving up one's will altogether, but rather using one's will to redirect how we deal with life's difficulties, like praying to a higher power, learning to trust others guidance who have walked a successful recovery path before us and learning to tolerate our feelings and thoughts as simply a part of our internal guidance system - not to be numbed out and ignored.

Perhaps it is my time to deeply understand and practice the 3rd step - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God. What does this look like for me right now? Each day I sit in quiet and connect to my higher power. I am connecting because I can feel the high vibration of energy encompassing and running throughout my being. I become emotionally "full", my gratitude and love seem to embody my heart and spill into every cell of my being and I feel graced with a beauty and love beyond words. This is pretty amazing stuff if you haven't yet experienced it or had a brief encounter with this sensation, the deep comfort and gratitude.

That said, I remain open to more deeply understanding the human and spiritual mysteries of life. I ask to be shown what I wish to see, to understand what I wish to more deeply know and to have clarity about any confusion I experience. I fully trust that my "little" life is connected to the immense intelligence that illuminates as we turn our will over to a higher order, an order beyond that which I Want in any ego-oriented way. In my disappointments and loss of dreams manifesting into a reality of my yearning (ego wants usually), I recognize the places I get stuck in My thinking it should be this way or could be that way. I recognize where I lose my ability to be accepting of someone or some circumstance just as it is, because I want so deeply a certain kind of fulfillment or happiness through my imagined way it could be, had someone behaved or something happened in different ways. In acknowledging these feelings of disappointment, with my inner acceptance I own how it was My want, my desire for a "thing" I thought would bring me joy or happiness, a sense of fulfillment. And then, as I recognize it as My want, being projected onto the reality in front of me, I can relax into the truth that I see playing out before me. In my honesty, I can see that it is not that someone is not acting "properly" or "right", but rather that I had Wanted it to be a certain way.

My inner acceptance will lead me into a sense of loss usually. The grief and sadness about losing a hope and a dream are just as real losses as some of the other difficult ones. And they must be mourned properly in order for us to heal from them and move on to new life - seeing the new reality before us and then determining our course of action. Often it is time to set about digging for new dreams and hopes, getting to the business of creating a plan of where our future might take us. It is our will, in alignment with a greater order that can lead us into our most fulfilling next chapters of life. When life organizes to push us into a new reality, when rigorous deep acceptance opens our eyes to the truth before us and we soften into the experience at hand, we can offer our new energy and our clear intent through our will into the manifestation of the next chapters of our life. With new eyes we might see the people before us, just as they are, with their own individual wills, wants and needs. We can reassess how our wants fit together, or do not, and then move onward from this truth.

The handbook that I have discovered holding my answers when I feel troubled is my heart. It is with me all the time, holding the keys to the depths of my desires right here in my being. When I sit quietly with myself and feel a true calm within, when my mind enters the chambers of my heart, and when the high vibration of an infinite connection take hold, I know my answers will come. They may not arrive in the moment I ask, they may not come clear for a bit of time. But surely they do come. And the more honest and accepting I am of what I want, not projecting any expectations onto others, I sense my will coming into quiet alignment with a universal flow that I cannot comprehend but can sense has great power beyond my imagination. If I am willing to put my action behind my deep desire, I am bound to manifest the life of my choosing. My heart has said it is so.

I am writing about this today because I am well aware of my ongoing journey into self-acceptance and full acceptance of all those around me, especially those I love, my family and dear friends. I ask, and continue to ask, to understand any inner discord I feel. Most of the time now, when I sense my frustration or unrest, if I am truly honest within, I become aware that I have projected My need and want onto someone else, or a particular situation. When it doesn't meet my desires, I feel this little (or not so little) agitation. And I may be frustrated with others, instead of looking at how it is really about what I Want and may not get because others desires are not in alignment with my own. And this is not right or wrong, or good or bad, it just is.

My heart, my life handbook, reminds me to accept others fully, to be compassionate and allowing. It reminds me to look more deeply at what I want, at what might be fulfilling for me. And if I dig even more deeply, after I have processed any disappointment, sadness or loss, what I discover is new life. I discover that there is more in me to create and to experience, more life to be lived. Perhaps I thought I Needed that thing I wanted others to fulfill, but perhaps I do not. Perhaps there is a higher order telling me there is a life waiting for me that will bring incredible fulfillment without that Thing I thought I Needed. New dreams bring new energy, challenging us to become more of who we are as we allow others and life to be just as it is. As I look to my heart for answers, and not some mind-made story of shoulds, I find I do have a life handbook after all.