If you are a new reader, I suggest reviewing my past articles. Start with the October issue of Serene Scene titled: “A Neurological Case for Recovering Addicts to Journal”. In November, the article discussed Goal Setting as a foundation to Journaling. It also makes suggestions for setting healthy goals and how to test your goals to insure they are: SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound. In the December issue, I introduced nine gauges to assist you in journaling nine major areas of your life. Those nine areas are: attitude, energy level, focus, confidence, motivation, spiritual connection, personal boundaries, external conditions and goal tracking.
The gauges are simple and thorough ways for you to measure how you are doing in each area by simply drawing a line. The process will get you in the habit of putting your pen to paper while assessing yourself in the above specific areas. From there, it becomes much easier for you to write more intimately about your feelings and emotions.
The December issue includes narrative of the “Attitude” gauge and the January article covers aspects of establishing and maintaining healthy “Personal Boundaries”. I hope you take time to catch up by reading the previous articles.
This month I’m going to discuss the controversial topic of “Spiritual Connection”. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the best reads when it comes to your personal Spiritual Connection. I never try to explain my interpretation of the Big Book because every time I read it I experience a different inspirational message. More importantly, I simply can’t improve on messages that have worked so well, for so many, for so long.
The following is the exact instructional page out of the Daily Life Plan Journal as to gauging “Spiritual Connection”. As with every gauge I discuss in these articles, I include a specific “definition” of the gauge, the “value” of assessing that area, “suggestions” on how to improve that area in your life and instructions on “how to gauge”.
An important thing to remember when journaling all the areas but especially when assessing your spiritual connection is “do it often”. Repetition will result in wearing down your resistance to looking deep within yourself. With active gauges you can monitor yourself several times throughout the day by just drawing the line noting the time, i.e. 9am. When you get a chance, write the details as to why you assessed yourself as being connected or unconnected.
You will most likely find that when you are unconnected spiritually you are just “going through the motions” of life. You may have acquired a new resentment and you are most likely not living with “an attitude of gratitude”. Negative feelings unchecked can lead to anger, depression and self-pity. All of these are triggers for relapse.
The quote beside the gauge reminds us that we are “human beings” not human doings. You have the right and the obligation to challenge your negative thoughts. Just as you are not doomed by your genetic predisposition you are not doomed by your thoughts. Just because a thought comes into your head does not make it true. The key is to take action immediately. Here’s what I do.
When I catch my thoughts sliding off track (which is often) I tapped the side of my head and say: “Is it Real?” or “You are lying to me” (referring to my brain). I take a short time out, find a quite place (sometimes it’s a rest room) and ask my higher power for guidance and truth. Here’s where spiritual actions turn into scientific results. This simple action disciplines my brain and relieves my angst.
Another thing that may work for you is to recite positive affirmations. Say (out loud, if possible) “I am __________” fill in the blank with the following words: truthful, grateful, humble, clear, empowering, enthusiastic, receptive, genuine, alert, calm, focused and loving. Repeat these affirmations until you feel the change.
Find what works for you so you don’t waste your precious time basking in self-defeating behaviors. You have the choice to make a spiritual connection with God, nature, humans and the entire universe. Until next month “Stay Connected”… Larry