My many teachers in 12 step recovery (when I was ready to learn) reminded me that I am to share my experience, strength and hope with others. I learned the importance of speaking from the eye or “I”. This takes courage to first “own” what I project on others, and discern what are my barriers to love and to release what others think or feel about me. This is a difficult think for co-dependents. What can I change and what are the things I cannot change.
The “shame spiral” comes from more than 100% responsibility for creating my reality.. Victim conscious is blaming others for your feelings. The inclusion of you (We) requires your permission. When you reach out, I am able to “Lend a hand” and respond with caring, and share my story – what I was like, what happened and what I am like now. I have never experienced selfless caring and sharing like this until 12 step meetings. I learned that in order to keep what I have, I must share my story (which changes each time I tell it). People learn from others experience, and rarely from their opinions. In Seneca sweat lodges, an elder told me that we go in the lodge to burn away the “rust” (beliefs, opinions) that seperate me from Creator and my brothers and sisters.
In early recovery, It is important to have cover (anonymous), which helps us feel safe enough to first feel and then let go and let spirit lift the trauma from physical, sexual, emotional and spiritual abuse. Repairing the wreckage of the past are addressed in 12 step recovery in steps four through nine. In my years of carrying a pipe in the altar of another, I help introduce “Ways to Be” (reprinted on our site), and stressed the importance of transparency and “staying current” with
those you love and who love you. (Our spiritual community). Gossip, secret keeping, and taking others inventory is separating and sabotages functional community. Perfection is a mark I may never achieve, yet I must aim for it. When I am true to myself, I can hook my dream to a star and aim for the courage to actualize my full potential here on earth. The brave – those who have the courage to change the things they can have true freedom – like the eagle, who soars above us reminding us of the solitary journey to face my “demons”.
As i have, by the grace of Great Spirit, or those who dreamed me, learned, the importance of the inward journey into the shadow self. Joseph Campbell calls this “The Hero or Heroines Journey” into the fears and through to the other side. On the third day on a hill on my Vision Quest, I went through a portal. Many in recovery know this amazing joy that comes from releasing the shame, guilt and tears that have frozen me in fear. I have found my church, and it is sitting on the earth in a hazelnut structure called a sweat lodge or sweat house where I can awaken to my true, real and authentic nature. I prepared for my Vision Quest by many years of working the steps and helping others work them and “walking around the wheel”. When we can release the “needs” and “wants” and trust spirit to provide. I need only to reclaim my own wholeness, take loving care of myself and to repair the wreckage of my past (and avoid new wreckage). The Red Road and the 12 steps are the road less traveled, and require clearing the shame, guilt and grief with both ourselves and others whom we have harmed. We are all relatives. The purges and portals of a Inipi, Native American Church or yage Ceremony involves releasing the poisons of resentments and held anger, rage and resentments to the stone people. This helps bring our lost souls back home to our hearts.
As we move into the shortest days approaching Winter Solstice, may we remember the return of the light rather than dwell in the darkness. In my bear creek sweat lodge, I have room for about 15 bodies, and can only say for sure that I intend to be there to pray. I hold this as a personal lodge, which means it is for my own connection with my essence and then for my family and friends and those on a spiritual path who are willing to go to any length and let go absolutely of victim consciousness. Change often means leaving the old ways behind just as the eaglet leaps from the nest. When I get my ego out of the way, spirit can work through me. This is the “hollow bone” that Frank Fools Crow and other great spiritual leaders refer to. In my Sunday night meditation group, we read the Saint Francis prayer. The prayer asks us to listen with our hearts ear and to speak from our heart. Together, we can heal and release our grief and tears and make space for the joy and light to return.
In sweat lodges, I remember and feel safe enough in the cocoon of mothers belly to once again remember who I am and who you are. The darker the shadow, the brighter the light. In this solstice season, may you find your inner light and let that shine! In feeling, we heal. Blessings, Patrick, Mandi and my Heartspace family.