It’s important to note that through working the Twelve Steps with a sponsor, and some outside help, I have experienced recovery beyond my wildest dreams. For the most part, I do not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. I believe in my heart that my experiences can benefit others. I know a new freedom and happiness. I feel useful and I am confident in my abilities. I have talents to share. So where is my freedom from fear of other people?
Program has taught me to accept myself unconditionally. I love and accept my body – a miracle for someone who has tried to starve herself to maintain someone else’s unattainable ideal. I love who I am as a person, another miracle for someone who did not believe she was worth the space she took up in the world. And, I have a self-preservation skill that, so far, I am unable to, and may never be able to, let go of. I have a strong connection to my Higher Power. I know with all of my being that HP is with me 24/7, showing me grace and direction. And still, my instinct, when I try to close my eyes to meditate, is to recoil as if from a hot flame. The miracle here is that I am not a lesser person because of it. I accept it, refuse to let the voice of my disease define me, and remain open to other ways to quiet my mind so I can hear HP’s will for me. Because that is what meditation is all about – strengthening our connection with a power greater than ourselves. How we get there doesn’t matter.
So, how do I meditate? I go for a walk. Because of my past, it took a lot of work to be able to walk by myself. I stay vigilant, and present, paying attention to everything that is happening around me. As I do, something amazing happens: my mind begins to clear and I hear and feel an amazing inner silence. An overwhelming sense of peace. I feel safe. And in that safety, a thought materializes that leads me to my next action. A plan forms and I can visualize the path ahead. Random thoughts start to connect and form a coherent picture in my head. As I embrace whatever was just revealed to me, I feel a deep sense of joy.
Does this happen every time I walk? Not hardly. As anyone with a meditation practice will tell you, reaching the stillness is not always possible every time you sit. But when it does happen, it is profound and I feel an unbreakable bond with my Higher Power.
When I am not able to walk and I am feeling restless, irritable and discontent, I have learned to doodle. I sit at my desk or dining room table with a blank piece of paper. In the middle of the paper I write a word. One that calls to me in the moment. Examples include Peace, Beauty, Loneliness or Heartbreak. I draw a circle or box around the word, and I start to create patterns. The patterns flow easily out of me and onto the paper as I concentrate on the word in the center. The goal again is to quiet the stories I am telling myself and find a calmness to replace the restlessness. I open my heart to HP’s message for me. If I can’t seem to find the flow, I surrender to the process and release each self-judgment as it appears. Like any new skill, it took some practice to let go of my expectations and be present during the doodle meditation.
The point is that however we choose to quiet our minds and open our heart to a power greater than ourselves, the only way we can do it wrong is to not do it at all.
Alice W. – Region One