Imperfection of Sprituality

The one who is humble brings God’s presence close to earth to dwell among us. Yitro

Moses first instructs Betzalel to build the vessels of the Tabernacle, and then to build the Tabernacle itself. Betzalel, a much younger man, replies that it more makes sense to build the structure first. He continues in his contradiction of Moses, “Who makes furniture before they have a house in which to put it?”

In the ancient world, to disagree on a public matter with someone such as Moses was not done. The repercussions normally would be tragic. However, Moses admitted he had made a mistake and publicly bowed to Betzalel’s opinion.

It takes tremendous strength of character to be able to admit, especially in so public a forum, that you made a mistake. All too often, the burning desire of our egos to be the one who is right overtakes our desire for truth. It’s so easy to defend an opinion, only because it is ours, long beyond the time we know it to be incorrect.

It’s sad that one of the greatest phrases in the English language, “I was wrong,” is so rarely used. In admitting our imperfection; we gain a sense of personal integrity a hugely empowering and uplifting gratefulness. And far from undermining our credibility in the eyes of others, it actually helps establish it.

“I was wrong” is always a fantastic phrase to use (and nowhere more so, by the way, than in a marriage). In a certain way, it’s better for the relationship to be wrong than to be right. When you are right, you have proven a point and made someone else feel less than. When, however, you accept that you are wrong, you have not only learned something new, but you also experience the uplifting trait of humility.

If we are arrogant, there is nor room for our Higher Power, or for spiritual renewal. If we are humble and accept the fact that we are not in control, we can build a tabernacle that is a place to have the Sunlight of The Spirit in our midst.

Life is far too short for us to try to prove that we are perfect. If we learn to be happy recognizing our imperfections, it will save us a great deal of energy battling our imperfections simply to defend our pride.

 If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?  Hillel – Pirke Avot 1:14

FORGIVENESS

In his book “Is Human Forgiveness Possible?” Theologian John Patton examines the New Testament story, in which Peter asks Jesus of Nazareth of forgiveness:

“Lord, when my brother wrongs me, how often must I forgive him? Seven times?” And Jesus answers: “No, not seven times; I say seventy times seven times.” (Matt. 18:21–22)

Patton comments: Peter’s question seems to say, “Please give me a rule so I don’t have to keep dealing with this. How can I know when enough is enough? I want to know what to do instead of having to come to terms with the history of our relationship.” Jesus’ response to the question says in effect, “I am unwilling to give you a way out of a continuing relationship to your brother.”

For the opposite of “resentment” is forgiveness, recognized by centuries of spiritual thinkers as “the endpoint of human life.” Forgiveness is “given,” and not only in English; the French say “par-downer,” the Spanish “per-donar.” That is because, in the words of D. M. Dooling, a student of mythic spirituality: “Forgiveness belongs to the divine. It is God’s act: something other, something that is not ours; and unless we can acknowledge this, the word is only ‘a noise we make with our mouths.’ ”

What became clear to me from this exchange was the following:
When I am making an amends it is not forgiveness that I am seeking, but the act of doing what is right and cleaning my side of the street. If the other person chooses to forgive me, that is a bonus. Forgiveness ultimately is between my Higher Power and me. Just like a wrong I perceive to have been committed against me; I may forgive it, but the real forgiveness is not up to me. It is between the Power of the Universe and the transgressor.

Forgiveness is not ours to give, but ours to receive. We cannot create it; we can be certain only that it is beyond us, in the sense of beyond our control, beyond our ability to will it into existence.

Excerpt From: Ernest Kurtz & Katherine Ketcham. “The Spirituality of Imperfection.”

FORGIVENESS

In his book “Is Human Forgiveness Possible?” Theologian John Patton examines the New Testament story in which Peter asks Jesus of Nazareth, “Lord, when my brother wrongs me, how often must I forgive him? Seven times?” And Jesus answers: “No, not seven times; I say seventy times seven times.” (Matt. 18:21–22)

Patton comments: Peter’s question seems to say, “Please give me a rule so I don’t have to keep dealing with this. How can I know when enough is enough? I want to know what to do instead of having to come to terms with the whole history of our relationship.” Jesus’ response to the question says in effect, “I am unwilling to give you a way out of a continuing relationship to your brother.”

For the opposite of “resentment” is forgiveness, recognized by centuries of spiritual thinkers as “the endpoint of human life.” Forgiveness is “given,” and not only in English; the French say “par-downer,” the Spanish “per-donar.” That is because, in the words of D. M. Dooling, a student of mythic spirituality: “Forgiveness belongs to the divine. It is God’s act: something other, something that is not ours; and unless we can acknowledge this, the word is only ‘a noise we make with our mouths.’ ”

Forgiveness is not ours to give, but ours to receive. We cannot create it; we can be certain only that it is beyond us, in the sense of beyond our control, beyond our ability to will it into existence.

Excerpt From: Ernest Kurtz & Katherine Ketcham. “The Spirituality of Imperfection

REEL Recovery Film Festival

REEL Recovery Film FestivalHi hope you are doing well.
InTheRooms.com is producing the Fort Lauderdale Reel Recovery Film Festival this year, Nov. 4-6 at the Classic Gateway Theatre. This is an excellent marketing tool and your support will benefit the work you are doing. This is the perfect venue to showcase to the South Florida Recovery Community. It also includes time to speak to the attendees, included in packages.
Please take a look and let me know how you would like to participate.
http://intherooms.org/reelrecovery/
Be well and call me if you have questions and to finalize your sponsorship..

Marc J Dunn, RC, TOT
CCAR Certified
mjdunn@bellsouth.net
954-665-3770

InTheRooms.com is producing the Fort Lauderdale Reel Recovery Film Festival this year, Nov. 4-6 at the Classic Gateway Theatre. This is an excellent marketing tool and your support will benefit the work you are doing. This is the perfect venue to showcase to the South Florida Recovery Community. It also includes time to speak to the attendees, included in packages.

InTheRooms.com is producing the Fort Lauderdale Reel Recovery Film Festival this year, Nov. 4-6 at the Classic Gateway Theatre. This is an excellent marketing tool and your support will benefit the work you are doing. This is the perfect venue to showcase to the South Florida Recovery Community. It also includes time to speak to the attendees, included in packages.

Recovery Coach Recovery Coach Recovery Coach Recovery Coach Recovery Coach

Learning To Listen

Learning To Listen – Ki Tissa

“When the people saw that Moses was late in coming down from the mountain…”—Exodus 32:1.

This week’s portion describes one of the most misunderstood events in the Bible – the sin of the Golden Calf. Taken at face value, it is difficult to comprehend how the same people who had witnessed the miracles of the Exodus and the Revelation at Sinai could be led to worship a molten image. However, a deeper understanding of the episode reveals that the people did not intend to replace God with the Golden Calf. What they were looking for was a substitute for Moses. They were an imperfect people who had yet learned to listen to the Sunlight of the Spirit, or to rely on each other.

Moses, a human being of flesh and blood, represented the people’s tangible connection to a Higher Power. Although it was God who redeemed the people from Egypt and gave them the Commandments at Sinai, it was Moses who served as the visible medium through which these wonders were brought about. Without Moses to facilitate their relationship with The Power of the Universe, the people were in a quandary and sought to replace him.

Their mistake was that when they thought that they had lost their appointed intermediary, they took it upon themselves to choose their own way of connecting, contrary to what they had heard on their journey. An idol represented that substitute they sought.

If it is true that the essence of finding spirituality is looking within us; it also has behooved those on that journey to choose a teacher. The connection we seek is not a solo search; it is one of community and learning to listen.

One of the cornerstones of spiritual renewal is our willingness to be receptive to the message when we hear it. If we seek knowledge of God’s will for us is by listening, then we understand imperfection and accept that the journey will not be perfect. Just as the Israelites stumbled by choosing to replace Moses with a Golden Calf, we too may not always be perfect.

Consistent with the acceptance that we do not always know what is best for us and that we need to always remain open, receptive and teachable; is the relevance that when we get out of our own heads long enough to truly listen to someone else, we may be able to hear the voice of God.

Restore Us To Sanity

“And you shall make boards for the Tabernacle of acacia wood…”—Exodus 26:15.

This week’s portion gives the guidelines for the construction of the Tabernacle, the portable sanctuary that the Children of Israel carried with them throughout their forty-year sojourn in the desert.

The walls of the Tabernacle were to be made from gold encased planks of wood taken from the acacia tree. In Biblical Hebrew, the term for this type of wood is “wood of shitim.” The word “shitim” is related to the word “shtut” which means stupidity or madness. This double meaning infers that the builders of the Tabernacle were to take- warped thinking – and make an abode for God from it. The antithesis of, and rectification for irrational thinking is not rational thinking, but faith.

Faith is a type of thinking which serves as a sanctuary for the Presence of the Power of The Universe. Reason is the middle path; Irrationality is a deviation from it.

As every navigator knows, once a captain has drifted off course, he will never reach his final destination merely by traveling in the proper direction from now on. The person who has strayed can get back on track only by veering in the opposite direction of past deviations. In other words, a person whose pattern of thinking has definitely diverged from common sense, cannot correct the error by merely trying to think “normally” from now on. Though even someone who has always been “normal” can strongly benefit from a leap of faith, those whose rational minds have become twisted must make a radical shift toward the other extreme—toward the irrationality of faith.

Faith is not rational. If it were, it could not rightly be called faith, but reason. Reason is the tool for grasping that, which is knowable, while faith connects us to that which is unknowable—the wonder and mystery of existence.

Spiritual renewal restores us to sanity, Terumah; so there are two types of irrational thinking – one that falls short of rational thought, and one that transcends it. Irrational faith – not reason – is the opposite of and, more pointedly, the antidote for absurd and illogical thinking. The seeker’s obsession with self-destruction is less than rational, to put it mildly. Treating it with conventional psychological means is often futile and the prospects for success are grim.

A quality design for living is only accomplished by a psychic change, which is irrational, and requires faith.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you my Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer

When All Excuses Fail… Exodus

By Mendy Wolf

A recovering alcoholic described the catalyst to his rehabilitation and recovery. “I thought alcohol could drown my sorrows,” he said, “until I realized that sorrows float.”

Human tendency is to blame our problems, mistakes and failures on everyone but ourselves: “If only I had grown up with more loving parents, I would have more self-esteem…” “If my teacher hadn’t embarrassed me in second grade, I would have never ended up like this…” “If I hadn’t been surrounded by such bad friends, I would be different…”

The giving of the Torah at Sinai was a monumental event. It was a moment in time that radically changed the world and left its mark on every human being. The Power of the Universe had been revealed! The Almighty appeared to millions of people and declared, “I am the Lo­rd your God.”

No room for doubts or ambiguity: it was the “If only God would tell me He exists…” moment we all wish for.

When all excuses fail…

But the continuation of the dream we all have – “…then I would never do anything wrong!” – did not materialize. Mere days after this awesome experience, the Jews succumbed. Afraid that Moses had abandoned them, they created a golden calf and began worshiping it. Never mind the “You shall not serve any other gods” they had just heard from the A­lmighty’s voice. Forget the certainty and intense belief with which they had been filled. They were the same fallible human beings with doubts and temptations as always—and they failed.

Ultimately, no one can change our lives. Just as alcohol can not solve one’s emotional challenges, inspiration can not take the place of effort. Just as the giving of the Torah could not prevent the Jews from sinning, neither can better parents, teachers, friends or financial conditions. We, and we alone, are the creators of our destiny. We have been granted free choice.

As a child, a famous Jewish sage watched as his home went up in flames. As he stood beside his mother, watching the last remnants of their house reduced to ash, he saw that she was crying inconsolably. “The family tree!” she exclaimed over and over. “The book that records our beautiful lineage! It is lost forever.” The little boy comforted his mother, declaring, “Don’t worry about that book I will create a new family tree. I will establish a new lineage that you can be proud of.”

Let us abandon the “if only I had…” and begin replacing it with “I will establish a new lineage.” Let us not look past at what could have been, but rather forward at what must be. What could have been would not have changed things anyway. What will be is in our hands.

Stigma

By David L. Rosenbloom, Ph. D.
Stigma is one of the meanest and most difficult aspects of addiction because it makes it harder for people and families to deal with their problems and get the help they need. Society imposes stigma – and its damage – on addicts and their families because many of us still believe that addiction is a character flaw or weakness that probably can’t be cured. The stigma against people with addictions is so deeply rooted that it continues even in the face of the scientific evidence that addiction is a treatable disease and even when we know people in our families and communities living wonderful lives in long-term recovery.
Stigma is the reason there is so much social and legal discrimination against people with addictions. It explains why addicts and their families hide the disease. Discrimination always hurts stigmatized groups because they are excluded from the rules that apply to “normal” people. So insurance companies get away with refusing to pay for alcohol or drug treatment, or with charging higher deductibles and co-pays than for treating any other disease. People who need the help are often afraid to speak up. State and federal agencies feel safe in denying food stamps and baby formula to mothers who have past drug convictions because mothers who used drugs have few supporters in the political system and face lots of people who think they must be “bad mothers.” Though studies have found that helping employees to recover is more cost-effective than termination, some employers believe that firing an employee with a drinking problem is a lot easier than providing rehabilitation. A firestorm of protest would erupt if employers treated workers with cancer or heart disease the same way.
People who are victims of stigma internalize the hate it carries, transforming it to shame and hiding from its effects. Too often, people with alcohol and drug problems and their families begin to accept the ideas that addiction is their own fault and that maybe they are too weak to do anything about it. In many ways, hiding an addiction problem is the rational thing to do because seeking help can mean losing a job and medical insurance, or even losing your child when a social service agency declares you an unfit parent because you have an alcohol or drug problem.
The stress of hiding often causes other medical and social problems for the individuals and their families. This is especially true when an adolescent has an alcohol or drug problem. Fear often prompts kids to hide the problem from parents. Then, when parents find out, stigma makes them feel guilty and somehow negligent. Illness and family dysfunction explode. When that happens, parents find it even harder to fight for the care and resources their child urgently needs from a social and medical system that blames the family and the child.
FIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO FIGHT STIGMA

We may not change overnight the way society feels about people with alcohol and drug problems, but we can end the legal discrimination caused by stigma
1. Demand equal medical insurance coverage for alcohol and drug treatment.
2. Tell your elected representatives to stop punishing babies for the past problems of their mothers.
3. Tell your state lawmakers to remove the legal barriers that prevent people recovering from addictions from getting jobs.
4. Give more than lip service to the reality that addiction is a disease, not a character weakness.
5. Be an advocate for an individual or family with an addiction problem.

Letter From You To Your Addiction

Dear __________(his name),
You may be feeling better, but I am out here doing push-ups, getting stronger, smarter, and hiding in your shadow. I miss that warm, fuzzy feeling I would get when you would turn to me in times of despair. I won’t let you get rid of me so easily. We were together for years and suddenly you think you can let go? Nothing was your fault, my friend! It was the cop’s fault for pulling you over. It’s your family’s fault for never understanding what was going on in your head. It was your friends’ fault that they couldn’t accept you for who you are. I am a part of you and will never stop trying to be your beloved again. I enjoyed when you would listen to my every command, acting without hesitation. Why not steal that money from your parents? You are entitled to it. Why not expect others to change the way they live? You are perfectly fine the way you are. Who needs an education with your level of intelligence? I hope you will come back to me soon enough and snap out of this. I will be waiting for you, right by your side, for the rest of your life.
Yours truly,
Addiction

A Recovery Coach Answers Critical Questions

We see so much about addiction in the media and on TV, but many people have a lot of questions about sobriety, what it means and how it will change their lives. Here some answers anyone ready for a change needs to know.

What Is The Point of Sobriety?

Survival. It is a medical fact that long-term alcoholism will result in a shorter more painful life, not just for the abuser but also for those closest to him/her. The point of sobriety is ‘life over death’. Addiction is a chronic progressive disease that, if untreated, will end in death.

What Is Sobriety?

Sobriety is described as the absence of mood altering substances: alcohol, narcotic drugs, pot, non-prescribed pain killers, etc.

What Is The Difference Between Sobriety And Recovery?

We can achieve sobriety by self-willed abstinence. In abstinence we may be successful for short periods of time or indefinitely. The easier and undisciplined way, which is abstinence only, affords a less stressful lack of commitment. It does not involve much self-awareness or inner change.

Recovery is a planned change of lifestyle designed not only to prolong life, but also make it more joyous and free. If the point of sobriety is recovery; then we can have a quality of life with more enjoyment, better relationships, less expectations, more acceptance and tolerance

Questions To Answer When Making A Recovery Plan

We need to know some basic facts before working with a client as a Recovery Coach, the same facts suggested by The Bridge, a publication of the Addiction Treatment Technology Centers. These facts should be used to learn a plan, which the client will write him/herself based on what they have revealed about themselves and other facts of their lifestyle the RC must learn from them:

  1. Full substance abuse history as well as current use
  2. Age, gender, marital status, partner status (sexual activity) and educational status
  3. Occupation & Financial Status
  4. Culture & Ethnicity
  5. Medical, Psychiatric, Psychology and treatment history
  6. Self knowledge of substance abuse
  7. Readiness and Motivation
  8. Spiritual or Religious beliefs and activity
  9. Personal-finances, job, housing, family, support

Are There Alternatives to 12-Step Programs?

Yes. Some people are not comfortable in the beginning of their recovery journey with the 12-step approach, but may come to it later in recovery. Those who dislike the AA approach are especially vulnerable to relapse, as there may be no other place to go for ongoing support. But alternatives do exist and include the following:

• Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART)
• A women’s group called WFS
• SOS a self-help program that does not include spirituality
• Life Ring
• Moderation Management

There are many ways to change your life, but certain basic skills and patterns of behavior need be learned for any of them to be successful. Most addicts don’t have those skills, or have not used them in so long that they need someone like a Recovery Coach, especially if they don’t go to AA meetings, to get them back on track.
See Spotlight on Marc Dunn and find him at www.marcjdunn.com