Beginning July 1st, 2016, Religious Recovery will post excerpts from the new book Set Your Course: The Student Manual for Religious Recovery (soon to be published). Over the course of six months we will spend one week on each of the Thirteen Steps and Thirteen Stones. A total of 182 different readings will take the student through the concepts and ideas of the Religious Recovery healing program. Our hope is that you will find healing, hope, and spiritual health through the daily readings. May The Divine bless you and always be at your side.
Many relationship problems can be traced to communication failures. When you combine weak communication skills with impatience you have a recipe that’s ready for disaster. Even with the best of intentions we sometimes find ourselves being misunderstood. As a writer my job is to communicate clearly. Unfortunately, that skill isn’t always within my grasp on the written page or in my personal life.
I have learned some tricks that help, but the occasional blunder still comes through. In my writing, the secret lies with rewriting. It helps to walk away from what I’ve written and then return to it later. After time has passed, it becomes more apparent if my communication is clear or muddy. The more I rewrite, the better I communicate.
Relationships also work better if we take time to hone our words before blurting them out. Unfortunately, the “rewrite” needs to occur before the communication is spoken, not after we’ve hurt someone because we failed to speak with accuracy and kindness. Communication is an art, and with any artistic endeavor, practice and patience go a long way toward helping us master our craft.
Often our plans are frustrated. We want something to go just right, and we work hard to achieve that goal, only to be disappointed with the end result. When this occurs in the normal routines of life, we can, in many situations, overlook our disappointments and appreciate the things that did go well. As time passes, we may even discover that things may have gone better than we had hoped they would. Perhaps it was only our perception that was off.
When our plans seem to go off track in the spiritual realm, we pause to consider: “Why weren’t my prayers answered?” “How could I have been so off course?” But, another question we might ask which could help us understand what happened on a deeper level is this: “Were my plans frustrated, or were The Divine’s plans frustrated?” If we are certain that our plans and The Divine’s plans were in alignment, then the outcome may have been disappointing only because we had projected a different result, but consider that the end result might have been exactly in accordance with what The Divine desired and also what we desired especially if the outcome was more in keeping with the deepest desires of our heart—to love and to be loved. In the routine of life, and in the spiritual realm, letting go of the end result is an important lesson to learn.
There is beauty all around us. But, there is also beauty within us. The beauty in creation is easy to behold. Even in the cold days of winter, we see beauty in the ice and snow. But, looking deeper, we also find it in the barrenness of a long, cold winter—if we choose to open our hearts to it.
Inner beauty is more difficult for many people to recognize. Some religions even tend to discourage us from seeing ourselves as beautiful lest we become conceited and self-absorbed. But, in all of creation, I know of nothing more beautiful than a human being made in the image of The Divine. We have the ability to see, hear, touch, feel, think, love and be loved. We have the ability to reason, change our minds, and make others smile with just a touch or a hug.
We are beautifully complex creatures that are worthy of our own love and admiration. We are just exactly as The Divine created us—beautiful, lovely, full of potential, and worth. Recognize your beauty and celebrate.
As we recognize our own beauty, we might want to extend that recognition to everyone we meet, because everyone has enormous amounts of beauty within them. Sometimes our blindness prevents us from seeing what the heart knows is real. Sometimes we allow the words we hear to taint our vision, but the beauty is still there like gems waiting to be unearthed. If we fail to see our own beauty, it becomes difficult to see the beauty in others. If we fail to see the beauty in others, it also becomes difficult to see the beauty within ourselves.
At times it only takes a simple act of kindness to reveal beauty. A smile, a touch, a listening ear, or a helping hand can soften a person’s shell and allow us to glimpse the pearls of beauty they guard from others. Beauty speaks to beauty, and grace speaks to grace. By sharing our inner beauty we receive beauty in return.
There are times when our attempts to extend beauty and grace appear to be rebuffed, but nothing returns to us void. Beauty reflects, echoes, and shadows us with our every attempt. The people who rebuff our kindness have yet to recognize the child of The Divine within themselves. Our grace softens their shell. In time, they will discover there is nothing to fear—from us, or from others.
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Our purpose is to help individuals to heal who have been injured by religion or the religious. We welcome your comments and questions.