By Ester Nicholson
We’ve all experienced profound disappointment in our lives. There are some of us who use these disappointments to keep ourselves down, and to hang onto the belief that things never work out for us. We’ve held on to our stories of abandonment, rejection, betrayal and abuse, seeking to blame others for our pain. We unconsciously use these stories to stay small, constricted, and determined to never trust or open our hearts again.
While that is totally acceptable and even encouraged in the beginning stages of shock and disappointment, it is toxic, counter productive and a spiritual dead end to pull over and park there – especially for those with addictive/dependent tendencies.
It never serves us to do a bypass and pretend we’re so spiritual that we don’t experience resentment, fear and hurt. It’s healthy and absolutely necessary to be in the moment and acknowledge every feeling that arises when you’ve experienced disappointment and loss, no matter how it occurred or who’s at fault. Allowing yourself to feel the pain, rage, fear and sorrow, is, in fact, a very important part of your healing journey. If you skip this important step, true healing is impossible. However, it’s just as important to work through the pain and heal any unforgiveness or resentment that is operating in your awareness.
It has been proven over and over again, that resentment – which is the remembering, reliving and re-telling of painful events–is deadly for those with addictive or dependent tendencies. You simply cannot afford it. Resentment and blame blocks you from a connection with Spirit-your spirit. When you are blocked from your spirit, you are blocked from emotional balance and well-being.
In this state, life becomes very hard and every moment is like trying to operate through a foggy mind of scattered-ness, anger and pain.
The Sufi poet Rumi reminds us that the way through the pain is to feel the pain. However, I have found that even in the midst of that pain, you can catch a glimmer of the fact that healing is possible, and that a blessing is right in the midst of your deepest despair. Just this awareness shows that you have made the first step in climbing your way out of what felt like your longest and darkest night.
How do I know this? Been there – done that – and so grateful that the Universe has never failed me. Even in your darkest hour, it will not fail you if you’re willing to go to whatever lengths to find the “value in the valley, the message in the mess and the testimony in the test.”
Here are the seven steps that I practice on a daily basis, but especially when I’m walking through the fire of divine refinement in my own life
1. Feel the pain – allow yourself to feel angry, resentful, fearful and hurt. Yell, scream and cry if that’s what’s coming through. It’s your inner child needing a voice for his/her frustration and disappointment. If you don’t give children an opportunity to express their feelings – they find another way to act out, right? Your inner child will find a way to act out, as well, if not given a loving space to feel its feelings.
2. Tell your story to people on a spiritual path who can be compassionate with your pain, but have the ability to take you past the story to your healing. No more Starbucks dates with your best friend to talk about what others did to you over, and over, and over again.
3. Forgive, forgive and forgive. If you have to do a forgiveness process 50 times a day, do it. It doesn’t condone inappropriate behavior on the part of others; it heals your core wounds, allows you to release others from blame and transforms your story from victim to victory. Forgiveness sets you free.
4. Make amends to the best of your ability for any part you’ve played in the situation. Yes, you can stop screaming – I know, I know. This is one of the most challenging steps there is, but it will take you where you want to go, my friend.
5. Meditation – sit in the silence – not to get your problems solved, but from a realization that in the mind of God, there are no problems and that the good you are seeking is already complete. Meditation isn’t about making anything happen; it’s about coming into alignment with the good that is already happening.
6. Affirmative prayer – Get clear about the reality and nature of God, and begin to pray from that recognition of your oneness with God. Affirming your freedom, peace of mind, divine and perfect order, harmony and inexhaustible love. Speak the word of truth for yourself, and have others support you in this way, as well.
7. Surround yourself with love and support from family and friends. Exercise, eat healthy (Krispy Creams might not be the best thing for you right now, so treat yourself in a healthy way), and have as much fun as possible.
The next thing you know, you’ll be on the other side, and the door that was shut has beenreplaced with something better than you have ever imagined.
– Ester Nicholson, renowned vocalist for Bette Midler and Rod Stewart, former addict, teacher, speaker and author uses her own astonishing story as the core of her powerful book: Soul Recovery – 12 Keys to Healing Addiction….and 12 Steps for the Rest of Us-A Path to Wholeness, Serenity and Success (Hay House/Agape Media). Soul Recovery, the process that Nicholson developed to heal herself of cocaine addiction – unifying the12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with spiritual principles and practices – has guided thousands to their recovery and highest potential. The book includes a forward by Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith. For more information, please visit: www.soulrecovery.org