Friday, August 31, 2012

Friends at Leo's Den

 I know that many of you have watched the Olympics in London and enjoyed it. For me, the games were exciting to watch, not only for the US team but also for England! Yes, the spirit of the Olympics is about competition but in many ways it expands our respect for other cultures around the world and I see that the unity and friendship between the countries is evident.

Talking about different countries and cultures, in September a group will be joining me on my journey to Southern India.

Maybe you're asking, "I see that the trip is less than a month away but can I still come?"
"Can I join the group at this late date?"

Yes, but you need to call Shama at Rama Tours at 773.205.7900 and fix up the details.

I hear from my sister, who lives in Manchester, England that the weather is glorious at the moment. Maybe you would like to see England this Fall, well call Michael and arranage your dates. I will be visiting some time before Christmas; can't wait to order my English fish and chips. And the English lamb is very tasty.

Rev Leo

Here are some comments from people who have visited Leo's Den recently:

 Just wanted you to know how much we enjoyed our stay at Leo's Den. The weather was cool and rainy, but it didn't stop us. It was quiet and peaceful and yet so much fun to experience the English customs, food, shopping, sites and the car is lovely! I am glad we had the longer stay. Anything less would just not be enough. I would highly recommend it to anyone. - Maridale & Amy

 Leo's Den is beautiful, comfortable and well appointed. Leo did a great job with the remodel. Christine is a gem. (She doesn't really look like the Auntie type; she is very fashionable, gorgeous and young!) She was warm and welcoming! Our strategy of making Leo's Den our home base and adventuring out from there was all-in-all a good plan. - Donna & Geno, Richmond, VA

Spending time in the comfort and ease of Leo’s Den provided an opportunity for us to enjoy the quiet atmosphere of Manchester, to rest and rejuvenate, and to have a ‘home base’ from which to visit parts of England as well as to venture forth to Rome and Florence. We particularly appreciated Auntie Christine and the many friendly people we met in the neighborhood, on buses and at local pubs. Leo’s Den is a perfect place to spend time for anyone who needs to take a break from the hectic pace of everyday life. We are happy to have had this experience. - Reverend Judy and Reverend Glenda, Common Ground Spiritual Center

From 8/26/12 Newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter directly, click HERE.
For more details on Leo's Den, England, please click HERE.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Spiritual Awakening

The good thing about having an author write a column is that you hear about a new book before the book is published; in my case, I’m talking about The Happy Heretic. It is the result of my spiritual awakening that happened years ago when I realized that everything I was told I didn’t believe. Or, to put it another way; we believe a thing until we don’t believe it anymore.

I think everyone who enters into recovery soon realizes that they are not only seeking healing for their drug and alcohol use, other things are involved. For some it is food, sex, gambling; in my case it was religious codependency.

Is the phrase religious codependency new to you? Well, that’s why I wrote this book. More importantly, that’s why it is being published by Health Communications Incorporated this December. It speaks of a toxic message I heard growing up; God is everything and I am nothing without God’s grace. Well, I don’t believe that. Oh, I realize that I’m not God, but I am something. Yes, God certainly wanted me to get sober, but I needed to want it enough to change my behaviors. The God that I believe in today, so very different from the God I was raised with, has given Leo something of himself (free will) at birth. I am a child of God that, with this gift of free will, is able to make creative choices. I’m no longer nothing; I am something.

For the alcoholic who was riddled with guilt, shame and low self-esteem this belief has proven to be transformational. I’m an essential part of my recovery.

Today I am able to understand the word responsibility in a new and challenging way because I’ve moved away from that religious codependency that kept me waiting for God to fix or rescue me. God’ grace requires my involvement; I have become part of the change process.

This spiritual awakening has also helped me understand that I have not inherited the sin of Adam and Eve. They were responsible for their behaviors, and they paid the price; I’m responsible for my actions and behaviors. The term original sin has come to mean for me, original blessing. I’ve moved away from sin into a state of blessedness. Their sins, your sins, they are not my sins. As the saying goes: I was born an original, I’m not going to die a copy.

For me, this spiritual awakening has created an amazing shift in my life. Notice I said my life, not just recovery. Yes, I need to take responsibility for my recovery from alcohol and drugs but this healing from religious codependency has affected health, finance, relationships…and prayer.

I’m no longer praying for God to take away my problems and challenges, rather I’m affirming in my prayers the need to think differently and act responsibly. Health issues became my issues. If I want to pray about my cough, and I’m a smoker, then I need to act differently. Asking for God to remove my financial insecurity, if I’m spending too much money at Starbucks, doesn’t make sense today. Requesting a loving partner, without doing the footwork, is really a cry for magic, not miracle.

Has this spiritual awakening made me critical of the words and prayers used at recovery meetings? Not really. I’ve always realized that the program is inspired, not dogmatically dictated and it is necessary for me to interpret what I hear and read. True, the prayers on the wall are not as I would have written them but I look to the meaning behind the words. What is said with one hand always needs to be balanced by what is being said in the other hand. I need to let go; and also be responsible. I need to be quiet and listen; but there is also a time to speak. I need to assist others; but also take care of myself.

Yes, you can say it; Leo will never become a bleeding deacon!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Walking Away

A popular saying needs thinking about: What you think of me is none of my business!

Oh really?
If you are cruel and sarcastic, a real jerk, that is my business.
I need to create some distance for MY sanity.