Going Within – Many Paths to Peace for Me and You!
During Alan’s darkest days of active use disorder, I, too, was experiencing the family disorder of anxiety, addiction to Alan’s every move, and extreme upset. At the time, I was a school principal. I did my job, but in between appointments, I cried alone in my office.
One day, the parent of one of my students walked into my office unannounced and saw the tears streaming down my face. As I wiped them off, she looked at me, not with shock, but with empathy and lovingkindness.
She didn’t ask what was going on, and probably assumed that the job of being a middle school principal was getting to me. She then shared that when she had been that upset, she began to meditate and it really helped her. I believed that could help as I began to remember what I had learned time and again throughout my life: Silence, spiritual connection, and deep awareness hold the keys to peace.
I had first learned this lesson through the Silent Amidah Prayer and the practice of Hitbodedut, one-on-one secluded inner conversation with the Creator, that I learned and practiced in Jewish Seminary after high school, through practicing Transcendental Meditation in the late 70’s, going to Intensive Journal Workshops for a ten year period in the 80’s where I was first exposed to the idea of engaging in ongoing written dialogues with God, a practice I continue to this day, and and through participation in a series of silent Jewish meditation retreats in the years leading up to that moment in tears.
But at the time that parent walked into my office, I was not practicing anything. Call it a dry period. My husband was struggling mightily, and I was struggling with a combination of denial, fear, work stress, and, quite frankly, perimenopause. Together, these formed a perfect storm and I was a mess.
She told me about a woman who taught meditation to overwrought professionals in Miami (where I lived at the time) to help them reduce their stress and anxiety.
Within a couple of weeks of practicing Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a method of body/mind awareness and stress reduction developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, my stress levels began to fall, and my prior training in getting to know my inner world kicked in.
The course lasted 8 weeks. By the end, I was feeling much better and I had a solid meditation practice that opened me up once again to my faith, my health, and my own ability to function professional and be present as a wife and a mom during one of the most challenging periods of our lives.
All of this comes to mind after an evening of teaching BALM Principle 9 (It is important to Explore and or Heal Your Relationship to the Spiritual) last evening, which is designed to help us look at why doing so could help us with our struggles and provides some ideas of where you might want to start. Of course, you may be well along your path and only need a reminder to get back on that path or keep pursuing it. Or, you may be ready to go deeper.
But, you may also be like I was, well schooled in prayer and meditation, but totally disconnected from daily practice, due to how you reacted when great stress and trauma came your way…
Tonight on the Daily BALM, when we explore Principle 10, It is important to Heal Your Relationship with Yourself, we will look at Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which is a method of stress reduction.
I will be interviewing MBSR Instructor Dave Potter, a link to whose online free MBSR program can be found in the new BALM Fans and Friends section of the resources page on our balm family recovery website. On his website, David provides completely free MBSR instruction, with the okay of his teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn of the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.
I was inspired to share this with you based on so many requests from BALMers looking for new and different ways to learn to bring calm and peace into their lives. As you know, BALM Step One teaches Be the peace you wish to see in the world but does not dictate how you do it. In fact, we share some tools to do so in class, and then invite you to seek out any additional ways to get in touch with your inner peace that could work for you.
Take a look at it if you can today and join us with your questions and curiosity this evening at 9 PM ET, when David and I will talk about how to get to peace in the middle of the stress of family addiction. By the way, this will be an open call and you are welcome to invite and bring anyone you would like to invite! To register and join us, click here.
Have a great week and see you then!
Be A Loving Mirror!