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​ Spiritual Friday: Breaking the Shell

Although our group is called "Spiritual Friday" and not "Religious Friday," we often point out to the patients that religion for many of us is how we awaken to ourselves as spiritual beings. With Good Friday and Easter in March and then Passover this month, it’s good to keep in mind that these religious holidays can give us so many beautiful messages, regardless of what spiritual path we are on.

Even if we’re agnostic or atheist, those of us in recovery have all experienced the letting go as our "old self" dies, as the life we had formerly known ends. But out of that darkness comes great light; a new understanding and we awaken to a new life.

Our time together covered love, courage, hope, change, and spiritual awakening. We opened with some beautiful readings by the patients. Here's one:

“Every crack is also an opening. When in the midst of great change, it is helpful to remember how a chick is born. From the view of the chick, it is a terrifying struggle. Confined and curled in a dark shell, half-formed, the chick eats all its food and stretches to the contours of its shell. It begins to feel hungry and cramped. Eventually, the chick begins to starve and feels suffocated by the ever-shrinking space of its world. Finally, its own growth begins to crack the shell, and the world as the chick knows it is coming to an end. Its sky is falling. As the chick wriggles through the cracks, it begins to eat its shell. In that moment—growing but fragile, starving and cramped, its world breaking—the chick must feel like it is dying. Yet once everything it has relied on falls away, the chick is born. It doesn't die, but falls into the world.” - Mark Nepo

I also read the story of the caterpillar and how its struggle out of the cocoon is necessary for it to fly. Often we have no idea what we are capable of or who we are until we experience the darkness of the cocoon and the inner struggle of change – the ideal conditions for flight!

Before meditation, one of our patients shared a YouTube video of a service she attended at our local Kabbalah Center; the message touched her deeply and she wanted to share it with the community.

Every patient received a copy of the “12 Signs of a Spiritual Awakening."

A tendency to let things happen rather than make then happen.
Smiling more.
Feeling connected with others and nature.

Overwhelming feelings of appreciation.
Thinking and acting spontaneously, rather than from fears based on past experience.

An ability to simply enjoy the moment.
Loss of the need to constantly worry.

A loss of interest in conflict.
A loss of an interest of interpreting the actions of others.

A loss of an interest in judging others.
A loss of interest in judging self.

Having the ability to love with out expecting anything in return.

Are you waking?

Our meditation was in the form of a beautiful song by India Arie called "Break the Shell”, which perfectly expresses our message for the day. I hope you enjoy it as much as we all did.

The patients received a mediation stone, a special message, and an angel card.

One of the patients received a stone that said "Listen". The patient's response was, "I really need to listen to others." Another patient said, "I've never felt so hopeful. Who am I to know that G-d doesn't have something amazing planned for me?"

Another patient got a stone that said, "Courage". They responded, "I need courage so I don't feel sorry for myself."

"Wisdom" was written on another stone and the patient responded, "I have it, but I just don't use it."

I'll close with some of the messages received by the patients that I wish for all of you:

"May you accept your errors and transmute them from the bitterness of self-blame to the sweetness of self-love."

"May you have many wonderful friends who love you just the way you are, yet challenge you to be all that you can be."

"May you follow the dictates of your heart, regardless of what other people may think of you."

"May you trust your inner voice and listen."

"May you welcome obstacles as opportunities to express yourself in ways you didn't think possible."


Reverend Laurie Durgan