November 04, 2016
The topic for our latest Spiritual Friday was acceptance of self and acceptance of our Higher Power’s love.
“Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation, some fact of my life unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. " - Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 449
That "person" can be ourselves. We often forget that we must accept ourselves before we can accept anything or anyone else. And we can't heal or change something if we don't acknowledge and accept its existence in us.
One patient shared, "I accept that I'm an addict but accepting myself and who I really am is hard because being an addict is all I can see of myself."
There is so much more to us than we realize or are willing to see. This, I believe, is our work as spiritual leaders – to help the patients see, feel, experience, and believe that there is so much more to them than their addiction. To help them see that there is so much good in them, that they are connected to a power that loves, guides, protects, heals, strengthens, and accepts them just as they are through other people, their own thoughts, and the world around them.
"Just as you are, G-d loves you. No matter how unimportant you think you are, regardless of how wrongly you think you have handled anything in your life, how little faith you seem to have, or how inadequate you feel, G-d loves you." -Mary Kupferle
We shared several beautiful readings this day. We shared an excerpt from the book "My Grandfather's Blessings" by Rachel Naomi Remen, MD. This was a story about unconditional love and self-acceptance – it was a favorite among the patients.
We also shared the poem "The Touch of the Master's Hand" by Myra Brooks Welch. The message of this powerful poem is that G-d has never given up on you and never will. G-d sees you as you hope you are, not as you fear you are.
We had a brief guided meditation followed by a deeply inspiring rendition of "Brave" by Sara Barreilles.
Encouraging. Inspiring. Heartfelt. Love.
Some of the questions in small groups were:
- What is the most painful thing you've had to accept?
- Do you feel the love of G-d today? Do you feel G-d's acceptance?
- How can spirituality help you accept yourself?
All the patients received gratitude journals along with an assignment. Every day, they have to write down five things that they are grateful for – one of these things have to be something about themselves. Before they left, many of them shared their gratitude and self-love. I highly recommend this practice!
Reverend Laurie Durgan