"Pletcher and Bartolameolli are undisputed experts on the subject of co-sex addiction.  They know more about it than anyone I know and have presented  an expose that with great clarity supersedes anything I have read before."

– John Bradshaw

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pain as Teacher

Pain is a mature teacher, if we allow it to be. There is some thinking in the new age belief system which suggests that pain is the result of doing something wrong or perhaps not believing in the ease and joy of life. The thinking suggests that if we live the spiritual life, we will be without struggle, difficulty or pain of any kind. This, however, is not the belief of most spiritual teachers. St. John of the Cross describes the Dark Night of the Soul as part of the spiritual journey. Gautama Buddha, the believed founder of Buddhism, taught that pain is a part of all life. There is, I believe, a distinction between the organic pain associated with the rhythms of living and seasons of birth and death and what we create for ourselves as suffering. Spiritual maturity is not the absence of pain but the embracing of it with awareness and faith in it's wisdom.

When we begin 12 step recovery, we look at our own addictive behaviors. These behaviors may be related to the use of substances or our own thinking and acting out in relationships. As we allay these compulsive thoughts and actions, we begin to feel more deeply our fear, anger, shame and sadness. Addictive behavior comes from the inability to be with our own emotional states such that we medicate and mood alter; sometimes out of habit and sometimes simply because we do not know what else to do with the intensity of feelings inside. Learning to hold our emotions, reach out to others and see the wisdom the feelings are offering us is a mature behavior. When we do this, we begin to allow these feelings to move through us and cleanse our body, spirit and mind. Our pain has a gift for us, whether it is in seeing clearly our own actions that hurt those we love including ourselves, or coming to terms with our own histories and the set-up for cosex addiction in our lives.

Feeling our pain, knowing that our grief has purpose and allowing ourselves the gift of emotional support and connection with others, is the foundation of our recovery. As we begin to develop emotional maturity and intelligence by identifying our emotions, understanding their source and choosing to share our insights with supportive and allies on the journey, our spiritual and emotional intelligence will deepen. Our journey has meaning and as we share our experience with others, our pain has purpose as well.

Blessings on our journey,


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Conscious Contact

Step eleven of the 12 steps reminds us to maintain a "conscious contact" with our Higher Power and Spiritual Source. Just recently I've come to a deepen understanding of this phrase. One of the definitions of addiction is to give ourselves over to a habit. This habit can be food, drugs, alcohol, control, obsessive fear, shame, shopping, cosex addiction, judging others or any number of mood altering behaviors or thoughts. In giving ourselves over to any habit in this way, we lose consciousness. Losing consciousness can become a habit, an addiction and we also lose our ability to choose new behaviors or thoughts in our comatose state.

Whenever I have engaged in addictive behaviors whether it is eating to mood alter, spending money inappropriately or over-focusing on another person's behaviors, I have lost conscious contact with the moment. If I am not present in the moment, how can I maintain a connection with my Higher Power? Perhaps having a vibrant relationship with a Spiritual Being begins with being awake and present in my own life. Here are some tips for maintaining conscious contact:

1. Breathe deeply. Our breath allows us to be present in the moment and in our consciousness with the moment, we can invite our Higher Power to join us.

2. Notice your own consciousness and lack of consciousness. Begin to pay attention to where your thoughts are in the moment and if you are aware of your body sensations and feelings. The more that we practice awareness in the moment, the more we are able to choose conscious contact with ourselves and our Spiritual Source.

3. When you find yourself drifting in thought out of the present moment, gently pat yourself on the arm or pinch your hand lightly. You will bring your mind, feeling and body sensations together. This will remind you to stay conscious and assist in you noticing how often you are not. It all begins to transform with awareness.

The more work that we do from our own unhealed traumas, the more we are able to be present in our own body, mind and spirit. When we disassociate from the present moment, it is often and because being present in our own bodies is to be present with our own feelings and pain. The more we do our own healing work, the more we are able to embrace our own breath and maintain conscious contact with ourselves, our Higher Power and others.

Blessings on your journey,


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sought through Prayer and Meditation....

Living a spiritual life requires discipline. I hate discipline. I think there is something so attractive and sensuous about living "free" and spontaneously. Discipline cramps my style in so many ways. At least this is what goes on in my mind. I know enough, however, not to spend too much time alone in my mind. While I honor and respect my own intelligence, when it comes to surrendering to a power greater than myself and living a spiritually and emotionally mature life, it is essential that I invite others to assist and open myself to my Higher Power. A regular prayer and meditation practice is a way to do this.

Today I know that miracles happen when I have a foundation of discipline in my life. When I allow myself the gift of regular prayer and meditation, there is order and harmony for me. Synchronicity becomes a way of life. As I take time to breathe deeply and invite my Higher Power into my day, asking for guidance and the courage and willingness to be of service, opportunities present themselves. When I release my concerns and ask for clarity and spiritual solutions, a way is made. Regular prayer and meditation becomes an amazing resource of spiritual tools and response to my requests. It begins with the discipline of a spiritual practice. Here are some tips for developing the discipline of a vibrant prayer and meditation practice:

1. If you find it difficult to sit quietly in prayer and meditation, just set a timer for 5 minutes while you sit still and breathe deeply. Doing this regularly will build up a tolerance for this prayer time and you will find it becomes easier to sit for longer periods of time. Be kind and gentle with yourself as you develop this discipline.

2. Try lighting a candle, burning some incense or taking a small step to create the sacred space for prayer and meditation. This makes a difference. The simple act of lighting a candle can have profound results energetically in connecting with our Higher Power. We begin to embrace this holy ceremony and receive the gifts of the spiritual relationship we are nourishing.

3. Start with where you are and try journaling as part of the practice. For years I found it near impossible to try and meditate. I would attempt to clear my mind and try to 'force' quietness inside my own brain. It became more and more frustrating for me and eventually I stopped trying. Today in my prayer and meditation practice, I begin with journaling. I write exactly what I am feeling and thinking and let the frustration, fear, shame, joy or angry flow out on paper. When I begin with exactly where I am, I can then release this all to my Spirit Guides and Higher Power. This emptying creates openness and receptivity and I can receive from them guidance and reassurance. Rigorous self honesty is the best way for me to surrender to my Divine Source and begin to receive guidance and wisdom for the day.

To live a spiritual life means that we must take time to nourish our spirits and welcome our Higher Power. While the discipline of this make take time, every effort we make will be honored. Ease will come and this spiritual connection will deepen over time.