Awakening Goddess: Empowering the Goddess Within

As above, so below, as within, so without - every thing that we desire, and every thing that we fear, exists within us. This blog explores nourishing our dreams, committing to our highest values, and healing ourselves from the inside out: awakening and empowering the Goddess within our bodies, hearts, and lives.

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Helper: Help Thyself

Step One is "We admitted that we were harming ourselves and others and that our lives had become overwhelming."

When I am overwhelmed, my primal brain is in control, and all it cares about is survival.  I've been under the control of my primal brain for most of the year so far, even when things were going good.  I was aware that something was wrong, but I kept putting off examining myself to find my problem while I helped other people find and work out theirs.

That's what I'm doing with my life.  I help people identify their problems, figure out solutions, and empower themselves to take those steps.  I am a healer, a teacher, and an intuitive consultant (sometimes known as a psychic,) but all those roles are simply aspects of Helper.

Like so many Helpers in this world, every single one that I've met so far in fact, I neglect to help myself.  I plan to.  I know I should.  I talk about it.  I encourage every client to put their own needs first and fill their own tank up, remind them that running on fumes is counterproductive and inefficient, while silently nudging myself to practice what I preach.

Two weeks ago, I finally started doing just that.  I personally am a huge fan of my friend Grey Ghosthawk's sweat lodge, and he started a Wheel of the Year sweat lodge series this year - the first of which was the weekend before last.  I went.  I spent the whole weekend taking care of my own needs without offering intuitive consultations or healing sessions for others, though I frequently and freely offered plenty of hugs.  I came home with my batteries fully charged...but I came home and kept the same habits I had when running on empty.

This weekend, I picked up a book called The Recovery Spiral for a friend.  While previewing it, I read the introduction, and when I got to the quote with which I started this blog post, I stopped and re-read it three times.  Holy crap, I thought.  I need to do this book too!

This book is a Pagan version of the 12 steps, complete with tarot spreads and rituals.  It is not just for alcoholics and drug addicts.  It is for everyone who has self-harmful habits, living in a state of overwhelm. 

Step Two is "Came to believe that a power within ourselves and our world could restore us to balance."  I already believe this.  I empowered myself to conquer lifelong depression three years ago.  My goal in life is to empower as many people as I can.  This book groups step one (admitting the problem) and step two (believing the problem can be solved) together in the first chapter.

Yesterday, I read through the first chapter, made my friend read through the first chapter, and after my son went to sleep, we did the tarot spreads for the first and second step.

At first, we wanted to use this program to help him stop smoking and to help me stop overeating.  Very quickly, the cards helped us get to the real problems.  He is not addicted to cigarettes - he is addicted to depression.  Depression is what makes him feel overwhelmed, and what drives him to smoke.  The spread for the second step helped him come up with a specific, doable plan of action to empower himself to overcome depression, and he started immediately.

When I laid out the cards for me, I was taken by surprise.  I thought my harmful behavior was overeating, but the cards told me that I'm addicted to diversion. And they are absolutely right.  This year I have barely paid my bills on time, though I have the potential to live comfortably if I would finish my dingdangdong projects already!  But I have read, on average, five novels a week, most of them books I've ALREADY READ!  I have spent hours every day EACH playing a game on my computer, watching netflix with my family, AND browsing Facebook.

Now that I've pulled out of the pattern and given it a good look, I see about 8 hours a day that I could have been spending quality time with my kid, cooking, writing, cleaning, and learning skills that will help me help more people.  I will NOT beat myself up about that - shame is a totally counterproductive, draining emotion that has no place on the path to healing and personal growth.

What I am doing, now that I see the problem, is treating it like a physical addiction.  I quit smoking when I was pregnant, started again when my son was a baby, and quit for good before he was one.  This is how I did it: I recognized my triggers and I practiced a replacement habit.

As a smoker, I only smoked outside.  So every time I went outside, at first, I felt a powerful urge to smoke.  I also smoked at certain times - first thing in the morning, after every meal, when my friends wanted to smoke, and last thing before bed.

When I quit the final time, I avoided going outside with smokers.  I changed my morning and evening habit to sitting outside with a cup of tea.  I stayed inside after meals and distracted myself from the urge to smoke with a book or another cup of tea.  It took about a month of sustained effort before I no longer wanted a cigarette and they started stinking to me again.  I get nauseated when I smell cigarettes now, and I like it that way.

So now I've got to quit distracting myself from my life.  This is a little more complex than the cigarette thing.  I can avoid novels and the TV, but I have to go online for my business and I have to use my computer to write.  I used to always read, watch something, or play a game while eating, and now I have to make a habit of ONLY eating when I eat, only paying attention to my food and how my body feels because if I give in to the urge to play a game or read, I'll slide right back into that well-worn groove of distracting myself for hours and oh look no time to do anything productive before I head off to work.

My friend and I are walking the recovery spiral together.  How about you?  Do you feel stressed out and overwhelmed?  Would you like to take this journey together?

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Ashley Rae published her first book, a memoir, in 2012, and has been a professional psychic, healer, and teacher since 2003. Ashley's goal in life is to help you empower the divine spark within yourself so that you can love yourself freely, make your life awesome, and make this world a more beautiful, compassionate place. Visit her website to check out her other blog, find out her schedule, book an appointment and register for her classes.

Comments

  • Michele L Warch
    Michele L Warch Thursday, 17 April 2014

    Thank you for your review. Its funny the way the world works -- not really, just synchronicity. I was having a conversation, last night, with another pagan in addiction recovery (alcohol), both of us are trained mental health professionals. We were discussing that, if we just taught everyone to live by the steps of a 12 step program (the particular one is really irrelevant), there would be little need for professional therapy.

    Truly, everyone can benefit from studying and incorporating the tenets of the 12 step programs, even using the mundane (non-pagan) approaches. I have not yet read this book, but it is on my reading list. I have, however, read several of the mainstream 12 step books and found each and every one full of pagan belief and wisdom, despite their Christian wording. I think we often forget that Divine source is non-denominational and pagans can be quite as guilty of throwing stones as other religious groups. There is some beautiful wisdom in most of the world's religions. I can use it to grow. I am still a witch.

    Blessed Be.

  • Ashley Rae
    Ashley Rae Thursday, 17 April 2014

    Thank you for your insight, Michele! I have to admit that Christian wording turns me off. I can't get through A Course in Miracles or most of Mirianne Williamson's stuff for that reason: I don't believe in sin, I don't believe in guilt, shame, punishment/reward as divine sources of motivation, and I don't believe that telling people how small they are next to God is a good way to empower them to change their lives for the better. Here is a side by side comparison of the AA 12 steps next to this author's Pagan revision, which makes the 12 steps accessible and valuable to people like me. :)
    http://i.imgur.com/BJv4zb7.jpg?1

    Blessed be!

  • Michele L Warch
    Michele L Warch Thursday, 17 April 2014

    Thank you. That was very helpful to see them side by side. I think I've always understood the wording in my own head to be in keeping with my own beliefs. Especially being of a goddess tradition, I don't use the male term for deity. I'm open about my beliefs in my local groups and areas and don't participate in the reciting of the Christian Lord's prayer when that's done at some meetings. Instead, I say my own prayer.

    It's so odd that it took a 12 step program to teach me tolerance. Like many pagans, I've had plenty of unpleasant experiences with people of other religions who believe they own the only path to divinity. I've had the amazing opportunity to interact with people of many faiths with a common goal (sobriety) and to educate others. For many of them, I'm the only witch they know. It's pretty awesome.

    I will definitely get this book. I forward to reading the pagan perspective on recovery and sooner rather than later.

    Blessed be.

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