Hello Natalie, My Name is Natalie

Camino De SantiagoIn 1988 the members of The Proclaimers stated their love for a women by saying they would walk 500 miles for her. Well I did walked 500 miles just not in the name of love for some else.  

On May 19th 2014 I started my 2 month journey in Ireland. After many beer and whiskey filled days with my loved ones (which I do remember), it was time for us to part ways. As my mom boarded her plane back to Arizona I boarded one to Paris, and that’s where my story begins. From Paris I took train after train after train and finally ended up in a town called Saint Jean Pied De Port, which is right on the border of France and Spain. Now this, this is where my journey began.

 The next day was beautiful. The sky was that type of blue that lights up the world, creating an artwork of colors in a world that looked like a landscape painting. The grass seemed greener, the air fresher, and the donkeys cuter. This was the day that I took my first steps on the Camino De Santiago. A 500 mile journey from France, across the border to Spain and almost entirely through Spain. And yes, I walked the whole thing.

That first day was what most people call a female dog, but at the end of the day, I got reassuring words.  “Don’t worry,” they said. “It’ll get easier,” they said. Don’t be fooled, it didn’t get easier until the day I finished. After the first few weeks the physical pain goes away, but that’s when the mental pain begins. When you are forced to walk day after day for 7 to 10 hours at a time, it is amazing the thing you think about. I thought about all of the pain I’ve ever been caused, the death of my dog, the hurtful relationships, the beautiful baby my sister created, the way I felt when I first fell in love and Robert Pattinson of course, but none of this even compared to what else was going on in my head. I had to forgive, I had remember, I had to feel the things I had forced myself to ignore for years. Things came up I had forgotten about. Things came up that I purposefully didn’t remember. I was forced into the depths of my subconscious as I walked over mountains, through the woods, down stones that could have possibly led to my death, through beautiful wheat and flower fields, through some people’s vineyards (oops) and through towns of every type.

But it wasn’t what I saw, what I thought about, what I felt, it was who I met that changed my life forever. I met Luca from Italy, Jack from Norway, Alex from Germany, and I even met a girl who lives just ten minutes away in Tempe Arizona, but it wasn’t these people either. I met a being named God on my trip through this foreign world I had found myself in. And no I don’t mean I had a near death experience and found myself staring up at a tall, dark haired causation man who had hands big enough to hold the world. I met the God inside myself. The God in the world, the god in the trees, in the grass, in the animals, and in every other pilgrim that I walked by. He was there when I cried myself to sleep, reassuring me I could make it to the end. He was there when I got lost in the woods on the top of the mountain on an extremely rainy day (that’s a long story) but somehow ran into other lost pilgrims. He was there in the eyes of the people I met the whole way showing me the true affection others could have for one another. He walked me not only through Spain but he walked me through my subconscious. He tamed me when I was mad, soothed me when I was sad, and praised me when I conquered. Most importantly though, he introduced me to someone I had been waiting my whole life to meet. He introduced me to myself. He showed me who I am, what I can really do, or be, or say. He introduced me to my soul mate, the one person  I was walking this whole thing for, the one person I should love more than anyone else, and that was myself. Hello Natalie, nice to finally meet you.

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Pause


All of your experiences, every one, bring to the surface the deepest wounds that need to be healed.

Did you ever notice that you seem to experience the same things over and over again?  You may be in a different place and with different people, but the situation is the same.  Whether it is how you are treated in a relationship, how much money you make or maybe your career choice, you always seem to have the feeling that this has happened to you before.  These situations are usually followed by the question, “Why does this keep happening to me?”

Our life experiences are the very things for which we came here …especially the painful ones.  Pain is the signal for us to pay attention.  The more pain, the more important the lesson.  With each experience you have you are given the chance to learn the lesson that is within the experience.  As humans, we were given the ability to choose.  At any time you can choose to extract the lesson, leave the experience behind and move on or run from the pain and chose to hide from the lesson.  Each time we hide, it is guaranteed the lesson will return, each time bringing more pain to your awareness.  This is why we experience the same things over and over again in different forms.  They are our lessons disguised.

So what is the secret to moving through an experience and learning the lesson?  Pause.  Each time you find yourself in a familiar situation, pause and ask yourself, “How am I going to handle this situation this time?”  Self-awareness is key.  Watch yourself.  Notice what you do, what you say, who you chose as friends and mates.  Nothing changes if nothing changes.  Self-awareness is hard work.  Changing is sometimes painful.  We find ourselves having to release people from our lives that may have been there for a long time; changing the thoughts that we allow to run through our minds and most importantly, changing the way we behave.

Nothing you have done in your life is wrong.  Every choice has lead you to become the person you are today.  Every person you have met, especially the ones who have caused you the most pain, are your greatest teachers.  These teachers are the ones who bring the hurts that need to be healed to the surface so we can see them and choose to change.

Be willing, be open and most importantly pause.  Don’t just look at your life, look into your life.  Watch and take note of your patterns.  Patterns that need to be changed are usually followed by a negative emotion.  Negative emotions are our clue that we are out of alignment.  We have a divine birthright to experience joy.  But joy comes with a price and hard work.  We must brush off the old debris that holds us back from our authentic selves and step into who we came here to be.

Don’t be afraid.  Everything is just as it is supposed to be.  Just breathe, pray and pause.

Praying for you,

Chris

For your FREE copy of Chris Sopa’s 7 Steps to Changing Any Behavior click on the photo below.

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Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

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When Things Don’t Go As Planned…

July 2013

My grandson Noah

“I just don’t understand why this has happened?” I said in a tearful voice.  “This is the first time in my life that I truly do not know what to do.”

The soft and wise voice on the other end of the phone replied, “Chris, God is so interested in you right now, he has made the circumstances of your life such that all that is left to do is trust him.  This is not between you and your daughter…this is between you and God.”

That was a conversation I recently had with Sue, a women who came to me in a phone call whom I now call “my angel from God.”   Sue is 30 years my senior and 3 years ago found herself facing the same challenge I am today.  A good friend referred her my way and she happened to return my phone call at the exact moment I needed her…when I was at an all time low.

For the last 2 months I have been pretty silent on the writing and speaking front.  I have always said that God gives me my material through my life experiences and lately, he sure has been delivering!  As many of you may already know, my oldest daughter suffers from addiction.  After her second time in rehab in February, her and my grandson moved to Arizona to live with me.  Shortly after the move, my daughter found herself back in rehab…and I found myself alone taking care of a 6 month old full-time.  It has been 2 months now and my daughter will not be home for some time, if ever.  So here I find myself, having found independence and running the business of my dreams and all of a sudden the plans changed.   For the first time in a long time I looked into my future and it did not seem as if it is going to go as I planned.  I planned to be a grandmother…not a mother again.  What about my business?  What do I do when I need to travel?  What about a social life…not to mention dating anyone?

I would love to tell you that when I was faced with the situation of having to raise my grandson alone that I was ecstatic and looking forward to the opportunity…but the truth is, I was angry.  My anger existed on many levels; anger at my daughter for the choices she was making and the messes she left behind that I always seemed to (choose) have to clean up;  anger at losing my independence and now not being able to do what I wanted when I wanted (after all, I raised my kids already 20 years ago…I paid my dues!); and mostly,  I was angry at God…really angry!  What about me?  What about my plan?  Why do I always seem to find myself taking care of other people’s needs and never my own?

The last 2 years have not been a joy ride for me, to say the least.  Three words sum up how I feel I have been treated in the last two years… used, cheated and lied to by the people in my life I called friends, family or significant others.  I have always believed that the people in our lives mirror back to us lessons we need to learn to move forward, and knowing full well that the pain increases each time until we get the lesson, I knew I was near the end due to the extreme amount of pain I have felt in the last 2 months.  So,  I finally asked myself, “What is really going on here?”  “What is the lesson I am to learn?”  “What do I need to let go of to finally heal?”

A friend recently told me that anger is a sign that we have been silent for too long.  Having lived my life always aiming to make everyone else happy, I could relate to keeping silent for too long.  Years of not speaking up if I disagreed with someone; years of allowing others to walk all over me because of a fear of being alone; years of not telling someone how I really felt because I was afraid of what they would think of me and that I would hurt their feelings…never mind my feelings.  I was starting to get it.

Am I healed yet?  Not quite.  Is the anger gone?  Not totally.  But here is what I have learned so far:

  • Your external circumstances do not dictate your happiness.  It is only from a different internal perspective that you find true happiness.  You must first be happy and then your external circumstances will follow.
  • Life does not happen to you…it happens for you.  If you find your life is in turmoil at the moment, know that God is so interested in you that he decided to stir things up in order to wake you up!
  • In any given circumstance, you always have the choice to change your thought.  If the thought you are thinking does not feel good, change it to one that does.
  • The true power of life lies in the unknown.  “Needing to know” is a result of fear.  Uncertainty is one of the only constants we have in life.  Learn to have faith and trust that powers beyond you are working behind the scenes to orchestrate the perfect outcome for everyone involved.
  • Trust God.  This one is easier said than done.  I have never quite understood exactly how  you “let go and let God.”  I guess it is the controlling part of me that has a hard time with it.  But trusting that he has my back and truly believing that he is working miracles in my life as we speak, even though I may not be able to see them yet, gives me hope in times when I feel hopeless.
  • Never give up.  Keep moving forward and take one day at a time.  You cannot live your whole life at once.  Stay in today and do not allow yourself to constantly think of the future or re-live the past.  You only have today and this moment.  Make it a good one…and the one YOU want!

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, ‘I’ll try again tomorrow.’”

~Mary Anne Radmacher 

Chuggin’ ahead,

Chris

For your FREE copy of Chris Sopa’s 7 Steps to Changing Any Behavior click on the photo below.

Guidebook Chris Sopa with logo

Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

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Your Journey to Peace


Guest blog contributor, Chris Sopa’s daughter, Natalie Sopa, 19 years old.

Above all, don’t lose hope” 
~Pi, “Life of Pi”

When you look up at the stars, what do you see? Do simply see stars? Do you see beauty? Do they make you feel insignificant? Or do you look up at the sky, with the stars reflecting off your eyes like fire above a stagnate lake and feel possibility and hope?

Most of the time when someone looks up at the stars they don’t see the beauty or the possibilities that hold ungodly amounts of hope. They see a sky that is too large to comprehend; a large quantity of space that holds mysteries not yet known to the human race. Many feel themselves shrink back, feeling smaller and smaller by the second until they feel like an empty void of space.

Sometimes in life, things can make you feel small, unimportant, and insignificant. They can tear you apart piece by piece, ripping your soul so you feel like nothing but a deep, unexplored sea. Whether it is a divorce, a breakup, the death of a person or dream, or something as small as a deceptive lie told to you, these kinds of events can hurt you more than you would ever possibly think. The wound may heal, but most of the time there is always a scar left over on your soul. Then, once something happens that is similar to the event that created the scar, the wound is ripped back open.

Feelings like this should not be ignored. Like my Mom always says, most of the time if something keeps bothering you and ripping open a healed wound, there is a lesson that you need to learn from it. It may not always be so obvious because pain can leave such rough scars on our souls, our subconscious always remembers the pain, so; unless we do something to heal the wound to make the scar fade we will always feel reoccurring pain. We must strive past the pain and get to the source of the sorrow. You must keep digging until you get to the center of the earth. There you will find the lava that is fueling your pain.

Cooling that lava is where the peace will rise like evaporated water. As many experts say, “This is easier said than done.” The journey to peace might be more painful and rigorous than the wound itself, but the result is worth the fight.

Whether you feel like an endless space filled with stars or a deep sea filled with mystery, there is always hope for something new to be discovered. What will you discover at the end of your journey to peace?

For your FREE copy of Chris Sopa’s 7 Steps to Changing Any Behavior click on the photo below.

Guidebook Chris Sopa with logo

Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

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Life’s “10 Commandments”

1.  Prayer is not a “spare wheel” that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a “steering wheel” that directs the right path throughout the journey.

2.  So why is a car’s windshield so large and the rear view mirror so small?  Because our past is not as important as our future.  So look ahead, and move on.

3.  Friendship is like a book;  it takes a few minutes to burn, but it takes years to write.

4.  All things in life are temporary.  If going well, enjoy it, they will not last forever.  If going wrong, don’t worry, they can’t last long either.

5.  Old friends are like gold.  New friends are like diamonds.  If you get a diamond, don’t forget the gold because to hold a diamond, you always need a base of gold.

6.  Often when we lose hope and think this is the end, God smiles from above and says, “Sweetheart, it’s just a bend…not the end!”

7.  When God solves your problems, you have faith in His abilities;  when God doesn’t solve your problems, He has faith in your abilities.

8.  A blind person asked St. Anthony, “Can there be anything worse than losing your eye sight?”  He replied, “Yes, losing your vision!”

9.  When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them.  When you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.

10.  Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace.

~Annonymous

For your FREE copy of Chris Sopa’s 7 Steps to Changing Any Behavior click on the photo below.

Guidebook Chris Sopa with logo

Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

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Chasing Unicorns and Other Myths

Ariana Langford is an emerging motivational speaker and writer.  Her main theme, “Finding My Voice,” is directed at dispelling the shame of being a victim, while finding hope and forgiveness.  She encourages compassion and personal growth in groups which include victims, offenders as well as general audiences.  Ms. Langford lives in Oxford, PA with her husband, children and a variety of pets, all of whom she adores.

When I was young I loved unicorns.   These mythical creatures of purity and strength captivated me.  As the stories go, these elusive creatures could not be hunted.  The way to catch a unicorn was to have a young virgin sit alone in the woods.  The unicorn, attracted by her beauty and purity, would come and lay down next to her, resting its head on her lap.

I never heard of any cases where this actually worked.  As I matured, my interest waned.  Today I wistfully remember that youthful belief in myths when I come across an old unicorn keepsake.

These days, I find myself pursuing other myths.  I move through the landscape of my life seeking inner peace and forgiveness.  I live a blessed life, have a wonderful husband, children I adore, and a job that allows me to make a difference.  Still, inner peace and forgiveness can be elusive.

Just like everyone else, I have been scarred while traveling through this world.  For me, it was five years spent in foster care, only to be adopted into a nightmare of abuse and torture.  Escaping from that environment landed me in a place I thought was safe until it no longer was.  Completely on my own at 17, I was a victim of violent crime only a few years later.

Somehow, I always managed to survive, and by my late twenties, I even learned to thrive.  I largely put my past behind me, and found the first cornerstone to a good life:  hope.  I still struggled with depression, but according to the mental health providers, this was an expected outcome for the trauma I endured.  The depression could be controlled if I was willing to take a low dose anti-depressant – basically for the rest of my life.  I wasn’t willing to do that, so occasionally I suffer.

As part of my healing process in my mid-twenties, I had to accept my adoptive mother as the broken human being she was.  In retrospect it is clear that she hurt because she was deeply hurt.  I got to the point where I basically forgave her, and as an adult we had some semblance of a relationship.  That doesn’t mean I would leave my children alone with her.  Forgiveness does not mean forgetting.

I was able to come to acceptance, if not quite forgiveness, with some of the other people who hurt me.  Yet I continue to carry anger and bitterness.  I know these things only hurt me, and hold me back.

The people I need to forgive represented systems that betrayed me.  The doctor who said nothing when my mother claimed that I hurt myself after the incident with the wire hanger.  The policeman who walked away, believing my screaming had been the result of a simple spanking. He left me to pay the price for attracting too much attention.  The list goes on.  Systems put in place to protect people never seemed to work when it came to me.  These experiences left me with a lot of fear and hurt that decades later I recognize surfacing in my present life.  Gathering love around me, I face these, head on, one at a time.

Perhaps the hardest area to heal is the one that is hardest to see.  For when I get just a bit more honest, there is someone else I need to forgive.  Myself.

Wait.  What?  What do I need to forgive myself for?  When you grow up like I did, you have to make sense of the world somehow.  I did it by believing that there was something wrong with me that caused all these bad things to happen.

While my head knows that this is an invalid belief, somewhere, deep inside me, this belief lives on.  Now that I recognize it for what it is I am actively working on eradicating it from my belief structure.  I cannot use a machete to cut it from my psyche.  I can only coax it out with love and forgiveness.  I need to love myself despite choices I made while trying to survive, forgive myself for habits built up over the years which grew out of fear-based notions.  I am working to set aside the shame I carried for the better part of a lifetime.  I was taught to keep secrets as a child, and I was very good at remaining silent.  But this silence added to the conviction that there was something wrong with me, that people would turn away if they knew who I really am.

I know that we are all beings of Light.  Our very essence is pure, and it manifests in the experience of love.  Up until now, the silence I kept acted as a gatekeeper – only allowing so much light out at a time.  I am removing the blockages, dismantling the dam that limits the flow of life inside me.  As each piece of detritus floats away, it tells its story, allowing more light into the shadowy places. Amazingly, I find my voice grows stronger with every step.

I notice that inner peace comes, not when I am chasing it, but when I calmly sit and experience the Light that is within, the Light that I am allowing to fill me more fully.

I remain a work in progress, a traveler on a path still shrouded in mystery and magic.  I walk forward with faith in the Love and Light that resides in each of us.  And while the destination is unknown, I am certain I will find a deeper sense of forgiveness and peace.

Who knows?  Maybe I will sit down in a beautiful wooded clearing, and a unicorn, attracted by the beauty and purity of my Light, will come and lay beside me, resting its magical head in my lap.

_____________________________________

For your FREE copy of Chris Sopa’s 7 Steps to Changing Any Behavior click on the photo below.

Guidebook Chris Sopa with logo

Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

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Believe in Yourself


A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on its own wings.  Always believe in yourself.

When you were born, you believed in yourself.  You knew your purpose.  You trusted the Divine.

Then it happened…you began to believe in the illusion around you.  What other people thought and believed became your truth because you wanted to belong and be a part of something.  The fear of being alone drives more self-limiting behaviors than any other fear.  You began to move from your heart guiding you to your mind guiding you.  The mind is a beautiful tool, if used correctly.  We began to individualize our minds and then believed we were separate from everything and everyone around us.  We felt alone…the one feeling we were trying to avoid.

Whatever your beliefs might be, know this…the human mind is simply the place where we individualize God.  What if your life was about letting go of your self-created limiting beliefs and instead letting God be God as YOU?

Our world is transforming.  What is “breaking down” is not the world, but the consciousness that created it.  We did that…now it is our turn to balance what has been done.  The confidence you have in yourself does not come from anything external; it comes from that silent place within that is YOU.  You can do and be anything you wish…your only job is to define those wishes, find that peaceful place within and allow the brilliant tapestry to unfold.  On the surface it may look broken, not how you imagined, and maybe even frightening.  The path you ended up on may not be the one you imagined.  Know that everything in the Universe happens for the highest good.  Souls do sacrifice their time here so others can learn what they need to learn and fulfill their purpose.  When a tragedy occurs, instead of focusing on the horrible aspects of it, step back and look deeper.  See people coming together, helping each other and letting compassion win.  We must believe we scripted what we did in our lives for a reason, knowing we could handle all that has occurred and will occur.

Life is not so much about living…it is about allowing life to come through as YOU.

Stop focusing on what may or may not happen to the foundation on which you find yourself standing.  Look forward, take a breath and believe in yourself.  You are so special God chose you to be here at this time.  He is living through you to experience life AS you.  The answers are there…you just have to silence your mind enough to hear them.

We love you just as you are.  No strings attached…promise.

When you come to the edge of the light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen:  there will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.”  ~Patrick Overton

Believing in you,

Chris

Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

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Self-Limiting Illusions

The next time that a piece of your life breaks off and falls away, try to remember that what is Real cannot be lost, and then give thanks that what is false must always prove itself so.” ~Rev. Angela Peregoff

Illusion #1:  It is better for me to live with a presently known problem than it is to face a future filled with unknown possibilities. 

Illusion #2:  I am useless and insignificant in life.

Illusion #3:  What others think of me is more important than what I think of myself.

Illusion #4:  It is possible to succeed in life without having to learn through mistakes and failures.

Illusion #5:  By reliving past, painful moments I will somehow be able to resolve them.

Illusion #6:  In order to succeed, I must stay with what I know is possible so as not to suffer disappointment.

Illusion #7:  I must be like everyone else (the “tribe”) in order to survive, fit in and be accepted.

Illusion #8:  I only believe what I can see and can prove exists.

Illusion #9:  If I do not remember it, it must not have happened.

Illusion #10:  What I think, say and do does not matter.

Maybe, one day, you will wake up and know that even your very thoughts matter; that events that you do not remember consciously, such as being born, choosing your parents and choosing the lessons you wanted to learn in this lifetime, actually did happen; that the most “real” things in this life cannot be touched, smelled, seen or tasted but are felt with the heart and soul; that your uniqueness, your un-likeness of everyone else around you, is the exact reason why you are here; that unless you venture into the unknown, the “impossible,” you will never know what you are capable of; that your mind does not know the difference between what is real and what is not real – it believes what is real is where you put your attention, so reliving past events makes them feel real again; that what you call mistakes and failures are the very moments for which you came to this Earth – they are the lessons in your “school”; that the only person who you should be seeking out acceptance from is yourself; that just being alive means you are significant – God wastes nothing and has a grand purpose for everything; and that your true power, the beauty of life and miracles, lie in those unknown moments.

Now that would be a hell of a day… 😉

Life is not what you see, but what you’ve projected.  It’s not what you’ve felt, but what you’ve decided.  It’s not what you’ve experienced, but how you’ve remembered it.  It’s not what you’ve forged, but what you’ve allowed.  It’s not who’s appeared, but who you’ve summoned.  And it’s not where you’ve been, but where you are going.”

~Notes from “the Universe”

Onward to ascension,

Chris
Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

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A Power Greater Than You…

* This blog is dedicated to my daughter and anyone who suffers from an addiction, as well as the loved ones that are standing by watching, loving and encouraging them to wholeness again.**

The 12 steps are a group of principles, spiritual in nature, that are to be practiced as a way of life for those suffering from addiction. The idea is to help expel the obsessive behavior (drinking, drugs, or any addiction) so the person can feel and become happy and whole again. These principles are so powerful they can be used to overcome not only addiction, but limiting beliefs and harmful thoughts and behaviors in the non-addict as well.

Reference:  Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (1981), Alcoholics Anonymous World Service, Inc.

Step #2:  Come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
~Albert Einstein

As most of you who are regular readers know, I am working my way through the 12 steps in honor of my daughter who is a recovering addict. In order to better understand her and the process, I decided to do the 12 steps myself and as I did, write a blog about my experience with each one.

Step #2, to me, is all about believing in miracles. We all have had moments in our lives where we are faced with something so big or so terrible that we have no choice but to surrender. Surrender to whom? Surrender to that power that you know exists but cannot define, see or touch. We all feel that power. We all know there is something that exists that is greater than we are. Some call that power God; others may call it the Universe. All that matters is that you feel that something else is with you watching out for you…willing to take on what you feel you cannot do yourself.

My lesson during this step was not so much believing in my higher Power, but trusting my higher Power. I have had enough spiritual experiences in my lifetime that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are not alone in this journey through life. My struggle exists with feeling worthy enough that my Power knows I exist. It sounds kind of silly when I say it out loud to myself, now that I think about it…but true none-the-less. Letting go and letting God was never something that I really could understand. We recovering control freaks think we can control and handle anything that comes our way…usually a side effect of having to deal with a lot of life situations on our own. Once I was able to realize that I really do not have control and stopped fighting it, I began to see more clearly and really feel that Power in my life. I, for the first time, felt as if God had my back. When I looked back at my life challenges, I realized I was never alone to begin with…he was there the whole time. I am reminded of the poem “Footprints,” which is a perfect metaphor for Step #2. It is through our most challenging times that God does not leave us…he carries us. Michael, a facilitator in one of the Nar-Anon meetings I attend has us say a prayer at the end of every meeting. It is very simple yet powerful: “Your will God, not mine. Your time God, not mine.” I slowly came to realize that it is not about MY will, it is about God’s will for me and my life. And let me tell you, when you finally realize that, it is a huge relief!

It does not matter if your beliefs match mine. What matters is that you know your own beliefs and they need to work for you. They must be yours. It does not matter what anyone else in your world believes…only what you believe. Your beliefs are the blueprint from which you live your life and make your choices.

I will share with you several questions I pondered and answered as I worked through this step:

  • What higher Power do I believe in?
  • Do I trust my higher Power? If not, why not?
  • Do I feel worthy of help from my higher Power?
  • Do I have an open mind? Am I willing to change my beliefs if my current ones are not working for me?
  • If my higher Power “has my back,” why do I sometimes not get what I pray for?
  • Do I believe that my higher Power believes in me?
  • Am I able to receive?
  • What is my bottom? Do I have to hit bottom in order to have faith in my higher Power?

Your relationship with your higher Power starts and ends with your relationship with yourself. God is in you, works through you and IS you. He is expressing himself through you.

Ernest Holmes, the author of The Science of Mind, says the following about treatment and your own personal role in it which I think is a perfect summation for Step #2:

Treatment is not willing things to happen; it is to provide within ourselves an avenue through which they may happen. Treatment opens up avenues of thought, expands the consciousness, and lets reality through; it clarifies the mentality, removes doubt and fear, in the realization of the presence of Spirit (your higher Power), and is necessary while we are confronted by obstructions or obstacles. We already live in a Perfect Universe, but it needs to be seen mentally before it can become a part of our experience. Every problem is primarily mental, and the answer to all problems will be found in Spiritual realization…(your own personal relationship with your higher Power).

God-Speed,
Chris

Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

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Are You a Fixer

My name is Chris and I am a “fixer.”

I am attracted to people who have problems and think that if I only make them happy, do something different, change myself or sacrifice my time or resources they will change and be happy.  Somewhere in my life I felt as if it was my responsibility to make others happy and worse yet, if they were not happy, it was my fault.

Can anyone out there relate to that?

I think many of you can…especially the women out there.  Not that men cannot be fixers, but women have a natural tendency to nurture and make people feel better therefore this role of “fixer” tends to stick more with the female gender.

Here is what I have learned (and trust me, I have a lot more learning to do in this area):

  • Wanting to fix others is a symptom that there is something within us that needs to be fixed.  It may not necessarily be the same problem, but we tend to seek to fix someone else when we are avoiding fixing ourselves.  Projection at its best!
  • No one needs fixing.  I know some of you may be thinking that statement is crazy.  There are people in our world who are doing some crazy things!  As humans, we have a tendency to want things to run smooth, feel good all of the time and not change.  It is the “crazy” that makes us pay attention to what needs to be balanced and changed…not only with us personally, but with the world.
  • It is never your responsibility to make someone else happy, it is theirs.  Yes, things we do for others may temporarily make them feel better but happiness comes from within.  It is a state of being that manifests from a sense of peace within.  No one can give you that but you.
  • Problems are a blessing in disguise, whether they are ours or someone else’s.  They are the very thing that helps us grow and become the people we are meant to be.  Problems push us to our limits, ever so painfully, to help us see what we can become and what is possible.
  • We are only responsible to live our own life.  I don’t know about you, but my life has enough challenges of its own.  When we try to make other people’s problems ours by trying to fix the problem for them, we are meddling in something that is not our business.  We are living their life and ours.  How do we know that the very problem they are now having isn’t one they may need to experience to learn the biggest lesson of their lives…when they solve it themselves.  We cannot take away other peoples lessons.  That is exactly what we do when we fix a problem for them.

So, what to do?  How do you overcome the urge to fix?  Be aware of the fact that the urge to fix is an urge to control something that is out of your control.  You cannot control other people’s behaviors or decisions.  The only things under your control are the decisions you make for yourself, your behaviors and your attitudes.  Your behaviors and who you choose to be is always the greatest teacher for those around you.  People listen more with their eyes than their ears.  They watch you.  It is our nature.  Monkey see, monkey do…remember?

A recovering fixer,

Chris

Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

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