Vietnam Adventure 4: Connecting to Divinity – internal, external, or integrated?

Divine in my HeartOne of the tools I use on my spiritual path is the 12 steps. In September of this year, I celebrated 12 years of membership in Al-Anon (for friends and family members of alcoholics). There are so many ways in which this practice has transformed my life and become the cornerstone of my spiritual path even as I’ve integrated many other traditions and tools along the way. I’m grateful beyond words for the power, love, community, and acceptance found in this program.

Today I wanted to share a piece of my practice that is present and real in my life today. As I walk through taking the steps again with my sponsor, I have come to the 2nd step – came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity. Without oversharing on the powerlessness I’ve been working through in step 1, I can simply share that I have been invited to look at aspects of myself that feel like they are at the core of who I am and how I show up in the world. It has been an invitation to really investigate the cost of holding on to strategies for navigating life that have served me well, but are now costing me a lot in relationships.

Becoming open to the possibility of shifting my core identity, the root of my personality structure has been an emotional experience, and one that has left me feeling vulnerable and lost. What a perfect time to move into step 2 where we discover something greater than ourselves that can restore us to sanity. The beauty of this program is that each individual member is given the freedom to create a Higher Power concept that works for them. Over the past 12 years that concept has continued to evolve for me. I’ve often struggled with the tension I have felt between my yoga/meditation practice and my 12-step practice where one seems to insist on an internal concept of the Divine and the other an external concept.

Continuing to hold this tension, I have been getting clear about what I really want and need from my Higher Power construct – that is a figure that is both internal and external, and one that holds a strong nurturing quality. What has emerged for me is my Higher Power as my Highest Self – the part of me that is perfect and whole just as it is – and is connected to the Divinity of all living things including the great spiritual teachers of the world. This seemed to get to the internal/external piece. But what about the nurturing quality I so deeply desired?

Hand holdingI decided to search for images of the Divine Feminine with the hopes of finding something that visually communicated nurturance. The images I discovered are so sweet and hit those tender places in me that I was seeking to land in a place of refuge. I wanted to share those with you, and invite you to see what arises within you as you think about a concept of Connection, Divinity, Highest Self, Eternal Presence, Love or any word that fits for you (if any at all). For the moment I have landed on the concept of the Divine Mother – it seems to perfectly integrate the many facets of the Higher Power I’m creating. What moves in you as you ponder your own practices, needs and desires? May we be granted loads of grace, acceptance and love for our journey.

Divine Mother