Monday, March 28, 2011

Breathe Strategy - E is for Enrich

I love this Breathe Strategy, to me it means taking everything I have learned and used with all the other Breathe Strategies to make my life more manageable and rich.  To quit worrying about the past and having anxiety about the future, and to enjoy every moment I am living right now.  It also means that I take what I have learned and share it to help others do the same.

The dictionary defines enrich this way:  to make rich or richer especially by the addition or increase of some desirable quality, attribute, or ingredient <the experience will enrich your life>

Feeling that there was enrichment in my life took several years to figure out.  In fact, just the word "joy" had become confusing to me.  I just really didn't understand it, some how the definition and feeling eluded me.  There is a scripture in The Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 2:25 that says:  Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy.

I was finding this idea really difficult, we are to have joy, but I wasn't seeing or feeling it in my life.  It wasn't until I went to Hawaii with my daughter to drop my son off at college and we had a day at the beach that I began to understand.  I described this moment to my therapist this way:

My son was playing out in the water with his new roommate on their boogie boards while my daughter was sitting next to me in the sand.  She was being silly and playing in the sand and built a sand birthday cake.  She put a stick in it and asked me to make a wish and blow out the "candle."  I thought that I didn't need to make a wish as everything in that moment was perfect.  Night began to fall as we stayed at the beach and we saw the first star in the sky.  My daughter said the Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star rhyme and again said we needed to make a wish.  And again, I thought I don't need to make a wish, this moment is perfect. 

My therapist asked me what made the moment so "perfect" for me.  I said I was just enjoying every single moment that I was experiencing, it felt open and I could just "breathe."  Then she said, "can we give this moment a name?"  I said sure and she said, "let's call this 'joy.'"  I started to cry and said, "Is that what joy is?  I don't know what I thought it was before."

I learned then that "joy" is when you are so in the moment that you can't think of the past or future, only the current moment.  Joy is when I can breathe, everything feels open, free and alive.  When I feel joy is when my life is enriched.

As I mentioned earlier, part of "enrich" is taking that feeling to others around you.  Co-Dependents Anonymous, or CoDA, has a 12 Step Program and Step 12 says this:

Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other codependents, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

As it says, I feel the need to carry the message of what I have learned to others.  I have done so in many conversations and this is a huge part of why I am doing this blog.  And what is that message, Melodie Beattie says it this way in her book Codependents' Guide to the Twelve Steps:

What is our message?  One of hope, love, comfort, and health.  Better relationships and a better way of life, one that works. . . .  We carry the message in subtle, but powerful, ways by doing our own recovery work and becoming a living demonstration of hope, self-love, self-nurturing, and health.

 My focus this week is to remember how it feels to have that "enrichment" in my life, to feel breath in every moment and know that that breath is "joy."

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