Friday Favorites 5/10/2013
I was taught … by my Mom … that life is meant for growing as a person. I don’t remember her saying exactly that but I’m absolutely sure I learned it from her. So, although I didn’t follow the the path she’d have chosen for me, I’ve always read a lot of non-fiction from the spirituality, self-help and recovery aisles at the local bookstores. I’ve never been fond of the term recovery, by the way. For one, it’s most often identified with recovery from addiction. For me, it has a broader meaning. When I’ve used the term, Muri’s asked, Recovery from what? I’ve never really been able to answer but thinking about today, I’d say, Recovery of one’s authentic self. As we travel from childhood to adulthood we are shaped by many influences … parents, friends, teachers, and institutions. I believe we’re happiest when we actually take the time to figure out what actually belongs to us and what is someone else’s baggage Recovery. OK, I’ll get off my soapbox.
You can’t talk about recovery for very long without running into Melody Beattie. Beattie first appeared on the self-help scene in 1987 with her book, Codependent No More, a book that introduced the psychological term, codependency, to the general public in simple terms. Originally referring to addiction of a person to another person who is addicted to a substance, it has evolved to mean becoming enmeshed with another person to the point of not taking care of yourself. I think everyone experiences some degree of codependency in relationships (e.g. – raising children) and Codependent No More provides a guide to understanding when it can be a problem. The book was used in the early days of the 12-Step program, Codependents Anonymous (CoDa), which has helped millions in dealing with marital, family of origin and other relationship difficulties (Wikipedia). Her book, Codependents Guide to the Twelve Steps, was my first exposure to the 12-Steps and and for years I carried her daily reader, The Language of Letting Go. My battered copy of Journey to the Heart, Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul, has traveled many miles in my backpack. Written as she traveled around the country, stopping at beautiful and mystical places, the daily meditations emphasize spirit and hope. I’m currently using her 52 to Weeks of Conscious Contact in my Kindle.
Beattie writes like she’s been there because she has. According to her website, Living in the Mystery, (which offers a blog and daily inspirations), In her lifetime, she has survived abandonment, kidnapping, sexual abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, divorce, and the death of a child. “Beattie understands being overboard, which helps her throw bestselling lifelines to those still adrift,” said Time Magazine. After the death of her son, she wrote The Grief Club, a book on how to move on after tragedy. Critics sometimes ridicule Beattie’s meditations as standard New Age Philosophy, but critics specialize in cynicism. Her writing is upbeat and hopeful so you don’t have to be overboard, too, to appreciate what she has to say. I find her meditations a pleasurable and sometimes inspiring way to start the day. And the world needs more people who rise above their own crises to help others. So, Melody Beattie, my virtual companion for the last twenty years or so, is this week’s Friday Favorite.