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Beside Restful Waters

"when you take back your power, you have this opportunity to be really beautiful."

--Winona LaDuke

I met Ms. LaDuke last summer at a gathering of Native American women. While there were men in attendence, we gathered to remind women of the epidemic of abuse toward them, especially by men who do not understand their own identities let alone the role of women in society as a whole.

Ms. LaDuke used the history of Native American peoples as an example of how we as individuals give up our power to a variety of traumas. Some of these traumas are afflicted upon us. In other circumstances, we may allow the trauma to occur. Regardless of our role, the trauma is no less devastating.

As victims of trauma, we often and quite naturally find ourselves thinking we need to ask permission of our perpetrators to live. Such has been the case in many Native American communities. In a similar way, we as individual victims of trauma fall prey to our perpetrators, believing that we need their permission to exist.

My addictive nature has been much like the victim who appears to choose to engage in addictive behaviors. I found myself out of control of my addictive substance and living an unmanageable lifestyle. Sobriety offered me freedom from the substance, but my mind remained controlled by remaining victim to my past: the shame of hurting so many others in the wake of my addiction; the self hatred for my weakness and unwillingness to take action sooner; the anger toward those who caused the trauma leading to my substance abuse.....................

I remained a victim of my past. Today, I can say that holding on to my past was the most traumatic of all aspects of my addiction. I believed that I deserved all of the anger, hostility, and criticism hurled from those whom I had hurt.




I do not need anyone's permission to be sober.

I do not need anyone's permission to accept forgiveness from our God.

I do not need anyone's permission to forgive myself.

I do not need anyone's permission to see my beauty.

I am here, in beauty, in God's grace, accepted by those in my recovery community, with the opportunity to fly on the wings of an eagle, to rest on the sands of the shore, to love heart in heart with those who accept grace and peace as a lifestyle.

We say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As I begin to accept my image through your eyes, I notice that my eye sight begins to clear. I observe beauty beyond understanding, and learn to accept and embrace this beauty.

Every aspect of Creation is taking on the Divine presence that keeps us fully arrayed in beauty. In this place, your words explode with inspiration. Written words blossom within my soul. Our hugs, words of encouragement, and challenges for accountability are acceptable acts of love.

We experience the serenity, courage and wisdom to continue our lives of freedom.

These realizations are the results of our willingness to be transformed, our willingness to enter in to a community of prayer, meditation, accountability, and grace. In other words, we become a kingdom of God.

We engage in this opportunity to become really beautiful.

We do this.

Us, together.

I am grateful.


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