The Gateways

19 Jul The Gateways – You Are ALIVE – Gateway 12

You are ALIVE.

Arriving at the last Gateway into a deeper spiritual walk is both an end and a beginning. We have completed the cycle of working the 12-Steps, along with many practices that support the work. So that is the ending.

And we are just about to begin, or launch ourselves into the active phase of “practicing these principles in all our affairs”…This is the beginning of a lifelong path of inner work, rigorous honesty and service.

Joy of Living is the key to this Step, and being of service is the formula that keeps us connected to the life force.
Enjoy the journey. You are ALIVE.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi

Rev. Dr. Galloways best-selling book The Gateways is available through Sacred Stories Publishing, Amazon, and all major booksellers and combines a strength based approach to utilizing the depth principles of the 12-Steps, combined with Psycho-spiritual tools and practices to anchor in the practice of each step.

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27 Jun The Gateways – Walking the Inner Path – Gateway 11

Gateway Eleven is really at the heart of all of the Gateways. Step 11 says, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry it out.”

All the work of The Gateways rests in this process of seeking conscious contact. I have sometimes described The Gateways as a trap door at Step 11…an inner scaffolding and myriad resources for walking the inner path toward Oneness with Source.

Meditation is sometimes described as listening to Source, and prayer as talking to Source. They are really two sides of the same coin, and remind us that, as Jesus made clear, “The Kingdom of God is within.”

Om shanti. Peace as you journey. Ashé, Amen. And so it is.

Rev. Dr. Galloways best-selling book The Gateways is available through Sacred Stories Publishing, Amazon, and all major booksellers and combines a strength based approach to utilizing the depth principles of the 12-Steps, combined with Psycho-spiritual tools and practices to anchor in the practice of each step.

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06 Jun The Gateways – Order My Steps – Gateway 10

This beautiful textile of a labyrinth embodies what the journey of Gateways 10-12 is like.

After having worked and practiced deep inner work of admitting powerlessness and developing a relationship to a spiritual walk of authenticity, by the time we arrive at Step 10, “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it”, we have an inner awareness of who we are and aren’t, and are better able to tell when we are off track.

But we are human, and can easily find ourselves off track or in a blind alley again. One wonderful metaphor for thinking about how we are guided through this labyrinth of life is that of a GPS system. When you are searching for an address and miss your turn, your GPS doesn’t berate you. It simply says, “in 50 feet, turn left…” It re-routes you.

This is how the daily practice of personal inventory and making amends works for us. It re-routes us, and adjusts our course so we can get back in alignment with our soul’s highest calling…one step at a time.

Subscribe to podcast at http://bit.ly/SacredStoriesiTunes

Rev. Dr. Galloways best-selling book The Gateways is available through Sacred Stories Publishing, Amazon, and all major booksellers and combines a strength based approach to utilizing the depth principles of the 12-Steps, combined with Psycho-spiritual tools and practices to anchor in the practice of each step.

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23 May The Gateways – Making Amends – Gateway 9

The process of making amends is a deep one that only comes at the end of the depth work in Steps 4-7. Once we have identified the places where we are out of alignment with what we know to be our highest and best selves, we have had some real insight into how and why that happened and have made a list of persons we have harmed through this process, and we are ready to stand in the light of truth and take action to right those wrongs.

Amend means to change. It does not mean groveling at the feet of anyone, or beating ourselves up. It means taking the action to get back into alignment with our soul’s deepest truth by doing what is possible to right past wrongs.

The literature of AA is very clear about the importance of surrendering to this process. It is so clear in fact, that it promises us that if we practice this part of our rectification process, we will know a new freedom and a new happiness. This is the first of eleven promises the literature makes (on pgs 83-84 of Alcoholics Anonymous), that constitute the beginning of the end of isolation from god and our fellows.

Subscribe to podcast at http://bit.ly/SacredStoriesiTunes

Rev. Dr. Galloways best-selling book The Gateways is available through Sacred Stories Publishing, Amazon, and all major booksellers and combines a strength based approach to utilizing the depth principles of the 12-Steps, combined with Psycho-spiritual tools and practices to anchor in the practice of each step.

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09 May The Gateways – Making Amends – Gateway 8

As I went down to the river to pray…

Step 8 -“Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.”

After taking Steps 4-7 of inner examination followed by sharing of our deepest secrets with at least one other person…and with God, we have undergone the process of becoming willing to let go of the behaviors and attitudes that have interfered with our relationships with others, with God and with our own inner peace, and now we are at a point of beginning outer rectification, based upon our inner transformation that is well in process.

As with Step 6, Step 8 is a Step of both action and waiting. We make a list of all persons we have harmed. This comes first. And the second half of the process is to become ready.

How do we do that?

One of my favorite songs from the film “Oh brother Where Art Thou?” stays, “when I went down to the river to pray, studying about the good old way, and who will wear the robe and crown, oh Lord, show me the way…”

In Gateway 8…we become willing…we go down to the river to pray.

I suggest creating a Zen garden, or some other contemplative art project to focus your efforts in a meditative mode as you become willing.

The people on your amend list will miraculously appear.

And if you have opened your heart and become willing to make amends to them, this process will be nothing short of miraculous.

Subscribe to podcast at http://bit.ly/SacredStoriesiTunes

Rev. Dr. Galloways best-selling book The Gateways is available through Sacred Stories Publishing, Amazon, and all major booksellers and combines a strength based approach to utilizing the depth principles of the 12-Steps, combined with Psycho-spiritual tools and practices to anchor in the practice of each step.

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25 Apr The Gateways – Release Into Freedom – Gateway 7

“Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.”
Rumi

Gateway 7 opens us into the realm of the Spirit.
After we have gone deep inside and done a fearless and searching inventory of ourselves, have shared that with God, ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs, and after we have waited by the Fountain of Bethesda and waited for the angel of God to trouble the water…after all of that…we humbly ask.

We ask to have our shortcomings removed.
We grieve the loss of who we thought we were, and we open unto who we are to become.
We allow the light of our true self to call us into the rest of our lives…in humility and service…as we pray this prayer:

Seventh Step Prayer
>My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding.
Amen

Subscribe to podcast at http://bit.ly/SacredStoriesiTunes

Rev. Dr. Galloways best-selling book The Gateways is available through Sacred Stories Publishing, Amazon, and all major booksellers and combines a strength based approach to utilizing the depth principles of the 12-Steps, combined with Psycho-spiritual tools and practices to anchor in the practice of each step.

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11 Apr The Gateways – Do You Want To Be Made Whole? – Gateway 6

Do you want to be made whole?

Gateways Six deals with letting go of an old identity as the victim and being brave enough to tolerate the emptiness before you really know what might replace it.

Step Six resides in the silence between this question, and the answer.  It follows a deep personal inventory and the sharing of our best-kept secrets with another and with God.

Step Six says, “Became entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character.”

This is a whole Step just about becoming ready.

And in this time of contemplating just who you will be when you let go of your previous idea of who you were trying to be…you can also ask yourself the question:

Do I want to be made whole?

Subscribe to podcast at http://bit.ly/SacredStoriesiTunes

Rev. Dr. Galloways best-selling book The Gateways is available through Sacred Stories Publishing, Amazon, and all major booksellers and combines a strength based approach to utilizing the depth principles of the 12-Steps, combined with Psycho-spiritual tools and practices to anchor in the practice of each step.

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28 Mar The Gateways – Freedom – Gateway 5

Medical science has begun to recognize what metaphysicians have known for a long time. Our thoughts can make us well, or ill, and to hold things inside that are painful or shame based can literally make us sick!

It takes a huge amount of energy to keep memories of trauma submerged in our subconscious mind. A part of us is always on Red Alert when that is our situation, and seemingly unfathomable physical symptoms can emerge when some of the conditions of the original situation occur.

One of the reasons many people become addicted is to keep that struggle at bay for a while and to give the “cop on the beat” inside us who is always watching for danger, a break. Trauma literally resets our endocrine system so that our stress response is more of a hair trigger. We release cortisol, can sweat excessively, our hearts beat wildly as though we are experiencing a trauma for the first time. This is PTSD, and many people suffer from it.

So this process of first doing the deep inner inventory work, and then sharing that with another human being is an amazing first step toward reconnecting with our true inner perfection- that part of us that has never been damaged.

Step Five – Sharing with God, ourselves and another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs, is like opening the pressure valve on a powerful steam engine. The Gateways open us into a world of freedom from bondage. Through utilizing these simple but profound tools, our false persona can let go of its protective grip, and our essential self can come out of hiding.

There is a slogan in 12-Step rooms: “You are as sick as your secrets.” Step 5 is the first experience for many, of safely sharing our inner pain, and creating room inside for healing.

Subscribe to podcast at http://bit.ly/SacredStoriesiTunes

Rev. Dr. Galloways best-selling book The Gateways is available through Sacred Stories Publishing, Amazon, and all major booksellers and combines a strength based approach to utilizing the depth principles of the 12-Steps, combined with Psycho-spiritual tools and practices to anchor in the practice of each step.

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14 Mar The Gateways – The Inner Journey – Gateway 4

We’re Going In! The Inner Journey of the Dark Night

One of my favorite quotes is from Thomas Merton: “The real journey in life is interior, and ever greater surrender to the creative action of love and grace in our hearts.”

This interior journey is embodied in work of the 12-Steps, and the Steps are the foundational work for The Gateways. The inner walk also correlates with The Hero’s Journey, first popularized in epic Greek poem, “The Iliad and the Odyssey”, by Homer, and described centuries later as a distinctly spiritual process, by Joseph Campbell, and then of course in Star Wars!

On the Hero’s Journey, it is essential to go deeper, and into the unknown places, in order to find true home again. The 12-Steps are indeed a Hero’s Journey, and after the foundational work of Steps 1-3, we find ourselves at the place of needing to go into the inner dark. Saint John of the Cross calls this The Dark Night of the Soul, and we all encounter it at some point or another.

In the classic Hero’s Journey, this is called “The Descent”. Often we discover that we are in the process of descending, and we feel fearful, but the good news is that addressing the cause of fear is at the heart of working the Hero or Heroine’s Journey of Gateway Four.

Following The Descent is the “Not Knowing”, and if you are like me, this is worse than descending! Not knowing scares me, and probably does most people. It seems though that once we have accepted that we are on the inner descent, meaningful questions begin to emerge.

“What have I created in my life? I don’t want this anymore!”

From this place in the limbo of the “Not Knowing”, we turn a corner, and actually begin to embrace the emptiness, and are able to see what is next for us. This is the beginning of the way out and up, classically described as “The Ascent”. It seems too, that the more self-aware we become, the more we may go through multiple descents and rebirths, so this Gateway Four work can be understood as the beginning of a lifelong evolutionary process of renewal.

Gateway Four is the fulcrum upon which a life of inner work that transforms pivots. To begin this level of work, it is always advised to be working with someone who is able to accompany you on the journey, to reflect back to you, to really hear you and to bring safety to the journey.

Bless you, as you begin the work of the Inner Journey of the Dark Night, of Step Four.

Subscribe to podcast at http://bit.ly/SacredStoriesiTunes

Rev. Dr. Galloways best-selling book The Gateways is available through Sacred Stories Publishing, Amazon, and all major booksellers and combines a strength based approach to utilizing the depth principles of the 12-Steps, combined with Psycho-spiritual tools and practices to anchor in the practice of each step.

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28 Feb The Gateways – Making a Decision – Gateway 3

You may have heard the writing that says “Until one is committed there is hesitancy”, and ends with one of Goethe’s poetic lines, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

The Step that correlates with this Gateway is Step Three: “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of god as we understand God.”

The Third Gateway is really my favorite, because without it, nothing of lasting value is possible. The idea of making a decision is so powerful, and once we make a decision about something, then providence moves too.

POWER!!

Once we have admitted powerlessness in our own attempts to control the Universe, we open into a whole new realm…the realm of the possible in which we COME TO BELIEVE that a Power greater than Ourselves has the power and the inclination to restore us to wholeness.

But the third leg of this three-legged stool only in place when we not only admit and come to believe but DECIDE to turn our over to the care of this Higher Power.  Then Providence moves too.

I would like to share one of my favorite Rilke poems with you in closing.

It is called Magic

“From indescribable transformation flash
Such creations—: Feel! and trust!
We suffer it often; flames become ash;
Yet in art: flames come from dust.

Here is magic. In the realm of a spell
The common word seems lifted up above…
and yet is really like the call of the male
who calls for the invisible female dove.”

Rilke
August 1924

Subscribe to podcast at http://bit.ly/SacredStoriesiTunes

Rev. Dr. Galloways best-selling book The Gateways is available through Sacred Stories Publishing, Amazon, and all major booksellers and combines a strength based approach to utilizing the depth principles of the 12-Steps, combined with Psycho-spiritual tools and practices to anchor in the practice of each step.

 

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14 Feb The Gateways – The Way In – Gateway 2

I attended an AA meeting the other evening, and when “new people” were asked to identify themselves, the leader said: “Stand up and tell us your name and your disease”.

Something in me really reacted negatively to that.

I have come to question the illness model of AA.

Not the disease model, but the illness model.

What do I mean by this?

A disease cannot stay acute forever without a person just dying. Chronic? Yes. Acute? No.

But a culture of staying ill to remind oneself not to drink isn’t recovery.

The 12-Steps are an amazing, life giving, scaffolding for arresting the disease and transforming broken lives. They are invaluable in giving a person who is hopelessly mired in a physical addiction, self -hatred, basic cluelessness about life, a way back to who they really are, and tools for restitution and restoration.

Rev. Dr. Galloways best-selling book The Gateways is available through Sacred Stories Publishing, Amazon, and all major booksellers and combines a strength based approach to utilizing the depth principles of the 12-Steps, combined with Psycho-spiritual tools and practices to anchor in the practice of each step.

The Steps really are a miracle, and they facilitate a spiritual awakening in millions of people.

The GOAL of recovery is to:

1. Have a spiritual awakening
2. Help others who haven’t found this amazing path to know it exists

Some return to their religion of youth, but many others don’t know HOW to find a spiritual path that coincides with their spiritual awakening

The Gateways are designed to support the spiritual path of recovery, using the 12-Steps and offering a toolkit of Body/Mind/Spirit tools for Stage Two Recovery and beyond.

Defining a pathology isn’t the goal. Healing is.

Welcome to The Gateways- The Wisdom of 12-Step Spirituality.

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