Archive for February, 2016

DanceThe third aspect of our True Self is our intuitive mind. While our reasoning mind takes a more active, conscious role, our intuitive mind is deeper and more subtle. Our intuitive mind works with both our unconscious and with the divine. It supports our spirituality and enables us to see beyond appearances to our deeper connections with each other and all of life.

The intuitive mind can enhance intimacy by helping us:

  • Participate in the wonder and awe of life
  • Develop a deeper intimate relationship with ourselves and with God
  • Go beyond the confines of human intellect, revealing insight and wisdom
  • Overcome old patterns of impaired intimacy
  • Learn to experience deeper levels of bonding and trusting

Just as with our feelings and reasoning mind, a dysfunctional intuitive mind has the capacity to impair intimacy. A dysfunctional intuitive mind is:

  • Prone to fantasy, taking you away from the reality of the situation and putting you at risk for disappointment due to unrealistic expectations
  • Captured by illusions of appearance, believing in what it sees rather than what it feels
  • Likely to cultivate selfishness or narcissism when it gets lost in a dream world

When we would rather experience phenomena than connect with people, or when choose to dream about perfect relationships rather than whole-heartedly engaging with the people in our lives, we are  taking away our intuitive mind’s ability to achieve insight and wisdom.

Fantasies arise when we re-imagine the past or create visions of the future. We typically engage in fantasy as a way to escape the bad feelings or thoughts of the present moment. We create a world in which we are always right and everyone who disagrees with us is wrong. We create a world in which our actions don’t have consequences. When we use our intuitive mind to escape the world rather than join with it, we are missing a chance for intimacy—and for a reality that is ultimately richer and more rewarding than any fantasy.

To cultivate a healthy intuitive mind, we can do the following:

  • Practice mindfulness. Meditation—taking time to rest in the present moment and observe the thoughts and feelings that arise—is the most obvious way to practice mindfulness. But any time we attend fully to what we are doing, taking in the sensations of the moment, we are cultivating mindfulness and discouraging fantasy.
  • Practice spirituality. However you experience the divine, allow yourself time to practice that connection as often as you can. Be open to experiencing the divine in ways you haven’t before, recognizing that we are all here together to learn, to grow, and to experience.

contractsFamilies with an addicted loved one need to create and enforce healthy boundaries. As part of St. Joseph Institute’s Family Program, we encourage families to develop a written contract with their loved one to establish ground rules and facilitate a strong recovery.

A contract is useful for several reasons:

  • It makes both parties aware of how their behavior affects the other
  • It creates the common ground for change
  • It sets the rules for loving confrontation, should it become necessary
  • It helps both parties feel respected, heard, and supported

If you and your addicted loved one agree to write a contract to support recovery, consider including the following clauses (or modifying them to fit your situation):

For Family/Support People:

  1. We agree to practice healthy detachment. We agree to allow you the gift of your mistakes because we know they will help you learn, grow, and develop a healthy self-respect.
  2. We agree to practice healthy validation. We commit to noticing your positive changes and reinforcing them.
  3. We agree to practice healthy confrontation. If we notice you returning to destructive patterns, we will lovingly make you aware of them. We will provide honest feedback if you ask for guidance.
  4. We will not nag, criticize, judge, or condemn, since these behaviors are destructive to you and to your recovery.
  5. We agree to exercise healthy boundaries. We will allow you to think your own thoughts and feel your own feelings. We will give you the freedom to be who you are, even as we bring your attention to destructive behavior.
  6. We will advocate your recovery by removing temptations (making sure our home is free of addictive substances; securing prescription medications) and by accepting the same limitations you have (not drinking or using in front of you or asking you to attend functions where alcohol or drugs are available).
  7. We agree to seek outside help—from a therapist, spiritual advisor, or other source—if we cannot set or manage boundaries on our own.

For the Recovering Addict:

  1. I agree to respect your healthy detachment and to accept the consequences of my behavior.
  2. I agree to acknowledge and express gratitude for your healthy validation. I will also offer validation to you when you respect my needs.
  3. I permit you to give your honest feedback if I begin to fall into destructive patterns.
  4. I agree to listen to and be grateful for your feedback, and I will try to learn from it.
  5. I agree to exercise healthy boundaries. I will allow you to think your own thoughts and feel your own feelings. I will give you the freedom to be who you are, even as I bring your attention to destructive behavior (like nagging, criticizing, condemning).
  6. I agree to commit to my recovery by avoiding circumstances and people who expose me to alcohol or addictive substances.
  7. I agree to commit to my recovery by asking for outside help when necessary—whether from a therapist, a sponsor, a spiritual advisor, or some other source.