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Striving vs. Alignment

Striving vs. Alignment

by JoAnn Campbell-Rice

I’ve been a transformation junkie most of my life. I have attended retreats and workshops, read uplifting books, and attached myself to mentors since I was a teen. I’ve always had a vision of who I wanted to be, articulated in the children’s book, If Jesus Came to My House, where I was generous, kind, and loving, and usually thinner too.

The consequence of so much striving is complacency and cutting corners, a strategy that looks like rest but doesn’t actually restore. My greatest desire is to be so closely aligned with the will of my inner being and higher power, that there’s no resistance between guidance and action.

Is this attainable? Utopian? Grandiose? I’ve come to realize that when I have moments of blissful alignment– I’m showing up exactly the way I’d hoped, doing what I think I should do willingly, even eagerly—then I need to celebrate and savor that experience in order to expand my capacity to experience it again.

And in those moments when I’m off center, not doing what I’d hoped, not being who I would love to be, then I need to have compassion for myself rather than judgment in order to shift into a place of neutrality and possibility.

If change is to be lasting and sustainable, the path cannot be composed of only willpower and grit. A living, spiritual path requires that I ask for help in becoming whatever is next. Sometimes that support comes from humans. Always help from Source is available if I ask in prayer.

The Eleventh Step in the 12 Steps tells us to “pray only for God’s will for us and the power to carry it out.” How often do I forget to invoke Divine Help after I’ve received Divine Guidance? When I’m stuck, it’s because I’ve gotten a glimpse of what could be but have forgotten to pray for the power to embody it. I suspect I’m not alone. How often does your spiritual director ask “Where is God in this?” Most competent people feel they have to handle everything themselves.

Spiritual growth occurs when I am stretched into new places and ways of being that I cannot inhabit on my own. Asking for help, praying for power and guidance, coupled with sisu, the Finnish concept of interior fortitude, digging deeper than we knew we could, moves us forward until eventually the new behavior, attitude, or habit becomes the norm.

This is the only way I’ve moved through multiple addictions: one breath, one prayer, one step forward at a time, with the help of many. What’s next for you, and how can Spirit help?

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