When Josie asked me to write a piece for the 50th edition of Recovery View it caused me to pause and realize our dance with time. I have been great friends with Josie and Jim for a lot of years. Not being a time counter myself, I imagine it’s somewhere between 15-20 years, beginning when both Josie and I were actively involved in the recovery community. So much life has passed for us all in that time.
If I had to identify a common thread between us it would be that each of us lives life from our heart and spirit first, with great faith in possibilities, and the willingness to take 100% responsibility for following our dreams and intentions. We all work very “hard.” I have to throw up air quotes around this word because it’s a sentiment entirely framed by our culture, where we work hard just so we feel validated by that work and receive credit for it.
For me, I had to live it a different way – to follow passions and callings that inspired me, so that hard work is a labor of love not a burden. What I’ve known of Josie and Jim is they’ve made this same choice – to live from a place of love and inspiration. This is the blessing way of Life. It comes from our unique ability to give value and assign quality and character to the choices we make in how we choose to live each day.
Choice is the key here. We choose how we live our life, how we see the character and quality of what we do, why we do it, and the relationship we live with ourselves one day at a time.
Over the years my eyes have been opened to truths that are countercultural in so many ways. Some of these realizations came directly from my experiences as a “recovery person” starting 23-years ago. Others came after shifting my focus from wearing that “recovery person” label to simply living life with awareness and responsibility for myself in every choice I make.
This realization has been a deal changer in my relationship with life. Taking 100% responsibility for myself, my choices, moods, actions, beliefs, roles, emotions, stories, labels, confidence, judgments, opinions - all of the aspects that make us human beings – essentially shifted my entire way of being.
When I entered into “recovery” I was never drawn to the idea of labeling myself. I was labeled as a kid, so I was adamantly opposed to the notion of others telling me who I was or what I am. Labels usually walk hand-in-hand with judgment so right from the start I was at odds with many basic practices of the recovery culture. I wanted help but I knew I couldn’t comply just for the sake of fitting in.
So I took a hard left away from the traditional route of recovery.
This turn created an opening for me to not settle into the recovery community as my sole place of refuge from the chaos in my life I was trying to clean up and heal from. The recovery community offered support and connections that I needed, but I wanted more than fixed ideas and labels - I wanted happy, joyous and free. I wanted to stop living the patterns and behaviors that I was trapped in but did not want to define myself by those behaviors and patterns.
“My name is Lee, and I am a human being with a mess of a life to unravel.”
Thus, my journey began of doing my own work and finding my truth, my way, one day at a time. What a great journey it has been. It was on this journey that I met Josie. Our paths crossed during the time when I started a treatment center called The Ranch outside of Nashville, Tennessee. She was such a bright light - excited to be making connections and fostering relationships as a new outreach and marketing consultant in the industry. We connected over the dream of giving people the opportunity to raise themselves up from their messes and heartbreaks. We both saw recovery more as self-redemption, rather than recovering from something we’d lost.
Like attracts like that way. Life spins the wheels of our crossing paths. Meetings, connections, opportunities, openings and endings all seem to have a Divine orchestration just out of sight – all to be revealed a bit later down the line. It seems this is how we’re all meant to find our tribe. If our lives are in shambles and we find ourselves living from a place of darkness rather than Light, it’s all we’ll ever know. In the case of Josie Ramirez Herndon, it was illumination from the very start.
I often reflect on the relationships that have been with me for years and the magic, mystery, gifts and challenges that have come with them. Life is always offering to reveal more to us if we are willing to slow down and allow it to. Through our spirit connections we craft the fabric of great accomplishments. We weave them together, giving them life and perspective.
In business this fabric of great accomplishment is usually framed as achieving goals through an upward trend toward peak success. For me, spirit connections working together continue to reveal the next opening or opportunity until the fabric is complete. It’s not always a straight line or an upward trend, but it sure is beautiful.
Knowing Josie and Jim has been a one of the greatest spirit-led connections. We worked together in outreach at The Ranch and The Canyon in Malibu. We collaborated with US Journal Trainings and Integrative Life Center in Nashville for Spirit Recovery retreats in Palm Springs, Mexico, Joshua Tree, Malibu. We have teamed up to bring more light into this world and leave it better than we came into it. Sometimes it’s business; but all the time it’s following our hearts inspiration to bring people together for the love of life.
As we watch our human world turn we individually and collectively have an opportunity to slow down, look into our own mirror of time and decide what we will hold up as values, choices and intentions going forward. The world is run by the people that show up. Are you/we showing up?
If so, why are we showing up? What’s the real truth of the energy we carry within us day by day? Are we living in relation to people that inspire is and raise us up? Are we raising others up as we go?
New paradigms are born of the mystery of life with trappings of what we know. Our trusted friends and allies might be right there with us or they may be distant as we step into our callings in recovery. Their energy will continue to support us because it was through those relationships that we came to trust ourselves again, giving us the courage and faith to keep dreaming and taking action.
Our world needs a new paradigm - our country, the recovery realm, healthcare, politics, agriculture, education – all are overdue for an energetic shift that we are fully capable of dreaming into and bringing to fruition. We are great dreamers inspired by Life and Creator (the Great Mystery) to live with responsibility for always cleaning and clearing our way to more balanced ways of living.
This being Recovery View’s 50th edition is a great testament to the determination to follow through on a dream that has served so many along the way. I remember when this was just a dream Josie had. That dream came to life because she applied energy and intention behind it and others came up beside her to make it happen.
We can each follow though on our inspirations to bring our dreams to life. Some may be simple and small while others are grand and far-reaching. Each is an expression of our spirit into this world. Each is a gift.
I pray that life always shakes us up just enough to knock us a bit off center. May we be inclined to not look backwards for guidance, but to look up and out into the light to dream a greater, sweeter, more free and respectful relation to ourselves and one another.
Congratulations to Recovery View on this monumental 50th edition. For as long as you are inspired may this tradition continue. Peace be with you.