Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What are the Three Parts of Your Mind?

Blog: The Decision Maker, the Critic & the Observer The mind is our power source. Spirit channels into the mind and we use this energy to think, motivate, and accomplish. Therefore to develop mastery we must understand the way the mind works. In this way you get to embrace the daily choices you face that will determine the quality of your experience. The Course in Miracles described three parts to the mind – the decision maker, and the critic and the performer. In this chapter we will deal with the critic and the performer. Others names for these parts of the mind are the ego and the True Self or the Contrived Self and the Real Self. As you might recognize, one is negative and the other positive. The critic inputs judgments, opinions, and comments. It operates on the mental level. It plants doubt and it is disempowering. We might even call it the devil or deceiver. If your inner dialogue sounds like this, You can’t do that; who do you think you are; you don’t have the right education, contacts, skill, or perseverance. You will never amount to anything, then you know the critic well. Everyone has an inner critic. It will not help you achieve anything worthwhile. It is up to you to recognize it and decide how to deal with it /or simply ignore it. Beyond the critic, on a deeper spiritual level, is the performer. The performer takes action, know you can do what you set out to do, doesn’t analyze the problem forever, and keeps moving. An example of a performer would be the little boy who wants to learn to ride his bike. He jumps on it with a determined mind and attempts to ride it and he falls off. Then he tries riding it another way. He keeps at his quest until he eventually works it out and becomes a great bike rider. He has no concern for the number of times he falls off because his goal is to ride the bike and through all his trials and errors he ultimately finds a way to do it. The same would be true of hitting a baseball, setting up a computer program, painting a room, learning how to bake a cake - in fact, anything. Arnold Schwarzenegger is an example of a performer. He came from humble beginnings growing up near Graz, Austria. His family had no electricity or running water, so he and his brother would walk for miles carrying water to their home so that they could bath, clean, and cook. Schwarzenegger did not consider this a detriment or problem but a situation to be dealt with. He did not see himself as underprivileged. He kept moving. As a child, he saw a movie with cowboys and decided that he was going to be a cowboy/movie actor in the United States. He fulfilled his version of that dream by becoming the youngest world famous body builder, Mr. Universe. From there he followed the opportunities and eventually moved to the United States, trained celebrities, built a real estate portfolio, and ultimately got his chance to act in movies. This is not a small accomplishment when you consider he did not even know the language when he arrives in the U.S. But that is not all, because from movie stardom he went on to become the governor of California. In other words, Arnold Schwarzenegger set his sights and then went into action. He is the personification of the performer. When it came time to write his autobiography, Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story, Schwarzenegger, had a hard time remembering the timelines and particulars of his life. He had to call upon others who kept photographs and notes. Remembering these details was difficult because Schwarzenegger kept his focus forward. With each step along his path, he concentrated on where he was and where he was going. It is important that you get to know these two parts of your mind. Awareness demands it. Many people get stuck in the critic and make their lives miserable. Nothing is right, everything is cruelly judged, and they maintain focus on the “wrongs” of the world. Yet at any moment you can make another choice. Step back; take note of your situation, and decide what action is needed. This is the decision maker. performer. Learning to ascertain fact versus the dramatic conclusions of the critic is imperative if you are to achieve mastery. You are always the decision maker. It is important that you recognize your susceptibility to negativity. Often it shows up as other people, perhaps even your family. Negativity is toxic. You must identify it and counter act it. Whether the negativity is yours or others, you have the ability to protect yourself and move beyond it. There are many people who exist as lazy, indifferent and willing to accept all suggestions that harmonize with their own weakness. It gives them an excuse to stay weak. So attention is warranted. Will power is the ability to use your will to make decisions. You must make decisions in life. What direction do you choose to go? By developing habits that maintain positivity, you are deliberate in building inner strength (like Schwarzenegger and others) and keep yourself from caving in to the critic. The most common weakness is the habit of leaving your mind open to the negative influence of others and that includes the broadcast news. If you become unconscious of this tendency, you are cursed to work harder to achieve your goals. The idea is to spot negativity and close off to it immediately. You want to live in high vibrancy, not low, depressed energy. You are not a lazy person. This is the work that must be done to master your mind and operate as the decision maker. It is your life. Make the best of it. Ask yourself, what do I know for sure in this situation, about this person? What am I making up, reacting to, or assuming? Don’t decide what to do until you have sorted fact from fiction or illusion. When you are caught up in the critic, you can draw conclusions based on your past – who does this person reminds you of, what is my issue? Am I experiencing jealousy, or competition? None of these deductions will be accurate. The performer has clarity about what he wants and where he is going. When he spots an obstacle he begins to calculate his options. What will it take to blast through it, climb over it, side step it, or reduce it to rubble? When you decide your course of action, there will always be a way to accomplish it. This blog was taken from the book: The Keys to the Kingdom: Techniques to Achieve Self Mastery by Jean Walters to be published in 2017 Jean@spiritualtranformation.com website: spiritualtransformation.com Twitter.com/LightandJoy facebook.com/jeanmwalters1 Books available on Amazon.com and spiritualtransformation.com

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Perfectionism, Defeat, Success, Failure - You Decide!

If failure is a lack of perfection, then Tal Ben-Shahar, author of Choose the Life You Want, indicates you can learn just as much, if not more, from failure as from success. Walter Russell, in The Man WhoTapped the secrets of the Universe, acknowledged, I have had my share of what one calls defeat, in plenty. I have made and lost fortunes and seen great plans of mine topple through my own errors of judgment or through other causes… But I do not recognize these as defeats. They are but interesting experiences of life. They are valuable stepping-stones to success. Defeat is a condition one must accept in order to give it reality. I refuse to give it reality by accepting it. In my philosophy I have written these words: Defeat I shall not know. It shall not touch me. I will meet it with true thinking. Resisting it will be my strengthening. But if, perchance, they will give to me the bitter cup, it will sweeten in the drinking. Along those same lines, there isn't any situation that couldn't be changed for the better. How? By changing yourself. The key is to accept yourself for all your talents and flaws. Resolve to mine the peace within no matter what the material world appears to reflect. By plaguing yourself with perfectionist goals, you strive for the unattainable. Frustration is born out of reaching for something that doesn't exist. The seeker, profusely aware of falling short of his goal, develops critical, self-defacing attitudes. This inner critic keeps genius from coming out. There is something to be said for making mistakes and even failing. Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team. His failure to make the team created irritation that drove him to persevere, work through his frustration and realize his genius on the basketball court. He wasn’t going for perfection, but performance. Your perfectionist is your critic and will continually come up with judgments, comments, and opinions. In order to perform, you have to overcome the critic. Example: the little boy who wants to learn to ride his bike will jump on it. In attempting to ride, he loses his balance and falls off. Then he rides it another way. Eventually he finds a way to ride the bike and in so doing his performer self comes out. The perfectionist (critic) is disempowering. Your genius self comes out when you continually improve your performance without worrying about perfection. It could be that what you really want is to do your best. Each time you unconditionally give your best effort, you add to your ultimate performance and your situation just like Michael Jordan and Gerard. Give your effort for self-gratification and fulfillment, not to impress or please anyone else. Personal acceptance and appreciation for your exertion is a sign of maturity and an indication that you've given your best. There is a difference between having to create perfect results and having high standards. A person with high standards gives his best and learns from the result. His aim is to continually improve his skills. Conversely, a perfectionist expects every effort to be indisputable, without flaw. His ego, rides with each outcome and is crushed when criticized. Seek a healthier perspective. Babies learn to walk over time. We don’t expect them to get up once and walk perfectly. We understand that walking is a process that includes various factors such as balance and strength. Patiently, we applaud each effort the baby makes. With encouragement, they tenaciously try again and again, until they have mastered walking. We are similar. Each time we venture into new territory or attempt yet another learning experience, we are as fresh and innocent as a baby. Endeavor to express patience and gentleness in this growth process. This blog is excerpted from Be Outrageous: Do the Impossible Others Have and You Can Too! by Jean Walters available on Amazon.com Other books by Jean Walters: Set Yourself Free: Live the Life YOU were meant to Live! - Amazon.com Dreams and the Symbology of Life - by Jean Walters-Lucy - available on Amazon.com

Thursday, May 4, 2017

What to do When Life Squeezes YOU

This article is taken from The Keys to the Kingdom: Techniques to Achieve Self Mastery by Jean Walters    Psychologist, Wayne Dyer used a metaphor to describe what happens when a person is squeezed as in stressful situations – being caught in traffic, a fight with a friend or spouse, not getting the raise, overwhelmed at work. His illustration was that when you squeeze a lemon what comes out of it is lemon juice. The reason for that is simple – what is inside the lemon is lemon juice. By the same token, when you are squeezed by life – experience stress what comes out of you? Anger, hate, compassion, empathy, patience, love? The spiritual teacher, Osho, states the precept a bit differently. He says we can build an appearance of morality, culture, kindness, and following the rules of our tribe or religion, but when faced with challenge, such as being insulted, the façade disappears and what comes forth is the hidden anger or animalistic tendencies. In other words, you can become a volcano concentrated only on violence, revenge, and getting even. Once the threat goes away, the animal nature submerges into its underground cave and the belief is that I am calm and will never be angry, greedy, jealous, hateful again. What you have really done is constructed an illusory self. Your hidden egoic, animalistic self awaits the next confrontation. Who you are when under stress is who you have constructed yourself to be without the façade of good manners and appropriateness. What is to be done, you ask? Creating an illusory self is easy. We were taught to do that as children. Be respectful to elders; have manners; say please and thank you, restrain yourself. To go beyond the ego and shape, educate, and cultivate your real self is a lot of work. It can be arduous, but well worth the effort. To do so you must face your ego, reactionary self, or your wound/ inner pain. That means when you find yourself reacting with negative emotion, stop, wait, breathe and ask yourself what you are feeling and what is the purpose? This stopping gives you a moment to relax into your true self, or compassionate self. The person that requires compassion at that moment is YOU. The pain your animal nature reacts to is illusory. Someone’s insult relates to him and not you. Taking a moment can bring you back to center to realize this truth. You are a being centered in love. The person in front of you is operating out of pain. This has nothing to do with you. There are many people occupying the earth with wounds from the past – situations they have taken personally and have erroneously believed have some bearing on their own sense of self. Developing “victim” mentality is a given in our world as we are continually confronted with stories of people who have lost some battle, got the short end of the stick, live in sorry conditions, have had a rough life. We buy into these stories, become indignant, and place our attention on helplessness rather than empowerment. We can shift our attention to responsibility, self-empowerment and love whenever we wish. This is a basic change that must be made to develop self-honesty and remain centered. Once you have created a calm self with real energy it cannot be shattered. Emotion can be transformed to love by facing the fear that presents itself as anger, jealousy, guilt, shame. We face it and reeducate ourselves. You cannot stop doing something, but you can start doing something else. It is akin to the metaphor used in the Bible when Jesus instructs that if you pull weeds from a plot of ground, but do not plant something else in their place, the weeds will return bigger and stronger than ever. We must plant new ideas, beliefs, and understandings that relate to love instead of fear. It is about training, not suppressing. Our animal nature rules until we rise to the higher energy of love. When confronted with difficulty, the Buddhist monk replies, “Good, this will allow me to practice.” He uses these moments to practice his techniques for centering – staying in his true self of love and compassion. We have the same possibility. Life is constantly offering opportunities to grow. Growth is not about burying your true nature of love while you meet the world with a glossed over personality displaying propriety but not compassion. It is about bringing forth the love you have inside and living from it. Our true nature is love. Love is of the soul. Anger is the animal self or ego. At any time we can choose love. As you train yourself to live from a higher view, it will be easy to let go of being personally affronted with comments, others’ moods, events, or anything. At that point you will grow to become undaunted by the outer world. Accruing experience is joyful. We can easily laugh at ourselves and situations that before seemed unnerving, are now humorous. That means you are at peace!

A Love Story

There was a great story in 2012 Sports Illustrated Kids Sports. The "kids of the year" was brothers Conner and Cayden Long. They were celebrated at a star-studded event in New York City. The event itself was to honor Miami Heat Star LeBron James and there were a lot of other celebrities present as well -- Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Duke coach, Mike Kryzewski. Yet the stars were shining on Conner's and Cayden's accomplishments. Here is the story: Cayden suffers from cerebral Palsy but that is no hindrance for Conner because he includes his brother in all his sports. The two compete in triathlons together with Conner pulling Cayden behind in a raft during the swimming leg, and towing him behind his bike during the cycling portion, and pushing him during the run. These triathlons have been a great way for the brothers to come together and, at the same time, have provided inspiration to everyone that watches or hears about their interaction. Coach K was inspired by Conner and Cayden's story and he said that they have scholarships to Duke waiting for them when they get older. LeBron said that the brothers should get ready for the private plane that is going to take them from their home in Tennessee to Miami to meet "the guys." Even Jay-Z and Beyonce wanted to shake hands with Connor and Cayden. The Long brothers illustrate the power of love. When you love someone, you don't care what state they are in, you just love them. That is the nature of love. I wish that for you! Jean Walters is the author of: Set Yourself Free: Live the Life YOU were meant to Live! Be Outrageous: Do the Impossible - Others have and YOU can too! and under Jean Walters-Lucy she has - Dreams and the Symbology of Life all are available on Amazon.com and through her website: http://www.spiritualtransformation.com

How to Be Alone

Most people fear being alone. They do not understand that there is treasure to be found in aloneness. For it is only through being by yourself that you can find true bliss. The mind is constantly stimulated, busy, agitated as you focus out there where drama after drama unfolds. So we think that being present in the material world with its noise and chaos is the place to be. “I am bored. I need noise, distraction, stimulation. The ego cultivates fear of aloneness. Here are some ego messages. You might be familiar with them. “What is wrong with you – you are alone. You must be unloved. You are a loser.” These are reasons people avoid being by themselves. I don’t want to miss anything.” These are messages from the ego and they convince us that being alone is dangerous. “You might miss something.” Yes, probably a nervous breakdown. The issue is that we have constructed an identity – a false one – that is dependent on the material world. It starts with your name, then your circumstances. You call yourself a male or female, an American, Indian, European or South Sea Islander, or any other locational signature. You also identity all sorts of material conditioning such as tall/short, blonde, grey, or redheaded and various religious ethnicities – Hindu, Jew, Muslim, to name a few. These are external distinctions and designed to fool you in believing that these tiny elements are who you are. This whole identity fiasco will rein true until you examine deeper into your psychic and gift yourself the adventure of aloneness. The first inclination with aloneness is call it loneliness and get busy. Do something. Why? Because you want to run in fear and that is how the ego distracts you from the moment. How you are useful, industrious, a doer? Do something, don’t just be - wash windows, clean something, sort papers, make a phone call. The mind is indoctrinated into busyness, and freaks out when asked to be still. It can even become depressed…. “You are useless, a bum, lazy, good for nothing.” These are fear thoughts and they are conjured from old programs planted in your subconscious mind. They all relate to some identity you have taken on in your past they now rule you. If you get past that phase, the next one will be to offer yourself to nature. The natural world is still and rhythmic and primarily peaceful. Go into nature as Jesus went to the mountain or the desert, where there is emptiness. There you can release the stress of your material life and all that goes with it. Don’t stay for an hour - linger longer. Stay in the natural world until your mind quiets and then stay longer. Remain until your body relaxes and begins to breathe and then stay longer. Be still. You are beginning to experience your inner world. It is in rhythm with nature. In the Western world this stillness is a monumental accomplishment. Not so much in Eastern countries where silence is cultivated. Just grant yourself permission. In time you will get the hang of it and it will nourish you. Perhaps heal you. Stay in the stillness for three days or a week – maybe three months. Remain until you have forgotten all the roles you play and the ways you clothe yourself with identity. Stay until you become nothing – just quiet emptiness. From this point, you can move into deeper quiet. Let the mind drift into feeling – deep feeling. Feel your breath. Notice its texture, temperature and rhythm. Feel your body organs function, and feel your spirit. Let it expand so that you are able to move beyond your physical self and feel the space you occupy and then all space. Your mind will begin to change texture as you do this. It becomes softer, lighter. Stay there. No judgment, no anything, just beingness. You know the saying, “Be still and now that I am God.” Loneliness is not the same as aloneness. Loneliness is always questing after something. It is painful and demoralizing. It is the ego never being or having enough. When you cultivate aloneness, you are at peace. It is like dropping all the makings of the world and listening deeply. There is something that would speak to you. Have you created the inner space for it? Have you opened your heart with wonton desire to receive it? Be still and know that I am God. Be still – be still. Take time to practice aloneness. It will put everything in perspective because when you are alone, nothing else exists. It is like the contentment of being in the womb. Everything is provided and you are safe and nourished. No wonder babies cry when they leave the peace of the womb. They are essentially leaving the Garden of Eden, where there is love and no stress. As you get stronger, the craziness of the material world dissolves and what remains is YOU – vast and still like the forest at dusk or a clear, calm mountain lake. Be still and you will know yourself. That is mastery. Jean Walters is author of: Set Yourself Free: Live the Life YOU were meant to Live! Be Outrageous: Do the Impossible - Others have and you can too! and Dreams and the Symbology of Life (author: Jean Walters-Lucy) all available on Amazon.com ENJOY!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Simple Practice: Small steps to bring more Love into Your Life Babies radiate love. People gravitate to these beautiful little beings that know only love. We connect with them and want to experience the simple joy of their smiles and giggles. Puppies have the same effect. They automatically love you. You don’t have to do anything to earn their love. It is unconditional and holds no bounds. This is our true state - radiant love without bounds. But what happens to reduce and diminish us to a consciousness of fear and restriction, of distrust and anger. Somehow we forget who we are, our radiance. Instead of expanding our love to include everything and everyone, we start to retract and become selective. That one has contrary beliefs to mine; he looks or acts funny; they are from a different country. You love your ethnic group, family, tribe, and religious sect and close out those who seem unusual. We are afraid of folks who look, dress, or speak in dissimilar dialects. Soon we are retracted into balls of opinions, delusions, judgments, and preferences where before there was radiance. As thinking, rational beings we have the ability to make choices. We can look at the outer shell and project our own insecurities, fear, and unknowing, or we can see the light in each person and recognize that the outer form is just a defense and definition. Inside there is light (love) beaming its boundlessness and desire to share. Holding in love when it needs expression is painful. Why? Because we are going against what we are – our natural state. We are still babies ready to grin, giggle, and share our inner essence. Let’s return to that state of innocence and purity by making it a practice to smile at people. That is what babies do. Tell them (mentally, if you wish) how much you love them. You love their light. You love the purity of their essence. Even if they have lost sight of it themselves,. See it for them. This can be your practice with each person you encounter. See their inner essence of radiant light and love. Bless them with a smile. And, guess what, through the law of cause and effect, what cycles back to you will be love! Take the restraints off and guess what – fear and restriction disappear. It is a choice. Enjoy!! Jean
Rest as Spiritual Practice Rest is a musical term. It is a tiny breather (break) built into the rhythmic structure of your life. It gives the beauty of your song a little space that it might expand in consciousness. Rest, is also a spiritual term. We are told to rest in our faith, rest in Spirit, or rest in the loving arms of Jesus or God. And we are told to “be still and know that I AM God.” We may discern this instruction as “focus.” We are accustomed to thinking of spirituality as hard. Yet the opposite is true. The idea that it may be simple, easy, and flowing is quite foreign to us. Rest in God means stop efforting. It means allow God to be an intimate experience. Stop thinking about God and let God / the Universe to give you some attention. Relax in your quest! Receive! Open yourself to receive the concept of God, the Universe, as a kind, open, loving heart or hearth, a nurturing warmth. Receive the recognition that your spiritual relationship if present without effort. This idea that you don’t have to be active, that being receptive, soft, and open is the only requirement may take getting used to. Animals and babies don’t work to be in relationship with God. It may take some discipline to “not work,” to allow the water level to rise (energy to return) until action again becomes the natural spilling forth of inner fullness. There is a cycle to life, a recognizable on-off rhythm. When we go with this current, we experience a sense of rhythm or rightness – perhaps centeredness. And when we force action, we experience strain and struggle. It is a form of resistance. Yet pushing or forcing action can be more comfortable as it is the familiar thing to do. Ambiguity often will breed a kind of anxiety and this discomfort in turn, catalyzes new ways and new directions. Discipline is required to endure ambiguity. This is a learned skill. Ambiguity passes when it is time to take your new direction. When you are centered (through practice) in Spirit, you sense this timing and you honor it. There are reasons that people avoid meditation. Most think of it as work. They also fear that they won’t do it perfectly. Sometimes they fear what they will discover. Their fear is that they will find out that they are not good. (That never happens.) What if you don’t have to meditate perfectly? What if you find out that you are beautiful? What if you don’t have to do it at all? What if you can rest and let go and God will do the rest? Practicing the Presence of God is just that, experiencing the Presence. You think GOD and that’s it – no other action is necessary. It is a form of remembering. Remember your best friend in grade school. Remember the prom or your first boy (girl) friend. God is like this. God is a Presence, like air. We don’t think about air – we forget about God. When we remember them, they are everywhere. It is ordinary and miraculous at the same time. Another phrase for taking a break is called having quiet time. The only action is to TAKE the time. The quiet does the rest. In the Bible there is a saying, “Come into the Kingdom as children.” It means be open, receptive, and playful. Children rest and play, they don’t work hard. Rest and play can be foreign ideas to most regarding connection and spirituality. However, if we peak at most successful spiritual lives we discover that they are grounded in those principles. Here is the experiment – it is not official! Because we live in a busy, sometimes driven world, spirituality can be conceived of as one more thing to put on the agenda. Yet, being “spiritual” is an attribute to add to the list of “personals,” rather than your TO DO list. We try so hard that it gets in the way. So this week, expand your concept of what spiritual includes….. a little more breathing space, some quiet time. Here are some suggestions to help make it easier: • Instead of listening to a meditation CD, put on a great Broadway musical. • Go to a comedy club or a funny movie instead of seeing something that is educational and politically correct. • Read a great mystery or novel instead of a self-help book. • Instead of getting up an hour earlier, sleep an hour later or go to bed an hour earlier. • Instead of adding more to your TO DO list, try taking some things off it. In other words, tackle less. Lower your standards. • Let God work on you instead of you working on God. PLEASE NOTE: THERE IS NO OFFICIAL EXERCISE! Many blessings, Jean
Finding Your Way during Transition Emily came to me because she was depressed and anxious. She had lost her job (down-sized) and felt like a ship without a rudder or a port. Truthfully, it was not a great job – answering phones, some computer work and record keeping. It wasn’t inspirational or particularly fulfilling, but she did get a paycheck. As I got to know Emily, she admitted that she never had a passion for anything, or a career vision, or something she was driven to do, but she always liked helping people. She also had a strong spiritual connection and found comfort in solitude. Those were the two things we decided to build on…. quiet time and helping others. First to deal with depression, Emily had to come to terms with the idea that losing her unfulfilling job was not a great deficit. Her greater loss, in her estimation, was not having structure in her life. She felt lost without a plan or a place to go to implement it. The disposition of the paycheck was really more about the cultural idea that to be paid money for what you do equates having value. Yet, on investigation, there are other ways to be paid that do not involve money. This is what Emily was about to discover. Thus, Emily started listening to her heart and she took action. She had always enjoyed working at the community food pantry handing out groceries to people in need. And they were so appreciative. So she upped her hours at the food pantry. Then she found another charity that assisted young girls obtain party dresses so that they could attend school dances and proms. She helped this group get organized and devised efficient methods to serve more young ladies. Plus, there was the bookstore that needed help and Emily loved books. It seemed Emily’s niche was in discovering community needs and filling them because next she volunteered at a home for older folks and visited weekly with some of the residents. And they loved that! In a few months Emily’s anxiety about “not working” and her depression over not feeling valued was gone and in its place was a radiant woman with a beautiful smile and a heart filled with joy. The weight she had lost due to worry was being replaced slowly and that was a good thing. Emily knew she had been guided to her new life and the structure she needed was of her own making. Tuesday and Thursday she put smiles on people’s faces as she handed out broccoli and turkey at the pantry; Monday she helped at the “prom dress” charity; Friday she visited the older adults and so on. In the middle of all this, she took up yoga, and spent time in quiet at the local chapel. The last time Emily we visited, Emily beamed brightly, ”I have the best job in the world and my payment is personal fulfillment.”

Monday, January 23, 2017

How a couple found their way back together!

Recently, a read a story about a couple that was having difficulty conceiving a child. For three years Janet and Stephen Bergman went through fertility treatments in their attempt to bring a child into the world and each month they were left depleted and disappointed as their expectations rose, then plummeted to despair. They were emotionally and spiritually spent. The pain of their “failure” led to angry outbursts, prolonged silence and drinking. Finally Janet and Stephen decided to start a project together in an attempt to rekindle their connection. Since Janet was a psychologist and Stephen, a Psychiatrist, their idea was to work in their area of expertise – the psychology of relationships. Thus they set a goal, which included each expertise. They would write a play about a relationship. (Stephen had some experience with writing scripts.) Janet presented the biographies of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. The topic seemed natural since both of them had worked with alcoholics in their practices. They began by studying the story behind AA. Two men were drinking themselves to death, and by finding each other, coming clean and forming an authentic connection, they came back to life and started a remarkable program for healing. Bill W and Dr. Bob’s story became the subject of the Bergman’s play. Nothing went well. Their working styles were different and they were unable to push aside the deep hurt they each felt. Their thought of working together disintegrated into fights and silence. Then one summer night while on a getaway in the wilds of northern Maine, Janet saw a notice in the newspaper. There was to be a meeting nearby for Alcoholics Anonymous. They decided to go. In the deep woods of Maine, they came upon a one-room schoolhouse packed with people who looked like they had done their share of rough living. The topic of the meeting was forgiveness. Janet and Stephen listened as people told their stories of the pain they had created by their alcoholism and how their diseases isolated them and inflamed their character defects. These folks were working the “tenth step” in their program – taking personal inventory and admitting their wrongs. The raw honesty of the proceedings and the profound wisdom that came from it, touched both of them. Janet and Stephen recognized how they blamed each other for their pain and how resentment had eaten away their relationship and they apologized to each other. As they fell silent in the Maine woods, they were able to connect to what Bill W and Dr. Bob must have felt at their meeting half a century earlier. “It’s as if they are here. I mean the power of what they did. Together,” said Stephen. “Yes,” said Janet, “I know, I can almost hear them telling us, ‘You can’t do it alone. Stay in the we. There’s healing in connection. If we can do it, you can do it.” “ Yes, they are with us, calling us to write their story and pass it on.” And that was the beginning. Janet and Stephen found a power greater than themselves, a power that revived their relationship. A year after that meeting in the woods, the Bergman’s went to China and brought home their beautiful four-month old adopted baby girl. Katie, their daughter, became the light of their lives. As Katie started high school, the Bergman’s brought her to the off-Broadway New World Stages theater for opening night of their play named for the men who changed their lives, Bill W and Dr. Bob.