This past weekend I attended an all-day workshop at a local Buddhist center called “Refuge Recovery” for anyone dealing with present or past addictions. In the past month I am realizing my codependent tendencies, focusing way too much on other people, and also wanting them to fill me, rescue me and otherwise mend my life.

So, this workshop was just what I needed. I especially loved the idea of how we as humans find “false refuge” in such things as alcohol, drugs, food, the internet, TV, and, of course, other people. I believe that in doing this we want to feel safer, less vulnerable and scared, and we think that reaching for something outside us will help us cope. It is clear that many of us want relief from pain, relief perhaps from loneliness or boredom, sadness or loss, relief from unresolved issues from the past, relief from our own feelings.

I have known all this for years, but I like the clear and simple way of calling these distractions, diversions or addictions, “false refuge.” This means that we can turn to them, but anything outside ourselves will give only temporary relief, cannot truly mend our hearts or fill the holes inside us. So what can be lasting and true refuge for us?

From my perspective, true refuge is turning to Source/God/Goddess/Spirit/the Creative Force in the Universe, whatever you call this Higher Power, or it could be Love, kindness, compassion, a force that is greater than our smaller selves. I also turn to my Higher Self, the inner wisdom inside me that knows the truth. I turn to my intuition for guidance and listen to Higher Power and my Highest Self as they co-create what is for my greatest good and highest evolution.

Truly, only I can fill myself by being willing to feel my emotions, allowing myself to process these feelings appropriately and then proceed after meditating and usually writing in my journal. I fill myself by doing what I love each day: being in my garden, walking my dog Calloway, praying, meditating, singing, creating something like this blog or a new song. I fill myself by being of service, by getting out of myself and focusing on others and their needs. I fill myself by being inspired by the beauty of nature, breathing this in and then feeling restored and renewed.

I am thankful to the founders and teachers of Refuge Recovery for all their service, and for helping me choose true refuge. I hope that what I’ve learned in some way helps you.

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