After these many years of working a Twelve-Step program I recently began to think about this idea of “choose your own Higher Power.” Of course I had heard that many times over the years. You too heard about making the group your Higher Power or make Nature your Higher Power or in those blunt, old-timer voices, “You can make the radiator your Higher Power, just pick something and pray to it.”
Maybe this was the snob in me but I thought, “well, if they have to do that I guess it’s OK but I have a God and that’s the best kind of HP.” Yeah, I guess that is being a spiritual snob.
But a few weeks ago I heard a woman who has a recovery life that I admire talking about how she created her HP and it hit me, “They really mean it—we can choose.” And I wrote this note in my journal: “Can I create my own loving, positive, supportive God and HP? What would He/She be like? How would I connect to them?”
I felt new freedom right away. Just pondering that helped me realize how much I had carried a childhood God into my recovery Higher Power. No wonder surrender is still hard. And no wonder I feel like I have to bargain and deal. But then another fear it me:
I like clothes a lot and I like art. I’m also a writer and I love to read. I spend a lot on books and clothes and well, beautiful things. That can’t be very spiritual, right? So the guilt again: Still not good enough for God.
But this morning looking at the new line of Eileen Fisher clothes—always joking that she must have designed for Thomas Merton and for nuns—it hit me: God loves beauty. God must love beauty a lot—look at all the beauty, design, color, style in the the natural world. My God, (literally) I’d love to wear any color combinations I see out my window today. Wouldn’t you? And perfumes? Yep. And design, shape, line. All there.
And literature? Whatever faith you follow there is beautiful language and marvelous texts. And there are stories that have transcended thousands of years, and poetry—every religion has poetry. Religious poetry is the basis for all secular poetry. So God must care about language, narrative and words.
And my beach vacation? God. The way my heart leaps at a beautiful scarf? God. Beautifully designed and well-crafted shoes? God.
Now we cannot be without discernment here. If I want 20 scarves (and I do) that’s not really faith-filled. There is greediness and grabby-ness in that? And that part of me that searches for a new handbag and then as soon as I buy one starts to look again---Oh that is my addiction and not my serene love of beauty talking.
But I’m going to try out this new Higher Power and believe that He/She is also happy with Eileen Fisher—and maybe has a hand in the social-justice-plus-fashion work that Eileen is doing. And maybe this Higher Power wants me to feel lovely and confident so I can write and speak to carry His/Her message. Maybe when I pray I can talk about all of me: my recovery, my work, my relationships and the beauty around me, and I can ask this new HP, “New olive bag—guide me on this too please.” And then get really quiet.