The Road Home: A Spiritual Autobiography
The Road Home is an autobiography of both personal experience and spiritual beliefs. The author shares what she has learned during the process of reclaiming her true, authentic self after a devastating loss.
Although Nadine?s spirituality is grounded in the philosophies of twelve-step recovery programs, her personal belief system has been influenced by many sources?traditional and nontraditional. The spiritual gift found in the twelve steps is the invitation to establish a personal relationship with a higher power, or God, of their understanding. For Nadine, this has led her far beyond healing from addictive behavior to a true mystical experience. It first led her to a God outside of herself; then to a God within herself and others. Finally, she found her true self and her unique path. The journey has taken Nadine and will take her beyond this life into another?to the place from which she came?The Road Home.
Nadine also believes that the process defined by the steps can be useful for anyone called to walk a spiritual path. However, there is no right way or wrong way to travel the road home, she says. In presenting the spiritual principles and practices that have worked for her, she prays that they will help readers with their own path toward self-discovery.
Some time ago a friend sent me a tape of a song he had written, a guitar instrumental called ?The Road Home.? He chose that title because, it was a "traveling" song, and he asked me to tell him what I thought of it. I told him that the song was great, but that the title also had a special meaning for me. It really struck a personal chord. I could really say a lot about the road home.
Not long after, I realized that that was exactly what I was supposed to do. I had been given my creative marching orders?"It's time to write"?some months earlier. I had an idea of what I was supposed to share, but the how had not come to me. The what was a group of short essays defining my personal spiritual beliefs and the lessons I've learned in the process of reclaiming my authentic, or true, self and my life after a devastating loss. And the how had just been given to me through a special friend. I was to write about ?The Road Home??my road home, my life. Not the story of my life, but the lessons of my life.
This is not an autobiography of accomplishments and events. This is an autobiography of spiritual beliefs, attitudes, principles, and truths, with the events of my life interwoven throughout. This is a spiritual autobiography because my road home had to be miraculously transformed into a spiritual journey before I could find my way. This is a journey that has taken me down a mystical path. It first led me to a God outside of myself, then to a God within myself and others, and, ultimately, to my true self and unique path. This is a journey that is taking and will take me beyond this life into another, the place from which I came: the road home.
So this is, without question, a spiritual experience; but it is not a religious experience in the traditional sense, at least it has not been for me. When I refer to my spiritual guide as God, understand that I refer to a God of my understanding. And my understanding of God may be very different from the God of your understanding, as you will see when you read about him. He is, above all, a power greater than myself who expresses through me as love. He is one whom I choose to call God. I use that term and the male gender only because I am used to it and have no personal objections to doing so. God is neither male nor female, spirit nor flesh, personal nor impersonal, but all things at once.
My personal brand of spirituality is grounded in the philosophies of twelve step recovery programs, because it was addictive behaviors (my own and others?) that literally brought me to my knees and forced me to establish a personal relationship with God. But, my spiritual curiosity goes beyond program. My concept of God and my personal belief system have been formulated, augmented, and strengthened through many diverse sources. God speaks to me through whatever medium I am tuned in to, and these are both traditional and nontraditional. So, for me, there is no right or wrong way to travel the road home. These are the principles and philosophies that have worked for me, and that is what I have been told to share with you. As we say in the program, ?Take what you like and leave the rest.?
There is also no right or wrong way to approach reading about my spiritual journey and the principles and philosophies I have discovered along the way. The first five segments of the book provide the framework for what follows and, as such, ought to be read continuously. The spiritual essays categorized as gifts, rewards, principles, practices, and road hazards may be read either continuously or randomly selected according to your interest in a particular principle. They are meant to be self-contained, with excerpts from my personal story woven throughout to illustrate the principle being discussed.
The journey itself is a process of continuous change, continuous growth, and continuous healing. Writing this spiritual autobiography is a part of my process, so the changes, growth, and healing I am experiencing are reflected in my writing. As I open my heart more to God, I also open my heart more to you. The shift is subtle, but if you read this with an open heart you will sense it. I have purposely tried to not rewrite these pages for fear of eliminating the shift, as it is an important part of my message.
Finding my personal truth, my true self, and following my unique path are not always easy, even with a spiritual guide. But the road home is never dull and boring, the rewards are great, and it is never too late to begin. My prayer is that some part of my experience may help you in your own process of self-discovery and make your personal journey a bit easier. Or, if you have not consciously begun this process, that it may inspire you to do so. That is my purpose and God's intent. So bon voyage, my friend. May your road home be loving, joyous, truthful, and serene. None of us deserves anything less.