Timeless Spirit Logo ARTICLE

A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. September's Theme: "Opening"
Volume 3 Issue 6 ISSN# 1708-3265
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When I Became an Opening
by Janet Alston Jackson

When we discover our true power lies inside of ourselves, and power is our Spiritual self, only then will we stop seeking outside for things and answers. Instead, we become aware of the infinite gifts of abundance, wisdom, and health which have always been ours by divine right. We need only be aware that all of God's gifts are ours, and we never have to chase anything in life because we already have these incredible blessings. It's then that we live by grace and we become an opening for Spirit to direct us. Suddenly we discover we need only watch wonderful experiences unfold in our lives. But how do we become an opening, and stay open to our higher power?

I thought I was open to Spirit. For years I had studied religions of the world; I meditated and prayed religously. I was even in the ministry for four years. But it's a funny thing about life. When we think we have arrived, or we are so sure of ourselves, the Universe shows us the ultimate tests. We then realize, once again our egos have hypnotized us into false perceptions, just as in the world.

I remember it was in the late 90's when I was so sure of myself, and would have challenged anyone on the notion that I was anything less than open to Spirit. I learned quickly I was open only when things were going right in my life, and when it was convenient. I had also yet to learn being open, and being an opening, are quite different. An "opening," stays open, and doesn't close down in bad times. A big difference.

This lesson I was about to learn when I was a publicist for ABC television network, caught up in the fast, glamorous but often destructive world of entertainment. My husband and I had just adopted Devon, an adorable three-year-old. Devon had already been in three homes, and was born with PCP, cocaine and alcohol in his system to a drug mother. He never met his father. Still this charming, cute little wide-eyed angel was the perfect adoption candidate. He was sweet and eager to please us, and his two new siblings; Ryan our oldest, and Jada the youngest. But over the years, we noticed something terrible happening with Devon. He was showing emotional disturbances, and growing out of control, constantly antagonizing not only our other two children, but everyone within his permimeter at school. He went after other children with a vengeance, doing everything he could to upset them. Teachers were constantly calling me, and Devon was constantly in the principal's office. At home, there was always a war going on between the children, which Devon had ignited by stealing, lying, and constantly threatening them.

Over the next eleven years, I dragged Devon to 22 different therapists within a 75-mile radius of our home. No one seemed to be able to help him, or figure out what was driving him to do the things he did; especially since everyone proclaimed we were angels bringing him into a loving, balanced, home. Still Devon was diagnosed with everything from ADHD, Oppositional Defiant, to Bi-polar, but no treatment could help him, and no one could be exactly sure what was going on. What we were sure of was that Devon was destroying our family. There was never any peace in our house. Holidays became a time we dreaded most when our home became a cauldron for explosive arguments because of Devon.

Looking back I remember having tunnel vision, determined to find help for Devon and especially our family. I got into wars with teachers, mental health professionals; anyone who was not about the solution, was part of the problem. I approached Devon's situation like my work. I had learned from ABC and CBS networks how to be relentless to get publicity jobs done, and how to not accept no for an answer no matter how high-powered, or famous celebrities were. It didn't matter if they were directors, producers, or actors. I stood up to the best of them to get them to do the publicity needed which would help garner the network millions. I tackled celebrity agents, managers, and publicists who stood in my way from getting publicity like a linebacker. I was fierce.

I approached Devon's situation the same way. But with Devon, all I seemed to be doing was spinning my wheels and sinking in quicksand. The harder I fought, the faster I felt I was going down.

When Devon entered high school, he became violent. Walter and I realized we could no longer help him, or waste time trying to find help. He was headed for some serious problems. I remember one day coming home to an empty house and crying uncontrollably. A few years earlier I had quit ABC to be at home with Devon, because no one could handle him, and still he was growing worse. I had cried many times before that day, often going to bed in a fetal position, asking God "why us?" But this time it was different. I will never forget being exhausted from wailing and asking God to help me, when suddenly I just grew quiet; and like a cool, tantalizing breeze, peace came over me.

I didn't know it then, but an opening was occurring inside of me. I had moved out of the way and my limited will power and intellect had taken a back seat to Spirit. This giving up and letting go, allowed an opening to occur. I felt peace like I hadn't felt in years.

I know now the aggressive, egotistic side of me which seemed to work in the past was being taught a huge lesson. I couldn't hear God speak before because I was so busy telling HER what I needed. After that day I was led to surf the internet. I had looked for answers there so many times before, but now I searched with an open heart, feeling as if I was being guided. Suddenly I found a website describing exactly the behaviors Devon was exhibiting. It was "Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)." RAD is when a child cannot bond because of problems he experiences the first few years of life. Causes include parents dying, a parent who can't love their child, drug-addicted parents, or a child being hospitalized, and any type of abandonment. In short, the child's basic needs are not being met. In Devon's case, he was taken from his drug-addicted mother by child services and placed in several foster homes, one of which was abusive.

RAD children who are hurt and damaged, grow up not trusting anyone and must stay in control so they won't be hurt again. It's a strong survival tactic which makes living with these youths a living hell. They constantly push people away, refusing anyone who wants to get close to them. These children refuse to submit to authority. Regular therapy does not help because a child with RAD simply does not trust anyone, and therapy is built on trust.

Armed with this information, I now knew why Devon was defying everyone and was on his way to being anti-social. This was tremendously helpful, but it didn't solve the problem. There would be more uphill battles to find the right help, and I knew I needed to stay open, and be an opening for Spirit. I wanted the peace I felt the day when I broke down. It was during this time I started practicing Mindfulness, how to live in the moment. The future was too scary living with Devon, and thinking about the past was too depressing. My only relief was to be present in the here and now to keep my mind clear.

I practiced Mindfulness every chance I could, standing in a grocery store line listening to the cash registers, the squeaking carts, shoppers talking. And being in the moment flying down the freeway 70 miles an hour, listening to the sound of my engine, observing my hands turning the wheel. At home I practiced living in the moment running dish water, stroking our dog, or knitting. Mindfulness helped me to stay out of Spirit's way, and I found I was calm regardless of Devon's actions.

More dramatic times were ahead for us with Devon, but with Mindfulness I found peace amid the storm, and direction from Spirit because I was not just open, I was an opening, allowing God to take the reins of my life.

Soon, we found Devon the perfect help.

It's been over five years now since we have lived in hell, and today our son has healed and isn't even a shadow of the hurt and damaged child who threatened my sanity. As for me, I am not the same willful, controlling person I was then either. I learned that problems, no matter how big they may be, can only be erased when we are an opening for Spirit.

Janet Alston Jackson is the author of "A Cry for Light: A Journey into Love." To order books and CD's, schedule Janet for speaking engagements, or subscribe to Janet's newsletter, visit her website, email, or call Self Awareness Trainings toll free 1-877-796-8288.

Janet Alston Jackson, csl, has facilitated self-awareness workshops to a variety of audiences since 1993. She often teams with her husband Walter Jackson (author of "Sporting the Right Attitude"), to facilitate fun, high-energy motivating trainings for which the couple is known. This unique husband-and-wife team have been guests on numerous radio talk shows around the country, and have made appearances on KCET, public television.

Janet is a certified behavioral consultant, a certified anger management consultant, and a certified seminar leader. Through their motivational company Self Awareness Trainings, the Jacksons have given numerous workshops on "How to Effectively Communicate," "Releasing Stress," and "Mindfulness Trainings" to a variety of audiences including corporate executives, parents, teachers, women in recovery, prison personnel, health care workers, and entertainment industry executives.

Janet co-founded with Walter, Believe In Yourself Inc, a non-profit self-esteem program for children and their parents.

Janet earned her B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the California State University at San Jose. She started her television career as a production assistant for the Los Angeles local CBS station, and she was a news writer for the Los Angeles CBS owned radio station, KNX Newsradio.

A strong advocate for children, Janet was a Court Appointed Special Child Advocate (CASA) and a board member for their fundraising arm, Friends of Child Advocate. Today she is a board member for Child Care Resource Center which serves thousands of families in Los Angeles County.

The author and her husband Walter, have three teenagers, Ryan, Devon and Jada,and one very loveable Chow named Simba. They live in Los Angeles.

Copyright (c) 2006 by Timeless Spirit Magazine. All articles are the copyright of the particular writers and cannot be reprinted without their expressed permission. All rights reserved. International copyright laws prohibit reproduction of or distribution of this page by any means whatsoever, electronic or otherwise, without first obtaining the written permission of the copyright holder. We retain legal counsel to protect our copyrights.

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