Author Archives: Azie Taluja
Thought for the Month May 2023 ~ A Month of Memories
By: Vince DiPasquale
The month of May has always been special to me. It’s a time of memories and major events in my life. This month has brought me so many teachers through the years. May is known for flowers, graduations, weddings, and the beginning of summer with Memorial Day, a day of special remembrance.
As a child the first day of May in the City of Camden was dedicated to the Blessed Mother. We celebrated and had processions and parties to commemorate our Lady. Over the years she has become my spiritual guide and a mother to me in recovery. Now I understand Her specialness. As I sit in the church of my childhood in Camden, I can almost see a tear in Her eye as she continues to watch over the struggles and pain of the city. Yet as I sit in Her home, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, and keep her company, I feel safe and loved in her presence. She reminds me of my first family, my parents, my relatives, and my neighborhood, it was the community of my childhood with so many memories and teachers. Even though so many situations had the air of being dysfunctional I am grateful today for the great lessons I continue to learn from them.
May 24, 1940 was a special day in my life since it was the day of my birth. On this day my Creator sent me on my journey in life. What a time to be born. I guess I’m considered a war baby because the early years of my life were lived during World War II. This is a special day also because I have so much gratitude that God allowed me to enter this world. I get so excited on my birthday. My wife tells me I have a birth week instead of a birthday ~ Any excuse for a party with my granddaughter helping me with the planning. In May of this year, I will have 83 fantastic birthdays. Take time to celebrate your birth. It’s a wonderful gift to be walking on this earth. I’m wishing a happy birthday to all of you who are reading this article. Remember we are special because God created us. We are His messengers.
May 17th was the day my mom left this earth and returned to her Creator. I know that God welcomed her along with her special friend St. Anthony. I know too that she is one of my special angels who watches over me and protects me. She spent her whole life protecting me so I don’t think she will do anything different now. Thank you, Mom and for all the lessons you have taught me. Even through all of our struggles there was growth. Thank you for being my Mom and my teacher.
On May 21, 1966, I entered a major phase of my life. It was the day I was ordained a Catholic priest. At age 26 I was eager, scared, and naïve. Once again, my Creator led me on a twenty-year journey of life adventure and discovery. I experienced so many situations and teachable moments during those years. From teaching high school, to working with migrant workers in Vineland, to being a prison chaplain, to living and working in Atlantic City where there were so many teachable moments. The years in Atlantic City were chaotic and crazy yet I learned so much by the exposure. I ran a halfway house for ex-convicts, helped get a drug program started (N.A.R.C.O.) which is now the John Brooks Treatment Center today. Johnny was a special teacher in my life. I even had the experience of being a one-man campaign against gambling in Atlantic City. I lost the campaign but everything I predicted came true. The journey of my priesthood even led me to the 12 Step Programs and eventually the co-founding of the The Starting Point in 1977. I realize today with all my running and work I was missing the most important person, me. My journey through the priesthood led me to finally get started on the most important part of my journey, my connection to my wonderful recovery family of today. My final day in the priesthood led me to my next journey. I married and inherited a new family. I have so much gratitude for those wonderful years God allowed me to meet and experience so many special teachers on the road to recovery. Thank you, God, for the memories that began on May 21, 1966.
On the last Monday of May we celebrate a very special day in the history of our country, Memorial Day. It’s a solemn day to remember all those special people who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. In Holiday City where I live, we have a beautiful monument built to remind us not to forget. Even though it’s a day of picnics, parties, the beginning of the summer season, don’t forget the real importance of the day. On this day as I sit by the monument, I close my eyes and can see the spirits of all those who paid the price, living and dead. Their energy and spirit surround that hallowed place. Let’s all be grateful and not take anything for granted. Everything that is worthwhile in life must be earned. They taught us not to be afraid but to take the journey of life seriously. Many of us have been given so many gifts and have gone through so many life experiences so we can share them with others. Remember we have been given so much and we have the responsibility to give back to others.
We all have so many memories. Take time to reflect on them and know that every experience we go through now and in the future will happen because they become our strength. Don’t be afraid to face the memories of life because they are our most powerful, teachable moments.
As we celebrate the month of May, be reminded how beautiful and precious this month is. It’s a month when flowers bloom which came from planted seeds. Memories are planted seeds in us so we, like the flowers, may bloom and share our gifts with the world. Each of us is God’s creation. Don’t hide your gifts under a bushel basket. Let them shine so the world can see.
As we enjoy the month of May, do so with gratitude. Let’s be grateful for what was, what is and always grateful for whatever will be. God bless us all.
A Reflection of Prayer
“I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do great things.
I was given illness that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have people’s praise.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need for God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing I asked for; but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayer was answered.
I am among all people; most richly blessed”.
Dr. Dan Gottlieb & Lori Volpi: Embodiment, Connection, & Wisdom of The Heart – A Journey of Discovery Starting April 17, 2023
Join Vince On Wednesdays For His New Lecture Series – The Iceberg Theory
Thought For The Month – December 2022
By: Vince DiPasquale
Welcome to the month of December, the month of the child. Let’s take time to meditate this month on the simplicity of our inner child. At the moment of our birth, we were pure of spirit and connected to the Source of all life. Things were not important, just the beautiful energy of love. God gave all of us at birth all that we need for our life’s journey. As we go on the journey we are introduced to different forms of dysfunctionality. We become part of our human world. We are being taught a great lesson. We need to experience ugliness so that we can discover beauty. We are being taught the secret of life. Balance involves the meeting of the negative and positive. All experiences are lessons to be learned. There are no coincidences, all things happen each moment so that we can learn the great lesson of openness and gratitude. Each day that we awaken we have been given the gift of life. Let’s look at it in the spirit of gratitude. Let’s learn to look at yesterday as the happening, tomorrow as the unknown, and today as the present. If we choose to live in the present we are living in the spirit of life. Each day we have a choice between the spirit and the ego. The ego tries to figure out life and the spirit allows us to live life. Each day lived in the spirit of openness, allows our hearts and minds to be opened to the lessons of the day. To live in the spirit is to live in the now. If we live in the spirit, life becomes a celebration. Each day should be lived in honesty, openness, and the willingness to change and grow.
Yesterday is history yet it is our greatest teacher. If we are willing to face our history, accept it, and learn the lessons of life from it, we will experience the love energy of the child. Tomorrow is the unknown so why waste time on it. When it comes, it will take care of itself despite us.
Today is real and it needs to be lived to the fullest with the zest of a child. Children don’t worry about the same thing that adults worry about. Children live in the moment, they are spontaneous. They look at life as fun and they know how to laugh at life. The course of all life has provided us with our needs. Let’s learn to stop worrying, analyzing, and trying to figure out life. Life is a gift to be lived each day and to learn these simple lessons: “To give is to receive”; “unless we are open to falling down, we will never know how to get up”; “The ego restricts our growth, the spirit frees us to live life”; “A little child shall lead them”; “Life is a series of mysteries to be discovered”; “Laughter at life allows us to live, trying to figure out life creates stress”; and as St. Paul said, “The letter of the law destroys, the spirit frees”.
As we prepare to celebrate the holidays in all our different traditions, let’s take the time to honor our spirit. The real gift of this holiday season is each one of us. Each day that our spirit is in this world is a chance for each of us to continue the journey of rediscovering the little child inside of us. The holiday symbols are all geared to the child: “Light is the symbol of life”; “Gifts are the precious part of us to be shared”; “Birth of the child hopefully will take place within us each day as we are reborn each day”; “Abundance is for all of us if we look at it through gratitude and openness”.
As we approach the New Year just make a resolution to live each day as your last, work hard, play hard, pray hard but above all, don’t be afraid each day to laugh at life. Laughter is the spirit of all life.
Have a blessed and joyful holiday season filled with love and peace. May the Source of life be with us all.
Holiday Group – Thursday Nights – Starting December 8, 2022 ***NEW***
The holidays can be a tough time for many. Please join us in a 8 week group facilitated by Barbara Faracchio, MS, LPC, LCADC spanning from 12/8/2022 to 1/26/2023. This group will be held as a process group, meaning the group will take the form of heavy sharing in regards to any struggles coming up surrounding the holidays. There will be some psycho-education from the facilitator based on the needs of the group. Fee will be $35 per session. Sessions will be held Thursday evenings from 6:00pm-7:30pm.
Please contact Barbara directly if interested in attending this group (No walk-ins): 856-854-3155 x165 or Barbara_faracchio3@msn.com
Please click here for a printable flyer: Holiday Group
Thought for The Month October 2022 – “The Many Faces of Life”
Thought For the Month
The Many Faces of Life
When October rolls around we think of how the trees start to show their other faces. Mother Nature once again reminds us that on life’s journey we will all experience many different face changes. Each one will bring us to a place of struggle and growth. During this month we also experience Halloween. Originally Halloween was a time of sacredness, dressing up as the patron saint we were named after. This would encourage us to look up to that saint for examples. Today we see many costumes and different faces which also remind us of life. Let’s look at some of the faces who have touched our lives. I will try to see these different faces of my life’s experiences.
The child. As a little boy raised in the forties, my vision and face were different. Having come into the world during World War II it was a world of uncertainly and fear living in the city of Camden. The face of Camden was different then. The streets were safe, and the neighborhood divided. There was no air conditioning or television. All ears were glued to the radio. Even baseball was always played in the daytime and some games were called because of darkness. The face of religion was based on fear and guilt. Yet there was a sense of community and caring.
The teenager. The face of my teen years was a journey that took me away to a new community, the seminary. There was fear and confusion and time to adjust to a new face of life for three years. Then change again when the next three years were spent in Blackwood at the seminary which is now Camden County College. Life was always adjusting to new people and new experiences. I experienced the world of stage and drama, a time to grow up in a controlled world.
The 20’s. As I entered my 20’s the journey took me to a new school, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Maryland. This was a chance to finish college and receive my graduate seminary training which led to my ordination in 1966. Once again years of change, confusion, adjustment, and growth ensued. It was a time when I thought I had it all together. These were my years of journey into the ego, when I thought it was my job to save the world. The final years of my twenties were spent in much fear, guilt, and craziness. My journey into codependency and the world of addiction began. A time when I was introduced to the 12 Steps and the world of ALANON. I still didn’t understand why they kept telling me to work on myself when my ego told me I didn’t need to.
The 30’s. Then came the 30’s, years of much confusion and craziness. I truly understand today that these years were the dark night of journey. My life was out of control. I was running from life playing the savior and martyr on a journey into a deep hole of emptiness. During the seven years, 1969 to 1776, I was a runaway train. My workaholic instincts and addictions were fully alive. During these years I taught high school, ran a parish, was involved in the civil rights movement, became a prison chaplain, and ran a halfway house drug program. I never took time to vacation, too busy to go to the beach or boardwalk. I founded The Starting Point in Philadelphia in 1977. I was just running away from facing life and decisions. I played the game of avoidance and isolation. I was truly a rebel against everything. Talk about codependency and control issues. Inside I was empty, lonely and scared.
The forties. The forties were a time of awakening, a time to face many decisions, fears, and a time to awaken and move to a new era of life. My God was very patient with me and sent some very special people into my life to help lead me slowly out of the empty hole and into the light. God sent a new family which forced me to look at another new face, a wife and three beautiful stepdaughters who at once helped me look to a new direction. I finally had to begin the journey, one a day at a time, while discovering who I was. This journey continues to this day. God has blessed me in so many ways and has sent many people to touch me along the way. He has sent me an opportunity to be a member of many communities with many different faces who have all helped me on my spiritual journey.
Today. I have seven beautiful faces, my grandchildren, who have helped me to meet in a special way, my child within. God has blessed me with so many gifts and the opportunity to share them.
As we look at the changing faces of life, let’s to grateful for all we have been given. Remember an old and beautiful slogan, “Be grateful for what was, be open to what is and be grateful for whatever will be.” Look around at all the wonderful faces of all of God’s children. We are all connected in the circle of life. May we all be blessed on our life’s journey.
A Prayer for Self-Respect
O God, teach me that self-respect cannot be hunted, it cannot be purchased; it is never for sale. Teach me that self-respect comes when I am alone, in quiet moments, in quiet places, when suddenly I realize that knowing the good, I have done it; knowing the beautiful, I have served it; and knowing the truth, I have spoken it.
Recovery Dharma Wednesday’s at 6:30pm – 7:45pm ***NEW MEETING***
Please join Recovery Dharma on Wednesday’s at 6:30pm to 7:45pm. ***NEW MEETING***
Recovery Dharma is a peer-led movement and community unified by our trust in the potential of each of us to recover and find freedom from the suffering of addiction. We believe that the traditional Buddhist teachings, often referred to as the Dharma, offer a powerful approach to healing from addiction and living a life of true freedom. Each meeting will include moments for introductions, meditation, and group sharing. Sharing during the meeting is always optional. This meeting is open to anyone seeking recovery from addictions (of all forms), as well as to those curious about living a sober/addiction free life.
Vince’s Inner Child Groups
- Women’s In-person Group starts September 8, 2022. Every Thursday In-person at 1pm for 12 weeks. ***Registration Closed***
- Online Group for Both Men & Women starts Sept 29, 2022. Every Saturday on Zoom at 6 PM for 12 weeks ***Registration Closed***
Registration is required, and with limited space it will be first come, first serve. Vince – Inner Child Group Thursdays Online 6pm Register via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide your name, which group you would like to attend, telephone number, and email address to register. Cost is $25 per session, Sessions Last 1.5 Hours
- Men and Women’s online Group starting Sept 24, 2022. ***CANCELLED***
- Women’s In-person Group starts September 24, 2022. ***CANCELLED***
Anger Management – Men’s Group
Anger management group for men that helps identify triggers, physical warning signs, while providing coping skills, ways to express emotions and more…
Limited Space for 8 Week Course. Please register with Gary Dock at (856) 854-3155 Ext. 148 or go to www.wishingwellcommunity.com
Start Date: TBD
Mondays: 9AM to 10AM
Wednesdays: 7PM – 8PM
Cost: TBD; Fee For Service/Insurance Accepted