In the grand Aesop tradition, Father Leo weaves a spiritual fable:
The Angel And The Frog -
Becoming Your Own Angel.
Father Leo would be in first place on the "Top Ten Best-Dressed Priest's List," if it existed. His immaculate black suit, his crisp and dazzling white collar, his fastidious grooming, his noble bearing, all present a dignified and imposing first impression. Then, he starts to speak and the room fills with side-splitting laughter. He's a natural comedian and to add to the mix, he looks and sounds like Dudley Moore (actor/comedian). When you see this British born and raised priest, you keep pinching yourself because of their eerie similarities.
The paradox is that while you are gasping for air from laughing so deeply and wholeheartedly, you are struck by lightening bolts of insight and wisdom that are life-enriching.
This playful priest tells profound stories with offhand candor, truth, and humor, yet they zing powerful mystic messages into our consciousness. His own story is, itself, amazing. Born in Brighton, England, he was educated at London University and St. Augustine Seminary in Canterbury. He was ordained an Anglican Priest in 1971 and appointed Chaplain to the Bishop of Horsham in Sussex. His career was successful for a time and he was made Parish Priest in 1974, at an unusually young age of 25. "I was popular; I was a good fellow,' a priest who drank with his parishioners in the local pub," reports Father Leo.
"A near-fatal automobile accident forced me to admit to myself that I was an alcoholic (1979). I was enmeshed in a series of problems familiar to the alcoholic: arguments, family troubles, blackouts, drunk-driving offenses, sickness, depression," confessed Father Leo. After the car crash - his own fault (he was drunk) - he underwent treatment.
The Turning Point
The recovery process includes re-educating yourself about addictions and how insidious and pervasive they can be. First, you give up denial, you watch out for enablers, and you find support daily from other recovering alcoholics. As he recovered from his own addictions, he discovered he had a unique ability to assist others who were starting the recovery programs. He was soon in demand to lecture to community groups and to the clergy throughout England, and in 1981 he came to the U.S.A.
"Spirituality and Recovery From Addiction" was his topic. "Spirituality," as Father Leo learned, was key to "wholeness." During this time he made a world-shaking discovery. While drugs, alcohol, sex, and rock and roll were known addictions, he discovered anything could potentially become a "fix" or "addiction," or "compulsion." His list began to include eating disorders, workaholism, money, anger, sadness, pain and similar dysfunctions which cause many of the "adult-child" issues, which continue to limit us as adults. Then he discovered "The Big Grand-daddy of All Addictions" - that "God could be a drug!"
He saw how many religions were caught up in the endless cycles of abuse of their respective members, especially women, minorities, gays, lesbians, alcohol and drug abusers, and people of other religions.
When God Becomes A Drug
"When God Becomes A Drug; Breaking The Chains Of Religious Addiction And Abuse," Father Leo Booth's 1991 book that brought an expose to the religious worlds, was met with mixed reactions. Some denounced it totally, while others were relieved to see the hypocrifull masque stripped away at long last. He explained that "Spirituality" and "Religion" were not the same thing. "Spirituality is simply the essence of being real and human," explained Father Leo. "Spirituality is a healthy relationship between body, mind and emotions that empowers choice, responsibility and change. Spirituality is not 'out there' in the clouds somewhere, accessible only through religion or some kind of special rituals and practices. It pulses within us, alive in the connection between our body, mind and emotions."
"Spirituality is the ability to be positive and creative. It involves a partnership or co-creatorship with God that permits choices, responsibilities, and self-power. Spirituality is not the old 'body - mind - spirit' triangle that seems to be ingrained in religion, philosophy and psychology. This model puts spirituality outside; it separates the body and mind, and contributes to spiritual wounding by dividing the 'self'," continues Father Leo.
"Angels are in fashion now," says Father Leo, "I'm worried that this craze could be the latest or next addiction. We seem to keep creating an endless list of fixes.' Our history is to look outside of ourselves for something to fix us. This keeps us always being a victim, of course."
"The Angel And The Frog - Becoming Your Own Angel," is Father Leo's latest book. It is a spiritual fable, told in the grand Aesop Fable tradition. The bucolic setting of Tunbridge Pond near Old Stable Farm and the endearing animal characters who meet Christine the Angel, are ready to take you on a journey to spiritual wholeness and true self-empowerment. Cedric, the Frog and main character, is adorable and so human in behavior that you'll laugh as you identify with all his challenges.
Father Leo told me he hopes the Angel lovers and collectors will remember that "when you wear your angel pin, acknowledge the fact that the angel being represented as jewelry, is alive and well in your being." He continues, "Angels are messengers to help us, each one, discover our own Divine Spark and to encourage us to be an angel to other people. Spirituality connects us all; it never diminishes; it always enhances life.
Father Leo Booth, MTh, CAC, CEDC, is an internationally known author, lecturer, and trainer on Spirituality and Recovery from depression, addictions, and low self-esteem. He is a recovering alcoholic and Episcopal Priest, with a parish, St. George's Episcopal Church, located in Hawthorne, California. He serves as Director of Pavilion International Treatment and Renewal Center.
Because of his witty, dynamic and articulate style, he has appeared on Oprah, Geraldo, Sally Jessy Raphael, Regis and Kathie Lee, as well as dozens of other radio and TV programs.
For more information, contact Spiritual Concepts, 2700 St. Louis Ave., Long Beach, CA 90806. Phone: (562) 427-6003. Web Address: http://www.father-leo.com ; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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