“Do not be afraid; our fate
Cannot be taken from us; it is a gift.”
― Dante Alighieri, Inferno
When I resort to controlling behavior or start feeling stressed over a particular situation, I now know that, in those cases, I am focused on the result of the situation. Before recovery, I thought that the only thing that should be focused on is the result and that I should do everything possible to ensure that a certain outcome will be reached. Now that I know that outcomes are not in my power to control. All I can do is keep my side of the street clean and do what is right for me. At first, the idea of outcomes not being in my control terrified me. But, put in practice, I feel relieved and free. It is not my job to make everything happen a certain way. Nor do I know the best way for any situation to occur, because I am not omniscient. Instead, I choose simply to accept the circumstances that are presented to me and either try learn from it or be content with it. Through this perspective, for me, every moment is a gift.
A meditation for January 4, 2013.
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“Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars”
― Serbian proverb
Most of my life, I have engaged in black-and-white thinking and saw the world in absolutes. This included my behavior. If I was “right” about something, I would extremely proud and quite egotistical. If I was ever shown to be “wrong,” I would be ashamed and completely deferential. There was no middle ground. I based my entire self-worth on how “correct” I was in any given moment. Since no one could be “right” all of the time, my peace of mind suffered greatly because this was how I chose to value myself. I was exhausted, and perpetually worried about what the next moment would bring. Through recovery, I was able to realize that simply the fact that I exist means I have a right to be, just like everyone else. I do not need to prove my right to exist. I do not need to be right to be respected. Nor do I need to be egotistical any more than I need to be ashamed of myself. I, now, love and value myself always – regardless of whether I am right or wrong. And I extend this acceptance to all of those around me. Today, I see that most of the world is a middle ground. I am humble without feeling humiliated. There isn't just black and white everywhere, for me. My world is now filled with colors!
A meditation for January 3, 2013.
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“Little by little, one travels far.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
Today, I had to walk several miles to get home. Though the task felt daunting, I realized that every step that I took was a step closer to my destination. I was patient with myself and took note of how I felt every step of the way. If I felt tired, I allowed myself a break. If I injured myself, I tended to the wound. If I got lost, I asked for guidance. Once I arrived home, I marveled at how pleasant the journey was because I did these things. With my journey in recovery, I realize that these same principles can apply. I will never be perfect. Instead, daily, I progress little by little. This journey is helped along when I stop and listen to myself to address my needs and, if needed, ask for guidance. Knowing this, I am more able to be gentle with myself, today. Looking back on the little steps I have taken and the small increments in my growth since the I entered the program, I realize how far I have come already. And I am glad to have these tools as I take more steps forward in recovery.
A meditation for January 2, 2013.
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Your task is not to seek for love, but to find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it
In the past, I have often felt unloved. Whether it be by my partner, my family, or my friends, I regularly felt that they did not appreciate and care for me. More recently, I reflected upon this resentment more thoroughly and realized that, in fact, I was not unloved. Rather, I did not receive the affection because it did not come in the form that I specifically wanted it to come in, at that moment. But then, I was often afraid to reach out and communicate my needs and wants because I did not want to feel rejected. To protect myself, I would regularly define “love” as those around me doing what I want without me having to communicate it to them. As we enter the new year, I am grateful now to have my friends, family, and partner in my life. With my change in attitude, I have realized that as I simply appreciate and accept them for who they are, I am more aware of and able to enjoy the love and joy that surrounds me in various forms.
A meditation for January 1, 2012.
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“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.”
– Caroline Burnett
As the new year is approaching, I looked back on my life for this past year. I realized that a great deal of the time, I looked to others – friends, family, partners, etc. – to save me and change my life for me. I used to think that in order for me to be the person that I wanted to be, I had change the people around me. As I had no control over others, I found myself become increasingly frustrated and further away from the person I wanted to be. Since I have been in recovery, I resort to this way of thinking less and less. Today, if I am unhappy or upset with a situation, I first try to find my part in it, look at my available options, and make a choice for myself as those are the things that I can control. I have learned that as I keep my focus on myself, I am able to change my own perspective and, in doing so, change my life. Nothing about my environment has changed since I have been in recovery, but, today, I am closer to the person that I want to be.
A meditation for December 31, 2012.
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