the Fourth Step – a meditation

 

The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.

This quote, I feel, captures the essence of my low self-esteem and lack of self-trust. I sought the approval of others because I did not love myself. I sought the advice and direction of others because I did not trust myself. As I spent more time in the program, this began to change. I started to love myself and honor myself…mostly. As long as I am honest with myself about my motivations, I am able to love my decisions because I brought them forth from a place of love and awareness. But I find I am blessed in the moments that I find myself seeking out the approval of others because, in my awareness, I am able to see this as a symptom of my not being honest with myself and not loving myself. It is only during those times that I seek out the approval of others because I am unable to feel connected to myself or my Higher Power in moments of falsehood. When I notice myself turning others into my Higher Power in this way, I honor myself by taking pause and taking an inventory of the situation and my true motivations. It is only through this rigorous honesty that I am able to find myself. And it is only by finding myself that I am able to let go of fear.

A meditation for October 11, 2013.

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amends – a meditation

 

The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.

John Green, Looking for Alaska

I have had a lot of anger towards loved ones in the past. I remember that I used to write down the resentments against them when I took my inventory. I was so upset from the harms that I perceived had been committed against me – even if they were decades old. I had heard in the meeting rooms that forgiveness is key to finding peace. And I kept telling myself to forgive these people. I would even chant it to myself or act as if I had forgiven them. Nothing helped. My resentments remained and I felt frustrated.

Eventually, I got to the 8th Step in my Stepwork with my Sponsor. To do the 8th Step, I had to make a list of all persons I had harmed and become willing to make amends to them all. I listed everyone on my resentment list and listed my anger and judgment against them to be reasons for my amends. Thankfully, I had a wonderful Sponsor that asked me where my amends to myself was on the list. I realized I had no amends to myself – not really. I had hastily scribbled my name on the last page in the margin. My Sponsor reminded me that I was not really honoring  and respecting myself by ignoring my self-amends. I took her suggestion and sat and wrote a proper amends to myself. In the amends, I apologized for not standing up for myself in the past. I apologized for lying about my feelings  to myself and others. I apologized for ignoring my own needs. I apologized for giving up my power to other people. And then I cried because I had just been given an amends by the one person with whom I actually angry, myself.

As I cried, the pain left me and the suffering left me and my wounds started to close. Since then, every day that I am honest about my feelings, every time I honor my needs, and every time I stand up for myself, the wounds close a little more and open up more space for gratitude and love and even more forgiveness. And as I heal and forgive myself, forgiveness for others comes so easily. I think this is because my reality exists within me and I project that reality onto the world around me. Now that my reality is that I am responsible for loving myself, so I am able to seeking external validation and resenting people when I do not receive it.

Today, my Higher Power blessed me with happiness and peace as well as pain and fear. All four blessings are always present for me; some offer comfort and some offer opportunity. When I can see all of these as equal, one not better than another, I can stop feeling like a victim and be accepting, grateful, and forgiving.

A meditation for September 29, 2013

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blessing – a meditation

 

Every experience, no matter how bad it is, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.

Buddha

Recently, I thought I have been struggling with acceptance because of a loved one’s addiction and denial. My program has taught me that it is not up to me to classify someone as an addict, or alcoholic, or codependent since I know that I can only honestly speak about my own experience. But I have found myself deeply affected by fear and pain because I do not feel accepted or loved by this person. I found myself trying to explain my loved one’s behavior to myself by assigning labels to this person’s actions or creating stories around why they can not give me what I want. I would tell myself, “this person is not spiritually fit enough to be open and loving”. At other times, I would think “why doesn’t this person love me enough to do this for me? Am I not good enough?”. Sometimes I would just call my loved one an addict and detach with resentment and anger.

In the end, I realized I was right – I was struggling with acceptance. Only, I was struggling with accepting my loved one rather than judging. I was also struggling with accepting myself and trusting in my Higher Power. I know this because my entire focus was on the acceptance I did not feel I was receiving from my loved one. I worried about this person and their behaviors rather than keeping the focus on me and my behavior and my needs.  It is none of my business what my loved one does or why unless it violates my boundaries; and having my boundaries violated is not the same as having my fears triggered. And that is all that is happening – my fears are being triggered. I am afraid that if I do not feel acceptance from this loved one,  I will suffer and be abandoned.

I remember thinking, even up to this morning, “Why did I invite this person into my life? Why couldn’t I have left well enough alone?” But this is why. It is because my Higher Power wants me to love myself and know that my Higher Power loves me unconditionally – even when other people do not. What a blessing it is that I have the opportunity to learn how to love myself and accept the love of my Higher Power no matter what!

So, today, I took a pen, and wrote a message to myself that reminds me that I am loved by my Higher Power. And I know I will feel the fear that I am not good enough for the people in my life to love me. But then I will look at my wrist and realize the more important thing – that I am, have always been, and will always be good enough for my Higher Power to love and accept every part of me.

A meditation for September 26, 2013

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*maintaining serenity – a guest meditation by Ruth

 

If you planning to do something, become aware of what you really going to do. For example when you plan to go to the natatorium, than imagine how it is there, how people bespatter you with water, pushing you back and forth, accuse you and steal from you. But you will go there in peace and feeling safe, when you remind yourself upfront that you want to stick to your moral conviction. This aligns you with human sanity. This approach applies to everything else. Then when something is really disturbing you, you can say to yourself. I didn’t want to go only to take a bath but I wanted also to practice my moral convictions which makes me sane. This won’t happen if I let myself get upset by those incidents.

Epictetus – The Enchiridion

 

Epictetus was a late stoic philosopher who lived from about 50 to 130 after Christ. When I came first to Al Anon, I recognized that the program contains a lot of ancient wisdom; this made me feel comfortable early on. On the other hand, to know that human beings are struggling with the same issues since ancient times made me feel as thought I am part of a chain of humans from the past to the present.

My home group meets in a parish hall near the oldest church in town, the fundaments of which date back to the 9th century.When I arrive early enough before the meeting, I get into the church and sit there for awhile. Then, I think that all of the prayers which have been spoken around this place are still there and I have a feeling of being connected to the time, location, and the human beings around me. When I am on the street again, trying to make my way, I am much more relaxed looking at the other people and knowing that they are also just on their way.

 

A meditation for September 20, 2013.

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knowing – a meditation

 

The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.

Socrates

In the past, I looked for a formula to be sure to always do the “right” thing. I liked the idea of a black and white world. I wished there was always a clear right and wrong because I wanted to be right all the time.  I wanted to be in control in that way.  In the past, it was easy for me to tell people what to do or ask people what to do, as though there was one absolute answer for everyone. I wanted there to be an absolute answer because otherwise, that meant people could be unpredictable and that life was unpredictable and that I wasn’t in control. I feared that if there were no absolutes, how could I be safe?

Fortunately, what I want is not how the world actually works. I have learned that most things in my world fall into a grey area with very, very little black or white anywhere. There is almost never a clear answer when I am looking for a solution to an issue I am having. There is no absolute right and wrong in my life. There is just what feels right to me at the time – what aligns with what my Higher Power wants for me. Today, aligning with my Higher Power in my thoughts and actions is my safety.

To me, this does not feel like knowledge of the mind but awareness of my soul; not right and wrong, but what aligns with my soul and what does not align with my soul. In this way, I beginning to understand that I can only know what aligns with my soul right now, and even then, only when I can quiet my ego and listen. I can not with know what aligns the souls of others. I can not know what will align with my soul in the future. So, I cannot offer advice or judge. I can only do the next right thing.

For me, the wisdom was in accepting that my ego knows nothing, and my soul is in tune with everything. When I can connect with my Higher Power, when I can connect with what is in the Highest Good for my soul, I am at peace.

A meditation for August 4, 2013.

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