exhale – a guest meditation from Scotty B

Running!

 

 

 

The most important stage of breathing is the exhale.

— an anonymous runner

 

 

A runner said the most important stage of breathing is the exhale. A complete exhale leaves me room to breath in fully. When I expel all the carbon-dioxide, there is room for what works best; oxygen (and lots of nitrogen). I’m also able to choose whether I slowly inhale or quickly exhale.

My first two weeks of trying this out left me with sore lungs. I was not familiar with this under-utilized organ. Like any muscle that is rarely used there was a period of mild discomfort and adjustment. After the first few weeks, my lungs adapted and their capacity increased.

When I was canoeing at Herbert Lake this summer, I was able to paddle consistently for long periods with short breaks. Breathing fully in and out also allowed me to feel my feelings. My Dad had died two weeks previous. I was camping to recharge my spirit and find serenity in nature. I had the entire lake to myself.

Feeling grief and loss, I imagined inviting my Dad to see what I loved to do. I pictured him being enthusiastic and heard encouragement in his voice as I paddled. The canoe floated at the base of the mountain and I felt tiny in its cold shadow. I shared a warm moment with my father and felt connected to him. It was a small step on the road to forgiveness for myself as I could not make direct amends to him while he was alive; living amends was the best I could do.

Breathing fully allows me to feel alive, to share my feelings and to connect with people; living or deceased. I feel hope as I clear away the wreckage of my past. My Higher Power and I make way for new relationships with people in the program as I accept my feelings and myself.

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A meditation for October 30, 2013.

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Step 8 – Episode 35

peace at sunsetIf you are struggling with guilt and resentment over your actions in the past… If you aren’t ready to make amends to someone… If you think that you deserve an amends before you make one… You’ve come to the right place. Keep listening as we discuss STEP 8.

Kelli, Spencer, and Swetha share our own experiences with Step 8, as we try to address these questions and others:

How do you decide if you have “harmed” someone? (what was the act? why did we do it? What were the consequences?)
Have you made a list? How did you go about it? (use your 4th step?)
How do you “become willing” to make amends?
What if there are people you are not willing to make amends to?
Can you be willing to become willing?
What about people who owe you amends?
Did you make it onto your list? Why is it important to include yourself?
What is the difference between willingness and actually making the amends?
What part does honesty play in this process?
Did you review your list with anyone before planning amends? Did they make any suggestions to you? What did/ could you learn from them?
Does your HP get included in this step?

This episode was our first experiment at live broadcast through Mixlr.com. Join us on Monday, August 12, at 6PM EDT (2200 GMT) as we record our next episode on self-acceptance and self-esteem. You can listen to our raw, unedited conversation, and interact with us and other listeners in the chat room. Just click on the “listen live” link to the right. If you “Follow” us on Mixlr, you will automatically receive an email notification when we start broadcasting.

Our topic for next week is self-acceptance and self-esteem. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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listen – a meditation

 

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

Stephen Convey

Every time that I listen to someone speak about his/her feelings and start forming a reply before this person has finished talking, I realize I am not allowing the person the right or dignity of their own feelings. I do this when I am feeling hurt, angry, and fearful that my needs won’t be met, so I get defensive.

Recently my Higher Power chose to help me with this defect of “listening to reply” when a loved one was speaking with me. My loved one was hurt and quite defensive and, in return, I was defensive. I listened with intent to reply and when I replied, it went so poorly and I did not keep my side of the street clean. I was drained and emotionally exhausted by the interaction. I, later, approached this person with the intent to listen. And that’s what I did, I listened and nothing else. I allowed them the space to feel their feelings whether I felt it was right or wrong. And I made an amends for my part and my behavior in the situation.

Later, when I tried to express my feelings, the other person listened with the intent to reply. This, I think, was my Higher Power trying to teach me patience and compassion because I was now able to understand how it feels when I do that to others. And even though they replied,  I was able to listen to their responses rather than try to be defensive and, therefore, able to keep my side of the street clean.

Finally, my Higher Power taught me understanding and sympathy. The same person that was angry about certain behaviors I engaged in later came to me and thanked me for being able to hold a space for their feelings and then discussed with me about a different situation. While my loved one spoke, I listened with the intent to understand. Though they didn’t realize, I heard them speak about how they engage in the same behaviors that they found so frustrating in me. In that moment, though my loved one didn’t make that connection between the two of us, I understood and felt sympathy. And simply by realizing that we are the same, my own pain at not being heard earlier, was healed. I realized connections are two-way streets.

I am so thankful for this experience. I learned how to not be defensive. I learned patience. I learned to understand. But most of all, I learned to listen because if I hadn’t been able to listen, I would never have been able to heal.

A meditation for July 1, 2013.

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reflect – a meditation

 

We can waste time searching for our own reflection in others, or we can focus on reflecting what we love in others.

 

So much of my life has been spent watching or experiencing one abusive situation after another and seeing how my loved ones sweep it under the rug and pretend it’s OK. It really shook me and caused me to lose faith in myself. When I saw something happen that I felt traumatized by and everyone in my life pretended it was normal, I started assuming that I was too sensitive or imagining things or just plain wrong. And if I brought  up the situations with others, often I would get punished for bringing it up. So, unable to express my feelings and told I am wrong, I started just shutting down when an uncomfortable situation was occurring. When I did this, I began to lose my connection with myself because I no longer trusted myself. I treated myself as a crazy person that had no concept of reality. So I would constantly seek myself in others. As the quote says, I would look for my own reflection in others. I would look to others for validation of myself and my feelings to see if they were “correct.”

Now that I am in program, I learned that my feelings are my feelings and I cannot control my feelings. Having feelings, no matter what they are, is never “wrong.” However, when I am not self-aware enough to allow myself to feel and accept my feelings, my actions can be controlled by them. I learned through the Steps how to love myself by accepting my feelings and then giving them up to my Higher Power, take inventory of a situation, and do the next right thing. I learned this by practicing program, reaching out to others to hear their experience, strength, and hope through phone calls and meetings. When I heard something that I resonated with and met someone who exhibited the peace that I wanted to have, I listened to what they had to say. And I began reflecting their behaviors in those situations. I began reflecting what I loved in others because it helped me learned new skills to deal with difficult situations. And stopped looking for others to reflect back to me who I was because I had a strong connection with my Higher Power. When I practice these principles in all my affairs, I achieve serenity.

A meditation for June 28, 2013.

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change – a meditation

 

The secret to change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new.

Socrates

Acceptance does not come naturally to me. By default, I am more likely to spend time going over all the mistakes I made over and over again in painstaking detail. I used to think this would keep me  from making those mistakes again by focusing on what NOT to do. But really, I was often so focused on the negative that I didn’t ever stop to think what I should do, what my Higher Power wants me to do, when greeted with that same issue again. When I behaved this way, I was trying to be in control of my feelings and in control of a situation. In the program, we call it “forcing a solution”.

There is a subtle difference, but focusing on doing the next right thing was far more manageable for me than focusing on controlling all the things I felt I did wrong in the past. When I focused on trying to fix all of those things, the job seemed overwhelming and I was easily disheartened because those actions came out of my own fears of not being good enough or not being lovable unless I act correctly all the time.. When, instead of judging myself, I instead accepted that I made a mistake and made an amends to myself and others (if needed), I was able to be gentle with myself and then focus on the positive of trying to do what the next right thing was, and let go of the results. This action comes from love – both love for self and love for my Higher Power. When my actions come from a place of love, I open myself up to all the possibilities that my Higher Power wants for me because I am able to get closer to my Higher Power.

A meditation for June 12, 2013.

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