acceptance – a guest meditation by Scott B.

 

“Every good thought you think is contributing its share to the ultimate result of your life.”
Grenville Kleiser, Courage to Change P. 176
My first months in program, I couldn’t gather new tools fast enough. I tried everything I could, anything anyone recommended. One of the personal methods suggested was to repeat to myself; “I am good. I am unique. I am beautiful. I love you,” while looking in a mirror. I had the initial thought that it was cheesy, something crazy people said to themselves. Well, I was feeling crazy, so I took a deep breath, and said it out loud to my reflection. With my low self-worth and self-esteem, I didn’t feel comfortable. I felt awkward, embarrassed and ashamed even in the privacy of my home.
In spite of my mixed emotions, I said each of these four sentences again and again, day after day. I would say it in my car rear-view mirror while stopped at a light, (heaven forbid, never when another car was beside me) worried that someone might see me talking to myself. Faithfully, I kept repeating these phrases even without a mirror, now memorized by rote from many weeks of repetition. The words almost became a mantra.  Internally, I didn’t approach the place of transforming love I had expected to reach (and I expected to reach someplace, anyplace, much sooner). I felt no comfort from my repeated efforts over time.
Disheartened, I concluded that saying these simple things could not possibly work and there was no use in continuing. As time in recovery went by, I would occasionally break out a simple, “I love you.” in the mirror. Still, after all this time, I felt the awkwardness spread through me and my stomach tensed as I looked away. Forgotten in the depths of my mind (lost in one of those bad neighborhoods) my affirmations faded, though I continued going to meetings.
When I experienced what seemed like a long period of no growth in my program, I figured I had plateaued. A friend shared during a meeting that change, lasting change, happens on her Higher Power’s time. All she needs to do is her footwork, go to meetings and be patient. This stuck in my brain like a burr. It would not go away. It echoed in my head daily.
That summer I went on an eight mile walk, in eighty degree heat.  I rested, but I had run out of water about 3 miles from home. Dehydrated, I arrived at my house, filled up on water and poured an ice-cold glass of milk. I sat down in front of my computer. I reached for my mug of milk, my hand moved way too fast, and I spilled the white liquid all over my laptop. The screen went half black, the other half froze and I turned the laptop on its side, unplugged it, and ejected the battery.
Anger rushed through me. Powerlessness surrounded me. The feelings were coming and I couldn’t stop them. I felt overwhelmed. I had heard so many times not to try to stop feelings. It was best to recognize them, feel them and let them go. But I made a mistake! And not just a little one! How could I of all people, be human? The turmoil inside me swirled. Old tapes told me to shame myself. New behaviors told me to laugh and accept it. Before program I would spend months, even years beating myself up over such an incident. Which direction should I take? Help me God, what do I do, where do I go?
The mirror. The mirror? Now? Really? My gut feeling was to walk into the living room and stand in front of the mirror. I felt nudged. I looked deep into my own panicked eyes and said, “I love you, Scott and there’s nothing you can ever do to make me stop loving you.” There was no awkward pause, no feeling of inadequacy. I held my gaze and didn’t look away. A wave of gratitude washed over me. Tears welled in my eyes as I cried and laughed at the same time. My gaze was unwavering until it was blurry and I couldn’t see. Thank-you, God. Thank-you. I kept thinking that the feeling would leave, but there it was; solid in my Higher Power’s Love.
Only in looking back from now can I see that everything contributed to my growth; every meeting, every coffee, lunch and potluck. Each email, text and affirmation. Every conversation, every call to my sponsors, every vulnerable moment. All the Concepts, Traditions and every Step along the way. My Higher Power takes it all in and uses my experiences to change me into who I’m meant to be.
A meditation for October 16, 2013.

Continue reading “acceptance – a guest meditation by Scott B.”

expectations – a meditation

 

“When someone sees the same people every day, as had happened with him at the seminary, they wind up becoming a part of that person’s life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
Paulo Coehlo, The Alchemist

I spend a great deal of time focusing on the external. I judge people and situations as “right” or “wrong”, or even “good” or “bad” depending on how I feel about them. I even used to say things like “they made me feel…” or “he hurt me…” or “she mad me mad…” In none of these situations do I take accountability for my own feelings in the situations. I just hold my external circumstances to up to certain expectations.

How did I develop these expectations? I believed that if everything and everyone were a certain (as I expect them to be) then I would be safe and happy. I wouldn’t be yelled at or teased or judged or criticized. And that’s what I wanted so badly. I wanted peace. I wanted a space to just be myself. Ironically, this is exactly what I was not allowing of the people and environment around me. Though I wanted peace, I kept pushing my expectations on others either passively or aggressively. Though I did not want to be criticized, I was constantly assessing how other people or situations could and should change for the better. In my desire to have space to exist, I tried to control all the space around me. But I do not need to do that.

In the beginning of this meditation, I wrote “I judge people and situations depending on how I feel about them.” In this sentence lies the answer to my need to control via expectations. The key is my feelings. I think, often, I take my feelings out of proportion by minimizing them. I reject or ignore my feelings by telling myself not important enough. But those feelings build up and form resentments and expectations which I then take out of of proportion again and believe them to be the most important thing. This is black-and-white thinking. But it does not need to be.

I can simply accept my feelings for what they are – my ego responding to the world around me. I can accept that I am sometimes in pain, happy, angry, sad, etc. If I can do this without judging my feelings and simply allowing them to be, I am better able to process them and only then am I able to decide how I want to react.

Just for today, I will try not to judge others. Rather, when I feel frustrated or upset about another person’s behavior, I will stop and take a quick inventory on why I feel bothered. I will not judge my reaction as good or bad, but rather simply accept it. In doing so, I can give myself peace and give myself space to exist. When I can offer this compassion to myself, only then am I able to offer it to others.

A meditation for July 31, 2013*

*Thanks to Hillery for requesting a meditation on the topic of expectations! Continue reading “expectations – a meditation”

Compassion – Episode 33

Do you find yourself getting easily impatient with others? Do you feel judgemental towards someone no matter how hard you try to let go? Having trouble finding compassion for the alcoholics and addicts in your life? Are you having trouble finding compassion for yourself? Listen as Swetha, Kelli, and Spencer talk about their understanding of compassion, the ways they have found it, or not been able to find it, and how it has helped their recovery.

Some of the questions we touch on are:

  • What is compassion?
  • How is it different from sympathy or empathy?
  • Why does compassion matter? Why do we talk about feeling compassion in the program?
  • What does compassion have to do with feeling serenity?
  • How/when do you struggle with finding compassion for another?
    • Why?
    • With whom?
    • what about finding compassion with/ for yourself? Is that a struggle?
  • How has compassion helped you to live with / co-exist with / deal with the alcoholic(s) or addict(s) in your life?

 

Our topic for next week is self-care. 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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feeling – a meditation

idealist roses

 

 

 

If I stuff my feelings, they never go away.

— Anonymous

 

 

 

 

I spent some time yesterday just feeling my feelings. As I grieve, I have many feelings. Sometimes these come together, sometimes in sequence, some coming, some going, and coming back. There is pain of loss. There is sadness over times past that will not come again, and sadness that times anticipated will not come. There is anger, that my life did not go the way I planned, that the universe had other plans. There is regret at choices unmade or seemingly wrongly made. There is frustration that I cannot have it all, cannot be everything for everyone. At breakfast yesterday, reading Opening our Hearts, Transforming our Losses, I broke down and sobbed for several minutes. At lunch, I was sitting in a restaurant, reading the same book, fighting back tears and choking down sobs (in order to preserve my sense of dignity.) I know that I have more feeling to do before I’m through this grief, and I know that it will come back in the days and months ahead. But I need to live today today, and live tomorrow when it comes, one day at a time.

I am not looking for a solution today, I am just feeling. I have heard it said that “the answer to the pain is in the pain.” If I deny this grief, if I try to paper it over with a false front, I am living a lie. And when I live a lie, I am off balance. Situations that I can normally handle easily become difficult. I “become angry and unreasonable without knowing it.” Yesterday, even though I had recognized I was grieving, and I was starting to acknowledge my feelings, I still fell into this trap. I went into an important meeting unprepared and feeling irritable and discontent. The meeting started badly and I just ran it downhill into a morass. I didn’t realize how badly until my boss came by later to find out “what happened?” I have made amends, and we will move forward. But I believe it happened because I had been stuffing feelings, and denying the truth of my life.

If I allow myself to feel, I will come to acceptance of them, and to acceptance of my losses. Then I will be entirely ready to have my grief removed, and I can humbly ask my Higher Power to do so. The program has given me this promise, and it continues to be fulfilled. For today, I am feeling.

A meditation for July 3, 2013.

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Program in the workplace – Episode 30

How do you use your program in the workplace? Do you have a hard time setting boundaries at work? Do you find yourself staying late even though it affects your self-care? Can you deal effectively with your difficult co-workers?

Swetha, Kelli, and Mary share their experiences with these questions and others. Anne H. and Spencer also call in to share some of the ways in which they have used their program at work. They share specific problem situations from their workplaces, and talk about how they worked through them. Even when they weren’t completely successful at using their program tools, they look back and say “I could have used this tool here”. Listen for some great examples of the program in action.

Our topic for next week is Step 7, “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings”. 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. Some questions to think about: What is humility? Does the step tell us anything about when our shortcomings will be removed? What are “shortcomings” anyway? How do we ask humbly?

Continue reading “Program in the workplace – Episode 30”