choice – a meditation

 

Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.

Zen Proverb

I have an amazing Sponsor. When I converse with her, I never feel judged, I feel safe, and I feel heard. But, most importantly, I never feel that she gives me advice or tells me what to do.  She does, however, share her experience, strength, and hope from her application of the program and the 12 Steps to her life. This is extremely important to me because it gives me the space to choose for myself whether or not to walk through the door that she has opened.

Having the space to walk through the door or to not walk through that door and not judged by my Sponsor has been one of the greatest gifts of the program because it helped me understand the word “choice.” I could choose to do something for myself regardless of what others had done, and still be respected and valued. Simple, though it is, this is not something I ever realized before. In the past, I would make my choices based on what I thought others wanted me to do or what would make others happy, and then feel like a victim. But realizing this choice was the first time I felt I could safely participate in my own life.

This awareness first occurred in my relationship with my Sponsor. Then this relationship with my Sponsor became the foundation upon which I started to (and continue to try to) base other relationships. I wanted this freedom, this choice. I wanted this, because it is through the choices that I make that I feel that I can exist and take part in my life. And I am so grateful to my Sponsor and the program for showing me this door.  

A meditation for July 6, 2013.

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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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soul – a meditation

 

Life is a school, where you learn how to remember what your soul already knows.

 

My reactions when I was a child came from the soul. As I grew older, my soul began to be buried under fears, scars, and emotional abuses. I thought I lost my soul, but I was wrong. It was always there. I can never lose it. I just lost touch with it. Through the 12 Steps and the support of my Sponsor and fellowship, I am able, little by little, to find my soul again through my connection with my Higher Power. I know when I am acting from my soul as opposed to when I am acting from fear now. When it is from the soul, I feel love and when it is from fear I feel anger and pain. Every day, life happens and allows me to choose between these two options. And every time I choose my soul, I am one Step closer to the person I was and the person I am meant to be.

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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pace – a meditation

 

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

Lao Tzu

My favorite part of that quote is “yet everything is accomplished.” I am a “hurry-er.” I hurry up and get there so that I can I hurry up and wait. I hurry up and finish my work so that I can hurry up and go do the next thing and hurry up to do the next thing after that. I hardly give myself a break. I chock my life so full of activities because I am afraid that if I don’t do everything and do it all right now, it will never get done. And I am afraid if all of the things don’t get done, people will be angry with me and leave me. This triggers my basic fears around being unlovable and less than others.

I love the part of this quote that says “yet everything is accomplished” because I hurry. I have hurried in the past. I have hurried and been frantic and codependent and scared, yet everything that my Higher Power wanted to accomplish was still accomplished. Today, when I find myself hurrying or panicking, I remember this quote and realize “well, I could hurry and book up my time down to the minute and feel miserable OR I could just slow down, tune into my serenity, and do the next right thing. Either way, what my Higher Power wants to be accomplished will be accomplished.” It is usually at this point that I realize that by hurrying, I am only making myself miserable.

I try, today, to remember that my timeline is a form of control. When I try to force my life, or relationships, or friends, or even recovery to go along my timeline, I am trying to control the situation. My Higher Power does not hurry. My life, relationships, friends, and I have not changed all at once due to one big miracle. Every day, my Higher Power sends me little miracles and everything is accomplished.

A meditation for June 27, 2013.

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