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.

Continue reading “listen – a meditation”

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.

Continue reading “soul – a meditation”

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.

Continue reading “reflect – a meditation”

self – a meditation

 

Today, like every other day,
we wake up empty and scared.
Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading.
Take down the dulcimer.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways
to kneel
and kiss the ground.
Rumi

Today, like many other days, I woke up with my fears and insecurities. I wanted to turn to logic, and science, and reason to fix it. But I’ve tried that a million times. To quote my Sponsor, “there is no formula.” So, instead, I phoned friends and immediately felt the love and support of my Higher Power through these people to whom I had reached out. I was reminded then that everything would be OK.

So, I prayed and I took an inventory, but I did not take an inventory of those things which I feel I must work on more. Instead, I listed all the ways in which I had progressed and the ways in which my Higher Power was looking after me. I didn’t really stop to realize all that had changed in so short a time. When I was feeling scared, I didn’t try to exert control, I hit the “shiny pause button” and called people. When I felt uncomfortable, I didn’t cave in and feel resentful later, I set boundaries. When I was greeted with a situation, I was able to make good choices and still feel my feelings without letting them control me.

A situation that, a year ago, would have sent me spiraling into fears and anger and resentment for days, or even weeks, is now something that I addressed in a matter of minutes and came out of feeling the love and grace of my Higher Power and extending that same love and acceptance to others in my life. In the many years that I have lived before the program, I never had these tools. If I have them now, that I have each of those tools is a miracle and a gift from my Higher Power and the fellowship in my recovery program.

With these tools, the help of the fellowship of my recovery program, and my Higher Power, I am growing. Slowly, one day at a time, I am becoming someone more like myself.

A meditation for June 25, 2013

Continue reading “self – a meditation”

humanity – a meditation

 

Everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.

It is so easy for me to forget that the people around me are real. I can easily behave in a manner that is so self-centered that I can only focus on my pain and my suffering. Without effort, sometimes, it is hard for me to look at another person and realize that they too have a past, they too are in pain, and that they too are afraid.

I think I developed this behavior because I grew up in a home where control and codependency reigned supreme. I fixated less and less on my part and focused more and more on “getting mine”. That is, I felt that my needs weren’t being met so I lashed out. But it is difficult to be cruel to someone that I see as a person. So I dehumanize them. I turn them into monsters that are attacking me. Then I can justify my own cruel behavior towards them rather than approach the situation with kindness, respect, and compassion both for myself as well as the other person.

Now, in recovery, I know that each person I speak to is a person with their own past, their own scars, and their own fears. Each person I speak is like me – human. They are not monsters, so I can no longer justify being a monster to them.

This sounds like something I do for the other person, but, honestly, seeing others with compassion and respect has done wonders for my own ability to see myself with compassion and respect. I am now able to behave in a way that I can be proud of regardless of what the other person is doing. I can set my boundaries and let go of the outcome.

Today, when I feel myself losing my serenity when interacting with another person, I will take pause and remember that this person, like me, is human. I will remember that and look for my own part in it before I react to their behavior.

A meditation for June 10, 2013.

Continue reading “humanity – a meditation”