denial – a meditation

 

“The most confused we ever get is when we try to convince our heads of something that our hearts know is a lie.”

Karen Moning

My ego and soul often have conversations with one another. This interaction between the two parts of me is constant, whether I awake or asleep, happy or sad, or restless or at peace. The details of each conversation varies depending on what the topic is, but the general gist is the same: my ego says “I am afraid that everything needs to be different for me to be happy” and my soul responds “I am happy already, I am just afraid to see that I am.”

Before recovery, these conversations occurred also, but I didn’t realize because the voice of my ego had reigned supreme over my choices for so long that I hardly heard the small voice of my soul respond. As I worked the Steps, that changed. The voice of my soul became louder and louder. I wasn’t used to hearing both voices and I suppose my ego wasn’t used to the competition so it often felt like a battle in my head. My initial days in the program felt like a struggle between the ego that I knew and the soul that I had rejected. But I slowly began to listen to the voice of my soul. It was so calm and peaceful that I felt at peace listening to it. I felt charmed by it and began to utterly ignore my ego.

This, however, was very typical behavior for me. I always go to extremes. With my black-and-white thinking, I had either entirely ignored my soul or entirely ignored my ego. But the truth is both are part of me. To reject either one is to reject a part of myself, and when I reject part of myself, I feel fearful and fall to old patterns. And this is exactly what happened. I began to ignore my “bad” feelings. I began to tell myself that I shouldn’t be angry and that I can’t be unhappy and that I have to be serene all of the time. But I am human and I could not do those things and I began to be afraid that I wasn’t good enough to listen to my soul. The irony of it all was that my soul, ever loving and accepting, never told me ignore my ego. It kept trying to guide me to acceptance of all of me by signaling me through my emotional discomfort that the path that I was treading would not guide me to happiness. When I finally became desperate again, I was able to listen to my soul once more as well as my ego. I learned that I am both things. I am yin and yang. I am dark and light. I am ego and soul. To deem one good and the other bad is to not honor myself.

It is only when I am able to listen to what my ego is telling me that I am able to understand myself and my fears, and then my soul is able to reach out and be nurturing during this awareness and guide me to healing and peace. One without the other does not help me. That is only half of me. It is only when I am able to accept both sides, able to accept all of me, that I am able be open, honest, loving, and peaceful.

A meditation for October 12, 2013.

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Self Acceptance and Self Esteem – Episode 36

Do you often judge yourself? Do you internalize the criticism of others?  Are you afraid they are right? Are you unable to like yourself? Then listen as Swetha, Spencer, and special guest host Erika talk about self acceptance and self esteem.

We share our experience, strength, and hope around questions such as these:

What is self acceptance?
How is that different from self esteem?
Where is the line between having self esteem and being an egomaniac?
How can I be self accepting and not in denial about my flaws?
Why is important to have self acceptance or self esteem?
Is self acceptance necessary for healthy self esteem?
How has Al-Anon helped my self acceptance and self esteem?
Can I be self accepting and motivated to change at the same time? How?
How can I have self esteem without being egotistical?
How can the love of my Higher Power help me find self acceptance?

Our topic for next week is juggling vs balance. Do you sometimes feel that you’re trying to keep too many balls in the air at once? Do you hear people talk about a balanced life and wonder what they mean? Do you struggle with too much to do and not enough time to do it all? 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.

We will be recording episode 37 starting at 10:00 EDT (14:00 GMT), Saturday August 17, 2013. You can listen live at mixlr.com, and interact with us in the chat room as we are recording. If you have an iPhone, iPod or iPad, you will need the mixlr app.
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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”

ego – a meditation

 

The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.
Eckhart Tolle

When I was early in my program of recovery, someone once told me that I am not my feelings, I am not my thoughts. I remember thinking “what the heck does that mean??” I had not yet understood that all of my fears, judgments, thoughts, and emotions are part of my ego and I am more than my ego. My ego is how I learned deal with the world. Beneath that, there is my soul. On the soul level, I do not try to process the world through emotions and fears. Instead, I feel connected to it. I am part of it. That is the part of me I try to connect to when I reach out to my Higher Power through prayer and meditation. I try to accept and be a part of and connected to rather than setting myself aside as less than or better than. Instead, I can just be and allow my surroundings to just be.

Today, in recovery, I will try to accept my environment rather than try to judge it. I sometimes forget that my Higher Power communicates with me through people and situations whether or not they are tied to a program of recovery. Today, I will try to remember that and treat every situation, whether as I judge it as good or bad, as a gift from my Higher Power.

A meditation for July 30, 2013

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