blessing – a meditation

 

Every experience, no matter how bad it is, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.

Buddha

Recently, I thought I have been struggling with acceptance because of a loved one’s addiction and denial. My program has taught me that it is not up to me to classify someone as an addict, or alcoholic, or codependent since I know that I can only honestly speak about my own experience. But I have found myself deeply affected by fear and pain because I do not feel accepted or loved by this person. I found myself trying to explain my loved one’s behavior to myself by assigning labels to this person’s actions or creating stories around why they can not give me what I want. I would tell myself, “this person is not spiritually fit enough to be open and loving”. At other times, I would think “why doesn’t this person love me enough to do this for me? Am I not good enough?”. Sometimes I would just call my loved one an addict and detach with resentment and anger.

In the end, I realized I was right – I was struggling with acceptance. Only, I was struggling with accepting my loved one rather than judging. I was also struggling with accepting myself and trusting in my Higher Power. I know this because my entire focus was on the acceptance I did not feel I was receiving from my loved one. I worried about this person and their behaviors rather than keeping the focus on me and my behavior and my needs.  It is none of my business what my loved one does or why unless it violates my boundaries; and having my boundaries violated is not the same as having my fears triggered. And that is all that is happening – my fears are being triggered. I am afraid that if I do not feel acceptance from this loved one,  I will suffer and be abandoned.

I remember thinking, even up to this morning, “Why did I invite this person into my life? Why couldn’t I have left well enough alone?” But this is why. It is because my Higher Power wants me to love myself and know that my Higher Power loves me unconditionally – even when other people do not. What a blessing it is that I have the opportunity to learn how to love myself and accept the love of my Higher Power no matter what!

So, today, I took a pen, and wrote a message to myself that reminds me that I am loved by my Higher Power. And I know I will feel the fear that I am not good enough for the people in my life to love me. But then I will look at my wrist and realize the more important thing – that I am, have always been, and will always be good enough for my Higher Power to love and accept every part of me.

A meditation for September 26, 2013

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*maintaining serenity – a guest meditation by Ruth

 

If you planning to do something, become aware of what you really going to do. For example when you plan to go to the natatorium, than imagine how it is there, how people bespatter you with water, pushing you back and forth, accuse you and steal from you. But you will go there in peace and feeling safe, when you remind yourself upfront that you want to stick to your moral conviction. This aligns you with human sanity. This approach applies to everything else. Then when something is really disturbing you, you can say to yourself. I didn’t want to go only to take a bath but I wanted also to practice my moral convictions which makes me sane. This won’t happen if I let myself get upset by those incidents.

Epictetus – The Enchiridion

 

Epictetus was a late stoic philosopher who lived from about 50 to 130 after Christ. When I came first to Al Anon, I recognized that the program contains a lot of ancient wisdom; this made me feel comfortable early on. On the other hand, to know that human beings are struggling with the same issues since ancient times made me feel as thought I am part of a chain of humans from the past to the present.

My home group meets in a parish hall near the oldest church in town, the fundaments of which date back to the 9th century.When I arrive early enough before the meeting, I get into the church and sit there for awhile. Then, I think that all of the prayers which have been spoken around this place are still there and I have a feeling of being connected to the time, location, and the human beings around me. When I am on the street again, trying to make my way, I am much more relaxed looking at the other people and knowing that they are also just on their way.

 

A meditation for September 20, 2013.

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perfection and grace – a meditation

DSC_5126

 

 

 

Lord, help me to hold myself and others to a standard of grace, rather than perfection.

— Prayer

 

 

I frequently need this reminder, and have added it to my daily prayer set, along with the 3rd and 7th step prayers. Much of the trouble in my relating with others comes from an expectation of perfection. Usually it’s an unconscious expectation, but when someone isn’t acting up to it, I can get annoyed or frustrated. If I can hold myself to a standard of grace, if I can approach every interaction with an attitude of shared humanity, then it becomes easier for me to treat them with dignity and respect.

Recently, I was not able to do this, in a meeting at my workplace. A colleague was asking me for something that I felt I could not supply perfectly. Apparently, my response was not satisfactory, because she asked again. I got more annoyed, stating my position more clearly (I thought), and then asked “is that clear enough for you?” (And not in a friendly tone of voice, either.) She responded “No!” In retrospect, I can see that I was holding both of us to a standard of perfection, and when that standard was not met (in my eyes), I lashed out in frustration. I disrupted the meeting. I treated my colleague with disrespect. And I did not move us towards an acceptable answer to her question.

Later in the day, I realized I needed to apply Step 10, “… and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.” I apologized to my colleague for my attitude. She accepted the apology, and I think, in that moment, we both held each other in grace, because she then said, humbly, “We both need to figure out a way to communicate so that this doesn’t happen.” Which I intend to work on with her, so that healing can come from this incident.

A meditation for August 24, 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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anger – a meditation

 

Fear is the path of the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

Yoda

I used to be afraid of angry people. I used to be afraid of manipulative people. I used to be afraid of liars, too. How funny that I felt I could not feel any compassion for them when I found out, in recovery, that I have engaged in all of those behaviors, myself!

As soon as I found out about this, I feared that I was a bad person, so I got angry and then tried to manipulate people and lie so that they wouldn’t find out about this. My Higher Power works in strange ways because it was at this moment that I realized that angry people, manipulative people, liars, etc., are just people that are reacting to their fear. For the first time, I was able to feel compassion rather than fear for others. I was able realize that that my fear of people that display this characteristics often leads to my choosing to display those same characteristics. And by doing that, I continue a cycle of suffering and lack of acceptance.

Today, I will try to accept fear that is mine and fear that belongs others. I will try to accept  and have compassion for people (including me) that react to their fears in unhealthy ways – through manipulation, addiction, anger, etc. But I will try to remember that because of my self-awareness, a gift of my recovery program, I can choose differently for me.

A meditation for June 20, 2013.

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