Say Yes! to Life – Episode 155

surf!Last weekend, I drove back to the city I grew up in, to attend a memorial service for a childhood friend. As family and friends shared their memories of my friend, I reflected on the ways we say “Yes!” to life in the presence of death. This week, I am re-issuing episode 76, Loss, with a new title. The original notes for that episode follow.

What do you do when you lose someone close to you? How can I use the tools we have learned in the program to get through a loss? I was inspired to this topic by a tragic, accidental death in the past week. It brought me to reflect on the nature of loss, on how loss affects me and those close to me, and how my response to loss is so different now than it was before I came into the program. I used this outline as a guide for my musings.

  • The story.
  • How did I deal with loss in the past?
    • Stuff it
    • Ignore it
    • Numb it
    • Isolate
  • Other kinds of loss?
    • Loss of dreams
    • Loss of friendship
      • Separation and divorce
  • Fear of Loss
  • How has the program helped me to deal with loss?
    • Feel it.
    • Acceptance.
    • Gratitude for what was.
    • Grief process — acknowledge it.
    • Less guilt.
  • How to deal with loss and grief
    • Take care of self
    • Prayer
    • Ask for help
    • Talk about it
    • One Day at a Time
    • Letting go

Our topic for next week is new topic. 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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Gratitude 2014 – Episode 97

A power greater than ourselves provides the beauty of a flower.Can you be grateful for painful events? How do you cultivate an “attitude of gratitude”? Can gratitude help you sleep better? Join Spencer and Wendy as we talk about our experience with gratitude.

We used these questions to guide our discussion.

  • What does “gratitude” mean to you?
  • Do you see gratitude differently now than before you came to Al-Anon?
  • Do you practice an “attitude of gratitude”?
  • How has this changed your life?
  • Have you found gratitude for painful occurrences in your life? How or why?
  • What are you grateful for today?

We also found a couple of interesting articles about gratitude. Powerful Lessons in Gratitude starts “As I write this, I am coming to terms with the death of a good friend of mine who was killed in a tragic accident over the weekend. … However, I realize that even in death we have the opportunity to celebrate the beauty of life.” Both of us have found gratitude in the middle of pain and loss, and that gratitude has helped us to live our lives with greater serenity and even joy.

Another interesting article is 8 reasons to love gratitude, which has this list of benefits. The benefits are backed up by scientific study, believe it or not.

  1. It can make you happier.
  2. It can reduce blood pressure.
  3. It makes hearts healthier.
  4. It’s associated with better sleep.
  5. It helps people exercise more.
  6. It helps make vets more resilient.
  7. It can help your relationship.
  8. Even a little bit helps.

Spencer was happy to hear that he doesn’t have to practice gratitude every day in order to gain its benefits!

Our topic for next week is Tradition 12, which states “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles above personalities.” 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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Loss – Episode 76

What do you do when you lose someone close to you? How can I use the tools we have learned in the program to get through a loss? I was inspired to this topic by a tragic, accidental death in the past week. It brought me to reflect on the nature of loss, on how loss affects me and those close to me, and how my response to loss is so different now than it was before I came into the program. I used this outline as a guide for my musings.

  • The story.
  • How did I deal with loss in the past?
    • Stuff it
    • Ignore it
    • Numb it
    • Isolate
  • Other kinds of loss?
    • Loss of dreams
    • Loss of friendship
      • Separation and divorce
  • Fear of Loss
  • How has the program helped me to deal with loss?
    • Feel it.
    • Acceptance.
    • Gratitude for what was.
    • Grief process — acknowledge it.
    • Less guilt.
  • How to deal with loss and grief
    • Take care of self
    • Prayer
    • Ask for help
    • Talk about it
    • One Day at a Time
    • Letting go

Our topic for next week is how I came to Al-Anon and why I keep coming. On June 22, we will talk about the question “Should I stay or go?” 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. Continue reading “Loss – Episode 76”

exhale – a guest meditation from Scotty B

Running!

 

 

 

The most important stage of breathing is the exhale.

— an anonymous runner

 

 

A runner said the most important stage of breathing is the exhale. A complete exhale leaves me room to breath in fully. When I expel all the carbon-dioxide, there is room for what works best; oxygen (and lots of nitrogen). I’m also able to choose whether I slowly inhale or quickly exhale.

My first two weeks of trying this out left me with sore lungs. I was not familiar with this under-utilized organ. Like any muscle that is rarely used there was a period of mild discomfort and adjustment. After the first few weeks, my lungs adapted and their capacity increased.

When I was canoeing at Herbert Lake this summer, I was able to paddle consistently for long periods with short breaks. Breathing fully in and out also allowed me to feel my feelings. My Dad had died two weeks previous. I was camping to recharge my spirit and find serenity in nature. I had the entire lake to myself.

Feeling grief and loss, I imagined inviting my Dad to see what I loved to do. I pictured him being enthusiastic and heard encouragement in his voice as I paddled. The canoe floated at the base of the mountain and I felt tiny in its cold shadow. I shared a warm moment with my father and felt connected to him. It was a small step on the road to forgiveness for myself as I could not make direct amends to him while he was alive; living amends was the best I could do.

Breathing fully allows me to feel alive, to share my feelings and to connect with people; living or deceased. I feel hope as I clear away the wreckage of my past. My Higher Power and I make way for new relationships with people in the program as I accept my feelings and myself.

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A meditation for October 30, 2013.

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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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