amends – a meditation

 

The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.

John Green, Looking for Alaska

I have had a lot of anger towards loved ones in the past. I remember that I used to write down the resentments against them when I took my inventory. I was so upset from the harms that I perceived had been committed against me – even if they were decades old. I had heard in the meeting rooms that forgiveness is key to finding peace. And I kept telling myself to forgive these people. I would even chant it to myself or act as if I had forgiven them. Nothing helped. My resentments remained and I felt frustrated.

Eventually, I got to the 8th Step in my Stepwork with my Sponsor. To do the 8th Step, I had to make a list of all persons I had harmed and become willing to make amends to them all. I listed everyone on my resentment list and listed my anger and judgment against them to be reasons for my amends. Thankfully, I had a wonderful Sponsor that asked me where my amends to myself was on the list. I realized I had no amends to myself – not really. I had hastily scribbled my name on the last page in the margin. My Sponsor reminded me that I was not really honoring  and respecting myself by ignoring my self-amends. I took her suggestion and sat and wrote a proper amends to myself. In the amends, I apologized for not standing up for myself in the past. I apologized for lying about my feelings  to myself and others. I apologized for ignoring my own needs. I apologized for giving up my power to other people. And then I cried because I had just been given an amends by the one person with whom I actually angry, myself.

As I cried, the pain left me and the suffering left me and my wounds started to close. Since then, every day that I am honest about my feelings, every time I honor my needs, and every time I stand up for myself, the wounds close a little more and open up more space for gratitude and love and even more forgiveness. And as I heal and forgive myself, forgiveness for others comes so easily. I think this is because my reality exists within me and I project that reality onto the world around me. Now that my reality is that I am responsible for loving myself, so I am able to seeking external validation and resenting people when I do not receive it.

Today, my Higher Power blessed me with happiness and peace as well as pain and fear. All four blessings are always present for me; some offer comfort and some offer opportunity. When I can see all of these as equal, one not better than another, I can stop feeling like a victim and be accepting, grateful, and forgiving.

A meditation for September 29, 2013

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love – a meditation

 

Love is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real.

Iris Murdoch

For me, there are two places from which my actions can come: 1) fear or 2) love. Until I came to the program, I always acted out of fear. And that bred resentment and suffering until I was filled with only those three things – fear, resentment, and suffering. I had no idea how to undo it.

Then I came into the program and learned about love. I thought love was something that I had been denied for many years. And whether or not I consciously knew it, I had decided that I had to take care of my needs and I couldn't trust anyone else for anything – not even to take care of themselves. This was extremely unhealthy. I made choices that I would not make today, in recovery. I stopped addressing anything else around me as real or anyone as human. I was in survival mode and in survival mode it was me vs. the world.

Today in recovery, I learned what love is. Love is seeing myself as human and seeing others as human. Love is respect and trust and acceptance. And strength was in vulnerability. All of these concepts were foreign to me before the program. Today, through the 12 Steps, direct sponsorship, and the fellowship of recovery, I learned how to love. And I did it by seeing the world rather that shutting it out. Once I did, I was able to act out of love, and little by little, one day at a time, the fear, resentment, and suffering started to go away.

A meditation for July 24, 2013.

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