The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.
This quote, I feel, captures the essence of my low self-esteem and lack of self-trust. I sought the approval of others because I did not love myself. I sought the advice and direction of others because I did not trust myself. As I spent more time in the program, this began to change. I started to love myself and honor myself…mostly. As long as I am honest with myself about my motivations, I am able to love my decisions because I brought them forth from a place of love and awareness. But I find I am blessed in the moments that I find myself seeking out the approval of others because, in my awareness, I am able to see this as a symptom of my not being honest with myself and not loving myself. It is only during those times that I seek out the approval of others because I am unable to feel connected to myself or my Higher Power in moments of falsehood. When I notice myself turning others into my Higher Power in this way, I honor myself by taking pause and taking an inventory of the situation and my true motivations. It is only through this rigorous honesty that I am able to find myself. And it is only by finding myself that I am able to let go of fear.
A meditation for October 11, 2013.
Continue reading “the Fourth Step – a meditation”
Every experience, no matter how bad it is, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.
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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We are not to retreat from life, pinning our hopes on ‘elsewhere,' but to know that we will come to that final destination best by living fully here and now, be it through joy, or pain, or a mix of both.
– Madeleine L'Engle, The Rock That Is Higher
I spent much of my life trying to get fulfillment and happiness from other people. I needed you to be happy so that I could be happy. I needed you to like me so that I could like me. I needed your approval so that I could approve of myself. I needed your attention so that I would not be alone with myself. You were the ‘elsewhere' on which I pinned my hopes.
Through the Steps, I am finding my way to a life that is supported from within me, with the aid of my Higher Power. I have learned that I control my own happiness, and I am not responsible for yours. The love that my Higher Power has for me is helping me to love myself. Through Steps 4-9, I see my strengths and assets, have asked my Higher Power to remove my shortcomings, and am amending my behaviors to a way of living that is consonant with my values. Step 11 is helping me to be comfortable in my skin, and to find serenity in solitude and calm. Through my continuing spiritual awakening, I spend more time living fully in the here and now, more time as myself. I find myself less in need of you to define who I am, and am thus able to enjoy your companionship for what it is, enriching rather than shaping my life.
A meditation for September 19, 2013.
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The tiny seed knew that in order to grow, it needed to be dropped in dirt, covered in darkness, and struggle to reach the light.
I think it is easy to see struggles and difficulties in our lives as troublesome and not want them because they are a source of discomfort. However, I think there is so much more to our individual experiences than just how we judge them. Calling something good or bad, no matter what it is, is arbitrary, I've found. What might be good one day is bad the next depending on my mood. But when I step back from a situation and stop trying to judge it, I can instead see what good it can bring to my life. If some situation triggers my fears due to past memories of similar experiences, then I can see it as an opportunity to work through that fear. If I find myself feeling shameful about a situation, I have an opportunity to address that shame, and so on. I try, today, to focus on how I can grow from a situation rather than complain about whether it is bad or good. Instead, I try to see situations as opportunities for happiness and opportunities for growth.
A meditation for September 9, 2013 .
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The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.
In the past, I looked for a formula to be sure to always do the “right” thing. I liked the idea of a black and white world. I wished there was always a clear right and wrong because I wanted to be right all the time. I wanted to be in control in that way. In the past, it was easy for me to tell people what to do or ask people what to do, as though there was one absolute answer for everyone. I wanted there to be an absolute answer because otherwise, that meant people could be unpredictable and that life was unpredictable and that I wasn't in control. I feared that if there were no absolutes, how could I be safe?
Fortunately, what I want is not how the world actually works. I have learned that most things in my world fall into a grey area with very, very little black or white anywhere. There is almost never a clear answer when I am looking for a solution to an issue I am having. There is no absolute right and wrong in my life. There is just what feels right to me at the time – what aligns with what my Higher Power wants for me. Today, aligning with my Higher Power in my thoughts and actions is my safety.
To me, this does not feel like knowledge of the mind but awareness of my soul; not right and wrong, but what aligns with my soul and what does not align with my soul. In this way, I beginning to understand that I can only know what aligns with my soul right now, and even then, only when I can quiet my ego and listen. I can not with know what aligns the souls of others. I can not know what will align with my soul in the future. So, I cannot offer advice or judge. I can only do the next right thing.
For me, the wisdom was in accepting that my ego knows nothing, and my soul is in tune with everything. When I can connect with my Higher Power, when I can connect with what is in the Highest Good for my soul, I am at peace.
A meditation for August 4, 2013.
Continue reading “knowing – a meditation”