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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living fully here and now – a meditation

listen!

 

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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knowing – a meditation

 

The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.

Socrates

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.

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wait – a meditation

 

Don’t wait until everything is just right […] There will always be challenges, obstacles, and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger.

Mark Victor Hansen

In my life, as with everything else, I often looked to the external to provide me with a sign that the time is right for me to make a change. Because change scares me, I kept waiting for all the best possible scenarios to align to offer me the path of least resistance. Funny thing is, even when that happened, I still had an excuse for why it wasn’t a good time. That’s because I kept looking externally to solve something that was internal – my fear.

My program of recovery showed me that my fear does not have to be my reality. Because of all the support I received from the Fellowship, I was able to feel safe to explore my fear and accept it; only then was I able to look internally past that fear and realize that there is something more important than it – my serenity.

Once I prioritized my serenity, I started looking internally for the signs that I should make a change and what I should change. I would take inventory, pray, and meditate. When I did this, I made choices from a place of self-awareness and calm. As a result, I was able to let go of the results of my actions while still being able to accept the consequences of my actions. I am so grateful to the program for allowing me to know this peace.

A meditation for August 2, 2013.

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choice – a meditation

 

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The word “decision” was a tricky one for me. It’s funny because I always thought I was great at deciding things. I decide very quickly that I do or don’t want something and whether or not I would pursue it. And that’s true. I am great at the initial decision of acknowledging there something I want and something I want to pursue. But all the thoughts that come after that decision are thoughts of worry, concern, and fear that it won’t turn out the way that I want it to.

My whole life, I was this way. I would worry and be concerned and be scared. My fear that I wouldn’t get my needs met always, always overpowered my actual needs and desires. Inevitably, my fears came true. I used to think “What horrible luck! Why does this always happen to me?” Looking back, I feel such deep love and compassion for myself at that time, because I honestly did not have the tools to know why “it always happened to me.”

The answer was in the mirror. It always happened to me because it was always what I thought I deserved. And whether in small or big ways, I conspired to make into a reality what I believed to be true. If I felt ashamed, guilty, and had low self-esteem, I unconsciously sought out relationships that involved controlling, judgmental people. That is, I sought situations that reflected back to me what I believed to be true.

My environment reflects what I believe in my soul because I am drawn to realities that I can understand. Anytime that anything in my life did not coincide with my own beliefs about myself and my life, I rejected it. If someone was nice to me, I did not trust it. If something good happened to me, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.

My outsides reflect my insides. When I first heard that statement, I expected to be angry, but instead, I was so incredibly grateful. My outsides reflected my insides. My insides do not reflect my outsides. I can choose to change my attitudes and actions – my insides – to change my environment and change my life. I can choose.

But how? How do I change my attitudes and actions? One of the first things my Sponsor shared with me was to act “as if.” I can act as if I love myself. I can act as if I have good self-esteem. I can act as if I know my needs are more important than my fears. I can act as if I trust that my Higher Power will take care of me no matter what happens. And when I acted that way, something magical happened and I started to believe it in my soul. When I started to believe it in my soul, my insides changed. And true to form, my outsides reflected my insides and my world changed. Though I still live in a reality that I chose, in recovery, I know that I can choose a different reality.

A meditation for July 25, 2013.

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