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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feelings– a meditation

 

Most of the good work in this world was done by people who weren’t feeling all that well the day they  did it.

Eleanor Roosevelt

I have some extremely black-and-white thinking when left to my own devices;I think that I can either acknowledge, and therefore must submit to, my feelings or I think I must be in utter denial of my feelings in order to make a logical, rational choice about my behavior. I used to feel this way because I was scared – I was scared that tuning into my feelings and still making conscious choices about my life would leave me vulnerable and open to being hurt and therefore weak. So I moved to extremes in interactions with others – either extreme emotion or utterly shutting down emotion in myself – to protect myself.

Neither of these, however, worked for me. Today, in recovery, I learn that I must acknowledge my feelings and accept them in order to make a conscious decision about my actions. I can choose to act on my feelings or not. But when I ignore my feelings, I am ignoring myself and ignoring my own need for love and acceptance by myself and my Higher Power. Only through this acknowledgment, acceptance, and asking for help (Steps 4, 5, 6, & 7) am I able to do the next right thing, consciously and without resentment. And when I do this,  I am stronger than I have ever been before. After all, what could be stronger than knowing myself, loving myself, and knowing my worth lies, not in the other person’s response, but solely with my Higher Power?

A meditation for July 5, 2013.

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Step 6 – Episode 28

Wow!Step 6 says “[We] were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” What are “defects of character.” What does “entirely ready” mean? How do we become entirely ready? What if we like some of our defects? How can we become ready to have them removed? Spencer, Kelli, and special guest host Melissa talk about these questions and others, sharing our experience, strength, and hope on the topic of Step 6.

What are “character defects”? This term seems very negative. A more positive view is that they are traits that block us from becoming the person we want to be. Or, paraphrasing the 7th Step prayer from the AA Big Book, they “stand in the way of our usefulness to God and our fellows.” Many of our defects are old attributes or coping schools that once served us well, but are no longer helpful.

For many of us, Step 6 seems to not require any action on our part. But if we just sit there, how do we become “entirely ready”? Melissa says that for her, there was a lot of writing and prayer involved. We also found that it involves self-acceptance, and acceptance of our faults. Ok, that’s good, but how do we get there?

Our reading spoke of “the 6 P’s”: perspective, pain, prayer, patience,process and payoff. Looking at the pain that a particular defect causes us, and the payoff that it used to give us, or perhaps continues to do us, can help move towards acceptance. If we are often late to meetings and appointments, the pain might be the disapproval of those we are meeting, while the payoff is that we are not “wasting time” by being early. By identifying the “payoff”, maybe we can find something to do that will avoid that feeling of wasting time, and will make it easier for us to actually arrive on time or early. Then we are ready for this defect to be removed.

We might be afraid that if a particular defect is removed, there will be nothing to replace it, and we won’t be the same person any longer. We can look back at the assets that we identified in Step 4. We will continue to have those, and maybe some of them will expand to fill the “void”. Or, a new positive asset will replace the defect. We can have faith that our higher power will replace the defect with something better. A listener wrote that she views the changes that will result as “a welcomed adventure, exploring the new me.”

What changes have we seen in ourselves as a result of working this step? Listen and find out.

Our topic for next week is progress, not perfection. Do you struggle with perfection?  Have you learned how to be accepting of your achievements even if they aren’t perfect? Please call us at 734-707-8795, use the voicemail button, or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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