denial – a meditation

 

“The most confused we ever get is when we try to convince our heads of something that our hearts know is a lie.”

Karen Moning

My ego and soul often have conversations with one another. This interaction between the two parts of me is constant, whether I awake or asleep, happy or sad, or restless or at peace. The details of each conversation varies depending on what the topic is, but the general gist is the same: my ego says “I am afraid that everything needs to be different for me to be happy” and my soul responds “I am happy already, I am just afraid to see that I am.”

Before recovery, these conversations occurred also, but I didn’t realize because the voice of my ego had reigned supreme over my choices for so long that I hardly heard the small voice of my soul respond. As I worked the Steps, that changed. The voice of my soul became louder and louder. I wasn’t used to hearing both voices and I suppose my ego wasn’t used to the competition so it often felt like a battle in my head. My initial days in the program felt like a struggle between the ego that I knew and the soul that I had rejected. But I slowly began to listen to the voice of my soul. It was so calm and peaceful that I felt at peace listening to it. I felt charmed by it and began to utterly ignore my ego.

This, however, was very typical behavior for me. I always go to extremes. With my black-and-white thinking, I had either entirely ignored my soul or entirely ignored my ego. But the truth is both are part of me. To reject either one is to reject a part of myself, and when I reject part of myself, I feel fearful and fall to old patterns. And this is exactly what happened. I began to ignore my “bad” feelings. I began to tell myself that I shouldn’t be angry and that I can’t be unhappy and that I have to be serene all of the time. But I am human and I could not do those things and I began to be afraid that I wasn’t good enough to listen to my soul. The irony of it all was that my soul, ever loving and accepting, never told me ignore my ego. It kept trying to guide me to acceptance of all of me by signaling me through my emotional discomfort that the path that I was treading would not guide me to happiness. When I finally became desperate again, I was able to listen to my soul once more as well as my ego. I learned that I am both things. I am yin and yang. I am dark and light. I am ego and soul. To deem one good and the other bad is to not honor myself.

It is only when I am able to listen to what my ego is telling me that I am able to understand myself and my fears, and then my soul is able to reach out and be nurturing during this awareness and guide me to healing and peace. One without the other does not help me. That is only half of me. It is only when I am able to accept both sides, able to accept all of me, that I am able be open, honest, loving, and peaceful.

A meditation for October 12, 2013.

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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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prayer – a meditation

 

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.
Mahatma Gandhi

I used to use prayer as my judgment of God. At night, I would sit and explain to my Higher Power all the ways in which I felt that other people or circumstances were wrong or unhealthy or needed to change. Then I would proceed to tell my Higher Power exactly how these changes should occur in order to make life easiest for me. And I used to believe that if my prayers came true, then God loves me. Since I am not God and I don’t control God, my prayers did not often “come true.” Because of this, I felt angry, judged, hurt, scared, and abandoned by God.

After I came to the program, I realized that my form of prayer was really just me taking inventory of my world and then trying to command my Higher Power to fix what I felt was wrong or incorrect. Today, I try to accept the world and understand that it is as it is for a reason, and that whatever the reason, it is in my highest good. I remember, early on, that I used to pray to understand the reason, but now I realize that it is not about the reason or other people or external circumstances. It is about me and the reality that I create. So today, when I pray, I ask my Higher Power to help me create my reality in a way that is of service to my Higher Power, myself, and others. When I pray, I ask for guidance rather than give it; I ask for love, rather than judge; and I ask for the will of my Higher Power, rather than my own. Because of this, I feel peace.

A meditation for September 6, 2013.

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my truth– a meditation

 

Do not take things personally. What other people say about you is their reality not yours.

 

Recently, I was speaking to person that is close to me. While I was listening to him, I heard my faults that were perceived by this person were being enumerated. He spoke with a great deal of certainty and assertion. My instinctive reaction was to wonder how much of it was true. I was scared that it was true because my inner voice was not quite as loud as his outer voice. I was grateful to speak to my Sponsor at this time and hear that we are each entitled to our own opinions and experiences. At first I thought this meant that what he said was true. But upon further introspection, I realized what this meant was that what I feel inside about myself is just as true because it is my truth. He had his truth about me and that is his business. My truth about me was mine. And whatever he says can become part of my truth only if I choose to let it be.

Today, I will treat my soul as the most sacred part of me. I will only allow in what honors and nourishes it. All other things, I will honor as another person’s truth, but I will remember that it does not have to be part of my own.

A meditation for September 5, 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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