leaving – a guest meditation by Hillery

 

“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted.  But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out?  Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.”

 

Dr. Seuss, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

I have been considering whether or not I should leave my husband. We’ve been together for 12 years, with a three year split in the middle, in which I’d broken off contact with him because he was emotionally, mentally and sexually harassing me (he still does). My family, on the other hand, were convinced that my husband and I were perfect for each other. So, to make them happy, I got back together with him.

A year after that, my father passed away from alcoholism. I felt alone. I had never had very much success in dating, either. So, when my husband asked if I would be his girlfriend again, I said ‘yes,’ even though I really wanted to say ‘no.’ I would do this again when we got married.

I had become so accustomed to letting other people make my decisions for me, and so used to trying to make everyone else happy, that I vowed to spend the rest of my life with someone I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with.

For the past two years I’ve wanted divorce, but was too scared of the unknown – a job, a new life, a new place to live – how would I take care of myself? I wasn’t sure what to do. So, I waited. I waited for the strength to go ahead and take care of myself, against the wishes of others, to be able to set boundaries for myself (albeit small ones) and I waited for a sign that it was the right time to move on.

Finally, I feel like I’ve been getting those signs, it seems ridiculous: A song which gave me encouragement, tears, hope; a text from my brother asking me to get a place with him; and my husband asking me to get a job. BINGO! I prayed the other day for guidance to this divorce issue. I’ve never truly prayed before, but I realized that I can’t do this without my higher power guiding me. I heard “compassion” – for my husband, for myself, and for my children, because it will be a long and hard road ahead.

It will be one day at a time, but I feel like I’m starting to feel that I can be free.

A meditation for August 6, 2013.

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meditation – a meditation

 

Meditation is not passive sitting in silence. It is sitting in awareness, free from distraction, and realizing the clear understanding that arises from concentration.

Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Prayer and meditation is recommended in the program by way of Step 11. However, meditation is not something that comes easily to me. Growing up, I was always taking care of several different things at once without a moment to stop and think or reflect. And honestly, back then, I never needed to do that. I never needed to reflect on my life because I always tried to reflect what other people wanted me to be. And I couldn’t do that by sitting alone with my eyes closed and thinking about what it is that I need to do for myself.

So, needless to say, sitting still and not accomplishing anything tangible for any period of time scares me. It is strange to say “meditation scares me” but it is true. Without a million things to do, there is just me alone with myself. And when I meditate I am alone with myself and seek the truth and a greater understanding of what my next purpose is. That is so contrary to my life growing up that I am completely out of my element. I even feel guilty at times when I try to meditate because taking that time for myself feels selfish.

But my best thinking got me into recovery, so when my Sponsor suggested meditation, I did the next right thing. I accepted that I was scared and uncomfortable and did it anyway. I am still nowhere near perfect at it, but every time I do it, my hesitancy decreases a little more. Meditation doesn’t help me to quiet my mind. My mind is still just as noisy. It used to feel like I was in a busy crowd and hearing so many noises in my head. Those noises are still there. But when I meditate, I feel like I am still in a crowd but instead I feel that I am having a conversation with my Higher Power. And all the other chatter becomes background noise. I am able to sit in awareness. And I am no longer lost. I no longer need to be afraid. Sitting quietly doesn’t mean I sit for quietly and drown in the voices in my head. Meditation now means I find my own voice in my connection to my Higher Power. And it is time that is always well-spent.

A meditation for July 29, 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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change – a meditation

 

Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.

Robert Tew

I do not like change. I know exactly why – it is because I grew up with the idea that the devil I know is better than the devil I don’t. But being in recovery, I no longer look for the devil around every corner. I see, instead, my Higher Power everywhere. Whether I deem it as “good” or “bad”, for me, it’s all the act and will of my Higher Power. There aren’t any devils in my life. There is my Higher Power reaching out to me in ways that can help me see and help me grow.

Still, I find myself fearing change from time to time because I am afraid that the change will bring me more pain. So, I find myself clinging to things or ideas or people that I think will prevent me from suffering. At times like these, I make a gratitude list to cover all the things that I love in my life right now. Then I look back over the entire course of my life and think about all the things that I had to lose to get here. And I remember how much I clung to those things. If I had known then that letting go of those things would have brought me here, I would not have hesitated to do so.

Today, I realize that when I fear change, I again find myself in that position of clinging to certain things. But when I look at this change in perspective over the course of my life, I can trust my Higher Power and let go. My Higher Power took care of me, kept me safe, and brought me here. I know that my Higher Power will continue to do so. Whatever my Higher Power removes from my life, is removed to make room for something better. Now I know that in order to accept change, I don’t need to trust the devil I don’t know. I just need to trust my Higher Power.

A meditation for July 22, 2013.

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sophrosyne – a meditation

 

sophrosyne – (n.) a healthy state of mind, characterized by self-control, moderation, and a deep awareness of one’s true self, and resulting in true happiness.

 

I think this meditation is pretty self-explanatory, but the one thing I loved that I wanted to draw attention to about this is that it does not specify what each of these is. It doesn’t say that in order to have a healthy state of mind, you have to a certain way, or anything else. This is something that I’ve noticed in my program of recovery, too. I am given 12 Steps, but the implementation of those Steps is up to me. I decide what a healthy state of mind means for me. And that can change from day to day. That can change from minute to minute. And I love that in leaving that portion of it open-ended, my program helps me to to learn to define who I am rather than tell me who I ought to be. For that I am eternally grateful.

A meditation for July 20, 2013.

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