You are a child of the Universe,
No less than the trees and the stars;
You have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
No doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should.
-Desiderata Les Crane
Someone once told me “You exist so you have the right to be.” I thought why did this person just repeat themselves in the same sentence. As I worked on the 12 Steps of Recovery, however, I realized that I often deny myself the right to be. I deny myself the right to set boundaries, or stand up for myself, or even acknowledge my own feelings. In the face of any opposition or conflict, I used to shut down – I'd freeze or simply submit to the other person's wishes.
Now that I am in the program, I realize, I do not have to. I can ask for my needs to be met and I can meet those needs myself. If I need to feel safe, I can tell the other person that I am feeling scared or uncomfortable and request that they stop behaving in a certain manner towards me. If they choose not to, I can meet my own needs by leaving that situation for that moment.
When I realized this, I suddenly felt angry with myself for not knowing this sooner – for not being that person earlier. But, thanks to the program, my Higher Power, and my Sponsor, I was able to realize that those behaviors were helpful to me once and I can grateful for those behaviors because they kept me safe once. They kept me alive. How could I not feel gratitude for that? But now I can realize that those behaviors do not work for me in my current situations.
For me, it's like doing well in history class and then going to my math class and trying to apply what I learned in history class. It just doesn't work. It doesn't mean history is any better or worse a subject than math. It just means what I learned in history just won't help me score well in math. It's the same with my old behaviors. They worked for me in one situation, but not in another.
With my connection to my Higher Power, the support of the Fellowship of my program of Recovery, and the 12 Steps, I can take those first steps forward and to learn not only what doesn't work for me anymore but also what could work for me in the future. And forgive myself for mistakes along the way because I know whatever happens is meant to be. When I do this, I let myself be.
A meditation for July 19, 2013.