See the Sweetness
No matter how bad people may seem, they possess at least one virtue. Be like the humming bird and pick out the sweetness of everyone's character.
This post was modified from its original form on 14 Dec, 6:49
An angel is a guest for he cleans up behind him. Where there has been misunderstanding he returns to clarify; where there has been hatred he offers love. He is never without gifts and always without burden.
When all else fails, read the instructions.
The instructions for recovery are in our Twelve Step program. Yet, there are times when we feel our program isn't working. At these times, we need to read the instructions.
Have you followed the "instructions," the wise words found in The Big Book, The Twelve and Twelve, and other recovery literature? When we do, we recover.
It's hard at times and easy at others. Our problems go deeper than just staying sober. No matter what our problems, our program can help us start fixing them if we follow the instructions. Don't use alcohol or other drugs. Go to meetings. Talk often with sponsors and program friends. Work the Steps. Think. Easy Does It. First Things First. Listen. Let Go and Let God. One Day at a Time.
Prayer for the Day
Higher Power, tell me which instructions to read today. If I'm headed for trouble, help me out.
I'll read the instructions today.
On the path mapped out by the true spiritual philosophers and pioneers, there is great emphasis placed on the idea and need for renunciation. It is seen as the way to enlightenment, and freedom from the attachments which we misuse as sources of limited happiness and contentment. Renunciation does not mean giving everything away, shaving our heads, saying farewell to family and friends and finding a Himalayan mountain top. It means seeing our attachments and dependencies, our weaknesses and our evasions, and consciously giving them up. There is no sense of loss. The material necessities still come to us, paradoxically more will come. And when we renounce our own weaknesses and dependencies there is always a strength and a new freedom to be found hiding underneath. Renunciation is a pathway to a simpler life and a highway to spiritual freedom - one of spirit's deepest yearnings in 'the age of accumulation'.
The most important part of you is your mind (not your brain - the brain is the hardware and the mind creates the software). Care for your mind, make friends with it, always feed it healthy food, engage it in positive activity, exercise it with knowledge and wisdom. Like a garden returns fragrance and beauty according to the care invested, so your mind will repay you with thoughts, ideas and visions of great beauty when tended and invested with care. Your mind is not made of matter but it does matter what you give it and what you create with it. Where your mind goes, you go. What your mind creates becomes your destiny.
That Gift Called 'Faith'
When I am continuously being battered by the storms of life, and my very spirit is ebbing away, then all I need to do is hang onto that gift called 'Faith', that one support which will weather the storms. Faith does not depend on a clever head, only belief: belief in the self and the strength that lies within. Faith is the seed of victory and the foundation of making the impossible possible.
All human beings have a place inside which is filled with treasures; be still and you will find it.
Your body is tense. Your face is somber and serious, ready to deliver the news. You may be slightly breathless. There's a crisis. It may be real. Or it may be self-created.
Like an audience in a sports arena, we watch the events of life or even The Weather Channel drumming up reactive responses. Fear. Sometimes panic. Oh my God, what if.
I called my daughter in this frame of mind one morning, ready to report on the latest current event in my life. I barely had three words out of my mouth when she interrupted me. "You're talking in your drama-addiction tone."
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." I've probably said this prayer out loud a thousand times, and silently twice that amount. It's called the Serenity Prayer, not the Courage Prayer, not the Wisdom Prayer. That is because, no matter what we're doing, before we receive courage or wisdom, serenity needs to come first.
Never believe anyone who says we cannot change. Vision is one of the secrets of personal transformation. We are all artists, our mind is the arena of creation and vision is what we are constantly creating. What is your vision of yourself today - patient, relaxed, positive or tense, tight and negative? What do you prefer? So be creative - what does patience look like, feel like, what are you doing that is different when you are patient and you are expressing your power to ...wait? Always start with vision not action. See it and you will be it. Be it and you will do it. This is how we create our own life.
Recovery releases our creativity
Creativity implies something new - feeling, thinking, acting in a new way. When we step out of a familiar pattern, we often feel anxious. We wonder if the new way will work or if a new venture will succeed. We take a chance, a risk, and that requires courage.
If we refuse to tolerate a certain amount of anxiety, we will stay in our same old ruts. Safe? Perhaps, but stagnant. And maybe not so safe after all, since the opposite of growth is death.
You and I can live creatively if we are willing to have butterflies in our stomachs from time to time. Recovery releases us from old patterns so that we can try new ways of responding to the opportunities we are given each day. Believing we are supported by a Higher Power gives us the courage to take risks, especially when the outcome promises emotional and spiritual growth.
Today, I will dare to follow a creative inner prompting, even if I feel some anxiety.
We need four hugs a day for survival.
We need eight hugs a day for maintenance.
We need twelve hugs a day for growth.
Virginia Satir was an internationally acclaimed therapist. She knew a lot about what people need to be healthy and happy and to live in good relationships with each other. She was very smart, and most of her advice was pretty simple.
Take hugs, for example. What could be more simple? One person reaching out to touch another person with safety and care. Very simple. But what do hugs give people? Comfort. Acceptance. The basics we all need no matter where we are at today.
Prayer for the Day
Higher Power, help me ask for the hugs I need and want today. Remind me today to offer hugs to the people around me. And help me feel the big hug You have for me too.
Today I will talk with my sponsor about this question: What is easier for me - to get a hug or to give a hug?
You Give Me Strength
Lord God, thank You for loving me
Even when I turn away from You.
I am grateful for Your constant care and concern.
Though I feel unworthy of Your great love,
I thank You that through my weakness
You give me strength,
And in my wandering You show me the way.
He that knew all that learning ever writ
Knew only this - that he knew nothing yet.
It's true that the more information we have about the world, the more clearly we see the shape of what we don't know. It's also true that we don't need to learn anything at all in order to deal fairly with others and to walk gently in the world.
The wisdom that we need is inside us. Before our schooling teaches us to forget it, we know instinctively how to treat others because we know how we wish others to treat us, and we know that all people are one.
This primitive knowledge mustn't be buried under the classifications and analyses we pick up along the way. We can, if we try, de-school ourselves to the point where we can listen to our spirits, trust our bodies, and revere the world for the seamless whole it is.
If I cherish my original wisdom, then learning can help me to be comfortable in my ignorance.
Carrying the Message
What we are always carries a stronger message than what we say. This is why we're sometimes turned off by people who seek to overwhelm us with charm. It's also why we can sometimes be drawn to people who are quiet and unassuming.
However it works, there is a powerful message in one's unspoken thoughts and feelings. We can usually sense, for example, the mood of people in a room, even when little is being said. If we spend any time with others, they will soon know much about us even if we say little.
This silent communication may be the great secret of AA's success in reaching those who still suffer. If we are living sober and want to help others, that's the message we give out. That's also a form of carrying the message.
I'll communicate today by maintaining a warm and friendly attitude toward every person I meet, knowing that thoughts and feelings speak louder than words.
Looking for beauty
It is important that we look for beauty.
There are beautiful things in the world each and every day, if we only know how to see.
In recovery, in serenity, beauty is everywhere – even in pain and suffering – if we only know how to see.
Higher Power, help me to use my recovery, my new vision, to see beauty.
One way to become enthusiastic is to look for the plus sign. To make progress in any difficult situation, you have to start with what's right about it and build on that.
-- Norman Vincent Peale
Beginning our days with a positive mental outlook is a great depression chaser. Simply lifting our heads and looking up and out instead of down will make us feel better. Although we can't spend all our time staring at the sky, we can train ourselves to look for the best in ourselves and others.
Even in the middle of difficulty or pain, we have choices. We can choose a gloom-and-doom attitude and endlessly replay the thoughts that accompany it. Or we can step back and find the one good thing. We may be blinded with pain. The situation may appear hopeless, utterly bleak. But recovery guarantees that we are equal to it; that in our pain there is at least one good thing.
We are the masters of our fate. We can change even the most difficult situations with an attitude of hope and positive expectation. Approaching each day with a hopeful heart will give us a different approach to our troubles.
Today help me find the one good thing. Help me let go of fear and negativity.
"I was lucky," a man explained to me. "One of my first mentors in life made me practice serenity. Whenever I'd call him in full-blown panic mode or with that frantic tone in my voice, he'd refuse to talk to me until I calmed myself down.
"'Go get centered,' he'd tell me. 'Then we'll talk.'" Sometimes we need help working through our panic, anxiety, and fear. Find someone to talk to who will support serenity, rather than feed anxiety. Learn to recognize turmoil and urgency in your body, speech, emotions, and thought. Learn what it feels like to be centered and calm. Practicing serenity is a learned behavior and an art.
When you find yourself in turmoil, stop what you are doing. Take deliberate steps to relax. Talk to a friend, say the Serenity Prayer or any favorite prayer, breathe, meditate, feel any emotions you need to feel. Calming yourself may feel awkward at first, nearly impossible. (Some people may need professional help to deal with anxiety and panic if it's chronic and continual.) Over time and with practice, you will discover ways to calm yourself, the way a loving parent learns to calm a fretting child.
... satisfaction is a lowly thing, how pure a thing is joy.
Our perfectionism generally dashes all hopes of self-satisfaction. But the program is here to show us that we can make progress. We can learn to believe that we are doing any task as well as we need to do it, at this time. Our job is the effort. The outcome is part of a larger plan, one that involves more than ourselves.
We'll find joy when we find acceptance of ourselves and our efforts and the belief that we are spiritual beings whose lives do have purpose and direction.
The wisdom that accompanies spiritual growth offers us security, that which we have sought along many avenues. And when we feel secure, we can trust that the challenges confronting us are purposeful and to our advantage.
One day at a time, one small prayer at a time, moves us even closer to spiritual security. We can look with glad anticipation at our many responsibilities and activities today. They are our opportunities for spiritual security. We can trust our growing inner resources by simply asking for guidance and waiting patiently. It will find us.
I must exercise my prayers if I want the spiritual security where I can find joy. I will ask for guidance with every activity today.
What I think about surrounds me. What I allow to be entertained in my mind becomes a reality. If I think negatively, I will attract negativity in my life. On the other hand, if I concentrate on developing positive thoughts, I will attract positive people and events to my life. My potential will be increased.
I cannot control what thoughts come into my mind, but I can control my perception and reaction to them.
I pray that I may be filled with positive thoughts today; I deserve the resulting rewards
God gave burdens, also shoulders.
Some days we wake up, and we know we can't get out of bed. We lie there, trying to force ourselves, but none of the usual motivations work. We may be depressed, we may be grieving, or we may simply be tired. It's hard to resist the temptation to believe that everyone else is functioning with ease. They all show up for work. What's wrong with me? The more frantic we become, the more likely we may lapse into old ways of thinking and behaving in order to get moving.
If we feel we can't get out of bed, there's usually a good reason why. We can give ourselves permission to discover it. By being honest, we will discover how to take care of ourselves. Maybe it's a day to stop and nurture ourselves, not force ourselves to keep going. Only we know what we really need. We do not have to compare ourselves to others or apologize for what we are going through. Instead, we can be gentle, giving our bodies, emotions, and spirits what they require. We can turn the day over to God's will.
I pray for the willingness to make this a day of healing. I will be part of my own renewal.
We did not create this program on our own, and we did not achieve abstinence by ourselves. Our recovery is a gift, just as life is a gift. Light, the natural world, our nourishment, talents, love, and fellowship - all come from our Higher Power. Our role is to receive, use wisely, share, and enjoy the blessings God has showered upon us.
When we get over the idea that we can do everything by ourselves, we become receptive to the moving force that creates and sustains us. As we stop looking at life from our own egotistical point of view, we begin to see God's glory. No longer a slave to our desires for material things, we are able to rejoice in our Higher Power and to share our joy with those around us.
Our recovery makes us examples of God's power to heal and renew.
In You, there is great joy.
Saving a time for quiet appreciation...
An aesthetic life, in the broad sense, is a spiritual life. Couples can strengthen their partnership and enrich their lives by making aesthetic experiences daily events. Saving time for quiet appreciation of the good things in our lives - communicating with each other and with friends, playing and relaxing, reading to children, cooking and eating tasty, nourishing food - these are some ways to bring beauty into each day. We can also put attractive pictures and interesting things in our home to make it a place that comforts and pleases us; we can read interesting books, notice a striped caterpillar on a milkweed or the splash of stars in the night sky, relish the sensuous pleasure of a warm soapy bath, see a good movie, listen to music, grow plants.
We live spiritually when we make a place for beauty and when we slow down to enjoy the beauty that already surrounds us. We may wonder what good that may do us. The answer is that these spiritual gestures add meaning to all the other parts of our lives.
Take a few minutes now to appreciate something beautiful. Make a plan to bring some beauty into this day.
The expression of praise as thanksgiving, gratitude, and joy is among the most powerful forms of affirmation.
Praise inevitably has a multiple effect. It positively acknowledges another human being, enhancing his or her well being, while making us feel good. This offering of love, which is the substance of praise, heals all who share in its circle.
We can see the effects of affirmation in the people we admire. We can discern its absence too, particularly among those who struggle. How difficult is it to give small acknowledgments to those we care about? Making a habit of this heals our own inner wounds too.
Affirming a friend or ourselves connects us to the spirit residing within. That bond fills in our empty spaces, making us whole and healed. Our security grows as we praise one another.
I will freely offer my love in the form of praise to the wonderful friends on my path today.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
To worry about something ahead of time is a waste of time and energy that could be better spent on living a full life today.
For instance, if we spend hours today worrying about an important test at school tomorrow, we can't very well concentrate on studying. And if we lie awake tonight agonizing over what we don't know or haven't studied, we're going to be exhausted tomorrow when we take the test.
Wouldn't it be much better to focus on doing all we can today to prepare for the test, and then, knowing we've done our best, let go of it tonight and get a good night's sleep? In fact, if we do that every day of the year, when a big test comes along, we'll know we're as ready as we can be, and won't have a thing to worry about. What a relief it is to know we've done our best today and every day.
What can I do well today so I won't worry about it tomorrow?
We can stop making mountains out of molehills.
Learning to let go of the choices other people make takes away much of the angst we have grown accustomed to. Letting go of the outcome of all experiences, even those that involve us, frees our minds from the needless worry that keeps us stuck. The more we focus on a problem, our own or someone else's, the bigger it gets.
Why do we worry so much? For some of us, it has become a habit. Lucky for us, by sharing the Twelve Step journey we can learn how not to worry. The solution is to have faith that our Higher Power will take care of us. And the others in our lives have their Higher Power to care for them. Learning to give up our old ways of "doing" life unburdens us profoundly. The time we'll gain will allow us to do what we really need to do.
My perspective today will be healthy. I'll let go and let God.
Let your tears come. Let them water your soul.
We often want to sit down and cry, but the tears don't seem to come. For years we may have struggled to keep ourselves from crying because we've been made to feel that tears are a sign of weakness. And we certainly don't want to look foolish and vulnerable in front of our "tough" friends!
One of the good things about joining and building trust with a group of other recovering people is that we can let down our defenses and not feel exploited. We can show our tenderness for others and ask to be cared for. Our addiction has kept us aloof from others, but now we can begin to get close. We know we are safe now and among people who know what it means to trust and love again.
So when the tears feel like coming, we can now let them come. What a relief it is to weep for the hurt child within us or cry over a painful separation. Tears help us mourn our losses and bring us in touch with the present.
I am no longer afraid to show my emotions. I share my experiences in tears and laughter.
A.A. Thought for the Day
Do we have any hard feelings about other group members or for any other AA group? Are we critical of the way a group member thinks or acts? Do we feel that another group is operating in the wrong way and do we broadcast it? Or do we realize that all AA members, no matter what their limitations, have something to offer and some good, however little, that they can do for AA? Am I tolerant of people and groups?
Meditation for the Day
All my movements, my goings and comings can be guided by the unseen Spirit. Every visit to help another, every unselfish effort to assist, can be blessed by that unseen Spirit. Every meeting of a need may not be a chance meeting but may have been planned by the unseen Spirit.
Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may be led by the spirit of God.
Many of us just did what other people did. We took drugs. But we felt so different from "normal" people. Why? Because of the way we did drugs and because drugs were so unfulfilling for us. It's a joke among us recovering addicts that we tried so hard to look normal.
Non-addicts didn't know our torment, didn't know that we lived in another world. While high, we felt moments of euphoria and false well being. When the drugs wore off, we suffered centuries of misery. Both are feelings that "normal" people did not experience.
In the fellowship, however, we share all our feelings because we know that we are among friends, we know that we are finally home.
Do I share my true feelings with others?
Higher Power, I pray for the willingness to see my true feelings more clearly and to share myself with my fellow addicts.
Education should be the process of helping everyone to discover his uniqueness.
We are each special, which means there is not another person just like ourselves. Nobody looks just like us. Nobody's voice sounds quite like our own. And nobody thinks through a story just like we do.
Each of us has been created for a special purpose. Maybe it's for what we'll teach a friend, or the way we'll help a sister or a brother. Every day will give us chances to offer our special talents to others. Our being alive is God's way of proving that we're important to the family, the neighborhood, the world.
When one door closes, fortune will usually open another.
-- Fernando De Rojas
Sometimes, especially in early recovery, we concentrate on our losses instead of our gains. We see a chapter in our life closing, and we mourn. We must leave some friends behind, or say good-bye to a social life we enjoyed. We must give up active addiction, which had become our best friend and only comfort. We may even have to leave our families, at least for a time, in order to concentrate on our own needs.
We need to grieve all these losses. Then we can see more clearly what recovery has brought us. For every loss, we've gained blessings. For every friend gone, we have the chance to make many more. A whole new sober life awaits us when we're ready to be part of it.
When we gave up the fake comforts of addiction, we found genuine comfort in sound sleep and healthy bodies, in peaceful days and serene nights. When we were ready to give up anger and resentment, we found generosity and forgiveness toward other people, and toward ourselves, too. In recovery, it's true, one door has closed. But another, better door has finally opened.
Today help me be grateful for my new life. Help me grieve my losses so I can appreciate all that awaits me.
The principle of life is that life responds by corresponding; your life becomes the thing you have decided it shall be.
--Raymond Charles Barker
The attitude that we carry with us into a particular setting will greatly influence our perceptions of any event. Our attitude also influences, positively or negatively, personal interactions, and not just those involving ourselves. The effect of our message is this: our personal power is profound. We have explicit control over our own perceptions. We determine our own attitudes. Every moment of our lives we are deciding what we want to see, to think, to feel. And reflections will inform us that our expectations are firmly fulfilled.
How exhilarating to become aware of our freedom to think and to feel as we wish. However, with this freedom comes responsibility. We're barred from blaming others for our troubles. Each of us is charged with the responsibility for deciding our own fate. How we prepare ourselves for this experience or this day is individually chosen. Every minute we are in control of our perceptions, our attitudes, and our responses.
Today is mine to mold. My attitude, my thoughts and responses.
Experience has taught me this, that we undo ourselves by impatience. Misfortunes have their life and their limits, their sickness and their health.
Our program isn't working. We are misunderstood. Nothing's going well at work. We just can't see it through. Why doesn't someone help us?
Impatience! We become fretful and blame others for our shortcomings.
Impatience! We lose touch with the tempo of life and our own particular rhythm.
Impatience! We are convinced our addiction will never cease tormenting us.
Let's slow down and get back in touch with life's movement. We know that all things have their season and their motion and their end. It may feel like winter now, but spring will come and then summer. Nothing remains static; everything changes and grows. There is a pattern to all life including ours -- if we are patient enough to discern it.
I need to slow down to get in touch with the rhythms of my life and life outside me.
We fear to trust our wings. We plume and feather them, but dare not throw our weight upon them. We cling too often to the perch.
--Charles B. Newcomb
Even before it has learned to fly; a baby bird is pushed from its nest. It will totter upon the ground, stubby wings outstretched from its body, following the guiding cries of its parents to flap its wings and take flight.
When we were young, our wings hadn't even developed before we began tottering through life. We may have received little direction about how to fly. As we grew, we may have built a nest and retreated within it, still not knowing how to fly.
Although our wings have not been used, we can still learn to fly. There are those who can teach us at meetings. They, too, have had to learn to fly after years of nest sitting. It isn't easy at first. In fact, it may be quite painful and tiring. But by trying out our wings every day, they will grow stronger and more familiar to us. Our nest will always be there, but we won't have to visit it as often. We'll be too busy flying and testing our wings.
I can begin to learn the freedom of flight and trust my wings.
... all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
--Julian of Norwich
Why are we prone to exaggerating the seriousness of the circumstances in our lives? Perhaps it's because we lived for years barely on the fringe of sensible choices. We reacted hysterically to all manner of experiences, the mundane as well as the momentous. Our reactions could turn any situation sour. At long last we are learning a new behavior, but it takes practice.
As we learn to rely on a Higher Power to help us handle our experiences, we begin to grow in peace and the belief that all is well. Even when we are tormented by a decision, we can have faith that our Higher Power will lead us where we need to go. Our part of the bargain is to ask for help and to be open to guidance.
I will know peace today because I will trust my Higher Power's guidance in the situations I face. All will be well if I do my part.
Accepting the past
Noted psychiatrist Carl Jung once said, "If one can accept one's sin, one can live with it. If one cannot accept it, one has to suffer the inevitable consequences." We must come to accept our past acts before they will stop causing us pain.
All the Steps help us do this, but in particular, Steps Four and Five (the inventory Steps) and Steps Eight and Nine (the amends Steps) help. If we attend to these Steps properly, we will no longer regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
Am I coming to accept myself?
Higher Power, help me accept the ways I've behaved in the past - and the ways I behave in the present - that cause me pain, so that in your time I may be freed.
As life is action and passion, it is required of man that he should share the action and passion of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived.
--Oliver Wendell Holmes
America's greatest killer is. . . What? Car wreaks? Heart attacks? Cancer? Alcoholism? How about suffocation by a sense of inferiority? Many of us adult children have tragic personal insight into the number of alcoholic deaths that are attributed to pneumonia, congestive heart failure, or anything but alcoholism. But feelings of inferiority are just as lethal as any of these. Although they may not appear so, people who feel a deep sense of inferiority are not fully alive.
But there is ample evidence that people do love us, that we are missed when we are not around. For all the doom and gloom that may be familiar to us, aren't we surrounded also by beauty? Doesn't the sun rise each day? And don't we have it within our power to make of this day whatever we choose?
Today, I remind myself I have something to contribute.
Isn't it great life is open-ended!
Elizabeth Lawton, known as "Grandma Layton," is an American artist who never drew a picture until she was 68 years old. She spent all the years before that time trying to cope with depression. She had gone through therapy, medications, and shock treatment and continued to be severely depressed. But then she signed up for an art class and the act of drawing cured her depression.
What does she think about the critical acclaim her artwork has received? She says she wants others to know about her art so it may give hope to those who have also "suffered from feelings."
Many of us have suffered from feelings. We must remember that we can each turn to our creativity--at any age--as a source for our well-being. All we need to do is have faith in the potential goodness within ourselves and those we love.
What creative activity can I look to for comfort today?
It is a long baptism into the seas of humankind, my daughter. Better immersion than to live untouched.
We have each had days when we preferred hiding under the covers, avoiding life at all costs. And in times gone by, we did just that, sometimes too frequently. What we didn't always know, and what we still forget on occasion, is that we have a ready and willing Partner who will join us in every pursuit.
The more fully we commit ourselves to one another and to all our experiences, the closer we will come to the very serenity we long for. Serenity accompanies our increasing understanding of life's many mysteries. It's easy to cheat ourselves out of the prizes any day offers us. Fear fosters inertia, leaving us separate, alone, even more afraid. But we have an appointment with life. And our appointment will bring us to the place of full understanding, the place where we'll be certain, forever after, that all is well. And that life is good.
Today's appointments are part of the bigger plan for my life. I will face them, enjoy them, and reap their rewards.
Our hungers lead us to what will satisfy
Hunger serves us well. Physical hunger prompts us to eat the food we need to promote and maintain health. Emotional hunger sends us in search of companionship, intimacy, and love. Our hunger for achievement fuels our contribution to the work of the world. And our spiritual hunger leads us to a Power greater than ourselves. Peace, unity, goodwill all of these and more, we hunger for.
If we find ourselves trying to satisfy our hunger in ways that don't work, it's time to reassess and make changes. That's what we do when we come to the Twelve Step program, admitting that our false satisfactions have gotten out of hand and are threatening destruction.
The satisfaction of our various hungers is within reach. Much of what we crave we will find within ourselves as we develop a relationship with a Higher Power.
I will explore my hunger today, so that it may lead me to what satisfies.
"The strangest thing happened," said my friend, a lovably neurotic, very obsessive businessman in his mid-forties.
"I was watching one of those afternoon TV talk shows. This one was about problem kids. A parent comes on. She talks about how out of control her child is. Then a parenting expert comes on. He does tough love with the kids, like a drill sergeant, screaming and getting in their faces. Then he takes the troubled kids for a week and straightens them out.
"So this nine-year-old boy comes on. He's been a monster. Killing animals in the neighborhood. Driving his mother nuts. The drill sergeant guy gets right up in this kid's face. He's screaming. 'You think you're tough? You're a tough guy?'
"The expert's screaming at the kid. The kid is just standing there. And I'm watching this thinking, 'Maybe this kid is just a bad seed.'
"'How'd you like me to come home with you for a week? Be in your face like this all the time,' the expert hollered. 'Would you like that?'
"'Yes,' the boy said.
"'What did you say? Yes? You'd like that? Why would you like that?'
"'Because I don't have a dad,'" the kid said. The boy's lip quivered. The expert got silent. The audience went nuts. But that's not the strange thing," my friend said. "Melody, I started crying. Sobbing like a baby. I haven't cried for ten years."
"What do you think that was about?" I asked.
"I realized how much I missed having a dad," he said. "When people asked me, I always said it wasn't important. I didn't know until I saw that show and started crying that you could miss something you never had."
Sometimes we don't know what or whom we're missing.
"How can I stop feeling so blue about being separated from my children?" another friend asked when business had taken him away from home for a month.
"You're asking the wrong person," I said. "It has been eleven years since my son died, and I still miss him every day."
Grief. It may strike suddenly, catching our heart by surprise. Or it may pound relentlessly and persistently for years, like ocean waves beating on the shore.
Whether we're conscious of what or whom we're missing, our heart knows. We may never be happy about our loss, but it is possible to be happy again.
Grief isn't an abnormal condition. It's nature's way of healing our heart.
A.A. Thought for the Day
Let us consider the term "spiritual experience" as given in Appendix II of the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous. A spiritual experience is something that brings about a personality change. By surrendering our lives to God as we understand Him, we are changed. The nature of this change is evident in recovered alcoholics. This personality change is not necessarily in the nature of a sudden and spectacular upheaval. We do not need to acquire an immediate and overwhelming "God-consciousness," followed at once by a vast change in feeling and outlook. In most cases, the change is gradual.
Do I see a gradual and continuing change in myself?
Meditation for the Day
"Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." For rest from the care of life, you can turn to God each day in prayer and communion. Real relaxation and serenity come from a deep sense of the fundamental goodness of the universe. God's everlasting arms are underneath all and will support you. Commune with God, not so much for petitions to be granted as for the rest that comes from relying on His will and His purposes for your life. Be sure of God's strength available to you, be conscious of His support, and wait quietly until that true rest from God fills your being.
Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may be conscious of God's support today. I pray that I may rest safe and sure therein.
When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
--Tao Te Ching
Working the Twelve Steps is the process of being and becoming. It is finding, knowing, and accepting who we are. It is having the willingness to fall down, stumble around, and make mistakes. It is being in tune with the constant process of death and rebirth that is part of life's rhythm.
Each of us has an internal timetable. The rhythm of our spirit. Discovering what it is and living according to its direction can bring us untold serenity and joy. It also brings us energy, because we're not fighting ourselves and reality. So often, we are our own worst enemy. But to face who we are and to learn from it is to be created anew. In the process, we discover our own truths. Maybe that's part of what a spiritual awakening is -- seeing the truth in a new way.
Living according to the guidance of our spirit and in harmony with our body, mind, and emotions is a solitary journey, but one that brings us close to other people and to life. It takes patience, and it brings true peace.
I am able to trust that in my recovery I am learning new things, as I need to learn them, I am comfortable with the pace of my recovery.
Fearful as reality is, it is less fearful than evasions of reality.
We've become much less fearful of reality since we've come to know the principles of this program. Just about anything could have made us fearful in past years. No doubt practicing our addictions gave us a false courage for a while. But then we could no longer keep the fears away.
How do we keep fear at bay now that we're free of our addictions? Most of us have begun to rely on our Higher Power for courage, understanding, and acceptance. The challenges that we're offered are opportunities from God for our advantage. When we're in God's care these challenges are manageable, and we need no longer fear them.
We can conquer our fears as we take advantage of the help, guidance, and courage that come from God.
I know that God will be there for me through every challenge today.
Always think of what you have to do as easy and it will become so.
How we think about the activities before us is very important. If we think cleaning the garage is hard, dirty, and no chance for fun, that's just how it will feel. We'll be tired before we even begin. However, if we approach it like a treasure hunt, expecting to rediscover some long-forgotten treasures, we'll enjoy the task. In fact, it will feel like a game.
The thoughts we carry in our minds determine whether our tasks are fun or not. What good fortune it is that we can control those thoughts. If we approach an assignment for school or a job believing that we're able to do it, that it's not too hard for us, we'll finish with ease. Our thoughts determine our successes. In this way, our lives are in our own hands.
How much better can I make my life today?
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
Which of the Twelve Steps teach us how to handle our fear? The Steps that scare us the most! For many of us, that would be Step Three, Step Five, and Step Nine. These Steps ask us to move from one place in our life to a new place.
Step Three asks us to let go of the life we are leading and to step into a new life. We have faith that it is okay to do so because we have come to believe in a Higher Power that will restore us to balance and sanity.
Step Five asks us to move from a secret life to a life of openness. We have to leave our hiding place, take off our masks, and let someone else see us as we really are.
In Step Nine, we take responsibility for our past actions. We face the people we have hurt, and we do what we can to repair the damage we caused.
Each of these Steps teaches us courage.
Prayer for the Day
Higher Power, give me courage to move into the new life You have made open to me. All I need to do is take the Steps to get there.
Today I will think about my courage in my recovery.
Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed....
It has been said when we are at the end of our rope, we can do one of three things: let go, tie a knot and hang on, or splice the rope and begin again. Whenever we feel there's nowhere to go but down and nobody to turn to, that's when we can start all over again. If we can learn to look beyond the end of something, we'll always see an exciting, fresh beginning.
At the end of every storm is calm. At the end of every argument is silence. At the end of one relationship there is another. Although life is composed of many endings, there are just as many new beginnings. "Life goes on" is even assured by the passage of time - at the end of each minute there's another.
Nights may have many endings, but they will also have just as many beginnings. Just as the sun will set, so the moon will rise and the stars will appear. Just as the day's activities will end, so the evening's activities will begin. And when those activities are over, there will be new experiences the next day.
I can be unafraid of endings because I know they are only the first half of beginnings.
Of all the negative emotions, resentment diminishes us the most. It brings unwarranted anger toward those who have something we want, and self-pity for ourselves. It drains us of the energy we need to change our lives and work toward goals. Resentment keeps us in a rigid judgment of who "should" and who "should not" achieve success; all "should" attitudes are pointless, breeding discontent and wasting time. Above all, resentment is ugly to see and even uglier to feel. When I'm resentful, I feel hatred toward others and myself.
Today, I ask for the humility to accept my limitations, without resenting others who have exceeded them. I ask for the courage to pursue my own goals, not comparing myself to others.
A.A. Thought for the Day
The length of time of our sobriety is not as important as its quality. A person who has been in A.A. for a number of years may not be in as good mental condition as a person who has only been in a few months. It is a great satisfaction to have been an A.A. member for a long time and we often mention it. It may sometimes help the newer members, because they may say to themselves, "If they can do it, I can do it." And yet the older members must realize that as long as they live, they are only one drink away from a drunk. What is the quality of my sobriety?
Meditation for the Day
"And greater works than this shall ye do." We can do greater works when we have more experience of the new way of life. We can have all the power we need from the Unseen God. We can have His grace, His spirit, to make us effective as we go along each day. Opportunities for a better world are all around us. Greater works can we do. But we do not work alone. The power of God is behind all good works.
Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may find a rightful place in the world. I pray that my work may be made more effective by the grace of God.
The crow that mimics a cormorant gets drowned.
When we are young we are vulnerable to the images of success that surround us - in sports, in politics, and in our social life. We watch our heroines and heroes perform, and we strive to emulate them. When the cormorant dives from a hundred feet, we'd love to follow.
As we get older, many of us don't manage to find out who we really are because we've been too busy trying to imitate others - in our dress, our way of talking, our business deals, our preferences, and our tastes. We often aped those who were considered "with it" at the time.
It's healthy to have role models, but they should reflect our true, emerging selves, and not be at the other end of the spectrum. As crows, we'd look silly diving from a hundred feet. Our challenge in recovery is to find out who we are and who we can be and go after that with all our energy. There's nothing wrong with being a crow.
I want to strive with all my heart to be myself.
The Junkie can never start to cure himself until he recognizes his true condition.
-- Malcolm X
Now we know what the problem is. Now we can do something about it. The truth of our problem is, we can't handle alcohol or other drugs. They handle us. They control us. The Steps ask us to face the truth. And the truth sets us free. What a wonderful gift! We feared the truth, but now it's our friend. It's a relief. Facing the truth means we're honest. And honesty is our best friend in recovery. It's like a cozy fire on a winter's night. Honesty is how we get well. It's also what will keep us well. Do I truly believe I can't use alcohol or other drugs?
Prayer for the Day
Higher Power, help me see my illness for what it is. It's my enemy. Help me see that honesty is my best friend.
Action for the Day
Today, I'll take fifteen minutes to think about what my true condition was when I was drinking and drugging. And I'll think about what my true condition is now.
I wish I hadn't lost track of the guys I was stationed with. I kick myself for that.
We all have regrets, don't we? Some of us left jobs or spouses or neighborhoods only to wish we hadn't. Perhaps we closed the door on our family of origin and then felt grief when parents or siblings died. More commonly we regret the instances when our mean spirited behavior or attitude hurt someone else. We weren't always honest and forthright; we didn't always try to help a friend or co-worker who needed our advice. We simply didn't put our best self forward when the opportunities for doing so presented themselves.
Dwelling on the "shoulds" of past years is fruitless. We did the best we knew how to do at the time. The past is gone. Let's quit digging up the bones of old regrettable experiences. All they do is cloud our minds when we're trying to respond to today's opportunities.
I won't have anything to regret tomorrow if I respond to today with my best self.
A.A. Thought for the Day
Many people are creeping through life on their hands and knees, merely because they refuse to rely on any power but themselves. Many of them feel that they are being brave and independent, but actually they are only courting disaster. Anxiety and the inferiority complex have become the greatest of all modern plagues. In AA we have the answer to these ills. Have I ceased to rely on myself only?
Meditation for the Day
When I am in doubt, I am not going anywhere. Doubt poisons all action. I meet life with a "yes," an affirmative attitude. There is good in the world, and I can follow that good. There is power available to help me to do the right thing; therefore I will accept that power.
Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may go along on the venture of faith.
When we have internalized Step One, our lives reflect it.
Admitting we are powerless over alcohol is not very difficult for most of us. Admitting we are powerless over the alcoholic is another matter. After all, we have used shame quite successfully to get our way on occasion, intimidation sometimes worked. Our relentlessness sometimes wore the alcoholic down. But we never really changed that person.
Fully accepting our powerlessness over all other people may seem scary at first. (What will we do with our time?) But it makes our own lives so much simpler. Relief from worry and frustration is only the first gift. Having time to pursue our own goals comes next. Discovering happiness at will is another blessing. Once we get used to being powerless over other people, we'll realize how much living we gave up in the past.
I will find joy in my powerlessness today. I will have more energy for myself
Thou art everywhere, but I worship you here;
Thou art without form, butI worship you in these forms;
Thou needest no praise, yet I offer you these
prayers and salutations.
The history of the Twelve Steps tells us that in the first small A.A. group there was controversy about the word God. For some of the men God was known in traditional religious ways; other members were agnostic. This first group followed their group conscience. The resolution they achieved has inspired many new Twelve Step members ever since. They were guided through their disagreement to a new expression of their spiritual relationship. They began to speak of a "Power greater than ourselves" and of "God, as we understood Him."
Today we turn to God, as we understand God, because our definitions are restricted by human limitations. We know from our own experiences and from the stories of thousands of men and women who have preceded us, that this spiritual program is very practical and simple. It works. It restores our lives.
To a Power greater than myself, I am filled with gratitude.
It is a matter first of beginning - and then following through.
--Richard L. Evans
How many times have we started a project or a new path of living only to abandon it after a short time? We may have thought it wasn't what we wanted or there wasn't enough time. Instead of following through, we usually gave up just when it was getting challenging and difficult.
What are our dreams today? Do we wish we could speak a second language, know how to operate a computer, exercise regularly, or attend more meetings? What's stopping us? Each task we'd like to accomplish can only be done by persistence and dedication. We learn a new language one word at a time, learn how to operate a computer one step at a time, exercise regularly one day at a time, and attend more meetings one night at a time.
We don't have to give up an endeavor just because the hard work has begun. Instead of looking down the road where we want to be, we need to look at this moment. If we take a step toward our goals, we'll be closer than if we never took that step.
I can walk toward my goal, remembering each step I take will bring me closer to achievement and personal reward.
By Definition, To be Exceptional, You have to be the Exception, Not the Rule. Dharmesh Shah
Some people grumble because the roses have thorns instead of being grateful that the thorns have roses.
We must learn from the mistakes of others because we won't live long enough to make them all ourselves.
Don't look down on another person unless you are leaning over to help them up.
What a different world this would be if people would magnify their blessings the way they do their troubles.
The largest room in the world is the room for improvement.
Winners - people who tell you what they did and not people who tell you what they think you ought to do.
The important thing is not to stop questioning.
We used to think we knew it all. We had grandiose ideas about ourselves. We stopped asking hard questions that could cause our fragile world of make-believe and deviousness to come crashing down. We protected our addiction by fleeing from the questions that could have started us on the road to recovery.
One day the questions flooded in unchecked. Why am I out of control? How come I can't look my beloved in the eye? Why don't I have time for my friends? Why do I get irritated with my children? Why do I feel so bad about myself, so filled with shame? Why can't I cope? Why is my life unmanageable?
Unmanageable? When we feel this question deeply, then we are already on the road to recovery, for we know we can't continue to go it alone. The question suggests an answer; we need others, a different system of support, a program of recovery, a Higher Power, serenity, love.
This is what we really wanted and needed, and this is what we find in our Twelve Step program.
Learning to be honest means continuing to ask questions about ourselves and our situation in the world.
Reflection for the Day
When a person says something rash or ugly, we sometimes say they are "forgetting themselves," meaning they're forgetting their best selves in a sudden outburst of uncontrolled fury. If I remember the kind of person I want to be, hopefully I won't "forget myself" and yield to a fit of temper. I'll believe that the positive always defeats the negative: courage overcomes fear; patience overcomes anger and irritability; love overcomes hatred. Am I always striving for improvement?
Today I Pray
Today I ask that God, to Whom all things are possible, will help me turn negatives into positives - anger into super-energy, fear into a chance to be courageous, hatred into love. May I take time out to remember examples of such positive-from-negative transformations from the whole of my lifetime. Uppermost is God's miracle: my freedom from the slavery of addiction.
Today I Will Remember
Turn negatives into positives.
How do we know what God's will is, especially when we're running around with a severe case of self-will run riot? How can we make sure the choices we're making are God's will when our options seem confusing and we're not sure what to do? What about when we do something we think is God's will and it doesn't work out? Do we blame ourselves? Or do we count our mistakes as lessons we needed to learn along the way?
Sometimes when I recover from a particularly exhausting bout of self-will, I think that my mistakes were just a waste of my time. But then something happens, and I see that my worst mistakes are recyclable. What I learn from mistakes translates into something else that works out for the good.
We do have choices, and they have consequences. Most philosophers agree that free will is the greatest gift given to human beings. And we're responsible for what we choose or don't choose. But most of us, who have some practice with God's will, agree that there's a little extra something taking place.
Getting a publishing contract to write my book Codependent No More was a passion and a dream I'd had for years. But when I went down into my basement to write it, I hit the wall. I didn't know what to say.
It finally turned into one of those surrender deals. What am I thinking of? I said to myself. If it's God's will, the book will get done. And if its not part of God's plan for my life, then it doesn't matter whether it gets done or not. There's something else I'm meant to do. I could see how futile and ridiculous it was to worry about whether anything would - or wouldn't work out.
No matter what happened or didn't, God's will was more than enough.
With all my ups and downs, I still believe with all my heart that God's will is the best thing around.
There's a peace, a harmony, a rhythm to God's will. It's a solid undercurrent, a path that takes us through, over, or around whatever we face, including the Unknown. We don't always know when we've gotten out of or away from it, but we can sure feel it when we get back on track.
A person shows their true self by how much they need other people.
What giving we have discovered in our Fellowship! From the very first meeting, we received an outstretched hand that offered us help. People gave freely and asked nothing in return. We, who had known so much taking, could hardly believe what we experienced. It just didn't seem real.
The reality is no put-on. There is a spirit of selfless fellowship in our Program. But the truth is that those who are giving are also keeping. The gem they are holding onto is their recovery. Only those who give away what they have found can keep it.
Every time we share with another human being, we add something to our spiritual bank account, allowing us to draw on it when extra demands are made upon our courage. In the measure in which we share our burdens, they become lighter.
Imagine people saving their lives by giving them away! Oh, that I can only be so selfish.
It's okay to have fun.
Although we're working hard on recovering, we can also have fun. In fact, we can have much more fun now than we did before we found the program. With the awakening of our spiritual self, life takes on new zest. We smile more and frown less.
We can give ourselves permission to enjoy whatever comes our way, as long as it does not threaten abstinence or serenity. Friends, food, the multitude of activities, experiences, and sensations that life presents to us each day; all these are to be enjoyed.
Now that we have the tools for recovery, we can expect more fun. Using the inventory and amends Steps, we can clear away any emotional debris from the past that may be hampering our enjoyment of the present. As we take ourselves less seriously, our sense of humor blossoms. Laughter delights and heals us.
I will let myself enjoy life and have some fun.
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
This is a hard concept for us addicts to get. We believed avoidance was a form of self-care. Our illness depended on our ability to deny its existence. Only when we were bleeding out of every pore of our body, were we willing to admit that maybe there was a slight problem. We were afraid of the facts. To face the facts meant dealing with betraying our illness. It meant admitting we were lost and in need of help from others.
Recovery, from Step One on, is about confronting our issues straight on. We take personal inventory a lot in order to break through our denial and bond with the truth. We face, directly when possible, the people we have hurt because the fact is we have hurt many and we have a responsibility to try to help heal these wounds. As we do these actions, we watch ourselves become stronger. Our confidence – not arrogance – grows. Do we always like facing the facts? No! But our lives aren't based only on feelings anymore. They are based on doing the next right thing.
Prayer for the Day
Higher Power, with Your help and guidance I can break through my wall of denial. Show me the things I need to face.
Sometime during the day, I will sit down and make a list of issues I am avoiding. I'll commit to talking with my sponsor about what is on the list.
This is another day, O Lord.
I don't know what it will bring
For I have not scheduled anything.
If I am to sit still,
Help me to sit quietly.
If I am to rest,
Help me rest patiently.
And if I am to do nothing,
Help me do it serenely.
For it is Your will
For me to be comfortably quiet
A house is no home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as for the body.
-- Margaret Fuller
No matter how full our social and professional lives are we all need a base, a place where we are at home. Whether it's a studio apartment furnished from secondhand stores and garage sales or a luxurious country retreat, one of our basic human urges is the need to make a home. And our spiritual fulfillment asks that our home nourish us.
Look around: in our choices for our home we reveal what nourishes and inspires us. Perhaps we opt for the comfortable and well-used: old books, chairs that speak more to the back and bottom than to the eye. Perhaps we are restless and change the way our homes look frequently. We all use our homes to express our desires.
Are we neglecting "food and fire for the mind"? Sometimes we misinterpret inertia as comfort. Are we giving our minds a wholesome environment?
Fuel for my spirit is never wholly consumed. Today, I will look to my supply.
The best outcome is just and equitable.
Principle over Personality - Looking ahead to this day, I may face a possible conflict with another person over a certain issue. How should I respond to this?
If I'm to follow my principles, I should hold to the idea of seeking the best outcome for everybody concerned. It may be very harmful to look at these conflicts as a case of winning or losing. If I seem to win when I'm wrong, I will lose in the long run. If I seem to lose even when I'm right, I can know that there's a just resolution of everything in time. I will always win, however, if I keep my thinking straight and take care to avoid resentment and bitterness.
It's not surprising that the world is beset by conflicts. Millions of people have conditioned themselves to selfish ways of thinking and behaving that are bound to cause such conflicts. Much harm is done by people who are absolutely sure they are right at all times.
As human beings, we cannot expect to be excluded from these conflicts simply because we have a Twelve Step program. We do, however, have a means of dealing with such conflicts effectively when we respond according to principle. This makes us privileged people, in a way, but it is good to know that any person can have the same privileges by following the right principles.
Unpleasant as any conflict may seem, it does give me an opportunity to learn and to grow. I will seek to benefit from any such conflict today.
Sometimes we think we're supposed to have more recovery under our belts. Perhaps we feel the need to impress our peers with our success in staying off mind-altering chemicals. But perhaps we are really just trying to convince ourselves. We know how difficult recovery is, and surely our Higher Power is not fooled by our pretense of well being.
If we try to hide our problems, we cannot get help for them. To get help we must tell people where we're really at. No one can read a closed book.
Am I open with others?
Higher Power, help me believe in the saying, "Ask and you shall receive."
One could say that I had a happy childhood, although I showed little talent for being happy.
-- Samuel Beckett
Our choices in relationships, careers, lifestyle, and expression of feelings and talents are often the result of our upbringing. Has the social climate changed significantly since our childhood? Have our family systems changed? Can we find ways to change old, ineffective behaviors?
Recovery offers us the gifts of responsibility and self-forgiveness. Now, as we begin to change, we can let go of the past and its pain. Our ability to change often starts by embracing our inner selves with forgiving, adult arms. In this act, we take responsibility for our own happiness, nurturing ourselves toward the new life we are finding in recovery.
We are earning our own love in a whole new way. We respect and honor our physical selves with rest, exercise, and nutritional food. We stimulate our minds with new ideas and experiences. And we send our spirits soaring through conscious contact with our Higher Power. We feel worthy of love, and even have enough to give some away. Now we are learning the talent for being happy.
Today grant me the power of self-forgiveness and the gift of hope.
Life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced.
Maybe our debt is spiraling so out of control we can't face it. We can't tolerate sitting at the table one more time trying to manipulate figures to meet the month's expenses. If we're responsible for creating the debt, we may be in denial or have a lot of shame. If our spouse is responsible, we may be so confused we give up, not knowing whether he or she will come home from the casino with a fistful of cash or another grand or two in the hole. We're tired of creating solutions to get through the debt. We give up. We bury our heads in the sand like an ostrich. If we pull our heads up, we're afraid we'll have a nervous breakdown.
The ostrich stage is a normal human reaction to overwhelming circumstances. We can only take so much. But in the ostrich stage, we make ourselves especially vulnerable. We may return responsibility for paying bills to our gambling spouse. We may agree to sign credit card applications in our name. We accumulate hundreds of dollars worth of overdraft fees.
If we've reached the ostrich stage, we seek outside support from someone we can trust to handle our finances – to shed light on what we cannot seem to see.
Today instead of staying in the ostrich stage, I will seek help.
Gifts of the Spirit
Through the program, we come to desire spiritual gifts as well as material necessities. Experience shows us that serenity is priceless and something to be desired. Courage, wisdom, faith, hope, love, humility - these are all spiritual gifts which come to us from our Higher Power as we abstain and work our program.
As we receive these gifts of the spirit, we are able to share them with others. Giving them away to our families and friends ensures that we will receive them more abundantly ourselves. We come to realize that a small gift of time and attention can mean more than an expensive material present.
God's gifts are available to us whenever we are open to receive them. By abstaining, we make our spirits ready to accept their rightful gifts.
I pray that I may be ready to accept Your spiritual gifts.
thank you Johnny
I read. I enjoy your posts. Don't stop.
Turning an adversity into opportunity is possible.
We didn't escape problems just because we came to a Twelve Step program. Problems still exist, whether it's a car that won't run, a neighbor who complains, a spiteful co-worker, or a family member who drinks or uses other drugs.
The difference is, now we can keep these situations in perspective. No problem means the end of our world. Before, even the smallest of problems sometimes devastated us.
Through listening to old-timers, we are beginning to realize that every situation offers us a unique opportunity to respond in more thoughtful, loving ways. Without this program, we might never have learned that having problems is the path to the growth and serenity we all seek. Now we turn to God for guidance, and through our trust in God we see the problem transformed into an opportunity. To acknowledge life as being filled with opportunity rather than problems is a tiny shift in perspective that gives us huge rewards.
I will look for my opportunities today. My Higher Power will show me how to handle them. My reward will be growth.
Say when it's time to begin.
I have a friend who is always planning to start a writing project "as soon as she gets organized." She has read nearly every book, attended every seminar, and bought all the tapes on the subject. She has closets full of organizers, drawers stuffed with folders, and several related computer programs. There's only one problem. Instead of starting, she hides behind a mask of "firsts." "I'll start writing, but first I've got to learn this program." "I'll listen to that tape, but first I've got to read this book."
Are you hiding behind a mask of firsts? Is there always something that keeps you from beginning? Take off the mask. Start the project. Ask that special person for a date. Do that Fourth and Fifth Step. Stop making excuses. Eliminate them.
Learn to say when it's time to begin.
God, please help me eliminate excuses from my life. Show me how full my life can be when I pursue my dreams.
I look in the mirror through the eyes of the child that was me.
The child within each of us is fragile, but very much alive, and she interprets our experiences before we are even conscious of them. It is our child who may fear new places, unfamiliar people, and strange situations. Our child needs nurturing, the kind she may not have received in the past. We can take her hand, coax her along, let her know she won't be abandoned. No new place, unfamiliar person, or strange situation need overwhelm her.
It's quite amazing the strength that comes to us when we nurture ourselves, when we acknowledge the scared child within and hold that child making him or her secure. We face nothing alone. Together, we can face anything.
I will take care of my inner child today and I won't abandon that child to face alone any of the experiences the day may bring.
Patience is needed with everyone, but first of all with ourselves.
--Saint Francis De Sales
One night Sandra was having trouble putting a puzzle together. Angrily, she pushed all the pieces into a huge pile.
"I can't do this," she said. She got up and walked over to the couch and plopped down.
"Let me tell you a story," said her dad, as he sat down next to her. "There was a daughter who helped her dad take care of her baby sister. Again and again, she helped her baby sister stand and try to walk. One day the daughter tried to put a puzzle together but gave up after only a few tries. She had forgotten how many times she had helped her baby sister."
We are all like Sandra, sometimes. We forget to allow ourselves to fail, even though our growth up to now has been a series of failures that we've learned from. With patience, we allow ourselves to take chances we might not otherwise explore, and we widen our world of possibilities. Life has been patient with us so far, now it's our turn.
What have I failed at that I can try again today?
The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong. That block of granite is often nothing more than a decision.
Trails through national parks and forests are often clearly marked and well-maintained. But sometimes a heavy snowmelt or downpour can turn a trickling stream into a tricky obstacle that needs to be navigated in order to continue following the trail.
When this happens, hikers can turn around and postpone their hike until another day. They can attempt to create their own trail by rambling through – and possibly destroying – delicate forest undergrowth. They can slog through the water, soaking their footgear and creating discomfort for the rest of the hike. Or they can utilize the resources available to them, such as by positioning large rocks as stepping-stones to cross the stream.
How you navigate the trails of your recovery can be seen in similar terms. You must choose how to navigate these trails, both in times when the footling is good and when it is not. Be like the hiker who thinks first about how to handle the challenges, so you can continue safely along your journey.
Today I will make choices that will keep me on the path of recovery.
Often, the people who are close to me share similar ways of thinking, acting, or spending time. This doesn't mean that we have to share everything. We can choose which activities we do together and allow each other to have separate interests too.
If I'm in an intimate relationship, but want to go to a movie with friends, it should be perfectly acceptable. It doesn't mean there are problems in my relationship, but that the relationship is healthy and equal. Problems would exist when one person wants to have the freedom to choose separate activities but doesn't allow the other the same consideration. It is normal and healthy to have experiences, hobbies, and interests that are separate from those of my children, friends, or romantic interest. Couples and families shouldn't be expected to enjoy everything together.
If someone I care about has told me he or she wants to do something away from me, I can react by saying, "This is great!" Today I will understand that this doesn't mean the person no longer loves me or is losing interest. It means that person is emotionally healthy enough to have his or her own interests and respects me enough to allow me mine.
Every time I get worried about something I say my prayers more.
Whether we grew up in religious families or not, most of us seek help from some Greater Power when we're faced with terrifying situations. Often it's at an unconscious level that we ask for extra help. But the fact that we do elicit strength from some source comforts us, and this enables us to walk through the experience that appears so daunting.
We never outgrow the need for strength and comfort. That's good news. It's too awesome to think that we need to know all now, to understand how every detail of living should unfold. It's quite enough to limit our focus on the details of the next 24 hours.
Let's be vigilant about our search for guidance and comfort. And let's not forget that we have to listen for the response. If our minds are filled with worrying, there will be no space for the answers to enter.
Praying for solutions or comfort or just a moment of peace will change my perspective today. When my perspective changes, so do my experiences.
Now that I'm not acting crazy I can accept feeling crazy once in a while.
Saying no to ourselves may be a greater act of courage than rushing into a burning building to save a child. The act of heroic rescue may be impulsive, almost involuntary, and completed before there is time for a reasoned judgment. Ah, but the other one! To consciously challenge our own will is never a spontaneous thing. We may feel crazy the first day we deny ourselves the familiar comfort of nicotine or other substances. The first, or fifth, or twenty-fifth time we practice detachment may make us feel like we're coming apart. First efforts at taking responsibility for our own behavior can make us feel as peculiar and disjointed as if we'd decided to go through the rest of our lives walking on our hands instead of our feet.
But to be crazy is to keep on asking for what we don't want. If, for a while, sane action has to be accompanied by crazy feelings - then so be it. To accept that paradox and forge ahead anyway is to join the ranks of heroes who don't get medals. No medal can adequately symbolize those fierce and private battles.
Today, I ask my Higher Power for a surer sense of mission.
All our loves are first loves.
--Susan Fromberg Schaeffer
When we fall in love with someone, it is a unique thing that comes from deep within us. Any relationship is the creation of two people who open themselves to each other and share themselves beyond the usual boundaries. That is the excitement of true love. Two people give each other the keys to their private world, just as we might share the key to our home, trusting that it will be used with care and respect. This intimacy isn't usually instantaneous. It builds on experience together.
In an intimate relationship, we have the responsibility to be good stewards of the trust given us. Looking at our partner's role is always so much easier than looking at our own, but we need to resist that easy temptation. Our first questions should always be - Do I make it safe for my partner to be open with me? Do I take my partner's vulnerability as a trust that I do not abuse? Am I gentle and respectful with the key my partner gave me?
Today I will be a good partner; honoring and guarding the trust I have been given.
When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become real.
Intimacy with another is a necessary risk if we're to know love. This means loving enough to let someone in on our most hidden parts, daring to share the awful truths about ourselves. When we hold a dreaded memory within, or fail to disclose our darkest secret, we're haunted by the fear that another's love is both conditional and long gone if the truth about us is revealed.
Though seldom remembered, one of the greatest tributes we can give one another is full expression of who we were, who we are, and who we hope to become. During any single moment, we are a composite of feelings, memories, and projections. Our reality is many faceted, and being intimate requires that we enrich each other's lives with the full expression of ourselves.
Being real is courageous; it takes a decision and practice, and it is demanded if we're to know love.
The winds of change blow through our life, sometimes gently, sometimes like a tropical storm. Yes, we have resting places - time to adjust to another level of living, time to get our balance, time to enjoy the rewards. We have time to catch our breath.
But change is inevitable, and desirable.
Sometimes, when the winds of change begin to rustle, we're not certain the change is for the better. We may call it stress or a temporary condition, certain we'll be restored to normal. Sometimes, we resist. We tuck our head down and buck the wind, hoping that things will quickly calm down, get back to the way things were. Is it possible we're being prepared for a new "normal"?
Change will sweep through our life, as needed, to take us where we're going. We can trust that our Higher Power has a plan in mind, even when we don't know where the changes are leading.
We can trust that the change-taking place is good. The wind will take us where we need to go.
Today, help me, God, to let go of my resistance to change. Help me be open to the process. Help me believe that the place I'll be dropped off will be better than the place where I was picked up. Help me surrender, trust, and accept, even if I don't understand.
Procrastination is the thief of time.
When we have a problem with putting things off, we seem to add to our troubles by mentally flogging ourselves. We know we are losing time. We criticize ourselves for our irrational behavior. Whether we are putting off an important task in our lives or letting many little undone jobs accumulate, we could benefit from stopping the self criticism and asking ourselves for the spiritual message in our actions. Perhaps we need some quiet time to do absolutely nothing. Maybe our perfectionism is paralyzing us. Is an "all or nothing" attitude telling us if we can't do the whole job right away, there is no point in beginning? Unexpressed anger may be blocking us from doing what we need to do.
Whenever we find ourselves doing things that seem irrational we can ask, "What is the message from my Higher Power in this behavior?" This question will carry us much further toward spiritual growth than the mental criticism we are tempted to do.
Today, I will do what I can within the limits of one day, and I will stay in communication with my Higher Power.
It's better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.
Recovery is an inner journey, but it often means going outside ourselves. In the past, we often were deaf to the words of others. Now we are discovering that God gave us ears for a reason.
Listening to others may be new to us, but we have so much to gain. Others may have learned ways to solve problems we can't figure out. We may think our lives are unique, only to discover others have had the same experiences. There is so much insight, wisdom, and love to share. Now that we're stronger, we can admit we need help, and accept that help with a joyful heart.
Today let me have the courage to listen to those people whom I respect.
I wish I could keep in mind that God can provide, God will provide, and God does provide.
-- Marie Gubbels
Relying on God for the guidance to deal with our problems seems much too simple. We probably spent decades looking to alcohol, other drugs, and relationships for the solution to the ache that never left. We didn't know then that God was waiting in the wings for our prayers. Even knowing it, as we do now, hasn't prevented us from looking for help elsewhere, time and again. It has never been our nature to keep our lives simple. However, we are getting more practiced at the simpler life since becoming a part of this recovery program.
We may need to choose, daily, to believe that God can, will, and does provide for our every need. Because most of us haven't had a life-changing spiritual experience, we must decide every day to look to God. Fortunately, a moment of quiet and a tiny prayer is all that we need to do. God is never more than a thought away.
I will practice my reliance on God at every turn of events today. I believe I will receive guidance and knowledge concerning how to proceed next.
The reality is that changes are coming . . .They must come. You must share in bringing them.
Change. It's scary. It's hard. It's needed. Sometimes it feels good; other times it feels bad. But one thing is for sure: it keeps on happening.
Just when our life seems settled, it changes. We can't stop life. We can't stay this age forever. The world changes. Life moves on. There are always new things to do and learn.
Change means we're always beginners in some ways. We need to ask for wisdom and courage. We get it by listening, by praying, by meditating. When we ask, our Higher Power will teach us to be part of good changes.
Prayer for the Day
Higher Power, help me believe that Your plans call for good changes.
Action for the Day
Today I'll think about the changes in my life. I've lived through a lot. I'll be okay when more changes come, with God's help. I can keep on growing.
Aloneness and Quality Time
There are many ways to be good to ourselves. Here are just a few:
At the beginning of each day, we can think about what we'd like to accomplish. This can be a routine household chore, a professional objective, or a living principle we'd like to work on.
As our day unfolds, we can engage in an enjoyable diversion or work on a pet project. Often, these activities clear our minds and free us to think more calmly about matters which trouble us.
In the evening, we may want to review the day's events, and our reactions to them, with a friend. Or, we may simply want to sit quietly and allow our thoughts to wander as they will. Keeping a journal at these times is a helpful tool for self-discovery. By recording our reactions and thoughts as they arise, we often get a better perspective on ourselves as well as our experiences.
TODAY I will be good to myself. I will find something I enjoy doing, and I will do it. I will also take time to get to know myself - either by sharing with a trusted friend or by writing my thoughts in a journal.
Today I will do one thing more than I think I can do.
If I'm too tired or depressed to get out of bed, I will not only get up but also take a shower.
If I don't have the energy to go to work, I will get dressed and drive to the parking lot of my job.
If I just can't face the world, I will walk to the end of the street and back.
I will reach a little further than whatever I believe my limitations to be. Usually, when I take that little extra step, it seems easier than I thought it would, and I feel better too.
This post was modified from its original form on 14 Sep, 6:24
The answer to personality problems is found in a quiet return to Godlike thinking.
--Science of Mind magazine
When we're edgy and critical or perhaps feeling inadequate or depressed, we've lost our attunement with God. And when acting the way God would have us act is no longer our priority, our character defects once again emerge and, in time, grow ever more numerous.
We can make the simple decision to always check out our proposed behavior against the behavior we know is from God. When we remember to think of God first before proceeding, we avoid unnecessary conflicts; we refrain from consciously hurting anyone; we manage to take our experiences restfully, moment by moment.
There's really no mystery to having a rewarding and peaceful life. Those we notice who do have likely made a more frequent companion of God than we. The decision to work more on our own friendship with God is an easy one to make.
I will act according to God's wishes today and, in the process, strengthen our friendship.
I want to change things. I want to see things happen. I don't want just to talk about them.
--John Kenneth Galbraith
I feel as if I should be doing so much more than just staying in recovery and going to meetings. And yet, when I have free time, I'm not accomplishing much these days. I go to a meeting and then to coffee – "the meeting after the meeting," I've heard it called – and I get home and feel too tired to do any more. When I have a big block of time, I don't know how to use it. I feel confused and discouraged.
This point in recovery is a time to be especially gentle with ourselves. When we look back at how we were feeling and what we were doing just before we entered recovery, we can see that "just staying in recovery and going to meetings" is a major change. To be free from our addictive behavior, to keep a commitment to a program of recovery – this is nothing short of a total revolution in our lives. We have made a commitment to live, not to punish ourselves for not doing it faster and more perfectly.
"The meeting after the meeting" is not a waste of time. It's important to get to know our peers in recovery. We can learn from one another, support one another. The changes we're experiencing are mirrored back to us by others who are undergoing similar transformations. It gives us experience, too, at being with people without the "help" of our addictive substance or behavior.
We don't have to worry about wasting time in early recovery. It is a miracle that we can simply be.
Today, I let myself be.
Reflection for the Day
Even with a growing understanding of The Program and its Twelve Steps, we sometimes might find it difficult to believe that our new way of life leads to personal freedom. Suppose, for example, I feel imprisoned in an uncomfortable job or troublesome personal relationship. What am I doing about it? In the past, my reflex reaction was to try to manipulate the things and people around me into being more acceptable to me. Today, I realize that happiness can't be won that way.
Am I learning that freedom from despair and frustration can come only from changing, in myself, the attitudes that are perpetuating the conditions that cause me grief?
Today I Pray
May I be given clear eyes to see and then to stop myself when I am manipulating the lives of those around me, my daily associates, friends, and family. May I always be aware that change must begin within myself.
Today I will remember
Change from the inside out.
The elevator is broken; use the Steps.
Elevators are easy. We push a button and we go right to the top. The way is fast, quick, and silent. We don't work up a sweat. We don't get out of breath. We can't trip and fall. There is not much time to communicate with anyone else along the way so we don't have to use any effort or thought. We can daydream as we face the front of the car and stare at the numbers as they change from floor to floor.
Our addictions were our elevators out of living. The chemical highs we experienced were just like an elevator ride. Until we crashed.
I will sometimes sweat, stumble, get out of breath in my climb, but I'll take the time to talk with and learn from others who are taking the Steps with me.
"Remember the old Chinese handcuffs thing," a friend reminds me when I get stuck doing the same thing over and over, even though whatever I'm doing doesn't work.
A Chinese handcuff is a toy, a small bamboo tube, about four inches long. You stick an index finger in each end. Then when you pull, you're trapped. The harder you pull, the more stuck you get. Your instinctive reaction, not the handcuffs, keeps you trapped. To set yourself free you have to take certain steps. Letting go isn't enough. You have to relax, then gently push in before you can pull yourself loose.
Sometimes taking action means relaxing and doing the opposite of what our instincts tell us to do. If we have tried to do something a hundred times, and the way we're doing it hasn't worked, it probably still won't the next time. It may be time to try something else.
Life moves forward
The past is past. Over. Finished. Our job is to move with the flow of the present. We are propelled by what went before, but we do not try to swim against the current of our present lives by regretting or yearning for old times.
Each day of recovery releases us from the past and gives us a fresh start. We can put behind us the misery of compulsive behavior - we certainly don't yearn to re-experience that! Though the good times of the past will stay in our memories, our minds need to be focused on the present.
Recovery also readies us for the future: We don't fear what lies ahead, since it is in the hands of our Higher Power. Our task is to earnestly seek to know and do our Higher Power's will for us today so that we will keep moving with the stream of goodness that wends through our lives. Trust and confidence support us as we face forward.
Working my program today keeps me steady in the present and ready for the future.
When all else is lost, the future still remains.
Ours is a program of hope. We sit in meetings and give each other hope. For no matter how long we have been sober - five days or thirty years - there will be times when we feel horrible. This is life. In everyone's life there are times of wonderful joy, but also times of incredible pain.
If we act from our values and the spiritual principles given to us by our Higher Power, pain will be transformed into growth and new understanding. Pain is transitory and softens with time.
These are the lessons of recovery. Bad times can be transformed into growth and joy.
Prayer for the Day
Higher Power, I give You my pain and I ask You to show me the lessons I'm to learn. I ask for Your help in holding on to hope. Help me to never forget that You and others are with me.
Today I will list the times during my active addiction that I felt most hopeless. Then I will think of what lessons I learned from these moments. How did others, my Higher Power, and I transform these moments?
Easy Does It
Help me remember to take things slowly for spiritual progress requires time for growth. Maturity is not an overnight miracle. Help me to be productive and keep me from procrastinating or being impatient and rushing ahead too quickly. I will remind myself today not to push myself faster than I need to go.
I won't push the river, I'll let it flow
Living new lives
If we thank our Higher Power each day for the problems in our lives, we will find that we can live and cope with them. And if it is our Higher Power's will, our problems will be transformed in ways we cannot comprehend. We don't fully understand our lives.
If we become willing to let our Higher Power handle each situation in its way, we will see that we are living ourselves into new ways of being. We will experience a freedom and joy that we could not have understood in our old ways of thinking and being.
We cannot think ourselves into a better life; we must live each day into better thinking.
Am I living myself into a new life?
Higher Power, I am grateful for the problems in my life; they help me change myself into a new being.
We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and adventure to discover our own special light.
-- Mary Dunbar
All of us are gifted. Every person has a gift that can bring great joy and light to those who encounter it. Our task is to stand in the sun and create a climate that will develop and nurture our gift.
Sometimes we are afraid to let ourselves believe we have anything special to offer or contribute to the world. We think of ourselves as plain and untalented, with no gifts or special potential. But if we believe we are limited, we act in a limited way. We take few risks and follow few paths that might develop our special talents and gifts.
In recovery we are learning to love ourselves and trust ourselves in a whole new way. Now anything is possible. To fully believe in our talents, we need only step from the darkness into the sun. We will take this first step, trust enough, and start believing that, yes, we do have special gifts.
Today let me be aware of my deep and unfilled desires, dreams, and wishes, which is the first step on the way to accepting my gifts.
Learning to trust is one of life's most difficult tasks.
-- Isaac Watts
We marry for better or for worse, we expect some ups and downs, but once we feel we've been betrayed, we are lost.
If we've been lied to so many times we can no longer think straight, if we've been fooled into thinking we are at fault for an impossible financial situation because we don't work, don't earn enough, or because we spend too much, or if we've been manipulated into believing that by co-signing a loan all our problems would disappear, we've been betrayed. The person we thought we were supposed to trust and to turn to for emotional support is not being trustworthy or supportive.
Getting through betrayal is a long process, one that both parties must be willing to commit to in the most profound way. If one party is unwilling to be consistently trustworthy and the other is unwilling to forgive, the cracked foundation only crumbles further.
Today I will understand that trust is a core component of any successful relationship, and I will know that I deserve a trustworthy partner.
Do we manage ourselves to the best of our ability?
Some of us are in the program because the drinkers in our lives are out of control and we feel crazy. Others of us come to the program certain that we are managing our lives very well but hoping to learn how to better manage someone else. For some of us, the addict may have stopped using, but the feelings of hopelessness remain. Whatever our reason for being here, we are in the right place.
The program can teach us a lot if we are willing to learn. The first test of our willingness is being able to accept our powerlessness over others. Surrendering to God the management of all the other people in our lives will free us to better manage ourselves. But what does that mean? It means taking no action that we haven't talked over with a friend and with God. It means always loving and never harming the people we care about. It means never giving up the belief that our journey has purpose.
I will pay more attention to my own behavior than someone else's today. Managing me will keep me plenty busy. If I do it well, I'll be happy.
Don't overlook the wonder of the ordinary.
The extraordinary, the amazing, the phenomenon are daily glorified in the movies, the news, and on television. Our senses become bombarded. We become addicted to drama. The only things that get our attention are the big, catastrophic, knee-jerking events.
Take a closer look at your life, your everyday world, and the people and activities in it. If it were all taken from you in one moment, what would you miss? What sights, what sounds, what smells? Would you miss the view from your kitchen window? If you were never to see that scene again, would you nostalgically reminisce about it, wishing you could see it one more time, remembering how beautiful it was, and how much that familiar sight comforted you in your daily life?
What about those toys strewn about or the baby crying because he's hungry or wet? What about the sounds of the city you live in as it comes to life each morning? Or how about how your child smells after her bath? Or when she comes in cold from playing in the snow?
What about the way your friend smiles, or that little thing he says all the time that's not funny but he thinks it is, so you laugh?
Look closely at the ordinary in your life. While you're being grateful, don't forget to express pure, sheer gratitude for how beautiful the ordinary really is. We can easily overlook the ordinary, take it for granted. The sun rises and sets, the seasons come and go, and we forget how beautiful and sensational the familiar really is.
God thank you for every detail of my ordinary, everyday world.
"If onlys" are lonely.
The circumstances of our lives seldom live up to our expectations or desires. However, in each circumstance we are offered an opportunity for growth or change, a chance for greater understanding of life's heights and pitfalls. Each time we choose to lament what isn't, we close the door on the invitation to a better existence.
We simply don't know just what's best for us. Our vision is limited. Less so today than yesterday, but limited still. The experiences we are offered will fail to satisfy our expectations because we expect so much less than God has planned for us in the days ahead.
We get what we need in the way of relationships, adventures, joys and sorrows, today and every day. Celebrating what we get and knowing there is good in it eases whatever trial we are undergoing. We are cared for, right now. We need not lament what we think we need. We do have what we need. We will always get what we need, when we need it.
I will breathe deeply and relax. At this moment my every need is being attended to.
There is always a "but" in this imperfect world.
Often there is not a day that goes by without some tragic or upsetting news story. An act of terrorism, a natural disaster, or a school shooting can dominate the air waves and make it seem as if all there is in the world are tragedy, loss, and immeasurable sorrow. At those times when the world seems to be crashing down around you, you may be tempted to look at your addiction from a different perspective.
You may consider, for instance, how minor your addiction is compared to everything else that is going on. So you might tell yourself, "Okay, I think I have a problem with alcohol, But maybe my problem isn't so bad after all." Or you may think, "But all I did was just knock over a trash can when I was drunk. It's not as if I killed someone."
Maintaining sobriety can be an extremely difficult task. But you make it more difficult whenever you spend more time trying to find excuses than doing what it is you need to do in your recovery. While it is true that sometimes there is too much tragedy and negative news, such things should not be taken as reasons for you to take a break from your recovery.
Today I will not excuse myself from my recovery.
I grew up knowing I had to be a success for others.
The pressure of performance is daunting and extremely stressful. Some, like Sandy, were controlled by it their whole lives. Perhaps that was your experience, too. Are you free of it now?
The desire to be successful never was a bad thing in and of itself. Teachers encouraged it right along with our parents. Employers reinforced the importance of being successful. But there is and always was a difference between enjoying a job done right and driving ourselves ragged to impress others. Sandy's experience reflects the latter.
Whatever reason we used for seeking success isn't all bad though. If it motivated us to stretch ourselves, it meant we discovered abilities we might not have known we were capable of. The contribution we made to the world around us was affected accordingly and that changed our lives forever. We can come to believe that however we lived our lives was simply as good as we were capable of. No matter what motivated us in the past, we can take charge of what motivates us now. Finally, that's all that really counts today.
Today I'll be aware of the motives behind my efforts. I don't have to impress anyone.
Have you learned lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed the passage with you?
Wouldn't it be grand if we could have everything our way! We'd have people at our beck and call. We'd never have to take responsibility for ourselves, never have to struggle for anything, and never be refused any wish or want.
But how would we mature? Learning involves gains based on the effort we expend. We learned early that we couldn't listen to a music box unless we wound it. We learned we couldn't get good grades unless we studied. And now we've learned we can't change our behaviors without working the program.
If we can't see the results of the energy we put into things, then our motivation, determination, and confidence can't grow. Some things will come easily, some won't. But the things we work on now will mean the most in the end.
I am not afraid to put energy into something I really want. I need to do this for my self-esteem.
I shall tell you a great secret, my friend. Do not wait for the last judgment, it takes place every day.
It is easy to hope that at some time in the future we may redeem ourselves by some great act of heroism or undergo a dramatic conversion. But in the meantime all too often, it's business as usual. Too easily we can become used to our addictive behavior and deny that our acting-out hasn't harmed anyone . . .except ourselves and those we love and who love and trust us. Deep down we knew we were judging ourselves and being judged. Now, each day, we can assess our actions and evaluate our behavior. In this way we learn how our acting out has affected every part of our lives and our relationships.
It is time to change. The longer we wait, the more ingrained are our habits and ways of perceiving and deceiving. If we live a lie, we will be judged accordingly, by ourselves and those close to us. Our program teaches us that we can change and grow and move ahead into the openness and fullness of each new day.
I don't want to come to the end of my life wishing I had freed myself from my addiction. I am glad I have begun the process of change.
If you want to change who you are, change what you do.
The Big Book is like a cookbook - you can read it all day long and starve. You have to take the action.
If you stay humble, you will not stumble.
Our neighbor's window looks much cleaner if we first wash our own.
Yesterday is a canceled check, tomorrow is a promissory note, today is cash in hand, spend it wisely.
Grief and crisis
. . . accept it as a wise teacher.
A couple has a child whom they would go to great lengths to protect, yet the child falls ill and lies near death. A woman devotes years to a career; then the economy shifts, leaving her unemployed. Addiction diverts a man from his path, and he loses everything he cares about. Life brings trial and defeat as part of its package. We would never choose defeat and we cannot avoid its pain, but we can accept it as a wise teacher. Out of defeat is born new strength.
We need wisdom to deal with defeat and grief. We will face them together more than once. The false comforts of self-pity and blame may tempt us in our pain, but they take much more from us than they give back. Through crisis we see clearly what truly counts in our lives, and we are better prepared to relish the pleasures when they arrive.
As the twig is bent, the tree inclines.
A positive self-image is critical to our recovery. Why? Because it is the glasses through which we look, the gloves with which we touch, the door by which we enter into a relationship with life. Self-image is not who we really are, but a combination of what we wish we were, who we're afraid we are, and who we imagine other people think we are.
We act out in detail the role we've assigned ourselves in this world. That role, our self-image, works like a key that either fits or doesn't fit a world full of locked doors. Different keys open different doors. And some doors lead to bad places, as we all know. It isn't easy to change keys, but it is infinitely worth it. One reason is that we always pass our self-image on to our children; they know us too well to be fooled. If we want our children to walk tall, laugh happily, and sing joyously - we ourselves must do these things for them to see.
Today, I pray for the courage to challenge my tendency to discount myself. All my strong points will be very clear to me today.
I have one request: may I never use my reason against truth.
Honesty with ourselves is a great asset in every situation we confront. The skill to look reality square in the face and call it what it is takes us a good distance toward coping with it. However, many of us also have the skill to spin or rationalize our actions so that we don't have to face something unpleasant. That skill provides us with excuses and evasions but it is the greatest betrayal of our selves. When we use our brain to cleverly cover the truth of our actions, we often believe our own lies, and then we're incapable of rectifying them.
Just as dishonesty builds and grows on itself, so does honesty. We cannot one day decide to be honest and change in a flash because we don't see all of our self-deceit yet. But we can make the decision to be as honest as we know how. Then we will soon be surprised by how much is revealed to us as the fog of our self-deceit lifts and our honesty builds upon itself.
Today I will strive to see reality as it is and not shape it to suit my ego's desires.
A weed is but an unloved flower.
--Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Through actively loving one another we nurture the richness of everyone's fuller expression. With no more than a nod of attention we can elicit a smile or perhaps a commitment to attempt again a challenge that defeated us earlier. None of us shines as brightly, moves as swiftly, or succeeds as easily as when someone special is rooting in our corner.
We each need someone special, and let's not forget that we are someone special to another who is walking our path. The loneliness of a day is diminished when we feel the love of someone near or far. The dread of any task is lessened when we bask in the knowledge that we are special to someone. Like roses, we bloom while under the gaze of loving eyes.
Let's remember to nurture the rose within the friends and strangers who are walking our way today.
Although all men share a common destiny, each individual also has to work out his personal salvation for himself. We can help each other find the meaning of life, but in the last analysis, each is responsible for finding himself.
One of the great spiritual truths is that each person must work out his or her own personal salvation. When a person you care about is in trouble, you can reach out to support his or her healing, but past a certain point you can do no more. No matter how much you love, you cannot carry another person's burdens.
What can you do when someone you love is in pain? First, affirm that there is a purpose behind the experience. Know that the soul has some important lesson to learn that will be of great value to him or her.
Second, although you cannot directly intervene, your positive thoughts and prayers do make a difference. Visualize your friend surrounded by light and love. This type of healing acts directly on the soul level and does not encounter resistance from the conscious mind.
Finally, know that Divine protection is present. The forces of light are always available to the person who requests help. Ultimately, no soul can be lost; as all who ask will be guided to the safety of their spiritual home.
Go with the flow
Let go of fear and your need to control. Relinquish anxiety. Let it slip away, as you dive into the river of the present moment, the river of your life, your place in the universe.
Stop trying to force the direction. Try not to swim against the current, unless it is necessary for your survival. If you've been clinging to a branch at the riverside, let go.
Let yourself move forward. Let yourself be moved forward.
Avoid the rapids when possible. If you can't, stay relaxed. Staying relaxed can take you safely through fierce currents. If you go under for a moment, allow yourself to surface naturally. You will.
Appreciate the beauty of the scenery as it is. See things with freshness, with newness. You shall never pass by today's scenery again!
Don't think too hard about things. The flow is meant to be experienced. Within it, care for yourself. You are part of the flow, an important part. Work with the flow. Work within the flow. Thrashing about isn't necessary. Let the flow help you care for yourself. Let it help you set boundaries, make decisions, and get you where you need to be when it is time. You can trust the flow, and your part in it.
Today, I will go with the flow.
What is obvious to me is that we did not create ourselves... life is something inside of you. You did not create it. Once you understand that, you are in a spiritual realm.
We do not belong to ourselves, but to the universe. No one planned to come into existence; we just happened to find ourselves here. We are the expressions of a life force whose beginnings are in the forgotten past. What does this mean on a practical level for how we will live today? For one thing, maybe we don't need to take ourselves so seriously. And we certainly are not to judge our existence. We have a right to be here, just as everyone does.
We can live this day fully and not hold ourselves back. We may work hard, play, and enjoy it. We need not rein in or attempt to control this force which so far exceeds our individual powers. Rather, today we can learn to flow with the current.
Today, may I remember my Higher Power is within every cell of my being, whether I notice it or not.
Imagine living in your head, untrue to your heart.
Imagine the pain of separation.
Imagine the depth of the longing for peace.
Before finding recovery as a way of life, many of us barely hung on from one pain-filled moment to another. We incessantly tried to figure out what was wrong with our lives. We feared everything: our coworkers, our neighbors, the long days, the new experiences, the many strangers who crossed our paths. Miraculously, we were led to this program.
We can experience the joy of peace each time we remember to turn our will and lives over to the care of our loving God. To receive this goodness, we need only an open heart and a willingness to listen for the guidance of God. This guidance may come to us through a special passage in a book, the words of a friend, or in other ways. If we believe that the guidance will come, we will hear it.
I want to know God's will for me today. I will be attentive every moment.
The best leaders are those who know how to follow.
Am I a leader or a follower? The fact is, I am responsible for where I end up. If I choose to be a follower, I'd better follow leaders who know where they're going. And I had better know where they're going.
If I choose to be a leader, I'd better know that I'm responsible for getting myself on the right path. I also must be honest with my followers, so they can make good choices. I'm not responsible for my followers' choices, but I must give them the truth. Being a leader doesn't always mean I know where I'll end up. But it can mean that I know I'm on the right path, following the lead from my Higher Power - one step at a time.
Prayer for the Day
Higher Power, give me the faith and courage to choose good leaders to follow. When it is Your will, help me be a good leader.
Action for the Day
Today I'll list my leaders. They might be a Higher Power, a sponsor, or a friend. I'll think of why I choose to follow these leaders.
Stop expecting too much from yourself.
When there is too wide a gap between standards we set for ourselves and our actual achievement, unhappiness follows. If we can't improve the performance, we should lower the demands. When we are true to ourselves, we come to expect only that which we are capable of doing. As we grow each day in recovery, we are able to do more.
What we expect from ourselves can change the next day. It is very important that through our meetings and conversations with fellow members, we keep close tabs on our development. We find out that life is for living, and it is better lived when we do our assignments every day.
We are really never given more than we can do. As long as we have realistic goals, we will be given what we need to succeed.
Today I'll remember that when my expectations are too high, I get stuck and down on myself.
Daily our spirits are renewed.
For most of us, a spiritual awakening does not come once and for all. Instead, we have small flashes of insight here and there, and every once in a while we look back and realize with gratitude how the promises of the program have been coming true for us.
Just as our bodies need daily nourishment, so do our spirits. We can seek people and experiences that leave us feeling warm and uplifted. We can take time each day to become quiet in mind and body so that we hear the inner messages that refresh our spirits. We can read something inspirational, listen to good music, look at a beautiful painting or a sunset, grasp a friend's hand in understanding, and say a prayer.
Our spirits bounce back from hurt and depression. They are more easily renewed when we take proper care of our bodies, since we are a total entity of heart, mind, body, and spirit.
Today, I will look for ways to feed my spirit.
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
--Step Three of Alcoholics Anonymous
Let's cut right to the heart of the matter: We get in trouble if we try to run our own lives. Our ego starts to mess things up. We try to control things we can't control. We think we are smarter than we are. We start to think we can run things just fine by ourselves. What's the end product? We end up alone – spiritually and sometimes physically – and in trouble.
What we need to do is let the care of our Higher Power run our life. We can use care as a guide because care is what a Higher Power is all about. When we put care into action, we get healing love as a result. So let's put our egos aside and ask our Higher Power to help us do the next right thing.
Prayer for the Day
Higher Power, I've made a decision. I am yours to do with as You want. I know that You will guide my life with care.
I will write down one way that I can be caring to others and myself today. Acting from care is acting for my Higher Power.
Saving the World
Today may my prayers help me realize
I cannot control everything.
To put the world in order,
We must first put the nation in order;
To put the nation in order,
We must first put the family in order;
To put the family in order,
We must first set our hearts right.
If you would be loved, love and be lovable.
We all desire to be loved. Our common human characteristic is our need to count in someone else's life. At least one other person needs us, we tell ourselves, when we feel least able to accept life's demands. How alike we all are. The paradox is that our own need for love is lessened when we bestow it on others. Give it away and it returns. A promise, one we can trust.
The reality about love and its path from sender to receiver and back again is often distant from our minds. More often we stew and become obsessed with the lack of love's evidence in our lives. Why isn't he smiling? Why didn't she care? Has someone more interesting taken our place? Choosing to offer love, rather than to look for it, will influence every experience we have. Life will feel gentler, and the rewards will be many and far reaching.
Loving others promises me the love I desire. But I can't expect it if I don't give it first.
Returning to Basics
Now and then, an AA discussion focuses on the theme of "returning to the basics." This is a good time to shake out the excessive concerns that might be cluttering up our lives.
No matter how long we've been living in sobriety, we can never afford to dismiss the basic reasons we came to AA in the first place. We had made a mess of our lives, and no human power could relieve our alcoholism. By accepting and admitting this, we were able to find a new way of life.
This was also our admission ticket to the larger society, where people are concerned about many things. We sometimes become too caught up in all these concerns, even to the extent of forgetting our own needs. It's good, occasionally, to focus a meeting on AA basics. They are as essential today as they were when we first knew that we needed them.
I'll remind myself today that the basics give me a firm foundation on which to stand.
If addiction is about control, recovery is about letting go. If addiction is about denial, recovery is about accepting what is.
As we spend time in the program, we learn something unexpected and amazing. Life is so full of twists and turns, it's easier to follow along than to try to straighten them out. It's easier to have fewer expectations because, after all, we have no control over the future or the present.
Can I practice letting go?
Higher Power, help me to be open, flexible, and accepting in my recovery.
I love being able to say, "I was wrong," or "I made a mistake," and not feel like it's the end of the world.
Before recovery, we felt so guilt-ridden we couldn't bear to admit we were less than perfect. Since our insides seemed so awful, we clung to an outside appearance of perfection. That way, we hoped people wouldn't find out what we were really like. But we fooled no one, not even ourselves, for very long.
In recovery, we have a chance to change that pattern. Now, we can learn to admit our limitations, our mistakes, and our imperfections. What a wonderful relief, not to have to be perfect. We can be just who we are - very human beings who are groping toward the light. Sometimes we find it, sometimes we lose our way, but still we strive onward. And, in the process, we find ourselves, and serenity.
Today help me keep working toward perfection, but forgive my mistakes along the way.
Disappointment and Frustration
If we blindly accept someone else's beliefs or opinions - taking them as our own - then we set ourselves up for disappointment and heartache. If we do not examine another's viewpoint, in the light of our own experiences and abilities, we place the control of our happiness or sorrow in someone else's hands.
A gentleman illustrated this point with a story from his own life. "My father always regarded sticking with one job as a mark of stability. This, he felt, was emotional maturity even though he stayed unhappily at the same job for years. I never questioned his opinion.
"So, when I lost my first teaching job, I lost all my self-confidence as well as my father's approval. I believed I was emotionally immature and unstable. Then, after four more teaching job disasters. I discovered what the real issue was. It wasn't my lack of maturity or stability at all. It was my unsuitability to the job itself.
"I discovered I hated teaching basic skills just for the security of a paycheck. What I really wanted to do was write. That's what I'm doing now, but it took me five teaching jobs and a deep questioning of my father's views before I found what was right for me."
Today, I will not blindly accept another's opinion without examining it in the light of my own experiences, abilities, and desires.
Today I’ll make a list of things that I would like to do, just for me and no one else.
My list can contain things I’ve always wanted to do: things that are fun, things that are relaxing, or things I’ve only dreamed of doing. I am beginning to realize what I want instead of what someone else tells me to want.
I’m also beginning to realize that the things I dream of doing can be achieved.
The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order.
We will experience no coincidence today. All situations that transpire in the next 24 hours have their purpose. No single event, not the tired, hurried smile from a boss, the phone call from a frantic friend, or the cold response from a co-worker is without impact on our current perception of life. However, we shouldn't try to evaluate the full significance of any passing event without God's help. Letting our Higher Power offer us clarity regarding the circumstances in our life will ensure a healthy perspective.
We've all experienced trauma because we exaggerated a problem rather than calmly let our inner wisdom guide us. We're only an impulsive thought away from a flurry of problems. Likewise, we're only an instant away from peace and enlightenment. The quiet mind will be ever present if that's our wish.
I'll truly understand the events of today if I quietly let God reveal their significance.
Life is not life at all without delight.
-- Coventry Patmore
I'm tired of following the same routines week after week, month after month. I've been thinking about taking a trip for a few days. I know, I know, you warned me about geographic changes. But I want to do something different.
Congratulations, I'm glad that you're planning to have some fun, and that you're not using program wisdom to beat yourself with.
Change is good for us. It can help wake up and refresh our spirits, show us things we haven't seen before, give us a new perspective on our ordinary lives. We can travel thousands of miles or stay close to home, as long as we take the principles and habits of recovery with us. Wherever we are, we can read a piece of program literature, pray for help staying in recovery, or phone our sponsors. The loving guidance of our Higher Power goes with us.
As we travel, it may be possible to attend meetings of our own Twelve Step fellowship or an open meeting of one of the many other Twelve Step programs. We can get listings ahead of time by making phone calls to our own program headquarters, and we can check local newspapers and phone directories when we arrive. Belonging to this fellowship is a little bit like having a membership in an international club; we can meet the locals, wherever we go, by attending a meeting. The faces may be different, but the program is the same.
Today, I refresh my spirit by trying something unfamiliar.
Reflection for the Day
Someone once defined the ego as "the sum total of false ideas about myself." Persistent reworking of the Twelve Steps enables me to gradually strip away my false ideas about myself. This permits nearly imperceptible but steady growth in my understanding of the truth about myself. And this, in turn, leads to a growing understanding of other human beings and God . Do I strive for self-honesty, promptly admitting when I'm wrong?
Today I Pray
God, teach me understanding; teach me to know truth when I meet it; teach me the importance of self-honesty, so that I may be able to say, sincerely, "I was wrong," along with, "I am sorry." Teach me that there is such a thing as a "healthy ego" which does not require that feelings be medicated by mood-alterers. May I slowly, on my tightrope, move toward the ideal of balance, so I can do away with the nets of falsehood and compulsion.
Today I Will Remember
To keep my balance.
Stomp, Scram, Spit, Cry," a friend said. "Just don't go numb again. Maybe what you're really angry about is that you've been dead longer than Abe Lincoln, and now you're finally coming back to life."
There's a price to pay for passion. We need to feel our emotions.
Pay attention to how you feel: what you love, dislike, hate, enjoy. Pay attention to what grabs your heart, what interests you. Discover who you are, not who you think you should be.
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
In our worst time, we have been irritable and difficult to live with. And when we feel most irritable, we are least likely to look at ourselves. Now in recovery, when someone irritates us, it is very useful to ask ourselves why we are so annoyed. We often find that the very thing that irritates us about someone else is the very quality in ourselves that we don't want to face.
When someone's whining bugs us, maybe it is our own capacity for whining that we reject. When someone's self-absorption gets under our skin, maybe we are sensitive about our own self-centeredness. Sometimes we find it easier to complain about a quality in others than to admit we are like that too.
Today I will use my feelings of irritation to guide me inward and know myself better.
Love is the magician, the enchanter that changes worthless things to joy, and makes right royal kings and queens of common clay.
--Robert G. Ingersoll
Love invites us to perform our very best. Knowing we're loved removes the edge of terror when we're contemplating the unfamiliar -- the party with strangers or meeting a new boss.
We are transformed by love. It comforts the questioning mind and the quavering heart. We can endure the long moments of suspense while awaiting a hoped-for outcome when we know we're loved. And those times we doubt another's love, times that are sure to come, will quickly slip by if we're reaching out with a loving heart to someone else.
Every event promises greater joy when experienced with a spirit laced with love. The robin's song, the laughter of children, the vibrant colors that ooze from the petals of flowers capture our attention when we're feeling loved.
Love heals us and bonds us and promises us a life filled with moments of magic.
I am still amazed, after years of recovering, at how easily I can begin to talk myself out of attending meetings. I am also still amazed at how good I feel when I go.
We don't have to stay stuck in our misery and discomfort. An immediate option is available that will help us feel better: go to a meeting, a Twelve Step support group.
Why resist what can help us feel better? Why sit in our obsession or depression when attending a meeting - even if that means an extra meeting - would help us feel better?
There are 168 hours in each week. Taking 1 or 2 hours a week for a meeting can maximize the potential of the remaining 166 hours. If we get into our "codependent stuff," we can easily spend a majority of our waking hours obsessing, sitting and doing nothing, lying in bed and feeling depressed, or chasing after other people's needs. Not taking those 2 hours for a meeting can cause us to waste the remaining hours.
There is nothing as invigorating as getting back on track. Going to a meeting can accomplish that.
Today, I will remember that going to meetings helps.
My father taught me that only through self discipline can you achieve freedom. Pour water into a cup and you can drink. Without the cup, the water would splash over. The cup is discipline.
It is no accident that the words discipline and disciple come from the same root. To be a disciple of any path, one must be disciplined. Life works best when we learn to discipline ourselves.
Discipline liberates rather than confines you. Discipline allows you to function with ease and grace. After years of practicing his strokes, a tennis player can hit the ball without having to think about it. What once took conscious effort is now second nature.
Unfortunately, many of us had discipline forced upon us as children. Naturally, we rebelled against an externally imposed structure. We were not shown that true discipline always comes from within, and the motivation for that urge is love. When we are doing what we love, when we are pursuing something that has meaning, discipline becomes natural. As one Olympic athlete explained, "I don't mind working out every day. Because I love what I am doing, my training is not a burden but a joy."
Discipline is your ticket to freedom and path to excellence. Choose to be disciplined in all your endeavors and become the master of yourself and your life.
We all carry it within us; supreme strength, the fullness of wisdom, unquenchable joy. It is never thwarted and cannot be destroyed. But it is hidden deep, which is what makes life a problem.
How does one lose touch with his strength, his wisdom, and his joy? Perhaps it is in the nature of humanity. Our most profound qualities are hidden deep. They never go away, but we cannot always find them. There may be nothing wrong with us when we lose touch. It doesn't have to mean that we are "bad" for getting depressed or for feeling inadequate. Who doesn't have that problem? It is the nature of life that we sometimes feel this way. This program helps us unearth the resources hidden within us.
When we cannot find those reassuring feelings of strength and wisdom and joy, we may think they are gone forever. We even doubt we ever had them or could have them again. But they are still there. They cannot be destroyed. And when we regain contact we know they have been with us all along.
I will have faith that the innermost places in me can never be destroyed
Decisions are like Jello molds. They only turn out firm when the right amount of water is added.
A big decision is like a mountain built on a million small rocks. When we find ourselves stuck and feeling paralyzed about making a big decision, perhaps it is because we didn't pay attention to how we stacked the little rocks.
We may develop the habit of being less than honest in our little decisions. Neglecting and avoiding our needs in small decisions may cause us to feel confused when we need to make big choices. Facing small choices honestly gives us a solid base and allows us to freely face the mountains in our lives. When we look at it this way, it's easy to see how important today's small decisions are.
Today let me make all of my decisions, big and small, honestly and courageously.
In analysis, as I have known it, you are confronted by your qualities and cannot disown them, though you may try to.
--Florida Scott Maxwell
We aren't all in formal analysis, but the Twelve Step program does introduce us to the personal inventory. In this exercise of introspection, we come to know ourselves. We often don't like who we see, but until we have acknowledged it, we are unable to change the specifics of our behavior.
Blaming other people and the "unlucky" circumstances of our lives for all our troubles is deeply rooted in who we are. But coming to believe that accepting full responsibility for ourselves will empower us, even when we are guilty of wrongdoing, is a major step forward.
Looking squarely at ourselves and owning all of who we are may not make us proud, but it does make us honest and humble. We have to be both, first, if we ever hope to forge the qualities that will make us proud.
Today I will reveal qualities that I like very much. If some that I don't like surface, I won't deny them; I will correct them.
Believe more deeply. Hold your face up to the Light, even though for the moment you do not see.
-- Bill W.
At times, we'll go through pain and hardship. At times, we'll have doubts. At times, we'll get angry and think we just don't care anymore. These things can spiritually blind us. But this is normal. Hopefully, we'll be ready for those times. Hopefully, we will have friends who will be there for us.
Thank God for these moments! Yes, hard times can make our spirits deep and strong. These moments tell us who we are as sober people. These moments help us grow and change. Spirituality is about choice. To be spiritual, we must turn ourselves over to the care of our Higher Power.
Prayer for the Day
God, help me find You in my moments of blindness. This is when I really need You.
Today I'll get ready for the hard times ahead. I will list my friends who will be there for me.
Mercury and the Woodsman
A woodsman was chopping trees for firewood, but lost his grip and watched the axe sail into a nearby river. He began to weep, for without his axe he could not keep his house warm or cook food.
Mercury decided to help and dove into the river. He brought up a golden axe. "Is this your axe?" Mercury asked, but the woodsman shook his head. Mercury dove again and brought up a silver axe. "Is this your axe?" he asked, but the woodsman again shook his head. Then Mercury brought up a weather-beaten wooden axe. The woodsman told him, "That is my axe." Mercury rewarded the woodsman's honesty by giving him two more axes.
The next day, the woodsman told his story to a friend. The friend went to the river, tossed in his axe, and began to weep. Mercury dove into the river and brought up a golden axe. The man eagerly held out his hand for the axe. But Mercury knew the man was lying and returned the golden axe to the water, leaving the man with none.
The moral of the story: Honesty is the best policy.
When you embellish the truth or make up stories, the less trust others will have in you.
I will be truthful in my words and action at all times.
The Belly and the Members
One day it occurred to many members of the body that they were doing all the work and the belly was having all the food. So the members decided to go on strike until the belly agreed to share in the work.
But after a week had passed, the other members began to feel strange. They discovered they could not perform any of the work they had previously done. The hands could hardly move. The mouth was parched and dry. The eyelids began to droop. The mind felt jumbled. And the legs found themselves unable to support the rest of the members.
What they discovered is that the belly had been working all along. Even though its work was done quietly, what it accomplished was of benefit to all of the body's members. Without it, none would be able to function.
The moral of the story: All must work together.
If each member in recovery decided to focus solely on individual needs and desires, there would be no unity, no support, and no outreach. The fellowship is one based on unity, made whole by its many members.
I honor and support the work of others, as they honor and support the work that I do
The Lion and the Mouse
A lion was taking a nap in the forest when a mouse began to run up and down the lion's body. This awakened the lion, which caught the mouse and was going to eat it. But the little creature spoke. "I beg your pardon, great king of the forest," it squeaked. "Please forgive me for waking you. If you would spare my life I promise to return the favor one day."
The lion let out a snicker. "How could you possibly save a creature as powerful as I? I find that hard to believe, but I am feeling gracious today." So the lion freed the mouse.
Sometime later the lion was caught in a trap. The hunters wanted to impress the king with a live lion, so they tied the lion to a tree and set off to obtain a wagon. After the hunters had left, the mouse came upon the lion. It began to gnaw at the rope. When the lion was freed the mouse asked, "Did I not live up to my promise?"
The moral of the story: Little friends may prove to be great friends.
There are new friends you can make in recovery who can provide you with comfort and support and help you stay clean and sober.
I will appreciate the friends I make in the program.
The Crow and the Pitcher
A crow dying of thirst came upon a pitcher that had once been full of water. He shoved his beak into the pitcher and discovered that there was very little water left. But he was determined to get it.
Time and again he thrust his beak into the pitcher, but could not reach the water. He was about to drop dead from both thirst and despair when he spotted a pile of pebbles nearby.
The crow picked up one in his beak, and dropped it into the pitcher. He took another and did the same. Each time he dropped a pebble into the pitcher, he noticed that the water level rose slightly. Energized by this discovery, he continued his efforts until the water level rose to where he could reach it.
Then the crow drank the water, which saved his life.
The moral of the story: Small actions can have big results.
Recovery is a process that involves taking small steps, but sometimes progress is hard to see. At such time, take heart. Resist the temptation to give up. Instead, trust that your steady and dedicated effort is taking you ever closer to your goal.
There will be great leaps in my recovery, and there will be baby steps. I will trust that everything I do is serving a useful purpose in my progress.
Just because you have a . . . handicap . . . doesn't mean that you can't be happy; it just means that it takes a lot of work to figure out how to do that.
One day a blind woman prepared to cross a street. But as she did, her cane made contact with a car parked in the crosswalk. "Who owns this car?" she demanded in a loud voice. "This car is in my way. Can't anyone notice I am blind?" A man tapped her on the arm. "I am blind, too," he told her. "but my dog and I would be happy to take you across the street."
The woman drew her arm back from his touch. "This is not right," she snapped. "Yes it is wrong," agreed the blind man. "But my dog and I would be happy to take you across the street."
Having a visible handicap, or an invisible one such as an addiction, can be stressful. You have to work extra hard doing things most people take for granted. Yet rather than bemoan the difficulties and challenges you face, you can be thankful for those who offer help by providing a guiding arm, holding a door open, or offering a seat in a crowded meeting.
Today I will accept the assistance of those who reach out to me.
The Hares and the Frogs
One day the hares were discussing how they could hardly ever relax because of their fear of other animals.
Just then they felt the earth tremble and saw a herd of wild horses stampeding their way. They scampered about in a panic and soon were trapped near the edge of a lake. They decided they would rather leap into the lake and drown themselves than continue living in a state of perpetual panic. But just as they were about to leap, they startled some frogs that promptly hopped into the water.
The hares scanned the lake and saw that the frogs had disappeared. "Perhaps," said one hare, "things are not as bad as they seem."
The moral of the story: There is always someone worse off than you.
There are many others who are facing their own set of difficulties and challenges. To think that you are the only one who has problems, what you are going through is unique, or no one could possibly understand the hardships you face minimizes the needs of others. The program is for the good of all, not for the good of one. Rather than stay locked in your own mind-set and bemoan what you are facing, reach out to others.
I will remember there are others who also require attention, comfort, and care.
Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace during a storm.
We learn in our recovery that life has a way of recreating itself. This discovery is one we are taught not to fight. We remember how badly we hurt when things would pass away from us, whether it was a lost doll, a lost dog, or a lost dad. We closed ourselves off from the possibility that anything of value could come from the loss. Yet the doll was replaced, a cat came into our lives, and a father figure emerged.
The key to staying on our Program is to remember that life does recreate itself. There will be many moments when we find ourselves squarely in the middle of a passing away. We will be hurt and wonder how we can go on.
Not to worry, this too shall pass. This cold winter of a moment will break soon into a sunny spring of a future.
There can be no comings if there are no goings. Life can't be recreated if there is no passing away. I need to remember that sometimes it is darkest before daybreak.
Readiness is a precondition for change.
If we earnestly and conscientiously apply the tools of our program, we are certain to experience positive change. We are promised new freedom and happiness and assured that a Higher Power can and will remove our negative characteristics.
The question is, are we ready to change? If we hang on tightly to self-will, resentments, fear, mistrust, and all the other weaknesses that get in our way, our Higher Power has a tough time prying us loose. We must be prepared to let go and open ourselves to new possibilities if the change we seek is to occur.
Along with taking a daily inventory, we can cultivate the readiness to abandon our counterproductive tendencies and try something new. In this way, we cooperate with the force for positive growth that lies within each of us. We cannot command or control this force, but we can learn to be responsive to it.
Today, I am ready for positive change. I will be responsive to inner nudges that move me in that direction.
Attitude is everything!
Today will be what we make it. Regardless of the weather, the kinds of work to be done, the personalities crossing our paths, we'll feel joy and peace if that is our choice.
Agonizing over circumstances that aren't to our liking or dwelling on our failure to control other people, whether friends or foes, has robbed us of the happiness that is always ours to experience. Depression, anger, fear, and frustration shadowed our steps because we didn't take control of the only thing that's ever been in our control absolutely - attitude.
It's so easy to blame others for every wrinkle in our lives. But as we grow accustomed to the idea of taking full responsibility for how we think and feel, we'll be empowered. No longer will our sense of self feel diminished. And, as Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, we will be just as happy as we make up our minds to be.
Nobody can mess with my attitude but me!
The Milkmaid and Her Pail
A milkmaid walked to the village with a pail of milk balanced on her head. She began to think about what she would do with the money she would make when the milk was sold, and decided she would buy some chickens. "They would lay eggs, which would bring in a good price at the market. Then I will use the money I earn to buy a new dress and hat," she said. "I will go to the market dressed so nicely, and all the young men will notice me. All the women will be jealous of me."
Eager to get on with her plans, she began to walk a little faster. "I will just look at those women, smile, and toss my head in the air." With that, she actually tossed her head. The pail fell to the ground and all of the milk spilled out.
The Moral of the Story: Do not count your chickens before they are hatched.
While it may be tempting to think being clean and sober means you can show others they were wrong about you, this is not the purpose of recovery. Recovery is a program that helps you stay clean and sober. Your work in the program is something you do for yourself.
I will not use my recovery as a means of retaliation or personal gain.
You are the artist in your life
You create the images and colors on the canvas called your life. Are you creating the picture you want? Does your canvas convey a life of fulfillment and growth? Or does your canvas convey chaos and despair?
You are the artist; God is your co-creator. Together all things are possible. But when we mistakenly believe that other people control our destiny, we end up feeling bitter and hopeless. In truth, we're in partnership with a Higher Power, or whatever you choose to call it. I call that power God. We make the initial decisions; God carries out our plans. God could not render our lives what they are without our assistance. We are the artists, and ultimately we call the shots.
I invite you to consider a different perspective. This may not be easy to swallow if you are a struggling single parent, someone who has just lost a job, or someone facing other tough circumstances. You're invited to first see whether you played a part in where you are. And the best news you can give yourself is to say yes, because if you played even a small part, there is something you can do to change that canvas of your life. But if you played no part whatsoever, then you may be waiting forever for someone to change the course of your life. And that could be a very long wait.
You're invited to be your artist. And you have at your fingertips all the necessary tools to turn your canvas into a masterpiece.
Celebrate your freedom
Today in the United States; we celebrate our nation's independence. Why not take a moment to celebrate your independence as well? Whether you've found freedom from an addiction or from codependency, or you've discovered the freedom to live your life as fully as possible, take a moment to honor and acknowledge how much that freedom means to you.
It's good to identify our problems. Through the awareness of what's wrong and what's broken, we learn what to repair and fix. It's good to focus on the health and the goodness in our lives, too. Becoming aware of what's right and what's working is how we discover joy.
Look back along the winding road of the path of your life. See how far you've come? It looks good to me. How does it look to you?
Hurray! We're finally free!
God, thank You for setting me free.
. . . I was taught that the way of progress is neither swift nor easy.
We are looking for progress, not perfection; however, we sometimes get lost or confused between the two. Expecting ourselves to be perfect at something we are only now learning is a familiar affliction. As we accept our humanness, we'll allow the mistakes that are a normal part of the process of living and learning - a process we call progress.
Our need to be perfect will lessen with time. And we can help ourselves break the old habits. Perfection and self-worth are not symbiotic, except in our minds. And it's a symbiosis that has done us a grave injustice. Breaking the old thought patterns takes a commitment. We must first decide and believe that we are worthwhile, simply because we are. There is only one of us; we have a particular gift to offer this world. And our being is perfect as is. Affirming this, repeatedly, is our beginning. But with this, too, progress will be slow; perfection need only be worked for, not achieved.
The patterns I am weaving with my life are complex, full of intricate detail and knots. I need to go slow, taking only one stitch at a time. With hindsight I will see that whatever the progress, it was the perfect fit to the overall design.
In Micronesian, there's a word, kukaro, which has no corresponding word in English. When people say they are going to kukaro, they mean they are going to relax, sit around, and hang out. They are being, not doing.
--Eli and Beth Halpern
As children, our best times are often trips to an amusement park, fishing at the lake, camping, or just sitting idly under a tree. These make the best memories, and times sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows or having a root beer after a family outing seem to bring out the love we share.
We don't seem to be accomplishing anything at these times. No chores are getting done around the house, no schoolwork, no repairs, and no moneymaking.
But these times of peace, relaxation, and a sense of endless time of being, not doing, may be essential to our ability to get other things done later. Certainly we are most receptive to our feelings, new ideas, and unplanned adventures at these moments. Maybe we should add kukaro to our vocabulary.
What timeless thing can I do today?
Today I will let go of procrastination.
I will take a look at why I put off responsibilities and how I can change this behavior.
Do I feel that I won't do certain tasks well enough or that they're too overwhelming? Do I set specific standards for myself and then fail because I've set them too high? Do I expect perfection from myself and then put off what I fear will be imperfect? As long as I accomplish my tasks to the best of my ability, I will succeed. I can jump in with both feet when necessary and feel proud that I at least started what I needed to do. Nothing can ever be completed without starting it first.
When I procrastinate, I will never get where I need to go, and eventually I will become overwhelmed and buried underneath all the things I refused to start.
Today I will let go of the desire to put off what needs to be done now
Doing nothing, that hurts you.
Doing nothing as a steady diet would wear thin after a while, but doing nothing once in a while is good therapy. We need to let our minds and bodies rest. Being always booked for an activity gives us too little time for reflection about our lives. We have come a long way. Taking the time to appreciate that during our quiet spaces will enhance our self-perception.
Not a one of us has had an unsuccessful life. We may not have accomplished every goal we've set for ourselves but we can believe that we did what really needed to be done by us. There has been a divine plan at work even though we were unaware of it. The same continues to be true. We will be nudged to pursue hobbies or volunteer activities or jobs if that's the plan for us. This certainly takes the guesswork out of our lives. It makes us know we are pretty special, too.
I'll do whatever calls to me today. As long as it's not something that will hurt another person, it will be right.
"When we are able to make each life we touch better in some way for our having touched it, miracles begin to show up in our own lives."
- J.Sewell Perkins
Actually, Today's Thought is essentially my personal mission statement: "To make each life I touch better in some way for my having touched it."
I will admit that to go anywhere with me can be an annoying experience for those not accustomed to traveling with me. If anyone with a problem, heavy heart or major concern gets within 20 feet of me I can feel it and I must stop and deal with it.
Just in case you're wondering, I don't grab people and tell them I know what's wrong with them and offer it fix it. I just strike up a conversation and within a matter of minutes the individual will tell me what's wrong which gives me permission to help them. Helping them doesn't mean fixing their problem; only they can do that. What I can do is give them the tools to turn their situation around. After the interaction they have no idea that anything happened other than just a conversation with a stranger. They do, however, leave the interaction knowing that they can deal effectively with what was troubling them. They never know who I am or that I'm a Life and Business Development Coach. I'm just someone with whom they chatted. They never associate things getting better for them with me in any way.
Sometimes all it takes to turn a person's day around is a smile and or a kind word. Even someone who is feeling on top of the world will benefit from a friendly smile. To simply do no harm just isn't enough. To bring happiness to others, to create hope where none existed, to lift the spirits of a fellow human being...all these things are what we would want done for us and therefore should be willing to do it for another person. While bringing joy to the life of another should never be done for the purpose of making us feel better about ourselves, the fact is... it just does.
The handwriting on the wall may be a forgery.
Too often we are superstitious and interpret signs in negative or hostile ways. Because we don't believe in ourselves, we tend to think that fate is against us.
But life isn't for us or against us. If we are attentive, we will see many signs of promise during each day. Signs of promise, signs of goodness, signs of beauty. And if we trust ourselves and our Higher Power, we will know how to interpret the world and use it to do good.
Sometimes we may be unsure of our next step or even our general direction. If we are patient and alert to the world around us, we will pick up hints and clues that will help us on our way -- a friend's telephone call, a warm hug, a chance encounter, a job offer, a word of advice from a loved one. When we are ready, we'll know how to respond and what to do.
One thing we are learning to be sure of -- in this world of signs, we are not alone.
I don't want to believe in a hostile fate. The world is good and I am finding my way in it by being patient and learning to read the signs
"It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary."
- Sir Winston Churchill
Doing your best? Isn't that a lot like "TRYING"? Those of you who coach with me know how I feel about "TRYING". I'd actually prefer to have someone tell me that they just are not going to do something than to say they tried. The fact is that there is no such thing as try. Webster accepts it as a word and defines it roughly as: to attempt or to test. While I've never been a big Star Wars fan, Yoda said it all when he said, "Do or do not; there is not try."
Be honest, when you say you'll try, aren't you actually giving yourself permission to fail? While you've heard this from me before, when a client tells me they "tried" I place a pen on the desk in front of them and ask them to "try" to pick it up. Every one of them will either pick up the pen or move it around on the desk. I then tell them that the instructions were not to pick up or move the pen but rather to "TRY" to pick it up. After this scenario plays out several more times the client will tell me that it's not possible to "TRY" and many of then tell me somewhat angrily that they can pick it up or not pick it up but they don't know what I mean by "TRY" to which I reply, BINGO! That's the point. There is no "TRY" only do or do not.
Our best is not good enough unless we accomplish our goal. Nothing...yes, I said nothing is impossible unless you decide it is. When you begin to think anything is impossible just imagine what Ork said to Grunk back in the cave when Grunk suggested that someday man would travel though space to that big ball of light in the night sky...the one we now call the moon.
THERE IS NO TRY AND NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE
"A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds."
- Sir Francis Bacon
A wise man or woman will always create his or her opportunities rather than sit around and wait, hoping that one will drop out of the sky for them. We all know by now that there is no abundance fairy that comes in the night to drop off our fortune... not even to drop off an opportunity or two.
To bring Sir Francis Bacon's quote up to date, perhaps the best way to say it is, "If it's to be, it's up to me." Don't doubt that for even an instant.
"The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it."
- William James
It's all about planting shade trees under which we will never sit. It's about making a difference in the world that will live on beyond us. When we approach our quest to realize the greatness we have within us in such a way as to leave a legacy of positive change we are much more likely to succeed.
The laws of the Universe support this thinking and the wise ones who have come before us have left these words of wisdom and the formula for living a successful life for us. As you read Today's Thought each day, take these writings to heart and make the decision to live your life in such a manner that you are able to plant groves of shade trees under which you will never sit. Plant the trees knowing that your children and your children's children and all the children of others will sit in the shade and know that they have you to thank for the cool breezy shade.
"Have no doubt... your beliefs create your world."
- The Secret Abundance Files
How easy is this? What if we really could be anything and everything we've ever dreamed of by simply believing we can? Here's the good...no, actually GREAT news! What it means is that if you don't like who, what and where you are, you can change it merely by believing something different about yourself.
In all of life we get what we expect. That's why it is vital to expect the best from ourselves. The process by which this is accomplished has been called many things throughout history but the fact remains that we, by our thinking, attract things to our lives. If we expect disappointment and failure, that is exactly our lot. If, conversely, we expect great success and happiness, that will be our lot.
Many call this phenomenon "the law of attraction" and that is surely what it is. However, just as gravity has laws that must be met for it to be sure, the law of attraction also has laws that must be adhered to. We can attract absolutely anything we want in life as long as we know we can (not just hope). The catch is that until you believe you can do so... you cannot.
We are what we believe!
Begin now to believe you are all you've ever dreamed of being!
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
- Maya Angelou
Doesn't it feel great when someone pays you a compliment? Did you ever have one of those days when things weren't going well and you wished you could get back in bed, cover up your head and not have to see or speak to anyone? You have to go out even though you don't want to. You're feeling gloomy and don't know how you're going to make it through the day...then, out of nowhere...a perfect stranger pays you a compliment and suddenly it's a brand new day and a whole new world.
How can so little mean so much? Usually it's because you are down on yourself and can't think of anything nice, good or acceptable about yourself. Out of nowhere comes a perfect stranger or someone you hardly know and tells you something really good about yourself...wow!
Why didn't you tell yourself something good about you? Probably you couldn't because in that state of mind you wouldn't have believed anything good about yourself, from yourself. It is easier for us to believe nice things that others tell us about us than the things we tell ourselves. (more about that tomorrow)
For right now I have a secret for you. Think about how good a sincere compliment makes you feel when you're down and gloomy. Next time you find yourself with a bad case of the doldrums, don't wait for someone else to cheer you up. You go pay a compliment to someone who looks as though they could use it. Doing so will make you feel even better than you felt when you received a compliment. Here's the secret: When you're having a bad day and are feeling gloomy, pay compliments to as many others as you can and watch them light up. Sometimes you can even see their physiology change as they begin to smile inside. You do it for them, but you receive an equal or greater reward.SMILES ARE HIGHLY CONTAGEOUS
WHY NOT START AN EPIDEMIC!
"Always do what you are afraid to do."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"There is nothing to fear but fear itself."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
We have a double header today simply because addressing the issue of fear (which I promised you yesterday) requires both of these thoughts to complete the essence of overcoming or ignoring fear.
When we fear anything it holds us prisoner in a jail of our own making. To overcome fear of anything we must face it head on, look it right in the eye and walk through it. If we don't it will imprison us for a lifetime.
Easy for me to say, huh? Yeah, it is easy for me to say because I've lived it. Many years ago I came to the realization that the only way to eliminate my fear of heights (a fear I was taught as a child in my mother's effort to protect me) was to confront it and step through it. I'm not going to tell you it's the easiest thing I've ever done...it was not! It is, however, the best thing I could have done because knowing the principle of fear and having over come it I now fear nothing...NOTHING!
To face my fear I paid $2,500 (and this was many years ago when $2,500 was a lot of money) to an organization that specialized in such things. Long story short...they took me the top of an 850 ft. cliff in the Catskills, hooked me up to a harness attached to a zip line and told me to jump. Yeah..right, maybe when pigs fly! I couldn't do it so they tricked me. The result was that I felt my feet leave the cliff and knew I was airborne. The interesting thing was that the very moment my feet left the cliff, the fear left me. Now, I'm able to climb and rappel mountains without a care in the world.
Whatever it is you're afraid of, do it and the fear will go away. When you overcome your fear whether it's a fear of heights, public speaking, or whatever...send your story to story@SuccessCoachesInstitue.com as your story could be an inspiration to many others. We will use only your first name in the telling of your story.
I wasn't exactly brought up in one of those Norman Rockwell paintings you used to see on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post.
We have many myths about other people's lives. When we compare ourselves to these stories, we come up short. We have the TV families in our minds. We may have stories our father told about his moment of glory and how he met his challenges. Any of these images selects part of the truth and highlights it, creating a myth that might be worthwhile if we don't take it too literally.
Living a real life never feels as serene as our fantasies. A myth lifts us up, carries us away to other possibilities, but we should always take it with a grain of salt. Recollections or a Norman Rockwell painting romanticizes a piece of reality by omitting the drudgery and confusion of life. Myths are meant as inspirations, not as measurements of our lives.
The difficulties and confusion I feel may just be part of real life. Serenity comes when I accept the mixture that real life is.
"The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those, which fail."
- Napoleon Hill
This approach is what is better known as, "If at first you don't succeed, give up and forget about it." It's always too soon to quit. If your dream is big enough and important enough it's worth working for; it's worth fighting for.
Never let anyone steal your dream and that includes that part you that is all too eager to give up at the first bump in the road. If you will persist and have faith in yourself you will be a winner.
"If you are joyful, enthusiastic, outgoing, and know that you are worthy to reach your life goals, you will attract them. The Universe will send them your way."
- Mathew Martin
What a small price to pay for success... and is it really paying a price? To embody these attributes is a blessing in and of itself. Who doesn't want to be joyful, enthusiastic, outgoing and know that they are worthy.
Everyone's goal is to live life successfully. Whether it's success in our personal or business lives success is the ultimate goal. So what exactly is success? We all want it and use the word frequently, but just what is it and how do you know when you are truly successful?
You'll know!!! Success is whatever it means to you. It's a moving standard and means something entirely different to each person. That's the great thing about success. You don't need to achieve everything your neighbor achieves, and yes, if you so choose you can achieve much more.
Life is not a contest. When you have achieved all you want mentally, emotionally and physically, you have achieved your success.
"Dwell in possibility."
- Emily Dickinson
What a beautiful and poignant thought this is. Just reading these words inspires me to take up residence in this place Emily Dickinson calls "possibility." The fact is, however, life is filled with possibilities and they're all around us.
The only things that aren't possible are the things we decide are impossible and give up our quest for them. Every time I make this statement there are bound to be a handful of folks who want to argue the point. They begin to throw a verbal list of things at me that they "know" are impossible and expect me to debate these issues with them.
I usually just agree with them that there are some things that are impossible: the wheel, the silly notion that the earth is round, the light bulb, a machine that will replace the horse and buggy, a machine that can fly through the air carrying passengers around the world, vaccines for Polio and so many other diseases, cell phones, space travel, computers, the Internet and all the other miraculous discoveries that will be possible in the future because someone refused to believe that anything is impossible.
Those who carry a mental list of all the things that are impossible appear to me as fools. The fact is that the things they rattle off as "impossible" could not be in their minds if they were not possible. Stay opened minded and realize that someone, somewhere, someday will eventually bring to fruition all the things believed by some to be impossible today.
"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."
- Sir Richard Steele
Just as it's important to keep physically active, it's of equal importance to keep our minds active. By reading a variety of books and exposing ourselves to myriad ideas, we increase our knowledge as well as our ability to read and understand a plethora of thoughts and ideas.
Reading a variety of books can take us far away to explore lands formerly unknown and can guide us on the exploration of our inner selves. It has always been of great interest to me that mankind eagerly explores science, medicine, the workings of the human mind and outer space without ever looking inward to explore their inner-selves.
The more we read and explore new thoughts and ideas, the closer we become to achieving our goals. As I'm known for saying...The More You Know, The More You Grow!
If you'd like to have a list of my Top 12 favorite books, I'll be glad to pass that along to you. Click the link below (or copy and paste it into your browser's address bar) to view the list:
"The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what it is one's destiny to do, and then do it."
There have been many books written over the years on the subject of finding one's destiny or purpose in life. There have been and still are hundreds of courses that promise to teach you how to find your destiny, your purpose, or to put it more simplistically...help you decide what you should be when you grow up.
There's nothing wrong with courses and as an avid speed reader, books are among my best friends. The fact remains, however, that you already know your purpose. You may be reluctant to admit it to yourself for one reason or another, but you DO know it. Perhaps it's not what you think, others think, should be your life's purpose. Let's just get over all that stuff.
If you're a 300 lb. 6' 7" tall man and you love knitting and would love to open a knit shop, JUST DO IT! While you may have visions of ridicule, or of becoming a total outcast, look at the upside. One well written press release and the media nationwide would love you. You'd have more calls and hits on you website than you'll know how to handle. If you're a 103lb. 5'2" short woman and your dream is to be a lumber jack, go for it. You too will be a media delight and with a few well planted stories you'll have more business than you know what to do with.
The idea is to do something you love and follow your dream.
New feelings may seem uncomfortable at first.
I may be used to feeling afraid and anxious, or depressed and alone. In my new life, I may begin to feel joy or happiness, or peace and calm.
These new feelings are signs that I'm changing and learning how to accept my new way of thinking. Feeling peaceful means I'm healing from all the crises in my past. If I confuse feeling peaceful with feeling bored, I need to remind myself that the absence of fear or crisis takes awhile to get used to.
I am glad to welcome my new feelings and emotions; they are one way to know how well I'm doing
Seize the opportunity by the beard, for it is bald behind.
Through laziness or inattention, we often miss opportunities to grow. Maybe we don't play our hunches or listen to our intuition. Maybe we see an opportunity but fail to act because we're not sure it's what we ought to do. An opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream has appeared, but we don't trust our good fortune. A chance has come to use our talent to help someone, but we don't know how the person will handle it, so we do nothing.
And we rationalize. We decide it's a frivolous impulse, a whim that's not worth our attention. We decide it couldn't be our Inner Guide.
God seldom takes us by the scruff of the neck and pulls us to our next destination. God provides the opportunities; it's up to us to seize them. God talks to us; it's up to us to listen.
Today I'll be on the lookout or God's opportunities.
"Today is a gift, that's why it is called the present."
Today is a gift that will come but once in all of time and it has been given to you to use and enjoy to the fullest. Make the best of it, cramming every bit of creativity, kindness, joy and love into it that you possibly can.
How much differently would you live today if it were the first and last day you would ever have on planet Earth? Hopefully you'd use up every moment of it and strive to leave your print on the planet. You'd want to go everywhere, do everything, see all there is to see and spread happiness and joy wherever you go.
Today, however, is not the only day we have so we take it for granted; knowing that what we don't get done today can always be done tomorrow. If we don't get around to things tomorrow...maybe the day after. Days become weeks, weeks become months, months become years and before we know what happened a decade has slipped by. Then one decade after another comes and goes and time slips away unused to its fullest.
It's tough, I know. However, to the degree that we can live to the fullest we are the happiest, we grow to love ourselves and become someone other people what to be around.
Be well, be happy and make today...and every day...
an absolute masterpiece of life.
- J.Sewell Perkins
"The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.
- Ben Stein
YOU REALLY CAN HAVE IT ALL!
When people contact me asking that I accept them as clients (I don't accept everyone) I send them an application to fill out. One of the main questions on the applications is,"Why do you want a coach?" Many respond by telling me that they believe I can show them how to accomplish what they want in life. The next question is "What do you want from life?" Six out of every ten admit that they don't know.
Many people get themselves all dressed up (so to speak) only to realize that they don't know where they want to go. People tell me they want to be successful, but have no idea at what. They tell me they want to have it all, but can't name 10 specific things.
Some people buy every "Dare To Be Great" program that comes along in the hope of attaining what they want. The only problem is that they don't know what they want.
What these people are actually looking for is to feel...not want. It's a basic human need to feel important, needed, admired, liked, loved, and the list goes on. These people believe in many cases that money will give them all these feelings; it won't!
Setting a goal to be rich is an unrealistic goal. However, setting a goal to be worth a million dollars by June 14, 2011, for example, and having a plan by which to obtain the goal IS realistic. Choosing the vehicle by which to obtain your goal is often considerably more complex. If you'd like to have the Success Coaches Institute's Guidelines for Success, you can find them HERE.
As you read these short coachings each day and perhaps avail yourself of other programs offered by Success Coaches Institute, you will begin to know that...
"Begin NOW to become the person you were meant to be, the
person you've always dreamed of being. Know that if the seeds
of greatness were not already in you, you would not be able to
have those thoughts."
- J.Sewell Perkins
Were it not for the fact that we know the mighty oak tree comes from a tiny acorn, it would be difficult to believe. Just a tiny little nut there in the mud, beneath a mighty oak, has within it the potential to become a might oak.
What's your potential? Surely you do understand that if that little nut in the mud has the potential to become a mighty oak, you certainly have within you the seeds of greatness. You have within you everything necessary to become anything you've ever dreamed of becoming...and having everything you've ever dreamed of having.
All too often we hold ourselves back from the success we seek because we believe we're not worthy. Where would an idea like that come from? It comes from our original programming, the thoughts and ideas we get from our early caregivers. Hopefully no parent intentionally programs their children to believe their not worthy. The fact is, however, that even the most loving, enlightened parents inadvertently create that effect. "Don't go in the street; you'll get hit by a car." Don't climb on that chair to get cookies; you'll fall and break your neck." Don't play with scissors; you'll cut yourself."
Any of that sound familiar? The pervasive, underlying message is, "Failure and/or pain are inevitable when you attempt new things. To about 94% of the population those words are all too familiar.
Having been told, as you were growing up, all the things at which you'd fail, it's unrealistic to think that the day you reach adulthood you would suddenly feel that you could go forth and conquer your future.
This problem can be overcome with the right input and effort. Here's something you may want to consider: CLICK HERE
"The last of human freedoms is the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances."
- Viktor E. Frankl
Viktor Emil Frankl M.D., Ph.D. was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of Existential Analysis, the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy. This man survived Hitler's concentration camps because he was able to escape, in his mind, the horrible tortures of the experience.
Frankl is, in my opinion, a real hero because he, through the strength of his mind, could remove himself from the unbearable conditions to which he had been subjected. That's important because it proves that with strength of mind we can live through and overcome even the most horrible of circumstances.
Too many people allow their circumstances to not only dictate their thoughts and moods in the moment, but once subjected to what they consider mistreatment or misfortune they are all too quick to give up.
You didn't get the raise you wanted - because you doubted you would. You didn't get an invitation to something it seems everyone else you know was invited to because you weren't sure you would and the list goes on.
Viktor survived unbearable conditions and torture while others in that camp died. He survived because he knew he would and knowing that, he did. We all have the ability to survive and overcome the things we call problems. We were given minds of incredible strength to get us through almost anything; the only catch is that we have to learn to use them to our advantage and never allow any outside circumstances to overcome our own strengths.
You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.
- Warren Buffett
At first reading this seems a quote completely unfitting choice of words for one of the richest men on the planet. I've decided it is open to interpretation since I don't know the specific set of circumstances in which he chose to speak these words.
What it says to me is that there are those who while the water is deep enough that the casual observer can see only what is not covered by the high water, really are not all they seem to be when you finally see the whole picture.
So, my question is, are you all you seem to be or when the tide finally goes out, and it will, will you be left standing there completely exposed?
My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.
To be a friend involves risk. Friends confront each other when it's needed, but they do it out of love and with compassion. All of us need a friend who will tell us when we are acting out of line, when we are "not able to see the forest for the trees." Friends are there for us in the struggles – rooting us on, maybe teasing us a bit, helping us get past the difficulties and eventually helping us find the gift embedded in them. Friends risk upsetting us, if it means we may become better people.
We need to be grateful for these people. Theirs is not always an easy job. Many of us have big egos; we don't want to be told that we are wrong. However, friends keep seeing the best in us, even when we aren't acting our best. Theirs will be the faces we see when we look back at our lives, especially at the times of crisis and challenge.
Prayer for the Day
Higher Power, help me be a friend, and help me be grateful for my friends.
Today I will work to bring out the best in those around me, even if that means saying the hard things. If I must confront someone, I will only do it if I can do it with love and compassion.
She walks around all day quietly, but underneath it she's electric; angry energy inside a passive form. The common woman is as common as a thunderstorm.
Many people spend their days in anger and aren't aware of it. The conditions of work and life make many of us angry; we feel powerless to change them, and our frustration angers us more.
The Serenity Prayer asks for "...the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." If we examine our lives fearlessly, we may find many things that are in our power to change.
Since we cannot change, or do not choose to change some things, we'd do well to accept them, instead of spinning our wheels in unproductive anger or turning the anger in, against ourselves. And when we summon the courage to change the things we can, our lives will bless us.
Today I'll look at anger as something I've chosen, instead of something inevitable. Is it covering fear? How can I resolve it?
"You have brains in your head, and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose."
- Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss has always entertained us with his stories and fun little sayings such as the one quoted above. Aside from their entertainment value they provide us with many life lessons if we look more deeply into the story or quotation.
The above quote points out an actually serious matter. Sometimes in the day to day of just living our lives we overlook the possibility that we can, with our minds, determine the direction in which we want to take our lives.
Don't just follow the crowd or allow yourself to do what others expect of you. Do what you need to do to create a life for yourself that you really want and will love living.
"We are what we believe we are."
- C.S. Lewis
That could be the best or worst news, ever! The choice is yours! Since our minds determine our outcomes in life and since we and only we are in charge of our thoughts, what we think about anything creates it. You may have heard this one before - "When you think you can, you can! When you know you can, you will! Know you can!"
Our minds and beliefs about anything and everything actually bring about our realities. Thoughts really do become things. If that sounds a bit esoteric, let me put it this way; whatever your dreams and wishes are can and will be brought about by your thoughts. Whatever you think about yourself or anything else will wind up being true because your mind will create it being so.
The good news here is that all you have to do is see things, in your mind's eye, believe in what you see and you will thereby create it.
"Let's not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it."
- Van Gogh
While it may seem to us that the obvious and dramatic emotions we experience in our day to day lives are the ones that are responsible for our decisions and the actions we take. It is not, however, the decisions of great pith and moment that determine our futures, but rather the small emotions often hidden from our conscious minds that rule our lives.
The problem with those tiny, seemingly unimportant little emotions is that because they are functioning at a subconscious level they can quite easily go unnoticed until the damage has been done. If we are to be in control of your lives to the point that we have full and complete control over our outcomes it's important to be determined to avoid allowing the subconscious mind to take over and run things.
Give thought to the outcomes you want and/or need to accomplish your goals and once you have decided you can take control and create the success you seek in life.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
- Albert Einstein
We're taught from an early age that it's important to be educated, to have knowledge of many things and that's something with which I surely agree. Sometimes, however, with the emphasis on knowledge it becomes easy to overlook the importance of using our imaginations in conjunction with our knowledge to accomplish our goals.
The Wright brothers knew pretty much all one needed to know about bicycles. From all reports their bicycle shop was a thriving business. With their knowledge of how to build a bicycle that would perform well, they combined imagination and in so doing built the first airplane that was able to actually fly. Granted, it didn't fly very far, but with the use of their imagination they opened the door for flight as we know it today.
Had the Wright brothers not combined their knowledge of bicycles to explore the possibilities of flight we wouldn't be able to fly to the other side of the world in hours today as opposed to the ocean voyages that took seemingly forever to get there.
"You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him."
- Leo Aikman
The person who seems to never have anything good to say about anyone is someone with whom you'd do well to limit your time. Certainly in the course of both business and our personal lives we need to learn as much as possible about a person before we welcome them into our minds and hearts. The important thing, however, while we don't want to constantly sound as though we are checking a person out, we can casually mention a name and watch to see who stands to salute.
Especially if we're considering doing business with a person it's important to know a little bit about them. The best way to do that without interrogating everyone we know, who knows them, is to begin by simply mentioning the name in a crowd and count both the smiles and groans. At that point you have a few people to whom you can go to mention that same name in a more private setting and watch for any reactions that may occur.
"You can never step in the same river twice."
Not too long ago while speaking before a middle management group I used the above quote. No one questioned my words although I could see them putting their heads together and I sensed a murmur of doubt at the words I had just spoken. The thing that was most interesting to me is that no one spoke up to question my statement.
On the break, however, I was all but mobbed by those who thought my statement ridiculous. They wanted to know why I would make such a ridiculous statement. Many shared stories of how when they were children they would go wading in the same river every day throughout the many hot summers of their childhood. My response to each of them was simply that they must be mistaken.
When the seminar resumed after the break, almost every hand it the room went up to challenge me. I say almost because there was on young man in the room who didn't raise his hand, but just sat there with a smile on his face. I knew that he had come to the realization that you really cannot step in the same river twice.
A river is an active body of water that remains in constant flow on its way to join some other body of water and keep it from ever being the same body of water twice. Once that was shared with the group thy responded almost as if they had been tricked.
My purpose in using this quote and this exercise was to be certain to have their attention before I pointed out to them that they, themselves are never the same person twice. If you stop to think about it we and everything in the universe is ever evolving. While it may be, at first, to some a bit unsettling, it shouldn't be. What it means is that each day you are different than the day before and even if the only difference is that you're a day older, that change should be enough to assure you that along with you age changing, you can change your thoughts about who and what you are and in that moment of thought become anything you choose to become.
"What saves a man is to take a step, then another step. It is always the same step, but you have to take it."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
While there is no doubt that the first step can be the most difficult to take, when you stop to think about it, without the first step there can be no second, third or fourth step. Being willing to take as many steps as necessary to get you to the success you seek in life is what will ultimately take you where you want to go.
"Today is a new day. You will get out of it just what you put into it."
- Mary Pickford
On Twitter each morning I begin the day with the message which is - Today really is the first day of the rest of your life and in this moment you can begin to make it magnificent. So I say those words to you now.
The point is that rather than drag the happenings of yesterday with us into today or to look at today as simply another day in a lifetime of days, we would do well to treat each day as the great opportunity it is to create for ourselves the life we truly want and love.
Actually it doesn't take a whole day, actually not even a whole minute. We have the ability to change our lives in a mere moment, to make a change that will turn our lives around and put them on the fast track to success.
As you go through your day, today, give some thought to what you really want from life and then set about to create it. You can be, do and have anything you want from life, but the first step is to decide what it is you really want. Once you've made that decision, use this new day to really go for your dream.
"To stay ahead, you must have your next idea waiting in the wings."
- Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Have you ever heard the term, One Trick Pony? It refers to someone who has only one idea, one way of implementing that idea and if that idea doesn't catch on, that's it.
I believe it was Andrew Carnegie who once said, 'Put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket' and that was good advice in the early 1900's, but today we're dealing with a global economy and the US economy is certainly not in very good shape.
It's important to not only have your next idea waiting in the wings, but to consider implementing several ideas simultaneously. Today many business people who managed very nicely with one business are branching out and covering their financial bases with what I often refer to as a backup business. Not surprisingly, some of the backup businesses people are starting are actually the businesses making the money while the businesses they originally saw as their best source for financial success are faltering.
The financial gurus of today are advising that we not put all our eggs in one basket, but that we choose our additional baskets carefully.
"Those who are animated by hope can perform what would seem impossibilities to those who are under the depressing influence of fear."
- Maria Edgeworth
With the choice between operating out of fear and operating out of hope, why would any thinking person choose fear? First of all fear does not exist. Rather than being an actual thing that could do you harm, it is simply a thought you have in your head. To be rid of this emotion we call fear, we need only admit that it is not something that controls us, but rather something over which we have complete control.
Occasionally a client will call me to ask for help in convincing their child that there is no boogie man, no monsters in the closet or harmful creatures hiding under the bed. The problem is, though, that the parents are all too often plagued by monsters of their own, monsters of their own making so that they are ill equipped to help the children get rid of their fears.
There are biblical references to fear so we can guess that this non-existent thing we call fear has been with mankind for centuries. The Bible in Job 3:25 reads as follows: "For what I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me." To translate that into more current terms based of what we have learned through centuries of misgivings and faulty thought, we get... Whatever we focus on is what we draw to ourselves. The good news is that if you focus on all the good and great things you want to happen you will attract those things to you. In other words you will always get the things on which you place your focus.
"There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge."
- Napoleon Hill
This has always been a tough quote for me to address first because I don't believe in limitations or any kind or in any form. Secondly, any limitations we have be they mental, or physical exist only because we acknowledge them and actually expect them.
Without a long story, it's important to mention that Napoleon Hill, the person whose quotation you just read above, had a son who was born with no ears. All the medical authorities of the day assured Napoleon that his son would never hear. Hill refused to accept that and saw to it that his son was, in fact, able to hear. When we refuse to accept the labels and limitations others attempt to hang on us, we are allowing them to place limits on the possibilities.
Always get all the facts and stand tall and firm in your beliefs and don't let anyone talk you out of what you want to do.
"The seeds of great discoveries are constantly floating around, but they only take root in minds well prepared to receive them."
- Joseph Henry
Is your mind prepared to receive the seeds of great discoveries? It's important to keep both our eyes and our minds open otherwise we could miss many great opportunities. Opportunities are everywhere. The problem seems to be, however, that not enough people are looking for them.
Sometimes we stare a great opportunity right in the face and walk by it without noticing the possibilities. When someone else sees and grabs the opportunity others stand by and whish they had been the one to grab it. Stop wishing and start looking.
Remember, we tend to see what we're looking for. Open your eyes and mind to a variety of possibilities and remember the guy who some years ago make millions selling pet rocks.
"The idea is to seek a vision that gives you purpose in life and then to implement that vision."
- Lewis P. Johnson
Those who go through life with no sense of purpose must feel very empty inside. To realize and carry out what we're on this planet to do is, in my opinion, the ultimate success - the highest purpose to which we can aspire. Don't get me wrong, it is only right that you be paid for your time and talents, but using your time and talents to serve others gives your life greater purpose and meaning. The added bonus is that you get to feel great about what you're doing and know that your time and talents are genuinely appreciated by others.
"The best informed man is not necessarily the wisest."
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Knowledge is only as valuable as the ways you find to use it. One who possesses knowledge for the mere sake of possessing knowledge is wasting his mind. We all know people like that, I'm sure. They are always ready to pontificate at a gathering, but if you engage them in conversation, you soon realize they lack substance.
There is a huge difference between being informed and wise. The ideal thing would be to keep yourself informed and then to use the information wisely.
"Sometimes, I think, the things we see are shadows of the things to be; that what we plan, we build."
- Phoebe Cary
While I'm not so sure about the shadows part of that quote, I've seen proof time and time again that what we visualize, we create. Before you get too excited and begin visualizing everything you've ever wanted (besides, you've probably done that many times) let me explain the one thing that can push or pull your dreams away from you if you're not careful.
No matter how much you want something, no matter how many times your write it down, no matter how many vision boards you create, when you allow yourself to doubt that you can have it, that doubt moves it away from you. It's all about energy. Different types of energy produce different types of results. If your thoughts are creating a positive energy, what you want moves toward you. If, however, you're entertaining negative thoughts you are producing negative energy and the thing you want will begin to move away from you.
This isn't so much about positive thinking. It is more about understanding the process of actually using your thoughts to create a life you want and love.
"Slowing down is sometimes the best way to speed up."
- Mike Vance
Sometimes we get on the fast track and go flying by great opportunities that could have been ours had we not been in such a hurry. I'm not going to suggest that you take time to stop and smell the roses, although that's not a bad idea. What I do want to encourage you to do is slow down enough to enjoy the scenery as you go by.
Often showing down for a short time can be just what you need to gather and reorganize your thoughts and ideas so you can get going again at top speed.
"Remember, if you're headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns!"
- Allison Gappa Bottke
Sometimes it becomes too easy to get wrapped up in the endeavor to the point that we lose sight of the mission. That's why it's so important to put your plan in writing. It's much easier to spot a potential roadblock, necessary detour or even discover that we are headed in the wrong direction if we keep both eyes on the big picture. I've found, over the years, that, that kind of focus can take you anywhere you want to go.
"Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present."
- Albert Camus
When you stop to think about it, tomorrow never really comes. The moment the clock finishes striking midnight it is already another today. While that may sound like an attempt to be tricky, I assure you there is no such intention.
It is always today; it is always the here and now. Those who are wise live fully each day because they realize that to do so is the most effective way to ensure the future.
Now that it's all over, what did you really do yesterday that's worth mentioning?
- Matthew K. Martin
Perhaps what you did yesterday changed the world in which we live? Or maybe you invented something the world has long needed? Is it just possible that you've devised something that will improve mankind in general, or maybe you made a decision to change yourself, the way you think and the way you see things? Or maybe you just changed your attitude.
Actually, all you ever really need to change is your attitude because approaching each day and each person you meet with forward-thinking and uplifting attitude is not only worth mentioning, it is something that could, one person at a time, change the world in which we live.
"Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it."
- Soren Kierkegaard
As children we tend to not only look forward to things with great anticipation, but enjoy every moment of the pleasure we find. Perhaps it's because so many of our experiences are new and exciting things we've never done before. Children tend to value each new experience and treasure it.
As adults we take so much for granted. Whatever it is, we rush to it and through it in one giant step in stead of savoring the anticipation, the activity and the memory.
Take your time in all you do. Allow yourself the three stages of pleasure which are anticipation, participation and the memories.
"None of us suddenly becomes something overnight. The preparations have been in the making for a lifetime."
- Gail Godwin
The so-called overnight success is often envied by many. What those doing the envying don't realize is how hard and for how long that overnight success has worked to accomplish his or her goal.
Perhaps not the best example, but the first such case that comes to mind is Elvis Presley. Elvis sprang into our lives almost overnight, but the fact that he spent many years being turned down by one record label after the other must have been a depressing experience for him. Many told him is style and music were not what the record buying public was looking for. If he had allowed himself to become discouraged the first 40 or 50 times he was turned down, we would never have heard the name Elvis Presley and his style and his music would never have been experienced and enjoyed my people around the world.
"Never miss an opportunity to make others happy, even if you have to leave them alone in order to do it."
- Matthew K. Martin
There are some people who need the whole world to love them and it comes as a shock to their egos when the encounter anyone who makes it know that they just don't want to be bothered.
No matter how much you like a person or would like to spend time in their company, if the feeling is clearly not reciprocated, do not inflict yourself on them. Your best bet is to find someone they know and get to know and make friends with that person. Then, when you have built a relationship with this mutual acquaintance you may well get an introduction to the target person without having to engage in over the top behavior that borders on stalking.
"Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it."
- Soren Kierkegaard
As children we tend to not only look forward to things with great anticipation, but enjoy every moment of the pleasure we find. Perhaps it's because so many of our experiences are new and exciting things we've never done before. Children tend to value each new experience and treasure it.
As adults we take so much for granted. Whatever it is, we rush to it and through it in one giant step in stead of savoring the anticipation, the activity and the memory.
Take your time in all you do. Allow yourself the three stages of pleasure which are anticipation, participation and the memories.
"It is the mind that makes the body."
- Sojourner Truth
That can be a bit difficult for some to grasp. Believe it or not, we do create (co-create if you prefer) not only our bodies, but our entire existence. We can, with our minds, keep ourselves well or make ourselves sick. We can live a live of absolute and total abundance or we can merely eek out an existence as we sit back and envy those who are well and have abundance in all areas of their lives.
No matter where you are right now on the wellness/wealth scale, you have it within you to climb to the top of the ladder. In fact, you actually owe it to those whose lives you could help change dramatically simply by using your mind to create all you want in life. When you do that you show others that it's possible and give them permission to go for their dream.
"If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it."
- Toni Morrison
There are many quotes that promote this same idea. The first one that comes to mind is Go with the flow. While it is usually not a good idea to jump on every bandwagon that comes through town, the fact remains that what we resist persists. Whatever we fight will always fight back.
The ideal is to use what works for you and not fight, but avoid what doesn't work. Life is too short and there are too many positive things we can do to reach the pinnacle of success we seek. Do go with the flow when it is necessary to do so to accomplish your goals, but remain staunch in standing firm on your own personal beliefs and learn to apply them to your success plan.