A Child’s Temper Tantrum Doesn’t Throw Me Off Course Today

Meditation

Meditation was introduced to me by a former roommate who practiced it at the kitchen table while staring into a candle.  I walked in on him one day and interrupted him out of his “trance.”  “Oh, I’m sorry,” I declared as I put my groceries away.  “I didn’t mean to interrupt.”  He was not angry or annoyed with me.  We spoke a bit about the practice and I became curious.  That week I went online and discovered there was a Monday night sitting group, just downtown.  I decided to check it out.  During this time, I was searching for something more spiritually enriching and sustaining, but I did not know what that could be, so I was open to everything.

Upon entering the room, there was a place to remove my shoes, so I gladly took mine off and walked into a very quiet space where the lights were dim and people were already sitting in the lotus position with their eyes closed.  The room was small and appeared to be the nursery of the church.  Chairs were spread about, but most people were sitting on pillows.  The main person sat in the front of the room cross-legged and peaceful with a pillow beneath him, beads around his neck and a singing bowl before him.  I found my place quickly, grabbed a pillow and took the position.  The most interesting thing to me at the time, was how natural the lotus position appears.  Just seeing people sitting this way with slight smiles upon their faces, with their eyes closed in silence, seemed like the most natural thing I’d ever seen human being do.  I wondered why meditation was never practiced in my own religion.  This whole experience was the most sacred thing I’d ever walked into.  It was so incredibly still and it simply felt right.

There are many ways to meditate, and I walked into the room without a clue as to what I was supposed to do while I sat there.  This was a half hour sitting.  I crossed my legs, closed my eyes and laid my arms along my legs.  Within ten minutes my feet were falling asleep and my mind was a whirlwind of thoughts.  I wondered how long it was going to take me to be like those other people who sat completely still without fidgeting.  This was not as easy as it looked, but it still felt “right” and I continued going to that sitting.  Throughout the next few years, I went to Buddhist temples on Thursday evenings for sittings, and read about meditation practices.  I spent time sitting at beaches on the Bay, where I lived, each morning and eventually found myself sitting quietly at home, on buses and on BART more often than not.  My mind was slowing down, and even during meditation moments when it was busy, I learned to watch my thoughts rather than identify with them, or to get caught up into them.

In treatment, we meditated almost every evening and I really looked forward to that time of stillness.  It brought me into a centered space of simply being aware of what was happening for me.  If anger was part of my experience, I didn’t judge it.  Instead I would allow it to flow through me, or to stir within me.  Sometimes, like this morning, no emotions came up for me, but I found myself having a difficult time sitting still.  My body wants to do other things than sit there quietly.  My mind tells me that I should be writing, or outside running.  Without judgment of the inner stirring, I sit for twenty minutes at a time and simply get a glimpse into my own inner happenings.

Prayer is a practice I’ve been doing since I can remember.  Meditation is something I learned as a young adult.  Both are incredibly powerful practices.  During one practice, I am offering my own voice to my higher power.  During the meditation practice, I am becoming acquainted with my inner dialogue.  I get a glance into my emotions, my thoughts and my body.  This is so important – to be acquainted with myself; to understand what is moving around and what stirs within me.  It is good to center myself inside my body so that I can go out and greet the world in a stance of awareness.  Many times we begin the day in a rush and don’t have a chance to gather ourselves and to enter into our day with an intention to remain centered.  Other people’s energies take over our peace of mind.  The busyness of work overwhelms our being.  Unexpected occurrences throw us off, but beginning our day with a quiet sitting eradicates the experience of getting sucked into the chaos.  I wish I would have a learned this as a child.  I always wondered how people could remain at peace with so much going on in the world.

Breathing is another thing I must remind myself to do.  I tend to take shallow breaths and to rush through my life.  This last year, I’ve been paying more attention to my breathing.  When I feel overwhelmed, instead of react right away, I try to breathe in and out to slow myself down.  When I pay attention to my breath, everything outside of me becomes less disturbing.  As I am writing this, I’m hearing a child screaming and crying, so I’m practicing that breathing thing, and it immediately takes my mind off of the annoyed feeling I’m having and brings me right back to center.

I used to be very curious about people who walked around so centered, joyful and undisturbed.  Now I understand that they must have mediated.  They were acquainted with themselves enough to remain in alignment with who they were, on a very deep level.  Prayer is an offering to something outside of yourself, while meditation is an offering unto yourself. 

Well, that kid is still crying and throwing a bit of a temper tantrum, but I am finding myself smiling.  I’m so glad I took the time to meditate this morning and to center myself in my body.  Each day brings up new emotions, new experiences and unexpected details.  Meditation keeps me centered and in a place of constant serenity. I highly recommend it for anyone who hasn’t tried it.

Turning Chaos Into Harmony

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In Jr. High I took a Home Economic class with a very intense teacher.  She was half my size and intimidated the hell out of me.  We made our own dresses which we were supposed to model in front of the school and I ended up sewing the upper arm hole shut so that I couldn’t attach the sleeve, or even slide my hand through.  The teacher fixed it for me by tearing out the thread with a little tool that I cannot recall the name of today.  When we baked muffins, I used two cups of baking powder instead of two tablespoons of baking soda.  This was all occurring while I was impressing my creative writing teacher, along with making lead roles in the skits and plays we performed in drama.  Home Economics and Biology were not my cup of tea, but obviously I excelled in the creative arts.  During this time of my life I became very depressed and withdrawn because I felt lost.  

When I wore my homemade dress in front of my schoolmates, I was happy that all the holes and seams were in the correct places, but the dress itself was a little Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz-ish, minus the pleats, and it was a much more novice version.  I chucked that dress in the garbage after wearing it once.  I didn’t want the reminder of my failure as a seamstress.  In retrospect it was a good experience because it taught me something about myself.  I wasn’t interested in sewing or baking.  To this day, I do not enjoy either of those things, unless I’m eating the cookie dough during the baking process.  In that class, I got a D, which is one notch above failing.  I’m certain my teacher would have given me an F, except that she didn’t want to have to deal with me again the following year. 

The thing that I don’t enjoy about baking and sewing is that it creates a big mess, and I have a difficult time looking past the mess in order to create a masterpiece out of the chaos.  This week as I was moving, I took things really slowly, only moving a carload per day, as not to overwhelm myself.  I do not own a lot of “things” because I don’t like the burden of having them.  If I decide to move to Greece on a whim to write a book in a window overlooking the Mediterranean sea for a year, I don’t want to have to deal with a bunch of “stuff.”  I just want to get on a plane and go.  My daughter, on the other hand, doesn’t get rid of anything.  When I opened the door to her bedroom one afternoon last week, a rush of panic took over my sanity.  That evening I ended up eating a ton of chocolate candy for dinner, and then headed to two AA meetings.  It was just too much for me to take in.

Lucky for me I have a former boyfriend who knows how to place things in boxes without having an emotional breakdown.  The next day I came back to a very clean and organized bedroom.  Everything was taken off the walls and neatly rolled up into boxes.  Toys and books were neatly compiled and I was off the hook.  (Sigh of relief inserted here).  All I had to do was move those boxes into my car and sweep the floor up afterward.  I was a little disturbed at how easily my ex cleaned up the disastrous room.  He did it in one evening.  I’m certain that it would have taken me at least two or three days, and I would have been cramming M&M’s down my throat in the meantime, or chewing through packs and packs and gum just to withhold an impending panic attack. 

The really ironic thing is that the packing for me was way more intensely difficult than the move itself, or the breakup.  I understand that there are greater things awaiting me when I let go of burdensome relationships and hefty rent payments, but it is terrifying for me to clean out a dirty refrigerator.  On another level, I am extremely comfortable organizing my random thoughts into words on a computer screen, and I enjoy the process of putting on a performance in front of an audience, although both of these things are tedious and time consuming endeavors.  I am not a chef, or a very good housekeeper.  If my kids need something sewn, I would rather toss the item of clothing into the garbage can and go shopping for a replacement.  I am actually envious of people like my ex, who know how to focus on one thing at a time rather than overwhelm themselves in the details.  I’m quite the opposite.  I focus on the bigger picture, but get very overwhelmed with the small details during the process of getting there.

So how do I go about my life without feeling incomplete?  I can beat myself up all day long for not being a detail oriented person, or I can accept this about myself and focus on my assets, which is making things happen.  I’m an artist.  I envision end results.  I put things out in the universe and watch them come into fruition.  I don’t get hung up on people, places and things.  I’m good at helping others understand their soul journey.  I definitely understand my own.  I can interpret dreams. As a mom, I’m very accepting of my children.  I am more of a guide than a dictator.  I laugh more than I yell.  Although I’m not the best housekeeper, I certainly know how to make a place feel like a home. Wow, these are all positive things that I can say about myself.  Why do I stand back and beat myself up for what I consider “flaws?”  There has to be people like me in the world, and there has to be those who know how to turn some thread and material into a lovely costume.  Together, our contrasts and differences create a beautiful tapestry throughout the planet.  This is why it is so important to stop comparing yourself to others.  You have a purpose here.  You are a light to others through your dynamic gifts and talents.  Focus on those things and learn to connect with others who compliment you by doing what you are not exactly good at. 

I think it’s incredibly amazing that the world is made up with so many different people who all make up the wholeness of the planet.  We have doctors and teachers, musicians and speakers.  We have givers and helpers, lovers and wise leaders.  No one holds all of these gifts in one package.  We all came here to offer something to the world in order to create a harmonious planet.  Sadly this is not how it exactly works out, but it isn’t up to me to worry about what other people are doing, and what they aren’t doing.  It is up to me to stop beating myself up for not being a good baker, and to focus on my writing instead.  If I have a difficult time packing because it overwhelms me, I should feel confident enough to ask for help from someone who doesn’t find it overwhelming.  If I can’t bake a cake for a party, I should offer another service, like making the invitations.  We are all in this together, and rather than envy the soccer mom who is a dynamic organizer, I should do what I know how to do, which is coaching the team. 

I wrote this today because I’ve been annoyed that I couldn’t clean that room without melting down, when I should be pleased with myself for being brave enough to make an enormous change in my life to benefit my children and my own well-being.  Life is not easy, but it is more difficult when you focus on the negative, instead of seeing the big picture, or realizing your own worth.  I’m not a detail oriented person by nature, but I can write a manuscript no problem.  We all have something that we excel in.  This is where we should place our focus.  This is what we should offer to the world.  Simply do your part.  Then and only then, will we discover harmony in the midst of universal chaos. Like they told us in drama class, “There are no small roles…”

http://www.amazon.com/DEVILS-ALTAR-Addiction-Awakening-ebook/dp/B00FO72854/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404057542&sr=1-1&keywords=the+devil%27s+altar

Replacing Consumption with Patience

Patience

It is said that people can’t truly change.  I know people who fully buy into this concept.  And it is true to some degree.  People’s personalities don’t change.  My friends from high school still have the same mannerisms as they did in their youth, and when we all get together, it’s basically the same group of people laughing at each other for being so individually predictable.  People do transform, however when they decide to take the Hero’s Journey.  Transformation occurs when someone intentionally sheds their old ways, habits, ideas and belief systems because their life simply isn’t working for them.  It is a difficult endeavor, but once the transformation occurs, there is an obvious shift in the person’s demeanor.  They walk in the wholeness of themselves and appear lighter – less weighed down.  For me, I’ve noticed that I laugh a lot more now, and emotions flow through me much quicker.  I don’t hold onto anger for very long.  My daughter has even told me that it is “weird” to watch me when I get mad because one minute I will express anger and the next I’m talking about how beautiful the sunset is.  She literally observes me flow through difficult emotions in minutes, whereas before, I would wallow in them for hours or days even.

Proof of change is in the pudding.  I am not a naturally patient person.  I mean, addicts are not patient in general (duh).  We want everything NOW, and we want more of that everything as soon as possible.  When I wasn’t getting my way in life, I would rage.  If I had my mind set on something and for whatever reason, that something was taken from me, I would lose it.  The difference now is, I do not get my mind set on anything.  I can thank my treatment counsellors for helping me overcome my impatience.  They made us sit and sit and sit and sit and wait for hours.  They told us “no” when we expected a “yes.”  They switched things up when we got comfortable and if we got impatient with them, they had a bit of fun with that, which angered us.  That anger was purposely provoked.  It was the one emotion that we could not mask, so we had to sit through it because there was no other outlet, unless we wanted to be kicked out. Six months of hearing “no” and sitting through my anger was well-crafted to re-train me to navigate through life without expectation.

I change my mind quite often, which drives some people crazy. (I can dish it, but can’t take it).  I honestly feel that I was created this way in order to assist others in their own growth of not expecting things to be one way.  Since I’ve been back with my daughter, who is a naturally “fixed” person (which means she doesn’t appreciate sudden change), she has learned to roll through life with me.  Sometimes she resists, but more often than not I am witnessing a big shift in her entire way of being.  It is difficult for her to “let go” when she’s got her mind set on something, but she is a good negotiator so we have learned a manageable way to compromise her fixed way of thinking with my flightiness. 

When you learn to slow down and not to expect, and to be present – life flows much more smoothly.  Plans often change in life.  Things come up unexpectedly.  Traffic slows things down.  We do not always get what we want when we want it.  We must learn to roll with the punches, as they say.  Recovery has taught me this.  And if you knew me seven years ago and ran into me now, you would notice a big difference in my demeanor.  I’m lighter.  I don’t think much about outcome.  I don’t plan things down to the minor details.  I do not expect much, if anything at all, which opens up the space for me to be pleasantly surprised more often than not. 

Life happens and it is difficult to control how things occur, and when they occur.  Since I’ve replaced my need to consume my life with temporary pleasures, and replaced that inner void with patience, everything seems to work out just fine, and I am much happier.  Life unties it’s own knots when you let go of outcome.  And when you wait for something patiently (instead of tensing up), often there is a pleasant surprise awaiting.  I used to speed through life, and now I envision myself on a raft just floating along, enjoying the view, taking it all in and being grateful rather than expecting something more, or for it to happen at a certain time. I’m not 100% patient about everything, but overall, I would say that there is an obvious transformation.  

http://www.amazon.com/DEVILS-ALTAR-Addiction-Awakening-ebook/dp/B00FO72854/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403968657&sr=8-1&keywords=the+devil%27s+altar

“This Isn’t a F*cken Friends Episode!…”

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Those infamous words knocked me back into my seat as I sat in a circle with my recovery peers who all stared at me, shocked at the way I was being put in my place by the director of the program.  It was “Focus Group” which meant that we got to sit across from someone we wanted to confront.  This was a way to clear up tensions in a healthy manner, and to also point out behaviors in one another so that we could assist each other in changing the things that led us to drinking or using.  I was rarely focused on by any of my 40+ peers.  I had it all going on as if my shit didn’t stink.  What I didn’t realize was that my behavior of “looking good” and being everyone’s buddy was exactly what was going to kill me in my addiction.  This was pointed out by the counsellors, not my peers, because we were all too blind at the time to notice subtle behaviors, or to even relate perfectionistic traits as a revelation of a sneaky addict.  Yeah, I was one of those.

Humility was part of the process of changing our behaviors, but you cannot really get to a place of humility if you’re not aware of yourself.  So that’s how the director of the program saved my life in a sense.  After that dramatic session with my peers, another director walked into the evening house gathering and pointed at me.  She told the group that they were letting me “die” because they weren’t aware of how I navigated through the program like a little “honey bee.”  At first I was clueless as to what this even meant, but as time went on, I became aware of my own intensions to be everybody’s best friend, and how I buzzed past important things, including my assignments.  I knew how to get things done quickly without putting much effort into them.  Basically, I was living on the surface of my life to avoid difficult emotions.  Life to me was a checklist – “Get this done… CHECK!  Get that done… CHECK!”  I was driven to complete tasks as swiftly as possible and to make sure that everyone liked me in the meantime.

Laughing out loud right now at the thought of spending so much energy trying to please everyone.  Handing all of my assignments in on time was a way for me to get acceptance from my counsellors.  Like they even paid much attention to me when there were 40 of us addicts running around with minor dramas always occurring.  I was so self-centered, I swear to god.  When I left that sacred place, it was scary walking out into the real world where people are pretty much oblivious to their behaviors.  I recall thinking that I wish I could have focus group at work, or with my family.  It really did save my life and I was scared to not have that safety net of a group because I was still wobbly on my own two feet.  Luckily I continued going to groups and moved into a sober-living environment with many of my peers. The group I graduated with has been a very solid handful of people.  Most of us are doing very, very well.  We were really hard on each other too, but now there is nothing but love and support between us.  I know I can call any of my peers at any time and they would drop everything to be there for me.  I have needed some of them this very week, and four of them have immediately been there for me, even if it was merely words of encouragement after listening to my “drama” for the week.

There was a little upheaval this week with my ex and for the first time in a very long time, I felt extremely overwhelmed.  But that only lasted for a day.  I went through it, got sucked into it for a little while, and then stopped pointing my fingers and began looking at my part in the situation.  Once I did this, I stopped myself in my own tracks – almost as if I slammed myself into my own chair with awareness of my negative behaviors.  I felt ashamed, and scattered.  I took myself to three meetings and announced my “behaviors” to the group.  Afterward, I apologized to my former boyfriend.  I haven’t heard one apology from him, but that’s ok.  I’m not in this to even out the score.  My only obligation to my recovery is that I recognize my part in every situation and clear it up as soon as possible. 

I felt better when I got out of the drama and took some responsibility.  Last night, I ran into “him” and he was clearly uncomfortable.  He left the restaurant immediately after realizing he was uncomfortable.  I was not at all uncomfortable.  What I would love to tell him is that all of this turmoil coming up for him is simply a guiding light into himself.  It’s nothing more than emotional growth occurring.  Regardless of the obvious happenstance, and the “drama” surrounding me moving out and our breaking up, there is something much greater happening.  I don’t take much interest (any longer) in surface situations.  People are dramatic.  I’m even dramatic.  The daily dish comes and goes, but the real deal is what’s below the surface.  A year from now when we are both a little stronger from the situation, we will look back and see how much we changed because of our year long encounter.  When we met, the stars were in alignment.  Fireworks ignited.  We went into the relationship open hearted and confident.  Both of us knew that we might get hurt, but we were very ambitious because we were extremely aware of the yin and yang between us.  We knew that in harmony, we could be a dynamite couple.  It was difficult for us to keep that harmony, so there was a lot of conflict instead.  That ambition between us stretched us to the max, however, and this part of our experience (the turmoil) is merely growth occurring quickly.  That’s all it is, and I see it for what it is. 

Forget the scene, or the way things are playing out.  Look beyond them.  Life is not about the drama occurring – it’s truly about what is happening for you (emotions) during the experience.  I took a massive bite of humble pie this week.  It was bitter to the tongue, but sweet to my belly.  I’m in a much better place because I took some serious responsibility.  I’m not writing any of this stuff to pat myself on the back. I have such a long way to go, and there is still some wreckage to attend to. What I do understand in all of this, is that my former boyfriend was simply a player in my life to show me what I really need to work on in myself, and where I need to grow. For him, I was also a player in his life who stirred up a lot of things for him. When I met him, he talked about longing to be more flexible and easy going. When he met me, I spoke of wanting to keep growing as a person. I think we organically provided this for one another. He really opened my eyes to myself and I am growing greatly because of it. For this, I am incredibly grateful for him. He’s been a great teacher.

I can’t change some things that are occurring, or that have occurred, but I do know where I could have done better.  Progress… It’s funny – My former boyfriend used to call me “Phoebes.” This was his name for me. I’m going to miss that a lot, but this isn’t a Friends episode. The season has ended and life moves on. 

 

I’m Not Immune to the Savage

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I do recall

Those savage ways of the drunk

A clueless chap

Without regard to one thing or another

Except the next drink

Each moment to him

Was fleeting and shameless

So he got away with things

Without a conscience

Only concerned about the next drink

And when the drunk lost his way

He decided to replace the drink

With serenity

Something sustainable

Without the effect of malice

And it’s been several years

Without a drink

But once in a while that awful drunk

Of a person

Comes out to wreak a little havoc

In the midst of serenity

And serenity sees him clearly

Ashamed of this un-departed drifter

A jackal, a fool, a scarcity of a soul

Still a savage

Only without a drink

But there is a way to beat him

At his own awful game

Her name is humility

I embrace her this time

Rather than resist her

She is comforting

Although she comes across

As scolding

And I tuck her in my pocket

Declaring her as my hero

And the drunk as the villain

Reminding myself once again

That I’m not immune

I’m not immune

We move forward together

Humility and me

Facing the drunk

Then leaving him behind

Without a drink

Knowing that one day

We’ll unexpectedly meet again

Merely as a reminder

Of where I’ve been

To keep me grounded

In the moment

Rather than flailing through 

My life

Without  regard to my own precious

Vulnerability

 

 

 

 

Why Reach for the Stars When the Enjoyment is Standing in Awe of Their Brilliance?

Reaching for the stars

Acceptance is a garment of bravery.  It’s the cloak you must wear to in order to walk through your fears.  It’s important to know what you’re facing, and what you can and cannot do because disappointment is always waiting around the bend when expectations are high and results are low.  I’ve walked through my life with a fire under my feet and as I sit in my comfortable bed with a cup of coffee this morning, I realize that running as fast as I could didn’t get me very far in life.  I’m not anywhere near where I thought I would be at this age.  I’m the shortcut kind of gal and I enjoy a thrill every now and again (more often than not), but this is holding me back more than I realize.  I’m enjoying my life more than ever – that’s for certain, yet the things I was always reaching for are still out of grasp and somehow along my journey, I’ve taken to a more steady pace.  I woke up this morning with a massive cloud of acceptance enveloping me.  “What if I never achieve my goals in this lifetime?  What if thirty years from now I’m not much further along than I am today?  This is the reality of the world we live in.  Dreams are reachable, but not everyone reaches their ultimate dreams.  What if I am one of those people?”  I thought about this for a moment and then I understood that I could actually live with this.  The bottom line, is that I am doing exactly what I love doing, and if that isn’t enough, then life is passing me by at an increasing rate and I’m unaware of the world surrounding me, which is lush and quite abundant exactly as it is.

I’m of the understanding that life gives you what you can handle and nothing more.  Human beings can handle quite a lot, but we are all walking different paths in life.  If one of my main goals is to remain sober (which it is), then I need to understand that the universe will provide to me exactly what I need along this path of mine for me to remain in alignment with that goal.  If my goal this year is to connect with more people (which it is) then why would the universe separate me from the crowd?  I must know what I’m doing and where I’m going in order to understand what occurs for me as I walk through my life.  (I say “walk” because I’ve stopped running).  I’m even hiking now in the mornings more often than I sprint because there is something fulfilling in taking it all in as I’m exercising.  When I began running at age twenty-four, it was because I wanted to run away from my life.  I don’t have that mindset anymore.  I like where I am.  I’m learning about myself and honoring the casual pace of receiving what I need at the exact right time.  I don’t have to reach for the stars.  They are brilliant just as they are, and on a summer night, they are perfectly clear and abundant before me.  There are so many of them to behold.  If I’m only reaching for one of them, then I’m missing out on so many beautiful moments standing under the multitude of them.

My ultimate dream was to be an author, and I am.  My main goal has always been that I would write, and I am.  My ego wants a lot more than this.  It wants the red carpet status, but that honor is never enough when one gets to that place.  As human beings, we always want more.  We are never satisfied.  Plenty of money is never enough.  Ridiculous amounts of fame segregates a person to where they can’t even walk around town in peace.  Being great in life is more about tapping into who you truly are, rather than being an icon.  The books I’ve written have moved only a few people that I know about, and if those few people’s lives were touched by my writing, then I wouldn’t call myself a failure.  I’m doing what I love and I love what I’m doing.  This is a pretty amazing accomplishment. I should feel proud, and I am.

This is my 100th blog on this site.  I began last August and here it is the end of June practically a year later.  I’ve grown so much over the past year.  I’ve become much more clear about my life, and I’ve slowed down to a pace where I can actually enjoy what I’m doing.  I’m in acceptance about a lot of things that I’ve resisted in the past.  I laugh a lot more and I have shed the skin of stressing out about everything.  It’s been an amazing year.   I fell madly in love, moved twice and broke up with a man I thought I would spend my life with, but I have not lost my balance during all of this.  This is more than I could say for myself just five years ago.  Back then, I would have been a train wreck (I WAS a train wreck).  Even during all the heartache, I’ve remained joyful.  That’s a pretty big deal.  No, it isn’t fame or wealth or travelling the world signing books for my fans.  It is much more than that.  It’s inner wealth.  It’s spiritual wealth.  It’s exactly where I yearned to be five years ago.  And here I am, right under all those marvelous stars, just standing in awe at the brilliance of my life. 

 

Beating Yourself Up Isn’t Going to Make Things Better

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I’ve been dreaming a lot about babies, and in these dreams I’m taking care of them.  I’m holding them closely and watching over them.  A great deal of love overflows from me onto these several babies that have made their sweet little appearances in my dreams.  I know that these children that I’ve been caring for represent my inner child.  The other day I was on a hike with a friend who told me when she takes care of her inner child, it keeps her from self-destructing.  I agree with her.  It’s that self-love that I refer to often.  We must treat ourselves with kindness, compassion and offer ourselves forgiveness when we make mistakes.  Instead of beat ourselves up for things that we aren’t good at, or for mistakes that we keep making, it is a good practice to recognize the mistake, or the lack of maturity and then to ask for guidance thereafter.  We must realize that life is all about learning experiences and growing, rather than seeing it as a series of “rights and wrongs” followed by rewards and punishments.

 I still think catch myself thinking that when I make mistakes that I’m entitling myself to some kind of punishment.  My mind sees karma as a cosmic lashing and sometimes I catch myself expecting the worst to happen to me because I managed to fail myself in certain aspects of my life.  My old way of thinking is that there is no mercy and that I’m due for a good universal whipping.  Although everything I need and all I could possibly want is being provided, I feel like the boogey man is right around the corner waiting to jump out and attack me, but this is not truly how things work, unless I want them to be this way.  If I continue thinking like this, I should expect something negative to occur.  The way we think delivers results.  If I keep beating myself up and expecting to be punished, of course I will draw that experience toward me.  Our thoughts have a magnetic pull, so we should understand that whatever we put out there will be drawn into our experience. 

I’ve made some mistakes over the past year and I’m quite aware of them.  My relationship gone bad is a direct result of not being financially responsible.  I can place blame here and there, and dissect this to where I’m less of the problem and he is more of the problem, but in recovery we learn to sweep up our side of the street.  In doing this, I realize that I took on way too much financial responsibility when I was barely on my own two feet.  How I managed to make ends meet each month is a mystery to me, but there was a lot of tension between my boyfriend and me, and most of it was due to lack having enough money.  Both of us were tight each month and a lot of fear came up for both of us.  I got to a point where I stopped fearing and just began accepting that I made a mistake.  When I got to this point of surrender, I stopped trying to beat the system and decided to make some cutbacks in my life.  I asked for guidance and also for some universal mercy.  What occurred is that the world opened up for me and I found a place to live within a week and a half of putting in “out there.”  When I ended the relationship, the fears really started grabbing at me.  They told me that I would end up homeless, or that I would never find a place to live within my budget.  I have hardly any furniture of my own, so another fear was that if I did find a place to live, I would be sleeping and sitting on the floor.  I have no dishes other than pots and pans.  Because I was financially stretched to the max each month, there was no way that I could go out and purchase these things.  So my fear told me to remain in a miserable relationship because without it, I would be pretty much living in a tent (or something).  On top of all of this, I was driving a car that I didn’t trust.  It got me to and from, but for how much longer – I didn’t know.  The bottom line was that I was basically living on the edge, and my fear told me that I had to stay in the relationship because I wasn’t secure without it, but I felt my inner child in such discord with the relationship, that I decided to take care of her first, so that’s where I surrendered, and offered myself a lot of compassion.  I know deep down that I was doing my best.  Sometimes my best falls short, but it is still my best, and I have to pat myself on the back for my ambition.

That fear is a piece of work – let me tell you.  Like I said, once I surrendered to that which I had no control, and put it out to receive something that I could manage, I was offered a wonderful place to live in a price range that I could afford.  When I walked into the apartment, there was a bed, a couch, a dining room table, cups, plates and a microwave.  All I had to buy were some utensils.  There was no deposit (WHAT?  HOW COULD THAT BE?).  This kind of arrangement is unheard of, but I didn’t worry about any of these things.  My first concern was taking care of that inner child.  What followed was that my entire being was taken care of.  In the middle of securing the new place to live, my parents got a new vehicle and put their very well-cared for car up for sale at a very low price.  I saw this as an opportunity to get out of my old car before it took a dump on me.  We made a deal and now I’m in a vehicle that I can trust.  When I woke up yesterday with my two children near me, I went outside and noticed that I get to see the sunrise every morning if I so choose.  I can walk outside onto my new deck and get that glorious morning view.  I wouldn’t call any of this “punishment.”

Waking up this morning, I felt the pressures of what I’ve left behind in the wake of my moving forward.  There is an angry ex-boyfriend and some financial debt that I’ve got to face.  I can’t ignore that it’s there, and I’ve still got some moving to do.  I’ve got to sell my old car.  There are a lot of things I’ve got to manage in a short amount of time.  This is where I’m beating myself up a bit.  That anger from the ex weighs on me.  It makes me feel like I am walking around with rose-colored glasses while he’s hovering over me stating all these facts.  The truth is, I know that life is not about all these little dramas we create.  They aren’t about man’s idea of right and wrong or facts and fiction.  No matter what is occurring, it is never that black and white.  Beyond that which we can see is a whole universe that lies beneath.  If I’m following my path and when I’m aware of my emotions along that path, then I’m living more in reality than the person who is outside of me pointing out black and white.  The material world is a farce.  It’s a shell.  It’s easily manipulated.  When you follow that inner universe, the material world caves in and falls into place in such a way that is difficult to comprehend.  I’m not worried about the things my ex worries about.  I know what lies before me and what I must do.  I realize the mistakes I’ve made and I know exactly what I can handle and what I can’t handle.  I trust that as I keep moving forward and as I do the next right thing, all of that stuff that seems overwhelming will reveal itself to be minor in detail.  I know this because I’ve witnessed it over and over and over.

So I’m not thinking about or entertaining the idea of a boogey man around the corner any longer.  I’m just hanging out with the sunrise and grateful for the plates, the bed and the microwave.  The only thing I can offer my ex is a prayer that he will have everything in life that he desires, and that the world will open up for him as it did for me.  I have no hard feelings, or anger.  I absolutely did my best and that’s a great deal more than I’ve given in my addicted past.  I absolutely did my best.  This is the bottom line.  My best is not perfect.  My maturity is still on the awkward side of clumsy.  My life is still a series of learning experiences.  I’ve learned to give myself compassion and to offer myself love.  I forgive myself for the choices I made that were not the best choices.  I move forward.  I take care of business and I trust that my life will continue falling into place.  It’s not that difficult to trust when I’ve gotten so much proof of it.

That inner child is the most important thing to me now.  I understand that I am loved beyond measure, and provided for beyond my own capabilities or comprehension.  I know that I’m not perfect, but I am open to receiving guidance with much universal love and support.  Just like those little babies I’ve been taking care of in my dreams, I’m also being cared for.  We have to trust in this, and we must understand that mistakes are going to happen as life goes on, but we do not have to wallow in the mud with them.  We are allowed to fall short and to fail every now and then, but we must get back up and keep moving forward.  Life will fall into place for us.  Don’t allow your negative thoughts to hold you back from receiving all that is being offered to you. When you trust that your experience is simply one of learning and growing, you will be able to laugh at your shortcomings.  When you honor your inner child (or your divinity), you will discover that the physical world will honor you in return. And don’t forget that beautiful prayer, “God grant me the serenity…”