Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Falling in Love with What Is

Some friends gave me a couple of audio books by Byron Katie, and I listened to part of one on the way home from visiting my friends in Joplin.  She basically says that if you want to be happy, the only way to do it is to fall in love with reality.  She suggests you assume that whatever is happening is what is supposed to happen and it's all for your enjoyment.  That includes all those things we currently bitch about and act like they're not supposed to be happening.  Radical, huh?

But you know, this is not the first time I've heard this concept.  My program tells me that acceptance is the answer to every problem.  Of course, falling in love with reality is quite a few steps beyond acceptance because it's quite possible to accept something without liking it.  The other part of it is that if I'm bitching because I think something isn't supposed to be happening, I'm really playing God, if you think about it.

This little concept is so hard to implement that there only a few human beings that have ever lived that acheived it even part of the time.  So I'm not thinking I'm going to be one of them.  However, there's a good chance that if I work at thinking that everything is a gift - even stuff I hate - I will certainly increase my level of happiness from day to day.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Took two pairs of shoes to the shoe repair to have the soles on the right shoe built up another 3/4 of an inch per the xray Dr. Dreamy took to measure exactly how much more my shoe needs to be built up.  I am told by people who should know that this will fix my back problem.  That would be very cool.  I'm on my third week of physical therapy and am already about 75% pain free.  Now if I can just figure out how to keep it that way.  Theoretically the shoe build up will do it.  My fingers are crossed.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

We add just as much pain to the world when we take offense as when we give offense.

I'm a self-help book junkie.  I have been for most of my life.  I realized early that I lacked a lot of information about how to live life and so have been looking for it for years.  I've noticed that there are an awful lot of nonsensical books out there that somebody wrote in order to promote his/her opinions.  The thing is, unless things have been tried and found effective, they're useless.  But there are a lot of facts that have been tried and found useful that seem to be totally ignored.  I was reading another one of those books this morning and found an idea I've seen a bunch of times before and tried again and again and it works.  However, on any given day I can see literally dozens of examples of people doing the exact opposite.

Here it is:  Criticism makes people fight back and resist change.  Worse yet, what usually happens is that the person being criticized either keeps doing what he/she is being criticized for or does it more.  Change only happens when people are supported, and it only occurs slowly like a plant growing.  It can't be forced by being criticized by another person.  

The book I was reading was, Breaking Free from Emotional Eating,by Geneen Roth.  Of course, the example she gave was of husbands criticizing wives for being overweight.  That absolutely never works.  In fact, the wives usually gain more and more weight.  The criticism gives them a lot of emotional pain which leads to more eating, etc. As an observer of relationships, I've noticed that spouses criticize each other a lot, which doesn't lead to change, which in turn fosters emotional pain on both their parts.  However, they never seem to notice that it's not working and continue to criticize for years and years and years.  Considering all the pain in the world, it looks to me like we humans should make it a priority to stop hurting each other unnecessarily.  There's nothing wrong with just asking for what we want from the other person without criticizing.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fear No Evil

"Though we of A.A. find ourselves living in a world characterized by destructive fears as never before in history, we see great areas of faith, and tremendous aspirations toward justice and brotherhood.  Yet no prophet can presume to say whether the world outcome will be blazing destruction or the beginning, under God's intention, of the brightest era yet known to mankind...we have been enabled to deeply feel and say, 'we shall fear no evil--'"  As Bill Sees It.

At the Friday noon meeting this was the page I got to read.  It was written in 1962 and, of course, definitely applies today.  The news is so painful to watch that I just check in for a few minutes every day and then pray for the suffering people in Japan, Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq and everywhere else - New Orleans, Haiti, etc.  I thought when I was in my 20s that by the time I reached the age I am now that solutions would have been found for some of the tragedies of the world.  Some things are better - not so many people die of starvation in our country as there used to be.  Plenty of people still go hungry, though, which would be just as easy to solve as starvation was, but we lack the willingness to take the action.  I no longer think that sending my $20 does much toward solving the overall problem.  I do think that my exploration of solutions in the big picture, and my commitment to doing what I can toward those solutions every day has some impact even if a tiny one.  Only my recovery has given me the release from fear that positive action requires.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Struggle and Answers

Recently I've had occasion to struggle with questions about how to handle situations with other people that puzzled me.  After talking to a couple of people and prayerful thought, the principles of the program kicked in again.  I wish I could think of this tool before I have to wrestle with questions, but it just doesn't work that way. 

What I remembered was something that my first sponsor began teaching me in the first year of my recovery.  It took me quite awhile to get it, but when I use it and it works, I get all excited and thrilled because it will work 99% of the time and it doesn't require anyone but me to make changes.  The thing is I keep forgetting to use the tool and have to be reminded. 

There's the spiritual axiom - "Whenever I am disturbed, no matter what the cause, there's something wrong with me."  Now, that doesn't mean that everything is always my fault like I thought in the beginning.  It just means that I am one of the people involved in the problem so I had a part in it.  All I need to do is figure out my part and do something different - probably something more loving and kind - and poof! the problem goes away. 

I used this tool almost every day with my boss in my last job.  I looked for my part in every difficulty I had with her and made quick changes.  I improved my ability to communicate with her and made sure I did my best every day on the job.  I did my best to treat her with respect.  You know what?  Improving my communication, doing my best and treating people with respect does wonders for my relationships with anybody.  I learned more about money and how to handle it than I ever thought I could learn because my husband had big problems with it.  Instead of looking at his mistakes, I decided to challenge myself to be better with money and it paid off big time!!

So - right now I'm working on improving my communication, doing my best and treating others with respect.  I'm betting that this tool will work again.

Friday, March 11, 2011


I used to believe that one of the purposes in life was to get to a place where I made no mistakes.  In my reading this morning is a prayer, "Help me, Higher Power.   Help me remember that the purpose of making mistakes is to prepare myself to make more; help me remember that when I'm no longer making mistakes I'll be out of this world."  I am so lucky to have found recovery where I do what I can to avoid mistakes since I don't like their consequences but at the same time knowing that I am going to make some.  This reminds me that one of the definitions of a sociopath is that he/she doesn't learn from his/her mistakes.  I can always learn from my mistakes which in turn makes it possible for me to continue to grow and get better at life as I go along.  It was impossible for me to do that when I looked for somebody else to blame.

I remember this especially when I'm in the midst of one of my self-improvement projects.  Right now I'm working on getting up early and taking no naps.  The purpose is to get more productive time every day.  On the one hand, I am doing a whole lot better.  On the other hand, I'm very far away from my goal.  The old part of me is trying to surface and tell me I'm a failure for all the days I pooped out and took a nap and then didn't go to sleep until 11:00 p.m. which in turn made it impossible to get up early.  However, I'm simply not listening - I've been up every single day before 9:00 a.m. and have had way more productive hours every day.  I'm not giving up on the goal and I'm happy about progress,  Plus as long as I don't give up, I can't possibly fail.  All the mistakes I've made have just allowed me to learn how I need to do things so that I can reach my goal.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

I was born with this beauty inside me...

"Sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness...until it flowers again from within..."  Galway. Kinnell.  Courage to Change.

My readings remind me that all my work on being more organized, etc. really doesn't make me the beautiful human being I was created to be.  Not that self-improvement is a bad thing; just that it's not a good idea to think that I'm only going to be okay when I reach goals.  I get confused easily on that.  Today I begin physical therapy again and I'm looking forward to finding some solutions to the chronic lower back pain I have.  They cured me once so I'm sure it will happen again.  I hope to find out what I need to do to prevent it.  Simultaneously, I'm fighting back against my periodic crashes into being a slug.  They tell me (the experts) that any stress, no matter how insignificant, can cause this.  I've had a lot of advice about going easy on myself in those times, however, I'm really sick of being at the mercy of unexpected crashes.  So, I'm trying to schedule them as well as finding other ways to take care of myself.  In the midst of my self-improvement efforts, I am remembering that I am already okay.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Jean, Tammy and me at the Out of Africa event.  Big success.
The "Out of Africa" event.  Good crowd, great program.
Girls Night Out at the Casino.  Slot machines everywhere.  We went to see the Japanese drummers so didn't gamble.
Look closely to see the lady with the square dancer outfit with boots and a whole lot of hair.  Entertaining but the pic is not so hot.
Girls night out - Katie, Diana, Mary and Danna.
Diana and Dana laughing at a funny lady.
Girls night out.  The band was too loud.  This is Diana and Mary trying to talk to each other.

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