six {more} strategies for staying sane

Gemma Stone writes:

Last week, I chatted about the six strategies I use daily to help me from slipping into the darkness of mental health struggles. I actually use twelve strategies daily (I try, anyway). Here are the other six ::

Media. I am super strict with the type of media I expose myself to. I went on a negative media fast a few years ago, and it made all the difference.

Giving. I focus on giving throughout the day. A smile, a cup of coffee, passing on a book, sending a loving e-mail, writing a thank-you card, making a donation. Giving feels good.

Fun. My “purpose” is to have fun inspiring myself and others to live from love rather than fear. I tried living my purpose without the fun part and, well, it was no fun. So now I make plans for fun and giggles.

Boundaries. Saying “no” to what doesn’t deeply matter means I get to say “yes” to what does. Life is full, right? I know now that if I’m going to live fully, it means I have to set boundaries that honor who I am and the life I want to live.

Nature. Every day I chill with Mother Nature. It takes the edge off.

Self-reflection. When stuff comes up, I let myself get into it. If I don’t, I know it comes up in another (much less desirable) way. I feel what I am feeling and explore why I’m feeling that way

That’s it! My twelve secrets to staying sane.

Remember, there is so much to know and so much truth to discover. The direction my feet take and what speaks to my heart may not be right for you. I share my spark of truth with you to guide you through the dark, but not to tell you what to see.

Love,

via six {more} strategies for staying sane.

I feel more sane already…

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0030UDW9I/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0030UDW9I&linkCode=as2&tag=makrai-20

Surviving Slumps

Melody Beattie writes:

A slump can go on for days. We feel sluggish, unfocused, and sometimes overwhelmed with feelings we can’t sort out. We may not understand what is going on with us. Even our attempts to practice recovery behaviors may not appear to work. We still don’t feel emotionally, mentally, and spiritually as good as we would like.

In a slump, we may find ourselves reverting instinctively to old patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving, even when we know better. We may find ourselves obsessing, even when we know that what we’re doing is obsessing and that it doesn’t work.

We may find ourselves looking frantically for other people to make us feel better, the whole time knowing our happiness and well being does not lay with others.

We may begin taking things personally that are not our issues, and reacting in ways we’ve learned all to well do not work.

We’re in a slump. It won’t last forever. These periods are normal, even necessary. These are the days to get through. These are the days to focus on recovery behaviors, whether or not the rewards occur immediately. These are sometimes the days to let ourselves be and love ourselves as much as we can.

We don’t have to be ashamed, no matter how long we’ve been recovering. We don’t have to unreasonably expect “more” from ourselves. We don’t ever have to expect ourselves to live life perfectly.

Get through the slump. It will end. Sometimes, a slump can go on for days and then, in the course of an hour, we see ourselves pull out of it and feel better. Sometimes it can last a little longer.

Practice one recovery behavior in one small area, and begin to climb uphill. Soon, the slump will disappear. We can never judge where we will be tomorrow by where we are today.

Today, I will focus on practicing one recovery behavior on one of my issues, trusting that this practice will move me forward. I will remember that acceptance, gratitude, and detachment are a good place to begin.” via Just For Today Meditations » Daily Recovery Readings – June 26, 2012.

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Figuring out God’s will

Melody Beattie writes:

It was a stressful time in my life. I didn’t know what to do. I had pressing business decisions to make, and painful relationship issues to face. Everything felt like a mess.

I gathered up a few favorite books, the Bible, a journal, and some clothes. Then I headed for the mountains, a resort that was a favorite place of mine to hide out in and gather my thoughts.

I told myself, “I’m going to stay in there. Write in my journal. Pray. And meditate. I’m not coming out until I know what to do.”

After forty-eight hours of writing about my problems, praying about my problems, and meditating about my problems, I remembered something a friend had said to me.

“What are you doing?” he had asked.

“I’m trying to surrender to God’s will.”

“No you’re not, you’re trying to figure it out.”

Within six months, each of the problems I was wrestling with worked themselves out. I was either guided into an action that naturally felt right at the time, or a solution came to me. The immediate solution to each problem was the same: let go. Just surrender to the situation taking place. Sometimes, what we need to do next is surrender.

If you don’t like the word surrender, try calling it making peace.

God, help me surrender to your will, especially when I don’t know what to do next.” via Just For Today Meditations » Daily Recovery Readings – June 25, 2012.

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Just in case you missed this for 6//25/2012

  1. “Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.”

    - John C. Maxwell

  2. It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters, in the end.
    —Ursula K. LeGuin
  3. A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it is committing another mistake.
    –Confucius
  4. Don’t argue for other people’s weaknesses. Don’t argue for your own. When you make a mistake, admit it, correct it, and learn from it–immediately.
    –Stephen Covey
  5. Left to itself, nature takes ordinary garbage and transforms it into useful nutrients that help sustain life. It’s usually poor human action that makes garbage a problem.

    Our mental and emotional garbage takes the forms of bad memories, festering resentments, and useless regrets. We waste time berating ourselves and others about bad decisions and experiences that are behind us.

    The magic of the 12 Step program is that we can use it to transform this mental garbage into useful experience. A past mistake can become as asset when we share it with others. Pain and suffering can teach a lesson that helps all of us to grow. By forgiving others, a resentment can be turned into a friendship.

    I’ll resolve today not to worry about garbage any longer than it takes to identify it and release it to my Higher Power for transformation.

  6. Quote: When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that three of his fingers are pointing at himself.
    —Louis Nizer

    It’s so easy to blame others. Others are always making mistakes we can hide behind. That’s what blame is—hiding. When we blame others for our mistakes, we’re trying to hide our character defects.

    It’s nobody else’s fault that we act the way we do. It’s our fault. We’re responsible for our actions.

    And with the help of our Higher Power, we can change. We can turn over our character defects. Over time, we’re not afraid to learn about ourselves—even the parts we don’t like—because we want to know ourselves better.

    Prayer for the Day: I pray for help in facing my character defects.

    Action for the Day: I’ll think about the past week. I’ll list times I’ve used blame to hide from reality.

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Charity

International Money Pile in Cash and Coins

Melody Beattie writes:

We need healthy boundaries about receiving money, and we need healthy boundaries about giving money.

Some of us give money for inappropriate reasons.

We may be ashamed because we have money and don’t believe we deserve it. We may belong to an organization that uses shame as a form of control to coerce us out of our money that the organization wants.

We can get hooked into giving money to our children, family members, or friends because we have earned or un­earned guilt. We allow ourselves to be financially black­mailed, sometimes by the people we love.

This is not money freely given, or given in health.

Some of us give money out of a sense of caretaking. We may have exaggerated feelings of responsibility for others, including financial responsibility.

We may be giving simply because we have not learned to own our power to say no when the answer is no.

Some of us give because we hope or believe people will love us if we take care of them financially.

We do not have to give money to anyone. Giving money is our choice. We do not have to allow ourselves to be victimized, manipulated, or coerced out of our money. We are financially responsible for ourselves. Part of being healthy is allowing those around us be financially responsible for themselves.

We do not have to be ashamed about having the money that we earn; we deserve to have the money we have been given — whatever the amount, without feeling obligated to give it all away, or guilty because others want what we have.

Charity is a blessing. Giving is part of healthy living. We can learn to develop healthy boundaries around giving.

Today, I will strive to begin developing healthy boundaries about giving money. I understand that giving is my choice.

via June 25: Charity | Language of Letting Go.

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Attachment

Adrienne M. posted on the flipside of detachment over at her blog today:

Shirley MacLaine

If you attach yourself to one person, you ultimately end up having an unhealthy relationship. Shirley MacLaine.

Needing people in our lives is healthy, human, and natural. Needing a single person to love at a very deep level is also soothing to the soul’s well-being. Love and attachment are not synonymous, however. They are close to being opposites. If we “attach” ourselves to others, our movements as separate individuals are hampered. Attachment means dependency; it means letting our movements be controlled by the one we are “hooked” to.

Dependency on mood-altering chemicals, on food, on people, means unmanageability in our individual lives. Many of us in this recovery program, though abstinent, still struggle with our dependency on a certain person or a certain friend.

The tools we are learning apply in all cases of dependency. It is healthy independence we are striving for—taking responsibility for our own lives—making choices appropriate for our personal selves. Loving others means letting them make their own choices unhampered by our “attachment.”

Are my relationships attachments or are they based on love? I will take an inventory of them today.” via Daily Reading – June 24, 2012 « 12 Steps – Think About It!.

The Universe is really putting this issue front and center today. Ugggh…

work-in-progress

Connecting the dots for 6/24/2012

  1. Today the reminders I received were about detachment, power and response-ability:
  2. We communicate in so many different ways and in so many situations, but if we don’t bring self-reflective consciousness into the equation by reflecting on what we say before we say it, we’ll fail to reach the depths of intimacy and cooperation that we are capable of.
  3. “When you feel in your gut what you are and then dynamically pursue it – don’t back down and don’t give up – then you’re going to mystify a lot of folks.”

    - Bob Dylan

  4. Just in case you missed this: 

  5. Todd’s tweets…

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Detachment

English: Black Cat Yawning

My cat has taught me a great deal about ‘healthy detachment’…

Melody Beattie writes:

Detachment doesn’t come naturally for many of us. But once we realize
the value of this recovery principle, we understand how vital detachment
is. The following story illustrates how a woman came to understand
detachment.

“The first time I practiced detachment was when I let go of my alcoholic
husband. He had been drinking for seven years, since I had married him.
For that long, I had been denying his alcoholism and trying to make him
stop drinking.

“I did outrageous things to make him stop drinking, to make him see the
light, to make him realize how much he was hurting me. I really thought
I was doing things right by trying to control him.

“One night, I saw things clearly. I realized that my attempts to control
him would never solve the problem. I also saw that my life was
unmanageable. I couldn’t make him do anything he didn’t want to do. His
alcoholism was controlling me, even though I wasn’t drinking.

“I set him free, to do as he chose. The truth is, he did as he pleased
anyway. Things changed the night I detached. He could feel it, and so
could I. When I set him free, I set myself free to live my own life.
“I’ve had to practice the principle of detachment many times since then.
I’ve had to detach from unhealthy people and healthy people. It’s never
failed. Detachment works.”

Detachment is a gift. It will be given to us when we’re ready for it.
When we set the other person free, we are set free….

Source: Detachment…Melody Beattie [Archive] – Cyber Recovery Social Network Forums – Alcohol and Drug Addiction Help/Support

Learning healthy detachment has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I knew how to be attached in an unhealthy way; it’s called codependency. I knew how to be detached in an unhealthy way; it’s called “Eff you — I’m leaving!”. Healthy detachment for me looks a lot like interdependence without giving over control or response-ability to my partner but I can’t say that I’ve mastered it yet or that I will in this lifetime. It may come naturally to some people but it does not come naturally to me — I have to work hard at it every day. I don’t claim perfection — only progress — but I know that learning healthy detachment is one of the best investments I can make in myself…

work-in-progress

Work and recovery

Melody Beattie writes this about work:

Just as we have relationship histories, most of us have work histories.

Just as we have a present circumstance to accept and deal with in our relationship life, we have a present circumstance to accept and deal with in our work life.

Just as we develop a healthy attitude toward our relationship history – one that will help us learn and move forward – we can develop a healthy attitude toward our work history.

I have worked many jobs in my life, since I was eleven years old. Just as I have learned many things about myself through my relationships, I have learned many lessons through my work. Often, these lessons run parallel to the lessons I’m learning in other areas of my life.

I have worked at jobs I hated but was temporarily dependent on. I have gotten stuck in jobs because I was afraid to strike out on my own and find my next set of circumstances.

I have been in some jobs to develop skills. Sometimes, I didn’t realize I was developing those skills until later on when they become an important part of the career of my choice.

I have worked at jobs where I felt victimized, where I gave and gave and received nothing in return. I have been in relationships where I manufactured similar feelings.

I have worked at some jobs that have taught me what I absolutely didn’t want; others sparked in me an idea of what I really did want and deserve in my career.

Some of my jobs have helped me develop character; others have helped me fine tune skills. They have all been a place to practice recovery behaviors.

Just as I have had to deal with my feelings and messages about myself in relationships, I have had to deal with my feelings and messages about myself, and what I believed I deserved at work.

I have been through two major career changes in my life. I learned that neither career was a mistake and no job was wasted time. I have learned something from each job, and my work history has helped create who I am.

I learned something else: there was a Plan, and I was being led. The more I trusted my instincts, what I wanted, and what felt right, the more I felt that I was being led.

The more I refused to lose my soul to a job and worked at it because I wanted to and not for the paycheck, the less victimized I felt by any career, even those jobs that paid a meager salary. The more I set goals and took responsibility for achieving the career I wanted, the more I could decide whether a particular job fit into that scheme of things. I could understand why I was working at a particular job and how that was going to benefit me.

There are times I have even panicked at work and about where I was in my employment history. Panic never helped. Trust and working my program did.

There were times I looked around and wondered why I was where I was. There were times people thought I should be someplace different. But when I looked into myself and at God, I knew I was in the right place, for the moment.

There were times I have had to quit a job and walk away in order to be true to myself. Sometimes, that was frightening. Sometimes, I felt like a failure. But I learned this: If I was working my program and true to myself, I never had to fear where I was being led.

There have been times I couldn’t survive on the small amount of money I was receiving. Instead of bringing that issue to a particular employer and making it his or her fault, I have had to learn to bring the issue to my Higher Power and myself. I’ve learned I’m responsible for setting my boundaries and establishing what I believe I deserve. I’ve also learned God, not a particular employer, is my source of guidance.

I’ve learned that I’m not stuck or trapped in a job no more than I am in a relationship. I have choices. I may not be able to see them clearly right now, but I do have choices. I’ve learned that if I really want to take care of myself in a particular way on a job, I will do that. And if I really want to be victimized by a job, I will allow that to happen too.

I am responsible for my choices, and I have choices.

Above all else, I’ve learned to accept and trust my present circumstances at work. That does not mean to submit; it does not mean to forego boundaries. It means to trust, accept, then take care of myself the best I’m able to on any given day.

God, help me bring my recovery behaviors to my career affairs.” via Thought for the Day — Hazelden.

Boundaries

Fence

Good fences make good neighbors…

Melody Beattie writes:

“Having boundaries doesn’t complicate life; boundaries simplify life.” Beyond Codependency.

There is a positive aspect to boundary setting. We learn to listen to ourselves and identify what hurt us and what we don’t like. But we also learn to identify what feels good.

When we are willing to take some risks and begin actively doing so, we will enhance the quality of our life.

What do we like? What feels good? What brings us pleasure? Whose company do we enjoy? What helps us to feel good in the morning? What’s a real treat in our life? What are the small, daily activities that make us feel nurtured and cared for?

What appeals to our emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical self? What actually feels good to us?

We have deprived ourselves too long. There is no need to do that anymore, no need. If it feels good, and the consequences are self-loving and not self-defeating, do it!

Today, I will do for myself those little things that make life more pleasurable. I will not deny myself healthy treats.” via Thought for the Day.