You Are a Work of Art

Melody Beattie shares this today….

All the arts we practice are apprenticeship. The big art is our life. ~ M. C. Richards

What you do is not who you are.

You are more, much more, than that.

It’s easy to get so caught up in what we do that we’re only identifying ourselves through our daily tasks. I am a me­chanic. I am a parking lot attendant. I am a doctor. I am a dishwasher. When we link ourselves too closely to our jobs, we deny ourselves the chance to ever be anything else. We limit ourselves by believing that’s all we are and all we’ll ever be.

Our concept of who we are is one of the hardest, but most rewarding, ideas we can change. If you have been brought up believing that you are clumsy, you will probably demon­strate this belief in your actions—until you identify that idea, let go of it, and let yourself be something else.

Don’t limit yourself by saying you are just what you do. Stop seeing yourself as a static being. If I am “just” a parking lot attendant, then how can I hope to ever influence someone through my words, my art, my music, my life? But if I am a vital, living, growing soul who happens to be parking people’s cars, then everything I do can become a symphony. I can have an influence for good in the lives of everyone I touch. I can learn from them, and they from me. I can learn the lessons that I am supposed to learn at this place in my life, and I can move on to other lessons.

God gave us the power to change. You’re more than what you do. You’re a vital vibrant soul that came here to experi­ence, grow, and change. Make a masterpiece out of your life.

God, help me realize the glory of my soul. Thank you for my mor­tality and for the ability to learn and grow.

Source: April 24: You are a Work of Art | Language of Letting Go

Remember to Take Care of Yourself

Cover of "The Language of Letting Go (Haz...

Here’s a moral with a story from Melody Beattie

Jenna started dating a new man. Like many women, she was a little frustrated with all the losers that had come along before. She thought she’d put this one to the test. She wanted to see how good he’d be to her.

So when he called her up and asked her what she wanted to do, she told him she thought he should take her on a little trip.

“Hawaii would be nice,” she said. “You get us the tickets. And find someplace nice for us to stay when we get there. I don’t want to be in a cheesy hotel.”

He had enough money in the bank. The trip, she thought, would be exquisite and luxurious. She envisioned the first-class air travel, the limos, and the home he’d rent complete with maid service and a cook.

When the day of the trip arrived, they took a taxi, not a limo, to the airport. And when she boarded the airplane, he led her back to coach. When the flight attendant came around asking if people wanted to rent movies, her boyfriend shook his head and went back to reading his book. She had to dig out the four dollars to pay for the movie.

She sat scrunched up in her seat, all the way to Hawaii. When they got there, he took her to a time-share condo. Then he drove her in the rental car to the grocery store and said, “Pick out what you want to cook.”

Throughout the vacation she spent a lot of time stewing in her head, but when they got home, she decided to give him one more chance.

So when he called her up and asked her what she wanted to do Friday night, she said she thought a movie would be nice. She hung up the phone, then dressed up and did her hair. She thought maybe he’d take her to a nice theater.

He picked her up, then drove to the nearest Blockbuster. “Go in and pick out whatever video you’d like to rent,” he said. “Do you want to watch it at your place or mine?

The moral of this story is twofold and simple. The first les­son is if you know exactly what you want, you need to spell it out clearly. The second is that it’s better not to expect people to take care of us. Even if they agree to do it, we might not like how they do the job.

While it’s nice to have people love us and do things for us, it’s better to plan on taking care of ourselves.

God, help me remember that it’s my job to take care of myself.

Source: April 18: Remember to Take Care of Yourself | Language of Letting Go


Lately I’ve been learning a lot about expectations. I think the simplest way to avoid disappointment is not to have them. Or, as Melody points out if you DO have expectations “you need to spell it [them] out clearly” or be prepared to meet them yourself…

Taking Care of Ourselves

In The Language of Letting Go Melody Beattie says…

“We often refer to recovery from codependency and adult child issues as “self-care.” Self-care is not, as some may think, a spin-off of the “me generation.” It isn’t self-indulgence. It isn’t selfishness—in the negative interpretation of that word. We’re learning to take care of ourselves, instead of obsessively focusing on another person. We’re learning self-responsibility, instead of feeling excessively responsible for others. Self-care also means tending to our true responsibilities to others; we do this better when we’re not feeling overly responsible. Self-care sometimes means, “me first,” but usually, “me too.” It means we are responsible for ourselves and can choose to no longer be victims. Self-care means learning to love the person we’re responsible for taking care of—ourselves. We do not do this to hibernate in a cocoon of isolation and self-indulgence; we do it so we can better love others, and learn to let them love us. Self-care isn’t selfish; it’s self-esteem. Today, God, help me love myself. Help me let go of feeling excessively responsible for those around me. Show me what what I need to do to take care of myself and be appropriately responsible to others.”

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (pp. 105-106). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

Feel free today to take care of yourself…

You are Responsible for You

More from Melody Beattie:

We can delegate tasks, but we can’t delegate responsibility, if the responsibility is really ours.

Sometimes, it’s normal to delegate tasks to other people. We may hire people to do certain things for us. We may engage in contracts with a therapist or a healer to help us work through a certain issue. But the responsibility for which pieces of advice we follow, and the decisions we make in our lives, ultimately belongs to us.

It’s easy to get lazy. We can let a friend, an employee, or even a skilled therapist begin making our decisions for us. We can listen to what they say and blindly take their advice. Then we don’t have to take responsibility for our lives. If the decision doesn’t work out, we can say, “You were wrong. Look at the mess you’ve gotten me into. I’m a victim, again.”

Yes you are. But you’re a victim of yourself.

We can listen to advice and let other people help us, but if they’re helping us do something that is our responsibility, the ultimate responsibility for the decision still belongs to us.

Get help when you need it. Delegate tasks. But don’t give away your power. Remember you can think, you can feel, you can take care of yourself, you can figure out your problems.

Don’t get lazy. Don’t give away responsibility for your life.

God, help me remember that I am responsible for me.

Source: April 17: You are Responsible for You | Language of Letting Go

Own Your Life

A valuable message from Melody Beattie

Are you willing to take responsibility for this mat, to own it? That doesn’t mean it isn’t everybody else’s mat, too. If you’re big enough to own the mat as yours, you’re big enough to let it be theirs, too.

— George Leonard

In his book The Way of Aikido, George Leonard wrote about the concept of owning the mat. He was talking about aikido. He was referring to an air of ownership, a certain presence he learned to demonstrate both on the mats while practicing martial arts and in his life.

Many subtle attitudes and past conditioning can affect our sense of ownership of our lives and of the world we live in—guilt, a haunting sense of victimization, laziness, living with repressive, angry, or abusive people may have tamed our sense of ownership of our lives. Continue reading

On taking care of your self…


14/52/2012 Me To Infinity

C. M. MacNeil shares this from Melody Beattie…

Our most important focus during times of stress is taking care of ourselves. We are better able to cope with the most irregular circumstances; we are better able to be there for others if we’re caring for ourselves. We can ask ourselves regularly: What do we need to do to take care of ourselves? What might help us feel better or more comfortable?
Self-care may not come as easily during times of stress. Self-neglect may feel more comfortable. But taking care of us always works.

Today, I will remember that there is no situation that can’t be benefited by taking care of myself.

via April 14, 2012 – Today’s Gift from Hazelden « cmmacneil.

Be uniquely you

Melody Beattie writes…

We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own or to other peoples’ models, learn to be ourselves, and allow our natural channels to open.

— Shakti Gawain

We have much in common with each other. And recovery, growth, and change are strengthened by honoring these similarities. But each of us is unique. We each have our own strengths, weaknesses, gifts, vulnerabilities—our own per­sonalities.

The purpose of spiritual growth is not to eliminate the personality. It is to refine and enhance it, and allow each of us to express ourselves creatively.

We are not meant to be just like anyone else. Comparison will leave us uncomfortable, either on the side of pride or of inadequacy.

You are you. The wonder of life comes in finding your own rhythm to the dance, your own way of seeing the world, your own brush stroke, phrase, or special combination.

Continue reading

On attachments…

Melody Beattie shares this today…

A friend called me one day. His shiny new car was in the garage for repairs again. “I should have gotten a truck, some­thing practical, that would start every day and get me to work,” he said. “If ever, ever I start screaming that I have to have something and can’t live without it, start screaming back at me until I stop.”

What’s attached to your self-esteem? Continue reading

Coping devices


Good stuff from Melody Beattie

One of the silliest things we do to cope with life is devalu­ing ourselves when bad things happen to us.

We might have experienced a lot of pain while we were growing up. So as a child we looked around and said, “Yup. This must be my fault. There’s something wrong with me.” Continue reading

Healthy choices

Português: Poeta latino Ovídio.

Just in case you missed this…

The cause is hidden, but the result is known. Ovid

We know it’s coming before we do it. Our boy[girl]friend dumps us and we devour the ice cream.

We don’t get the promotion so we head for the bar. We have a fight with our spouse and treat ourselves to a new leather jacket – at his or her expense. We decide that because we’re feeling bad anyway, we might as well take full advantage of it. We figure the worse we feel, the more entitled we are to the indulgence.

This type of behavior starts a cycle. The worse we feel, the more we want to self-destruct. Let’s face it – our actions are usually premeditated.

We think about the ice cream, the drink, or the leather jacket until we can get to it. During the planning stage, we can shift gears. We think it through. We know we have a choice. We decide to do something healthy instead of destructive.

Today I will make only healthy choices for myself.

Source: March 28, 2012 – Today’s Gift from Hazelden « cmmacneil