Melody-Beattie.png

Family Buttons

Melody Beattie writes:

“I was thirty five years old the first time I spoke up to my mother and refused to buy into her games and manipulation. I was terribly frightened and almost couldn’t believe I was doing this. I found I didn’t have to be meant. I didn’t have to start an argument. But I could say what I wanted and needed to say to take care of myself. I learned I could love and honor myself, and still care about my mother – the way I wanted to – not the way she wanted me to.” –Anonymous

Who knows better how to push our buttons than family members? Who, besides family members, do we give such power?

No matter how long we or our family members have been recovering, relationships with family members can be provocative.

One telephone conversation can put us in an emotional and psychological tailspin that lasts for hours or days.

Sometimes, it gets worse when we begin recovery because we become even more aware of our reactions and our discomfort. That’s uncomfortable, but good. It is by beginning this process of awareness and acceptance that we change, grow, and heal.

The process of detaching in love from family members can take years. So can the process of learning how to react in a more effective way. We cannot control what they do or try to do, but we can gain some sense of control over how we choose to react.

Stop trying to make them act or treat us any differently. Unhook from their system by refusing to try to change or influence them.

Their patterns, particularly their patterns with us, are their issues. How we react, or allow these patterns to influence us, is our issue. How we take care of ourselves is our issue.

We can love our family and still refuse to buy into their issues. We can love our family but refuse their efforts to manipulate, control, or produce guilt in us.

We can take care of ourselves with family members without feeling guilty. We can learn to be assertive with family members without being aggressive. We can set the boundaries we need and want to set with family members without being disloyal to the family.

We can learn to love our family without forfeiting love and respect for ourselves.

Today, help me start practicing self care with family members. Help me know that I do not have to allow their issues to control my life, my day, or my feelings. Help me know it’s okay to have all my feelings about family members, without guilt or shame.

Source: Detachment – Cyber Recovery Social Network Forums – Alcohol and Drug Addiction Help/Support

Go to the source for additional self-care thoughts on attachment and detachment.

Melody-Beattie.png

We Are Lovable

Do you ever find yourself thinking: How could anyone possibly love me? For many of us, this is a deeply ingrained belief that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Thinking we are unlovable can sabotage our relationships with co-workers, friends, family members, and other loved ones. This belief can cause us to choose, or stay in, relationships that are less than we deserve because we don’t believe we deserve better. We may become desperate and cling as if a particular person was our last chance at love. We may become defensive and push people away. We may withdraw or constantly overreact.

While growing up, many of us did not receive the unconditional love we deserved. Many of us were abandoned or neglected by important people in our life. We may have concluded that the reason we weren’t loved was because we were unlovable. Blaming ourselves is an understandable reaction, but an inappropriate one. If others couldn’t love us, or love us in ways that worked, that’s not our fault. In recovery, we’re learning to separate ourselves from the behavior of others. And we’re learning to take responsibility for our healing, regardless of the people around us.

Just as we may have believed that we’re unlovable, we can become skilled at practicing the belief that we are lovable. This new belief will improve the quality of our relationships. It will improve our most important relationship: our relationship with our self. We will be able to let others love us and become open to the love and friendship we deserve.

Today, God, help me be aware of and release any self-defeating beliefs I have about being unlovable. Help me begin, today, to tell myself that I am lovable. Help me practice this belief until it gets into my core and manifests itself in my relationships.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation. “via We Are Lovable – Language of Letting Go – SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information.

Mastin-Kipp.png

Top Ten Rules for Being Human

Mastin Kipp writes:

Rule One – You will receive a body. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s yours for life, so accept it. What counts is what’s inside.

Rule Two – You will be presented with lessons. Life is a constant learning experience, which every day provides opportunities for you to learn more. These lessons are specific to you, and learning them ‘is the key to discovering and fulfilling the meaning and relevance of your own life’.

Rule Three – There are no mistakes, only lessons. Your development towards wisdom is a process of experimentation, trial and error, so it’s inevitable things will not always go to plan or turn out how you’d want. Compassion is the remedy for harsh judgment – of ourselves and others. Forgiveness is not only divine – it’s also ‘the act of erasing an emotional debt’. Behaving ethically, with integrity, and with humour – especially the ability to laugh at yourself and your own mishaps – are central to the perspective that ‘mistakes’ are simply lessons we must learn.

Rule Four – The lesson is repeated until learned. Lessons repeat until learned. What manifest as problems and challenges, irritations and frustrations are more lessons – they will repeat until you see them as such and learn from them. Your own awareness and your ability to change are requisites of executing this rule. Also fundamental is the acceptance that you are not a victim of fate or circumstance – ‘causality’ must be acknowledged; that is to say: things happen to you because of how you are and what you do. To blame anyone or anything else for your misfortunes is an escape and a denial; you yourself are responsible for you, and what happens to you. Patience is required – change doesn’t happen overnight, so give change time to happen.

Rule Five – Learning does not end. While you are alive there are always lessons to be learned. Surrender to the ‘rhythm of life’, don’t struggle against it. Commit to the process of constant learning and change – be humble enough to always acknowledge your own weaknesses, and be flexible enough to adapt from what you may be accustomed to, because rigidity will deny you the freedom of new possibilities.

Rule Six – “There” is no better than “here”. The other side of the hill may be greener than your own, but being there is not the key to endless happiness. Be grateful for and enjoy what you have, and where you are on your journey. Appreciate the abundance of what’s good in your life, rather than measure and amass things that do not actually lead to happiness. Living in the present helps you attain peace.

Rule Seven – Others are only mirrors of you. You love or hate something about another person according to what love or hate about yourself. Be tolerant; accept others as they are, and strive for clarity of self-awareness; strive to truly understand and have an objective perception of your own self, your thoughts and feelings. Negative experiences are opportunities to heal the wounds that you carry. Support others, and by doing so you support yourself. Where you are unable to support others it is a sign that you are not adequately attending to your own needs.

Rule Eight – What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. Take responsibility for yourself. Learn to let go when you cannot change things. Don’t get angry about things – bitter memories clutter your mind. Courage resides in all of us – use it when you need to do what’s right for you. We all possess a strong natural power and adventurous spirit, which you should draw on to embrace what lies ahead.

Rule Nine – Your answers lie inside of you. Trust your instincts and your innermost feelings, whether you hear them as a little voice or a flash of inspiration. Listen to feelings as well as sounds. Look, listen, and trust. Draw on your natural inspiration.

Rule Ten – You will forget all this at birth. We are all born with all of these capabilities – our early experiences lead us into a physical world, away from our spiritual selves, so that we become doubtful, cynical and lacking belief and confidence. The ten Rules are not commandments, they are universal truths that apply to us all. When you lose your way, call upon them. Have faith in the strength of your spirit. Aspire to be wise – wisdom the ultimate path of your life, and it knows no limits other than those you impose on yourself.” via Today’s Quotes: RULES for being HUMAN!.

Focus-in-sky-blue

Jeg har mistet min vei

Don’t worry! If you’re looking for Todd Lohenry, you’re in the right place — I’ve just made a few changes to get myself back on track!

For me birthdays are a time of reflection and this year was no exception; I spent a lot of time thinking about this blog and what it isn’t trying to accomplish here and here is my conclusion: I was a foreign language major in college and one semester I took a little Norwegian. One of the phrases I remember after 30 years is “I’m lost” — Jeg har mistet min vei. Point? Focus. I lost mine on this blog and it is affecting my life in other areas and draining resources from other important projects so I’m going through the same process for myself that I would do with any client — in other words, I’m going to eat my own dog food and sharpen my focus.

Backstory: I started blogging with Google’s blogger over seven years ago. Three years later I moved to WordPress. Throughout that seven years my personal blog has been a place to practice my blogging skills while sharing personal or non-business thoughts. Until 2008 I was very involved in the political process and earlier posts will reflect that. Now my focus has shifted from divisive politics to compassionate communication around Celebrate Recovery and the things that I have learned through that program. This blog is a way of working my “12th Step” by sharing the good things I find along the way and I am changing the name to reflect that sharpened focus.

The universe provided a great reminder this morning — a quote from David Allen in a post from Ciara Conlon on the Lifehacker blog which I curated here but the image is worth repeating…

My WordPress username is kingofcuration and there’s a good reason for that; in my consultancy I have developed a very efficient workflow for thought leadership marketing — kind of a “lather, rinse, repeat” cycle called the ‘e1evation workflow‘ — but just because I can do this better and faster than most people doesn’t mean I should. My focus should and must be my business, my business blog and applying the workflow to that process. Perhaps even more important at the moment is the book I am writing about thought leadership marketing which I must finish this month…

I don’t want to fall into this trap!

Questions? Feedback?

serenity
300px-Bazylika_Santa_Maria_degli_Angeli_Asyż

Detachment breaks the bond

Santa Maria degli Angeli (Assisi)

“Joy fixes us to eternity and pain fixes us to time. But desire and fear hold us in bondage to time, and detachment breaks the bond.” Simone Weil.

We live both in the material realm and the spiritual. In our material dimension we seek material pleasures, inherent in which is pain. Our human emotions are tied to our material attachments, and joy, at its fullest, is never found here. Real joy lies outside of the material dimension while living fully within us too, in the secret, small place inside where we always know that all is well.

We are on a trip in this life. And our journey is bringing us closer to full understanding of joy with every sorrowful circumstance. When you or I are one with God, have aligned our will with the will of God, we know joy. We know this, fully, that all is well. No harm can befall us.

Each circumstance in the material realm is an opportunity for us to rely on the spiritual realm for direction, security, and understanding. As we turn within, to our spiritual nature, we will know joy.

Every day in every situation I have an opportunity to discover real joy. It’s so close and so ready for my invitation.” via Just For Today Meditations » Daily Recovery Readings – June 28, 2012.

Melody-Beattie.png

When Things Don’t Work

Melody Beattie writes:

Frequently, when faced with a problem, we may attempt to solve it in a particular way. When that way doesn’t work, we may continue trying to solve the problem in that same way.

We may get frustrated, try harder, get more frustrated, and then exert more energy and influence into forcing the same solution that we have already tried and that didn’t work.

That approach makes us crazy. It tends to get us stuck and trapped. It is the stuff that unmanageability is made of.

We can get caught in this same difficult pattern in relationships, in tasks, in any area of our life. We initiate something, it doesn’t work, doesn’t flow, we feel badly, then try the same approach harder, even though it’s not working and flowing.

Sometimes, it’s appropriate not to give up and to try harder. Sometimes, it’s more appropriate to let go, detach, and stop trying so hard.

If it doesn’t work, if it doesn’t flow, maybe life is trying to tell us something. Life is a gentle teacher. She doesn’t always send neon road signs to guide us. Sometimes, the signs are more subtle. Something not working may be a sign!

Let go. If we have become frustrated by repeated efforts that aren’t producing desired results, we may be trying to force ourselves down the wrong path. Sometimes, a different solution is appropriate. Sometimes, a different path opens up. Often, the answer will emerge more clearly in the quietness of letting go than it will in the urgency, frustration, and desperation of pushing harder.

Learn to recognize when something isn’t working or isn’t flowing. Step back and wait for clear guidance.

Today, I will not make myself crazy by repeatedly trying solutions that have proven themselves unsuccessful. If something isn’t working, I will step back and wait for guidance.” via Just For Today Meditations » Daily Recovery Readings – June 28, 2012.

storify

Just in case you missed this for 7/2/2012

  1. Maybe you know the drill here, maybe you don’t. Every day I share the best of what I find in my Google Reader that day. It’s amazing to me that even though I pull content from all over the internet, frequently it seems the Universe is acting in concert to emphasize a particular lesson. Today’s lesson? Starting over. Beginning. Letting go. Here’s the best of what I found this morning…
  2. “It’s easy to get lost in endless speculation. So today, release the need to know why things happen as they do. Instead, ask for the insight to recognize what you’re meant to learn.”

    - Caroline Myss

Melody-Beattie.png

Starting over again…

Melody Beattie writes:

Divorce. Breaking up. Moving. A new job. Getting sober. Stopping using or abusing drugs. Discovering we’re codependent, and redefining ourselves, our relationships (including our relationship with ourselves) and our behaviors. Finding out we have a chronic illness, and we need to center our lives around it. Empty nest syndrome (yes, it’s real).

We wake up in the morning and before we go to bed that night, our lives have been irrevocably changed. They’ll never be the same again.

Sometimes we lose it all (or almost all of it) all at once. A friend from many years back woke up one morning. That day, he discovered that his wife of 15 years had been cheating on him from day
one; that neither the son nor his daughter he thought belonged to him were his; and that day, his business went belly-up.

Some people may call it “reorganization.” Others name it a “new beginning.” Most of the time I hear it described like this: “Sigh. I’m starting all over. Again.”

I hate it, at least in the beginning. We’re walking in the dark and living in the mystery. We don’t have a clue about what’s next. Sometimes we may wonder if we’re dying – the transformation feels that profound. Usually the person isn’t dying – not in the physical sense. But the changes taking place can be so profound that the experience feels similar to a death.

Times it feels like our heart has been broken. If we tell people that, they may look at us like we’re overplaying the drama queen role, but recently Mayo Clinic identified “Broken Heart Syndrome” as a legitimate physical illness. A broken heart, which can be caused by the loss of a loved one or an overload of stress, shows itself with symptoms similar to those of a real heart attack. These symptoms may include heart pain that worsens with each heartbeat; difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; and nausea or vomiting.

I went out to do errands. Around lunch-time, I decided to find someplace to eat. I had driven out of my usual neighborhoods and didn’t recognize the mall I pulled into, at least not at first. Then I saw it – the restaurant where we celebrated my son, Shane’s last birthday – the one two days before the date of his death.

The pain hit hard and fast – right in my chest. I felt paralyzed. My hands gripped the steering wheel. I couldn’t move them to rummage around in my purse and find my cell phone. Movement of any kind hurt too much. I couldn’t even roll down my window and yell, “Help.” I’d rate the pain as a ten on the pain scale from one to ten.

For just over one hour I sat in the same position, leaning forward, clutching the steering wheel, stopped in my tracks by this pain in my heart. Then slowly the debilitating pain began to subside. I
didn’t get out of the car; I went home instead. A week later I went to my doctor. (This was before the identification of Broken Heart Syndrome as an actual physical illness.) The doctors made me stay overnight.

The diagnosis? “It’s the strangest thing,” the doctors said. “For all purposes, it looks like you had a myocardial infarction (heart attack). But then, it also doesn’t appear as though you actually suffered from a heart attack. It left the doctors scratching their heads but I’d known from the minute – the second – the nurse at the Emergency Room asked me if I had someone I could call after Shane’s
accident that his death had broken my heart.

Don’t rely on self-diagnosis. If your heart hurts, get a checkup.

Then, when your body stabilizes – which it will – you can get on with the business of Starting Over Again (SOA). One idea that may be helpful: although it feels like you’re starting over again, is remembering you’re not really starting over. Life is a continuum. You’re either jolted or sliding into the next experience. You’re moving on.

Here are a few tips for those of you in that uncomfortable place of SOA when you thought the last time you started over would be the last, only to find yourself SOA.

  1. Let yourself grieve your loss or losses. You don’t need to be so stoic. Give yourself room to be human. What you’re going through may be extremely difficult and it may hurt. But you will get through it.
  2. Remind yourself that what you’re going through won’t last forever. If you have to leave post-it notes around the house, then do it. Remember other times you’ve started over, and how you got through those experiences? Draw on what you learned, including that you did survive that devastating time.
  3. Give yourself time to cocoon. No, you’re not isolating. You’re resting, giving your body a chance to adapt to this sudden change.
  4. Tell your story as often as you need to, and tell it to people who will listen and care. While some people may accuse us of obsessiveness, telling our story over and over is an important way we integrate the unthinkable into our life story.
  5. Set goals. In the beginning, start by writing a list of what you want or need to accomplish just that day. Take life in small chunks. After some time passes, begin writing goal lists that go further into the future. For now, while you’re in shock, a list for today is enough.
  6. Be kind to yourself. There may be days when all you accomplish is getting out of bed and taking a shower. Instead of focusing on how little you did, tell yourself you did great – because you did.
  7. Slowly, as new people and interests come into your life, be willing to say “yes” to opportunities. I never fail to be amazed at how either a person or an interest that I think is just a “time killer” slowly becomes a major part of my new life.
  8. If you need help, ask.
  9. If you need to cry or get angry, cry or get angry. You may even be furious with your Higher Power. That’s okay. You’ll work it out further down the road.
  10. Know there is no one right way to start over. We have tools, not rules. Now is the time to dig into your toolbox and use what you’ve been given: living in the present moment; prayer; meditation; exercise (when your body can handle it); detachment (which involves feeling all your emotions); and sometimes Acting As If. Know that if the emotions become too intense, you can shut them down for a while without going into denial. Something as simple as taking a shower, going into another room, or going to the grocery store can help you stop falling deeper into what may feel like a bottomless pit of pain.

Although I said there aren’t any rules, I lied. There are three: don’t let anyone hurt you; don’t hurt anyone else; and don’t hurt yourself.

You will get through this – I promise. It might not happen as quickly as you want it to or it may happen so quickly it surprises you. But one morning you’ll wake up and find yourself living in a new normal instead of waking up to a blast of pain from what you’ve lost. Instead, your new life will be there, fully formed. You’ll be living it.

You’ve done it. You started over again, whether you wanted to or not. Now the next time you need to start over, you’ll be more prepared.

From the Desk of Melody Beattie