Archive for February, 2010

Having A Plan

 

My gardening friend and I are just beginning to contemplate plans for our gardens this year.  Yes, it’s only February, but yesterday we cut back all of the wintered over geraniums so they’ll have plenty of time to sprout new growth for the summer.   And now is the time to start making decisions on crop size, new plantings to consider, what to eliminate from the mix and how much of each to plant.  Having a plan for the future has proven helpful.

Early in 12 Step work, when I was in the sales arena, the people on my team had to forecast their projected sales for the upcoming month.  We’d take a look at; their previous months’ production, when sales came in throughout the month and the dollar volume and size of each sale.  It helped us to see what was working well, where we had opportunities for growth, and what was a reasonable estimate for the next month based on the “pipeline” of prospects we were working with presently.  Then everyone on the team worked the plan, adjusting as needed to any changes that potential clients implemented.  And our team was very successful.  We consistently had top national performers on our team.

I had learned to lead the team this way from the way my sales mentor/manager had led me.  My manager’s leadership turned me into the top producer in the country –  then I moved into management where I could pass on the skills that I’d learned so others could have success.   The success I realized in these jobs was something that in my early 12 Step work I never thought was possible for me.  With encouragement and support where needed, plus my hard work, I learned that anything is possible.  Since then, that lesson has proven true for the many sales people and proteges whom I’ve been fortunate enough to mentor.  And all we did was create a plan, then do what was in front of us to do each day.  Believe me, we didn’t always want to do the tasks recommended in our jobs any more than as 12 Step members we want to do what our sponsors suggest in the program.  And in both arenas, we’ve found that when we do what is suggested, it works.  So now I do that with school, with my partner, with the garden and with most every other aspect of my life.  I still have a few challenging areas to work on – more progress.  And knowing from experience that the principles of the 12 Step programs work in all areas of my life makes it a little easier to do what’s in front of me to do when motivation is lacking.  If I follow the plan, and remain flexible enough to make adjustments where indicated, I see prosperous results.  More of the Promises.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am doing what works. ”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

If you find this helpful, pass it on to others.  For daily updates, press the orange RSS feed to the right for directions.

Leave a comment »

Compassion Please

One helpful way that I’ve learned to reframe a loved one’s Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is to see it as a way for me to learn more about compassion, patience and the value of taking the time to understand another human being.  Again, this isn’t always an easy thing to do.  However, with the help of 12 Step proograms and members, it is a simple thing to do.  The Serenity Prayer helps too.

PTSD is a condition that occurs with people who have experienced trauma – either a physical or an emotional trauma.  The symptoms can be very disruptive and manifest in many ways; unwanted thoughts or images, nightmares about the event, flashbacks, intense distress in the face of anything that triggers memories of the trauma, trying to avoid thoughts or feeelings or people, memory problems, feeling emotionally numb, feeling disconnected or distant from people, having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, feeling irritable most of the time, difficulty concentrating, hyper-vigilance, feeling jumpy – just to name some of them.  And really, people suffer with this condition.  They deserve and need professional help from a mental health provider.  And it is treatable.

What’s also disruptive is that those who live with people who suffer from PTSD can start to develop what’s called “secondary trauma,” and start to be vigilant about what might be happening with them.  When we who love them develop the secondary trauma we need to get help from a professional too.  The mixed blessing of the secondary trauma is that we start to get a minor glimpse of what our loved one is living with daily.  That allows us to develop understanding and compassion which, as long as we aren’t in any danger, can lead to patience and tolerance that we might not otherwise have been able to muster.  Attending meetings, listening well and educating ourselves on any health issues that we may be exposed to with family helps us to feel more comfortable too.  It helps us remember that other people’s issues don’t have to be our issues if we take care of ourselves and just seek opportunities to be of appropriate service to others.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am listening to understand more. ”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

If you find this helpful, pass it on to others.  For daily updates, press the orange RSS feed to the right for directions.

Leave a comment »

Kindness

Sometimes it’s not easy to stay positive.  For example, when a recovering family member is struggling with how to deal with feeling the emotions they used to drink about.  Watching them in pain is troubling and uncomfortable, especially when it spills out at us in ways that are unkind and blaming.

That’s when we can get ourselves to an Alanon meeting, call a member on the phone, or say the Serenity Prayer.  Sometimes when a loved one is particularly irritable and seems to be bating me to argue I just quietly leave the room, and remember that their upset is not about me.  Even though it may be directed at me – it’s not about me.  I can detach with love.  I don’t have to grab on to their “stuff.”  I can let them keep it, and just take care of myself.  It’s none of my business, my sponsor has taught me.  Praying for them helps me feel better.  Extending kindness to them, in quiet ways also makes me feel better about me.  Recently, that meant surprising a grumpy loved one with their favorite soap sitting on the bathtub.  I wasn’t home when they found it.  Later, they seemed more calm and relaxed and thanked me for the surprise.  Acting in positive ways doesn’t come naturally to me, it was taught to me in Alanon.  And it works.  We can impact others with our choice of behaviors.  I also learned to do that from the writing in the AA Big Book on page 66 and 67.

We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick.  Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they , like ourselves, were sick too.  We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend.  When a person offended we said to ourselves, “This is a sick man.  How can I be helpful to him?  God save me from being angry.  Thy will be done.”   

We avoid retaliation or argument.  We wouldn’t treat sick people that way.  If we do, we destroy our chance of being helpful.  We cannot be helpful to all people, but at least God will show us how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one

These words  from the Big Book help keep me detached, with my eyes on myself.  I do whatever small thing I can do to be kind and loving, and then I take care of me.  The gentle reminders in the Big Book, my sponsor’s guidance and sharing at meetings keeps my focus on what’s working.  And that keeps me in a space which allows me to extend respect and compassion to those who are now suffering in sobriety.  It’s a journey, not an event.  We all deserve helpful reinforcement from the 12 Step Principles.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am being respectful. ”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

If you find this helpful, pass it on to others.  For daily updates, press the orange RSS feed to the right for directions.

Leave a comment »

More About Patience

I keep learning more about patience.  Today, I was a bit too quick cutting potatoes in the kitchen and cut my finger.  It’s a good knife, so it was a clean cut.  But, very inconvenient timing.

So, it’s time for me to remember to slow down, take care of me and think before acting.  When I take the time to think first and take care of me, there is more of me to be present for others.  Here’s a switch though.  There was a time when my next step would have been to react, get mad, start complaining about everything.  Today, my focus was on not fainting, washing it out, getting a bandaid and antibiotic with the help of my husband and finishing cooking the meal.  Responding came naturally today.  Breathing helped too.  Interestingly enough, my husband seemed to take it harder than I did, and is now doing his form of self-care for a few hours.   Funny how when we change, other people seem to change too.

Anyway, typing this is my test of how well my finger has closed up and will mend so I can do the rest of my work this evening.  I made it to my meeting, was nurtured by the sharing there and feel fortified to accomplish my goals tonight.  My breathing is still normal, relatively deep and relaxed.  Nothing major to attend to, just life.  And we keep getting better at it with practice and patience.  Going slow, breathing and thinking first are the some of the basics of keeping it simple.  It works.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am taking care of me. ”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

If you find this helpful, pass it on to others.  For daily updates, press the orange RSS feed to the right for directions.

Leave a comment »

Meetings

It was soooooo good to be back at my meetings this week after being sick most of last week and missing them.  They are such a welcome feast of sanity and serenity. 

It was the absence of these meetings that reminds me once again of the blessing they are in my life.  The sharing of others reminds me I’m not alone.  And what they share feeds me with reassurances weekly that I’m in the right place, making progress and in good company.  The gems of wisdom that filter through other members at meetings keeps me grounded, serene and infinitely inspired.

And the additional piece is that we who have benefitted so much as newcomers from the presence of other members at meetings, have the honor and obligation to be there for the newcomers who follow us.  It’s because others kept coming back that people were there to welcome and comfort us when we showed up desperate and uncertain.  The warmth of the welcome I received as I cried for the first few weeks is something I’ll never forget.  Those strangers just told me ” You’re in the right place,” and “Keep coming back – it works.”  I needed to hear those simple assurances.  And it does work – when we work it.  So keep coming back.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am showing up. ”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

If you find this helpful, pass it on to others.  For daily updates, press the orange RSS feed to the right for directions.

Leave a comment »

Demonstrating Respect

Demonstrating respect seems to be a pretty straight forward activity.  However, if we aren’t expressing respect in ways that are meaningful to those around us, it is meaningless.

For example, if we are doing only what seems respectful to us we may be missing the mark with others.  For some of us respect is demonstrated by saying please and thank you, or anticipating a need before it’s mentioned.  For some it means removing our shoes at the door, or cleaning up any little mess we make as soon as we’re done with a project.  For some it may mean doing the dishes after every meal, for others it may mean just rinsing and neatly stacking until the last meal.  What I’m getting at is that it’s important to find out what makes other people feel respected, rather than assuming.  We may be missing the mark.  I ask for what I want.  I also ask my spouse what makes him feel respected for two reasons – so I’m not wasting my time, and so that he truly feels respected by the way I treat him.

This may seem simple, or silly, or unnecessary.  But, it really makes a difference.  Demonstrating respect in ways that are meaningful to others makes sense.  It’s also about getting out of ourselves.  And the nice thing is, we know that what we do is communicating clearly the respect we have for other people.  It prevents resentments, and creates a fertile environment for good relations with our fellows.  A small detail that can reap great benefits for all.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am learning to be more respectful. ”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

If you find this helpful, pass it on to others.  For daily updates, press the orange RSS feed to the right for directions.

Leave a comment »

On Task

Something seems to have changed for me lately in that my ability to stay on task with my responsibilities is better.  Not to say that it was terrible before, but it’s been easier for me to just do what’s in front of me to do without the anticipation piece that sometimes got in my way in the past.

Remember the commercial for the ketchup years ago where they played the Carley Simon, “Anticipation” song – that’s what many of us used to do to ourselves negatively about responsibilities (even small ones) in our lives.  It’s painful just thinking vaguely of the angst caused so unnecessarily by over-thinking things, rather than just going forward and doing them.  My past challenges were often about wanting to do everything just right, or good, the best.  Much ado’ about things that in one hundred years will be unnoticed and certainly unimportant.

So don’t let over-analyzing stand in your way.  If you like using lists, make one and enjoy checking items off as you complete them.  If lists aren’t your thing, just dig in with the next thing you think of that needs doing.  Less thinking, more doing makes me feel sane, serene and human.  My self esteem stays in tact and my ability to be present and be of maximum service to others and my Higher Power is assured.   I love just keeping it simple!

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am getting things done. ”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

If you find this helpful, pass it on to others.  For daily updates, press the orange RSS feed to the right for directions.

Leave a comment »