Posts tagged First Things First

Soil Preparation

Many of us who find the 12 Step programs arrive in a rather slip shod mode.  We’ve been cutting corners for years – avoiding feelings, responsibilities, accountability for our actions and just plain not showing up for ourselves or others, in either helpful or appropriate ways.

The beauty of the programs is that they teach us from the ground up, literally and figuratively.  First things first! Yesterday we started prepping our soil for this year’s garden.  It meant first removing the large debris, then doing a light raking to loosen and gather the smaller leftovers from last year’s crops.  Next, the hard work.  Digging up the weeds that somehow found a home in just one winter season.  We don’t know where they came from, don’t really care either.  They just need to go.  As we dug deep to remove them, roots and all, we discovered gems mixed in – tulips we missed last year from the old flower garden, and the biggest surprise, some baby carrots that must have sprouted late last Fall and are just starting to grow!  They usually take a while to mature, so we left them in and we’ll have a few early carrots this year.  How nice.

We know that if we don’t do the prep work right, the weeds crowd out the vegetables and our harvest is smaller.  It’s also true in the 12 Step programs when we’re learning a new lifestyle.  And that’s really what it is – a new way to be in our lives.  It takes proper prep work.  The 12 Steps help us prepare ourselves with the ground work that makes for fertile soil in our heads and hearts for a new beginning.  It takes a little extra time, but the benefits are so worth the effort.  We may be a little drained from the hard work, but that often leads to good sleeping.  This morning instead of the predicted rain, we have the most beautiful, warm, sunny Sunday morning – Thank You God!  I went out to check on our progress.  Already, I see a difference in the soil as we mixed in some more peat moss yesterday.  The soil is rich, and airy, and smells so of the perfect mornings I spent in the garden last year.  So inviting.  We’ll finish the weeding today, mix in some more peat moss, plant some of our cold crops, then await the rain that’s planned for the next few days.  Perfect timing!

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.

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Choosing For Me

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Our garden is a place of wonder and delight for me.

Every time I stop out to say hi, it greets me with some new fruit or vegetable or bug or weed.  They are all mingled in there, coexisting in the sun and the rain with the bunnies and the birds.  Honestly, it is one of the greatest gifts of pleasure that I’ve had in the last 36 months and I gave it to myself, with the help of dear friends who made it possible when my body was still healing from an accident.  The garden was a choice – for me.

As a child, and the oldest, I learned to make choices based on what was best for others instead of me.  That focus was carried into adulthood and often made me resentful, as it sometimes did in childhood.  What was I thinking?  I didn’t know any better.  Since then my experience is that it’s important to make choices based on what’s best for me first, as long as it’s not at other people’s expense.  We all may require some help with discernment about these choices when we first come to 12 Step programs and other recovery processes, and eventually we learn to make appropriate decisions that serve us without costing others.  In fact the best part of this is that when I take care of myself first, there’s more of me to be present for others.  When my spiritual condition is well attended to, my ability to be of service to my Higher Power and others is greater.  At one time I’d have thought choosing for me was selfish.  Now, I can see that it’s the best choice to make for me, for you and for my Higher Power.

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Affirmation for the Day – ” I am making progress daily.”

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

Course In Miracles Lesson –  I am in danger no where in the world.

Practice – Father, Your Children are safe wherever they may be, for You are there with them.  They need but call upon Your Name, and they will recollect their safety and Your Love, for they are one.  How can they fear or doubt or fail to know they cannot suffer, be endangered, or experience unhappiness when they belong to You, beloved and loving, in the safety of Your Fatherly embrace.

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First Things First

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Sometimes I get pretty focused on and excited doing certain tasks or activities in the morning before doing my daily disciplines.  Not always such a good idea, as it can set me back later in the day if I shift my priorities out of proper order.  Step 3 is all about this conscious decision – “Made a decision to turn our will and our life over to the care of God as we understand him.”

And the reason there is a proper order is that experience has taught me what works.  So, today is a great example.  Instead of following my meditation and prayer with my gratitude list and daily reader, and this posting, I was on email and making work calls.  Oops, and now I’m writing this posting, instead of doing the gratitude list and reader.  So excuse me for a moment to complete my morning ritual. – Thanks for waiting.  See, that’s what happens if my spiritual routine is interrupted.  Okay done with my morning ritual – what keeps me in touch with my Higher Power.  And again, it’s a conscious decision most days.

It may not seem like it but the decision to do those rituals is important because, as mentioned above, it’s what works to keep me connected and in the flow of what my Higher Power wants for me and for others.  I can be of greater service when this connection is in place and maintained regularly.  And my days really are easier with some structure.  That doesn’t mean there’s no spontaneity in my life.  In fact, I take time out for unexpected pleasures and surprises often.  Those forks in the road also fill me up so to speak, and keep me in the flow of life especially when I follow my instincts.  When in the flow, my listening for direction and guidance seems to be heightened and I have perfect days.  There’s no major thinking to do.   In fact, it’s best if I don’t get into thinking hard and over analyzing.  Then my days just flow and I feel happy, peaceful and spiritful.  Good results come from choosing Step 3.

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Affirmation for the Day – ” I am divinely guided and directed.”

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

Course In Miracles Lesson –  I am not a body, I am free.  For I am still as God created me.  The peace of God is shining in me now.

Practice – I am not a body, I am free.  For I am still as God created me.  The peace of God is shining in me now.  I will be still and let the earth be still along with me.  And in that stillness, we will find the peace of God.  It is within my heart, which witnesses to God Himself.

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Working Step 4 – First Things First

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Several women I know are doing their 4th Step.  They’re all approaching it in a different way.  Some think about working on their list, but keep putting it off each day.  One is taking a workshop on the 4th Step and wants to wait until she finishes it before she starts making her list.  Others are scheduling time into their calendars for their 4th Steps. 

What I’m noticing is that the women making the most progress are intentionally scheduling the 4th Step into their week.  They may not finish during the time allotted, however, they just scedule more time later in their week with the goal to finish as much as possible.  Making time to do what is a priority seems to be working for them.

I remember seeing the slogan ” First Things First,” frequently at meetings.  Perhaps this is an area where we can apply that simple refrain.  While the willingness to do a 4th Step is evident in all of these women, I’m grateful to be learning from them what seems to be the most successful approach with this task.  It’s a good life lesson to see the greater success with those who actually schedule or “make time” for what matters – priorities – into our days.

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Affirmation for the Day – ” I am making good progress.”

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

Course In Miracles Lesson – God’s peace and joy are mine.  Let me be still and listen to the truth.

Practice – God’s peace and joy are mine. – on the hour.  Let me be still and listen to the truth. – on the half hour.

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