Posts tagged Patience

Good Cold

We’re all adjusting to the cold and snow moving in for another Winter reign.  Chilly!  Fortunately, the temperature inside is warm enough, and we are cozy and safe from the elements.  It gives me more to be grateful for, and more from which to learn about patience.

The other day the weather report announced that we just had the coldest day since last February.  The first thing that popped into my head was that mathematically that means we only have really cold weather for about one third of the year!  Yes, that is good news because up here in the north land it often seems to last longer when we’re in the throes of it all.  When I look at the facts though, it’s not so bad.  And I have plenty to keep me busy during the cabin fever season.

First on my list is to knit my husband a hat.  He will have forgotten picking the yarn color last year, and will hopefully be surprised.  I should have just enough time to complete, and put it under the tree.  And then there’s the paper clutter that’s been on hold under a table cloth, just waiting for me to dig in and release it for recycling or filing.  And I haven’t watched a movie in months – can’t wait.  I’m popcorn deprived lately.  So, good things come from the cold too – if I look for them!  That’s what 12 Step Programs have taught me to do.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am finding the good in things. ”

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

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Faulty Beliefs

Someone in my life is dealing with their own untreated alcoholism.  They aren’t drinking, but they are negative, blaming, not being accountable for their own part in situations, foul mouthed and generally critical of me and sometimes others when we are together.  It’s known as a “dry drunk.”

Their belief systems are off kilter regarding me and some others.  It’s obvious.  They tend to project their own issues onto me when they get frustrated.  Fortunately, Alanon has taught me that I don’t need to accept or own any of it.  Every once in a while I may share with them something I’ve noticed, but for the most part I can just make myself scarce and treat them with love and tolerance.  It doesn’t seem to ruffle me most times.  Of course it can’t be at my expense that they spew.  Usually, it doesn’t impact my peace of mind because the tools of the program help me take care of me and mind my own business.  I just leave the room, call someone in Alanon, or go for a walk, say the Serenity prayer and treat them with respect in our dealings.

The belief system that they are operating from is skewed.  They are living in the past about several issues that are not about me.  These beliefs are driving them.  Until they start to work some type of program and seek professional help, they may stay stuck in this place of the past that is currently a driving force.  Clarity, accountability and peace will come to them when they address their own issues instead of focusing on other people.  So while this person whirls, I’m able to carry on in my life with the help of my Higher Power, people who love me in and out of Alanon, and focus on what is good about every day.  No small task at times, and yet it works when I practice the principles.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am focusing on me. ”

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

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What I Want

I really wanted to go away for the 4th this year.  Friends of ours have a cabin we could borrow in a beautiful location.  But, we don’t have the money to go just yet.  We will.  But we don’t have the money this week. 

It made me feel sad because we haven’t had a vacation in 5 years.  And my husband doesn’t even really know what it’s like to take a break for a week.  A day here and there, maybe two are all he’s ever given himself.  I’ve got some educating to do with him.  He’s the hardest working man I’ve ever met and deserves the reward of a break.  Some real leisure time.  I’m thinking some golf, some sleeping in late, some biking around someplace new and relaxing, maybe some hiking in one of the National Forests nearby would suit both of us just fine.  And I’ll be happy to cook, which I love to do, to save on our budget. 

Rewarding ourselves can be a simple thing to do.  And sometimes, those rewards need a little postponing until they can be enjoyed.  So this time patience is required on my part.  I’ll admit that after years of no vacation, my trip anticipator was on high.  What it called for was gratitude to temper the anticipation.   This year my husband is home, he’s sober, we are both working, we have a lovely invitation from friends whom we really enjoy to celebrate the 4th at their new home and watch the fireworks from their rooftop patio, and our cat is happy and enjoying the summer day with us.  Much to be grateful for if you ask me.  What’s a few days wait, really?  My choice is to focus on all those very positive and happy facts to be grateful for.  And we’ll take the trip in a week or so when the money is in the bank.  Patience pays.

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

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

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Challenging Myself Again

12 Step programs have taught me to challenge myself on my beliefs, my thinking, my actions, and my emotions – to name a few.

Now, my Multicultural class will be refining the process even further.  My ability to be caring, empathetic, patient and understanding has expanded because of the learning shared with me through AA and Alanon over many years.  And these aspects of my being can expand to include even more awareness and sensitivity toward others in the world.  Part of the reason for my progress is my ability to be in what my therapist calls a place of “safe vulnerability.”  I like the term.  It feels strong to be in that place.  It means that I can open myself up to asking questions about people, things and situations – instead of judging them.  Which in turn, helps me develop greater understanding of those people, things and situations.  With more understanding – there is less need or desire for fear. 

Instead, I can live from a place of authentic caring, concern and acceptance of my fellow human beings and the experiences that happen throughout my life.  It does not mean that I tolerate inhumanity.  But being thoughtful, considerate and discerning about what might be influencing the activities, behaviors and reactions of other people can help me have greater appreciation and respect for our differences, as well as awareness and sensitivity of our similarities.  It seems we have more similarities.  I like noticing that aspect of our humanness.  It reinforces my optimism for the future for our world.  It makes me smile.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am willing to ask more questions.”

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

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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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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.

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The Unexpected

Nineteen years ago in March, a car driven by a late for school 16 year old single mom rear ended my car at a stop light.  It changed my life.  After 6 years in 12 Step programs, a successful corporate ladder climb, and departure to start my own national business this event rendered me cognitivelyconfused, 12 Step stunned and significantly socially impaired just when I was dating, ready to marry and start a family.  I didn’t see it coming, this karmic kick in the rear. 

What happened?  A closed head injury, just from the whiplash.  They get worse over time before the brain starts to do whatever repairs it can manage.  The doctors didn’t know what to tell me about how long recovery would take.  Really, they just didn’t know enough.  They’re still learning.  Thanks to advances, now they’d be able to scan my brain and see what areas were firing normally, and which ones weren’t, and then attend to proper rehab.  That didn’t happen for me and I lost the business, my plans for children, much short term memory and self esteem.  People I knew in and out of the program became upset with me when I didn’t return their greetings (because my brain didn’t recognize them anymore) or when I stopped talking midsentence and stared into space.  My brain could no longer process normal levels of information, so I stopped attending meetings and driving because I cried for no apparent reason around that many people and moving objects.  Talking, reading and understanding and decision making appeared to regress to around age 6. 

The point of sharing this is that even after finding the 12 Steps, life has presented challenges to me – and things got better.  It was a much longer road to recovery from a brain injury.  I lost years (about a decade) of my life in many respects.  And, I began to learn compassion, patience and letting go at an entirely different level.  Now,after multiple layoffs and in my second semester of grad school I’m actually considering a doctoral program (only considering).  That’s a miracle.  Just being in school is a miracle.  I’m married, own a home and enjoy a fuller life than pre-injury.  The 12 Step programs, and the loving kindness that members have extended to me through the years helped me reach this point, and still support me on the journey.  The unexpected can happen in our lives, but it doesn’t have to become the story of our lives.  We have other options – always.  That is the miracle of the 12 Steps.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am always making progress! ”

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

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