Posts tagged Service Work

Busy and Loving It

My schedule is full and my attitude is good!  Although there is little time for discretionary activities, I’m fully engaged in what my next task or class or opportunity requires.  It’s exciting.

One thing that is of utmost importance to me now is learning better self care.  Although I’m pretty good at it most of the time, the balance is what needs more focus now.  Lot’s of baking and quick cooking in between errands, class, homework and household maintenance has been so heart warming for me.  Good for the stomach too.  And I get to share the end result with people in my life.  How nice!

My next few months will continue to be full and take me into new areas of awareness which will help me with my future work.  It’s a pleasure and an honor to travel the new terrain of information with a host of cohorts whom I’ve come to know as dedicated professionals who want to be of service.  What a gift for me.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am enjoying my days. ”

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

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Considering Others

Our little black cat is getting older, nearly in his 16th year.  He’s changing.  He wants to be on my lap most of the time when I’m home and stationary.  Since he’s deaf now, he sometimes roams from room to room meowing to see if we’re in the room or not because he can’t hear us.  When we come in the front door, he notices the vibration of our snow stomping feet, but at times he runs to the wrong door to greet us.  It’s sad and a little cute to see him muddling his way throught this new way to be on the planet.

His world has changed.  His ears don’t move anymore.  His whiskers are turning white.  He can’t hear the birds that he used to chatter at each day during his daily window visits.  He gets a bit startled when we walk up behind him since he didn’t hear us coming.  And he’s starting to sleep a lot more.

What I miss the most is playing fetch with him in the living room.   He can’t hear the tin foil ball anymore so he doesn’t know where to run to fetch it.  And the vision in one of his eyes is impaired from the neighbors cat when it invaded our yard 2 years ago, so he can’t see motion and distance as well.  Sometimes he misses when jumping up and then looks at us like, “What happened?”  Life is changing for our little black cat, and I’m happy to lift him up every once in a while or make room for him to nap on me for comfort.  It’s the least I can do for all the pleasure and entertainment he’s added to our lives through the years.  And even better, it get’s me out of myself and focused on another being in the world so I don’t have to obsess or compulse about the unimportant things in life.  He is a blessing and a reminder of how important it is to consider others, even the four leggeds.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am thinking of others. ”

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

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Service Working

When I do more of the things in front of me to do – and think less about doing them in advance – I get more done.  And what is then completed happens faster and more easily than most of my anticipation of them would have indicated.

In other words, it’s important for me to stop writing stories about things and people, and instead, stay in the moment.  When focusing on the future, my magic magnifying mind is expending unnecessary life energy on things that aren’t real.  They haven’t happened yet.  And when it comes to that type of musing, it’s usually a waste of my time.  It would be more helpful for me to get into action for myself, or look for opportunities to be of service for others.

I’ve been recommending to sponsees lately that they focus on doing more service work to help them get out of themselves and stay more sane and serene.  I know how well it works to do service work if I want to stay sane and serene – it gets me out of myself.  It distracts me from unproductive, unhelpful meanderings through the “what ifs” that usually bear no resemblance to reality.  Before I know it, I FEEL BETTER!  And it’s probably because I’m being of use to my Higher Power in a way that’s a great blessing and overwhelming for me.  Thank God for service work.  It works every time.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am being of service today. ”

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

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Speaking of Service Work

My sponsor and her husband have been in 12 Step programs for over 40 years.  They practice what they preach when it comes to service work.  This weekend they drove to a city in another state where he’s one of the featured speakers at a 12 Step convention.  Oftentimes, she too is speaking at these engagements, or they may even be doing a workshop together for couples.

Recently I was asked to speak at a 12 Step event – it feels like my first time.  But, it’s not my first time speaking.  Fortunately, thanks to the example set by my sponsor I’ve made myself available for treatment center talks, speaker meetings and once for a local university’s graduate counseling psychology program.  Some prayer and meditation the day of the talk helps me put God in charge on what will be covered.  Each time I share what it was like, what happened and what it’s like now I remember something to add, or I forget something previously shared.  I want to do a good job.  And it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Those listening are human just like you and me, and I feel right at home and in good company.  When I remember that my Higher Power is in charge, everything works out exactly as it’s meant to.  My job is simply to show up and step up.  The talk is in a few hours.  Right now I’m feeling a little trepidation and discomfort, but I’m also feeling a little excitement and anticipation about what new things I’ll hear myself share – thanks to my Higher Power.  Time to pray and meditate, let go and ask my Higher Power to take over.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am showing up to be of service.”

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

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Black and White

Yesterday, two men – one black, one white – were layed to rest in a Midwestern city.  Each in their own way were larger than life.  Each were also rich in what is truly valuable – the regard of their fellows.  And in their families they also faced the symptoms of addictions with their loved ones.

Both men were very accomplished.  One was a world renowned musician with a legacy that influences people internationally.  As a founder of a particular style of music, he created a tradition which will be carried on by his manypeers, proteges and fans around the world.  The other, built a business dynasty while acting in joint capacity to do service work with our country’s leaders, as well as those of his faith.  In his 70s he earned a masters degree, and joined the Peace Corp to teach those in newly liberated eastern block countries how to be profitable entrepreneurs.  Then in his later days he put his business know how to work for those less fortunate in his hometown.

Each of these men made invaluable contributions to their local community and the world in general.  Both were honored in life as well.  Born only one year apart, they come from the same town, different neighborhoods, but similar values.  They were not inclined to mope about regarding the addictions suffered by their family members.  They did not waste their life energy on empty passing of their days, but were instead active contributors in their own uniquely talented ways.  They touched many lives.  Yesterday, both of their lives were celebrated in funeral services, at the same time, just a few miles apart, in the same town.  My dear friend was blessed to attend the tributes to both of these great, yet human souls.  They weren’t perfect, but they were notable in the way they showed up for others in the world and passed on the gifts God gave them.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am using the gifts God gave me for good.”

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

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Healthy Boundaries

A newcomer to a 12 Step program asked me to sponsor her yesterday.  I was honored to be asked and let her know that due to my schedule, it would only be possible for me to be a temporary sponsor for her for a few weeks until she found a sponsor.

For me this decision was about holding to a boundary regarding my own sanity and serenity.  There was a time where making time for another person – at my own expense – would have been the natural choice for me.  Thank God 12 Step programs have taught me to take care of me first, so there’ll be more of me available for others – as appropriate.  I used to get an inflated sense of self esteem out of having too much on my plate and then scrambling around neurotically to keep my own life in order, while being available to ” fix ” other people.  My 10th Step amends were more frequently needed then.  No more.  Now, I can be of service temporarily or refer newcomers to other members in the program and feel comfortable doing it.  My life stays more sane, serene and I don’t impact family members in an unhelpful or unhealthy way.

Fortunately, the newcomer called back to let me know she  found someone who could sponsor her, so now I’m free to devote more of me to the obligations already in front of me.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to practice setting healthy boundaries.  Everything works out the way it’s meant to when my Higher Power has the control, because I let go.  Thank You God.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am divinely guided and directed, and all is well.”

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

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Solutions For The Pity Party

Several women have called recently very disappointed to be having a pity party in the beginning of this new year.  They can’t seem to get their minds to stay out of that spiraling self pity place, and they want help.  They’re already into the solution just by calling their sponsor, or another person in 12 Step programs, and talking about it.  Awareness is half the solution.  That is a hopeful reminder.  So once we’re aware, the next thing to do is remember to use the tools of the program.  These simple life skills work.

The solution starts with the awareness learned from attending meetings, listening to the experience of others and reaching out for help.  We can also repeat the Serenity Prayer for help, read a program reader, meditate and of course, work on Steps 1, 2 and 3, do a Gratitude List, go for a walking meditation or pray.  The reading in the Big Book on Acceptance in the Chapter “Acceptance Was The Answer” in the 4th Edition of the AA Big Book is another piece that always gets me back on track as well. 

The most reliable tool I’ve learned in the program, which helps me without fail whenever self pity traps me temporarily, is to do Service Work.  This is also the most effective solution – along with acceptance – to any problem I may be having.  So what service work can we do? –  Arrive early to set up for meetings.  Fix the coffee.  Stay after to clean up.  Offer a ride to another member.  Reach out to someone who appears to be struggling right now, by phone or at a meeting.  Be available to sponsor.  Take a meeting to a homebound member.  Take a meeting to a facility or institution.  Offer to be trusted servant, treasurer or district rep at a meeting.  Chair a position for a 12 Step program event.  Find a community nonprofit where we can volunteer.  Start smiling at people – they almost always smile back.  Each of these choices are effective methods which get us out of ourselves, and shift our focus to other people and off our problem.  It’s all about doing what works – focusing on what’s right and good and working in our lives.  Whatever we focus on grows and multiplies, and if we focus on solutions our lives improve. So stop the problem spiral and focus on the solutions.  It works!

Affirmation for the Day – ” I’m noticing what’s good in my life today.”

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

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