Posts tagged Success

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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What Happy People Have

Recently in school, I learned what happy, successful people have in common.  They have two qualities which make their lives more successful.  In fact, they’ve learned to do two things that the 12 Step programs encourage us to do regularly. 

The first is to focus on Gratitude.  My first sponsor when mentoring me about how to live a life that I can be proud of, or at least satisfied with, required me to write a Gratitude List – every day.  She required me to list 25 things each day for which I was grateful.  Now this was in direct conflict with the philosophy of daily living with which I was raised.  While almost painful to do back then, it has been a part of my daily ritual ever since.  Thank God!  Really – it changed my life to focus on good things and how blessed I am in my life.

The second quality is to practice Forgiveness.  What forgiveness has come to mean to me is freedom.  Yes – freedom from resentment, excuses, blaming, boring conversation, anger, and wasting time.  Since I’m only human and still learning – who am I to be judgemental and intolerant and impatient and harsh.  What forgiveness has given me is compassion, interesting conversation, engaging relationships, fun, and adventure.  I just realized while writing this that I am describing myself as a happy person!  Oh my gosh!  What a blessing!  I never used to be capable of thinking of myself as happy!?!  I’m ecstatic just realizing it!  Isn’t that great!?!  See this is what gratitude has done for me – and it feels wooooooonderful!

I just noticed that I tend to exclaim frequently – with exclamation points.  A sign of life energy.  Something that I never used to have much of in my days.  Anyway, as mentioned above it was comforting to learn that what the 12 Step programs encourage us to do, and what I keep learning to do – practicing gratitude and forgiveness – are rated the two most important strengths that lead to happiness and success.  Hope they work for you too.  If you are still considering whether to use them or not, just give it a shot and keep an open mind.  Do the list for two weeks and see what happens.  You deserve it.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am grateful for today.”

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

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Decisions, Decisions

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We can be debilitated in our emotional maturity when we arrive in any of the 12 Step programs.  When it comes to decisions, we may deliberate for days or weeks on items that would take the average person minutes to hours to decide.

Some of us are soooooo serious when we come to our first meetings.  We over analyze and over think things to smithereens, worrying about whether we will be making a big mistake that will be life altering.  In reality, these may actually be rather insignificant decisions that could easily be pre-empted later if necessary.  In other cases, we are great procrastinators.  We put off what would take minutes to do or decide, until the last possible moment, often injuring others and ourselves with the stress caused by the delays and the resulting difficulties caused by waiting too long and perhaps missing the boat all together.  Once, I actually heard someone quite proudly announce that they were the greatest procrastinator in the world.  Not a title I wish to hold – been there, done that.

When it comes to decisions, it’s been important for me to learn to ask for help when making them.  My sponsor, and others in the program always answered my requests for perspective when it came to making decisions early in the program.  They taught me the critical thinking skills that most adults have already developed – I had not.  It took some practice, and little by little I became more adept at examining the important aspects of situations and making appropriate and timely decisions.  They also taught me to breathe through it.  Honestly, my stress levels would get so high it impeded my breathing.  Fortunately, my sponsor noticed this and reminded me to breathe.  It’s imperative for decison making and the thinking process to have enough oxygen in the brain – they’ve learned on Mt. Everest it can mean life and death.  While not so life threatening for the rest of us, it does make a difference, so breathe.  As I’ve learned to lighten up and not take everything so seriously it’s easier to make decsions.  I can always change my mind if I’ve made a mistake.  Many mistakes can be corrected.  With new situations I can still get stuck, so I ask for help and get through it.  Regarding the procrastination, baby steps led me to stop waiting until the last minute on decisions and actions that were requiring timely attention.  As my self esteem has improved, I’ve felt more deserving of treating myself and others respectfully and attending to things in a timely fashion.  It’s kind of a game for me sometimes in that it’s fun to see how much in advance of a deadline I can complete an item.  No more setting myself up for failure, as in the past.  That was then, this is now.  I can take good care of myself and set myself up for success in all areas of my life with a little common sense and willingness to take action.  Completing projects ahead of schedule gives me a healthy self esteem, and makes my life easier.  It gives me things to celebrate, and it marks my continued progress on the path of sanity and serenity.  It feels good.  And, it allows my Higher Power to use me to be of greater service with others.

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Affirmation for the Day – ” I am making good decisons easily.”

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

Course In Miracles Lesson –  Now will I see and find the peace of God.

Practice – Father, I seek the peace You gave as mine in my creation.  What was given then must be here now, for my creation was apart from time and still remains beyond all change.  The peace in which Your Children were born into Your Mind is shining there unchanged.  I am as You created me.  I need but call on You to find the peace You gave.  It is Your Will that gave it to Your Children.

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Celebrating Success

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The other day a sponsee called to share about a situation at work.  Instead of reacting to a disagreeable email from a coworker, she paused to examine her actual goals and how she could contribute to the solution instead of the problem. 

Rather than replying with the usual nasty-gram, she asked her coworker if he knew of any other options that could give them the desired result – thus responding to the situation.  And it worked!  He came up with several solutions, was positive, and the problem is now solved.  The best part … she feels good about how she handled it – “thoughtfully” – and she feels good about achieving a solution in a positive way.  Her self esteem increased.  What a great day at work.

The people in our lives are our teachers.  They present us with opportunities to apply what we learn in the program – opportunities to “practice these principles in all our affairs”.  It’s helpful to acknowledge and celebrate our successes and share our experience, strength and hope – thus helping others.

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

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

Course In Miracles Lesson – To give and to receive are one in truth.

Practice – To give and to receive are one in truth.  I will receive what I am giving now.

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