August 22, 2006

A Little of This and That


You don't have to worry about God, because He's sitting right in front of your eyes. You get just a little sobriety, and you get just a little humility. Not the humility of sackcloth and ashes, but the humility of a man who's glad he's alive and can serve. You get just a little tolerance, not too much, but just enough to sit and listen to the other guy. . .

And you realize that if you put all this together, you get a little humility, a little tolerance, a little honesty, and little sincerity, a little prayer -- and a lot of AA.

c. 2003 AAWS, Experience, Strength and Hope, pp. 201-2

Thought to Ponder . . .

Humility is attentive patience.

AA Thought for the Day
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August 21, 2006

The Result Was Nil

"The newcomer to A.A. is asked, not so much to learn new values, as to unlearn those he comes in with; not so much to adopt new goals, as to abandon old ones. To my mind, one of the most significant sentences in the entire book ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS is this:

'Some of us tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we
let go absolutely.'"

c. 1970, A Member's Eye View of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A. Pamphlet P-41), page 13

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August 20, 2006

Affirmations to Help Move Past Pain

According to Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D.,

"Every day we have an opportunity to choose our attitude and focus our intentions in the present moment." The following excerpts from her new book, "The Women's Book of Empowerment: 323 Affirmations That Change Everyday Problems into Moments of Potential," offer ways to help overcome the past.

Never allow the past to hold you back from enjoying a full life. What have you got to lose, except a heavy burden? Forgiveness is usually the key to moving forward, which is why it’s on the path to gaining insight. When you forgive yourself, and those who have hurt you, you are able to release negative patterns that visit you over and over again. More important, you will finally sever the control that a memory of another person has over you. Stay in the present, affirm the good that has been a result of a bad situation, and love your authentic self even more than you did yesterday. You can do it!

Use these affirmations to help you overcome the past and focus on moving forward.

If You Have a Bad Attitude

Today I change my focus by championing a new cause. I am the ambassador of positive thinking. I spread health, wealth, love, and happiness wherever I go. I love watching how my positive statements dissolve negativity in others. I am my own instrument of renewal of positive energy, and my positive outlook is stored deep within me. Every positive statement I make is rewarded.

If You Can’t Release the Past

Today I take all my unhappy memories out of my body and place them in a basket. My pain, my anger, and my resentments are placed in this basket. I have an angel that takes this basket of unhappiness from my hands and flies to the outer reaches of the universe and transforms it into loving energy that will revisit me later today. I forgive those around me and ask for divine assistance to hold me in a state of continual forgiveness.

If Your Family Did Not Allow You to Bloom

Spring is guaranteed to come. I can bloom no matter what the weather, because I am growing spiritually each day. Today I take time to notice how I have bloomed so beautifully despite my circumstances. I am capable of reaching for the sun and sky because that is my natural state. I am reaching upward every day and do so joyfully, knowing I am grounded in the life cycle of spiritual development.

If You Have Frequent Family Feuds

I choose to be a spectator, not a participant, in a negative energy generation. I facilitate healing by taking time to ask for divine assistance for this family’s difficulties. I visualize these family members embracing one another for their diversity and know that each one helps another on their soul journey. Every loving and positive word I speak about my family helps to generate more healing.

If You Have Trouble Forgiving

I forgive because I am capable of expressing compassion. By forgiving, I release this situation from my energy field and feel clear-headed and full-hearted. I forgive because I am able to rise to my higher self and feel lighter. My light knows no boundaries when I forgive. Life feels lighter when I forgive.

If Your Family Has Patriarchal Attitudes

I am a spark of the Divine; therefore I am of the same soul substance as everyone else. From this day forward, I recognize my gifts of both male and female energy and reclaim a balanced image of my infinite power. Those who do not believe in me are denying part of their own divine nature; therefore they have no power over me. I am supported by Mother God!

If You Have Regrets

Life is a curvaceous and fluid journey. Because I am always moving through leaning stages, I cannot look back or measure. I learn though my relationships because that is how I begin to define who I am. Nothing is unforgivable in life. I know nursing this hurt is holding me back from fully being with other; therefore I choose to thank the universe for giving me another opportunity to develop my soul by knowing another person. I move easily through this experience.

If You Repeat the Same Patterns

I keep experiencing the same events in my life because I have not learned a lesson at the deep level of the soul. I am committed to changing my behavior, attitude, and negative belief systems. I learn from past mistakes. Life is a self-educational process and I am a perceptive individual. I watch others as they model what I need to learn. I love all my talents as well as my imperfections because that is what makes me the beloved person I am.

From “The Women’s Book of Empowerment: 323 Affirmations That Change Everyday Problems into Moments of Potential,” by Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D. Copyright 2005.

Charlene M. Proctor, PhD helps lead people to a more positive mind and heart set. You can read more about her on her website, The Goddess Network.

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A Program of Action

The Value of Human Will

Many newcomers, having experienced little but constant deflation, feel a growing conviction that human will is of no value whatever. They have become persuaded, sometimes rightly so, that many problems besides alcohol will not yield to a headlong assault powered only by the individual's will. However, there are certain things which the individual alone can do. All by himself, and in the light of his own circumstances, he needs to develop the quality of willingness. When he acquires willingness, he is the only one who can then make the decision to exert himself along spiritual lines. Trying to do this is actually an act of his own will. It is a right use of this faculty.

Indeed, all of A.A.'s Twelve Steps require our sustained and personal exertion to conform to their principles and so, we trust, to God's will.


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Give to Receive

From "Many of us thought we were special:"

"We in A.A. believe alcoholism is a disease that is no respecter of age, sex, creed, race, wealth, occupation, or education. It strikes at random. Our experience seems to show that ANYONE can be an alcoholic. And, beyond question, ANYONE who wants to stop drinking is welcome in A.A.

"Day by day, one day at a time, I have kept away from that first drink. A.A. has become my way of life. I realize that, paradoxically, I keep my sobriety by giving it away. I am responsible whenever and wherever a hand reaches out for help. What freely I received, freely I must give."

c. 1976, Do you think you're different?
(A.A. Pamphlet P-13), pages 7 & 21 Technorati Tags: , , ,

August 19, 2006

The Spiritual Path

A.A. Thought for the Day

"To one who feels he is an atheist or agnostic, a spiritual experience seems impossible, but to continue as he is means disaster. To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face. But we have to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life-or else. Lack of power is our dilemma. We have to find a power by which we can live, and it has to be a power greater than ourselves." Have I found that power by which I can live?

Meditation for the Day

Sunshine is the laughter of nature. Live out in the sunshine. The sun and air are good medicine. Nature is a good nurse for tired bodies. Let her have her way with you. God's grace is like the sunshine. Let your whole being be enwrapped in the Divine spirit. Faith is the soul's breathing in of the Divine spirit. It makes glad the hearts of human beings. The Divine spirit heals and cures the mind. Let it have its way and all will be well.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may live in the sunshine of God's spirit. I pray that my mind and soul may be energized by it.

©Hazelden Foundation PO Box 176 Center City, MN 55012©

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August 18, 2006

We Belong Somewhere

We discover -- but can hardly dare to believe right at first -- that we are not alone.

We are not totally unlike everybody, after all. The brittle shell of protective and fearful egocentricity we have dwelled in so long is cracked open by the honesty of other recovered alcoholics.

We sense, almost before we can articulate it, that we do belong somewhere, and the loneliness starts rapidly leaking away. Relief is too weak a word to convey our initial feeling.

c. 1998 AAWS, Living Sober, p. 34
AA Thought for the Day

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August 17, 2006

Today, I will think healing thoughts.

When you feel anger or resentment, ask God to help you feel it, learn from it, and then release it. Ask Him to bless those who you feel anger toward. Ask Him to bless you too.

When you feel fear, ask Him to take it from you. When you feel misery, force gratitude. When you feel deprived, know that there is enough.

When you feel ashamed, reassure yourself that who you are is okay. You are good enough.

When you doubt your timing or your present position in life, assure yourself that all is well; you are right where you're meant to be. Reassure yourself that others are too.

When you ponder the future, tell yourself that it will be good. When you look back at the past, relinquish regrets.

When you notice problems, affirm there will be a timely solution and a gift from the problem.

When you resist feelings or thoughts, practice acceptance. When you feel discomfort, know it will pass. When you identify a want or a need, tell yourself it will be met.

When you worry about those you love, ask God to protect and care for them. When you worry about yourself, ask Him to do the same.

When you think about others, think love. When you think about yourself, think love.

Then watch your thoughts transform reality.

You are reading from the book The Language of Letting Go. Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

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August 16, 2006

Powerless, Not Helpless

An admission of personal powerlessness over alcohol is a cornerstone of the foundation for recovery.

I've learned that I do not have the power and control I once thought I had. . . But I've also learned I am not powerless over some things. I am not powerless over my attitudes. I am not powerless over negativity. I am not powerless over assuming responsibility for my own recovery. I have the power to exert a positive influence on myself, my loved ones, and the world in which I live.

c. 1990 AAWS, Daily Reflections, p. 11

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August 07, 2006

What We Feel Is Not Who We Are

Our emotional lives move up and down constantly. Sometimes we experience great mood: swings from excitement to depression, from joy to sorrow, from inner harmony to inner chaos. A little event, a word from someone, a disappointment in work, many things can trigger such mood swings. Mostly we have little control over these changes. It seems that they happen to us rather than being created by us.

Thus it is important to know that our emotional life is not the same as our spiritual life. Our spiritual life is the life of the Spirit of God within us. As we feel our emotions shift we must connect our spirits with the Spirit of God and remind ourselves that what we feel is not who we are. We are and remain, whatever our moods, God's beloved children.

-- Henri Nouwen

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Digging Into Our Spiritual Resources

When someone hurts us, offends us, ignores us, or rejects us, a deep inner protest emerges. It can be rage or depression, desire to take revenge or an impulse to harm ourselves. We can feel a deep urge to wound those who have wounded us or to withdraw in a suicidal mood of self-rejection. Although these extreme reactions might seem exceptional, they are never far away from our hearts. During the long nights we often find ourselves brooding about words and actions we might have used in response to what others have said or done to us.

It is precisely here that we have to dig deep into our spiritual resources and find the center within us, the center that lies beyond our need to hurt others or ourselves, where we are free to forgive and love.

From the Henri Nouwen Society.

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August 04, 2006

Spirituality and Religion

When you think of being spiritual rather than religious, you are probably feeling that you don't want to simply practice a piety that is antiquated, or that causes you to feel guilty for what you have and have not done in your life.

But, when you feel spiritual, you will naturally be led to embrace a practice of piety. Religious piety does not have to be a straightjacket.

There is an immense amount of freedom in how you give voice and substance to the spiritual longing you feel within.

* Perhaps your piety will involve simple silence and centering.

* Perhaps it will be lived out in the way that you show care and compassion to others.

* Perhaps you will articulate it through the way that you pray and surrender yourself to the God who loves you with infinite constancy.

* Perhaps you will manifest it through embracing such virtues as patience, kindness, truthfulness, or unconditional love.

Being religious doesn't mean simply surrendering yourself to a church institution.

Rather, being religious is choosing to live a life that honors and claims the relationship with God that your soul so deeply craves.

by Renee Miller
from"Questions of Faith and Doubt"

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Live in Hope

Eight things you and your family can do to increase hope in uncertain times.
By Naomi Drew

"I've been so overwhelmed by what's going on these days," a mother recently said regarding world events. "I feel like there's nothing I can do and the world's spinning out of control." Her words echo the sentiments so many of us feel each time we pick up a paper or turn on the news. War on the horizon, nuclear weapons in North Korea, a family of six killed by a fire bomb in Baltimore, the massacre in Bali -- the list goes on. Right now, it's easy to lose hope. However, loss of hope doesn't have to be the path we walk down.

You see, hope is actually something we create. It's not something that magically appears from an outside source. We each have within us the capacity to generate hope. It's critical that we be absolutely intentional about nurturing hope in our lives and the lives of our children.

Now more than ever, overcoming fear and holding onto hope are essential. The eight steps below will enable you do this. Try these steps yourself and teach them to your kids. Do some of these as a family. Know that it is within your control to become more hopeful. Don't let the news be your undoing. You can take charge. Here's how:

1. Be kind to yourself.
Think about what you need most, and then do it. Is it a cup of tea, a brisk walk, some downtime, quiet music, a little rest, or reading inspirational literature? Whatever it is, grant yourself permission to do it, even for just a few minutes. If you're at work, take a "care-break" where you take care of you for a brief moment. These small moments accumulate and transform the texture of our days.

2. Create a 5-minute silence ritual every day.
Light a candle and pray, meditate or reflect. You don't have to believe in any particular deity to make this work. Just silently reflecting in front of a lit candle is extremely nurturing and healing. This may be the one time of day when you feel connected to your own soul, and perhaps even something larger. Don't skip this step -- it's very powerful.

3. Curtail your intake of news.
Oversaturation with news right now is detrimental to emotional health. If you read the newspaper in the morning, let that be enough. You don't need to turn on the TV or radio too, especially before bed. Consider putting a complete moratorium on news at least once a week. Anything you missed will be there tomorrow. Drastically curtail any news you let your children watch.

4. Treat each day like the precious gift it is.
Be vigilant in looking for things and people to appreciate. What if today was the last day of your life? How would you want to live it? Ask yourself this question throughout the day. It will help you let go of the countless petty annoyances that tend to throw most of us off balance.

Shift your gaze to appreciation. Who and what are you grateful for? Make a list each day and add to it.

5. Every morning, afternoon and night, take a 30-second break to look at the sky, breathe deeply and offer thanks.
Even though the world has its problems, the sun still rises in the sky each morning, and we're awake and alive when we get out of bed. Let the sky be a touchstone to hope. Think of other people around the world as you look at the sky, and know that we all share this planet together. Among all of us, we have the ability to create solutions to the problems that now exist.

Trust that this is so.

6. Express love tangibly.
Hugs, words, notes, acts of kindness -- be indiscriminately generous with all of them. Surprise a friend with a hug. Hug and kiss your kids longer and with deeper feeling. If you like how the clerk treated you in the store, thank her. Leave your partner small notes expressing gratitude for kind acts. Doing all of this adds warmth and positive energy to our lives and the lives of people around us. It's also very comforting both to the giver and receiver of each loving act.

7. Say this affirmation everyday and see where it leads you: "I am the key to peace."
Most of us believe, erroneously, that peace will come from people or institutions much larger than we. Just the opposite is true. Peace starts with each individual and it will only come to this world from the people themselves. It is critical that we each create peace in the small and large moments of our lives. We must live it in our words and actions rather than giving in to fear, hatred, or resignation.

8. Make a difference.
Reach out beyond your normal scope. This is your opportunity to live your greatest promise, highest self. Don't wait. Each time we make a difference in the lives of others, we create hope in ourselves. By reaching out to someone in need, be it your neighbor, a Guatemalan orphan, or people in a homeless shelter, we add a little more peace and hope to the world. Our accumulated gestures of care and compassion will ultimately transform our lives and the lives of others. We are each the source of that transformation. Knowing this gives me hope.

From Today's Daily Inspiration --

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