Surrender

Do NOT Pray for Patience!

DSCN4867

When I was fairly new in recovery, my sponsor told me that under no circumstances should I ever pray for patience.

While patience is a virtue, she said, if I pray for it, I am sure to get tons of opportunities to practice patience.

Holy cow, was she ever right.

The Patience post I didn’t write

I was mad last week.  I was mad the week before last week.  In fact, anger was oozing out of my pores for no apparent reason (or so I thought!) and even the state of anger made me mad.

I sat down to write last week’s recovery post for Thursday and here’s what I pounded on my keyboard:

“This is a tough post to write, folks, because I’m struggling mightily with anger.  I went to my regular 12-step meeting at noon today and the meeting leader’s topic was one that usually causes people to groan in protest.

“I won’t tell you the word that came out of my mouth when the topic was announced but it rhymes with buck.

“The topic?  Patience.”

That’s it.  I couldn’t write any more words; the flow in my head was jammed by a log or maybe a #2 pencil.  I anguished so much that the post didn’t get finished and I did a rare pass on my posting scheduled (that made me mad too).

Since last week I’ve learned–and accepted–that an angry rant about patience comes directly from my ego.  And the log/#2 pencil jam that clogged my word flow?  GUS (I write about GUS at this link.) doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself.

A more serene post on patience

“Variety in experience is necessary for our continued growth.”  I believe, as yesterday’s reading in Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women suggests, that my ego is constantly picking at me, sort of like a chicken plucks at the ground.

My damnable ego tries to get me to believe I deserve a less tumultuous journey, one less fraught with difficult challenges. My ego also handily dodges the idea that the measure of my journey’s success lies in how I handle the tumult.

I don’t want to, stomps my seven-year-old self.  I hear you, my 53-year-old self replies in support.  Nor should you have to.  You deserve an easier time.

Pa-shaw!

What my entire self deserves is the ability to really believe in the virtue of patience.  In fact, once I place value on the idea that everything is perfect in this moment, I have arrived on the doorstep of patience.  And I didn’t have to pray for it (Except thoughts can be prayers, but that’s another blog post entirely!).

I’ll leave you with this final thought by David G. Allen on patience, shared recently by a Facebook friend: “Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.”

What are your thoughts about patience?  Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share? Please post it in the comments section below.

And thanks for your continued patience with me!

Photo courtesy of pippalou

My Dog Found Her Stairway to Heaven

photo 4-1

Two steps up a doggy ladder, one lunge onto a padded window seat and a final 45-degree turn and jump onto the counter where Jazzy’s heaven waited:  jars of dog treats.

Her canine feet remain planted on earth, although I nearly kicked her butt to Kingdom Come yesterday afternoon.

Jazzy my Jack Russell Terrorist usually keeps us laughing with her spirited disposition, her 90-mile-an-hour-out-of-the-gate pursuit of life and her dogged (pun intended!) adoration for her humans.  (Click here for my first Jazzy post in 2010, shortly after we adopted her.)

But her limitless boundaries push waaaayy past our tolerance when she pulls one of her terrorist acts.

She was supposed to set an example for her injured cousin, Dora.  Jazzy was supposed to keep Dora company while we ran out for a couple of hours.

Dogs don’t rationalize so who needs to take responsibility?

Jazzy will always go for the treats. Period.  We were the ones who didn’t think through the decision to put her in Dora’s room while we were gone, a room with temptations.

Yes, I yelled at Jazzy for something that wasn’t her fault.  I guess I should have yelled at myself.

I really wish I could learn not to yell at all.  I want to take things in stride, to act like there are no big deals, to let my dog be a dog and me be a human.

Here’s the good news:  I’m better than I once was.

Give ourselves (and our dogs) more grace

Maybe you yelled at your dog or your kid today.  Maybe you swore at someone in traffic or maybe you flipped off a co-worker.

I’m not excusing your behavior, but when you start beating yourself up, I will ask you to stop.  What’s done is done; you can’t change the past and perpetuating the negative vibes with self-flagellation is pointless.

Let whatever happened drift into yesterday.  Let it go. Stop giving actions of the past–even those of 10 minutes ago–any power over your NOW moments.

You are worth more than the angry way you treat yourself.

You know what?  My dog is worth more than the angry way I treat her sometimes.  Same with my sweetie.

We all deserve love not anger. Love is the antidote for anger.  Love is the real stairway to heaven.

Keep it real, keep it light, keep it love. For a light-hearted Jazzy post called 5 Benefits of Checking Your Pooch’s P-Mail, click on the link.

 

Easy Prayer of Surrender: “Ok, God, Whatever”

_DSC0397

I’m experiencing the Big Book’s promise that fear of economic insecurity will disappear.

For those unfamiliar with the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (the book carries the same name as the organization), millions worldwide rely on its teaching. It’s also known as a textbook for recovery.

I don’t claim to know the book backwards and forwards, in spite of its persistent connection with my life for more than two decades. I know people who quote the book constantly, often flinging the words about with the fervor of a street preacher.

For me, the Big Book is not a sacred text so much as it is the spiritually inspired wisdom of the co-founder of AA. For that reason, I hold it in respectful esteem.

The Promises

The familiar phrasing of the most quoted promises sandwiched between AA’s eighth and ninth steps begins, “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through.”

The promise that comes a bit later in the section reads, “Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.” That’s the one that is filling my mind and heart right now.

Here’s why:  Somewhere during the last six weeks as my sweetie and I maneuvered through our move, I crossed an imaginary line from spastic, worrying and fearful Beth to calm, peaceful, come-what-may Beth.

After we found out that we qualified for our beautiful new home, I heaved a huge sigh of relief. I dodged a bullet because I’m still a fledgling self-employed entrepreneur with a credit score that’s lower than I would like.

But that was a turning point for me.  Suddenly, I viscerally believed the words that my sweetie continued to say to me: “Everything is going to work out just fine.  God’s got this.”  Looking backwards at that line in the sand, I knew then that she was 100% correct.

My new MINI

I felt so good about my new-found surrender and belief in the Promise  that I decided to get a new car this week too.  Five days after we moved in. I know–crazy, right?  Uh huh.

On Tuesday, I spent nearly seven hours in the company of the fabulous folks at the MINI of Plano, TX dealership and I had a great time!  If you’re in the area, be sure to check it out.  There’s no other car dealership like it, I’m convinced!

Throughout the back-and-forth negotiation process (which I actually enjoyed), I was cool and confident.  I set my intention of what I wanted and if it didn’t work, I was okay with walking away without malice or judgment.  The thought of adding a car payment to my already tight monthly cash-flow was just that:  a thought.

Zero fear of economic insecurity.

Can I share a secret?  Since this new understanding and acceptance of the Promise settling around me, I’ve had an unexpected check arrive, picked up a new client and just yesterday, learned of a major project that I’ll soon undertake.

My lesson?  Let go and the return is immense! My secret weapon is the shortest, easiest prayer of surrender I’ve heard.  Three words:  “Okay, God, whatever.”

Try it. Set your sites on the Promise, test the prayer of surrender and let me know what you experience.  Hold on for a great adventure!

Photo courtesy of jemolesky

It’s OK When Your Life Doesn’t Go as Planned

Snoopy and Charlie Brown

 

My friend Lisa Frederiksen over at breakingthecycles.com posted the above picture on Facebook yesterday.  I think she grabbed it from Buddhism’s Facebook feed.

The photo’s caption resonates with me because the last six weeks have not gone as I planned and that’s okay.

The best-laid plans

The line from the Scottish poem by Robert Burns, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” is so true, isn’t it?

There’s also a ditty from recovery rooms that goes like this, “I plan and God laughs.” Lest you think I’m over-reacting or even being silly, try making a decision on June 1 to move from one house and then taking up residence in another house six weeks later which was three days ago.

Oh, and for three weeks in the middle, my sweetie and I house- and dog-sat at our home away from home.  If you picture a triangle, place each house at the three points–each one about 25 miles from the other.

Looking at houses, buying furniture, selling furniture, packing, AND one vehicle (mine) going on the fritz.  Oh, and working too, when we weren’t dozing in the pool (hey, this is a full disclosure post).

There were few days in the past six weeks that went according to MY plan.  I’ll let you in on a secret, though.  The days that were good days were the ones when I said first-thing, “Okay GUS (God-Universe-Spirit), I’m pretty sure I’m gonna mess things up today so I need you to lead me where you need me.”

3 things we did right

Moving when you’re part of a couple is a tricky thing.  I won’t tell you the entire time was without sharp words and a few tears shed, but we came through not only intact, but pretty damn good, thank you very much.  We did three things right.

1.  We respected our individual packing and unpacking processes. One of us is methodical and completes a small area (or box, in this case) while the other is more, shall we say, “creative.”  One of us has more pronounced control issues–yes, it’s me!

2.  We took care of our bodies.  Let’s face it, moving is much easier for a 30-year-old body than for a 50+ body.  As little as a few years ago I might have muscled my way through by carrying too-heavy boxes.  This time, I gave myself grace and let my rational self remind me that I have degenerative disc disease and that I’m under ongoing chiropractic care.  I heeded my limits and paid others to do the work for me.

3.  We knew when to say when we needed to stop.  As I’ve aged, both in recovery and in biology, I’ve learned to give myself grace around letting myself stop.  Take a break, take a nap (usually on a heating pad) or plop in front of the television for a mindless hour or so.

Stick a fork in me. I’m done! Gone is the frenetic pace to finish; instead I surrender. @bheretoday (Click to Tweet!)

There’s a fourth thing that’s been on my mind throughout the last six weeks.  It’s grace; giving ourselves permission to be good to ourselves.

Why in the world would there be any other way?

Photo courtesy of www.snoopy.com

Have You Found Freedom in Recovery?

file000165458860

I found the rooms of recovery and a new way of living in 1991. While I recall the facts that surrounded the final days of active addiction, sometimes it’s hard to bring the feelings and emotions from that time to mind.

Hanging out with people new to recovery helps bring those early days closer to the surface for me. I so love watching new folks blossom during the early months of their recovery. That too takes me back to my first few months.

Once the fog cleared from the initial withdrawal of substances, I remember a sensational feeling of freedom. Suddenly, every experience was brand new again, as if I had been released from a bubble where all my senses had been cut off from my surroundings.

Recovery set me free.

I wonder, have you asked yourself what you’d like made new in your life so that you can be free?

Recovery’s beauty shines for you upon realizing that you get to decide–every day–what passes for meaning.

You.  Beautiful you.

Your eyes suddenly see clearly what was previously cloudy. Now your gaze falls upon the recognizable without wondering how it got there.

You’re released from the tightly wound death grip that formerly restrained you in a satanic clutch.

You can breathe again, deep, cleansing breaths, previously impossible with the weight of a thousand hammers holding you down.

You think and each thought takes you closer to the pureness of delight.

You wonder how you could have waited half your lifetime for this born-again experience. But you know you had to wait, had to know you were beyond the aid of anyone or anything before you could raise the white flag of surrender.

You had to be through with lounging in the devil’s den.

Your spirit, once given a glimpse of freedom, couldn’t wait to leap and drag the rest of you through the open window filled with sunlight.

So here you are at the precipice of your new life.

Freedom papers are yours to have and hold. You clutch them and leap like a child throwing himself into a cannonball pool jump.

Leap and the net will appear.  You’re told–promised–a recovery net will hold you. Can you hear the truth that yearns for your belief?

Freedom nudges you forward until your toes hover over the edge.

What if I’m wrong, the old you cries.

What the hell, your new self shouts. What if I’m right?

You jump.

Freedom is yours. Tell us about it, will you?

Photo courtesy of where_ever_I_am