4-15-18 Learning and Living

Learning and Living

To learn:  the process of acquiring new or modifying existing knowledge.                                                                          To live:  to incorporate, to put into use; behaviors, skills, values we have learned.

In the morning we can bring to our consciousness the questions “What can I learn about myself today? How shall I live today?”   This can put us in the state of willingness to be open and find out what is really going on, instead of mindlessly doing what we’re used to doing. We can begin the day with aspirations of opening and growing. Otherwise, we let our old behaviors of pursuing personal pleasures and ways to manipulate and hide take over. We really do want to live fully. Pay attention and learn from those things that hinder happiness, and those things that promote happiness. 

We are all children in some ways, and we need to lovingly guide the child in us into a life of growth and caring for our self and then for others. And soon we see there is no difference, myself or others.

Start by letting go of all the difficulties and problems you foresee, and the doubt you feel. Sit for a few minutes with a sense of complete love and compassion for yourself. Keep letting go of your doubts and fears and just hold yourself in loving arms. Then ask yourself, “What can I learn about myself today?” This is the difference between all of the things we have heard about and learned that we keep thinking are good ideas, and actually beginning to LIVE them.

As you go through the day ask yourself, “What am I learning?” Put a sticky note up in the house, at work, a reminder on your phone. “WHAT AM I LEARNING ABOUT MYSELF?”  

It might bring the awareness that you have many behaviors that are so automatic, you follow them without thinking. For example, you may think you’ve learned that you have a resentment about someone or something. What you have really learned about yourself is that you are used to, and almost enjoy rolling around in “poor me,” and you are afraid to take an action, with kindness, that you should. Or, a time when you exhibited patience and kindness, while doing what you knew to be right. Both are learning experiences, and you then choose what you incorporate into how you live. 

We may learn that we re-act in fearful ways, afraid to be authentic. We worry what others will think. We learn that we CAN consider the question “What do I think is good and right?” Not “What will others think?” We learn that when we consider what we’re doing, or are going to do, we can modify our behavior to open to compassion and peace, instead of re-acting with selfish behaviors.  It is so wonderful to take what we have learned, and not re-act, but to act and live, willingly with kindness. Takes courage, but we can do it! 

When we live what we know to be good, we begin really living, not just trudging through life. It’s like being able to finally take a full, deep breath, instead of breathing just enough to stay alive.

We may learn that we have feelings and emotions that are difficult to deal with. It would be a bit of a miracle if that weren’t the case. We can live with these difficult emotions by accepting and working with them, not promoting and rolling around in them.  We work with ourselves by living the path of kindness, not requiring immediate results. 

Living is having a wonderful sense of appreciation. Appreciation for how we are kind and caring. Appreciation for when we are brash and cocky. Appreciation for knowing that brash and cocky is only covering fear.  Appreciation  for when we screw up, because we can learn to accept our screw- ups and aspire to do better next time. We begin living the love we are feeling for ourselves, and bringing that to others. Appreciate many small things every day. Many people walk around with a frown or a dark look on their faces, for no particular reason. Be one of those that has a small smile. Appreciate your life and relax a little more.

An active addiction only teaches us to be selfish and to get what we think we want. Even though we know we are harming ourselves and are toxic to everything around us, we continue to do it. We have not yet learned and begun living, loving, and being kind to ourselves.                                                                                                                       “I had created a tremendous amount of pain and disappointment for myself because I kept looking externally for something that could only be found in the depths of my own heart and soul. Fortunately, I realized that no lasting peace, happiness, fulfilment, worth or self respect could ever be found in other people or places – and definitely not in the “things” of the world.”  –Blake Bauer, You Were Not Born To Suffer 

The only way out of our misery, be it in an addiction or just everyday life, is to go deeper into OURSELVES. That place we keep avoiding. The only way out is in.  “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” — Jiddu Krishnamurti                                                                                                                                               The rich man is not the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least. 

Most of us have learned many, many things. And most of us have not yet begun LIVING what we have learned to be good.  One reason is that we are lazy. We’ll continue to get by on “good enough.” Or that we are fearful.  We don’t know who we’ll be if we change our habits and beliefs. 

These are good things to learn about oneself.  And then, you can decide if you want to grow, or just maintain. However, do not demean yourself if you decide to just maintain. Be completely ok with that and keep going. If you are to begin truly living it will have to come from your heart, not from your head.  It can’t be forced on you. When the time is ripe, it will occur. Keep learning and living the best you can.

At night you can ask, “What did I learn about myself today? How did I live today?”                                                                                              I cannot think of a better question of myself than, “How am I living?”

That may well be the question, or the feeling you have when you die. How did I live my life? If I can feel, I truly tried. It will be good and give a sense of peace.                                                                                                                      I do not have to succeed in everything I try. I do need to love myself and care for and love others. Even the difficult ones, which sometimes means me.

LIGHTEN UP. That is what permits you to see clearly: the light, not your darkness.                                                                                      

How do you fill your bucket?  One drop at a time.
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for.                                                                                    The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Heart of Recovery Website:  fcheartofrecovery.org