2-2-20 Learning to Live

Learning to Live

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.

An active addiction may have felt good at first. We may have been attracted to the sense of peace we felt. What we were doing was glossing over the symptoms of a deeper difficulty. We can now begin to address the causes of needing to hide. Even in everyday life, if we look honestly, we know we are harming ourselves and continuing to gloss over the symptoms. We have not yet learned to love, and be kind to ourselves. Let’s begin to be attracted to the truth and the healing that brings. 

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.

There are harmful things that have happened to some of us that were not our fault. They may need time and forgiveness from us to begin healing. And we may need to work with outside help in addressing some harms. Please do find whatever help is needed to be able to come to grips with, acknowledge, and begin working through any past harms. We cannot permit an underlying sense of unworthiness, fear, pain or resentment to be a guiding force in our lives; it will hinder and misguide us.

“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, fulfillment, 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 .
We are all children in some ways, and we need to lovingly guide the child in us into a life of growth and caring.

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 accept our screw-ups, learn from them, and aspire to do better next time. We begin living the love we can feel 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. Be one of those that have a small smile or are a more relaxed attitude. Wonder what it is you might BRING to others. 

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. 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.

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” — Herman Melville

Start a meditation session by letting go of all the difficulties, fears and doubts you feel, the best you can. Sit for a few minutes with a sense of complete love and compassion for yourself.
Think “I am a worthy, strong person, and I love myself”.  Keep letting go of your doubts and fears and just hold yourself in loving arms. When you feel the love and kindness towards yourself penetrating, then ask,“What can I learn about myself today?” Let this inquisitiveness and kindness continue to radiate all day. Keep your radar working to find what you can learn and work with, from a kind and open heart. This is the connection between learning and actually engaging that knowledge. Living it. 

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 being a victim, “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. You choose to water the seeds you wish to have grow.

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 are 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. It takes courage, but we can do it!

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.”— Michael John Bobak

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, not breathing just enough to stay alive.

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 and fearful. We’ll continue to get by on “good enough.”  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 all you can do now is 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.

But do constantly continue nurturing yourself so you can grow. Don’t feel comfortable with always waiting for JUST the right moment. You will make waiting a behavior that is just an avoidance. You learn things with your head, you feel those things, and know if they are healthy or unhealthy, with your heart.

“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.” — Albert Einstein

I do not have to succeed in everything I try, since I never will. I do need to love myself and care for and love others. Even the difficult ones, which sometimes is me.

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


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