8-2-20 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 seemed to be attracted to the sense of neutrality and fog as we denied any sense of responsibility, honesty or caring for others. What we were really 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 if 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.
“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 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 by requiring immediate results. Some of us have experienced harmful things that were not our fault. We may need time and forgiveness 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.

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 can be kind and caring. Appreciation and learning from the times when we are brash and cocky. Appreciation for knowing that acting brash and cocky is only covering fear.  Appreciation for our screw ups, because we can learn to accept them, learn from them, 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. Try being one who has a small smile or a more relaxed attitude. Wonder what it is you might BRING to others. Appreciate your life and relax a bit.

 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. Not letting 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 the things that promote happiness, as well as those that hinder it.                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Start a meditation session by, to the best of your ability, letting go of all the difficulties, fears and doubts you feel. Sit for a few minutes with a sense of complete love and compassion for yourself. Think “I am a worthy, strong person, and I do 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? How might I help others?” Let this inquisitiveness and kindness continue to radiate all day. 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?”  

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 takes courage, but we can do it! 

Being in the present, fully aware and focused on whatever you are doing is necessary if we are going to live fully. Often our heads are full of stories from the past and fears about the future.  We can’t live NOW with those distractions. We may be used to—and almost enjoy—rolling around in being a victim.  We’re afraid to take a needed action, one that stems from kindness.  But to begin by-passing the ego’s need to demean and bad-mouth ourselves and others is a strength…a step into a world that has been unavailable up to now. Whatever we’re doing, we must have the discipline to turn off the blather in our minds and fully engage in our tasks. It is really as simple as that.

Meditation begins to teach us that we CAN, even if only for a few seconds, relax our mind’s constant chatter and choose where to focus. This is training our mind to be in the present, not letting our mind choose from fear or attachment where it will take us. We can use that training in all of our life situations to begin forming a base of equanimity, of composure and stability under pressure. A foundation of self-worth that trumps any outside circumstance.

When we live what we know to be good for ourselves AND others, 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. To live with a glad heart, not a hard heart.

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” —Jiddu Krishnamurti                                                                                                                                               

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.” Another is that we are fearful. We know and are accepting of a “poor me” victim mentality. We don’t know who we’ll be if we change our habits and beliefs. These are good things to learn about ourselves. We mustn’t feel comfortable with always waiting for JUST the right moment, or we will make waiting an avoidance technique. We learn things with our heads, we feel those things, and know if they are healthy or unhealthy with our hearts. 

I do not have to succeed in everything I try; I never will. Success is getting back up, and not quitting.
I do need to love myself and care for others. Even the difficult ones, which sometimes means 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