7-11-21- Foundation


Doubt is the first obstacle that needs to be overcome.

“Every thought you have makes up some segment of the world you see.  It is with your thoughts, then, that we must work, if your perception of the world is to be changed.” From A Course in Miracles, Frances Vaughn and Roger Walsh, eds.

We need to know and believe this:I am a completely worthy person. I have inherently in me the capacity to love, to care, and to live a full and rich life that is not driven by fear or confusion.

When I first began recovery, my foundation was very shaky. I had based my life on avoidance, manipulation and selfishness. I felt a lot of fear, confusion, and reluctance to change. I didn’t know how to initiate and maintain an honest, open, caring life. My foundation at first was built on shifting, unstable sand. I learned from others how to add cement, or healthy actions, and how to add water, work with difficult thoughts and emotions. I began to form a firmer, more level foundation with new behaviors and actions. I began to respect myself and the world I lived in. 

In one sense, I now have a concrete foundation from which all things are workable. But I also need flexibility in my concepts, ideas, and attachments that allows me to grow and change. I learn to accept and seek out those things and people that are healthy and growth-promoting. And I learn to avoid, and at times say NO to, those things and people that promote unhappiness. 

Life story editing tools: These tools are the habits we can practice if we tend to harbor guilt, regret, anger, sadness, fear or resistance within any parts of our life story (as we all do). Practicing each of these skills enables us to grow rather than to remain stuck in unhelpful or unhealthy patterns. We get attached to those scenarios; so much so that we forget we possess editorial control of our story. We tend to believe that life just happens to us, when in fact we have a lot of say in how our decisions affect our outcomes.

Flexibility: Do you tend to be more rigid or more flexible in your perception of the world and your place within it? If someone wrongs you, do you hold a long-term grudge or do you listen to the other person’s story and offer forgiveness? Want to know when you’re being overly rigid in your experience of the world? Practice catching yourself in red flag moments saying things like: “I’m positive,” “That’s the only way,” “I never,” “I always,” “You must,” “I hate,” “I need,” or “That’s just how I am.”

Self-permission and Self-compassion: When you’re thinking about trying something new, do you always need someone else’s opinion? Certainly we need to learn from others and our experience, but many of us have been conditioned to find external permission and acceptance before moving forward on anything. Many of us are unpracticed at allowing ourselves to feel what we need to feel, to move on when we need to, to move forward and grow, or to give ourselves what we deserve. Of course, we must be sure we are moving in a healthy direction, not based on neediness or a sense of being deficient.

We are individuals and in the end we must trust ourselves to make our own decisions—to choose our behaviors with a strong sense of self-responsibility. When we constantly ask for permission, we are asking for those responsibilities to be shifted, thereby placing blame somewhere else.       Compassion is about loving and respecting ourselves. Having trust in ourselves is a compassionate act. Accepting the mistakes we take responsibility for is also a compassionate act. It is always best to not make a decision based on emotional neediness or fear. Be willing to stop, wait, and give consideration to any decision of importance. Feel if your decision is from an open heart or a closed head.

Forgiveness:  As we think deeply about our life stories and our relationships, it’s inevitable that emotions will surface. Are any of those emotions keeping you stuck in a place where you no longer want to be? Perhaps mistakes and guilt from the past are weighing you down and keeping you trapped in a chapter that has long passed. Self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others are compassionate skills for moving forward. For some strange reason we humans feel obligated to carry our burdens and beat ourselves up over things which we no longer control. A hawk has around a one-in-ten success rate in catching prey. If that hawk sat around feeling sorry for itself and demeaning itself for its misses, it would starve to death. It merely learns from any misses and fully engages in the next try.

Love and Gratitude: The main point about love and gratitude is that they take us out of our selfish selves—our egos—and open us up to the world. By expressing sentiments of love and gratitude, we can instantly stop the incessant me-focused chatter of the mind and instead speak from our heart. Love and gratitude can be directed at a universe full of abundance and wonder. An excellent practice for developing an awareness and expression of love and gratitude is called Loving Kindness Meditation (maitri). There are numerous maitri meditations; find one that resonates with you, and PRACTICE it. With time and effort, you will have a wonderful result.

“Unless we train the mind and heart through meditative discipline, our love will stay limited and conditional forever. But with some effort, and with the wisdom that arises through meditation, the heart’s capacity for love will grow and grow, eventually expanding to the ability to stay loving in the midst of painful situations.” — Noah Levine

If we wish to be happier, but are unwilling to make an unselfish effort to do so, we should expect nothing different.

Engagement: This is the culmination of it all. It’s the richness of day-to-day living that we must allow in, or seek out, in order to achieve a basic state of well-being. Beyond nutrition, sleep, hygiene, and shelter, we are referring to the connection with the world around us in a way that adds meaning to our life. We are responsible for creating engagement, seeking it out, or accepting it when others try to engage with us.

“If we sit around and wait for life to come to us, we will sit around and wait for life to come to us.” Brad Waters, MSW

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.

Heart Of Recovery web site  — fcheartofrecovery.com