1-23-22 Gracious Strength

Gracious Strength

Gracious: Compassionate, kind, thoughtful, welcoming, ease of countenance, helpful. Be humble, be gracious and life will provide rewards you could not have imagined. 

Strength: Capacity for exertion or endurance. Work ethic, kindness, compassion. Strength
applies the exertion of energies in a positive manner to promote growth and happiness.

I can remember a time when being gracious or exerting my strength towards a positive and wholesome path was not anywhere in my universe. Being caught up in doubt, fear and superficial pursuits of immediate gratification was my world. I do not fault myself; this was all I knew and I did not know how to progress out of it. I did have a sense—a feeling—that this was wrong and I needed to find another way, and at some point I did find a path leading out of my misery.

Today, I continue to grow and to learn that I need to take my direction through awareness, discipline and a spiritual sense, so that the ups and downs of life do not lead me around by the nose.

To be a gracious person to myself and others, I need to have the strength to begin leading a less fearful life. I must have the courage to walk MY path so that I can heal and connect with others in a healthy way.

To be gracious, I need to have no fear of what others might think of me. This fear is mostly self-doubt. When I believe in myself, I will naturally be kind and gracious to myself and others. My graciousness will in turn have a healing effect on others who are in pain. I feel the rightness of being authentic, as it lifts me above the need to acquire anything; I feel the comfort I bring to others as a path of growth in myself.

This idea is echoed in the Prayer of St. Francis when it says, “…Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted…” Instead of focusing on ourselves and our “little plans and designs,” we can focus on others’ needs. Considering others in this way can feel foreign to us as addicts. Scary, even. But if we are to help others, we must first be brave.

As we encounter fear, instead of turning away, we can welcome what lesson is to be learned from it. We can say to our fear, “Thank you for reminding me that I need to believe in myself and be strong in stepping into what frightens me, so I may transform it into an experience of courage and growth.” 

Are we patient and gracious with our family, friends, coworkers and significant others? The greatest challenge comes with those with whom we have the most contact…and the greatest
challenge brings the greatest reward.

We must pay attention to how we decide to spend our time. How much of our activity each day is intentional? We can choose a day and try deliberately setting an intention to place whatever we’re doing that day within the context of practicing mindfulness and loving-kindness.

The five strengths, or powers, in Buddhism are: Faith, Energy, Mindfulness, Concentration and Wisdom. These powers work in sequence: Faith in your true self and path creates energy, which in turn makes it possible to be mindful. Mindfulness leads to deep concentration, which finally gives rise to wisdom.

These five are powerful because they master their opposites. Faith controls doubt; energy controls laziness; mindfulness controls heedlessness; concentration controls distraction; and wisdom (or discernment) controls ignorance. When the five powers are well-developed, the mind isn’t bound by these negative energies and understanding and compassion flourish.

We can find ways to remind ourselves to step into our strength and gracious truths every day. It can be as simple as picking a short phrase such as “I CAN,” and say it many times daily. We can put reminders on our phones or stick post-it notes somewhere we’ll see them often. Whatever it might be, we need reminders to change our behavior and step forward.

We have all been afraid for long enough? If we don’t begin growing today, tomorrow will be like so many days that have passed, and so many others to come—good intentions with no results, again and again. Grow up; it’s good  to be sitting at the big table, finally!

Life is about balance. Be kind, but don’t permit anyone to abuse you. Trust, but be intelligent about deception. Be content, while you continue to improve.  

Someone who is a gracious person—and continues to be gracious in the face of indifference or conflict—can have a lasting affect on others, even if it’s not immediately obvious. Feel, at all times, as if you are a host who’s responsible for giving the proper attitude and attention to all your guests. When at home or in the grocery store, at work or in a disagreement with someone, be aware your thoughts and actions; don’t just reacting to whatever might affect you. You are the effect. What you do makes a difference!

Use your strength to control your own destiny, or someone else will. Never apologize for being human and trying. To grow, one has to fail. Only the ego – groundless fear, stops you.

A master of anything has failed more times than a beginner has even tried.

A man told the Buddha, “I want to be happy.” The Buddha said, “Get rid of ‘I,’ it is ego; get rid of ‘want,’ it is grasping at unhappiness; you are left with happiness.”

You are more than the mistakes you’ve made. You are the wisdom, love, strength, and compassion you’ve gained from all you’ve been through. Fear saps your energies, atrophies belief in yourself and tends you toward superficial pleasures that demean your spirit.

Live with intention—don’t be discouraged. Believe in your spiritual path above all else. Have your gracious actions flow from your belief.

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