8-6-23 Waking Up

Waking Up

When I was still using, I used to wake up not feeling well—sometimes really, really crappy, and was consumed with guilt and confusion. I was not always glad that I had woken up AGAIN. I then concentrated on how I could maintain my addiction, which involved being consumed with ME and how to manipulate others. I was in a nightmare. I desperately wanted something healthy to connect to, but all I could continue doing was disconnecting and sliding into despair and confusion.

Today when I wake up, I’m excited to see what the day will bring. I have learned to look compassionately on my past, to recognize my old harmful behaviors and let them prompt me to continue moving in a healthy direction, and to help others using what I’ve learned from my experiences. Remembering what it used to be like is helpful in recognizing how far I have come. Having an enormous sense of gratitude for that, and know that I can keep letting go of the past and not projecting the future, which allows me to progress even further, right now.

Today, I’m sometimes still absent, numb, confused, in pain and fearful, BUT—I am not consumed with these difficulties, and I am able to use my tools of waking up so I do not remain in suffering very long. I am so much more present, available to others, able to make plans and progress in life. The difficulties I do and will encounter I am present for; I don’t avoid them. I look honestly at them and use the tools of being aware and of feeling kindness towards myself to deal with them. I have found freedom from the shackles of my addiction of old as I move forward with a curiosity and sense of appreciation for whatever life brings.

Why do we still sometimes feel unhappy with our lot in life, with who we are? Basically it is because we are consumed with thinking about ourselves. What happens when we are not thinking about ourselves? How often does this sense of presence that is not consumed with self occur?

First, we have to be aware of what’s going on in our heads and hearts. Then, if we have the tools, we can make a choice about how we relate to what is actually happening, not just our version of reality. This is where Mindfulness and Awareness are essential. If I choose to go through life mindlessly, not being aware of what is affecting me or how I am acting, I am creating suffering.

My awareness is a discipline, or self-control, in that I KNOW what I am feeling and what direction I am heading before I act. I feel, I consider, and then I take action. If I mindlessly lash out with anger, or withdraw in fear, or refuse to even acknowledge what’s really going on, I will always cause harm. Sometimes it’s harm I cannot make amends for, or that has harmed me because I am remaining in an unhealthy relationship,  and I may then feel frustrated and keep trying even harder to hide or get what I want. My mindfulness is my awareness of taking an action after consideration.

I always respect myself and require respect from others. But if I am looking for validation from others, or trying to control others, I am not in touch with my basic goodness, my spirit, that needs no validation. My true sense of self  has no selfishness or fear, but is an inate goodness, a confidence and peace, that just IS.

We say yes to simply feeling what is occurring, but not to engaging mindlessly in an emotion. When we can feel our world, accept it, give space to the feelings and have kindness for ourselves, we honestly acknowledge what is taking place. We permit our newfound wisdom concerning our past and the openness of NOW to inform us as to what the right action is. We are informed from within and from without. We are not only using our intellect, or rationalizing and justifying our actions. Reacting or rationalizing always comes from our small, selfish self. What we want to do is to permit our awakened nature, our kindness for ourselves and others, to come forth. This is waking up.

Kindness, loving kindness, is always necessary when we honestly recognize our old wounds. With a tender heart, we’re able to embrace and accept ourselves so we quit hiding and acting out. We use the past as a learning experience to live better now, and in the future, never to demean ourselves. This permits our innate wisdom and compassion to become part of our active senses.

When something is ill-affecting us, we take the time to stop and honestly look at what it is. We take five or ten minutes to just sit, look honestly at, and feel the little demon that is gnawing away at us. It is a darkness that cannot exist in the sunlight of awareness and kindness. We will see that it is something we’re creating and promoting, and that we can stop doing that. What was my part, what am I in resentment about, and what do I need to do, or how can I just let it go?  Why wouldn’t we want to look at what is causing us to suffer? If we had a pebble in our shoe that was hurting our foot, we would stop and take it out.

We can begin letting it go, just like we do with thoughts during meditation. We can practice using the breath to bring us back to the stillness that informs and calms us. When we let the big “IT” go, we can open up to a vaster awareness that accommodates our problem but is not overwhelmed with it. It may well fade away, while we wonder why we were so consumed with it. Look at the amazing world that is available when we open our eyes, heart, and mind.

We appreciate life when we are PRESENT, fully awake for it, not lost in our heads with schedules, resentments, fears or just feeling a little uneasy all the time. We still feel pain, and joy, and engage with the feelings, but we learn to dance with them, as a partner, and are not overcome with them. It is all a part of living fully awake. When I am engaging a negative mindset, I get a kick, a chemical high from being upset. No different than an addiction to a drug or alcohol. 

We need stillness and a spacious mind and heart to wake up, engage well with the world and to be at peace. Breathe deeply often and relax. Let your sense of simply Being, be fully present.

We also need a desire, a wish, and a course of action to overcome our being asleep and continuing our suffering. We have to WANT to wake up.
“However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?” Buddhist quote

We often go through the day with an almost undetectable sense of unease. We need to wake up to what we are feeling and decide; there is no good reason I have to be feeling distressed, it is just an old defeatist behavior I am very used to. I will now let that go and have the courage to relax, believe in myself and be in life with a sense of curiosity, awareness of all around me and appreciation.

YES, I will make the choice to feel good, smile a bit and keep reminding myself to come back to curiosity and a sense of feeling good and whole. Especially when I am feeling upset, in doubt, angry or judgmental, I will bring an awakened sense of being to mind.
I will work on making THAT my old behavior, that I am most famaliar with. A stillness in my mind and a fullness of my heart. Ah, that is who I truly am, I feel that now. I am waking up.

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.