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Old 11-30-2013, 09:50 AM   #1
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Default More Recovery Readings - December

December 1

You are reading from the book Today's Gift.
Go rich in poverty. Go rich in poetry. --May Sarton
Poetry lets us put the beauty of nature--the clouds, the flowers, and the waterfall--into words. Poetry lets us see that things, which appear to be opposites, may just be different ways of looking at the same thing. How can we be rich in poverty? Wealth in poverty means finding pleasure in simplicity, finding the core of what's important, and saying it in the fewest possible words.
We are so often caught up in the pursuit of more--more money, more toys, more prestige that we forget how satisfying the simple things can be. Think of the beauty of a sunset or a walk by the river, the fun of playing in a sandbox or swinging on the swings in the park, or in simply taking time to get something done the right way, without hurry.
What riches lie around me right this moment?

You are reading from the book Touchstones.
In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. --Albert Camus
Sometimes we suddenly see or sense opposite emotions within ourselves. The cold of winter presses in on us, and we may feel tested by its bite. Yet, when we think we cannot bear it a moment longer, we find a counterforce within, an inner reassurance that comes like a summer breeze and says we can do what we must. Perhaps it comes in a time of dark despair, and we realize that at least we've made it this far. We are pretty tough. In our deepest sadness about the loss of a love, we may find a more meaningful contact with our Higher Power.
The opposites in our lives may tempt us to fight them. One side may be very clear and obvious while the other side is hidden. When we are open, these extremes are spiritual teachers for us. As we think about life and our feelings today, what opposites do we find?
Today, I will remember that I have an invincible summer at the deepest part of winter in my life.

You are reading from the book Each Day a New Beginning.
And it isn't the thing you do, dear,
It's the thing you leave undone
Which gives you a bit of a heartache
At the setting of the sun.
--Margaret Sangster
A quality we all share, a very human quality, is to expect perfection from ourselves, to expect the impossible in all tasks done. We must rejoice for the good we do. Each time we pat ourselves on the back for a job well done, our confidence grows a little bit more. Recovery is best measured by our emotional and spiritual health, expressed in our apparent confidence and trust in "the process."
We need to recognize and celebrate our strong points, and they'll gain even more strength. Likewise, we need to practice prayer and listening to guidance first to develop our ties to God, but more importantly to be able to acknowledge when help is at hand. We can do all we need to do with God's help.
Having goals but keeping them realistic, for the day or the year, is a sign of emotional health. Not dwelling on those that can't be accomplished, at the moment, is another sign. A change of attitude is all most of us need to move from where we are to a better place emotionally.
There's never a better time than right now for rejoicing over what I've done.

You are reading from the book The Language of Letting Go.
Letting People Be There for Us
Sometimes, we need nurturing. Sometimes, we need people to support us.
Many of us have been deprived of support and nurturing for so long we may not realize it's something we want and need. Many of us have learned to block our stop ourselves from getting what we want and need.
We may not reach out to have our needs met. We may be in relationships with people who cannot or will not be available to meet our needs. Or we may be in relationships with people who would be happy to respond to a direct request from us.
We may have to give up something to do this. We may have to let go of our martyr or victim role. If we ask for what we want and need, and get those needs met, we will not be able to punish people, or push them away later on, for disappointing us.
We may have to let go of our fears enough to experience the intimacy that will occur when we allow someone to love and support us. We may even have to learn, one day at a time, how to be happy and content.
Learn to let others be there for us.
Today, I will be open to identifying what I need from people, and I will ask for what I want directly. I will let others be there for me.

I am okay about me today and that is terrific. --Ruth Fishel


Journey To The Heart

Let Yourself Be Who You Are

It’s difficult to be around people who are trying to be perfect– perfectly healthy , perfectly polite, perfectly poised, perfectly controlled.

Remember that being human means being imperfect, being flawed. Let yourself be. Let others be. Slouch in your chair. Eat with the wrong fork. Laugh out loud. Stand up and reveal who you are and know that you’re good enough.

Stop worrying that people will find out who you really are. Instead, hope that they do. Help them by openly sharing yourself and being not who you think you should be, but who you really are.

Freedom is just a small step away– a step into self-love and acceptance. When you take it, others will follow. And they’ll be grateful you led the way.


More Language Of Letting Go

Say how sweet it is

Many of us have been seeking diligently for the meaning of life, at least for the meaning of our lives. I thought I had found it when I began recovering from chemical dependency. Aha, I thought. The meaning of life is to stay sober. Then along came codependecy and my need to recover from those issues. Surely, the seach for enlightenment would culminate there.

No, not yet.

It was as if there was a big locked metal door. On one side of it was supreme knowledge of why we’re here, that elusive “thing” called enlightenment. I was on the other side of the door, locked out, searching for the key.

Over the years, I’ve been to therapists, doctors, and healers. I’ve used homeopathy, kinesiology, acupuncture, and acupressure. In my youth, I tried alcohol and drugs, thinking they were the answer. I looked for the answer to the meaning of life in relationships. Then I searched for enlightenent by avoiding commitment and romantic love at any cost. I’ve tried Gestalt therapy, transactional analysis, hypnotherapy, prayer, and meditation,too. Over the past twenty-seven years, I’ve actively participated in more than one Twelve Step program in this quest for truth.

I’ve dutifully plodded through the grinding work so many people have come to know as family of origin work. Hooray, I finally found and healed my inner child. I even have a fuzzy teddy bear on the floor next to my bed. After my son died, I stayed with every moment of my grief until I worked through it by finally accepting the lifetime handicap that I would live in spite of the loss of Shane.

I’ve perused A Course in Miracles, learning with Marianne Williamson’s help about the magic of love in all its myriad shapes and forms. At last, I opened my heart. But the search for enlightenment eluded me. I wasn’t depressed, but my spirit ached.

I started traveling, first around the United States and then around the world. I visited the vortexes of Sedona, the ancient Anasazi village in Chaco Canyon, and the Santuarior de Chimayo, the blessed Mexican church. I should have been glowing in the dark. Occasionally, I glimpsed the Light. But I still didn’t understand what life was all about. Maybe tomorrow I’ll find that key, I’d think. It seemed as if enlightenment was always one day, one step, one therapist, one book, one healer away. Over twenty years ago, when I was already well immersed in this quest, a trusted friend told me that the secret to life was simple: there wasn’t one. Maybe my friend was right. Maybe I was looking for something that didn’t exist.

One day, I stopped looking. It wasn’t that I gave up. I gave in. I stopped waiting to win the spiritual lottery. Stopped trying to become enlightened. Stopped looking for that perfect soul mate. And started surrendering to enjoying each moment of my life– just as it is.

That’s when I found joy. Or maybe joy found me.

The key to enlightenment might be simpler than we think. We’re here to experience joy. Look at each moment in your life and learn to say, How sweet it is.

God, help me learn joy.


Learning To Meditate
From the Learning To Meditate On-Line Course

by Madisyn Taylor

The following is an excerpt from the "Learning to Meditate" on-line course. If you would like to take the entire course, click here.

My wish for you is that meditation can be an opportunity to begin a simple practice of self-acceptance and self-love. If the mere idea of meditating feels uncomfortable—or scary even, that's okay. Exploring unknown territory usually does. But don't worry, you won't turn into a hippie, have to change your friends, or pack up and move to a commune in order to reap the benefits of your meditation practice. This is a gift you're giving yourself and nobody even needs to know you are meditating, but you just might love it so much that you will want to teach your friends and family.

Let's take a moment to get clear on what meditation really is. The term "meditation" can refer to any process that leads you to an inner state of relaxed awareness. There needn't be any big mystery or drama about the process itself, and there's really no right or wrong way of doing it. There are simply different techniques that can be used as tools to help you focus and quiet your mind, and we'll work with some of these as the weeks unfold. This will allow you to choose which method works best for you as a person. We have all seen the vision of the yogi sitting crossed legged wearing robes and perhaps meditating in a cave. This is not what meditation is about for most of us and starting with an unrealistic idea of what meditation is about won't make it an enjoyable experience for you. I still have a hard time quieting my mind and I find that my meditation practice is more fulfilling for me while I'm in nature. Our main purpose here is to help you develop a meditation pra! ctice that's right for you. It'll be something you feel comfortable doing and that you're willing and able to do regularly.

For those of us who already have a meditation routine, we've come to depend on the way our practice enhances our lives. We've discovered an ever-present source of inner peace and wisdom from which we can now draw strength, courage, clarity and compassion. It has become easier to respond to situations from a calm and grounded place, rather than acting out old dysfunctional patterns. We're also better able to navigate our lives in alignment with our own needs and goals. By giving ourselves the space to simply be ourselves, many of the distractions from other people's agendas melt away. For many of us, meditation has become an important way to take really good care of ourselves. You wouldn't dream about leaving your house in the morning without bathing or brushing your teeth and this is eventually how you will feel about your practice. A morning meditation will give you the quiet confidence and the strength you will need for your day.

Research has linked a regular practice of meditation to reduced levels of anxiety and stress, in addition to improved immune function and a host of other health benefits. Studies have shown that the nervous system actually begins responding differently to stressful situations—creativity flows more freely and new solutions begin to emerge. What's wonderful is that many of these advantages occur after just one session and continue evolving with regular practice. As you develop your own meditation program, you'll be able to track the benefits for yourself, from changes in your mood to improvements in your energy. Soon you will find yourself reacting from a place of centered calm rather than from your head.


The best results of meditation are seen in those who make it a regular practice. And as with anything, practicing consistently carves out a behavioral pattern that becomes more established and easier to follow over time. Try not to be hard on yourself as you begin this process. You're the only one who can take this journey and the best place to start is right where you are. At first you may not be able to sit for more than a few minutes and that's ok, but soon you'll be meditating for 10, 20 or 30 minutes with ease. The idea is to get a habit started, so aim for consistency (i.e., meditating 10 minutes a day, every day) over longer sessions (i.e., meditating for a whole half hour, every once in a while).

You generally don't need to purchase anything to start a meditation routine and no special equipment or clothing is required as long as you're comfortable. Some people buy what's known as a meditation cushion, but it's certainly not necessary. Some also find that lighting a candle or incense signals an official start to their meditation and this can help the mind to focus. (Chimes, singing bowls and bells may also be used for this purpose.) Next week, we'll be exploring some particular meditation practices that use candles and incense, so if you don't already have these around your home, you may want to get some that you'll enjoy working with.

It is not uncommon for inspiring ideas and solutions to emerge during meditation. I always have a journal with me so I can jot down what comes up and return to my session without fear of losing the idea. You may want to experiment with this as well. It can help your mind return to silence.


Let's explore a few different ways of sitting. You may be familiar with the classic lotus position or half-lotus position (see photos below) in which many long-term meditators are pictured. This position is ideal because it allows for a balanced and unobstructed flow of energy throughout the energy centers of your body. Some people cannot sit this way because they are physically inflexible or having back or knee issues. You may find that over time you gain the flexibility to meditate in the lotus position; or, you may simply decide that an alternate posture works better for you. Please don't feel that you have to sit in these positions right away, it can take time to build up to it.

The key to remember when selecting your meditation position is that you'll want to keep your back straight and your palms open or facing upward. There are a few different positions for your hands to take during meditation, but for the purpose of this course we will place our hands open toward the sky and having them rest on your thighs, knees or ankles depending on what is comfortable once you are in position with the rest of your body.

Here are some positions you might try:

Using a Chair: Sit with your feet on the floor, spine straight against the back of the chair, and your shoulders back. If needed, you can add a pillow behind you for lower back support.

On the Floor: Sit crossed legged or in half or full lotus position. You may want to place a pillow under your tailbone for comfort.

On the Floor, against the Wall: If you have trouble getting your back straight, start out sitting against a wall. If necessary, fold up a small towel to tuck under your tailbone. This is usually the easiest position for beginners, with a wall supporting the back. Over time your muscles will get stronger and the support of a wall will likely become unnecessary.

In Your Bed: If sitting up straight is difficult or painful for you, start out lying down. Most of us associate our bed with sleeping and this can be a problem, as it may create the tendency to fall asleep. But turn yourself 90 degrees on the bed if it's big enough, or turn yourself 180 degrees and do not use pillows—this may trick your mind to stay awake, as your head will be at a different place than it usually is during the night. Once you have more meditation experience under your belt, try to move from the bed. The bed may also be used in a sitting position with your back against your headboard and pillows placed under your hipbones to get a nice straight spine. Published with permission from Daily OM


A Day At A Time

Reflection For The Day

It has truly been said that “We become what we do.” It’s emphasized to us over and over in The Program that our thoughts and actions toward others color and shape our spiritual lives. Words and acts of kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness and forgiveness serve to strengthen those qualities within us that heighten our consciousness of God’s love. In asking God to direct and guide my life, am I also asking love to take over and lead me where it will?

Today I Pray

May I make a resolute attempt at acting out the way I want to be — loving, forgiving, kind, thoughtful. May I be aware that each small, attentive act carries with it an echo of God’s all-caring. For God so loved the world; may we make His love our example.

Today I Will Remember

We become what we do.


One More Day

The wise man looks at death with honesty, dignityu and calm, recognizing that the tragedy it brings is inherent in the great gift of life.
– Corliss Lamont

Chronic illness trends to heighten our awareness of the fragility of life. Some of us may even become concerned that due to poor health we may not live as long as we’d once expected.

To ease our fears, we may feel better if we initiated a conversation with family members about dying. Since each one of us have personal ideas about how we would like our funeral handled — which hymns, who will say the eulogy, and where it should be held — it only makes sense to share that information with loved ones. Few people feel comfortable talking about the possibility of dying, but with a straightforward discussion we can, at least for a while, set aside our own anxieties.

I am comforted knowing my family understands my fears and needs.
"No matter what you have done up to this moment, you get 24 brand-new hours to spend every single day." --Brian Tracy
AA gives us an opportunity to recreate ourselves, with God's help, one day at a time. --Rufus K.
When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. --Franklin D. Roosevelt
We stay sober and clean together - one day at a time!
God says that each of us is worth loving.
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