Note the irony. Today I am not going to write about creative ways to conceive and perpetuate the issues in my life. It makes sense that it’s understand our problems tend to be around us without any help from the internal process… but the question I must pose is how many of them are actually something NOT of our own making and, conversely, (and perhaps without even knowing,) how many have I constructed in my head?
Perhaps to the “normal” mind (what exactly is that?) this sort of thinking is out of step and a bit hard to comprehend. For those of us who entertain an ‘ism’ it is not without merit or reach to speak to the manner of thinking that provides an additional inner dialogue touching on shades of resentment, envy, self-righteous ego, fear and a dollop of paranoia.
Now I have gone and made myself sound a bit off the deep end, haven’t I. Truth be told there are some who will read this particular entry and understand completely what it is I refer to. Others, undoubtedly, will wonder if I shouldn’t somehow be medicated. Personally, I would disagree regarding myself, (but for those who might actually benefit I choose not to hold an opinion on the topic.)
What I do know is I have an extra conversation in my head pretty much at all times. It is an active sense of self-preservation, dis-comfort, fear of losing something or not getting something else. It is, in common terms, an easier way to describe or define my dis-ease. It was this dis-ease (and I spell it as I do for a reason) which brought me to my knees many years ago. It was this dis-ease that originally showed me my answers and solutions were in dangerous places doing dangerous things. The core of my dis-ease may not have changed very much at its root over the years, but the solutions have altered and provided me with ways to look at myself and my behavior, thinking and LIFE in healthier, more productive and very positive ways.
It is no longer about the problem for me, it must always be about the solution.
What problem do I speak to specifically (today?) My thinking.
Without the tools and answers I have been taught and learn over and over again within my program for living I am left with the sort of thinking which drove me to the wrong solutions in the past. With the tools I live in a peaceful and spiritual surrounding even IF there are moments where I must take my “medication” (which for me is in the form of steps, service, communication, deep breathes and contrary actions.)
The world around me is busy. It is a hectic mix of messages; social, world or work politics; bad news; change; expectations; traffic; financial demands; work & life challenges and swiftly moving calendars. Granted, along with life on life’s terms comes the beauty of the world around me (one needs only to really look) including unconditional love, rest & relaxation, creativity, travel, commitments, and success (any way it looks to you.) It is easy to be hard on yourself in the former list of descriptions and just as difficult to forget the gratitude that must always be attached to the latter. The tricks are in balancing and, as I always write, acceptance and patience regarding the person you are or have become, the way you breathe and handle each and every thing offered and the ability to grow, learn, keep an open mind and understand ones own intentions.
Intentions can (should?) make all the difference in how we think.
If I am to create a thought about a person, place or thing which can blossom in lightning speed or with hesitance and reluctance, into a full blown blockade of progress, a resentment that impedes communication or growth with a relationship or happiness as a whole… I am screwed. For me the very idea that I am not being treated correctly or appropriately “liked” for any reason or situation is merely a focal point to zoom in on and make sure I understand the motive towards the thought.
What is my motive?
If the thought is about self and not grounded in the best intention it is likely (in most cases if not all) to be a self-centered egotistic and harmful message being devised by the very dis-ease that has caused me to avoid happiness in so many other cases and periods in my life in the past. I am constantly learning to “uncover, discover and discard” as my program has taught me. The very awareness of my dis-ease has allowed me to become suspect of the problems I feel are real and ask myself if they are necessary in the bigger picture.
More than often, they are not.
Each day I must ask myself to keep my mind clear of the clutter and allow myself to move forward in thinking with honesty, love and good intention. I am not a doormat, nor am I stupid, but I am more inclined to believe my day will be better with the elimination of fabricated issues and the reminder of simple clear motives and thinking.
I would prefer to keep the creativity channeled into writing, art and the strategy of better living.
Stop. Smile. Breathe.
I sometimes think the pursuance of a spiritual life would be so much easier on a peaceful island without the chatter of voices, financial concerns, the politics of countries or corporations and the traffic of the city. My real test of spirituality, however, is not in environment, but in thought process. I have slowly learned to understand how I think, react and behave is a clear barometer for my spiritual being and where I am when I am doing so should not be relevant at all.
I tend to wonder if anyone on Earth can actually be spiritual all the time. It seems, to me, to be a bit of an unrealistic goal to be anything all the time, so I opt, instead, to do the best I can moment by moment.
I continue to learn with the strength of repetition, willingness and acceptance I have my cornerstones for continuing to learn about and attempt to be spiritual. In the end, I suppose, one could just “be” spiritual, but for many of us the process requires a great deal of practice and, invariably, the practice is a result of conscious choice. I choose not to react to you when you say something that I am afraid of or hurt by. I choose not to listen when voices or feelings I have lead me away from solid action or decision. I choose to make sure I am aware of my behavior enough so I might be able to learn, grow and change as a result of everything I do and am. These “choices” are not always easy ones, but in practice I have learned them not only to be possible but fruitful on the spiritual path.
In program I have learned that acceptance is the answer to all my problems (page 417 of the Big Book.) What does that mean? For me it allows me to put aside the situations, fears, people and rabid thoughts that block me from the “sunlight of the spirit.” If I am in my dis-ease I am unable to know the moments which are there to be experienced and enjoyed. If I have made a conscious (or unconscious) choice to be angry, hold a grudge, live in resentment, look for retaliation, pout, act in self-pity or any number of other emotions, I am foregoing the very happiness I tell myself I am striving for. I am well aware the world is not 100% pretty. I know there are problems to be solved and issues to be met. But I have also learned the bulk of what I might consider problematic in my head is usually, if not predominantly created by me. If I can look objectively at what is taking me off-center and evaluate it honestly, I am likely about to find out this is not worth the time and trouble. I can (should?) then accept whatever it is and move on towards whatever solution or result I am looking to achieve.
This does not make me a doormat. I am not suggesting acceptance and walking away from every situation life may bring. Some days I am riddled with challenge and, with the same amount and manner of thought described above I am better equipped and ready to solve whatever it is and, again, move into the better frame of mind I seek in order to enjoy my day and all it offers.
What is spirituality? Is it religion? Is it some etherial, hippy shit? Does it matter in the end? I am not a “religious” person (in terms of how those around me might describe religion in this day and age,) but I also don’t have a problem understanding the way I feel about spirituality and MY higher power could be seen as a definition of religion. Semantics. In the end it does not matter to me what others think about my program or how I believe. What matters is my feeling healthy, happy, fulfilled, hopeful, in faith and able to help others to grow, learn and change in their own lives. The better I feel, the better I am, the better I do.
I don’t dare speak to my daily attempts at spirituality without reminding myself vehemently that I live in a program of action. Nothing at all is possible without my taking the action to provide the result in the first place. Actions come in the form of changing thought, getting my ass out of bed (or just self-pity,) making a choice, going to a meeting, helping another human being, taking contrary action, or just applying my better thinking into the things I say and do. Because that is the bottom line in spirituality. DOING. The difference between a human being and a human doing creates a path I am far more suited for. This path potentially allows me to be comfortable in what can sometimes be a very uncomfortable world.
Today I am spiritual. Tomorrow I will do my best for same. The intention is there, the faith in myself is high. I am equipped and willing, I am positively hopeful about the results. To get there I must always….
…Stop. Smile. Breathe.
Every day I look at my life and do my best to speak to the gratitude for what I have and have achieved. It is a vital practice for maintenance of the spirit and soul. It’s necessary to help my thinking and to avoid regression into self-pity and the default human standard which tends to tell me I am not going to get something I want or what I have is going to be taken away.
Gratitude is my shield against fear. It is my weapon to fight off selfish and negative behaviors, defensive attitudes and self-righteous or arrogant actions and conduct. Fear will always slay my mood, my best thinking, my attitude and every single positive outcome of a potential day… if I am not able to recognize and arrest it before it does any harm.
It is in how I am able to recognize fear and battle any demons or voices that I measure my success in this life. All other results, on the inside or the outside come directly from how aware I have become in this endeavor. Can I be aware at all times? Certainly not. But I can commit to myself to try, to work as hard as possible, building routines and habits that can lead me down a path towards better results. It is within the creation of these habits and routines where I find my greatest success, it is there I am able to remotely understand the true value of gratitude and the gifts it will provide to each day.
How is “success” measured? Can it be as simple as accomplishing a task? Does it need to be as complex as reaching astronomical financial goals? Are we a failure if either of these things is not met? Is it not true that every failure is in itself a success in terms of knowledge and growth of the very same human spirit that strives for the changes and manifestations of accomplishment? Sometimes my failures are steps towards my ultimate success. Sometimes my failures are meant to show me I am not walking in the right direction at all.
Is success measured by comparison to others? Unfortunately that is often the case. It is so easy to look at other human beings when they are apparently enjoying the very things we would believe as our barometers of success. Why do I not have that house, that boat, that job, that relationship or that much money? I am obviously not as “successful” as whomever I am comparing myself to… that person who has what I want.
I don’t know about anyone else but I always lose when I compare myself to anyone or anything else. Invariably I am going to get the short end of the stick in this sort of match up. How do I know my life would be complete and fulfilled were I to have whatever it is I see you having? I don’t. I can’t know this. It is important for me to remember those who have things I THINK I want or need may not necessarily feel the success I am surmising would be mine should I have them.
And, as has been proven to me over and over again in my life, I am not always the best judge for what is right for me. What I have thought would spell success for me in years gone by would not suit me today. I have achieved far different, far better types of goals in the natural progression of my path. I would likely have sold myself short by “achieving” any of the goals or things I thought were the mark of success in the past. They were someone else’s experience, I am having my own.
Most important is the reminder that I should never measure success with another person at all. The true measure of success is within myself, from where I began. Today I am considerably different in so many ways to the person I have been in the past. This is a direct result of willingness, an open mind and the honesty to allow my world to be guided not only by achievement, but through mistakes, failure and a lot of patience in progress.
In the end I measure my success through the gratitude. Each piece of gratitude I offer is a positive offering of hope, trust and satisfaction. This attitude of acceptance and understanding of the magical measurement of each moment is going to help me to combat the need to wish to be or have something more. Time will provide what I am supposed to have and be. Time will undoubtedly gift me with many more successes. I am going to educate and do my best each day to achieve these, but whatever they are, the goal really only needs to be happiness.
Stop. Smile. Breathe.
There comes a time when a soul must reach certain conclusions. For me the time has come with aspects of my life which represent solid chunks of my existence. I am not unhappy, I am obviously aware, but I have repeated cycles coupled with expectation of result so many times (and recognized each with sadness, disappointment and self-effacement.)
At what point do I stop and change the course? Where do I recognize the very definition of insanity in my life and turn around my own behavior or the situation I have trapped myself within?
I have been taught the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. I find this to be dangerous and unfulfilling, a time waster and a complete confidence sucker. If I were to look at this closely it will only illustrate my inability to recognize patterns that aren’t productive and a possible, if not probable, fear of change and/or acceptance.
Let’s discuss acceptance first.
If I were to work with something that isn’t within a successful pattern, but forget or consciously ignore the writing on the wall, does this mean I am practicing insanity and not accepting the truth about said situation? Is it not possible that an argument could be made for “if at first you do not succeed, try, try again?”
Yes and no.
I come from the school of learning my lessons the hard way. I have often described my larger revelations and life shifts as of the “brick wall” variety. I will bang my head incessantly against the symbolic wall until I am bloodied and wounded. Hopefully, if the situation isn’t too far gone and can be salvaged, the lesson will finally become obvious and the insanity of the behavior will dissipate and finally end completely.
But that brings me to change. If I am not capable in some instances to ACCEPT something is not working, it is probably not going to be any different and the behavior or action will likely continue. If I am able to realize the continued lack of result or, in some cases, undesired conclusion is my fate in any area, it would make sense to change my thinking, my direction, my process, and my path in order to better arrive at a conclusion more fitting to the direction I am intending to go.
And it’s important to remember that sometimes I simply will not end up in a direction I had originally intended. Even more important is to know this may be the blessing in disguise.
Insanity in behavior does not always mean those practicing said behavior are insane. In some cases they can be classified as strong-willed, stubborn, possibly controlling or perhaps, if the spin fits, just incredibly motivated to succeed in an area where the challenges could be too great to arrive at that station. I can easily say that I am nowhere near clinically insane. I am intelligent and I possess an ISM that compounds that intelligence into a state of over-thinking and needs for approval and perfection (which I am smart enough to know does not exist, but affected enough to try to achieve anyway.)
All of the insanity I have experienced in my decision making over the years has resulted in some manner of conclusion. Whether the attempt to achieve a goal is mis-guided, ill-prepared, premature or completely off the reality mark, it is more important in my world to have taken the action. What has to be learned when something is not fruitful is the very essence of the motive. Does this action really need to provide a result? Is the result I am trying to achieve the correct one? Am I willing to stop and re-think a process? Is my mind open enough to always look at my part in any situation and understand if my action is incorrect or if there may be a better way to get to a goal… even if it isn’t precisely what I originally thought it should be?
Acceptance and surrender can sometimes feel a bit painful or defeatist, but in my experience both have offered a clear mind and a better end result.
This has never failed me.
The conclusion for today is that it is time to consider a change in process, direction, path and method in my current situation. I am not yet been bloodied in the attempts made to be something and somebody in this place. I will do my best to avoid having to learn the hard way (although I do feel, without any doubt, I have done what I am doing enough times to constitute the impending result of the definition of insanity.)
Therefore I am ready to shift.
Stop. Smile. Breathe.
Is an intention always clear? Can it be something we just know like an intuitive thought? Is an intention, intentional? (“It wasn’t my intention to hurt anyone!”) Why does it not always feel obvious what our intentions might be when it can feel so straightforward when we assume what other’s intentions are towards us?
Intention is a foundation of my personality. Whether I am conscious of what it is or not, an intention is always there (whether related to the action or not) and a key to the thought or action being done. It is interesting to note that although I have not always been honest with my intentions and, for a good part of my younger life, may have lived by a rule where intentions were not the most important factor, they may have suffered as a result.
Today my motives are almost always honorable (we are not saints.) The greatest percentage are good because the cosmic flow of cause and result has helped me to understand the very simple theories regarding what goes around coming around. I can claim awareness of an intention before the action taken and arrest the behavior if it is resulting from anger, resentment, fear or retribution. I can stop, breathe and make sure I am not about to manifest more of a problem in the action being considered with a misguided intention and recognize it does not have my (or others’) best interests at heart.
But my ISM is powerful and can lock in a justification for an intention when it is not where it ought to be. I have to be extra vigilant against my disease allowing my better judgment to be manipulated into believing the process of thought or action I am about to take is warranted when the intuition telling me otherwise is being blatantly ignored or blindly missed. The wrong intention is not going to create happiness and is likely going to send any hope for peace in a situation into a downhill spiral for some time to come.
It is not just my own intentions that come into play as a result of my ISM, either. There are the intentions of the people around me that come into play. The irony is in my belief that I know what those intentions are. As if often the case, I am not always able to fully understand what MY intentions towards a thought or deed may be, how would I possibly know the true intentions of others?
How often have I decided I know what the intention of another person is for doing or saying something when I am simply creating it as a result of fear, resentment or anger. You haven’t answered my text so your intentions MUST be to punish me for something that I have done.
Wrong. Your intentions cannot be known to me without your telling me (somehow) what they are. The irony with many of us is in believing that the intentions i’ve created for you are correct. More than not, these intentions or the reasons we may be creating them are unknown to those who are the focus of our possibly misguided action. Sure, it is possible to intuit or have a “feeling” about something someone is doing or saying… but, in the end, we really only know our own true intentions.
Intention can be powerful and possibly dangerous. Considering it is a mainstay in our actions it becomes even more important to be aware of our motives at all times AND understand the capability this awareness can provide us and the results that can be obtained.
There is an old proverb that states “the road to hell is paved with good intentions…” Perhaps there is irony in what could only be described as something very subjective. Is it the intention that makes the difference, or is it the eventual action taken that will provide the best result (if you want to get real heady one could also argue: “best for whom?” Perhaps the irony itself is the road to hell. Perhaps the endless thinking about self and being ‘right or wrong’ is a bit of a hell.
Last but not least comes the very core of the idea of intention and life itself, I suppose. Is the intention my will or is it God’s? If I am going to live by the practice of surrender and faith then, by rule, it should be easy to know my intentions will be fair and good. It is when my will comes into play that the intention runs the risk of being something that could potentially be less than the honorable motive I speak about. Is my will so evil? No, not at all… although at times it is very human. I am working to make sure my will becomes that of something outside of myself that encompasses peace, happiness & awareness. This gives me the reason to stop and think about the actions I take and the world I effect with them.
To simplify. My intentions are honest. They are positive. They are happy. They are in line with a higher power. Therefore, in conclusion I am going to say they are good.
As a result I can only hope the actions based on these intentions will prevail.
Stop. Smile. Breathe.
What is a resolution but a RE-SOLUTION?
Granted this is not the best known form of the definition, but it does contain my favorite word within it. That is good enough for me.
As we open up a new adventure and turn the page to a new chapter for us all in this onset of 2015, I thought I would look at the world I have created for myself through 2014 and see where a little inventory, and a bit of ACTION might be appropriate. Truth be told, I do not want to hold the beginning of a new year as the only means for making a change or resolving to do or be something better than before (I’d like to think this is a daily process,) but I love the symbolism of a fresh start, so with it I rise to the occasion and determine where I might be able to add a little action through correction (or continuance) onto my path.
In no particular order:
I resolve to strive for comfort over being right. This is a matter of ego, control and a false sense of pride in knowing or being something or someone that is not important to pursue. True intention and as much of a lack of judgement over other people or situations is going to provide me with a peace I have experienced, but have been known to step away from as well.
I resolve to avoid button-pushers. This can easily tie to the resolution above by allowing myself to be baited (completely my choice, and nobody else’s responsibility) into responses or reactions which will lead to my need to control a situation or be “right.” There will be times when button pushers are there and I will work with my program to handle these situations, but there are times when I can very easily avoid being with or around them by removing myself from situations or places before the need to act or react is necessary. Sometimes that sort of ignorance is bliss.
I resolve to avoid button pushing. I am not a victim unless I choose to play the role. What I put forth into this world is likely to be provided back to me. I am conscious of my behavior more and more each year as an inhabitant of the planet Earth. If I am going to nobly walk away from people or situations I know will push my buttons I must look in the mirror and make sure I am not that person (or situation) for others. As much as I would like to believe my behavior is only a conscious decision or result based solely on the actions of something outside of myself, I know better. I was born with and will take my ISM to the grave. That ISM can just as easily spark the fire as stoke it. What goes around comes around and I want to provide as much of the peace as I hope to be able to accept.
I resolve to continue my efforts to stop, smile and breathe. The conscious awareness of my reactions to the world around me are helping me continue to enjoy my life as much as possible. This has worked, I have proof. There is no reason for me not to include this in higher forms and advanced stages to my path in 2015. I cannot blame the world or anything within it for my lack of comfort, my reactions hold that key.
I resolve to trust God more. Yes, God. Call the spirit what you will, but my God has not let me down. I have grown and learned countless things with the willingness and open mind I discovered as a result of expanding myself into this concept in the first place. My need for control of situations is the problem. Trusting God to help guide me to the better choices, actions and results has proven infinitely successful. This may be the most difficult resolution of all (see my blog on “Thy will, not mine,) but it is undoubtedly the most fruitful when understood and adhered to the best of my ability.
I resolve to be more of service in all areas of my life. The simple mindset of service will continue to free me from the shackles of self. This is not to say that I do not require to take care of me (it is essential to keep my highest interests in check in order to be of maximum service to others.) What it does mean is the more I have looked at the world I live in as an opportunity to be of service, the better I end up feeling about myself. I have learned without fail about the levels of personal comfort and growth I can achieve when I am not looking to boost myself in controlled ways. It is an honest truth to give it away in order to keep it. I have more than my fair share and it has come easier to me in the years I have focused on service than the ones focused solely on my striving to gain. There is nothing wrong with wanting. There is nothing bad about having nice things. My priority is will make the difference in the resulting ‘feelings’ about who you are and what you true worth is.
I resolve to continue writing. Through the years I have committed to journals, blogs and some fiction. In 2015 I will continue to maintain the journals and blogs, but will increase my creative flow with the fiction. I have a talent and I am always very happy when practicing it. There is no reason outside of fear or sloth for me not to write. It is in my blood. It is my passion.
I resolve to look at, dissect and stay aware of my fears. Fear is my achilles heal. If I fall into fear about any part of my life it is going to take me down. I cannot stay in action or continue to grow if I allow fear to govern who I am and what I do. Fear is false evidence appearing real. I have been taught (and continue to learn) methods that will help me to combat what fear is as well as what it can do to me (and those around me as a result.) In 2015 I will do my best to stay aware of motivations, truths and whatever else stops me from the recognition of the problem in order to arrive at the solution.
I resolve to accept success and failure. I must remember to allow myself to be human, to let the mistakes or deviations get chalked up as a part of my path and a necessary lesson to have been learned. It is important to remember I am not a bad person for having made the mistake and beating myself up for being human is nothing more than the fear I must recognize and overcome as best as possible. I resolve to live in my intentions and do my best to keep them good.
I resolve to go through whatever the world is offering me. I am a known escape artist. My natural inclination is to hide, to run, to avoid. I am here (as are we all) to live life on life’s terms. Some days I do that better than others. In 2015 it is important I work with whatever is in my realm through to its solution. Getting to the other side is akin to completing the course. I will learn from whatever is given me and I want to accomplish whatever goals life’s road represents. I am growing and in that growth there will be success and failure. Both are lessons and both will award me with unlimited results.
Lastly I will wipe my slate clean. Resentment is a killer and I begin 2015 by forgiving those who I *believe* have done something to drive my resentment. As is often the case, however, what I also need to do is take one last look at my part in the situation and LET. IT. GO. There is nothing better than starting a new year by discarding whatever was toxic from the old one.
2015 has unlimited potential. My resolution is to tap it to the best of my ability. I can with the tools I have been taught and the people I surround myself with. Therefore I will.
Happy New Year.
Stop. Smile. Breathe.