Category Archives: Recovery
“What we don’t know supports what we do know.” — Bill Moyers
One way we show respect for ourselves and others is by respecting whatever life brings us. What prevented that in the past was our preoccupation with everything that prevented us from having our own way. Now, we live lives on a different rhythm: one of letting go. It is that rhythm to which we must pay attention.
At times letting go feels like doing nothing, and doing nothing feels like standing still. But letting go is not the same as standing still. It is active, not passive. Letting go focuses our attention on life in the present, living it fully, moment by moment, and not in a fantasy future that seems to promise the outcome we crave.
It has been said that the light of God’s love is so bright that it seems as darkness to us. When we feel we’re living in darkness, we may be living in the all-encompassing light of God’s love.and compassion for our struggle. We can trust the daily evidence of that love and know we are safe.
Weakness and fear make me defensive and dogmatic (adhering strictly to something). I often find myself becoming strident and aggressive without any apparent reason. I insult my acquaintances, hurt my friends, and even frighten the neighbor’s children. In that moment, I may feel I am being strong and assertive, and yet the effects are just the opposite of what I had intended. I am hurting, and so I lash out and wound others.
What am I hiding? Why am I feeling threatened, vulnerable and weak? I usually strike out when hiding my needs and fears. I think that, if I attack, maybe I won’t need to let anyone in. I start to make-up in my mind that if I let people in, they won’t love me; I feel unworthy and shameful.
I have come to find out however, that it is the strong that are tolerant and charitable and forgiving. As I continue to grow in confidence and strength, I will find that I too am able to be flexible, patient and open with others. I am striving to be strong, open, tolerant and loving.
- Our deepest fear (bahiehk.com)
- Learning to Overcome Fear (madihaakhtar.wordpress.com)
- Your world is created in your mind, create a great world and you will live happy in it. (runimal800.wordpress.com)
“There is luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel no one else has a right to blame us.” — Oscar Wilde
Just as we don’t have the right to judge someone else, we don’t have the right to judge ourselves. Our unhealthy script in the past was that when we did something we felt ashamed of, we judged ourselves guilty. All too often, we then punished ourselves. Was that behavior an expression of our shame and sadness because of our defects? Punishing ourselves won’t stop our unhealthy behaviors; loving ourselves will.
We are grateful that our growth in our emotional health has taught us the difference between guilt and shame. Guilt lets us feel remorse and sadness when our actions violate our values. Guilt helps us know when we’ve acted badly; shame tells us we are bad. Guilt gives us a way back to ourselves through making amends; shame leaves us hopeless. To give in to shame and self-hatred only harms us and intensifies the power of our unhealthy behaviors. There is a better way, and that’s to learn to love us.
- Guilt’s end. (charioteers.org)
- Pain and Suffering (psychologytoday.com)
- Guilt Be Gone! (companionsoflyme.wordpress.com)
“A friend is a gift you give yourself.” — Robert Louis Stevenson
More. Some of us have come to believe that more means better. But there are some things where less is more, and one of them is a close friendship. The truth is, we don’t have many special friends, and that is exactly what makes them special.
Between such friends, there is a bond of understanding, honesty, acceptance and love that is valued even more over time. Trusted friends offer us the opportunity to learn to be intimate and to let ourselves be known as we truly are, time and time again. From that mutual sharing, we receive what we need. We can take certain risks, secure in the knowledge that the friendship will endure the test. With our special friends, we don’t have to worry about being perfect because we’re loved for who we are; the way we are. These friendships possess an innate freedom.
Special friendships can be platonic or romantic. It doesn’t matter. Through good times and bad, we begin to sense a divine triangle of growth and love between ourselves, our special friends and our connection with the Universe.
To my close friends, Trish, Andrea, Scott, Kevin and Gregg, “Thank you for accepting “me” as me. The five of you were the special friendships I had in my mind when writing this blog.”
- On Friendship (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- The Gift of Friends (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Her ‘other’ best friend (psychologytoday.com)
“If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” — G.K. Chesterton
Ever turn a proverb upside down? In “Way of All Flesh” by Samuel Butler, Ernest was annoyed and surprised at his parents for wanting him to be more religious all his life, and when he did, they were still not satisfied. He said to himself that a prophet was not without honors save in his own country, but he had gotten into an odious habit of turning proverbs upside down, and it occurred to him that a country is sometimes not without honor save for its own prophet.
It helps sometimes, to see what happens. Many of us are brought up to believe that we have to do, excel, finish first, get on the team, do a good job, see it through, get it done on time, say it right, get ahead, and on and on, better and better as we go. Why? Maybe that’s the way Dad did it; and Grandma did it and that’s just the way it’s supposed to be.
And then, inevitably, we’d fail or fall. So we’d turn back on ourselves in shame, beat ourselves up, maybe turn to alcohol or drugs or some other addiction. If we were failures in public, then many of us would make up our own private world where failure doesn’t exist. In this little world fantasy ruled, and in fantasy there are only successes; everybody scores
But I have come to know that it doesn’t have to be so. We can break the spell and stop beating ourselves, and get away from Father’s angry voice or that disappointed look on Mother’s face. We can do things at our own speed, in our own unique way, on our own timeline, just for the joy of doing them.
- Procrastination (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Perfectionism (converstations.com)
- 8 Ways To Pitch Perfectionism (psychcentral.com)
The Wiccan celebration and ritual for Imbolc is fast approaching February 2nd. Imbolc brings the end of winter and of course a time of great change toward spring. Spring, even here in the desert southwest means new, rebirth, regeneration. I find that I often feel uncomfortable with the new because it causes me to reach out and expand my vision. This may be painful and I don’t like the pain that comes with change.
My life at times is cozy and gives me a curious kind of comfort and reassurance. When lonely or anxious or hopeless, I have at times turned toward unhealthy behaviors. I am used to it and don’t need to do much to keep on going in the same old way.
Suddenly, I have seen the error of my ways. Discovery, disgrace, legal issues, isolation, despair, the loss of a partner, the contempt of friends – all possible consequences of that cozy, complacent turn to my old behavior. Yes, I may have awakened one day to find that my old behavior ruined my life! This awareness has caused me to begin reaching out for the hard process of change.
Making difficult change is painful, but that pain is preferable to the agony caused by the inevitable outcome of unhealthy behaviors.
- Change is Painful (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Embracing the Change (mike.kaply.com)
- Enabling And The One You Love (psychologytoday.com)
“Every forward step we take we leave some phantom of ourselves behind.” –John Spalding
There are some people who knew all too well the person I was – before I started to focus on becoming a more emotionally healthy person through personal growth. I know that a person can’t do the kind of work I have on myself and remain unchanged. However, for whatever reason, these people cling to the toxic images in their minds of my former self. I know that each day brings more depth to my spirituality, and with that comes change.
A friend of mine once shared with me that he begins each day by saying out loud, “O.K. God, surprise me!” Although each day brings new challenge, the one thing it won’t bring is perfection. I know that each day I can expect a mixed bag of experiences and all kinds of emotions to match.
If I begin to feel discouraged because of someone’s inability or refusal to see how different I have become, or even negative about life in general, I cultivate an attitude of gratitude by looking back at how far I have come. I remind myself, its progress I’m looking for in myself, not perfection. There’s always something to be grateful for, including the ability to be grateful!
- The Priceless Gift of Personal Growth (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- “A Letting Go” for the Holidays (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Damn Heels Hurt! When In Pain, Who Knows Best Where it Hurts? (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- S.T.A.R. A Tool to Choose Healthy Alternatives (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- For All This We Can Be Grateful and Joyful (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
Do you suppose it’s true; for a human being to ever see a butterfly in our lifetime is a miracle? Someone shared this factoid with me a few years ago, and then I heard Katie Couric mention it just before she left the “Today” show. After hearing that, I did some searching of the Internet, looking for some data that would give me the odds of one seeing a butterfly or not in one’s life. Surely, someone has done the research and worked the numbers, haven’t they? I found that someone worked the odds for the Monarch butterfly; specifically those that have been tagged to give scientists the ability to track their migratory path and successful arrivals to their seasonal home. For someone to see a tagged monarch, the odds are over 3,500,000 to 1.
I love butterflies. The butterfly is a symbol of hope in for me. This past October and November found me riding the bus back and forth to the same appointment each day. From the bus stop, I walked along a jogging path used by a middle school or high school. From the very first trip I made, to my very last, each day I was “escorted” by a pair of Monarch butterflies that would fly seemingly while performing the tango. I can’t be sure if it was the same pair each day, but I am telling you honestly that every day two butterflies flew right along me for that one-third of a mile hike I made. At a time when I was feeling so lost, alone and afraid, there was my symbol of hope, right there at my side.
From what I can recall from Katie Couric’s brief mention of the odds of seeing a butterfly on this earthly plane and in our lifetime, it is important to note that even though our population has exploded, we still are not populating the planet all that densely. There is still about 7.5 miles between each human on earth if the entire surface was livable. Then there is the butterfly’s struggle from larvae, to pupae, to the big show of the transformed winged creature all worth noting. There are so many predators and things that could go wrong in this transformation. Perhaps it just isn’t necessary to know the odds. I think I’ll just be satisfied knowing that each time I see a butterfly, I’m witnessing a miracle!
- A Symbol of Hope ~ The Butterfly (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- California’s monarch butterflies in peril (photos) (news.cnet.com)
- Watch the birth of “super Monarch butterflies” that live 10 times longer than their parents [Video] (io9.com)