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November 27th: Self-Awareness

Growing up in an environment of chaos, I learned many things about myself.

I learned that negatives could actually create positive outcomes.

Growing up in a house where chaos was the “norm” of the day, I learned to depend on myself and figure out things on my own.

Never being sure of what rules at home would change, based on someone’s mood or whim, I learned to value the institution of education. School became a “safe” place where rules and structure, logic and fact, made it easy to succeed and I was relieved to find that emotion was not figured into the equation.

Because I grew up this way… I became strong, knowledgeable, and capable however… I found that in my marriage… these qualities were not always valued.

Strong… often comes across as demanding.

Knowledgeable… often is confused with controlling… or a “know-it-all” mentality.

And capable… can leave others feeling “less than…” unable to make a contribution to the relationship… especially if a spouse may be struggling with their own self-esteem or limitations.

It took a lot of spiritual footwork, and self-awareness on my part, to look at the fact that my positive character traits could also be negative character flaws.

I am thankful for all that came out of my upbringing: the negatives of my childhood created the positive person I am today.

But I must use my gifts with self-awareness and not let my shadow self use them out of ego, pride, and control.


Dear God, thank you for your life lessons. I value what I have learned for each hardship has led me to be the strong and capable person I am today.”

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November 22nd: Gratitude

My husband and I separated in the summer and by fall, I believed that I would be able to handle the winter holidays with a calm heart and a bit of perspective but…

When Thanksgiving arrived, I found myself at odds. I became angry at my husband… I felt that when he left… he had robbed me and my children of all the good memories that would come when celebrating joyous holidays with those we love.

I was sad, unable to focus on the day’s events, until one of my close friends pulled me aside and asked me what was wrong.

When I told her that I felt the day had been ruined because my husband was not present she looked at me and said, “Are you saying that his presence is more important than all of us? We are the people that love you and choose to be in your life. Don’t you value our time together? Your time with your friends and family? Your children?”

It was exactly what I needed to hear.

I was so busy mourning the loss of my husband I was not paying attention to all I had in the loving friends and family that surrounded me… all who were offering me support in my time of need… by spending the first holiday since my divorce with me and my children.

I was humbled by her words.

Today… I cannot spend my time mourning people who choose not to be in my day-to-day life. I must release them to God, pray for their well-being, and focus on the people who matter most to me: those who share their love with me daily and choose to be in my life and by my side.

“Dear God, thank you for the joy you bring me through love and friendship. Thank you for surrounding me with people who offer me kindness and support during my most painful trials.”

November 5th: Belonging

No matter how much I love to be an individual… there is something inside of me that longs to belong with the people I love, admire, and respect.

But there are groups… groups that I have been a part of over the years… that have not always brought out my best self.

My shadow self emerges when I am with these people and the urge to belong drives me to act in ways that no longer suit the person I am today.

I find myself either full of ego, self-doubt, or struggling with my self-esteem and it still, to this day amazes me, that after all of my footwork in spiritual recovery… I can so easily fall back into my former ways with certain people.

These relationships are important to me. I am firmly connected to them through shared history, love, and family ties.

I want to belong with these groups… I just want to act as my stronger, higher, spiritual self when engaging with them.

If these relationships are relationships that I choose to continue… I must work to see what is driving me to “act out” and learn to take opposite action so that I can create healthy relationships and belong with a peaceful mind and heart.

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“Dear God, help me to be my best self around all of the people I love and cherish. Help me to overcome my ego, and self-doubt, and move forward on my spiritual path.”

for Mary 10-8-35 to 11-5-17

November 3rd: Inspiration

Today I spent time playing music with one of my favorite students.

She is in college, preparing for her first big recital, where she will play the Bach Cello Suite 1 Prelude.

She is already an established rock musician, barely 22 and has already toured the world, and yet she was nervous about playing a classical piece “live” in front of me; her teacher.

I watched as she turned shyly, moved her bass away from me and finally, turned until her back was towards me and her face was barely visible.

I smiled to myself, letting her have her space, refusing to chide her as I usually do when I find my students becoming shy with me… I sat quietly… waiting for her to play, and then listened as the most beautiful music echoed out into the room and stopped everyone within the immediate vicinity, in awe of what they were there to witness.

Each of us, paused and listened, stunned by her brilliance, her talent, her shy yet lovely way in which she held her head down, as if a tiny bird, and played.

I felt my heart swell with pride, this music… so inspirational… this moment… where we all stood together in time.. in awe of this young person.

I looked at each of the faces around the room, each smiling… eyes fixed…. amazed and inspired by her talent.

I thank God each day, that I have people like this in my life.

People who stand out as shining beacons during times of pain and hardship.

If I had been in despair today… I would have never been able to hold it… or wallow in self-pity.

She inspired the best in all of us by sharing one of her many gifts that God gave her to present to the world.

When I find myself struggling, I must remember that God brings me gifts each day, and it is up to me to be aware of these moments and thankful for the joy they bring to me.

“Dear God, thank you for surrounding me with friends and family that inspire me to rise to my highest self. Through these joyous moments we share, you remind me that there is light even on my darkest day, gifts too beautiful to ignore.”

October 29th: Easy Does It

Learning new behaviors takes time and during my divorce I could often be hard on myself when I would slip and fall back into my old ways.

I felt challenged in my behavior, as I struggled through such a trying time. I was not always able to carry out positive actions by taking the “Higher Road” which then left me feeling shame-based and disappointed in myself.

I wanted to be better.

I wanted to be “fixed.”

But correcting old behaviors is not something that can “magically” happen over night.

It takes time to perfect new positive habits.

I had to be kind to myself.

I had to accept that I would make mistakes.

I had to learn to not take my lack of progress so hard.

As long as I was on a spiritual path…

As long as I was progressing…

As long as I was putting forth all my effort into the footwork…

I was moving forward at the pace that God intended for me.

I needed to remind myself on a daily basis that I was doing the best I could with the resources I had and that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.

I had to tell myself often “Easy Does It” while I learned a new way of life.

“Dear God, help me to be kind to myself even when I feel I have missed the mark. Help me to see that I did the best I could while working towards your positive new path for me to follow.”

October 13th: Relief

After months of fighting to save my marriage, I was surprised to find that when the end of our relationship finally arrived, I was relieved.

I felt a soothing calm over my entire body.

My mind slowed and relaxed.

It was no different then any physical struggle: I was worn by the constant battle… the constant expenditure of energy.

I still had my moments of sadness, of melancholy… that quiet longing for what I could no longer have… but the relief filled me with a new found strength and hope. I could now see that there was a release to this painful time in my life.

There was a sense of drive again… of wanting to move forward.

I began to conquer little things I had been neglecting for months during my emotional turmoil:

Washing clothes.

Paying bills.

Cleaning the house.

Getting the car tuned-up.

Each chore that had once seemed so overwhelming to me during my pain, now seemed like a small accomplishment.

And each small accomplishment, added to my relief and soon… I felt pleased with my progress and actually happy that I was moving on.

Relief soothed my soul and brought me peace as the door to my marriage finally closed.

“Dear God, thank you for bringing me relief from my pain. Thank you for walking with me through the pain I endured.”

September 25th: Being There For Others


My divorce was a great loss… the grief felt similar to what I had felt at times when I had mourned a death.

It was palpable.

I missed my husband so much and it was hard to believe that he was no longer with me.

It was difficult not to wallow in self-pity, or lament my lot in life.

I found that by helping others, I could help myself out of my own pain.

I took great comfort in teaching.

I took great comfort in being of service at meetings.

I took great comfort in performing small random acts of kindness each day.

By being there for others, I found an escape from my own pain.

By working towards soothing another’s discomfort, I found peace from my own.

“Dear God, help me to see that I am not the only one who suffers. Give me guidance to bring love and hope to those that are in pain.”