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March 22nd: Responsibility

March 22nd-Responsibility

I used to always love to be considered the responsible one but today… I sometimes find myself shying away from the title. In the past, being responsible meant that I was the one to take on all of the commitments… I was the one that people would come to because they knew I would get the job done! I loved the way I felt when I was praised for being responsible. My ego was stroked, my people-pleasing character flaw was activated, and I relished in my roll of “super woman.” Today, I try my best to step away from ego and wait 24-hours before committing to being the “responsible” one in a situation that isn’t life-threatening. Being the responsible one in the past left me weary and worn from overtaxing myself to make sure that everyone “loved me” for doing “right” by them. I know now, that I must choose my commitments wisely, and wait for my people-pleasing flaw to disarm before deciding if I want to move forward as the responsible party.

“Dear God, help me to think before I take on a commitment. Help me to allow others to step up to a task instead of letting my people-pleasing rob them of the opportunity to grow.”

January 22nd: Inappropriate Behavior

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Sometimes I slip back into old and familiar patterns and catch myself acting out and behaving inappropriately with others.

It may be that I have allowed myself to become overwhelmed by my day-to-day activities, worn and tired, I stray away from my spiritual path and forget to take a fearless moral inventory of my direction.

Suddenly, my actions are not matching my moral compass… my true beliefs.

Maybe I am gossiping to feel better about myself?

Maybe I am being cruel to someone to feel in control when I am fearful?

Maybe I am flirting in need of attention, hoping to show that I am still desirable to others?

But this is my shadow self and it is a role that no longer suits me.

When I falter in my behavior, I can choose to change my inappropriate words or actions at any time.

I can choose to change them during any moment of the day.

I don’t have to wait for tomorrow.

I can stop myself now, apologize for my behavior, and then choose to begin to make a living amends to all those affected by my inappropriate words or actions.

“Dear God, help me to be true in all of my relationships. Help me to forgive myself when I falter and others to forgive me for my slips.”

January 21st: Self-Esteem

January 21-self esteem

This morning I was speaking with a friend on the phone, when they brought up the topic of self-esteem.

They were struggling with an issue, related to their own low self-esteem, and wanted my advice on how to stay in a “good” place.

Right before I was about to answer they said, “I know you never have these moments and that’s why I called you. Your self-esteem seems so intact.”

I actually laughed.

I do have a tendency to come off self-assured, to smile and “act as if,” to seem to be moving forward without doubts, but that is years of spiritual footwork doing the talking!

Told time-and-time again by my best female mentors to:

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

Just like any human being: I struggle with self-esteem constantly.

Always the over-achiever, always the stoic one, always acting the authority figure, all good qualities to have, but often masks that I learned to wear, over the course of my life, to hide my own fears and flaws, and protect myself from being hurt or humiliated.

I shared this truth with my friend.

Her relief flooded through the phone.

There is a closeness in knowing that we are all in the same boat.

An intimacy that comes from sharing our most vulnerable truth with those we love and trust.

By being honest about my own self-esteem, my friend now knows that we are in this together, that we will share our struggles along our spiritual paths, and that doubts related to self-esteem affect us all.

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“Dear God, help me to have faith in the gifts you gave me. Let me be strong when the need arises… let me be vulnerable when it brings me strength.”

December 29th: Balance

December 29th-Balance

Just recently I was invited to go out of town for a short overnight trip.

Though I knew I would be surrounded by others who loved and cared for me on this mini-vacation… I began to find myself immediately hedge.

I had so much to do at home.

What about writing? I might get behind on my book or my columns.

I had to clean the house. It had been weeks since I had set it straight.

Then I let my mind begin to mull over all of my insecurities for not attending the event.

What if there were people there that didn’t like me? I’d be stuck with them.

Did I really want to drive with everyone? What if I decided I wanted to leave and I couldn’t?

I caught myself in the midst of creating a million reasons for why I shouldn’t go and then realized how ridiculous I was being by making such a big “to-do” over a 24-hour period of time.

I knew that I was truly struggling with balance and that I needed to go on this trip.

It was important to force myself out of my comfort zone: the place that I often hid after being wounded by painful events.

I accepted the invitation and then went about the task of creating boundaries that would help me make this first outing one that would be balanced between what I feared… and what I longed for; comfort.

I chose to drive on my own and meet my friends there.

I booked a single room, so that I had a place to go to if I became overwhelmed.

When I arrived at the destination, I found that all of my fears were invalid.

I had a lovely time with my friends, I was happy they had invited me, and proud that I was able to “nudge” myself out of my comfort zone.

By setting up boundaries that were acceptable to me, I was able to allow myself to have feelings, without allowing my feelings to control me.

I do not have to take an “all or nothing” attitude when searching for balance.

I can create a plan that soothes my soul, while I take small steps that move me forward on my spiritual path.

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“Dear God, thank you for providing opportunities that allow me to grow as a person. Help me to face my fears bravely as I walk into my future.”

December 28th: Simple Gifts

December 28th- Simple Gifts

Appreciating the simple gifts in life helps me to stay grateful:

A laugh with a good friend.

A book that I am given to enjoy.

Breakfast at a favorite spot.

A drive through a beautiful area.

Finding the joy in the moment, the simple gifts of the day, act as a reminder of all the unexpected good that life brings.

When I am feeling hopeless…

When I am fighting through pain and despair…

I must stop, have faith, look around me, and see that my Higher Power is offering me signs of hope each time a simple gift is given.

“Dear God, thank you for the simple gifts in life. Thank you for reminding me each day that I have joy in these unexpected moments of happiness.”

December 21st: Bad Timing

December 21st-Timing

I used to believe there was no such thing as bad timing in relationships.

I thought that if someone didn’t want to be with me and used the words “bad timing” that it must have something to do with me.

They must not have loved me enough to give it their all.

I must have behaved in a way to make them have second thoughts.

Bad timing must be their code for… “I’m looking for someone better.”

I know now, that my lack of self-esteem after my divorce, was the contributing factor to my negative beliefs.

Today I do believe that there is such a thing as bad timing and that it has no reflection on who I am, or how that person may feel about me.

If I were asked right now… this moment… by someone I truly loved to get married… I would have to say, “No.”

Not because that person doesn’t matter to me…

Not because I no longer have faith in marriage…

But because I must put my own house in order before I can let someone back into my heart.

If I am not truly ready, if I am still mourning a loss, or walking through pain and despair…

If I am still focused on spiritual footwork to help me move towards being my best in my next relationship, then I owe it to myself and the person I love to admit, that this is not the right time for us to begin.

We often accept timing in our day-to-day activities, friendships, and business dealings, but are often unwilling to give, to step back, and look at timing in relation to love.

“Dear God, help me to remember that life unfolds on your time, not mine. Help me to be patient in all of my relationships.”

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.”