Keep on Trudging

One of the primary reasons people stay in even life-threatening addictions is because they know the outcomes of their behavior. The human brain really likes being able to predict the future. Thus, people want their lives to be predictable even if what is predictable is absolutely painful and horrible and regretful.  Benjamin Hardy

As the saying goes, ‘better the hell you know than the hell you don’t’.

Stepping out of one’s comfort zone is difficult. It means change and change is always emotional. Somewhere along the line most of us developed a resistance to change. Trying something different removes the predictability in our lives and introduces the unknown and with the unknown comes the catastrophe mentality that it will turn out bad: it’s going to be a disaster we think. And we expect the worst possible outcome.

Taking that first step requires us to overcome fears: fear of the unknown, fear of what others might say about us, fear about the outcome, fear about our own abilities are a few of those fears. But the alternative to taking that next step? It’s staying where we are: if nothing changes, nothing changed. However, once you’ve done it, once you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone, you’ve expanded that very zone and made it part of your experience upon which you can draw strength. Now you can say to yourself, ‘I’ve gone skydiving,’ or ‘I’ve written a book’. You know what it’s about and that experience brings some stability back into your life.

Adventures only happen to the adventurous.  Benjamin Hardy

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Staying in one spot might be fine if you’re a rock. At least you give the moss a spot to grow. But that’s not the path of people. We are meant to move, to grow and to inspire and we can’t do that if we are stuck in one place. We must move forward, take that step into the unknown, face our uncertainties and fears. It’s all part of the adventure of life. Tryinsomething new and taking risks

There’s a saying that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Another way of saying it is that we will survive everything until we don’t. And guess what? You have survived everyone of the catastrophes in your life so far because they weren’t catastrophes, only unfounded fears. I like to say that it’s not the end of the world until it’s the end of the world. It’s not just surviving, it’s growing and thriving. If I look at life as an adventure then I have adventure. I just can’t stay where I am and expect to change. I can’t be like the water in a stagnant pond, I have to flow and move in order to stay fresh and renew myself.

I want to grow. I want to expand. I want to learn.

Decisions

I’ve often asked myself and been asked: “What is the right decision to make here? What do I do?” Since I have been in recovery I know, in some cases, what the right decision is for me. I opt for whatever will keep me happy joyous and free in recovery. That’s an easy decision for me. But there are so many other decisions that can be made and which are just as life changing and not as easy to make. Because, let’s face it, important decisions change the path of our life.

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Where am I going live? What is the next step in my career? Is this the person I want to have a relationship with? Do I get a dog? Buy a new car? Is this the right time to take a vacation?  Do I do a home renovation or do I move? Should I try this new thing? Is this the daily routine I want to continue with? Am I okay with myself or do I start a diet plan? Do I join a gym or go it alone? What is the next step I am to take in my journey?????

I have come to learn that there is no right answer, nor is there a wrong answer. Wherever I go, there I am. Whatever I do, that’s what I’m doing. Sometimes I’ve made a snap decision and it works out well. Other times I have dwelt on the decision and things didn’t go as I expected them to go. And I am learning that there is no perfect answer. It’s not where we are that seems to matter. It’s that we’re moving and not static. It really is the journey we take, not where we end up. Some of the stops along that journey can be great and others I would have prefered to have passed through without a glance out the window.

There are a few things that do ensure that the decisions I make are more to my liking. I can talk to a trusted friend, mentor or sponsor before making the decision. I can meditate on it and ask for spiritual guidance from my Higher Power as I understand it. I can do a list of pros and cons. I like to do the rocking chair test: years from now if I’m sitting on the porch in my rocking chair is this something that is going to matter to me? Will I regret having taken or not taken that path? As time goes on in the process it becomes easier to know, at a gut level, if this is the right decision for me now.

Every decision, every choice will alter where I am going in life. And that’s okay. There isn’t a wrong place to be, only experiences to gather. Trust the process of life, remembering that I will make it through whatever happens, until I don’t.

Enjoy the moment and take the next step, whatever it might be.

 

 

 

Of Balloons and Balance

I’m discovering that my ‘self’ is a balloon and my ‘ego’ is the air in the balloon. I must constantly monitor the amount of air that I hold in my self. If I haven’t enough, I will lose my shape and be a wrinkled blob with no substance. Who wants a limp balloon? If I inflate it too much, then I can also deform it from the original shape and risk losing my ‘self’ in a terrific explosion. The trick is finding the balance that is right for me: just enough air to keep my shape. I think that when I find that point of equilibrium I discover humility.

ground orange balloon deflated

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Whenever I run into problems, my character defects shoot the surface or I find myself on an emotional rollercoaster, I’m also discovering that it has ego at its source. I’m discovering that my ego is either underinflated or way over inflated. and I need to get it back in balance. I am who I am: no more and no less. That balance of who I am is difficult to maintain. Like a scale, it only takes a grain of sand to cause it to tip one way or the other. So I need to be constantly maintaining the balance of ego within myself.

Years ago I could solve the problems of the world all from the regal perch of a bar stool. Of course, nothing happened because I did nothing. I was an ego full of hot air. Life isn’t handed to us on the proverbial silver platter. We have to go out and make it. I was reminded this week that our Higher Power does for us that which we cannot do for ourselves. However, if we can do it ourselves, then it’s up to us to do it. (Thank you Terry) And there are a lot of challenges in this world that I am up to resolving if I get off my butt and do the work rather than pontificate and expect the results to magically appear.

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For me, it’s all part of knowing my ‘self’ and keeping my ego in check. I may not be able to move mountains with the wave of my hand, but I can still bring along a wheelbarrow and shovel. There are some things I can do to make my life, rather than waiting around for something to happen then complain when it doesn’t. I can’t do it all, but I can do my part. I don’t always get it right, but I don’t always get it wrong either and sometimes, I find the sweet spot of just the right amount of air in my balloon.