Commit to Your Journey

Happy New Year!

I was going to write a rather lengthy article about time for today, but I decided against it: For many of us, we were up late last night celebrating. Even if we don’t imbibe, the lack of sleep from one night affects our concentration. So I would like to offer some thoughts on commitment.

I am grateful for many things I have learned in recovery. One of the greatest is that I can start again. If I fall, I can get back up. If I fail, I can pick up where I left off. If I am having a lousy day, I can do a reset. I never have to accept that I am down for the count, because I’m not. Even on my worst day in life I can sit down, take in a few deep breaths and recommit myself. When I open my eyes, I am starting anew. I don’t have to wait for tomorrow to start again, nor the start of the new week, month or even year. Right now! I can recommit myself to my priorities at this moment.

I hear people say that we have to start over again from scratch. We made errors in how we predicted things might turn out. We allowed ourselves to become entrenched in our ego. We let the tribe mentality influence our actions. Do we really start from scratch? No. We carry what we learn with us through to the next lesson in life. This time, because of what we have learned, we can make the changes, or avoid the pitfalls.

There was a popular game when I was in university (yes, long before video games) where you had to move a marble through a maze on platform full of holes by tilting the platform one way or the other to roll the marble along. With each attempt, you learned the moves to make to avoid the holes and make it to the end of the maze. The lesson from the times before taught you which way to tilt the platform to achieve your goal. You were starting over, but never from ‘scratch’.

But how do I keep going if I seem to keep falling into the same ‘hole’ in life? By renewing my commitment. I commit to my recovery on a daily basis. I don’t necessarily know what is around the corner of the labyrinth of life but I know that if I commit daily to my recovery I can learn to avoid the pits that threaten to swallow me up. If I do fall through the pit, I now have experience on what not to do. Once I have learned to avoid one hole, the next time I have to go past it will be that much easier. So while I may be back at the start, I am not strictly speaking, a beginner. I can apply the lessons I have learned.

All I have is this moment right now. There is no yesterday, no tomorrow, only now. I commit to this moment. I place my focus on this moment and live it fully. Not by a long shot am I always successful at this. I continue to fall, to crawl along the ground for a bit and gradually find the courage to stand again and keep on walking on my journey.

Stick with your priorities. Commit to your journey daily. Start again whenever you need to knowing that your destination will always wait for you to arrive.

flight landscape nature sky

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The Heart and Soul of the Matter

“The mind is the last part of yourself to listen to. It thinks of everything you can lose. The heart thinks of everything you can give, and the soul thinks of everything you are.” Neale Donald Walsch

We all have that voice inside of us that we tend to ignore on a regular basis. I ‘know’ when I have done something I shouldn’t have done, that it goes against who I am trying to be, but I still do it.  Why? Because I think that if I don’t, I’ll be missing out on something or I can ‘get’ something by doing it. My mind is analytical and it looks for things to flow logically, it looks for patterns, it looks for cost-benefits. If my mind says I should do it, then I often do, regardless of what my heart and soul might say. I know this is true because most often I would give into the temptation of my addiction even when, at the time,  I was completely clean and sober. I wasn’t considering the negative consequences of taking a substance. I was allowing my mind focus on what I might miss out on rather than what probably would happen.

That’s probably why I was told that my thinking was no good when I came into recovery. It wasn’t trustworth. My mind could find a logical reason when it wanted to get loaded. E-VE-RY TIME! My addiction was my answer to my problems. That’s what my mind believed and why it won every time, until the last time.

I’m not quite sure why my heart and soul won out in the end. Graveyards, prisons and psych wards are full of those whose souls lost that battle. Call it a moment of clarity, gift of desperation, an open door that for some reason I espied being open and I walked through. I really don’t know why I’m living a life that’s happy, joyous and free and so many of my sisters and brothers are not. I do know that I have received a gift. And I intend to offer this gift to others because I know that by keeping it or trying to hold this gift to myself, I will lose it.

My mind, after seven years in recovery is now more conscious of what I would lose should I decide to return to my former way of life. My mind knows what happens to people who do. It’s seen, first hand, what happens. It knows that I am not an exception, that I would again head down that rabbit hole of addiction so fast it would make Alice think she’s having a hallucination.

I have had to train my mind to think in a different way. I continue to train it by working my program, by attending meetings, by doing service work. Step two told me in a nice way that I was insane when it said that a Power Greater than myself could restore me to sanity. And it has. I can trust more of what my mind has to tell me. However, I have learned to listen to my heart and soul because my mind can still try that trick: every once in a while my mind tells me that I’m missing out, that it would be okay, that this time it will be different.

So while in most areas sanity has returned, when it comes to addiction, I turn to my heart and soul. When the thought comes to mind that I can ‘try it’ this time, my heart and soul tell me through a very real feeling in the pit of my stomach that my thought are wrong. My heart reminds me that I have so much to share with others and my soul reminds me that I’m no longer that person I used to be. And for that, I am grateful.

white and red plastic heart balloon on sky during daytime

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Perseverance

The person standing on the mountain top did not get there by falling…Neale Donald Walsch

Getting to the top of the ladder of success involves actually climbing the ladder.  I can’t get where I want to go just by sitting down and watching Netflix or surfing Facebook.  I don’t know how many self-help books I have read, but there are many I never finished reading and even less that I applied to my life. I see that I am pretty good at starting, but my follow through leaves a lot to be desired. Buying a gym membership alone won’t get me into shape: I have to do the work to get the results.

A dream is just a dream unless it is followed up by action. How many people seeing a Jackson Pollock canvas say, “I could’ve done that!” And they could have, but they didn’t. I need to work my dream for it to become a reality.  How does an artist become an artist? By working at his art. Perhaps some of us are born with innate abilities.  Perhaps all of us are born with great abilities and we just haven’t discovered them or we are lacking in the confidence to develop them. The point is, if I don’t act, if I don’t move, I am not going anywhere. And yes, we do fall as we go up the mountain, but we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again!

To get to the top of the mountain is, as they say, 10% inspiration and 90% percent perspiration.  I have to keep telling myself this over and over again.  Why? Because I have this entitled belief that it should just fall into my hands and if it doesn’t, then I am not worthy of it. I don’t believe the Universe/God/Source works that way. I have to keep reminding myself that my faith in a Higher Power can move mountains, but it is up to me to bring a shovel and a wheelbarrow.

Falling as you go up the mountain of whatever you define as success is just part of the process of getting to where you want to be. But it doesn’t have to signal the end of the journey. I have to persevere and persist in my quest to get to where I want to go and keep faith that I will eventually get there. I need to do the work and give myself a kick when I don’t.

I want to be a writer so I have to write…a lot! The words don’t just magically appear on the page (or screen). I have to plan, organize and think through. There’s one workshop I took that basically said that everyone’s first book is crap, so write it and get it out of the way so you can move onto the next one. Those are really difficult words to digest to someone who is a perfectionist. But they are probably true. Yes, it may happen, there are prodigies in every field. I don’t count on me being one of them. I need to take action to move forward toward my goal.

Enjoy this cute Youtube video, and then get to it!  Diana Krall: Pick Yourself Up