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Setbacks

How often, it seems, we take two steps forward and one step back.  There are even occasions when we seem to relapse altogether.

Don’t be discouraged when this happens, okay?

“Yeah,” you scoff, “you don’t know how serious this is or how hard it is to turn around.”

But I do.

Anybody who lives any length of time at all has had a few setbacks:  That slip into an old habit or addiction that really knocks you off your feet.

The secret:  Get up, dust yourself off and move forward again.

Dusting yourself off means to forgive, learn from your mistakes and the circumstances that contributed to your setback.

Move forward means take one step at a time back to wellness – toward sobriety or eating… You already know because you’ve done it before.

Next, take hope in this:  Every time you move forward from a setback, you are stronger:  That particular trap won’t get you again!

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How Is Your Diet?

714px-Breakfast_in_the_Garden,_Frieseke

A friend of mine was sharing that he is on a negativity fast.  This entails checking himself every time he starts to think in a way that brings him down.

One secret to his fast is taking care to avoid news and conversations that feed his mind with sorrow, fear, anger, gossip or distress.

This raises a very important question for each of us:  What are you eating these days?  You could apply this to your physical diet, but I’m after your soulful one.  The music, stories, movies, news and conversations that we take in have a direct impact on how we think and feel.  All of this in turn affects our physical well being.

I do find that an occasional “fast” is very good for our souls.  That might mean skipping a rather dark movie or show, choosing some gentle music or avoiding newscasts for a couple of days.  It also means finding a quiet moment each day to pray or meditate.  It’s amazing how a little time to reflect and ponder wil detox us!

Then there are the positive things that build us up:  Time with a good friend who encourages us; conversations that spark new ideas; sermons, books and music that inspire.

One of my sisters finds that art refreshes her; another likes books.  I like playing and listening to music.  A neighbor and I both agree that our gardens are the best “prayer closets.”
What is your preference?
Walking
music
cooking
books
movies
sewing
scrapbooking
gardening
sports
writing
other?  (You get the idea, yeah?)

One thing I have learned:  Choosing your soulful diet takes as much determination and clarity as choosing your physical diet does.  It is at least as important:  Wellness is built from the inside out.

Bien provecho….bon appetit…enjoy!

Don’t Be Surprised

I started my journey of healing many years ago.

The first leg was a long, steep, difficult path that wound through rocks and thickets so dense, I couldn’t see beyond myself at all.  It’s unpredictability was mind boggling.  I would climb a little higher; then find myself in a hole with no apparent way out.  Some days, I was pleased with what felt like progress, only to fall into a helpless heap of despair the next.

Eventually, the path widened into a road – you know the kind:  Two tracks with plenty of ruts and potholes.  The going was a bit easier and I had more perspective.

I found some nice spots to rest along the way:  Just the right mix of sun and shade, running water near by and soft places for lounging and sleep.

I don’t know how it happened, but I came to another steep, difficult place; in fact, it was more painful and challenging than the first one.  This time, there was no path.  I had to whack my way through the underbrush.  I thought I’d never get through it all!  Perhaps the hardest part was that I blamed myself:  If only I had learned my lesson the first time!  What is wrong with me that I’m back here??

Eventually, I had the pleasure of travelling on wide, well paved roads.  They were straight and level; there were lots of companions.  Loneliness was not even a whisper of a thought.  The camaraderie was wonderful!

Years later, my journey took a turn, and once again, I found myself in a quagmire.  I was dismayed!  This time, I had enough experience and maturity to recognize that this is part of a life-long pilgrimage.  It was still difficult and in some ways, the most painful of all.  I knew what to do:  Keep moving forward, step by step, clearing by clearing.

The moral of my tale?  When you find yourself in a difficult patch, know that you are making progress.  These detours are necessary for continued growth and wellness.  Greet them with dignity; don’t be surprised when they happen.

Deeper Knowing

winding_stream_banff_national_park_alberta_canadaI have heard a quote more than once:
“Be a river, not a reservoir.”

Truthfully, I think we are rivers, whether we acknowledge it or not.  We are ever growing and changing; things that fit before don’t now; we are always searching.

I am in one of those times of evaluation and revision.  One major reason for this is, circumstances are changing:  There are matters of privacy and involvement to consider that were not all that important before.

Another reason:  I am discovering new aspects of myself that need exploration and development.  I have questions to ask, ideas to ponder and whole areas of quandary on which to shed light, such as wants and dreams I can feel, but can’t articulate; like being hungry for something and not knowing what it is.

Thinking of life and ourselves as rivers is encouraging to me:  By nature, streams flow through different landscapes, eddy and swirl, run shallow, then deeper.  They are fluid; they start as small trickles that become larger.  Some develop into mighty rivers that carry ships and barges; others meander through forests and meadows.  Each one is just as valid and important.

It is also a given that a river is never fully known, no matter how many times someone visits it.  We’re that way; it’s okay because that is how we are meant to be.

Flow, river of my life;
As you travel through each circumstance,
growing and morphing into your next self,
May I delight in discovery and deeper knowing.

DIG DOWN

As I have walked through many years of healing and recovery, I have noticed something:
The work I need to do is ever deeper.
Unlike the building of a house, which starts at the foundation; then goes up from there,
Reparation seems to start in more shallow places and go deeper, until it is at the foundational level of all I know, believe and experience; not from my head, but from my heart.
It seems that deeper work requires greater health and maturity.  It calls for strength and wisdom that I simply didn’t have earlier.

 

Do you find yourself facing monsters that “should have died ages ago?”
Take heart!  You are going into the deep regions of your being, where profound healing takes place.
Move steadily forward; dig down to the lowest, most hidden parts;
Let light shine in the darkest corners.

 

Oh, I know, this journey seems to go on forever.  It even appears to go around in the same circle, time after time.  That isn’t the case, however.  Every new insight, step of forgiveness, new truth and breakthrough is yours, a treasure that cannot be taken away.

 

This endeavor isn’t the fast kind of digging, such as what is done with shovels or backhoes; it’s more like an archeological dig:  You are down in the dirt with your toothbrush, unearthing small fragments that could be nothing, or the most amazing artifact ever uncovered.

 

Keep digging.  Bring every little bit to light, where it can be exposed and examined.  Get down to the foundation of who you are, making repairs as you go.  Then enjoy the sweetness of new victory, greater clarity and freedom as you emerge with a more profound sense of yourself than you have ever known!

WHO?

Who is most proud of you?
Who shows you acceptance and approval?
Who truly believes in you, no matter what; even when you don’t live up to expectations?
Who is quickest to forgive you?
Who can laugh at your silliness and excuse your mistakes?
Who loves you, anywhere, any time?

 

Hopefully the first and most important person on your list of answers is
You!

DARE TO BE DIFFERENT

Dare to live as the
Individual that you are;
Free to think and believe;
Free to choose and take a stand;
Executing decisions according to your vision;
Responsible for the outcomes,
Even when things don’t quite turn out.
Never sell your birthright
To the opinions and propoganda of others.