The Language of Letting Go, Part 2

Old 12-06-2016, 11:41 AM
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December 7

You are reading from the book "The Language of Letting Go."

When the Time is Right

There are times when we simply do not know what to do or where to go next. Sometimes these periods are brief, sometimes lingering.

We can get through these times. We can rely on our program and the disciplines of recovery. We can cope by using our faith, other people, and our resources.

Accept uncertainty. We do not always have to know what to do or where to go next. We do not always have clear direction. Refusing to accept the inaction and limbo makes things worse.

It is okay to temporarily be without direction. Say, "I don't know," and be comfortable with that. We do not have to try to force wisdom, knowledge, or clarity when there is none.

While waiting for direction, we do not have to put our life on hold. Let go of anxiety and enjoy life. Relax. Do something fun. Enjoy the love and beauty in your life. Accomplish small tasks. They may have nothing to do with solving the problem, or finding direction, but this is what we can do in the interim.

Clarity will come. The next step will present itself. Indecision, inactivity, and lack of direction will not last forever.

Today I will accept my circumstances even if I lack direction and insight. I will remember to do things that make myself and others feel good during those times. I will trust that clarity will come of its own accord.

1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Old 12-07-2016, 01:41 PM
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December 8

You are reading from the book "The Language of Letting Go."

Valuing Our Needs

When we don't ask for what we want and need, we discount ourselves. We deserve better.

Maybe others taught us it wasn't polite or appropriate to speak up for ourselves. The truth is, if we don't, our unmet wants and needs may ultimately come back to haunt our relationships. We may end up feeling angry or resentful, or we may begin to punish someone else for not guessing what we need. We may end the relationship because it doesn't meet our needs.

Intimacy and closeness are only possible in a relationship when both people can say what they want and need. Sustained intimacy demands this.

Sometimes we may even have to demand what we want. That's called setting a boundary. We do this not to control another person, but to gain control of our life.

Our attitude toward our needs is important too. We must value them and take them seriously if we expect others to take us seriously. When we begin to place value and importance on our needs we'll see a remarkable change. Our wants and needs will begin to get met.

Today I will respect the wants and needs of others and myself. I will tell others, my Higher Power, and myself what I want and need. I will listen to what they want and need too.

1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Old 12-08-2016, 12:38 PM
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December 9

You are reading from the book "The Language of Letting Go."

Asking for Help

It's okay to ask for help.

One of the most absurd things we do to ourselves is not asking for the help we need from a friend, a family member, our Higher Power, or the appropriate resource.

We don't have to struggle through feelings and problems alone. We can ask for help from our Higher Power and for support and encouragement from our friends.

Whether what we need is information, encouragement, a hand, a word, a hug, someone who will listen, or a ride, we can ask. We can ask people for what we need from them. We can ask Higher Power for what we need from Higher Power.

It is self-defeating to not ask for the help we need. It keeps us stuck. If we ask long and hard enough, if we direct our request to the right source, we'll get the help we need.

There is a difference between asking someone to rescue us and asking someone in a direct manner for the help we need from him or her. We can be straightforward and let others choose whether to help us or not. If the answer is no, we can deal with that.

It is self-defeating to hint, whine, manipulate, or coerce help out of people. It is annoying to go to people as a victim and expect them to rescue us. It is healthy to ask for help when help is what we need.

"My problem is shame," said one woman. "I wanted to ask for help in dealing with it, but I was to ashamed. Isn't that crazy?"

We who are eager to help others can learn to allow ourselves to receive help. We can learn to make clean contracts about asking for and receiving the help we want and need.

Today I will ask for help if I need it - from people and my Higher Power. I will not be a victim, helplessly waiting to be rescued. I will make my request for help specific and to the point, and I will leave room for the person to choose whether or not to help me. I will not be a martyr any longer by refusing to get the help I deserve in life - the help that makes life simpler. Higher Power, help me let go of my need to do everything alone. Help me use the vast Universe of resources available to me.

1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Old 12-09-2016, 01:44 PM
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December 10

You are reading from the book "The Language of Letting Go."

Empowerment

You can think. You can make good decisions. You can make choices that are right for you.

Yes, we all make mistakes from time to time. But we are not mistakes.

We can make a new decision that takes new information into account.

We can change our mind from time to time. That's our right too.

We don't have to be intellectuals to make good choices. In recovery, we have a gift and a goal available to each of us. The gift is called wisdom.

Other people can think too. And that means we no longer have to feel responsible for other people's decisions.

That also means we are responsible for our choices.

We can reach out to others for feedback. We can ask for information. We can take opinions into account. But it is our task to make our own decisions. It is our pleasure and right to have our own opinions.

We are each free to embrace and enjoy the treasure of our own mind, intellect, and wisdom.

Today I will treasure the gift of my mind. I will do my own thinking, make my own choices, and value my opinions. I will be open to what others think, but I will take responsibility for myself. I will ask for and trust that the Divine Wisdom is guiding me.

1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Old 12-10-2016, 02:04 PM
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December 11

You are reading from the book "The Language of Letting Go."

Affirmations

One of our choices in recovery is choosing what we want to think - using our mental energy positively.

Positive mental energy, positive thinking, does not mean we think unrealistically or revert to denial. If we don't like something, we respect our own opinion. If we spot a problem, we're honest about it. if something isn't working out, we accept reality. But we don't dwell on the negative parts of our experience.

Whatever we give energy to, we empower.

There is magic in empowering the good, because whatever we empower grows bigger. One way to empower the good is through affirmations: simple positive statements we make to ourselves: I love myself... I'm good enough... My life is good...I'm glad I'm alive today... What I want and need is coming to me... I can...

Our choice in recovery is not whether to use affirmations. We've been affirming thoughts and beliefs since we were old enough to speak. The choice in recovery is what we want to affirm.

Today, I will empower the good in myself, others, and life. I'm willing to release, or let go of, negative thought patterns and replace them with positive ones. I will choose what I want to affirm, and I will make it good.

1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Old 12-10-2016, 02:24 PM
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I didn't think much of affirmations in the beginning. If I considered them at all, I thought they were just goofy sayings that goofy people repeated, as if something like that could possibly make a difference...

As with so many other things that I "knew", this turned out to be wrong.

I now go to sleep every single night listening to Louise Hay and one of her healing affirmations, b/c I have come to believe that what I tell myself again and again DOES have an impact--an enormous impact--on my health (physical and mental), my attitude, my success in every area of life, and my relationship w/myself and others.

This is the specific audio that I listen to each night. You might want to give it a try and see if it seems to change things for you, too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uTuztdcKvs
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Old 12-11-2016, 10:24 AM
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December 12

You are reading from the book "The Language of Letting Go."

Higher Power's Will

Each day, ask Higher Power what Higher Power wants us to do today; then ask Higher Power to help. A simple request, but so profound and far-reaching it can take us anywhere we need to go.

Listen: all that we want, all that we need, all the answers, all the help, all the good, all the love, all the healing, all the wisdom, all the fulfillment of desire is embodied in this simple request. We need say no more than Thank You.

This Plan that has been made for us is not one of deprivation. It is one of fullness, joy, and abundance. Walk into it.

See for yourself.

Today I will ask Higher Power to show me what Higher Power wants me to do for this day, and then ask for help to do that. I will trust that is sufficient to take me into light and joy.

1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Old 12-12-2016, 10:26 PM
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December 13

You are reading from the book "The Language of Letting Go."

Giving

Don't be afraid of giving.

For a while, we may need to back off from giving as we learn to discern the difference between healthy giving and caretaking, which leave us feeling victimized and others feeling resentful.

This is a temporary spot.

To be healthy, to do our part in this spiritual way of life, to be part of the endless cycle of the Universe, guided by our Creator, we need to give and receive.

Both parts are important.

What is healthy giving?

This is a fine lined behavior each of us must seek to understand for ourselves. It is giving that feels good and does not leave us feeling victimized.

It is giving that holds the giver and the receiver in high esteem.

It is giving based on a desire to do it rather than from a sense of guilt, pity, shame, or obligation.

It is giving with no strings attached. Or it is giving based on a clean, direct contract.

Whether it is giving our time, efforts, energy, comfort, nurturing, money, or ourselves, it is giving that we can afford.

Giving is part of the chain of giving and receiving. We can learn to give in healthy ways; we can learn to give in love. We need to keep an eye on our giving, to make sure it has not crossed the line into caretaking. But we need to learn to give in ways that work for us and others.

Today, Higher Power, guide me in my giving. Help me give to others in healthy ways. Help me give what feels right, what feels good, what feels clean, and what I can afford.

1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Old 12-13-2016, 11:32 AM
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December 14

You are reading from the book "The Language of Letting Go."

Clear Thinking

Strive for clear thinking. Many of us have had our thinking clouded by denial. Some of us have even lost faith in ourselves because we've spent a degree of time in denial. But losing faith in our thinking isn't going to help us. What we need to lose faith in is denial.

We didn't resort to denial, either of someone else's problem or our own, because we were deficient. Denial, the shock absorber for the soul, protects us until we are equipped to cope with reality.

Clear thinking and recovery don't mean we will never resort to denial. Denial is the first step toward acceptance, and for most of our life, we will be striving to accept something.

Clear thinking means we don't allow ourselves to become immersed in negativity or unrealistic expectations. We stay connected to other recovering people. We go to our meetings, where peace of mind and realistic support are available. We work the Steps, pray, and meditate.

We keep our thinking on track by asking our Higher Power to help us think clearly, not by expecting Him or someone else to do our thinking for us.

Today I will strive for balanced, clear thought in all areas of my life.

1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Old 12-14-2016, 01:16 PM
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December 15

You are reading from the book "The Language of Letting Go."

Feelings

It's okay to have and feel our feelings - all of them.

Years into recovery, we may still be battling with ourselves about this issue. Of all the prohibitions we've lived with, this one is potentially the most damaging and the most long-lived.

Many of us needed to shut down the emotional part of ourselves to survive certain situations. We shut down the part of us that feels anger, sadness, fear, joy, and love. We may have turned off our sexual or sensual feelings, too. Many of us lived in systems with people who refused to tolerate our emotions. We were shamed or reprimanded for expressing feelings, usually by people who were taught to repress their own.

But times have changed. It is okay now for us to acknowledge and accept our emotions. We don't need to allow our emotions to control us; neither do we need to allow our emotions to control us; neither do we need to rigidly repress our feelings. Our emotional center is a valuable part of us. It's connected to our physical well being, our thinking, and our spirituality.

Our feelings are also connected to that great gift, instinct. They enable us to give and receive love.

We are neither weak nor deficient for indulging in our feelings. It means we're becoming healthy and whole.

Today I will allow myself to recognize and accept whatever feelings pass through me. Without shame, I will tune in to the emotional part of myself.

1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Old 12-14-2016, 01:22 PM
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I just love this one HP - SUCH a good reminder for me!

We were taught that any emotion outside of happiness and pleasantry was weak, and needed to be put away. Doing better now that I know better
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Old 12-15-2016, 11:12 AM
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December 16

You are reading from the book "The Language of Letting Go."

Taking Care of Ourselves Emotionally

What does it mean to take care of myself emotionally? I recognize when I'm feeling angry, and I accept that feeling without shame or blame.

I recognize when I'm feeling hurt, and I accept those feelings without attempting to punish the source of my pain. I recognize and feel fear when that emotion presents itself.

I allow myself to feel happiness, joy, and love when those emotions are available. Taking care of myself means I've made a decision that it's okay to feel.

Taking care of my emotions means I allow myself to stay with the feeling until it's time to release it and go on to the next one.

I recognize that sometimes my feelings can help point me toward reality, but sometimes my feelings are deceptive. They are important, but I do not have to let them control me. I can feel, and think too.

I talk to people about my feelings when that's appropriate and safe.

I reach out for help or guidance if I get stuck in a particular emotion.

I'm open to the lessons my emotions may be trying to teach me. After I feel, accept, and release the feeling, I ask myself what it is I want or need to do to take care of myself.

Taking care of myself emotionally means I value, treasure, explore, and cherish the emotional part of myself.

Today I will take care of myself emotionally. I will be open to and accepting of the emotional part of myself and other people. I will strive for balance by combining emotions with reason, but I will not allow intellect to push the emotional part of myself away.

1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Old 12-16-2016, 01:35 PM
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December 17

You are reading from the book "The Language of Letting Go."

Nurturing Ourselves

Many of us have been so deprived of nurturing that we think it's silly or self-indulgent. Nurturing is neither silly nor self-indulgent; it's how we show love for ourselves. That's what we're striving for in recovery - a loving relationship with ourselves that works, so we can have loving relationships with others that work.

When we hurt, we ask ourselves what we need to help us feel better. When we feel alone, we reach out to someone safe. Without feeling that we are a burden, we allow that person to be there for us.

We rest when we're tired; eat when we're hungry; have fun or relax when our spirits need a lift. Nurturing means giving ourselves gifts - a trip to the beauty salon or barbershop, a massage, a book, a new jacket, or a new suit or dress. It means a long, hot bath to forget about our problems and the world for a few moments when that would feel good.

We learn to be gentle with ourselves and to open up to the nurturing that others have to offer us.

As part of nurturing ourselves, we allow ourselves to give and receive positive touch - touch that feels appropriate to us, touch that is safe. We reject touch that doesn't feel good or safe and is not positive.

We learn to give ourselves what we need in a gentle, loving, compassionate way. We do this with the understanding it will not make us lazy, spoiled, self centered, or narcissistic. Nurtured people are effective in their work and in their relationships.

We will learn to feel loved by ourselves so much that we can truly love others and let them love us.

Today I will nurture myself. I will also be open to the nurturing that I can give to others and receive from them.

1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Old 12-17-2016, 10:40 AM
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December 18

You are reading from the book "The Language of Letting Go."

Staying Open to Our Feelings

Many of us have gotten so good at following the "don't feel" rule that we can try to talk ourselves out of having feelings, even in recovery.

"If I was really working a good program, I wouldn't feel angry."

"I don't get angry. I'm a Christian. I forgive and forget."

"I'm not angry. I'm affirming that I'm happy."

These are all statements, some of them quite clever, that indicate we're operating under the "don't feel" rule again.

Part of working a good program means acknowledging and dealing with our feelings. We strive to accept and deal with our anger so it doesn't harden into resentments. We don't use recovery as an excuse to shut down our emotions.

Yes, we are striving for forgiveness, but we still want to feel, listen to, and stay with our feelings until it is time to release them appropriately. Our Higher Power created the emotional part of ourselves. Higher Power is not telling us to not feel; it's our dysfunctional systems.

We also need to be careful how we use affirmations; discounting our emotions won't make feelings go away. If we're angry, it's okay to have that feeling. That's part of how we get and stay healthy.

Today I will refuse to accept shame from others or myself for feeling my feelings.

1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Old 12-18-2016, 12:44 PM
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December 19

You are reading from the book "The Language of Letting Go."

Work Roles

How easy it is to dive into roles at work. How easy it is to place other people in roles. Sometimes, this is necessary, appropriate, and expedient.

But we can also let our self shine through our role.

There is joy in giving our gift of skill at work, at giving ourselves to the task at hand so thoroughly that we experience an intimate relationship with our work. There is joy when we create or accomplish a task and can say, "Well done!"

There is also joy when we are ourselves at work, and when we discover and appreciate those around us.

The most unpleasant, mundane task can be breezed through when we stop thinking of ourselves as robots and allow ourselves to be people.

Those around us will respond warmly when we treat them as individuals and not job-defined roles.

This does not mean we need to become inappropriately entangled with others. It means that, whether we are an employer or an employee, when people are allowed to be people who perform tasks instead of task performers, we are happier and more content people.

Today I will let myself shine through my task at work. I will try to see others and let them shine through too, instead of looking only at their tasks. Higher Power, help me be open to the beauty of others and myself at work. Help me maintain healthy relationships with people at work.

1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Old 12-18-2016, 12:47 PM
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I stumbled across this poem some time ago and saved it b/c I liked it. It seems appropriate for today:

To be of use

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that*satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

-Marge Piercy
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Old 12-19-2016, 12:59 PM
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December 20

You are reading from the book "The Language of Letting Go."

Expectations of Others

It is our job to identify our needs, and then determine a balanced way of getting those needs met. We ultimately expect our Higher Power and the Universe - not one particular person - to be our source.

It is unreasonable to expect anyone to be able or willing to meet our every request. We are responsible for asking for what we want and need. It's the other person's responsibility to freely choose whether or not to respond to our request. If we try to coerce or force another to be there for us, that's controlling.

There's a difference between asking and demanding. We want love that is freely given.

It is unreasonable and unhealthy to expect one person to be the source for meeting all our needs. Ultimately, we will become angry and resentful, maybe even punishing, toward that person for not supporting us as we expected.

It is reasonable to have certain and well-defined expectations of our spouse, children, and friends.

If a person cannot or will not be there for us, then we need to take responsibility for ourselves in that relationship. We may need to set a boundary, alter our expectations, or change the limits of the relationship to accommodate that person's unavailability. We do this for ourselves.

It is reasonable to sprinkle our wants and needs around and to be realistic about how much we ask or expect of any particular person. We can trust ourselves to know what's reasonable.

The issue of expectations goes back to knowing that we are responsible for identifying our needs, believing they deserve to get met, and discovering an appropriate, satisfactory way to do that in our life.

Today I will strive for reasonable expectations about getting my needs met in relationships.

1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Old 12-19-2016, 01:08 PM
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I've realized that my habit of "going to the hardware store for bread" is something I do all throughout my life, not just related to XAH. When I realize that some people are good at certain things and others are good at different things, and that this should affect what I expect or ask of that individual, I feel a whole lot less put out and disappointed in the results.

It's also a big part of accepting that person for who he/she really is, rather than who I would like them to be. Life is a lot better when I can bear these things in mind.
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Old 12-20-2016, 02:00 PM
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December 21

You are reading from the book "The Language of Letting Go."

Balance

Strive for balanced expectations of others. Strive for healthy tolerance.

In the past, we may have tolerated too much or too little. We may have expected too much or too little.

We may swing from tolerating abuse, mistreatment, and deception to refusing to tolerate normal, human, imperfect behaviors from people. Although it's preferable not to remain in either extreme too long, that is how people change - real people who struggle imperfectly toward better lives, improved relationships, and more effective relationship behaviors.

But if we are open to ourselves and to the recovery process, we will, at some time, begin another transition: it becomes time to move away from extremes, toward balance.

We can trust ourselves and the recovery process to bring us to a balanced place of tolerance, giving, understanding, and expectations - of others and ourselves.

We can each find our own path to balance as we begin and continue recovery.

Today I will practice acceptance with others and myself for the way we change. If I have had to swing to the other extreme of a behavior, I will accept that as appropriate, for a time. But I will make my goal one of balanced tolerance and expectations of others and myself.

1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Old 12-20-2016, 02:02 PM
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Speaking of balance, I wish you all a beautiful Winter Solstice tomorrow, on the 21st!

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