Category Archives: Step 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

You’re right, I did it!

Acknowledging my actions in the past is huge.  The harmful behaviors, words and even the thoughts from yesterday or twenty-five years ago have made their mark.  Those scars may have healed over or they be open wounds which still itch and burn.

As I grow and learn I would like to be judged on where I am right now in my spiritual journey.  I would like to be recognized for the baby steps I have taken and the changes I have made.

The Rolling Stones told me the truth, though, “Oh, you can’t always get what you want.

I am allowed to forgive myself.  I’m allowed to make amends for what I can remember.  But I never have been and never will be able to dictate others’ perceptions of me.

I ask for forgiveness.  I hope for healing.  I continue to learn.

The Student

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Filed under Self-Acceptance Project, Self-examination, Step 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves., Step 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs., Step 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, Twelve Steps, When we know better, we do better

Listening with the Heart

Thich Nhat Hanh is talking on Super Soul Sunday about Deep Listening as a relief for suffering.

Such a beautiful concept.  It is the perfect cure for my normal “Quick to Fix” attitude.

The only time I ever practiced this…and it was purposeful and difficult…was with my mother in her last years.  Why haven’t I remembered how effective that was?

Mother had difficulty in letting go of the pain of her divorce from my father.  After 40+ years she still talked about it incessantly.  I was so tired of hearing it.  At the same time, she complained that no one listened to her.

No matter how many times I tried to relieve her suffering by offering every word of wisdom I could summon, she continued to talk.  I dreaded every visit with her and always left feeling disgruntled and irritated. Ultimately, I told her that I didn’t want to hear anymore.  I cut her off when she would begin.

Then came a time in my life (way too late) when I determined that I should be treating my mother in a way that I must treat a mother if I were to be the person I wanted to be.

On my next visit, I let her know that she could talk to me about anything and I wouldn’t object.  And (finally acknowledging futility) I determined that I would never offer her solutions or opinions.  I would simply listen.

It was excruciating.  It was boring.  At times it was depressing and overwhelming.

And over her last years our relationship changed.  I developed compassion for her.  She was light-hearted when we were together.  Although she admitted her incapacity to love deeply, she expressed her love for me and shared thoughts and memories about herself that I had never heard.

Thank you, Thich Nhat Hanh for reminding me of this profound way to manifest love.

The Student

This post was written for and originally posted on Vision and Verb on June 4, 2012

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Filed under Buddhism, Step 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves., Step 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs., Super Soul Sunday, The energy we put into the world comes back to us, Thich Nhat Hanh, You Become What You Believe

Certainty

Life PathLife was simpler when I was sure.

I was imbued with a staunch confidence from which I spouted my opinions and discounted those of anyone who disagreed with me.  Sadly, I have a quick mind and a sharp tongue, so I took some pride in leveling my opponents.

So life was simpler, perhaps, but not easier.  I very rarely had internal peace.  At times I would carry disquiet and vague discomfort with me for hours or days or weeks after my certainty had galvanized me into regrettable action.

How could I not defend my position?  How could I not try to convince people to follow the RIGHT path?  My path.

In those days I knew my path.  It wasn’t a winding track with the next few steps hidden by overhanging questions.  It wasn’t soft on the sides with leafy branches of thought leading to unknown destinations.  In those days it was straight.  It was sure.

This sureness can still rise up and imprison me.  On those fearful days I lock myself into a position of self-protection.  I can’t move forward.  I no longer wish to move back.  And so I wait and hope that nothing goads me into action.  If that happened  I might revert to my sad former self and engage in righteous and wrong arguments in which everyone would lose.

Those are the days when I must be alone and wait for my uncertainty to return.

A Life Student

 

 

This was originally posted on Vision and Verb, an international gathering of Women.

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Filed under Living our best life, Step 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves., Step 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.