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M(3), 3/13/2017: How Much Does It Really Matter?

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I’m sitting here debating whether or not to even continue typing.  Yes, I did just return from my Monday morning meeting, and yes, people had great stuff to share, but I’m not sure I’m in a calm enough headspace to transmit the messages I received.

I mentioned last week that a lot of stuff is going on, and that stuff continues.  I’m in the midst of three separate kid issues, which is strange since I only have two children!  I am still recuperating from a fractured heel that I thought would be long over by now, and I’m hoping against hope a car repair is done before we are hit by the Blizzard of 2017.

I should really stop typing now.

No, I really shouldn’t.  Maybe if I repeat all the great stuff I heard this morning, it will seep into my scattered brain.

The reading on which we reflected on this morning is entitled “Easy Does It,” something I picked haphazardly as I was late this morning.  Turns out to be a good pick, since my head is in the opposite space of being easy.  Here is a line I read out loud this morning:

If a strong inner core of peace, patience and contentment looks at all desirable to you, it can be had.  -Living Sober, page 46

I laughed as I read it, then of course had to explain myself in my share.  If I took the time and explained each of my various issues, they’re not anything out of the ordinary:  teenage mishaps, car trouble, slow-healing body parts.  But the theme that’s running through all of them is they require me stepping out of my comfort zone in some way, shape or form and confronting someone.  Any kind of assertive conversation (and in some cases I’ll go ahead and upgrade it to aggressive) makes me uncomfortable in the extreme.

And in virtually all of the issues where I am required to assert myself, I have very little hope of swaying the opposing party to my side.  Which of course leads to feelings of frustration before I even assert myself.

Some of the issues have been dragged out for ridiculous reasons, which leads to impatience.

So, to sum up:

Anxiety + Frustration + Impatience = Scattered and Lacking Peace

Here’s what I can say:  I know, even at the worst of my negative feelings, that sooner or later all will settle down.  Sooner or later each of these issues will resolve, and a whole new set will crop up.  I know this, and at times this knowledge can settle my nerves.

In the meantime, I talk about my feelings, and I get advice from those that have been there and done that.  From this morning’s reading, the greatest take-away I got was the importance of asking the question:

How much does this really matter?

If I ask that question for each of my various issues, often the answer is a fairly simple “not as much as I’m making it matter.”  Some of the kid issues my Devil’s Advocate can argue are important based on principle, or could potentially be stepping stones to bigger issues, but even in those cases, if I take a wide-angle view, these things are blips on the screen of life.

So if I find out I can’t pick up my car today, how much does it really matter?  I will likely pick it up the next drivable day after the snow storm.  In the case of my foot, if I’m in the boot a month longer than I thought I would be, in the span of my life how much does it really matter?  The kid issues… well, I suppose I can simply do my personal best, and leave the results up to God.  As much I wish I could, I have control over one person in this life, and it’s all I can do to control myself!

Here are some other great thoughts from this morning:

  • Everyone with children has issues with children.  It is the nature of the beast of parenting!
  • Sharing with people who understand helps, as does listening to people who have what you want.  If you are lacking peace, go talk to someone you feel has a good sense of peace about them.
  • Slowing down the process of anything helps to do it better, more thoroughly, and with less mistakes.
  • Taking time each morning in quiet reflection helps to make the entire day a calmer experience.
  • Remembering that for which you are grateful helps to alleviate the stressful parts of your life.
  • The theme of humility runs through this morning’s reading.  It is important to remember to keep our egos in check when trying to fix all the world’s problems.

For those of you who are getting hit with bad weather, I wish you safety and warmth.  For those of you in warm, sunny climates, I’m jealous!

Today’s Miracle:

The hope that I’m back next week with fabulous resolutions to all the issues I’m complaining about this week 🙂

M(3), 12/21/15: The Collective Boo Hoo

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And just like that, we are here at Christmas week.

Another packed meeting today, 20 attendees!  For the record we read from the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.  Because it is the 12th month, we read step 12:

Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Because this is a long step, with an equally long reading associated with it, we read the first half today; we’ll read the second half next week.

Which turns out to be quite convenient, since we talked but little about this step in today’s meeting.  As it happens, the group had some venting to do!

I shared first, and I was able to keep my share in context with the reading. I have written this before, and I’m sure I’ll write this again:  when it comes to which of the steps had the most transformational effect on my life, step twelve is tied for first.

Step three is the other, in case you were curious.

My best guess for why both 3 and 12 are so important is that they have the greatest universal application:  anyone, anywhere, anytime can benefit from putting into action the suggestions in steps 3 and 12.

Which means that when I choose to use the spiritual awakening I was granted to help another, when I choose to practice the very basic suggestions given to me by this 12-step program everywhere in my life, not just within the confines of my recovery, then my life is exponentially better.  The moment I choose to get out of my own head in order to give assistance to someone else, my life improves.

It’s that simple, but its simplicity belies the profundity of its impact.

That was my take on the reading, but we took a major turn when I finished.  I’m not sure what it is about the holidays and family, but things were haywire with the group, at least with the portion of the group who shared.  Feelings of being misunderstood, familial expectations that lead to feelings of entrapment, confusion and resentment regarding the decisions of loved ones all permeated the room this morning.

A lot of people started their sharing with variations of the theme:  “I anxiously anticipate the end of the holiday season.”

You might think that I’m complaining, or perhaps resentful that this group of sad sacks pricked a hole in my balloon of optimism.  Far from it!  Every single person, by the conclusion of sharing their troubles, felt better for having shared it.  Not only did they state this to be true, it was visibly apparent… smiles replaced tears, countenances brightened, tones of voice evened out.  It’s like watching little miracles, one after the other.

Besides the actual act of sharing, the other element of improving each person’s mental state seemed to be absorbing the message within the reading this morning.  Now that the troubles are aired, each person remembered what they needed to do:  get out of their own heads, and be there for someone else.  And in so doing each seemed to take back some of the peace that this season promises.

And it brought me a lot of the magic this season promises!

Today’s Miracle:

Having this magnificent platform to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

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