Detaching with Love: October 20

Sometimes people we love do things we don’t like or approve of. We react. They react. Before long, we’re all reacting to each other, and the problem escalates.

When do we detach? When we’re hooked into a reaction of anger, fear, guilt, or shame. When we get hooked into a power play—an attempt to control or force others to do something they don’t want to do. When the way we’re reacting isn’t helping the other person or solving the problem. When the way we’re reacting is hurting us.

Often, it’s time to detach when detachment appears to be the least likely, or possible, thing to do.

The first step toward detachment is understanding that reacting and controlling don’t help. The next step is getting peaceful—getting centered and restoring our balance.

Take a walk. Leave the room. Go to a meeting. Take a long, hot bath. Call a friend. Call on God. Breathe deeply. Find peace. From that place of peace and centering will emerge an answer, a solution.

Today, I will surrender and trust that the answer is near.

October 19: See for yourself

I have a friend who likes to hike and backpack. He always takes beautiful pictures of the places that he visits. After one trip he was telling me about a camp high in the California Sierras while showing me a photo of a stunning sunset. He told me about the night that he returned to camp after walking to the top of the mountain.

“When I got down, I found that everyone else had packed up and left camp. I was alone at twelve thousand feet. The silence was so thick I could almost touch it. You should have seen the sunset that night. It was even better than this picture.”

“Why didn’t you take a picture if the sunset was even more beautiful?” I asked.

“I figured that no one else cared to see the world from that viewpoint that night but me, so I just kept the sunset all to myself,” he explained. “If you weren’t there, you just missed out.”

This summer I watched the sun set over a lake in a corner of New Mexico, then I spent the night under the stars in a sleeping bag. The stars were so clear, so close, so brilliant I felt like I could touch them. And no, I didn’t take a picture. If you weren’t there, you just missed out.

You can read a meditation book, make a list, and even talk to people who live their lives fully, but unless you make the trip yourself, you won’t see all this life has to offer.

Is there a picture that you’ve been too busy to see lately? Break out of the ordinary. See something new or see the ordinary in a new way. Don’t just glance. Really look. Then bring back the picture in your heart. Unless you’re there, you’re just missing out. Some things you just need to see for yourself.

God, help me live my life to the fullest. Help me see and treasure all the beauty in the world.

October 18

When my son died, I didn’t want to play the game anymore. His death broke every rule I thought was important. His death hurt my trust—not my faith—in God. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God anymore. I absolutely believed in God, but I also related to the words of C. S. Lewis: “So this is what God is really like.”

We’re all in the game, whether we like it or not. It’s a game called cause and effect. If we don’t play by the rules—live by values—we’re going to reap the consequences of living that way. We may have been hurt by life, but not practicing our values hurts other people, and it hurts us.

Inventory Focus: If you are recovering from alcoholism or addiction, are you attending meetings and working the Steps? If codependency issues are a problem, are you paying attention to them in recovery? If you’re not addicted and not codependent, do you have any formal or informal regular practice to help yourself stay spiritually in shape and on track?

OCTOBER 17: Feeling Overwhelmed Is a Trap

Feeling overwhelmed is a trap, a tricky one at that. When we’re overwhelmed, we see all that needs to be done and say, That’s too much. I can’t do it. So instead, I shall do nothing. Feeling overwhelmed occurs when we say, I am already too busy so I can’t do that and now all is pressing in on me and I can’t do anything. And the acts that are ours to do keep piling up and pulling on us. And we keep resisting. And stress and pressure build up.

Feeling overwhelmed leads to feeling stuck, and both are an illusion. How simple those things that overwhelm us actually become when we release the feeling and return to the rhythm of our lives. When we say, Yes, I need to make that phone call, do that task. How simple the task becomes, how simple life becomes.

What’s bothering you that needs to be done? What’s pulling on you? What’s causing you to feel overwhelmed and maybe stuck, too? Make a list. Put your list aside, and begin by taking one simple action. Then watch as life unfolds. One act at a time, one thing at a time, all that needs to be done will get done. The stress will disappear, and you’ll feel back on track.

You’ll be given the ability, power, and guidance to do all that is on your path to do. Begin simply, quietly, by acknowledging feeling overwhelmed. Denying the pull of life and its tasks doesn’t remove stress; it compounds it.

Surrendering to the simple truths, even the simple truth of what we’re really feeling, will always set us free.

Being Honest with Ourselves: October 16

Our relationship with ourselves is the most important relationship we need to maintain. The quality of that relationship will determine the quality of our other relationships.

When we can tell ourselves how we feel, and accept our feelings, we can tell others.

When we can accept what we want and need, we will be ready to have our wants and needs met.

When we can accept what we think and believe, and accept what’s important to us, we can relay this to others.

When we learn to take ourselves seriously, others will too.

When we learn to chuckle at ourselves, we will be ready to laugh with others.

When we have learned to trust ourselves, we will be trustworthy and ready to trust.

When we can be grateful for who we are, we will have achieved self-love.

When we have achieved self-love and accepted our wants and needs, we will be ready to give and receive love.

When we’ve learned to stand on our own two feet, we’re ready to stand next to someone.

Today, I will focus on having a good relationship with myself.

October 15: Look where you’re going

“I have the controls!” Rob, my flight instructor said. He grabbed the yoke and turned the little Cessna away from an approaching plane. “Did you see him or hear him on the radio?” Rob asked.

“No,” I said. “I was concentrating too much on the flight panel instruments inside to scan outside for other planes.”

“The airplane wants to fly,” Rob said. “Learn to feel what coordinated flight feels like so you won’t need to be glued to the instruments. You need to be looking outside for other aircraft.”

Sometimes we get so engrossed in the world inside our heads that we forget to look outside. We can become so involved with the minor details of a project, something we’re trying to do, that we don’t see the big problem coming at us until it crashes into us. We can get so absorbed in our emotions that we neglect the rest of our lives. We can become so engrossed with our agenda—trying to get someone to like us, to get that job, to buy that house, or to control an outcome—that we don’t see the warning signs and realize that person, thing, or place might not be good for us.

Learn to feel your life and understand intuitively when you’re on the right path. Be aware. Sometimes we can spot potential problems when they’re still small and far away. If you can do this, then only minor corrections to your course may be necessary to avoid conflicts down the road.

Remember, the airplane wants to fly, but you’ve got to keep from hitting anything if you want a safe flight. Relax and look where you’re going. That’s how you stay on course.

God, help me become aware of danger signals before it’s too late.

October 14

When we can’t control anything or anyone around us, we can gain a sense of control by living with integrity. Figure out what you need to do to take care of yourself. Don’t judge others too harshly for not living up to your values, and give yourself a break for being imperfect. Then let God handle the rest.

Prayer: Grant me the courage to change the things I can, and the presence of mind to know when someone is acting without integrity toward me. Help us acquire a treasure chest of the real gems in life—the values we acquire and live by each day.

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