JANUARY 15: You’re Free to Follow Your Heart

No one has taken your freedom away. You may have relinquished it for reasons known and unknown. But you’ve always been free—free to choose.

And you have been choosing, whether or not you have been conscious of your choices. For many years, you chose not to be free. Then you felt stifled, so you groused and rebelled. That was an important part of your journey. It helped you break out of your prison, loosened the chains around you. Now you see the truth. You have always been free.

Celebrate the breaking of the chains.
Celebrate your freedom. And share
it joyfully with others. Tell yourself,
tell others, too, that you’re free to
trust and follow your own heart.

January 14: Say yes to yourself

Are you balanced? Do you share your time, your energy, your life, as much with yourself as you do with those around you? We all know how simple it is to say “yes, yes, yes” each time someone makes a request. After all, it makes us feel good, makes us feel needed, makes us feel loved. And the more we say yes, the more they ask of us. And we tell ourselves this is an example of even more love.

But soon we say yes to too many things. We get bitter about our relationships. Can’t they do anything for themselves? Nothing would get done around here if it weren’t for me. Isn’t there anyone else who can help? After a while, things don’t get done, promises go unfulfilled, relationships break down. And so do we.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Know your limits. You are one of the most important people you need to look after and love. Balance your time, your energy, your life with those around you. You will be able to give more freely and joyfully as a result, and you’ll be more open to the gifts of the universe.

It’s not wrong to give to others. But it’s okay to say yes to ourselves, too.

God, help me live a balanced life. Help me learn when it’s time to say yes to myself.

Good Feelings: January 13

When we talk about feelings in recovery, we often focus on the troublesome trio—pain, fear, and anger. But there are other feelings available in the emotional realm—happiness, joy, peace, contentment, love, closeness, excitement.

It’s okay to let ourselves feel pleasurable feelings too.

We don’t have to worry when we experience good feelings; we don’t have to scare ourselves out of them; we don’t have to sabotage our happiness. We do that, sometimes, to get to the more familiar, less-joyous terrain.

It’s okay to feel good. We don’t have to analyze, judge, or justify. We don’t have to bring ourselves down, or let others bring us down, by injecting negativity.

We can let ourselves feel good.

Today, I will remind myself that it is my right to feel as good as I can. I can have many moments of feeling good; I can find a balanced place of feeling content, peaceful, and good.

January 12

Gratitude feeds on itself. It breeds acceptance. It turns what we have into enough, and more.

Gratitude Focus: We can keep saying thank you, even when we don’t mean it. Pretty soon we won’t have to fake it anymore. It will become a natural heartfelt act.

JANUARY 11: Let Go of the Blocks

I wandered into the bookstore in a small Southern California town, browsed for a while, then began chatting with the clerk. “Times are different now,” I said. “Changing fast. Turning into something so new, so different many of us can’t imagine.”

“Yes,” she replied quietly and prophetically. “Things are going to be easier. Unless there’s something you’re still hanging on to.”

Is there something you’re still hanging on to? A remnant from the past that’s blocking you from stepping into the future? From stepping into today?

Look into your heart. The answer is there. Perhaps it’s a behavior, a person, a belief. Is there an issue from the past that’s blocking your ability to love yourself, to connect with God, life, others? Ask yourself if there’s something you’re hanging on to that has outworn its purpose. Old chains can tie us to the past, to past pain, to a path we’ve already trodden, a place we’ve already been.

Now is the time to let go. Gently, quietly, let go. Allow yourself a few looks back and as many tears as needed. Where you’ve been has been important. It has helped shape who you are. But have faith that where you’re going is important and wonderful, too.

Gently let go. Be free to step
into your future of joy.

January 10: Push a different button

If you keep pushing the same button, you will get the same results. If you don’t like the same results, maybe you could try pushing a different button.

“I try and I try and I try. Nothing seems to change. I don’t know why he can’t try to please me a little more; I’ve done so much for him.” “The people at work just don’t appreciate my efforts after all that I’ve done.”

If you find yourself reacting to the same situations with the same responses over and over again, waiting for a change, stop! If you’ve been pushing the same button again and again, maybe the only result you’re going to get is the one that’s been taking place.

Look at your relationships. Is there a situation that has been moving steadily downhill despite your best efforts to push the right button? Do you find yourself responding to the same situations in the same way over and over, never satisfied with the results? Are you trying the same thing over and over, waiting for something outside of yourself to change instead of doing something differently yourself? Maybe it’s time to stop pushing the button, walk away, and do something else.

God, give me the clarity to see the situations in my life honestly and to act with wisdom and responsibility in the associations that I have.