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.

OCTOBER 13: You Are on Time

Quit wondering, worrying, and blaming yourself for being late. Or worse yet, missing the boat.

“Nothing else in the universe frets about being late. Does the moon ask itself if it’s where it should be? Does the sun say, “I must hurry, else I’ll be late?’” a friend asked one evening when I was worrying about not being on time.

Stare up into the sky on a beautiful moonlit night. Feel the quiet, timeless rhythm of the planets, the moon, the stars, the universe. Know that you’re connected, tuned into a rhythm deeper and more secure than all your wondering could imagine. Breathe deeply. Relax. Let your pace spring from knowing that inside your heart.

Trust the rhythm of the universe. You are right where you need to be. You’ll get where you need to go. You have all the time you need.

Being Gentle with Ourselves During Times of Grief: October 12

The process of adapting to change and loss takes energy. Grief is draining, sometimes exhausting. Some people need to “cocoon for transformation,” in Pat Carnes’s words, while going through grief.

We may feel more tired than usual. Our ability to function well in other areas of our life may be reduced, temporarily. We may want to hide out in the safety of our bedroom.

Grief is heavy. It can wear us down.

It’s okay to be gentle with ourselves when we’re going through change and grief. Yes, we want to maintain the disciplines of recovery. But we can be compassionate with ourselves.

We do not have to expect more from ourselves than we can deliver during this time. We do not even have to expect as much from ourselves as we would normally and reasonably expect.

We may need more rest, more sleep, more comfort. We may be more needy and have less to give. It is okay to accept ourselves, and our changed needs, during times of grief, stress, and change.

It is okay to allow ourselves to cocoon during times of transformation. We can surrender to the process, and trust that a new, exciting energy is being created within us.

Before long, we will take wings and fly.

God, help me accept my changed needs during times of grief, change, and loss.

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