August 13: Learn to Relax

In skydiving, there is a position called the arch. It is a body position where the body is specifically arched from the neck down. The theory behind this is that gravity always works, and if the hips are arched, the sky diver wifi fall facedown toward the earth in a balanced, stable body position.

The trick to this body position is that it must be maintained in a relaxed way. If the sky diver doesn’t relax enough, the body wifi bounce around, maybe even flop over. Ck legs and arms won’t be in the right position, and the sky diver may start spinning out of control.

It is a deliberate, assertive, yet relaxed posture. It’s a place sky divers call “home.”

“You have to practice your arch,” my jump master had instructed. “And you have to learn to relax.”
How, I said quietly and smcerely, do you expect me to relax when I’m falling through the air at 120 miles an hour to my certain death if everything doesn’t work out right?”

“Practice,” he said. “Get out of your head and let your body remember how it feels.”

During free fall, I was stable. I grinned at my instructor. This was fun. Then for a second, I tensed up. I started wobbling through the aft feeling like I was out of control. Finally, I took a deep breath arid let myself relax.

There it was again. I had finally found home.

Whether we’re chasing oar dreams, frying to let go of a relationship, trying to raise our family, trying to get to know ourselves better, recovering from a dependency, healing from a loss, or just plain going about our lives, we can find that place called “home,” too –even when it feels like we’re falling to the ground at 120 miles an hour.

Part of the language of letting go is learning to say relax.

August 12: Practice Peace

I think that change often slips in when we’re relaxed inside of
ourselves. – Sark

Relax. Calm yourself down. Breathe consciously.

You don’t have to take a nap to relax, but sometimes it helps. So does taking a hot shower, walking through a forest, wading in a stream, drinking a cup of tea, going for a swim, watching a movie, listening to music, saying a prayer, meditating, getting a back rub, looking at the moon, or hearing a good joke.
Become conscious of how your body feels when you’re relaxed inside. How do you stand, walk, sit, breathe?

Become conscious of how you feel and what you think when you’re relaxed. It’s almost like nothingness, only you’re awake and aware. There are no angry thoughts and feelings. No frightened thoughts and feelings.

Practice relaxing until you can take that relaxed feeling with you no matter where you go or what you’re doing.

When’s a good time to relax? When you can’t do anything about whatever’s bothering you. When you’re afraid. When you’re certain that you have to do something, but you don’t know what that something is. When you’re meeting someone for the first time, obsessing, feeling guilt grieving, feeling lonely, telling someone how you feel, balancing your checkbook, failing in love, getting a divorce, climbing a mountain, or learning to do something new.

When you practice relaxing inside, you’re practicing peace.

August 11: When You Start to Worry

Sometimes we tire ourselves out before we have even begun. We struggle and wrestle with our spirit before finally consenting, giving in, and deciding to walk our path. Then when we start, we wonder why we’re so tired.

Why do these things happen to me? What will happen f I try this idea? Where will I go if she leaves me? How will I live without him? What f I don’t do it right? What ?

The path is sometimes uphill. Walk up the hill. Sometimes we have to go around an obstacle. Go around it. When we spend time and energy fussing, complaining, and questioning the road before us, we rob energy from ourselves—-energy that could be better spent on the journey.

Relax. Accept the path before you. A flat path would be boring. If we could see all the way to the end of the road from where we are standing, then what would be the point of walking it? Quit fighting the journey and start enjoying it.

God, keep me from the exhausting practice of worry and resentment. Let me trust in you and the universe.

August 10: Stop trying So Hard

Stop trying to force and make things happen. Don’t you see that by pushing so hard, you’re sabotaging yourself?

There’s another way, a better way.

Surrender not to the way you want things to be, but to the way things are, right now. Sometimes that means we surrender to loneliness, defeat, confusion, and helplessness. Sometimes that means we don’t get what we want today. Instead we get what we have today.

We’re not in control of many things and circumstances in this world. By forcing things, we often disconnect from our true power, instead of aligning with it.

Maybe something has to happen first, before you can get what you want or do what you want. Maybe there’s an important lesson you’re trying to skip. Maybe it’s not time. Stop trying so hard to push and force, to make it happen. Stop trying to do the impossible, and instead do what you can do – surrender to the way things are.

Then watch how naturally the impossible falls into place.

God, help me stop trying so hard to force things into place. Help me remember that all is well.

August 9: Being Right

Being Right

Recovery is not about being right; it’s about allowing ourselves to be who we are and accepting others as they are.

That concept can be difficult for many of us if we have lived in systems that functioned on the “right-wrong” justice scale. The person who was right was okay; the person who was wrong was shamed. All value and worth may have depended on being right; to be wrong meant annihilation of self and self-esteem.

In recovery, we are learning how to strive for love in our relationships, not superiority. Yes, we may need to make decisions about people’s behavior from time to time. If someone is hurting us, we need to stand up for ourselves. We have a responsibility to set boundaries and take care of ours elves. But we do not need to justify taking care of ourselves by condemning someone else. We can avoid the trap of focusing on others instead of ourselves.

In recovery we are learning that what we do needs to be right only for us. What others do is their business and needs to be right only for them. It’s tempting to rest in the superiority of being right and in analyzing other people’s motives and actions, but it’s more rewarding to look deeper.

Today, I will remember that I don’t have to hide behind being right. I don’t have to justify what I want and need with saying something big is “right” or “wrong.” I can let myself be who I am.

August 8: Setting Our Own Course

We are powerless over other people’s expectations of us. We cannot control what others want, what they expect, or what they want us to do and be.

We can control how we respond to other people’s expectations.

During the course of any day, people may make demands on our time, talents, energy money, and emotions. We do not have to say yes to every request. We do not have to feel guilty if we say no. And we do not have to allow the barrage of demands to control the course of our life.

We do not have to spend our life reacting to others and to the course they would prefer we took with our life.

We can set boundaries, firm limits on how far we shall go with others. We can trust and listen to ourselves. We can set goals and direction for our life. We can place value on ourselves.

We can own our power with people.

Buy some time. Think about what you want. Consider how responding to another’s needs will affect the course of your life. We live or own life by not letting other people, their expectations, and their demands control the course of our life. We can let them have their demands and expectations; we can allow them to have their feelings. We can own our power to choose the path that is right for us.

Today, God, help me own my power by detaching, and peacefully choosing the course of action that is right for me. Help me know I can detach from the expectations and wants of others. Help me stop pleasing other people and start pleasing myself.

August 7:Our Path

The spiritual path and growth promised to us by the Twelve Steps does not depend on any religious belief. They are not contingent upon any denomination or sect. They are not, as the traditions of Twelve Step programs state, affiliated with any religious denomination or organization.

We do not have to allow anyone to badger us about religion in recovery. We do not have to allow people to make us feel ashamed, afraid, or less-than because we do not subscribe to their beliefs about religion.
We do not have to let them do it to us in the name of God, love, or recovery.

The spiritual experience we will find as a result of recovery and the Twelve Steps will be our own spiritual experience. It will be a relationship with God, a Higher Power as we understand God.

Each of us must find our own spiritual path. Each of us must build our own relationship with God as we understand God. Each of us needs a Power greater than ourselves. These concepts are critical to recovery.
So is the freedom to choose how to do that.

Higher Power, help me know that I don’t have to allow anyone to shame or badger me into religious beliefs. If they confuse that with the spirituality available in recovery, help me give their issue back to them. Help me discover and develop my own spirituality, a path that works for me. Guide me, with Divine Wisdom, as I grow spiritually.