April 2

There’s plenty of time for discipline, criticism, tough love, and advice—later. For now, just for a minute, let nurturing be enough. Nurturing gestures include nonsexual touch, a genuine smile, a sympathetic ear, gentle words that truly convey concern or encouragement.

Nurturing can come in the form of small efforts: a cup of tea with honey, a meal cooked with love, a shoulder massage.

Action: Each day think of one small nurturing act you can do for someone else or for yourself. Maybe it’s smiling at the guy behind the deli counter. Maybe it’s telling someone what a good job they’re doing. C’mon. Get creative. Make it sincere. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. But you may need to push yourself a little—use some oomph—to get started. Translate that warm heart into actions that convey love.

APRIL 1: Learn to Clear Your Path

I met a woman at the mineral springs in Ojo Caliente, New Mexico. She had a gentle, open way. She talked to me about rituals, about miracles, about change. “My husband and I badly wanted a child, but I couldn’t get pregnant,” she said. “One night, I decided to go to a mikvah, a Jewish ritual bath. My decision felt powerful. But every obstacle you could imagine happened when I tried to get there. I could barely get out of my house. Then when I did, I got lost and had to go back home for directions. When I finally got to the bath, it was just beginning, but I knew I needed to be there. The night was electric. The air felt as if it were charged with lightning. It was a full moon. I went through the ritual and returned home. That night, my daughter was conceived. She’s now seven years old.”

There are often obstacles on our path. Roadblocks, barricades, detours. Things to go over, around, or under. Sometimes, the roadblocks are telling us no, this door isn’t opening. Find another way. Other times the roadblocks are telling us that the road we have chosen is very special. If we want to go down it, we will have to try. We will have to focus. We will have to muster our energy and show the world how badly we want it. We will have to overcome each and every obstacle, one by one, as they appear.

What do you want badly? Are you willing to go through an obstacle course, if need be, to achieve it? Are you willing to be tested by the universe? Are you willing to focus, push forward, go the distance?

Sometimes, the road ahead is blocked,
but clearing the way becomes part of
our journey. Learn to tell when it’s time
to let go, to surrender, to search for
another road, a different path, another
dream. But also learn to tell when it’s
time to move forward, through obstacles
if need be, because the dream is electric,
charged by Divine energy and love.

March 31: Change what you can

There are times when it’s best to say whatever and times when it’s best to say enough. Be aware of the differences in these times, and be ready to say both.

Are you being abused or merely annoyed? Is your anger based on a legitimate hurt, or has someone just not lived up to your expectations? Be aware that there’s a difference. Then learn to apply the strategies, as needed, for that particular situation.

Are there any rules for knowing? No, there aren’t. You need to decide and choose what’s best for you at any given time. Trust yourself and your Higher Power. You’re wiser than you think.

Seek balance in your life. Learn when it’s time to let go, and learn when it’s time to act.

God, help me let go of situations that are out of my control and help me take action, when it’s time.

Experiment: March 30

Experiment. Try something new. Try stepping out.

We have been held back too long. We have held ourselves back too long.

As children, many of us were deprived of the right to experiment. Many of us are depriving ourselves of the right to experiment and learn as adults.

Now is the time to experiment. It is an important part of recovery. Let yourself try things. Let yourself try something new. Yes, you will make mistakes. But from those mistakes, you can learn what your values are.

Some things we just won’t like. That’s good. Then we’ll know a little more about who we are and what we don’t like.
Some things we will like. They will work with our values. They will work with who we are, and we will discover something important and life-enriching.

There is a quiet time in recovery, a time to stand still and heal, a time to give ourselves a cooling-off time. This is a time of introspection and healing. It is an important time. We deal with our issues.

There also comes a time when it is equally important to experiment, to begin to “test the water.”

Recovery does not equal abstention from life. Recovery means learning to live and learning to live fully. Recovery means exploration, investigation, experimentation.

Recovery means being done with the rigid, shame-based rules from the past, and formulating healthy values based on self-love, love for others, and living in harmony with this world.

Experiment. Try something new. Maybe you won’t like it. Maybe you’ll make a mistake. But maybe you will like it, and maybe you’ll discover something you love.

Today, I will give myself permission to experiment in life. I will stop rigidly holding myself back, and I will jump in when jumping in feels right. God, help me let go of my need to deprive myself of being alive.

March 29

Quick, a pop test. Which best describes you: warm or cold? Or are you warm on the inside and just appear cold to others?

Inventory Focus: Were you nurtured as a child? Do a quick life review. Who are the people you’ve been involved with that you would describe as nurturing? Have your favorite people in your life been warm or cold? Have you had any experiences with being overnurturing? Do you need to learn to set boundaries when you nurture? Are you willing to warm up a little to others and yourself?

MARCH 28: Discover New Beliefs

The drive from Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon in Utah was a short one. I had traveled the same route several times. At a certain pass, no matter how sunny the day and cloudless the sky, it was raining there every time. Although it was hard to see, a small dark cloud seemed to hang over this one particular place, this one area of the road, all the time.

It may be like that in a particular area of our lives. A certain belief seems almost stuck to us, stuck to one area of our lives, and no matter how sunny the rest of the drive, it’s raining there all the time. What cloud is hanging over you? Could it be one you’re helping to create?

Some beliefs—My choices are wrong, I make had decisions, I’m wrong—can create a dark heaviness that hangs over us like a cloud. These beliefs may be so subtle we don’t notice them. What we do notice is a lingering pain or anxiety, a cloud that seems to follow us around. What we don’t see is that we’re helping create and maintain our own cloud with these beliefs.

The lesson may not be to make better decisions or be a better person. The lesson may be much simpler: change your beliefs. Make some new decisions. Let yourself discover some new, better, sunnier beliefs about yourself and your life. Allow yourself to believe that the decisions you make are fine.

Who you are is okay.
You always have been.

March 27: Set yourself free

I’ll let go tomorrow; I’m having too much fun torturing myself today. No, that’s not really it. I’ll let go tomorrow; the things I’m holding on to need me to hold them today. Yes, that’s closer to what it is. I’m not enjoying myself at all today, but I have to keep holding on to my desires, my guilt, my limitations, and my worries. I am defined by them. And you want me to let go of them today? Sorry, maybe tomorrow. And so we hold on. And the ulcer grows. And the pain in our hearts from unfulfilled expectations keeps gnawing away at us. What we’re really putting off is the freedom we get from letting go.

Yes, I know that what you’re holding on to is important. Everything that I have ever had to let go of was important to me, too. If it wasn’t important, letting go wouldn’t be a struggle. We’d just put it down and walk away.

You’ve been given today. Will you use it or will you miss out on today’s wonder because you’re too preoccupied with holding on to things that are beyond your control?

God, help me let go, today.