As I glanced through the pages of a writer’s magazine one morning, I realized how important this magazine had been in my life. When I began writing back in the late seventies, I had no writer friends. I was on my own with a dream and a sketchy one at that. But by reading this monthly magazine aimed at aspiring writers, I knew I wasn’t alone. Other people had done what I wanted to do; they had started where I was at. This magazine was an important part of my believing I can.
From time to time, we all need connections that help us believe. If we’re beginning recovery from an issue like codependency or chemical dependency, our group meetings help us believe I can. If we’re learning a new skill, like skydiving or flying a plane, sometimes talking to someone that can remember what it felt like to be unsure, awkward, and unskilled goes much further than talking to someone that can only remember being in mastery of the craft.
One day at the drop zone, I grabbed a man who had jumped out of an airplane over ten thousand times. “I’m so scared each time I jump,” I said. “Is it normal to be that afraid?” This skydiving professional—who was so assured and respected—looked at me and smiled. “I was so frightened my first one hundred jumps that I couldn’t even breathe!”
When you’re trying to believe you can, whether it’s believing you can stay sober for the next twenty-four hours, learning to take care of yourself, being a single parent, being in a good relationship, learning to write, learning to type, or learning to jump out of a plane, make good solid connections to people, places, and things that help you believe I can.
And if you run into someone who’s walking a path that you’ve already walked, remember and share how it felt in the beginning so they can come to believe, too.
God, thank you for sending me the connections I need. Let me be of service whenever possible by being honest and speaking from my heart so I can be a good connection, as well.
Activity: Make a list of your connections. What are the areas in your life where you want to believe you can do it? Examples might be sobriety, taking care of yourself, being a single parent, learning to write, learning to be in a relationship, going through a divorce, surviving the loss of a loved one, getting your finances in order, or learning to speak a new language. Once you have your list of I can’s, list in detail your present or potential connections for coming to believe. For instance, in recovery from chemical dependency, your connections might include your Twelve Step groups, the Big Book, a daily meditation book, a counselor, some recovering friends, and a medallion you received—whether it’s for one hour or one day. If you’re learning a new skill, such as writing, your connections might include a teacher, a friend, a book that’s particularly helpful and encouraging, a magazine, and a piece of writing you’ve already done that either has been published or received good responses from friends. This list is solely to help you believe you can. Once you have your connection lists written, use them whenever you need a big dose of I can.
From the book: More Language of Letting Go
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