What Lights You Up?

Good morning after a bit of a break. I have not been able to gain access to the backend of my blog, so have not been able to send it out for the past few days. We’re back in business. Being the non-techno wizard I am, I have no clue what happened, nor how to fix it if it happens again…

Today I want to talk about what lights you up! What in life brings you great joy and happiness, gives you strength and energy to keep going through the difficult patches?

Is it the simple things you can see all around you in nature… the flowers in their delicacy and glory, the cloud formations that are fascinating, the green rolling hills that gently stretch out in front of you? Is it the time you spend with yourself in quiet solitude, or the time spent with loved ones and cherished friends?

Take a moment and consider what lights you up. Taking this time will benefit you for the rest of your life. Each time you stop to consider what lights you up will bring you to the present moment, where all your joy, happiness, and peace reside.

Each time you consider this, you will start your day over again. It will bring you a freshness that you will find delightful. You will open to more willingness and you will become more teachable.

For me, one of the things that lights me up is being in my home which I have decorated with all the things that feed my soul… plants, pictures, knickknacks… Then there’s my darling, precious kittie, Izzy. She is the light of my heart right now. We are very close. There is my quiet time by myself, and then there is the time I spend with others that are important in my life. It’s all good. It all feeds my soul.

So, what lights you up and feeds your soul? What brings you peace and happiiness? Take a moment to leave a comment and let us know.

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Easter – A Day of Rising Up by Finding Sobriety

Good morning and Happy Easter to each of you! I wish for you a day of rising up, of being reborn in your life. For me, that rebirth happened after I found sobriety. By becoming sober, I became able to heal form past wounds, and to learn to forgive, to create forgiveness in my life.

Today, I want to address sobriety and then mention forgiveness…

Have you been beaten down so low in your life that you are in great despair, with little or no hope that things will get better? Are you drinking mass quantities to numb the pain and confusion you feel? There is a way out. It is one of sobriety.

Right now, today – a day of rising up – you can choose sobriety. You can choose another course for your life. It doesn’t have to be in shame that you do this – instead, you can be in great relief that you no longer have to drown your sorrows and feel miserable the next day. Ah yes, the hangovers. How I remember them well… getting up and not being able to function until the afternoon, going to get my hangover food – a burrito from Taco Bell or a thigh from Kentucky Fried Chicken – all so it would settle my queasy stomach and quell the sharp pain in my head.

Are you there yet? Wanting to give it all up? Then it is time for you to consider sobriety, to ask for help. There are many support groups around from which you can get assistance. All you have to do is look in your yellow pages, or google alcohol support groups. They are there to help you – right now. Follow that small voice in your heart that wants to be done, that small voice that urges you to ask for help. It will be the best thing you do for yourself in your life!

Once you find sobriety, after a while, you will learn how to create forgiveness in your life, of both others and yourself, and that is the most freeing and peaceful thing you can experience. It will make you glow, make you radiant. You do not want to miss this experience!

The thing about sobriety is, it allows you to heal from all the demons you chase away when you are drinking. Through sobriety, you create a life that is filled with freedom, with peace. But you have to start somewhere, so why not at the beginning and what better day than Easter?

 

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How to Complete a Self-Appraisal

Good morning on this fine and clear day! May you have clarity and goodness in your day today!

Yesterday, I received an email from a dear friend who reads my blog, questioning things which I plan to address in today’s blog. For example, they asked about what to list out. I hope I have addressed that fully in this post. Then, the question was raised, what is honesty? I will further discuss that also.

So, how do you do a self-appraisal?

First, you gather willingness… willingness to look at yourself honestly. When I say honestly, I mean looking at your positive points first and giving yourself full credit for all your positive traits, all the positive ways in which you treat others and yourself. We often shy away from being honest about who we are, having been told that is conceited to do so. But we need to objectively assess who we are in our totality. We do this not to brag about ourselves, rather, to humbly look at who we are in our totality.

On the negative side, being honest means being willing to admit you screwed up when you did, that you treated others or yourself poorly. It is embarrassing to admit these things about ourselves, and that is part of being willing to be honest…

For example, I find myself sometimes acting in a very selfish manner, thinking of myself when I could be considering the other. In those situations, I seem to do things for others because there is something in it for me, before I give with no thought of what I’ll get out of it – giving without expecting or wanting in return.  That’s somewhat embarrassing to say, yet, it is honest.

What I do with that information, that realization, is to be aware in the future of when I start to do something for another. I can assess my motives and change them, as indicated, come at it from a different angle.

It is important to add gentleness and compassion when you look at your negative side, the side that needs improvement, or else you would beat yourself up unmercifully. Having said these things, let’s start with how to do the appraisal…

After becoming willing to get honest, list out your positive qualities and traits on a piece of paper. List them all out. Get generous with yourself. No one else is going to see this, so brag about yourself to yourself only. Be loud and proud on paper. Then sit with, “be” with, this list of traits. Let it sink in that this is you that you have listed out in all your goodness and glory. Get comfortable with feeling the light from seeing your good qualities and traits. You are trying to counteract any negative things you have been told throughout your life.

Now, take the past week and list out every good deed, kindness, and generous thing you did during the week. List it all out. If you had a kind thought about someone, list that out, too. Then allow this to sink in for a few days. Bask in your goodness. Know that at your core, you are light.

Next, turn your attention to your negative side, the side that needs improvement. We all have one, you know. List all the negative things about yourself that you do not like. Include the negative things you tell yourself. Consider the past week and list out all the mean, nasty, and unkind things you did or thought during that time. Don’t hold back, yet do not beat yourself up. Do it honestly, from an objective viewpoint.

Consider each point and look at each with compassion for yourself, a wounded person so much so that it led you to act in a negative manner. Now, right all wrongs. This may mean apologizing to some people. If this is the case, get humble yet not subservient. Drop the hostility, the defiance. Apologize with your heart and soul. Sometimes, apology is not advised; this is when it would hurt the other person more, cause them damage in some way.

When you have completed your self-appraisal, you will feel a cleanness about yourself. You will be right with the world and yourself. Resolve to keep an active and current eye on your behaviors, celebrating yourself for your wins and correcting the negative as you move through each day.

I hope this clarifies your questions, dear friend. Thank you again for raising them. : ) And I hope for all of you that by doing a self-appraisal, you find more freedom and peace. Leave a comment if you found this to be useful for you.

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The Merits of a Self-Appraisal

Good morning to each of you and happy day. It is the wee hours of the morning and I just popped awake, so here I am. : ) Today, I am going to respond to the search term “the merits of self-appraisal.”

In my experience, doing a self-appraisal is the key that has allowed me to move to inner peace. Although difficult at first to look at myself, doing it has become a routine occurrence. By doing a self-appraisal on a regular basis, it keeps me on top of the things that I need to correct in my life, in other words, my behavior and my thoughts. And it allows me to see and acknowledge my goodness.

I have found that doing a self-appraisal leads to inner peace and emotional freedom because I am “clean,” my motives are pure and less selfish in nature. Also, if I have done something to offend someone, I can right that in the moment that I do the appraisal. And, by seeing my goodness, I am not so hard on myself, do not beat myself up so much.

One of the great benefits of doing a self-appraisal is that it paves the way to forgiveness, which leads to the creation of more inner peace and emotional freedom. It keeps a check on me getting angry at others for doing the very same thing I am doing, and if I get the ball rolling in a disagreement, it allows me to see that.

A self-appraisal allows me to keep abreast of what I am telling myself about myself… in other words, my negative self-talk. When I engage in this, I can correct it right then and there.

There is such a feeling of freedom when you incorporate a self-appraisal into your everyday life, your everyday happenings. At first, listing out my behaviors was difficult and I did so with great shame. Over the years, however, I have learned to see my negative behavior with compassion, as I was a wounded person at the time I committed whatever I committed.

That is not to say compassion is an excuse to not be responsible and accountable for my behavior. Oh, no. I need to own my negative behavior. The beauty in owning it is that I feel pure when I have done so. It is a practice in humility rather than shame. It allows me to remember that I am a fallible human being.

These are just some of the merits of a self-appraisal. Try it yourself and you’ll feel lighter, brighter, more at home with yourself. If you want to learn how to do a self-appraisal, join me tomorrow as I describe, step-by-step, how to do one.

 

 

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What Is It Like to Be Sober When You’re Hurting?

Good morning to each of you, and the day is long past dawn. It is bright and clear in the northern San Francisco Bay Area, and I am loving this weather!

Yesterday, I spoke of what it was like to be sober and I talked about all the positives. What about when it gets tough? You see, it does get tough. It’s not all a picnic. So, that’s what I want to talk about today… what to do when being sober is tough.

The thing about being sober is, you begin to feel your feelings. For years, perhaps, you have numbed them out, and suddenly your numbing agent is gone. The length of time for the difficult emotions to emerge will vary in the time it takes for them to appear and in intensity, depending on the depth of your pain.

For me, I was on a pink cloud, feeling wonderful, for about 6 months before the difficult emotions really hit me, and I mean REALLY hit me. Although, during that 6 months, I was still grieving the loss of an unrequited love, the thing which had led me to my bottom in the first place, when all I could do for several months was drink and cry. So, I was dealing with those feelings of rejection and even thoough I felt grand being sober, those feelings were hovering in the background.

I’m referring to the feelings that were buried deep inside, the ones of rejection from when I was a child, the feelings of worthlessness, shame, and despair that I carried throughout my childhood and then for most of my adulthood until I was 48, which was when I got sober. It was a bottomless well, a deep crevice and I felt like I had fallen off of a cliff many days.

How did I deal with it, you may ask, so you know how to deal with it when those feelings, or similar ones, come upon you? First and foremost, I resolved never to drink, although there were times in the course of my sobriety when I would yell, “Being sober is not better than when I was drinking!” Nonetheless, I kept holding on to my sobriety, I kept sober, and discovered that being sober was absolutely worth it! How did I do that?

I went to 4 or 5 support group meetings a a day for the first one and a half years of being sober. Every morning, I started my day with a brisk walk, followed by writing in a journal with my left, non-doiminant hand. I printed, actually. All sorts of deep feeliings flowed onto the page and I was able to have them to look at, to experience them. My writing helped me work through those feelings.

Plus, I talked to people a lot about those feelings that came up. And then, I read spiritual books voraciously. Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s The Invitation, The Dance, and The Call, Iyanla VanZant’s Until Today, Yesterday I Cried, and One Day My Soul Just Opened Up, Melody Beattie’s books on co-dependency – I forget the titles.

Later in sobriety, when I was facing the pain caused by my child abuse, I read all of Claudia Black’s books, It Will Never Happen to Me was a big one that helped me get through my feelings.

The point is, and this post is getting long so I will end with this, allow your feelings to come up and find some way to cope with them. It is okay to distract yourself at times, with healthy activities, such as reading, exercising, writing, yet you need to face the difficult emotions and feel them. The only way past difficult emotions is to go through them. The only way out is through… Stick with it, hang in there, get counseling if needed. Ah, that’s something else I did that was paramount.

Just remember, the end result is happiness and joy, peace and freedom, like you have never experienced before. Trust me on this. Just stay sober, and don’t pick up that first drink. I wish you well on your journey.

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Seven Things You Can Do to Strengthen Your Sobriety Today

Good morning to each of you! I hope for you a wonderful day, a wonderful week! : ) I liked the search term “things I can do to strengthen my sobriety,” so that is what I chose to address this morning. This applies to you even if you are not a sober person, i.e., even if you do not have a drinking problem.

The following are some suggestions of things you can do to strengthen your sobriety:

1. Write, print, every day in a journal with your non-dominant hand, even if for only 15 minutes every morning. If you are right-handed, print with your left. You will find that all sorts of deep emotions will flow forth onto the page. This is especially useful if you are “stuck,” having difficulty with your emotions and moving forward because of them.

2. Take a brisk walk a few times a day, even for 5 minutes. This gets your blood flowing, which gets more oxygen to your brain. It also helps the flow of endorphins to your brain, which is the feel-good chemical.

3. Get in the habit of doing an on-going self-appraisal, also known as a self-assessment, of your thoughts, words, and actions. This will keep you on track internally, in your thought-life, as well as keep a watch over how you treat others. If you are not acting in kind, tolerant respectful, and loving ways to others and yourself, you can change that behavior throughout the day.

4. Be gentle with yourself. All the harshness and having unrealistic expectations of yourself will not move you forward in life, will not help your sobriety. Instead, when you are not gentle, when you have unrealistic expectations of yourself, you set yourself up to fail, to be in angst.

5. Begin to see others that are irritating to you as wounded people, struggling inside of themselves. Perhaps they endured abuse when they were growing up, or later in a marriage, and they have not yet worked through those feelings. Perhaps they never WILL work through those feelings, and you can see them as a wounded person. You can have compassion for them.

6. Forgive those who have wronged you. Take #5 above and apply it to those who have wronged you. Understand that by forgiving, you will set yourself free, and you will find peace from that forgiveness. Know that forgiveness does not mean you condone what was done – it just means you forgive them their transgression. Know that it is you who you are taking off the hook, so you don’t continue to live with poison in your psyche, in your heart.

7. Learn to forgive yourself for all the wrongs you have committed against yourself and to others. See yourself as wounded yourself, and cut yourself some slack. This does not mean that you are off-the-hook and not responsible for your actions and behaviors; you are. But you can see yourself as a fallible human being, and can learn from your mistakes. From that introspection, you can grow. Use your mistakes as learning experiences.

These seven things are things you can do right now, so start in on them. If you do, you will find your thought-life and external life will be more calm and peaceful, more fulfilling and richer.

What one thing are you going to do today to strengthen your sobriety? Leave a comment and share with us what that one thing is. We’d love to share in your growth. 🙂

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The Effects of Sobriety

Good morning to you all. Today I am going to address the effects of sobriety. I actually started this yesterday and the day got away from me…

What I will write here is an accounting of the effects I have gained from my sobriety. There is no guarantee you will experience all of these things, but chances are high that you will, if you maintain your sobriety and continue to make improvements in your life and with yourself.

The first and foremost effect of sobriety was the lack of hangovers. For seven years, I had experienced such horrific hangovers that the next day, I could not function till 3 or 4 pm. I did that every day for seven years… So, to awaken without a hangover was glorious and only improved over time as more and more alcohol was cleared from my system.

Then, the next effect of my sobriety was the disappearance of the sharp, stabbing pain I had been feeling in the area of my liver for 1-2 years. Later blood work revealed I did not have liver damage, so I am fortunate.

With sobriety came the feeling of feelings I had numbed for 26 years, and that was painful. Even though they were extremely difficult at times, the benefits of that were numerous. I was in so much pain that I had to journal every day which got my feelings out more quickly than anything I could have done. Also, by journaling with my non-dominant hand, even deeper feelings surfaced. Try it; it works!

Another benefit from the emotional pain was I was hurting so badly, I accepted help from a psychiatrist and a therapist. They diagnosed me with major clinical depression, PTSD, and panic disorder, and recommended I take medication, which I agreed to do. That has made my world manageable and put me at the same level emotionally that someone without those diagnoses enjoys.

Also, accepting help from the therapist helped me get through the pain more quickly, as she knew where to guide me. I looked for someone well-versed in the issues faced by an alcoholic, as well as with issues faced by children of alcoholic and abusive parents (ACA). We have a specific set of obstacles to overcome, you see, accessible by getting involved in a group that deals with ACA issues.

Over time in sobriety, my relationships improved immensely. I learned not to look to others to make me happy, which took the burden off of them. I learned to look at my own behavior instead of blaming others when things did not go the way I wanted or needed.

This is the biggest, single-most reason for my peace and freedom, in addition to learning how to forgive my parents for my upbringing. It’s huge, in fact, learning to look at our behavior, our actions, the ways in which we treat others and what’s behind that treatment or behavior, goes a long, long way to improve relations with others. Finally, I learned in sobriety to apologize for my bad behavior, to be humble instead of ashamed.

All of these things are the effects, the rewards, of my sobriety. I hope, if you elect the course of living sober, that you, too, experience them. May you discover in sobriety the great peace and freedom that I have discovered.

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Letting Go of Childhood Resentments Against Our Parents

Hello! I’m a little later than usual today. I tried to do a post this morning, and the computer kept freezing on me. So, I am back to try it again…

The issue of our letting go of resentments from our childhood, resentments against our parents, is a big topic that was searched for and I’d like to address it. I personally spent 38 years angry and bitter toward my folks because of my upbringing. Much of that time, I drown my sorrows in the bottle.

And all of the time, I blamed them for my woes, my emotional difficulties. I never realized it was my responsibility to straighten out my messed up psyche. Never even occurred to me. It was easier to blame them. Yes, I was a very bitter and angry person, but you’d never know it because I hid it from everyone, even myself.

But when drunk, the rage would raise its ugly head and I said some nasty things to the men in my lives. I used to yell at them that they were worthless, would never amount to anything. I realized I’d said this when I got sober at the age of 48 and I was doing a self-appraisal, looking at my actions and behaviors throughout my life.

Whoa, I was stopped short, and was devastated that I had denigrated their souls so badly! I realized I had repeated what I’d been told by my father nearly every day while growing up. I also realized that when I said that to the men, I didn’t mean it about them… I meant it about me. Oh, I felt horrible! I have since apologized to them for those words.

More to the point, I began to think, after a few days, gee, if I didn’t mean that the men in my life were worthless and actually said it because I felt it about me, was it possible my father didn’t mean it about me when he called me worthless, that he said it about himself? The answer to this was yes, it was possible he was, in his extreme frustration and anger, yelling at me but meaning he was worthless.

The world opened up the second I realized that. It brought me up short, with new information. I had a new angle to consider. I began to recall stories about the abuse he endured while he was growing up, and I began to realize he was doing to me what was done to him, just like I did to the men in my life what was done to me. This was very powerful to acknowledge.

I began to see myself as a wounded person, and looked with compassion. I recognized that my father was a wounded man also, and began to see him with compassion. Over time, as I considered him with compassion, I began to forgive him for the abuse of my childhood. My resentments began to melt away… over time… and I experienced the greatest freedom and peace I have ever known. To this day, I still experience it, and it has been eight years since I was able to forgive.

You, too, can experience that freedom, that peace, from your childhood resentments. First, take a look at yourself and see if you have ever repeated the behavior that was done to you by your parents. If you have, then you may get to compassion for yourself and them faster than if you haven’t. But it is still possible to find compassion, even if you haven’t repeated your parents’ behavior.

Consider them as wounded people at the time that they did what they did to you. Then, see them with compassion, just like you would see any wounded person. Revisit this compassion again and again, and over time, you may be able to forgive them and get past your childhood resentments.

Let us know if this process helps you by leaving a comment.

 

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How to Conduct a Self-Appraisal

Good morning! I hope your day is filled with lightness and joy. Today the search term I want to address is conducting a self-appraisal. This is a look at ourselves, a performance evaluation if you will, and it has great benefit.

The purpose of a self-appraisal is to determine how we are coming across in the world. It is a way to assure we are treating ourselves and others with kindness, tolerance, and respect. Many believe that this is an exercise designed to beat ourselves up, but that is not the true way to do a self-appraisal. Let’s look at another way to do one.

The first thing to do when conducting a self-appraisal is to identify all of our positive points. List out in writing all of the things that we like about ourselves, all the things that others say are positive about us.

We study this list to praise ourselves and to realize that we are good people at our core. We don’t do it to brag or flaunt our positive points. Rather, we are humble about our goodness and we see our positive points as gifts.

Next, we take a block of time – a week, two weeks, or a month – and list out all of the positive things we did during that time period. We are looking at all of the positive actions and behaviors we performed during this time period. We are not braggarts in this exercise, nor are we demeaning or disregarding of our behavior and actions. Once these positive points are identified, we sit with them, being with them, allowing them to sink into our consciousness and awareness.

Then, to continue our self-appraisal, we turn our attention to our negative and less-than-desireable actions and behaviors. This is done in a fact-finding fashion. In other words, we do not identify these things so we can beat ourselves up or feel guilt and remorse, although these may surface.

When we identify our negative points, our poor behaviors – and we all have them – we resolve to be responsible for our behavior by owning it. To own it, we first become aware and conscious of it, then we do whatever is necessary to change it. This part of the self-appraisal involves either apologizing for our actions or resolving to not repeat the behavior. We do not apologize if it will be hurtful to another; we simply change our behavior.

We are totally honest in this part of the self-appraisal, not cutting ourselves slack or giving excuses for our bad behavior and actions. The point is to shine the light of consciousness and awareness on them. Once we have done this, we own it, as I said above.

Bad behavior includes gossip, by the way, as this is spiritual assassination of another. We stop engaging in this behavior as a way to apologize to the one we denigrated. Often, we have done something that was mean to another, they reacted in a predictable, human way, and we are now resentful of their response to our meanness. If this is the case for us, we let go of the resentment and apologize, if it’s appropriate.

The benefits of a self-appraisal are that we feel more peace, more freedom of mind and heart. We become more gentle, tolerant, and respectful of people. Inside, the feelings we have for ourselves improve, become stronger and more positive.

I cannot say enough how freeing doing a self-appraisal is. We will be amazed at the benefits we experience. It will make us better people, less angry and bitter toward others In fact, the article I wrote on going from anger to forgiveness spells out the entire process and is something you will want to read. You can get it by leaving your name and email to the right. So leave them now and you will receive the article, which will further this process of the self-appraisal.

Armed now with the way to do a self-appraisal, we can now enjoy the peace and freedom we experience.

 

 

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Freedom to Grieve Loss

Good morning. Today dawns bright and clear here in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is my day to visit a friend who is incarcerated. He wasn’t a friend when I started… when I started, I didn’t even know him. I offered to visit when his visitor moved away and I learned he was devastated to lose his only visitor. I went to be of service.

What I soon discovered was a person who has grown in self-awareness and accountability for his actions. I have had the honor to witness his growth from one of fairly self-absorbed to one of genuine concern and caring for those around him. His growth has evolved form one who handled his altercations with references to violence, to one of peace. It has been a pleasure to watch the transformation over the past four or five years I have been visiting.

I have gained quite a bit from him as far as my own healing also. You see, when I started visiting, I was afraid to publish my book, afraid to let the world know who I was, much less to get my book out there. Through his gentle guiding me to see myself as a beautiful person, filled with passion, compassion, and concern for others, I was able to heal from my poor self-image, and to finally publish my book. You might say he was responsible for me being able to blog and share who I am.

After each visit, I leave, more grateful each time for my freedom and all that it entails. The freedom to cry when I am sad or joyous, for example. I am reminded of this aspect of freedom, as I think about him mourning the loss of his older brother who died last Sunday. I anticipate today to be rather somber as a result. I am appreciative of my freedom to cry, to mourn freely, as he does not have that luxury. A male cannot cry in prison for to do so would place him in jeopardy of his safety.

With me, he is able to express his feelings, his emotions, and he has grown in his ability to do this in an appropriate manner. I recently read a grief recovery book, and feel more equipped to handle his grief as a witness and confidant to his own. So it is with somewhat of a heavy heart that I prepare to travel to the prison, knowing that today will be a difficult visit, but also knowing I can allow his the expression of his grief.

And with that, I must close and get dressed for the day. Today, cherish your freedoms for even the slightest things that you now take for granted. Know that you are free to express yourself, your emotions, and to heal in a timely fashion, rather than continue to hold the grief inside. And with that, I wish you a good day.

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