A Life of Serenity

Hello and good morning to all! Today, I liked the search term “life of serenity,” and will talk about serenity.

Serenity is defined by Webster as a state of being serene, and serene is defined as being untroubled, calm , tranquil, peaceful, and quiet. As someone who lives her life in serenity, I can honestly say it is a marvelous place to be.

How can you live a life of serenity? For me, it was a matter of cleaning up the past, visiting the past as a means of moving forward in the present. Once I did this, I was able to heal from the wounds I received during my lifetime, and became able to focus on what was happening in my life in the moment.

You, too, can do this. Re-visit the past, not to dwell, blame, or pity yourself, but as a way to understand your wounds more fully so you can begin to heal from them, as a means of understanding your inner self in current day.

Examine your actions and behaviors to ferret out those times when you were unkind to others, intolerant of them, times when your behavior was less than giving. Look not only at how you treat others; look at how you treat yourself, as well. Resolve to treat others and yourself with more kindness, gentleness, and tolerance.

Apologize to others, and to yourself, for any harm caused, and this includes spiritual harm. For example, gossip is a form of character assignation that you will wish to curb in order to live a life of kindness and serenity. You will find more serenity when you cease gossiping and focus on yourself instead. By this I mean, focusing on your behaviors and actions to keep them “clean.”

Learn to be grateful for everything around and within you, and you will begin to feel more serenity. Find a force greater than yourself to believe in, to turn to in times of trouble and in times of appreciation and thankfulness.

I cannot say enough how glorious it is to live in serenity; you will find great peace, happiness, and freedom when you discover it. Simply try the things I have suggested and see if you are able to have a life of serenity. Leave a comment to let us know how you discovered serenity in your life.

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Willingness Is the Key to Your Happiness

Hello to you this clear and bright morning! I hope you have a good day, filled with love and joy. Today, I am going to address the search term “willingness is the key.” The term did not say “key to what,” and I added happiness, because it is true… when you have the willingness to be happy, you can find happiness.

A coach with whom I am working stresses that you come what you believe. So, if you believe you can be happy, you begin to engage in activities and thought patterns that bring you happiness.

I spent my life until about the age of 52 believing that happiness was found in other people, in my circumstances. I held others responsible for my happiness and when they didn’t produce it, I was angry at them, carried a resentment against them. And I searched all over for the right set of circumstances, the right place to live, believing that when I found the right place, the right set of circumstances, I would be happy.

About 4 years into sobriety, I realized the fallacy of these beliefs. I learned that happiness came from inside of me, that I formed my own happiness. Wow, that was revolutionary, a true aha! moment. And then I discovered that if I showed willingness to assume responsibility for my happiness, it began to be a reality.

Willingness is the key to everything, I have discovered. I had to have willingness to be responsible for my own happiness, willingness to get and stay sober so I could heal, willingness to feel my feelings, willingness to approach life with a positive attitude. Without willingness, these things could not occur.

The image to the right is from my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing.” In the book, the verse that accompanies the picture is, “All it takes is willingness to unlock whatever lies inside, to turn the knob and open the gate… All it takes is a tiny opening the size of a keyhole.”

This is so true… a tiny opening in your heart, in your mind, will lead to more and more willingness. If you are willing to have just a little willingness, the Universe expands it for you.

If you are having difficulty being willing to heal, willing to get sober if that is your need, willing to hold yourself responsible for your feelings and your happiness, then ask the Universe for the willingness to be willing to have willingness. Just show a little willingness and you’ll be amazed at how you are supported in that endeavor! Here’s to your willingness!

 

 

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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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Absence of Moral Judgment

 

Why do we judge people so harshly for being who they are, if their actions and behaviors feed their spirit and are not harmful to themselves or others? Is it because we are afraid of them and their differences, and/or is it because we’re not feeliing okay about ourselves?

As it turns out, I am grateful to have become an alcoholic, because I was forced to learn how to assess myself pretty honestly. I did not feel good about myself. Lots of assessment and healing later, I began to see how my negative thoughts about others were very morally judgmental, in response to my fear and esteem issues.

It was through the process of self-appraisal that, as I began to feel better about who I was and took responsibility for my thoughts, the less I handed out moral judgment, the less I denigrated their soul. So maybe the more we love ourselves, the less we judge others negatively.

I notice a whole litany of judgments running through my mind at any given moment, always judging another, as well as myself. First, I see myself noticing things about people and then judging them as safe to be around.

That is inate in all of us. It part of the automatic fight or flight mechanism – to continually assess our situation so we keep ourselves safe. We just do this, it just happens. It’s unconscious much of the time.

Yet, for me, the judgment takes on a tone of morality, sometimes indignantly, because I’ve continued my assessment, which includes deciding whether someone is good or bad.

By having these thoughts about someone, do I not set up an energy that they can feel on a soul level and it denigrates them as a person? In sobriety, I decided I wanted to stop denigrating people in my mind.

Initially, it was a conscious thought to go to that place where I said to myself, “Isn’t that interesting what that person thinks or is doing?” and leave it at that.

***** This only applies, of course, when the person is not being harmful to himself or others. That’s a whole other discussion…

Now I more automatically notice when I am judging someone, and this allows me to stop doing it. I find myself really enjoying what that person has to offer.

I have experienced the most beautiful moments with people whom I used to judge as bad. What an awesome discovery that was, and continues to be, as a result of my attempts at learning to lessen and negate my moral judgment.

Wow. What a long way to peace that would go if, once assessing that we’re safe, we stopped with our moral judgment of others. Would it be a world  filled with more happiness and the experience of more wondrous moments?

And if we stopped with the moral judgment of ourselves, would we each experience more happiness within, leading to our inner peace?

 

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