The best part of our lives we pass in counting on what is to come. William Hazlitt
What a waste. A life of expecting and waiting. Was the event ever as good as the anticipation? Seldom. Disappointment gave me climate to complain, reason to brood – and to seek relief in food.
In OA, I am in today – now, this minute – which is the only reality. Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is not here. I will appreciate this minute for what it is. I will be conscious of a life outside myself so I can hear its sounds, feel its warmth and coolness, now another’s presence. Fear disappears, control vanishes; I let go and let God direct my life.
For today: In OA, I am regaining the capacity for simple enjoyment I once had: to explore, to accept, to trust and delight in present-moment pleasures as a child does.
My takeaway: yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is not here, so STOP BLAMING SELFA ND REGRETTING!
How to Eat:
NOURISHED BY HE PRACTICE
Try to be present with your food and with the people sitting around the table with you. Don’t close your eyes or look down while you chew. You can open your eyes and if you are with people, notice them alive and well. When we chew with awareness, we’re not just nourished by the food, we’re nourished by our practice of mindfulness, peace, and happiness. While we chew, we breathe and we enjoy our breathing and our ability to eat and receive nourishment from our food.
My takeaway: I have done this. It was hard at first and giggly. But it is actually quite beautiful.
Voices of Recovery:
“Our true insanity could be seen in the fact that we kept right on trying to find comfort in excess food, long after it began to cause us misery.” -The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 11
I can remember when a little food gave me comfort or relief. That was many years ago. The quest to relive that feeling resulted in bigger and more frequent binges. Eventually, I began to see that this may not be normal – but insane? I wasn’t convinced.
Was it insane to eat to a point of such fullness that exploding might have been a relief? To purge myself with laxatives so the binge wouldn’t have time to cause a weight gain? To eat so fast and furiously as to cause cuts on my lips and inside my mouth, and still to keep eating until the bag was empty? To try starving myself for a few days after a binge, almost as a punishment for what I had done? To eat the substances that caused me migraine headaches and rage outbursts? Was it insane to stop living in return for nonstop eating?
I must answer yes to all of the above I am convinced.
My takeaway: It was insane of me to starve in an effort to “make up for” what I’d done. It was insane to eat out of the garbage. It was insane to keep trying to find comfort in excess food, long after it began to cause me misery, as it says above. On and on. — I don’t have to live that way anymore. *I don’t have to live that way anymore.
“LET’S KEEP IT SIMPLE”
A few hours later I took my leave of Dr. Bob . . . The wonderful, old, broad smile was on his face as he said almost jokingly, “Remember, Bill, let’s not louse this thing up. Let’s keep it simple!” I turned away, unable to say a word. That was the last time I ever saw him. Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, p. 214
After years of sobriety I occasionally ask myself; “Can it be this simple?” Then, at meetings, I see former cynics and skeptics who have walked the A.A. path out of hell by packaging their lives, without alcohol, into twenty-four hour segments, during which they practice a few principles to the best of their individual abilities. And then I know again that, while it isn’t always easy, if I keep it simple, it works.
My takeaway: Keep it all simple.
As Bill Sees It:
Alike When the Chips Are Down
In the beginning, it was four whole years before A.A. brought permanent sobriety to even one alcoholic woman. Like the “high bottoms,” the women said they were different: A.A. couldn’t be for them. But as the communication was perfected, mostly by the women themselves, the picture changed.
This process of identification and transmission has gone on and on. The Skid-Rower said he was different. Even more loudly, the socialite (or Park Avenue stumblebum) said the same – so did the artists and the professional people, the rich, the poor, the religious, the agnostic, the Indians and the Eskimos, the veterans, and the prisoners.
But nowadays all of these, and legions more, soberly talk about how very much alike all of us alcoholics are when we admit that the chips are finally down.
My takeaway: – Because, keep it simple? … 🙂
How to Love:
Sexual desire is not love. Sexual activity without love is called empty sex. If you satisfy your body but don’t satisfy your heart and your mind, are you satisfied? Do you feel whole and connected? When your body, heart, and mind are satisfied, sexual intimacy connects you more deeply with yourself and your partner.
My takeaway: in all ways, keep body heart and mind connected.
How to Relax:
THE SOUND OF THE BELL
I started inviting the bell when I was sixteen years old, the age when I became a novice monk. We say, “Invite the bell” rather than “strike the bell” because we think of the bell as a friend. We want to invite its sound into our bodies. Inviting a bell to sound is one very simple way to relax. When we hear the bell, we breathe in and we breathe out, and we take in that beautiful sound. That’s it. If we don’t have a bell, we can use another sound – a phone ringing, an airplane passing overhead, the chime of a clock, a timer on the computer, or the natural sounds around us. We can even use the sound of a jackhammer or a leaf blower.
My takeaway: Yes, I think I’d like to find one.
How to Walk:
STOPPING AND FINDING CALM
Walking is a wonderful way to calm down when we are upset. When we walk, if we focus all our awareness on walking, we are stopping the thinking, storytelling, blaming, and judging that goes on in our heads and takes us away from the present moment. To stop the incessant thinking in the mind, it helps to focus on the body. When things aren’t going well, it’s good to stop the thinking in order to prevent the unpleasant, destructive energies from continuing. Stopping does not mean repressing; it means, first of all, calming. If we want the ocean to be calm, we don’t throw away its water. Without the water, nothing is left. When we notice the presence of anger, fear, and agitation is us, we don’t need to throw them away. We only have to breathe in and out consciously and take a mindful step. Allow yourself to sink deeply into the here and the now, because life is available only in the present moment. This alone is enough to calm the storm.
My takeaway: I will try this! 🙂
How to Sit:
In the present moment, we can be free from regret concerning the past and from fear concerning the future. Happiness isn’t possible without freedom. Coming back to the present moment, we are released from our worries, our fears, our regrets, our projects, and our busyness.
My takeaway: Yes. I’ve been coming back to the present moment more and more. And may I do so yet more ’til all the time 🙂