To say yes, you have to sweat and roll up your sleeves and plunge both hands into life up to the elbows. It is easy to say no, even if saying no means death. Jean Anouilh
It takes no effort, no risk, no investment of myself to stand back and not participate. There is no chance of being disappointed. Oh yes, I can look on, criticize a little, give advice. Not today! Today I choose to shout YES to life, to take whatever comes my way – indeed, to go out of my way. By forgetting myself, I can feel and not be afraid, experience and not regret, make decisions and not worry. I throw old cautions to the wind – some may even call me foolhardy – but I know I am not alone; I have a Higher Power to keep me balanced.
For today: I put aside old habits of negativity so I can experience a new closeness to others, to the present, to myself. I exchange my “Yes, but” for “Why not?”
My takeaway: I used to say no to life by hiding out in the den afraid of so much. Just eating and tv and sort of hiding out. So much less so now! Yay!
How to Eat:
FOOD AS MIDICINE
In the original Five Contemplations as they were recited during the Buddha’s time, food was considered to be medicine. But I think that when the Buddha received good food, he also enjoyed it. I don’t think he thought of it as just taking medicine. We know the food nourished our bodies. But we can also appreciate and savor our food.
My takeaway is not just savor, but is think of food as medicine and eat that kind of good food more and everything else less!
Voices of Recovery:
“Just for Today.” – Program slogan
“Just for today” is one of the program slogans that works for me. It is even better than “one day at a time” because that suggests another day coming. Sometimes, today is as much as I can handle. As the pamphlet says, “I can do things for one day that I couldn’t begin to think of doing for any length of time, not even one more day.” At times, I have had to say to myself, “only four, three, two more hours until I go to bed, close my eyes, don’t have to talk to one more person or do one more thing.” It is a sublimely peaceful feeling to reach the end of that one day, to be finished.
“Just for today” also helps me avoid the notion that I have some space from my disease if I have a few days, weeks, or months of abstinence in a row. When the days run together and I get farther from my last compulsive bite, I can begin to think that I have somehow “made it” or that I’ve reached a safe distance from my disease. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am as close to taking that first compulsive bite today as I was on the day I came into program if I am not living in the present and aware that I am a compulsive overeater. “Just for today” reminds me that today is all I have.
My takeaway: Good. Hopeful. As far as eating goes – BUT *I* must be careful not to live this way in terms of life! Like not, “get through the day and you can sleep” aka hideout from life.
HAVING FUN YET?
…we aren’t a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn’t want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life. We try not to indulge in cynicism over the state of the nations, nor do we carry the world’s troubles on our shoulders. Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 132
When my own house is in order, I find the different parts of my life are more manageable. Stripped from the guilt and remorse that cloaked my drinking years, I am free to assume my proper role in the universe, but this condition requires maintenance. I should stop and ask myself, Am I having fun yet? If I find answering that question difficult or painful, perhaps I’m taking myself too seriously – and finding it difficult to admit that I’ve strayed from my practice of working the program to keep my house in order. I think the pain I experience is one way my Higher Power has to get my attention, coaxing me to take stock of my performance. The slight time and effort it takes to work the program – a spot-check inventory, for example, or the making of amends, whatever is appropriate – are well worth the effort.
As Bill Sees It:
We Cannot Stand Still
In the first days of A.A., I wasn’t much bothered about the areas of life in which I was standing still. There was always the alibi: “After all,” I said to myself, “I’m far too busy with much more important matters.” That was my near perfect prescription for comfort and complacency.
How many of us would presume to declare, “Well, I’m sober and I’m happy. What more can I want, or do? I’m fine the way I am.” We know that the price of such self-satisfaction is an inevitable backslide, punctuated at some point by a very rude awakening. We have to grow or else deteriorate. For us, the status quo can only be for today, never for tomorrow. Change we must; we cannot stand still.
My takeaway: “far too busy with much more important matters doesn’t work – not only that but it can be a falsely-comforting cloud under which to hide”
How to Love:
Loving someone doesn’t mean saying “yes” to whatever the other person wants. The basis of loving someone else is to know yourself and to know what you need. I know a woman who suffered very much because she couldn’t say “no.” From the time she was young, whenever a man asked her for something, she felt she had to say “yes” even when she didn’t want to. It’s important that loving another person doesn’t take priority over listening to yourself and knowing what you need.
My takeaway: I can see that I’ve read this before and had even written, “Wow” on the page. But now – now I see it differently. Yes, needn’t say yes to everything and just people-please so as to not be alone… but also – must not put own needs so high and desperate that that person’s “job” comes to be fulfilling them 😥
How to Relax:
Do you have a space dedicated to relaxing in your home This doesn’t have to be a big space. It could be a small corner (not your bed!) or anywhere in a room that is dedicated just to breathing and relaxing. This is not a space for eating or doing homework, or folding laundry or building anything. This is as essential as a place to eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom. We need a small space where we can take care of our nervous system and restore our tranquility and peace.
My takeaway: I can use a big floor pillow in the “sunroom.” Want to start doing this. Or even a certain sitting spot (chair or “other” side of sofa) in the l.r. Want to start doing this, yes.
How to Walk:
RECOVERING OUR SOVEREIGNTY
When we are pushed and pulled in many different directions, we lose our sovereignty. We’re not free. Don’t allow yourself to be carried away anymore. Resist. Each mindful step is a step toward freedom. This kind of freedom is not political freedom. It’s freedom from the past, from the future, from our worries and our fears.
My takeaway: Do not let myself be “carried away” anymore. “Each mindful step is a step toward freedom.”
How to Sit:
NOURISH YOURSELF WHEREVER YOU ARE
It’s wonderful if you have a quiet place to sit at home or in your workplace. But you can practice mindful sitting wherever you are. If you ride the train or the bus to work, these are excellent places to practice sitting. Instead of thinking about your projects, your colleagues, your list of tasks, you can enjoy practicing breathing in and out to release the tension in your body and give your mind a break from being caught in thinking. You can create a meditation hall of your bus or your train. Use your time, wherever you are, to nourish and heal yourself.
My takeaway: Oh my gosh, I love this all! “Use your time, wherever you are, to nourish and heal yourself.” Ahhh. Yes.