Tag Archives: AA

I am just one person.

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difference

 

Today was a pretty rough day in my house.  Our 3-year-old cat died from a sudden and rapid kidney failure.  We realized last night she may not make it through the night.  Sadly, my daughter was tired from an outing last night when we came home and fell asleep before we realized there would be no chance for her to say goodbye.  This cat was special to the two of us.  She was found abandoned before her eyes even opened, and together we bottle-fed her and nursed her into a healthy, albeit very devilish little kitty.

babymaddiedevil kitty

So, when my daughter woke up today, Maddie was already gone.  I watched my 12-year-old sit on the floor with her pet and stroke her soft  fur.  She quickly made her a necklace of bright-colored string and tied it around her little neck.  She lovingly touched her with tears flowing the entire time.  She said her goodbye in her own way, and it was heart wrenching to watch as a parent.

When I logged on to Facebook, still feeling pretty sad, this was the message that awaited me from a friend: “Just so you know: you are one of the nicest people I know, and you have made my life better just by being in it.”  This friend had no idea what had been going on in my house, in fact I hadn’t talked to him in the past few days. It was just random.  One of his friends had posted the status “Just in case you need to hear it today: go out of your way to make someone’s day. Give them a simple compliment and watch their day turnaround.” and he decided to do just that.

This reminded me of a meditation from last week.

Just for Today – October 13

“Words cannot describe the sense of spiritual awareness that we receive when we have given something, no matter how small, to another person.”

Basic Text p. 100

Sometimes it seems as though there is so much wrong with the world that we might as well forget trying to make a difference. “After all,” we think, “what in the world can I do? I’m just one person.” Whether our concerns are so broad that we desire global peace or so personal that we simply want recovery made available to every addict who wants it, the task seems overwhelming. “So much work to do, so little time,” we sigh, sometimes wondering how we’ll ever do any good.

Amazingly enough, the smallest contributions can make the biggest difference. To gain more from life than an ordinary, plodding existence requires very little effort on our parts. We ourselves are transformed by the deep satisfaction we experience when we lift the spirits of just one person. When we smile at someone who is frowning, when we let someone in front of us on the freeway, when we call a newcomer just to say we care, we enter the realm of the extraordinary.

Want to change the world? Start with the addict sitting next to you tonight, and then imagine your act of kindness multiplied. One person at a time, each one of us makes a difference.

Just for today: An act of kindness costs me nothing, but is priceless to the recipient. I will be kind to someone today.

When I read this meditation last week, I thought about all the friends I have who are making such a difference right now.  I have some pretty amazing friends in my life right now who are fighting to make this world a better place.

Sometimes it DOES seem like we’re banging our heads against the wall.  Other days, like the one in this video, are just amazing.  Sometimes when I think about the incredible friends I have and the things they are accomplishing, I think that they must have something I do not.  I think they are making a difference and I wonder if I am capable of that.  This meditation reminds me that making a difference doesn’t have to be global.  Sometimes you just need to be that one person who makes a difference to one other person. 

Today, my friend was that person.  “Just so you know: you are one of the nicest people I know, and you have made my life better just by being in it.”

Thank you.  I needed that today.

 

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The Days I Can’t Stand Other People

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defects

Yesterday I woke up mad at the world.  Yes, I have those days. Most people do not see those days, because we’ve been taught to put on our “public face” and respond to questions like “How are you today?” with answers such as “I’m good, how are you?”  Some days you really feel more like, “I feel absolutely horrible, and can’t figure out why!!”  Yesterday was definitely more of the latter. The problem with having a tendency toward obsessive thoughts is that the longer you sit alone with those thoughts, the stronger they grow.  That public face starts to chip away, usually with those who know you best. Before you can get it under control, suddenly everyone you know is annoying you in some way.

So I woke up yesterday, still tired.  Sleep and I are still not BFFs, no matter how much time I try to spend with it.  Not the best start to a day, when you really just want to go back to bed.  Then I discovered that I was nurturing the beginning of resentment toward a friend from the night before.  So, I did what any good, flawed person CAN do… I watered it and fed it just a tiny bit.  Next thing I know, that friend is sending me a message, “What the hell did I DO to you in the past 12 hours??”  I am apparently NOT the Queen of Subtlety I would like to think I am.  My friend is also not the Patron Saint of Reason when confronted.  Here we sat, with our defects on the road between us like road blocks.

The difficulty with this kind of situation is the tendency to look at the road between you and another person, see the road blocks you’ve both thrown up, and throw up your hands in defeat.  The road blocks seem insurmountable when you look at them that way.  The only way two people can get through it unscathed is to look to that first thing on the road and determine what you can do about it.  The issue closest to you on the road tends to be your own, but it is all too easy to look down the road at the other person’s issue and place the blame there.  Because blaming yourself is just not fun.

Then I came across yesterday’s meditation in Just For Today:

September 26
Seeing ourselves in others
“It will not make us better people to judge the faults of another.”
Basic Text, p. 38
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How easy it is to point out the faults of others! There’s a reason for this: The defects we identify most easily in others are often the defects we are most familiar with in our own characters. We may notice our best friend’s tendency to spend too much money, but if we examine our own spending habits we’ll probably find the same compulsiveness. We may decide our sponsor is much too involved in service, but find that we haven’t spent a single weekend with our families in the past three months because of one service commitment or another.
What we dislike in our fellows are often those things we dislike most in ourselves. We can turn this observation to our spiritual advantage. When we are stricken with the impulse to judge someone else, we can redirect the impulse in such a way as to recognize our own defects more clearly. What we see will guide our actions toward recovery and help us become emotionally healthy and happy individuals.
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Just for today: I will look beyond the character defects of others and recognize my own.

This is how the miracle of recovery works sometimes. You see exactly what you need to see, when you need to see it.  As friends, we both made the choice to let our walls down a bit and walked away unscathed, stronger even.  We both recognized our part in the misunderstanding and agreed that we all have our issues, we just learn and grow… This may seem like no big deal to some. But when you’ve spent your life learning disordered ways of communicating and thinking, being able to step back, breathe, and find a good way through those thoughts is HUGE!

Today I am grateful to have friends who help me learn and grow.

changes

Related articles

http://recoverytable.blogspot.com/2011/06/character-defects-seven-deadly-sins.html

http://personalityspirituality.net/articles/the-michael-teachings/chief-features/

http://jftna.org/jft/