Saturday, December 26, 2009

Turning Three......

Today is my Third Al-Anon Birthday.  It has been a pretty phenomenal Birthday/Anniversary/Day of Reflection so far.....

I started the day out with my favorite meeting, the Saturday morning book study.  It was intimately attended and I got to voice a lot of my 'stuff' as of late--feels so great to get it out in the open!  I then went to breakfast with Alison, not sure if I'll get to see her before she heads back to NYC Monday so it was nice to have one last hang out.  Then, headed home for a really great afternoon.  Spent a bit of time with my new mediation books, journaled a bit, and finished Paper Heart.  I'm going to do a movie post later because there have been some pretty awesome themes with the films I've seen this week and I can't wait to get it out there with relation to what I've been processing...

It would be really easy to reflect on the past three years in Recovery by writing about how much my life has changed.  Too easy, though, and a little too personal for blog world.  I will say, "MAN! has my life changed!"  I feel I'm a different person, the person I felt I could be all along, throughout my struggle before I made it to Al-Anon.  There is a lot to go into but where I want to go is yesterday's reading in Hope For Today.

I was looking for the Al-Anon promises, why oh why is the Big Book not Conference Approved Literature I do not know, and the Al-Anon promises are in a book I don't own, so I thought, well, what's in the daily reader for today, and WHOA.  Yesterday's reading was about Serenity, and it struck me pretty powerfully.  When I read it I thought, "These are promises! The promises that come true with working a twelve-step program!"

So, here goes.  I might write after a few of them, and I might not, but I want to get these definitions of what serenity is out there for the world (or me) to read because on this super eventful day I feel so blessed to be recipient to some of them...even in this moment!

Hope For Today
December 25

Serenity is....
...a way of life absorbed slowly and practiced one day at time
Oh man, isn't that the truth!! SLOWLY. The cool thing to think about?? I've been practicing the Al-Anon way of life for THREE YEARS. That is really cool.  I don't know if I've ever done something straight every day for three years.
...becoming aware of and accepting my many characteristics and not judging what's 'bad' or 'good but what's useful to keep and what to release
I love this definition.  Serenity is me being aware of my HUMANITY.  There is good to me and there is bad to me.  And, when I accept it, I stop judging it and wishing I were different, more perfect, therein allowing me to truly take action about parts of me I'd like my Higher Power to help me change.
...a spiritual journey without a destination
I know I said I was going to do a movie themed blog, but this one goes perfectly with the movie Up.  It's about the JOURNEY. Serenity is accepting the JOURNEY of this life and for me, serenity is not focusing on the outcome, the destination.
...the space between the impulse and the action
I find that to be the God space.  The 1-2-3-God space.  I couldn't STOP AND THINK without God, without this program.
...accepting what is
As the prayer says, 'God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.'  Serenity is ACCEPTANCE.
...honoring my feelings without aiming them at someone else or letting them run my life
Oh, this one feels so huge for me this week!  My feelings are impermanent! They change every second!! If I don't allow myself to be victim of them, and stay aware they don't need to run my life I can remain calm and serene.  The best part of that??? It sometimes doesn't FEEL good, and there is some comfort that in this recovery business, my feelings are not the measurement of my progress. 
...a gift I choose to give to myself. 
Serenity is a gift.  I choose serenity.  When I focus on negative things: someone else's behavior, my own feelings and obsessive thinking, things that are troubling me, I'm choosing to let go of my serenityI'm not choosing serenity.
...knowing what works for someone else may not necessarily work for me
I get to let go of the outcome and allow people the dignity to live their own lives.  Huge blessing. 
...knowing that what works for me may change from moment to moment
Isn't that the truth?!?!?
...understanding I may be powerless, but I am not helpless.  
This one feels like my Higher Power giving me a High Five. Dude. I'm not HELPLESS.  I'm just powerless over alcohol, people, places, things...Eases that admission of powerlessness a little bit when I know there's help.  There IS step two.
...realizing my Higher Power does for me what I cannot do for myself
Love this one.  Happens nearly daily, and a true gift of reliance on a power greater than myself.
...minding my own business
WHAT?!?!? You mean I can stay serene when I mind my own business?!??!!? NO WAY. ;) I find this one SUPERBLY apropos as I take my facebook-cation. :) Serenity is flourishing this past week as I've been nearly facebook-free (I've only clocked fifteen minutes THIS ENTIRE WEEK. Such a feat!)
...the comfort of knowing I can hold my own hand
I read this one about seventy-five times and will probably write it on my mirror to remind myself.  Serenity is the comfort of knowing I can hold my own hand.  I am not alone. I can comfort myself. I can hold my own hand. God, you're good.
...balance and relief from black-and-white thinking
...understanding that reacting to life and responding to life are not the same thing
Love this one, too.  It's the PAUSE (Praying And Using my Spiritual Experience). It's the THINK. (Is it Thoughful? Is it Honest? Is it Intelligent? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind?)  When I stop and think, pray and seek guidance, I stop REACTING to life, and start responding to it.  I am more able to then live joyfully and serenely.
...deliberate realignment with my Higher Power
Love this one, too.  I like the visual I get when I seek serenity I'm consciously aligning my will to my Higher Power's will for me.
...feeling at peace with my past
Thank you, steps four and five.
...a matter of internal stability
...becoming a complete being with my body and mind in one place at the same time
I had this experience at church Christmas Eve. God is the ultimate amazing awesomeness.  And what a powerful experience.
...becoming one with my Higher Power

Thought for the day
   Serenity opens my mind to new ideas

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."

I feel really blessed.  I'm emotional yet comforted and most of all, I feel joy.  Deep belly joy.

My intention as I enter my fourth year in recovery is to get through my ninth step: 'Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.'  To further expand on my conscious contact with my Higher Power.  To continue my meeting attendance.  To be of service to the best of my ability to others.  To reach out on a daily basis to my family in recovery. 

Keep Coming Back!
It works if you work it,


Becky Mills said...

Beautiful and inspiring! I love that you were able to keep all of that straight and make it sound so good! I know you had a great Power behind you on this one ;)

Jennifer said...

Happy Anniversary! I hope it's a great one. :)

The Busseys said...

Thanks for putting these definitions of serenity out there, and for sharing your journey. You're a Light, Layla. A true and beautiful Light. Shine on!!

Layla G said...

thank you so much, ladies!!!
such wonderful support from such fantastic women.
thank you. xox