Archive for December, 2016

2017

December 31st, 2016

On this morning of New Year’s Eve 2017, I sit at my desk wondering what the new year has to offer. Or better yet, I can choose to turn it around and decide what I have to give to the New Year. Sometimes the inner child in me wants to throw a tantrum about what isn’t being offered to me, but one of my New Year’s intentions to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and focus on what I have to bring to this world, to my clients and to my loved ones.

Because New Year’s Eve sometimes brings back mixed memories–fun, joy, hope as well as loneliness, isolation and depression, it can be a challenging time. In recovery it takes an intention every day to ride the waves of emotions that will inevitably arise in all shapes and forms, and today is simply another day.

I encourage you to consider the possibility that we are truly here to bring all of who we are to others and to our communities. In an unpredictable time in our country and possibly around the world, we can be change agents one person at a time, one community at a time.

I wish all of you a very safe, pleasant and resilient 2017!

tis the season

December 8th, 2016

This year is unlike any other year. Regardless of your political inclinations, the polarities in this country are indisputable and look like the grand canyon between progressives and conservatives. There can also be canyons and disputes in families, circle of friends and in the workplace, but in spite of the differences and conflicts, life goes on and so does the holiday season.

In recovery it’s often a challenging time as the broken-heartedness of the past can creep into the present tense when you least expect it. Additional contact with family can cause regression and instead of a grown adult, you may find yourself feeling like a child or even an infant. Instead of getting down on yourself, I have a few suggestions:

1. Observe yourself without judgment. Not an easy thing to do in the best of times but more of a challenge during the holidays. Be mindful of your “inner critic” (aka your inner Grinch?) and practice acceptance of yourself and others.
2 Be patient and gentle with yourself instead of treating yourself with harshness (i.e. give yourself the gift of self-compassion). By being self-compassionate, you can catch yourself going into shame and self-judgment and try to replace it with understanding and acceptance. The acceptance prayer in the Big Book is a valuable tool with this practice.
3. Be of service to others. The holidays can be either a time of self-centeredness of other-centeredness. By practicing your generosity, you will automatically feel better.
4. Practice gratitude. Look out for the little things–a kind word someone shares, a beautiful sunset, a delicious meal and savor the moment.

As you lean into the gratitude and acceptance, let go of the regrets and resentment. It’s up to you how you chooses to design this holiday season. In theory, this can be a time of unity and respect for our fellows, and by practicing these elements this holiday season, there is more likelihood that the contagion of “peace on earth and goodwill to all” will fluorish.