Monday, 11 February 2013

Learning To Let It Go


    There are periods in my life where anger and frustration overwhelm me.  I feel like my chest is on fire, and that I am being eaten away by it.  I have never successfully learned how to channel anger, instead, I just eat it up until it goes away.  I have long thought about becoming a Buddhist.  Buddhist's seem so calm, I need internal calm in my life.  I just don't feel like I want that calm enough to give up meat.
    I remember after Gabe died Christopher and I went to grief counseling.  I wanted to use that huge crack in my soul as way to fill my self with love and compassion.  There was just one problem with that, I am too judgmental.  I so desperately wanted that inner calm, that inner peace.  I wanted to be like the Dalai Lama.  I wanted to be spiritual, and love everyone for who they were, not who they should be.  I remember saying to our counselor "I don't understand.  I want to be kind and think kind thoughts, but I keep thinking about how stupid people are."  She gave me that poor little imbecile look, "Is it because you are angry?  Is it because you have every right to be angry?"
    Don't ask my why I looked up the 12 steps of AA.  I assure you I am not and have never been an alcoholic.  Maybe I was just bored, but for whatever reason I looked them up.  Oh my goodness they make sense.  For those of you not in the know, here they are....

The 12 Steps

1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol--that our lives had become unmanageable. 
2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 
3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. 
4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 
5: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 
6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 
7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. 
8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. 
9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 
10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 
11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. 
12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

    I am not a religious person, but other than the religious parts it makes a lot of sense.  What if I changed it up to suit myself?  What if I just had 11 steps instead of 12?

1.    I admit that I am powerless over my past.
2.    I know that I cannot change the past, but I can affect my present and future.
3.    I make up my mind today to change the mistakes I have been making that have been holding me    back.
4.    I will make a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself.
5.    I will admit to myself the exact nature of my wrongs.
6.    I am ready to change.
7.    I will make a list of all the persons that I have harmed, and will willingly make amends to them.
8.    I will make amends to the people I have hurt, unless by doing so it hurts them more.
9.    I will not wait.  I will correct any wrongs that I do now.
10.  Through great thought / and or meditation I will keep my head clear from negativity.
11.  My life will be richer and better if I can work through these steps.

   O.k. I came up with 11 steps and took God out of it, but you can feel free to keep God in if it gives you comfort.  (1)Sometimes it's hard to remember that the past is back behind me.  I find myself wrestling with ghosts.  Sometimes I play the "I should have game".  The I should have game only ever leads to sadness or anger, so why play it, it does not change the past.  All it does is make the present unpleasant.  (2)Whatever "I should have done", I didn't so put on your big girl pants and move on with your life.  (3)Don't let your past decide your future!  Because something terrible happened to you in the past, something that you had no control over, that doesn't mean that you should be powerless in the now.  Don't keep torturing yourself with the past.  Treat past traumas like the ghosts that they are.  (4)If I sit and think about it with an open mind, I am going to see the patterns that I continuously ride in.  Sometimes it's easier to keep doing the wrong painful thing, because the unknown is scary.  (5)If I take the time to look at my whole inner self, worts and all I can change those things that I beat myself up hating. (6) I get comfortable doing the same thing, giving the same reactions.  If I try a different reaction, maybe I might get a different outcome. (7) This is a real tough one.  Sometimes I lay awake in bed and think about that boy I kicked in Grade 5 (his name was Danny Bond).  I don't know why I did it.  That poor kid just need to be accepted, and I did that to him.  I honestly wish that I could apologize to him.  I mean we played together after that, but I still to this day, that many years later feel terrible about it.  Apologizing to him, would probably make no difference in his life, he may not even remember it, but I do.  If I make amends, I can heal that little part of my soul. (9) As I go about my daily life, and I accidentally do or say something to someone else, then I need to stop and make amends for it instantly.  If I don't it will only eat away at me. (10) I need to take time every day to make sure that I am putting forward my best efforts, that I am being the best me.  If I'm not then I need to decide how I can change that. (11) Here is the question, I have put forward this philosophical list of ways to live a good life.  It sounds pretty easy, but the question is, can I do it?
By golly I'm going to try.  If you receive a phone call / email from me then maybe I'm just trying to right an old wrong, oh and if you see Danny Bond, please tell him that Tristan's sorry.

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful set of ideas above!