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September 2014
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Daily Recovery Readings – September 3, 2014

NA Just For Today
September 3, 2014
Humility Expressed By Anonymity

“Humility is a by-product that allows us to grow and develop in an atmosphere of freedom and removes the fear of becoming known by our employers, families, or friends as addicts.”
Basic Text p.72-23

Many of us may not have understood the idea that “anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions.” We wondered how this could be. What does anonymity have to do with our spiritual life?

The answer is, plenty! By guarding and cherishing our anonymity, we earn spiritual rewards beyond comprehension. There is great virtue in doing something nice for someone and not telling anyone about it. By the same token, resisting the impulse to proudly announce our membership in NA to the world – in effect, asking everyone to acknowledge how wonderful we are – makes us value our recovery all the more.

Recovery is a gift that we’ve received from a Power greater than ourselves. Boasting about our recovery, as if it were our own doing, leads to prideful feelings and grandiosity. But keeping our anonymity leads to humility and feelings of gratitude. Recovery is its own reward; public acclaim can’t make it any more valuable than it already is.

Just for today: Recovery is its own reward; I don’t need to have mine approved of publicly. I will maintain and cherish my anonymity.

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Daily Reflections
September 3, 2014
BUILDING A NEW LIFE, p.255

We feel a man is unthinking when he says sobriety is enough.
Alcoholics Anonymous, p.82

When I reflect on Step Nine, I see that physical sobriety must be enough for me. I need to remember the hopelessness I felt before  I found sobriety, and how I was willing to go to any lengths for it. Physical sobriety is not enough for those around me, however, since I must see that God’s gift is used to build a new life for my family and loved ones. Just as importantly, I must be available to help others who want the A.A. way of life. I ask God to help me share the gift of sobriety so that its benefit may be shown to those I know and love.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
September 3, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

“Offer new prospects friendship and fellowship. Tell them that if they want to get well you will do anything to help. Burn the idea into the consciousness of new prospects that they can get well, regardless of anyone else. Job or no job, spouse or no spouse, they cannot stop drinking as long as they place dependence on other people ahead of dependence on God. Let no alcoholic say they cannot recover unless they have their family back. This just isn’t so.  Their recovery is not dependent upon other people. It is dependent on their own relationship with God.” Can I recognize all excuses made by a prospect?

Meditation For The Day

The spiritual life depends upon the unseen. To live the spiritual life you must believe in the unseen. Try not to loose the consciousness of God’s spirit in you and in others. As a child in its mother’s arms, stay sheltered in the understanding and love of God. God will relieve you of the weight of worry and care, misery and depression, want and woe, faintness and heartache, if you will let Him. Lift up your eyes from earth’s troubles and view the glory of the unseen God. Each day try to see more good in people, more of the unseen in the seen.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may rest and abide in the presence of the unseen God. I pray that I may leave my burdens in His care.

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As Bill Sees It
September 3, 2014
Singlehanded Combat, p.245

Few indeed are those who, assailed by the tyrant alcohol, have ever won through in singlehanded combat. It is a statistical fact that alcoholics almost never recover on their personal resources alone.

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‘Way up toward Point Barrow in Alaska, a couple of prospectors got themselves a cabin and a case of Scotch. The weather turned bitter, fifty below, and they got so drunk they let the fire go out. Barely escaping death by freezing, one of them woke up in time to rekindle the fire. He was prowling around outside for fuel, and he looked into an empty oil drum filled with frozen water. Down in the ice cake he saw a reddish-yellow object. When thawed out, it was seen to be an A.A. book. One of the pair read the book and sobered up. Legend has it that he became the founder of one of our farthest north groups.

1. 12 & 12, p.22
2. A.A. Comes Of Age, pp. 82-83

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Walk In Dry Places
September 3, 2014
What is Possible?
Spiritual Power.

With God, all things are possible, goes an old saying. Yet most of us haven’t seen any evidence of doing the impossible.

But through our program, we have truly accomplished things that we had considered nearly impossible at one time. No human power could have relieved our alcoholism, we read in the AA Big Book. How many more conditions are we accepting because no human power ….. particularly ours… can relieve them?

As we grow in sobriety, we should continuously reinforce our belief that God is living and working in our lives. The impossible problems we’ll need to work on will have roots in our own habits and feelings, but even if one of these deeply rooted problems has gone on for years, we need not despair of finding an answer.

If we persist in prayer and in turning the problem over to our Higher power, and answer must come. It is never too late to find the changes we need and deserve.

Even if I haven’t solved all my problems, I’ll take the position today that correct solutions exist in the mind of God. I’ll be open to signs that changes are coming.

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Each Day a New Beginning
September 3, 2014

… satisfaction is a lowly thing, how pure a thing is joy.
—Marianne Moore

Our perfectionism generally dashes all hopes of self-satisfaction. But the program is here to show us that we can make progress. We can learn to believe that we are doing any task as well as we need to do it, at this time. Our job is the effort. The outcome is part of a larger plan, one that involves more than ourselves.

We’ll find joy when we find acceptance of ourselves and our efforts and the belief that we are spiritual beings whose lives do have purpose and direction.

The wisdom that accompanies spiritual growth offers us security, that which we have sought along many avenues. And when we feel secure, we can trust that the challenges confronting us are purposeful and to our advantage.

One day at a time, one small prayer at a time, moves us even closer to spiritual security. We can look with glad anticipation at our many responsibilities and activities today. They are our opportunities for spiritual security. We can trust our growing inner resources by simply asking for guidance and waiting patiently. It will find us.

I must exercise my prayers if I want the spiritual security where I can find joy. I will ask for guidance with every activity today.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
September 3, 2014
WINNER TAKES ALL

- Legally blind but no longer alone, she found a way to stay sober, raise a family, and turn her life over to the care of God.

Several years later alcohol had control over my life. I had a tee shirt that I just loved; it said, “I used to hate myself in the morning. Now I sleep till noon.” That described my feelings totally.

p. 377
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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
September 3, 2014

Step Twelve – “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.”

After we come into A.A., if we go on growing, our attitudes and actions toward security–emotional security and financial security–commence to change profoundly. Our demand for emotional security, for our own way, had constantly thrown us into unworkable relations with other people. Though we were sometimes quite unconscious of this, the result always had been the same. Either we had tried to play God and dominate those about us, or we had insisted on being overdependent upon them. Where people had temporarily let us run their lives as though they were still children, we had felt very happy and secure ourselves. But when they finally resisted or ran away, we were bitterly hurt and disappointed. We blamed them, being quite unable to see that our unreasonable demands had been the cause.

p. 115

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Xtra Thoughts
September 3, 2014

I will take time today to stop and give a gift to someone needy, smile at a stranger or help a small child. I will take the time to do at least one thing that I usually find myself too busy to do, and I will inwardly smile at myself, taking the time to experience the feelings of my own kindness.
–Ruth Fishel

Just for today: I will strive to be an active listener. I will practice active listening when others share and when I share with others.
–Just For Today Daily Meditation

For us, if we neglect those who are still sick, there is unremitting danger to our own lives and sanity.
–Twelve Steps And Twelve Traditions, p. 151

God, give me the courage and strength to see clearly.
–Melody Beattie

Tell your partner, your children, your parents: “I love you” frequently.

Let them know the difference they make in your life. Miss no opportunities for loving.
–Mary Manin Morrissey

“Never ask a barber if he thinks you need a haircut.”
–Roy Rogers

WHAT CAN I DO?”

My child, I’ve often heard your question. This is my answer:

You feel compassion for those who suffer pain, sorrow and despair … and you ask, “What can I do?” – COMFORT ONE

Your heart goes out to the lonely, the abused, and the imprisoned … and you ask, “What can I do?” – LOVE ONE

“What is oxygen to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life.”
–Unknown

“Kindness pays most when you don’t do it for pay.”
–Unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
September 3, 2014
SOLITUDE

“One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude.”
– Carl Sandburg

I need to be alone. Being alone is not the same as being lonely. I need to be alone with me in order to love me, understand me, hear my needs and plan my day.

Also solitude is a spiritual experience because it enables me to center on what God is doing and creating in my life. Solitude enables me to think and cooperate with His will for me in our world.

As an addict I was always running around being “busy”. Today I rest within myself in order to be more active and creative.

Let me be still so that I can enjoy my world.

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Bible Scriptures
September 3, 2014

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Colossians 3:12

“But you, keep your head in all situations…”
2 Timothy 4:5

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 2:3-5

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Daily Inspiration
September 3, 2014

Today be kind and loving and expect nothing in return. When you lift your consciousness above the darkness, you will understand that the life of Christ is the only enduring life. Lord, teach me to see You in my neighbor.

Dear Lord, open our hearts to be able to see you anywhere, anytime, in all the ways that you choose to be present. Amen

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A Day At A Time
September 3, 2014

Refection For The Day

Sometimes, even when friends in and outside of The Program tell us how well we’re doing, we know deep down that we’re really not doing well enough.  We still have trouble handling life and facing reality on reality’s terms.  We suspect, at those times, that there must be a serious flaw in our spiritual practice and development.  Chances are strong that our trouble lies in either misunderstanding or neglect of Step Eleven — prayer, meditation, and the guidance of God.  The other Steps can keep most of us clean and sober, free from other addictions, and functioning.  But Step Eleven can keep us growing — so long as we try hard and work at it continuously.  Do I trust infinite God rather than my finite self?

Today I Pray

I pray for a deepness of my spiritual awareness, for a stronger faith in the Unseen, for a closer communion with God.  May I realize that my growth in The Program depends on my spiritual development.  May I give over more of my trust to God’s eternal wisdom.

Today I Will Remember

I will not give in or give up, but give over to the power of God.

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One More Day
September 3, 2014

My message is peace of mind, not curing cancer, blindness, or paraplegia….  Anyone who is willing to work at it can achieve it.
–  Bernie S. Siegel

Too often, we think we can regain our peace of mind only after our health problems are resolved.  But peace of mind is what we need right now, not later.  We can do a few things in our medical treatment, but we can actively develop our spiritual and emotional strengths.

We can look at life not in terms of success or failure, but in terms of attitudes and beliefs and self-acceptance.  We can reprioritize our life goals to emphasize what can be done.  Gradually, we experience a sense of peace as we separate those things which we can change and control from those which we can not.  Making our choices and acting upon them brings us the peace we need in difficult times.

I will consider only the choices that are truly mine to make.

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One Day At A Time
September 3, 2014
SPIRITUAL GROWTH

“I have defined love as the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one’s own and another’s spiritual growth.”
–Scott Peck
From ‘The Road Less Traveled’

In my disease I had this terrible need to control everything and everyone in my path. Like the actor in the AA Big Book, I was forever arranging things the way I thought they should be, only to find that when I was done, I had ripped through the area like a tornado on the plains.

Often I would claim that my actions were done out of a spirit of love. When I didn’t get my way, I would announce to the world that I was not loved and would head for the solitude of my binge foods.

Today as I work my program, I find that by taking the Third Step, I am truly extending myself for not only my own growth, but for those around me as well. When I decide to turn my will and my life over to the God of my understanding, I don’t have to be the director of the world! As I once heard in a meeting, “The position of God is filled. They did not ask for resumes, they did not take applications, there was no ad in the classifieds. So what makes you think you can apply for the job?” By not extending myself into God’s role, I am extending love.

One Day at a Time . . .
I pray that I may stay out of my Higher Power’s way, and by doing so, extend myself for spiritual growth.

~ Mark Y.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – September 3

“Once you have achieved this oneness, when you talk, God talks; when you act, God acts.”
–Chuck Ross, LAKOTA

In my innermost self, I know this to be true.  I know of this oneness.  The more I am free of doubt, jealousy, judgment, selfishness, anger, the closer I am to this oneness.

When I am right with the Creator, nothing can touch me.  When I am right with the Creator I always say the right things. When I am right with the Creator, my thoughts are always good. When I am right with the Creator, my actions are always good.

Great Spirit, remove from me those things that block me from You. Allow me this day to experience the oneness.

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Journey To The Heart
September 3, 2014
Things Are Working Out

Right now, this moment, things are working out. We natter away, trying to control, shape, and form. Trying to figure things out. We back off, then come closer. We worry and wonder. But things are working out. Things are working out as beautifully and Divinely as possible. The dance of life is taking place in sync with the rhythm of the universe.

Everything is working out, moving forward, evolving. There is a rhythm, an energy, a life force that continues, that shapes, that grows. You do not have to fight, resist, control, or even understand it. All you need to do is be– be present for your life, your love, yourself.

Your soul will lead you on. Your inner voice, your heart, is leading you on. Quiet your mind and trust that where you are and where you’re being led is perfect.

You don’t have to try to get it all together. You don’t have to strive to “have it all.” You already do have all that you need.

How many times have you been through an experience, fretting and fearful about the shape things were taking, only later to exclaim, Oh, I see now. Things were working out all along! Learn to say and believe that now.

Let your mind see what your soul already knows: things are working out perfectly.

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Today’s Gift
September 3, 2014

Into each life some rain must fall. Some days must be dark and dreary.
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Coping with problems and weathering troubled times – is part of life. Those of us who have survived painful experiences have a duty to help younger ones prepare to face bad times by sharing the solutions we found.

When stormy weather comes, we need to feel we are like other people. It’s not that misery loves company, but that we don’t want to feel we’re in this alone.

We will never have perfect living conditions. The only place where every day is a sunny one is in the desert. When pain comes, we can walk through our problems and settle things quickly, rather than prolonging the hurt by battling our way around the obstacles in an effort to avoid them.

What problem can I confront and eliminate today?

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The Language of Letting Go
September 3, 2014
Word Power

I know I’m controlling, but so is my husband. Possibly more controlling than I am. Each time I set out to leave him, each time I started to walk away, he knew exactly what to say to pull me back in. And he knew I’d respond. He knew how to say exactly what I needed to hear to keep me where he wanted me. He knew what he was doing, and he knew what I would do. I know, because after we began recovering, he told me so.
—Anonymous

Some of us are so vulnerable to words.

A well timed “I love you.” A chosen moment for “I’m sorry.” An excuse delivered in the right tone of voice. A pat on the head. A dozen roses. A kiss. A greeting card. A few words that promise love that has yet to be delivered can spin us into denial. Sometimes, it can keep us denying that we are being lied to, mistreated, or abused.

There are those who deliberately set out to sway us, to control and manipulate us through cheap talk! They know, they fully understand our vulnerability to a few well-timed words! Break through your naivete. They know what they’re doing. They understand their impact on us!

We do not have to give such power to words, even though the words may be just what we want and need to hear, even though they sound so good, even though the words seem to stop the pain.

Sooner or later, we will come to realize that if behavior doesn’t match a person’s words, we are allowing ourselves to be controlled, manipulated, and deceived. Sooner or later, we will come to realize that talk is cheap, unless the person’s behavior matches it.

We can come to demand congruency in the behavior and the words of those around us. We can learn to not be manipulated, or swayed, by cheap talk.

We cannot control what others do, but we can choose our own behaviors and our own course of action. We do not have to let cheap, well-timed talk control us – even if the words we hear are exactly what we want to hear to stop our pain.

Today, I will let go of my vulnerability to words. God, help me trust myself to know the truth, even when I am being deceived. Help me cherish those relationships where there is congruity. Help me believe I deserve congruity and truth in the behavior and the words of those I care about.

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More Language Of Letting Go
September 3, 2014
Let go of low self-esteem

“Self-esteem is so illusive,” said Amanda. “I’ve been working on my self-esteem for years. The harder I work at it, the less I seem to have.”

I believe we can let go of low self-esteem. We can turn around lack of belief in ourselves. We can become willing to forgive ourselves. We can stop tolerating treatment that doesn’t feel good to us. We can look at the dangers of defining ourselves by money, power, or prestige, or by whom we know and what we have. Ultimately, we can become willing to take care of ourselves and nurture ourselves through whatever experiences life may bring.

Twelve Step programs offer two Steps that can help us built self-esteem, acceptance, and self love. Step Six says we become entirely ready to have God take our defects of character. Step Seven says we humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings. The work isn’t easy, but it is worthwhile.

For now it’s enough to become willing to let go of our low self-esteem and all the ways that low self-esteem manifests in our lives.

God, please replace my low self-esteem with self-acceptance.

Activity: Sometimes, we can have healthy self-esteem functioning in one area of our lives, but not in another. For instance, we may feel good about our work skills, but we may feel poorly about our personal relationships. We may have great confidence in our athletic skills, but feel bad about our finances. Decide if there are areas where you may be mainfesting low self-esteem. What areas do you feel good about? Also, look at dreams you have not pursued because of your lack of self-confidence.
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Touchstones Meditations For Men
September 3, 2014

It is clear the future holds opportunities – it also holds pitfalls. The trick will be to seize the opportunities, avoid the pitfalls, and get back home by 6:00.
—Woody Allen

Sometimes we take ourselves far too seriously. We draw our lives in the absolutes of black and white, with no shadings of gray. We believe our whole lives depend on every decision we make. When a problem comes along, we see it as a crisis rather than another of the ongoing issues that confront all people. If we are displeased with someone, or if a person is upset with us, we amplify the feelings until we rupture the whole relationship.

It would be helpful to look at today’s tasks and problems as a game. Yes, we would like to play the game well, but we could have a good time while doing it. If we don’t take our problems or ourselves too seriously, maybe we’ll have some fun.

Help me learn that daily living needs the light of humor.

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Daily TAO
September 3, 2014
TREE

Did you measure to attain your height?
Did you use geometry to radiate your limbs?
Did you lament storm-torn branches?
Did you inventory your leaves for the sun?
You did none of these things, yet man in his cleverness
Cannot match your perfection.

When will we give up the artificiality of our tiresome lives and cleave instead to what is natural? All the achievements of man are only monuments to overwhelming pride. There has not been a single man-made item that has been a necessary improvement to the earth. Did we need the Great Wall of China? Did we need the pyramids of Egypt? Did we need the Colossus of Rhodes? Did we need mechanization, steam power, electricity, nuclear power, or computer technology? All our achievements have been for the sake of our exclusive comfort and gratification. We have only advanced the mad tangle of supply and demand that we call civilization.

We don’t need all this “sophistication” in order to live with Tao. Our involvement in society blinds us to this fact. We ignore the natural order of our own bodies and minds and close ourselves to the point so that only sex and drugs are stimulating enough. We lament that we are lost and alienated. Ironically, the answers are right nearby. If you just go to the nearest tree and contemplate, you will easily see the secret to natural living.

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Food For Thought
September 3, 2014
Friends and Enemies

Sometimes our friends or members of our family urge us to eat food that is not part of our plan. If we allow ourselves to be manipulated into eating something to please someone else, we are in danger of losing the most important thing in our life – abstinence. Anyone who tries to make us feel uncomfortable because of our illness is acting as an enemy, rather than a friend.

To some people close to us, an explanation of our food plan may be helpful. Repeated discussions, however, are usually unnecessary and unproductive. We alone are responsible for what we put into our mouths. If those around us cannot or will not understand, then that is their problem, not ours.

When confronted with food, which we know is harmful to us, the simplest response is a firm “No, thank you.” When we ourselves are determined to maintain abstinence, no one else, whether friend or enemy, can prevent us from following our plan.

Protect me, Lord, from my friends and enemies.

***************************************************************

Daily Zen
September 3, 2014

Gem Mountain

It towers
From the beginning
Without a flaw
The rain beats upon it
The wind cuts it
It only shines brighter
To the summit
Lin Hsiang-ru was wrong
Running his errand
To the Ch’in castle.

- Soseki

Daily Recovery Quotes – September 3, 2014

September 3, 2014

AA ‘Big Book’ – Quote

The old pleasures were gone. They were but memories. Never could we recapture the great moments of the past. There was an insistent yearning to enjoy life as we once did and a heartbreaking obsession that some new miracle of control would enable us to do it. There was always one more attempt — and one more failure. – Pg. 151 – A Vision For You

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Hour To Hour – Book – Quote

The worst form of blindness is emotional blindness. We say ‘love is blind’ but we must recognize that ‘hate is blind’, ‘fear is blind’, and ‘anger is blind’ as well. Intense emotions obscure our sight and in this first month, our emotions run amuck. We must accept this and use our program, treatment center, counselor, sponsor, and meetings as our ‘seeing eye dog.’

My Spiritual Source helps me recognize that my emotions are more intense now then usual. I may not be seeing life as clearly as I will in the future.

Embracing the Void

There is emptiness as well as fullness to life. Today I will embrace them both. I will see the emptiness as a spiritual void that is actually full in a completely different sort of way. A God shaped hole. When I allow myself to embrace my own inner emptiness rather than run from it, a paradox happens. What was unknown becomes known, what was frightening becomes tolerable and what was empty becomes full. The void I feel inside of me is really a spiritual wilderness. When I enter it barren trees flower and bear fruit. It is alive and vibrating. It sooths and sustains me and I feel tingly inside.

- Tian Dayton PhD

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Pocket Sponsor – Book – Quote

Although we must be of service to our fellow drunk and junkie, although we want the hand of recovery to be there when they reach out, although we must give back what was so freely given to us, we cannot do for them what they must do for themselves.

I carry the message, I don’t carry the drunk; however, if necessary, I carry the drunk to the message.

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“Walk Softly and Carry a Big Book” – Book

Be yourself today. You are perfect for the part.

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Time for Joy – Book – Quote

Today I will experience each moment to the fullest.

I will do all I have to do to let go of everything that is blocking me from being fully alive in this moment. Each moment is unique, within itself and the less I carry with me from the previous moment, the freer I am to experience the joy of the now.

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Alkiespeak – Book – Quote

AA bumper stickers belong on the dashboard, not on the back bumper. – Anon.