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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Need to get to a meeting and speak to someone right away? Below is a list of online meetings and resources to help you find a meeting and fellowship.

+ Alcoholics Anonymous Online Meeting Finder
+ Overeaters Anonymous Meeting Finder
+ Narcotics Anonymous Meeting Finder
+ Al-Anon Online Meeting Finder

Daily Recovery Readings – August 14, 2014

Just For Today
August 14, 2014
Letting Go Of Our Limitations

“We don’t have to settle for the limitations of the past. We can examine and reexamine our old ideas.”
Basic Text, p.11

Most of us come to the program with a multitude of self-imposed limitations that prevent us from realizing our full potential, limitations that impede our attempts to find the values that lie at the core of our being. We place limitations on our ability to be true to ourselves, limitations on our ability to function at work, limitations on the risks we’re willing to take-the list seems endless. If our parents or teachers told us we would never succeed, and we believed them, chances are we didn’t achieve much. If our socialization taught us not to stand up for ourselves, we didn’t, even if everything inside us was screaming to do so.

In Narcotics Anonymous, we are given a process by which we can recognize these false limitations for what they are. Through our Fourth Step, we’ll discover that we don’t want to keep all the rules we’ve been taught. We don’t have to be the life-long victims of past experiences. We are free to discard the ideas that inhibit our growth. We are capable of stretching our boundaries to encompass new ideas and new experiences. We are free to laugh, to cry, and, above all, to enjoy our recovery.

Just for today: I will let go of my self-imposed limitations and open my mind to new ideas.

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Daily Reflections
August 14, 2014
REDOUBLING OUR EFFORTS

To a degree, he has already done this when taking moral inventory, but now the time has come when he ought to redouble his efforts to see how many people he had hurt, and in what ways.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS , p. 77

As I continue to grow in sobriety, I become more aware of myself as a person of worth. In the process, I am better able to see others as persons, and with this comes the realization that these were people whom I had hurt in my drinking days. I didn’t just lie, I lied about Tom. I didn’t just cheat, I cheated Joe. What were seemingly impersonal acts, were really personal affronts, because it was people – people of worth – whom I had harmed. I need to do something about the people I have hurt so that I may enjoy a peaceful sobriety.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
August 14, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

“The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We who have found this solution to our alcoholic problem, we who are properly armed with the facts about ourselves, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic. We who are making the approach to new prospects have had the same difficulty they have had. We obviously know what we are talking about.  Our whole deportment shouts at new prospects that we are people with a real answer.” Am I a person with the real answer to the alcoholic problems of others?

Meditation For The Day

For straying from the right way there is no cure except to keep so close to the thought of God that nothing, no other interest, can seriously come between you and God. Sure of that, you can stay on God’s side. Knowing the way, nothing can prevent your staying in the way and nothing can cause you to seriously stray from it. God has promised peace if you stay close to Him, but not leisure. You still have to carry on in the world. He has promised heart-rest and comfort, but not pleasure in the ordinary sense. Peace and comfort bring real inward happiness.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may keep my feet on the way. I pray that I may stay on God’s side.

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As Bill Sees It
August 14, 2014
Who Is To Blame?, p. 222

At Step Four we resolutely looked for our own mistakes. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking, and frightened?  Though a given situation had not been entirely our fault, we often tried to cast the whole blame on the other person involved.

We finally saw that the inventory should be ours, not the other man’s. So we admitted our wrongs honestly and became willing to set these matters straight.

Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 67

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Walk In Dry Places
August 14, 2014
Am I getting too busy?
Time Management.

It’s always risky when a recovering person gets too busy for meetings. It’s also dangerous when business and personal concerns crowd out interest in the program.

We should never deceive ourselves by thinking that we’re somehow safe just because our time is filled with useful and interesting work. Many of us have a tendency to become addicted to “busy-ness”. Though less destructive than drinking, this serves as an escape, just as alcohol did.

The danger is that when the work no longer satisfies us, we’ll find our lives becoming empty again. We could then be very vulnerable to taking a drink.

We should never be too busy for the wonderful, constructive work of the program. Far from taking time away from our other actives, work in the program will enhance everything we do.

I’ll try to balance my activities today, making sure that I have time for the program.

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Keep It Simple
August 14, 2014

There are time we must grab God’s and walk forward.
— Anonymous

Sometimes we struggle with being part of the problem, instead of being part of the solution.

Inside we know this, but somehow we can’t Let Go and Let God.

To let go takes faith that the outcome will be okay. When we have faith, we know our Higher Power believes in us and will guide us. When we have faith, we believe in ourselves.

When we let go, we let go of our need to always be right. Letting go first takes place on the inside. Letting go allows us to change how we view what’s happening. Often, all we really need is this change of attitude. This is the beauty of faith: it allows us to see the same thing in different Ways.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, permit me to let go. Let me see that believing in You must also mean believing in myself.

Action for the Day: I will review my life since entering the Twelve Step program. I will work at seeing what good partners my Higher Power and I make.

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Each Day a New Beginning
August 14, 2014

Often when we’re being tough and strong, we’re scared. It takes a lot of courage to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to be soft.
–Dudley Martineau

We’ve developed defenses for protection because we have felt the need for protection from the abuses of others, parents on occasion, bosses, spouses, even strangers. And in certain situations, our defenses served us well for a time. However, they have taken their toll. Hiding behind them for long makes them habitual, and we move farther and farther away from our center, from the woman each of us needs and wants to be.

Exposing who we really are invites judgment, sometimes rejection, often times discounting. It’s a terribly hard risk to take, and the rewards are seldom immediate. But with time, others respect us for our vulnerability and begin to imitate our example. We are served well by our integrity, in due time.

Letting others see who we really are alleviates confusion, theirs and ours. We no longer need to decide who we should be; we simply are who we are. Our choices are simplified. There is only one appropriate choice to every situation–the one that is honest and wholly reflective of who we are at that moment.

Rewards will be forthcoming when I am honest.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
August 14, 2014
GUTTER BRAVADO

– Alone and unemployable, he was given two options by the court, get help or go to jail, and his journey toward teachability began.

In the mid-sixties I had the opportunity to visit my brother, who had a fellowship at a university in California. These were heady times, and my experiences there left a lasting impression on me. There was music in the air and dancing in the streets. Little wonder that after returning to the Midwest I soon became a discipline problem. Disillusioned with what I saw as the mundane trivialities of school, I found it harder and harder to concentrate. I longed for the carefree life. By the fall of 1968, after leaving three different schools, I decided I’d enough. So I quit the books, packed my guitar, left home, and headed back to the West Coast filled with the optimism of youth and intending to make a life for myself.

p. 502

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
August 14, 2014

Step Ten – “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

When evening comes, perhaps just before going to sleep, many of us draw up a balance sheet for the day. This is a good place to remember that inventory-taking is not always done in red ink. It’s a poor day indeed when we haven’t done something right. As a matter of fact, the waking hours are usually well filled with things that are constructive. Good intentions, good thoughts, and good acts are there for us to see. Even when we have tried hard and failed, we may chalk that up as one of the greatest credits of all. Under these conditions, the pains of failure are converted into assets. Out of them we receive the stimulation we need to go forward. Someone who knew what he was talking about once remarked that pain was the touchstone of all spiritual progress. How heartily we A.A.’s can agree with him, for we know that the pains of drinking had to come before sobriety, and emotional turmoil before serenity.

pp. 93-94

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Xtra Thoughts
August 14, 2014

Joy is the echo of God’s life in us.
–Abbot Columba Mormion

“It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis.”
–Margaret Bonnano

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart …
Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.
–Carl Jung

“We generally change ourselves for one of two reasons: inspiration or
desperation.”
–Jim Rohn

“The time is always right to do what is right.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

“What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a
butterfly.”
–Lao Tsu

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
August 14, 2014
FAITH

“Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense and understanding.”
— Martin Luther

An obstacle to my understanding the spiritual life was my intellectualization; my head was forever getting in the way of my heart. It was much easier to me to think rather than to feel; my faith was smothered by logic. My manipulating and controlling mind was stopping me experiencing the adventure of faith.

The poet in me grew as I began to trust others. God became alive in my confusion. The answer was in not having to have the answers.  Today spirituality involves all the varied confusions and paradoxes of life that I have discovered in me and in others — and it’s okay.

Today the love I give and receive is beyond my wildest dreams, and I smile at the joy of my confusion.

May my head unite with my heart in the daily maze of life.

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Bible Scriptures
August 14, 2014

“Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face evermore!”
1 Chronicles 16:11

“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in him. That is why we say “Amen” when we give glory to God through Christ.”
2 Corinthians 1:20

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Daily Inspiration
August 14, 2014

Whatever the problem, stressing over it will not solve it. Lord, I turn to You for solutions because I believe that You care for all of my needs. Bless me with the ability to remain level headed and calm as we work our way through my day.

Never forget that home is Heaven and life on earth is only temporary. Lord, may I live with deep awareness of my spiritual nature and live a life of truth.

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A Day At A Time
August 14, 2014

Reflection For The Day

Step Four enables me to see myself as I really am — my characteristics, motives, attitudes and actions.  I’m taught in* The Program to search out my mistakes resolutely.  Where, for example, had I been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking, and frightened?  I’m taught, also, that my deeply-rooted habit of self-justification may tempt me to “explain away” each fault as I uncover it, blaming others for my own shortcomings.  Will I believe that personal honesty can achieve what superior knowledge often cannot?

Today I Pray

May I not make the Fourth Step a once-over-lightly, let’s get-it-over-with exercise in self-appraisal.  May I know that, once I take this Step, I must review it again many times until it becomes, like the other eleven, a way of life for me.  May I protect the value of my Fourth Step from my old habit of head-tripping and buck-passing my way out of responsibility.

Today I Will Remember

Personal honesty paves the way to recovery.

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One More Day
August 14, 2014

Physical strength can never permanently withstand the impact of spiritual force.
–  Franklin D. Roosevelt

It’s a peculiar twist of life that physical impairment causes some of us to become either agnostic or more spiritual.  Few of us stay in the shades of gray.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to find our Higher Power or to rediscover our sense of spirituality may feel a deep and abiding belief in spiritual forces which will dwell with us at all times in our lives.

Spiritually transcends all health problems;  we can call on its comfort and support at will.  Our beliefs can buoy us up when we are feeling low and can richly enhance all the facets of our lives.

The spiritual forces which work within me are uniquely mine — to share or to keep private.  They will always enhance my life.

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One Day At A Time
August 14, 2014
~ LISTENING ~

I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind.  I should not be ungrateful to those teachers.
–Kahlil Gibran

Verbosity is one of my personal characteristics … especially in my past. I remember so well discussions in which I found great joy in talking. I also remember my prayers to the God Of My Understanding in which I had a litany of things prayed for.

As I became more and more entrenched in my program, I noticed that I began to listen more and talk less. I also began to really hear what God was saying to me. Praying is our talking to God and meditating is listening to Him. So now meditation has became a way of life for me.

As I go through my life encountering the talkers of the world, I now try to listen to those who are silent but who have much to say. The loud voices of my past life were just loud. It is, however, the quiet, calm voices that have spoken to me in volumes.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will listen carefully to those who speak.  I will listen especially carefully if it’s God who is speaking.

~ Mari ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – August 14

“It’s time Indians tell the world what we know… about nature and about God. So I’m going to tell you what I know and who I am. You guys better listen. You have a lot to learn.
–Mathew King, LAKOTA

A long time ago the Creator came to Turtle Island and said to the Red People –  “You will be the keepers of the Mother Earth. Among you I will give the wisdom about nature, about the interconnectedness of all things, about balance and about living in harmony.  You Red People will see the secrets of nature. You will live in hardship and the blessing of this is you will stay close to the Creator. The day will come when you will need to share the secrets with the other people of the earth because they will stray from their spiritual ways.  The time to start sharing is today.”

Oh Great Spirit, today I am ready for You to use me as a channel of Your peace. Let my walk today be visible so the people will say “There goes a Man of God.” I want to know what He knows. If they ask, I will tell them to go out into the wilderness and pray for You to guide them.

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Journey To The Heart
August 14, 2014
Value the Simple Tasks of Life

Simple tasks can take us back to the rhythm, the way of life we’re seeking.

How often we think we don’t want to be bothered with laundry, bills, dishes, the lawn. We have other things to do, more important tasks to accomplish on this journey we’re on. But doing the ordinary tasks doesn’t take us away from the rhythm we’re seeking. They don’t take us away from life’s magic. These tasks are the rhythm. They are the magic.

The simple tasks are important not just because they need to be done. The simple tasks are the microcosm of how our lives work. They keep us grounded in reality, they remind us of what’s real, they show us how life works. They will lead us into the way of life we’re seeking, if we approach them the right way. Do the laundry. Do the dishes. Pay your bills. Rake the leaves. Do these tasks with respect.

Restore and maintain order around you, and you’ll feel order in your soul. Create beauty around you, and you’ll feel beauty in your soul. The magic will return. The simple tasks will lead you back to it.

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Daily Inspiration
August 14, 2014

Every moment of every day is your choice unless you give it away. Lord, I choose to live peacefully today and ask for patience and strength when I feel stress from the demands others place on me.

To give of yourself is when you truly give. Lord, even in my busiest moments may I be able to make time when someone really needs me.

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Bible Scriptures
August 14, 2014

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
Galatians 6:7-9

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
James 1:17

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:18

“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.”
Romans 8:26-27

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
August 14, 2014
TRUTH

“If error is corrected whenever it is recognized as such, the path of error is the path of truth.”
– Hans Reichenbach

I believe that in order to discover spirituality in our lives, we need to confront the “disease”, that destructive and negative side of our lives.  We need to make the disease work for us!

For too many years I tried to avoid and deny my alcoholism. I wanted to recover by osmosis! I did not want to get my hands dirty with the reality of my suffering but rather I wanted a “miracle” — really magic — to make everything different from what it had been for years. I did not want to face my pain! But it does not work that way. If I am to get well, I need to confront my disease, smell my disease, hold my disease, pull and tug at the disease in my life. Why? Because it is mine. I need to be in touch with my disease if I am ever going to make the necessary changes. I need to make my disease work for me — that is spirituality.

Let me have the courage to pass through the pain in order to experience the gain.

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Xtra Thoughts
August 14, 2014

“Plant positive thoughts in your mind and expect a harvest of great possibilities.”
–Unknown

To keep a lamp burning we have to keep putting oil in it.
–Mother Teresa

Happiness is an INSIDE job.
–unknown

“People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.”
–Joseph F. Newton

“Find the seed at the bottom of your heart and bring forth a flower.”
-****Shigenori Kameoka

Once it [a spoken word] flies out, you can’t catch it.
–Russian proverb

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
August 14, 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.”

When the distortion has been great, however, a long period of patient striving may be necessary. After the husband joins A.A., the wife may become discontented, even highly resentful that Alcoholics Anonymous has done the very thing that all her years of devotion had failed to do. Her husband may become so wrapped up in A.A. and his new friends that he is inconsiderately away from home more than when he drank. Seeing her unhappiness, he recommends A.A.’s Twelve Steps and tries to teach her how to live. She naturally feels that for years she has made a far better job of living than he has. Both of them blame each other and ask when their marriage is ever going to be happy again. They may even begin to suspect it had never been any good in the first place.

pp. 118-119

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Alcoholics Anonymous
August 14, 2014

The Man Who Mastered Fear

spent eighteen years in running away, and then found he didn’t have to run. So he started A.A. in Detroit.

The details of the long road back to something resembling normal living—the first short streetcar ride, the purchase of a used bike, which enabled me to widen the narrow horizon of life, the first trip downtown—I will not dwell on. I got an easy, part=time job selling printing for a small neighborhood printer. This widened the scope of my activities. A year later I was able to buy a Model T roadster and take a better job with a downtown printer. From this job and the next one with yet another printer, I was courteously dismissed. I simply did not have the pep to do hard, “cold-turkey” selling. I switched to real estate brolerage and property management work.Almost simultaneously, I discovered that cocktails in the late afternoon and highballs in the evening relieved the many tensions of the day. This happy combination of pleasant work and alcohol lasted for five years. Of course, the latter ultimately killed the former, but of this, more anon.

pp. 247-248

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Daily TA0
August 14, 2014
Repetition

My prayer beads are strung on my life span.
I am not allowed to skip a single bead.
Sometimes the bead is a seed. Or a bone.
Or jade. Or dry blood. Or semen. Or crystal.
Or rotted wood. Or a sage’s relic. Or gold.
Or glass. Or a prism. Or iron. Or clay. Or an
eye. Or an egg. Or dung. Or a ball. Or a
stone. Or a peach. Or a bullet. Or a bubble.
Or lead. Or pure light.
No matter what the next bead is, I must count it,
Perform my daily austerities.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Until repetition becomes endurance.

People seldom understand the power of repetition. What is repeated over and over again can become enduring; what is done in a moment is seldom lasting. If farmers do not tend to their fields every day, they cannot expect a harvest. The same is true of spiritual practice. It is not the grand declaration of the colorful initiation that means anything. It is the ongoing, daily living of a spiritual life that has meaning. Our progress may range from dull to spectacular, but we must accept both. Each day should be linked to the last and the next, strung into a long line of prayer beads.
In life, you don’t know how many beads you’ve counted already, and you don’t know how many are yet to come. All that matters is fingering the one that comes to you now and taking the spiritual significance of that moment to heart.

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Day By Day
August 14, 2014
Keeping our program in mind

In the heat of summer, it can be hard to remember that we have meetings to attend and a program to work. When we think we are too busy to get to meetings or to work the Steps, our minds are beginning to slip. The pull of mood-altering chemicals can be felt in laziness, boredom, or uncomfortable circumstances.

At times like these, it is important to remember how we got straight and what keeps us straight.

Do I keep my program in mind at all times?

Higher Power, help me prevent anything from interfering with my crucial Twelve Step program.

Today I will practice my program by…

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In God’s Care
August 14, 2014

You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself.
~Ethel Barrymore

Do we sometimes think that the whole house of cards will come tumbling down if we make one false move? There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes. That’s the way we learned in the past and that’s how we’re learning now. We laugh affectionately at the foibles of others; sometimes it’s irresistible. We can laugh at our own with the same good humor.

Living a spiritual life doesn’t mean we have to be grim. In fact, increasing joy and merriment is as unavoidable result of turning our will over to a Higher Power. Now we can relax and enjoy life, and that includes enjoying our less-than-perfect selves.

Today I will not take myself so seriously.

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Today’s Gift
August 14, 2014

The moment an individual can accept and forgive himself, even a little, is the moment in which he becomes to some degree lovable.
—Eugene Kennedy

If we owe a bill and pay it in full, do we return to pay that same bill over and over again? If we did, someone would surely question what was wrong with us. Yet, how often do we ask forgiveness for the same thing over and over again?

How wonderful to know that we do not have to condemn ourselves, even for not living up to a goal we have set for ourselves. Once we say we are sorry, we need to be willing to forgive ourselves. After all, how else do we learn and grow except by mistakes?

When we have forgiven ourselves, we become free to take risks again without fear of unforgivable failure, and who knows what new successes we might attain?

Is there something I can forgive myself for today?

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The Language of Letting Go
August 14

Owning Our Power

Many of us have someone in our life that challenges our ability to trust and care for ourselves.

When we hear that person’s voice or are in his or her presence, we may forget all we know about what is real, about how to own our power, about how to be direct, about what we know and believe to be true, about how important we are.

We give up our power to that person. The child in us gets hooked with a mixture of powerful feelings – love, fear, or anger. We may feel trapped, helpless, or so attracted that we can’t think straight. There may be a powerful tug of war going between feelings of anger and our need to be loved and accepted, or between our head and our heart.

We may be so enamored or intimidated that we revert to our belief that we can’t react or respond to this person any differently.

We get hooked.

We don’t have to stay under a spell.

We start by becoming aware of the people who hook us, and then accepting that.

We can force ourselves through the motions of reacting differently to that person, even if that new reaction is awkward and uncomfortable.

Search out our motivations. Are we somehow trying to control or influence the other person? We cannot change the other person, but we can stop playing our part of the game. One good way to do this is by detaching and letting go of any need to control.

The next step is learning to own our power to take care of ourselves, to be who we are free from their influence. We can learn to own our power with difficult people. It may not happen overnight, but we can begin, today, to change our self-defeating reactions to the people who have hooked us.

God, help me identify the relationships where I have forfeited my power. Help me unhook and begin owning my power.

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More Language Of Letting Go
August 14, 2014
Be grateful for where you are now

“It doesn’t take as much faith to believe that everything happens for a reason as it does to embrace the belief that I am who and where I am now, today, for a reason– even if I don’t know what that reason is and even if I don’t particularly like who and where I am today,” a friend said to me. “When I can take that in, my dissatisfaction and negativity disappear, and I can proceed calmly and gratefully with my life. To me,” he said, “that’s what spirituality is all about.”

Faith and hope aren’t just for the future. Try using them on today.

Could it be that you’re who you are and where you are now for a reason? Thank God for your life, exactly as it is, right now.

God, give me enough faith to believe in today.

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Journey to the Heart
August 14, 2014
Value the Simple Tasks of Life

Simple tasks can take us back to the rhythm, the way of life we’re seeking.

How often we think we don’t want to be bothered with laundry, bills dishes, the lawn. We have other things to do, more important tasks to accomplish on this journey we’re on. But doing the ordinary tasks doesn’t take us away from the rhythm we’re seeking. They don’t take us away from life’s magic. These tasks are the rhythm. They are the magic.

The simple tasks are important not just because they need to be done. The simple tasks are the microcosm of how our lives work. They keep us grounded in reality, they remind us of what’s real, they show us how life works. They will lead us into the way of life we’re seeking, if we approach them the right way. Do the laundry. Do the dishes. Pay your bills. Rake the leaves. Do these tasks with respect.

Restore and maintain order around you, and you’ll feel order in your soul. Create beauty around you, and you’ll feel beauty in your soul. The magic will return. The simple tasks will lead you back to it.

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Food For Thought
August 14, 2014
RationalizingWe compulsive overeaters are experts at making excuses for taking the line of least resistance. Before we entered this program, we could always find a reason for eating. How many times did we say, “Just one little bite can’t possibly hurt”?It is hard to say no to ourselves and to other people, even though we may realize that saying yes would be hurtful to our health or our integrity. We think up reasons for going along with what other people want us to do, rather than “rocking the boat” by standing up for what we know to be essential for our recovery.

Often we convince ourselves by rationalizing that all is well when it is not. Our emotional and spiritual health requires that we examine honestly our behavior and our relationships. When they are not right, we need to take action to correct them.

By Your light, may I see clearly.

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Daily Zen
August 14, 2014Water dripping ceaselessly
Will fill the four seas.
Specks of dust
Not wiped away
Will become the
Five mountains.- Shih Wang Ming (6th c.)

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Faith’s Check Book
August 14, 2014
Child Chastisement Not Forever

And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever. (1 Kings 11:39)

In the family of grace there is discipline, and that discipline is severe enough to make it an evil and a bitter thing to sin. Solomon, turned aside by his foreign wives, had set up other gods and grievously provoked the God of his father; therefore, ten parts out of twelve of the kingdom were rent away and set up as a rival state. This was a sore affliction to the house of David, and it came upon that dynasty distinctly from the hand of God, as the result of unholy conduct. The Lord will chasten His best beloved servants if they cease from full obedience to His laws: perhaps at this very hour such chastening is upon us. Let us humbly cry, “O Lord, show me wherefore thou contendest with me.”

What a sweet saving clause is that—”but not for ever”! The punishment of sin is everlasting, but the fatherly chastisement of it in a child of God is but for a season. The sickness, the poverty, the depression of spirit, will pass away when they have had their intended effect. Remember, we are not under law but under grace, The rod may make us smart, but the sword shall not make us die. Our present grief is meant to bring us to repentance that we may not be destroyed with the wicked.

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This Morning’s Readings
August 14, 2014

“Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy work.”—Psalm 92:4.

O you believe that your sins are forgiven, and that Christ has made a full atonement for them? Then what a joyful Christian you ought to be! How you should live above the common trials and troubles of the world! Since sin is forgiven, can it matter what happens to you now? Luther said, “Smite, Lord, smite, for my sin is forgiven; if Thou hast but forgiven me, smite as hard as Thou wilt”; and in a similar spirit you may say, “Send sickness, poverty, losses, crosses, persecution, what Thou wilt, Thou hast forgiven me, and my soul is glad.” Christian, if thou art thus saved, whilst thou art glad, be grateful and loving. Cling to that cross which took thy sin away; serve thou Him who served thee. “I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Let not your zeal evaporate in some little ebullition of song. Show your love in expressive tokens. Love the brethren of Him who loved you. If there be a Mephibosheth anywhere who is lame or halt, help him for Jonathan’s sake. If there be a poor tried believer, weep with him, and bear his cross for the sake of Him who wept for thee and carried thy sins. Since thou art thus forgiven freely for Christ’s sake, go and tell to others the joyful news of pardoning mercy. Be not contented with this unspeakable blessing for thyself alone, but publish abroad the story of the cross. Holy gladness and holy boldness will make you a good preacher, and all the world will be a pulpit for you to preach in. Cheerful holiness is the most forcible of sermons, but the Lord must give it you. Seek it this morning before you go into the world. When it is the Lord’s work in which we rejoice, we need not be afraid of being too glad.

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This Evening’s Readings
August 14, 2014

“I know their sorrows.”—Exodus 3:7.

HE child is cheered as he sings, “This my father knows”; and shall not we be comforted as we discern that our dear Friend and tender soul-husband knows all about us?

1. He is the Physician, and if He knows all, there is no need that the patient should know. Hush, thou silly, fluttering heart, prying, peeping, and suspecting! What thou knowest not now, thou shalt know hereafter, and meanwhile Jesus, the beloved Physician, knows thy soul in adversities. Why need the patient analyze all the medicine, or estimate all the symptoms? This is the Physician’s work, not mine; it is my business to trust, and His to prescribe. If He shall write His prescription in uncouth characters which I cannot read, I will not be uneasy on that account, but rely upon His unfailing skill to make all plain in the result, however mysterious in the working.

2. He is the Master, and His knowledge is to serve us instead of our own; we are to obey, not to judge: “The servant knoweth not what his lord doeth.” Shall the architect explain his plans to every hodman on the works? If he knows his own intent, is it not enough? The vessel on the wheel cannot guess to what pattern it shall be conformed, but if the potter understands his art, what matters the ignorance of the clay? My Lord must not be cross-questioned any more by one so ignorant as I am.

3. He is the Head. All understanding centres there. What judgment has the arm? What comprehension has the foot? All the power to know lies in the head. Why should the member have a brain of its own when the head fulfils for it every intellectual office? Here, then, must the believer rest his comfort in sickness, not that he himself can see the end, but that Jesus knows all. Sweet Lord, be thou for ever eye, and soul, and head for us, and let us be content to know only what Thou choosest to reveal.

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