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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 — December 31, 2013

Just For Today
December 31, 2013
Being Of Service

“Working with others is only the beginning of service work.”
—Basic Text, p. 56

We’re in recovery now. Through living the program, we’ve attained some stability in our lives. Our faith in a Higher Power has grown. Our individual spiritual awakening is progressing comfortably. So now what? Do we simply sit still and enjoy? Of course not. We find a way to be of service.

We tend to think of service only in terms of committee service or holding a position at some level, but service goes far beyond this understanding. In fact, we can find opportunities to be of service in nearly every area of our lives. Our jobs are a form of service to our communities, no matter what our occupation. The work we do in our homes serves our families. Perhaps we do volunteer work in our communities.

What a difference our service efforts make! If we doubt this, we can just imagine what the world would be like if no one bothered to be of service to others. Our work serves humanity. The message we carry goes beyond the rooms of recovery, affecting everything we do.

Just for today: I will look for opportunities to be of service in everything I do.

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Voices of Recovery: A Daily Reader
December 31, 2013

“A life of ‘sane and happy usefulness’ is what we are promised as the result of working the Twelve Steps.”
The Tools of Recovery, p. 6

“Who would want that?” That was my reaction to reading this line for the first time, nearly seventeen years ago. I wanted a slim body and plenty of money, not service to others. Today I am convinced that my Higher Power led me to Overeaters Anonymous. I got far more than I bargained for when I walked in the OA doors.

It had not occurred to me to try a spiritual solution to deal with what I thought was a physical problem. I had been compulsively overeating nearly all my life before coming to OA. I just didn’t know there was a name for what I did. I am very grateful that I have kept coming back to meeting regularly, week after week. My Higher Power continues to challenge me to love and accept myself just as I am today and to pass on the message that recovery from this disease is possible. “Sane and happy usefulness” to myself and others is something I value and strive for today, one day at a time.

It has been a unique experience for me to reach out to still-suffering compulsive overeaters and know that there is a solution in OA, if they want it.

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Daily Reflections
December 31, 2013
Daily Resolutions

“The idea of “twenty-four-hour” living applies primarily to the emotional life of the individual. Emotionally speaking, we must not live in yesterday, nor in tomorrow.”
—As Bill Sees It, p. 284

A New year: 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes—a time to consider directions, goals, and actions. I must make some plans to live a normal life, but also I must live emotionally within a twenty-four hour frame, for if I do, I don’t have to make New Year’s resolutions! I can make every day a New Year’s day! I can decide, “Today I will do this … Today I will do that.” Each day I can measure my life by trying to a little better, by deciding to follow God’s will and making an effort to put the principles of our A.A. program into action.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
December 31, 2013
A.A. Thought For The Day

I shall be loyal in my attendance, generous in my giving, kind in my criticism, creative in my suggestions, loving in my attitudes. I shall give A.A. my interest, my enthusiasm, my devotion, and most of all, myself. The Lord’s Prayer has become part of my A.A. thoughts for each day: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Have I given myself?

Meditation For The Day

As we look back over the year just gone, it has been a good year to the extent that we have put good thoughts, good words, and good deeds into it. None of what we have thought, said, or done need be wasted. Both the good and the bad experiences can be profited by. In a sense, the past is not entirely gone. The result of it, for good or evil, is with us at the present moment. We can only learn by experience and none of our experience is completely wasted. We can humbly thank God for the good things of the year that has gone.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may carry good things into the year ahead. I pray that I may carry on with faith, with prayer, and with hope.

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As Bill Sees It
December 31, 2013
Wider Understanding, p.255

To reach more alcoholics, understanding of A.A. and public good will towards A.A. must go on growing everywhere. We need to be on still better terms with medicine, courts, prisons, mental hospitals, and all enterprises in the alcoholism field. We need the increasing good will of editors, writers, television and radio channels. These publicity outlets need to be opened ever wider.

Nothing matters more to A.A.’s future welfare than the manner in which we use the colossus of modern communication. Used unselfishly and well, it can produce results surpassing our present imagination. Should we handle this great instrument badly, we shall be shattered by the ego manifestations of our own people.  Against this peril, A.A. members’ anonymity before the general public is our shield and our buckler.

1. Twelve Concepts, p.51
2. Grapevine, November 1960

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Walk In Dry Places
December 31, 2013
Has it been a Year of Growth?
Growth

As any year draws to a close, we should reflect on how we have grown in sobriety. We should also identify changes during the year that enabled us to overcome bad habits and to move closer to better patterns of living.

Though we never are guaranteed favorable outcomes, we should always remember that sobriety is its own reward. We want a full life of course, but it must begin with a decision to seek and to maintain sobriety at all costs.

We find that with sobriety, lots of other problems seem to solve themselves. Even if they don’t we have the tools to move forward and to achieve goals that always eluded us while we were drinking. Every year in sobriety is a year of growth.

I’ll be conscious today of recent improvements I’ve made in my life and all my affairs. With sobriety, these improvements will go on for a lifetime.

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Keep It Simple
December 31, 2013

“May you live all the days of your life.”
—Jonathan Swift.

Tonight, at midnight, a New Year will begin. None of us know what the New Year will hold. But we can trust ourselves to hold on to the spirit of recovery as we go through the year. As a New Year is about to begin, we can rejoice in our new way of life. We can give our will and our life to our HP. By doing these things, we’ll be ready for the New Year.

PRAYER: Higher Power, I pray that I’ll start the New Year safe in Your loving arms. I pray that I’ll keep working my program.

ACTION: Tonight, at midnight, I’ll say the Serenity Prayer. I will think of all the others who have read this meditation book and who will join me in this prayer. We are a recovering community.

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Each Day a New Beginning
December 31, 2013

“In the process of growing to spiritual maturity, we all go through many adolescent stages.”
—Miki L. Bowen

Progress, not perfection, is our goal in this recovery program. And many days we’ll be haunted by the feeling that we’ve regressed. We will display old behavior. We will feel unable to change, to go on, to make gains once again. But these periods will pass, and soon progress will be evident again.

We must be wary of our need for perfection. It’s this need that makes normal progress seem not good enough. And yet, that’s all we’re capable of—and all we’ll ever need to be capable of. The program, its Steps and the promises offered, provide the tools we have lacked, yet need to use in order to accept ourselves wholly and imperfectly.

Daily attention to our spiritual side will foster the spiritual and emotional health we long for. Prayer and meditation, combined with honest inventory-taking, can show us the personal progress needed, the personal progress made. However, we will falter on occasion. We will neglect our program some days. But it won’t ever be beyond our reach. And each day is a new beginning.

Today is before me, and I can make progress. I will begin with a quiet prayer and a moment of meditation.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
December 31, 2013
ACCEPTANCE WAS THE ANSWER

The physician wasn’t hooked, he thought—he just prescribed drugs medically indicated for his many ailments. Acceptance was his key to liberation.

For years I was sure the worst thing that could happen to a nice guy like me would be that I would turn out to be an alcoholic. Today I find it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. This proves I don’t know what’s good for me. And if I don’t know what’s good for me, then I don’t know what’s good or bad for you or for anyone. So I’m better off if I don’t give advice, don’t figure I know what’s best, and just accept life on life’s terms, as it is today—especially my own life, as it actually is. Before A.A. I judged myself by my intentions, while the world was judging me by my actions.

pp. 417-418

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
December 31, 2013

Tradition Nine — “A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.”

Well, let’s see. Did anyone ever hear of a nation, a church, a political party, even a benevolent association that had no membership rules? Did anyone ever hear of a society which couldn’t somehow discipline its members and enforce obedience to necessary rules and regulations? Doesn’t nearly every society on earth give authority to some of its members to impose obedience upon the rest and to punish or expel offenders? Therefore, every nation, in fact every form of society, has to be a government administered by human beings. Power to direct or govern is the essence of organization everywhere.

p. 172

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Xtra Thoughts
December 31, 2013

“Wherever you go, whomever you meet, look for an opportunity to help, to inspire, to lend support.”
—Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson

“Most people search high and wide for the keys to success. If they only knew, the key to their dreams lies within.”
—George Washington Carver

“Look for the Good.”
—unknown

“The traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous help me play well with others, when what I really want to do is take my toys and go home!”
—unknown

“You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.”
—Henry Ford

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
December 31, 2013
CHANGE

“It is not necessary to get away from human nature but to alter its inner attitude of heart and mind.”
—J. F. Newton

An understanding of sobriety and serenity that has proved helpful to me is that we are not only changing but involved in change. We determine the results of the change.

I can change for good or bad. I can stay sober or drink. I can be cheerful and creative or negative and destructive. My attitude determines the results of my changing life.

Spirituality has been given, but it also needs to be nurtured. I need to surround myself with loving and honest people if I am to allow my spirituality to grow in my life. My continued willingness is essential to my sobriety and serenity.

Thank You for making me with a mind and heart that together create the action.

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Bible Scriptures
December 31, 2013

“I believe that I am now a child of God .”
—1 John 3:1-3

“I believe that I was saved by the grace of God through faith, that it was a gift and not the result of any works on my part.”
—Ephesians 2:8

“I choose to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”
—Ephesians 6:10

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Daily Inspiration
December 31, 2013

To have courage, think courageous, act courageous, and pray to God for courage. Lord, You are full of love for all who come to You.

Abundance is God’s to give, so shut out all limited thoughts. Lord, my faith in You and my faith in the talents and abilities You have given me makes me able to achieve my goals.

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A Day At A Time
December 31, 2013

Reflection For The Day

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—living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it: Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with him forever in the next. Amen.

Today I Pray

May I look back at this past year as a good one, in that nothing I did or said was wasted. No experience—however insignificant it may have seemed—was worthless. Hurt gave me the capacity to feel happiness; bad times made me appreciate the good ones; what I regarded was my weaknesses became my greatest strengths. I thank God for a year of growing.

Today I will Remember

Hope is my “balance brought forward”—into a new year’s ledger.

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One More Day
December 31, 2013

“Afflictions are not really a good gift—neither they nor their consequences.  However, if afflictions do come, it is well that we convert them into afflictions of love.  Herein lies the power of man.”
—Chaim Nachman Bialik

All around us we hear cries of “Happy New Year,” and we wonder if this next year is going to be happier than last year was.  Carrying the burden of chronic pain or a chronic illness is far more demanding than most people can imagine;.  It can overwhelm our days.

We alone have the power to convert that pain, loneliness, and any feelings of guilt into external expressions of ourselves, such as helping others.  It’s almost impossible to be completely wound up in ourselves when we are doing for others.

I feel positive thoughts about this New Year.  My goal is to reach out to at least one person each day.

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One Day At A Time
December 31
Life Is Worth Living

“These, then, are my last words to you: Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living. and your belief will help create the fact.
—William James (1842 ~ 1910)

I have lived my life as a compulsive eater and I have known many other compulsive eaters. I believe I can say unequivocally that life is much more difficult in so many ways for us than for many others. I denied that what I suffered from was a disease; yet I watched as over the years it robbed me of so many things others take for granted. Most of us will acknowledge early on that the manifestations of compulsive eating affects us spiritually, emotionally and physically. Volumes have been written about each of these so most reading this know the devastation it causes. When I began to inventory my life and saw how much the quality of it had suffered, it saddened me greatly.

I believe one of the most difficult ways the disease of COE, or any compulsive illness, affects us is the way society looks upon us. Because I have experienced life both ways, I know how behavior and attitudes change in interacting with a COE vs a non-COE. We wear our disease on the outside … but the extensive damage is far more wide-spread than just the physical. The disease wrecks havoc in every area of our lives as we silently go about our life doing the things expected of us. We don’t dare scapegoat the disease. After all, this is not a cancer … or heart disease. Yet it can be just as serious.

Many decades ago, a group of alcoholics gathered and, as a result, life began to change for those of us who struggled with the disease. When I reached the point in my life that I could actually acknowledgement that compulsive eating was affecting it and that I had done everything possible to stop it and couldn’t, it was one of the most freeing moments I’ve ever experienced. I learned that I was as powerless over this as I would have been suffering a heart attack. I also learned that I couldn’t handle it alone. I learned that there were twelve steps that were absolutely necessary if I were to survive emotionally and, perhaps even physically.

I went from fighting the disease to acknowledging it. Because of the Steps I learned that there were tens of thousands of others exactly like me and that we all spoke the same beautiful language. I learned not to be afraid of life … and that, despite this despicable disease, life is truly worth living. I was told to “act as if” and by doing this it became no longer an act.

One day at a time …
I affirm that my life is worth living. One day at a time, I affirm that I will not be afraid of anything that makes me feel otherwise.

~ Mari

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 31

“They must give themselves to Wakan’ Tanka and live a spiritual life. They will have the peace that frees them from fear.”
—Frank Fools Crow, LAKOTA

There are two wills available for us: self will and God’s will. Our choice is: figure it out ourselves, or have the Creator involved in our lives. If we are honest with ourselves and look at past experiences, what are our lives like when we try to figure it out ourselves? Is there fear, confusion, frustration, anger, attacking others, conflict, fault finding, manipulation, teasing others, belittling others or devaluation? If these things are present, they indicate that we are choosing self will. What is it like if we turn our will over to the Creator? What are the results if we ask the Great Spirit to guide our life? Examples are: freedom, choices, consequences, love forgiveness, helping others, happiness, joy, solutions, and peace. Which will I choose today, self will or God’s will?

Creator, I know what my choice is. I want You to direct my life. I want You to direct my thinking. You are the Grandfather. You know what I need even before I do. Today I ask You to tell me what I can do for You today. Tell me in a way I can understand and I will be happy to do it.

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Journey To The Heart
December 31, 2013
Honor the Ending

“How was your trip?” a friend asked, as my trip drew to a close.

I thought for a moment, then the answer came easily. “It had its ups and downs,” I said. “There were times I felt exhilarated and sure I was on track. Other days I felt lost. Confused. I’d fall into bed at night certain that this whole trip was a mistake and a waste. But I’d wake up in the morning, something would happen, and I’d see how I’d been guided all along.”

The journey of a year is drawing to a close. Cherish the moments, all of them, even the ups and downs. Cherish the places you’ve visited, the people you’ve seen. Say good-bye to those whose journey have called them someplace else. Know you can always call them back by thinking loving thoughts. Know all those you love will be there for you when you need them most. Honor the lessons you’ve learned, and the people who helped you learn them. Honor the journey your soul mapped out for you. Trust all the places you’ve been. Make a scrapbook in your heart to help you remember.

Look back for a moment. Reflect in peace. Then let this year draw to a close. All parts of the journey are sacred and holy. You’ve learned that by now. Take time to honor this ending– though it’s never really the end. Go to sleep tonight. When you wake up tomorrow, a new adventure will begin.

Remember the words you were told when this last adventure began, the words whispered quietly to your heart: Let the journey unfold. Let it be magical. The way has been prepared. People will be expecting you. Yes, you are being led.

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The Language of Letting Go
December 31, 2013
Affirming the Good

“Fun becomes fun, love becomes love, life becomes worth living. And we become grateful.”
—Beyond Codependency

Wait, and expect good things—for yourself and your loved ones.

When you wonder what is coming, tell yourself the best is coming, the very best life and love have to offer, the best God and His universe have to send. Then open your hands to receive it. Claim it, and it is yours.

See the best in your mind; envision what it will look like, what it will feel like. Focus, until you can see it clearly. Let your whole being, body and soul, enter into and hold onto the image for a moment.

Then, let it go. Come back into today, the present moment. Do not obsess. Do not become fearful. Become excited. Live today fully, expressing gratitude for all you have been, all you are, and all you will become.

Wait, and expect good things.

Today, when I think abut the year ahead, I will focus on the good that is coming.

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More Language Of Letting Go
December 31, 2013
The adventure is in the trip

We were on our way to the drop zone when Chip turned to me.

“Let’s go to San Francisco and see a widgeon.”

“Widgeon?” I said. “Okay. Let’s go.”

“These are the rules,” he said, pulling off the highway and getting back on the exit ramp heading north. “We’ll stop at the house for a minute. But we can’t pack. We can only take with us what we have on us now. We’ll have to trust ourselves to get whatever else we need on the way.”

“Okay,” I said. “You’re on.”

I didn’t know what a widgeon was.

Four hours later, we were walking barefoot on Morro Beach, just south of Big Sur. A big rock, one that looked like the fossil remains of a dinosaur hunched over in the water, beckoned. So did the impending sunset. I still didn’t know what a widgeon was, but I was glad we were searching for one.

“You’d better call Andy,” I said, watching the waves crash against the dinosaur rock. “You guys were supposed to go climbing tomorrow.”

Chip took the cell phone I was handing him.

“I’ve got an idea,” I said. “Tell Andy to get on a plane, fly to San Francisco, wait for us to pick him up, then come with us to find a widgeon.”

Chip called Andy. Thirty-five minutes later, Andy called back. “I’ll be at the United gate at the San Francisco airport at 9:34. See you!” he said.

Chip and I looked at each other. It was 6:34. We were two hundred miles south of San Francisco and had already started traveling the One through Big Sur—a winding two lane highway that climbed high banks, offered a breathtaking view, and needed to be traveled slowly and cautiously.

Half an hour later, we looked at the odometer. We had gone twelve miles.

Chip turned east on a road the suddenly appeared. It was slightly bigger than a one-lane road, winding its way through the mountains that separated us from the interstate and a sixty-five mile per hour limit. He drove like a Daytona master. Forty-five minutes later, we had traveled another twelve miles.

Focus, focus, focus. Focus on the destination, not the journey. Just get there.

At 10:35, one hour past Andy’s arrival time, we pulled up in front of the baggage claim. A six foot, two inch Texas blond guy sat on a bench, reading a book. We honked. He looked up, waved, then lumbered over to the car and slid into the backseat.

“What’s a widgeon?” he said.

The next morning, we set out for Ace Aviation, the home of the widgeon. We didn’t know where it was, but we headed in what we thought was the right direction. Suddenly, Chip pointed to a sign. “Seaplanes!” We pulled off the road, and went in.

“Have you heard of Ace Aviation?” we asked.

“Yup,” she said.

“Is there a widgeon there?” we asked.

“Yup,” she said.

“Will you tell us where it is?” we asked.

She did.

One hour later, we pulled into the parking lot for Ace Aviation. For the next hour, we fawned over widgeons– amphibious planes with a peculiar yet immediate and undeniable charm. The name painted on one widgeon read, “Da Plane.” It was the seaplane from Fantasy Island.

We found a hot springs motel on the last evening of the trip. Sitting in the outdoor hot tub, I found many things remarkable: the almost full moon in the sky, the calming effect of the water, and the toothpaste provided by the hotel. All along the trip, our wishes seemed to magically appear– from a restaurant on a desolate strip of beach, to a restroom in the middle of a forest, to a widgeon in a widgeon hospital.

I’ve said before; I’ll say it again. It’s good to have a destination, but the adventure is in the trip.

Take a moment. Review where you’ve been this past year. Be grateful for all you’ve experienced and the people who have come into your life. Search your heart. Let go of any resentments. Take a moment and reflect on your successes. Be grateful for them; be grateful for all the ordinary moments,too. Take a look at your goal list. Some things have taken place. Other things may not have materialized yet. Don’t give up yet. Let go. Tomorrow, you can make a new list.

God, thank you for this year. Clear my heart so I can start tomorrow with a clean slate.

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Today’s Gift
December 31, 2013

“Finish each day and be done with it. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Two of the most useless phrases in the English language are “what if” and “if only.” We waste so much time and energy thinking about what we might have done and wishing we had acted or reacted differently. We imagine how things might have turned out “if only . . .”

All of us make mistakes. To go back and wonder and wish about our yesterdays prevents us from living fully today. Each day is a fresh chance; a new beginning. We can only squeeze what we can out of the moment and let the drops fall where they may. Some will evaporate and some will form rainbows.

Can I forget about yesterday and start a fresh new day?

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
December 31, 2013

“Dawns another year, Open it aright;  Thou shalt have no fear In its fading light.”
—Joseph Krauskopf

New Year’s Eve is a good time to reflect upon the closing year and set our direction for the year ahead. This day reminds us that every day of the year is lived just one at a time. Looking back, we can see a year’s change in ourselves. We see the progress we have made as men on our journey. Perhaps we see how much stronger we are emotionally. Maybe we see relationships that have developed because of our growing ability to love. Certainly all of us have some things we regret and some changes we mourn. They too have their place today.

As we begin the coming year, let us review our relationship with each of the Steps. We may perceive aspects of our program that call for more attention. One or two particular Steps may speak to our needs at this time or may have been overlooked in this past year. On this last day of the year, we can again turn our lives and will over to the care of a loving God.

I look to the New Year with a renewed commitment to the Steps.

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Daily TAO
December 31, 2013
CONTINUATION

Upon completion comes fulfillment.
With fulfillment comes liberation.
Liberation allows you to go on.
Even death is not a true ending.
Life is infinite continuation.

Always finish what you start. That alone is discipline and wisdom enough. If you can follow that rule, then you will be superior to most people.

When you come to the end of a cycle, a new one will begin. You might say that completion actually begins somewhere in the middle of a cycle and that new beginnings are engendered out of previous actions.

Completing a cycle means fulfillment. It means that you have achieved self-knowledge, discipline, and a new way of understanding yourself and the world around you. You cannot stop there, of course. New horizons are always there. But you can reach out for those new vistas with fresh assurance and wisdom.

With each turn of the wheel you go further. With each turn of the wheel you free yourself from the mire of ignorance. With each turn of the wheel comes continuation.

Turn the wheel of your life. Make complete revolutions. Celebrate every turning. And persevere with joy.

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