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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.

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Daily Recovery Readings – June 15, 2014

Just For Today
June 15, 2014
Resistance To Change

“Many of us cling to our fears, doubts, self-loathing, or hatred because there is a certain distorted security in familiar pain. It seems safer to embrace what we know than to let go of it for the unknown.”
Basic Text, p.33

We have often heard it said that “when the pain of remaining the same becomes greater than the pain of changing, we will change” Our fear can keep us from growing, afraid to end relationships, change careers, attend new meetings, begin new friendships, or attempt anything out of the ordinary. We stay in situations that are no longer working far longer than we have to simply because what is familiar feels safer than the unknown. Any change involves overcoming fear. “What if I’m alone forever?” we might think if we consider leaving our lover. “What if I find out I’m incompetent?” we may wonder when we contemplate changing careers. We may balk at attending new meetings because we will have to reach out. Our minds manufacture a hundred excuses for remaining right where we are, afraid to try something new.

We find that most of our pain comes not from change but from resistance to change. In NA, we learn that change is how we move forward in our lives. New friends, new relationships, new interests and challenges will replace the old. With these new things in our lives, we find new joys and loves.

Just for today: I will release the old, embrace the new, and grow.

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Daily Reflections
June 15, 2014
MAKING A. A. YOUR HIGHER POWER

“. . . . . You can . . . make A. A. itself your ‘higher power.’  Here’s a very large group of people who have solved their alcohol problem. . . . .many members . . . . have crossed the threshold just this way. . . . .their faith broadened and deepened. . . . transformed, they came to believe in a Higher Power. . . . .”
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 27-28

No one was greater than I, at least in my eyes, when I was drinking. Nevertheless, I couldn’t smile at myself in the mirror, so I came to A.A. where, with others, I heard talk of a Higher Power. I couldn’t accept the concept of a Higher Power because I believed God was cruel and unloving. In desperation I chose a table, a tree, then my A.A. group, as my Higher Power. Time passed, my life improved, and I began to wonder about this Higher Power. Gradually, with patience, humility and a lot of questions, I came to believe in God. Now my relationship with my Higher Power gives me the strength to live a happy, sober life.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
June 15, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

In A.A. we have three things: fellowship, faith, and service.  Fellowship is wonderful, but its wonder lasts just so long.  Then some gossip, disillusionment, and boredom may come in.  Worry and fear come back at times and we find that fellowship is not the whole story. Then we need faith. When we’re alone, with nobody to pat us on the back, we must turn to God for help. Can I say “Thy will be done” – and mean it?

Meditation For The Day

There is beauty in a God-guided life. There is wonder in the feeling of being led by God. Try to realize God’s bounty and goodness more and more. God is planning for you. Wonderful are His ways – they are beyond your knowledge. But God’s leading will enter your consciousness more and more and bring you ever more peace and joy. Your life is being planned and blessed by God. You may count all material things as losses if they prevent your winning your way to the consciousness of God’s guidance.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may earn the rewards of God’s power and peace.  I pray that I may develop the feeling of being led by God.

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As Bill Sees It
June 15, 2014
Fear No Evil, p. 166

Though we of A.A. find ourselves living in a world characterized by destructive fears as never before in history, we see great areas of faith, and tremendous aspirations toward justice and brotherhood. Yet no prophet can presume to say whether the world outcome will be blazing destruction or the beginning, under God’s intention, of the brightest era yet known to mankind.

I am sure we A.A.’s will comprehend this scene. In microcosm, we have experienced this identical state of terrifying uncertainty, each in his own life. In no sense pridefully, we can say that we do not fear the world outcome, whichever course it may take.  This is because we have been established to deeply feel and say, “We shall fear no evil–Thy will, not ours, be done.”

Grapevine, January 1962

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Keep It Simple
June 15, 2014

He who laughs, last.
—Mary Pettibone Poole

It feels good to laugh again! Our disease took away our sense of humor. Recovery gives it back. That’s why there’s so much laughter at our meetings. By seeing the funny side of things, we ease up.

A person in treatment was talking about the Higher Power he had come to believe in. The counselor asked, “Does God have a sense of humor?” The group had fun talking about this idea for a while. The next day, the counselor came to work and found a note on her door. It read: “Of course God has a sense of humor. He made you, didn’t He? Laughter helps us heal.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me ease up today. Let me see the funny side of things.

Action for the Day: I’ll let myself laugh today.

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Each Day a New Beginning
June 15, 2014

For many years I was so flexible I didn’t know who I was, and now that I’m discovering who I am, I think, “OK, I know where I stand on that issue. Now on to the next one.” But I have to remind myself that all issues are interrelated–no one is separate.
—Kathleen Casey Theisen

Today flows from yesterday, the day before, the day before that. Tomorrow repeats the pattern. What we are given on any one day will have its beginning in the past and its finale in the future. No incident is isolated entirely; no issue is self-contained.

Maturity is being able to let go of outgrown attitudes, stifling opinions, no matter how good and right they were at one time. Our egos often get too attached to some of our opinions, and new ideas can’t filter in. Some will try to get our attention today. We are ready for new growth. The choice not to hamper it is ours to make.

The opinions we held certain yesterday may not be adequate to the problems of today. They need not be. They served us well. They are not for naught.

Today’s issues need today’s fresh responses. I will be unafraid. Today flows from yesterday, the day before, and the day before that. Tomorrow follows suit.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
June 15, 2014
Our Southern Friend

Pioneer A.A., minister’s son, and southern farmer, he asked, “Who am I to say there is no God?”

Get into the lives of other people, is one thing the fellows in New York had said. I go to see a man I had been asked to visit and tell him my story. I feel much better! I have forgotten about a drink.
I am on a train, headed for a city. I have left my wife at home, sick, and I have been unkind to her in leaving. I am very unhappy. Maybe a few drinks when I get to the city will help. A great fear seizes me. I talk to the stranger in the seat with me. The fear and the insane idea is taken away.
Things are not going so well at home. I am learning that I cannot have my own way as I used to. I blame my wife and children. Anger possesses me, anger such as I have never felt before. I will not stand for it. I pack my bag and leave. I stay with understanding friends.
I see where I have been wrong in some respects. I do not feel angry any more. I return home and say I am sorry for my wrong. I am quiet again. But I have not seen yet that I should do some constructive acts of love without expecting any return. I shall learn this after some more explosions.

pp. 216-217

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
June 15, 2014

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

Aren’t these practices joy-killers as well as time-consumers? Must A.A.’s spend most of their waking hours drearily rehashing their sins of omission or commission? Well, hardly. The emphasis on inventory is heavy only because a great many of us have never really acquired the habit of accurate self-appraisal. Once this healthy practice has become grooved, it will be so interesting and profitable that the time it takes won’t be missed. For these minutes and sometimes hours spent in self-examination are bound to make all the other hours of our day better and happier. And at length our inventories become a regular part of everyday living, rather than something unusual or set apart.

pp. 89-90

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Xtra Thoughts
June 15, 2014

Adventure is not outside a man. It is within.
–David Grayson

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
–William Arthur Ward

“When fate hands you a lemon, make lemonade.”
–Dale Carnegie

Very little is needed to make a happy life. It is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.
–Marcus Aurelius

Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
–Groucho Marx

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
June 15, 2014
FEAR

“Nothing is so much to be feared as fear. ”
–Henry David Thoreau

Fear is a killer. It stops the God-given spirituality in our lives from taking shape and making life enjoyable. Fear is connected with doubt – doubt of self. Low self-esteem develops along with fear and in order for confidence to develop, the fear must be faced, confronted and talked about.

Fear is not going to go away because we wish it away or hope it sway or even pray it away. Fear needs to be identified, located and seen for what it is – or, as in most cases, what it isn’t. Fear of people, things, tomorrow or life itself grows so long as we forge that we are creatures of God. There is nothing that cannot be faced or overcome – as long as we remain drug-free. God is on our side – but we need also to be on our side. Fear is never stronger than our spirituality. We need to bring our fear into the light; then it can be overcome.

I ask to stay in the light of sobriety, not the darkness of alcoholism.

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Bible Scriptures
June 15, 2014

“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.”
Psalms 145:8

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
I Peter 2:24

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Daily Inspiration
June 15, 2014

Ask yourself if what you are spending your thoughts and energy on will matter in a week, a month, or a year. Lord, help me select my priorities wisely and use my time in ways that will make my life and those around me better and happier.

The more cheer you give, the more that remains. Lord, may I show my love for You through a happy face and may my presence be a joyful experience to all that I encounter.

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A Day At A Time
June 15, 2014

Reflection For The Day

Learning how to live in peace, partnership and brotherhood — with all men and women — is a fascinating and often very moving adventure.  But each of us in The Program has found that we’re not able to make much headway in our new adventure of living until we first take the time to make an accurate and unsparing survey of the human wreckage we’ve left in our wake.  Have I made a list of all persons I have harmed, as Step Eight suggests, and become willing to make amends to them all?

Today I Pray

May God give me the honesty I need, not only to look inside myself and discover what is really there, but to see the ways that my sick and irresponsible behavior has affected those around me.  May I understand that my addiction is not — as I used to think — a loner’s disease, that, no matter how alone I felt, my lies and fabrications spread our around me in widening circles of hurt.

Today I Will Remember

Lies spread to infinity.

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One More Day
June 15, 2014

Not the power to remember, but the power to forget is a necessary condition for our existence.
–  Sholem Asch

To live happily in a relationship we can not repeatedly dredge up the past, using it as a brickbat to pound another human being into submission.  Yet we all have a tendency to do just that.  “I told you so,” and “You should have listened when I gave you advice,” and “You were wrong” are phrases we may catch ourselves uttering.

We can learn to give up that final piece of control, that part which attempts to manipulate another human being with guilt.  We can’t change another human being.  Our willingness to forgive errors, large and small, will mark our own personal growth.  Forgiveness is in our own self-interest;  we aren’t free until we forgive.

Today, I will let go of one grudge.  As I grow in understanding, I will grow in forgiveness.

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One Day At A Time
June 15, 2014
PERFECTIONISM

“The wise man, the true friend the finished character we seek everywhere and only find in fragments.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Like a spider, perfectionism builds its web through every fiber of my life. My perfectionism leads me to a host of other character defects. When I expect people to be perfect, I can be plagued with self-absorption. When I think of myself as “better than them,” I practice being judgmental towards others ~ especially when I see behaviors that I’d never do. It also leads to my defects of self-criticism and self-loathing. I begin to hate myself for all the things that I can’t do perfectly. I’m afraid to try things for fear of not doing them perfectly and looking like a failure.

Perfectionism leads me to procrastination and sometimes paralysis. This obsession for my wanting something to be just right — or put in just the right place — causes all sorts of feelings that can overwhelm me. Mostly it’s a fear of what another might think of me if I owned this thing or put it in that illogical place. I learned as a child that being perfect meant that I was validated as a human; therefore my perfectionism is hard for me to be willing to let God remove.

One day at a time…
I will become willing to let God remove my defect of perfectionism. I will forgive myself and others for not being perfect. I will focus on a person’s best moment instead of zeroing in on a person’s defects.

~ Pam

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day June 15

“Today, what is important for us is to realize that the old sacred ways are correct, and that if we do not follow them we will be lost and without a guide.”
–Thomas Yellowtail, CROW

A long time ago the Creator gave to the people all the knowledge on how we should live and conduct ourselves. The Native people have been influenced by outside “tribes” who don’t know about the Sacred Way. Our Elders still know about the old sacred ways. We need to consult and talk to them before it’s too late. Every family needs to seriously evaluate whether they are living according to the old knowledge. If we are fault finding, putting one another down, being selfish, being violent to our spouses or children, if we are cheating and being dishonest, then we are not living the old Sacred Way. The old way is about respect, love, forgiveness and sharing.

Great Spirit, today, teach me the old Sacred Way you taught my ancestors

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Journey To The Heart
June 15, 2014
It’s Okay to Not Know

Sometimes we don’t know what we want, what’s next, or what we think our lives will look like down the road. That’s okay. If the answer is I don’t know, then say it. Say it clearly. And be at peace with not knowing.

Sometimes the reason we don’t know is that what’s coming is going to be very different from anything we’ve experienced before. Even if we knew, we couldn’t relax to it because it’s that new and that different. It’s a surprise.

Sometimes the reason we don’t know is that it would be too difficult, too confusing for us right now. It would take us out of the present moment, cause us to worry and fuss about how we could control it or what we have to do to make it happen. Knowing would make us afraid. Put us on overload. Take us away from now.

Sometimes our souls know, but it’s just not time for our conscious minds to know yet. Sometimes knowing would take us out of the very experience we need to go through to discover the answer we’re looking for. And sometimes the process of learning to trust, the process of going through an experience and coming to trust that we will ultimately discover our own truth, is more important than knowing.

The process of moving from what we don’t know to what we are to learn is a process that can be trusted. It’s how we grow and change. It’s okay to not know. It’s okay to let ourselves move into knowing. The lesson is trusting that we’ll know when it’s time.

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Today’s Gift
June 15, 2014

Bad moments, like good ones, tend to be grouped together.
—Edna O’Brien

Once in a while, we have days when we think the whole world is against us. A parent has reprimanded us, a brother broke our new game, or the teacher at school disciplined the whole class. We sometimes let our thoughts center on a cluster of bad moments and forget the good moments of the day.

We shouldn’t forget about the two ducks we fed part of our sandwich to, the friend who made us laugh, or the gym teacher who praised the whole class. Deciding to think about these good moments can allow our spirits to rise and make the bad moments fade away.

After all, if life were all good moments, we would take them for granted. Let us accept the bad ones gratefully, then, as opportunities to appreciate the good.

What good moments can I remember right now?

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The Language of Letting Go
June 15, 2014
Competition Between Martyrs

“Yes, I know your spouse is an alcoholic, but my son is an alcoholic, and that’s different. That’s worse!”

My pain is greater than yours!

What an easy trap that can be for us. We are out to show others how victimized we have been, how much we hurt, how unfair life is, and what tremendous martyrs we are. And we won’t be happy until we do!

We don’t need to prove our pain and suffering to anyone. We know we have been in pain. We know we have suffered. Most of us have been legitimately victimized. Many of us have had difficult, painful lessons to learn.

The goal in recovery is not to show others how much we hurt or have hurt. The goal is to stop our pain, and to share that solution with others.

If someone begins trying to prove to us how much he or she hurts, we can say simply, “It sounds like you’ve been hurt.” Maybe all that person is looking for is validation of his or her pain.

If we find ourselves trying to prove to someone how much we’ve been hurt or if we try to top someone else’s pain, we may want to stop and figure out what’s going on. Do we need to recognize how much we’ve hurt or are hurting?

There is no particular award or reward for suffering, as many of us tricked ourselves into believing in the height of our codependency. The reward is learning to stop the pain and move into joy, peace, and fulfillment.

That is the gift of recovery, and it is equally available to each of us, even if our pain was greater, or less, than someone else’s.

God, help me be grateful for all my lessons, even the ones that caused me the most pain and suffering. Help me learn what I need to learn, so I can stop the pain in my life. Help me focus on the goal of recovery, rather than the pain that motivated me into it.

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More Language Of Letting Go
June 15, 2014
Live in harmony

When I began practicing aikido– a martial art based on nonresistance and harmony– I discovered how much resistance I still had. The more I tried to relax and practice, the more resistance I experienced. I lived, moved, breathed, worked, lived, and loved from a place that was not relaxed.

My immediate reaction to any feeling I had was, “Oh no. I can’t feel that.”

My first reaction to any problem that arose was, “No, this can’t be taking place.”

If someone disagreed with me, I responded with an attack or by trying to force my will.

And if I had a task to do, I prepared myself by getting tense and afraid.

One of the biggest challenges and biggest rewards we can discover in our lives is to live in harmony with ourselves and the people in our world. We do this by learning to tell oursleves, “Just relax.”

From that relaxed place, which some call surrender, we’ll tap into our true power. We’ll know how to deal with our feelings. We’ll be guided into what to do next.

God, show me the areas of my life where I’m in resistance. Help me let go and learn to consciously relax as I go through my life.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
June 15, 2014

A father is a thousand schoolmasters.
—Louis Nizer

We carry our fathers within us in ways we may not notice. When we do notice this in our thoughts and actions, we can use this relationship as a source of strength. When we hear a critical mental message saying we didn’t perform well enough, is it a father’s voice? When we feel a sense of strength and peace, are we in touch with our childhood knowledge of fatherly love? When we doubt our ability to get along with any woman, are we relying on what we learned in our childhood homes?

Perhaps we can recast our father-son relationship in adult terms. Were our fathers too removed from our lives for us to know them? Maybe we can see now that a father’s love was there but was overshadowed by the demands of survival or by a misguided life. If we are forever seeking our father’s approval, we may need to find the ways in which they are truly human and imperfect like us. Making peace with them – whether face to face or in the memory of a relationship – empowers us with their strengths and grants us the adulthood we deserve.

I will make peace with my father in my mind, and his strength and that of his father will be a well-spring, in my life.

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Daily TAO
June 15, 2014
Totality

Those who consider their path superior are condescending.
A parrot who speaks of the totality of the self is absurd.
Many paths lead to the summit,
But it takes a whole body to get there.

A woman who was a lifelong Christian had two sons who practiced yoga. She thought that was wonderful, but they arrogantly considered their beliefs to be superior to hers and told her she was not doing enough for her spiritual salvation.

No one has a right to condemn another person’s spiritual beliefs. No spiritual system is superior to another. Each one of us should have the philosophy and practices that work for us. We should be happy once we find it, we should help those who are interested in the spirituality we represent, but none of us should behave condescendingly toward others’ spirituality.

We are all trying to get to the summit of spiritual realization, and there are many valid paths leading to the top. Of course, the view and terrain on one side of a mountain will differ from the other, but the summit is identical no matter what your approach.

Whatever your path, all that matters is that you commit yourself totally to follow it. Others will do the same. As long as we all climb, each from our own direction, and reach the summit of human spirituality, we can achieve complete totality in our lives. Then all the fracturing discussions of sects and different religions become unnecessary.

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Day By Day
June 15, 2014
Being different

Some of us feel so different that we think no person or group could help us or even understand us. We feel alone and isolated. Whatever these differences are they can be lessened by concentrating on the purpose common to us all: we are learning to live a life free of alcohol or other drugs by connecting with a power greater than ourselves.

Our Higher Power does not want us to be alone. It would help if we would accept that we are all more alike than defferent. It would help if we could recognize the love that is available to us in our brothers and sisters. Are we looking for what we have in common, or are we looking for ways to be alone and different?

Do I realize that our common purpose can outweigh all differences?

Higher Power help me feel connected by looking for what I share with my fellow members.

Today I will overlook all differences or look for what we share in…

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In God’s Care
June 15, 2014

There is nothing the body suffers the soul may not profit by.
~~George Meredith

Adversity comes in many forms, and it is sure to come to everyone. This might seem unfair to those of us who are recovering and trying to live our faith. But it helps us to know there is some benefit in everything we experience.

God’s help is always available to us, but sometimes it seems we seek God’s help only when we are in physical or emotional pain. When we were in the grips of our addictions, we thought nothing good could come from the suffering. Yet, it is common to hear our friends in the program say how grateful they are for the experience because it brought them to where they are now. God always shows us the way out of adversity and makes it an occasion for growth – if we are willing to listen to God.

Adversity that comes my way can be an opportunity to learn.

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Faiths Checkbook
June 15, 2014
Home Blessings Extended

“The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life”   (Psalm 128:5).

This is a promise to the God-fearing man who walks in the ways of holiness with earnest heed. He shall have domestic blessedness; his wife and children shall be a source of great home happiness. But then as a member of the church he desires to see the cause prosper, for he is as much concerned for the LORD’s house as for his own. When the LORD builds our house, it is but fitting that we should desire to see the LORD’s house builded. Our goods are not truly good unless we promote by them the good of the LORD’s chosen church.

Yes, you shall get a blessing when you go up to the assemblies of Zion; you shall be instructed, enlivened, and comforted, where prayer and praise ascend and testimony is borne to the great Sacrifice. “The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion.”

Nor shall you alone be profited; the church itself shall prosper; believers shall be multiplied, and their holy work shall be crowned with success. Certain gracious men have this promise fulfilled to them as long as they live. Alas! when they die the cause often flags. Let us be among those who bring good things to Jerusalem all their days. LORD, of Thy mercy make us such! Amen.

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Food for Thought
June 15, 2014
Our Barometer

When we find ourselves preoccupied with thoughts of food, we know that something is wrong. Our obsession acts as a barometer, which measures emotional pressure. If we are out of tune with our Higher Power, if doubt, resentment, and egotism are taking over, then our disease symptoms begin to surface. It is time to stop and take inventory.

The experiences, which other compulsive overeaters share with us, give insight into our own behavior. We gain a sharper awareness of our own defects and are less prone to blame external circumstances for our hurts and difficulties.

If we are becoming obsessed with food again, or if we are rationalizing deviations from our eating plan, we need to carefully examine our emotional and spiritual life. Something is out of gear. Concentration on Steps Ten and Eleven is especially important when compulsive thoughts and behavior indicate that all is not well.

Make me sensitive to the state of my emotional and spiritual health, I pray.

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Daily Zen
June 15, 2014

Sitting on top of a boulder
The gorge stream icy cold
Quiet fun holds a special charm
Fogged-in on deserted cliffs
A fine place to rest
The sun leans and tree shadows sprawl
While I view the ground of my mind
A lotus comes out of the mud.

– Han shan

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