From the BlogMeet Ron

From Chuck D.

How should one live? Live welcoming to all.
–Mechtild of Magdeburg
Welcoming is a spiritual practice we met when we came to this program. We may recall our first meetings and how welcome we felt in this group of fellow sufferers. It gave us hope when we felt desperate and continues to provide us with a nourishing place to grow.
To be welcoming means to accept others as they are, without passing judgment on their worth. It means to encourage them when they are despairing and to accept that they have a rightful place in our world. Welcoming is being generous with our resources. We do not have to feel close to someone to be welcoming. We can welcome a stranger. As we practice this attitude toward others, regardless of their status in life, regardless of their good or bad actions, we are changed inside. We learn from the people we welcome, and we are reminded that in the sight of God we are all loved as equals.
Today, I will practice a welcoming attitude toward everyone I meet.
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They have rights who dare defend them.
–Roger Baldwin
There is a hard side to emotional health and maturity. As we grow, we gain many more sides, more ways of responding to the situations we meet. We learn that yielding to God sometimes means letting our full strength flow to defend our rights and ward off intrusion or disrespect. As we have become more loving and tolerant, we have become more assertive for our rights and those of others.
We must speak up for ourselves and for our points of view. We must not let others demean us or put us down, nor can we take on blame for others’ life problems. When we ought to stand up for ourselves and don’t, we may be invaded by a false feeling that we are crazy or bad. As recovering people, we sometimes must call on our hard side and say, “No! I will not be a doormat for the harmful actions of others. I will defend my rights.”
I will cultivate my relationship with my Higher Power and let that lead me to stand up for myself.
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Without solitude there can be no real people…. The measure of your solitude is the measure of your capacity/or communion.
–John Eudes
If we listen in those moments when we hear a message from ourselves, we become true adults – real human beings. The message comes in our solitude, when our defenses against truth are set aside. It comes popping out without our planning it. Our solitude is a relationship with ourselves, and it might occur in silent meditation, or driving down the street, or during a dinner conversation. The message might be a painful truth like, “You just acted like a small child,” or a frightening fact like, “You are deeply loved by another person.”
Letting another person know what messages we are getting in solitude helps us deal with the messages. As we accept our imperfections and make peace with ourselves, we increase our sense of solitude. We become mature folks, full partners in relationships and in our communities.
Today, I will welcome solitude. When the messages
from myself are painful or frightening,
I will be gentle with myself.
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The Hospital Window
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.
One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs.
His bed was next to the room’s only window.
The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.
The men talked for hours on end.
They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation..
Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.
The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.
Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.
As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.
Although the other man could not hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.
Days, weeks and months passed.
One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.
She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.
As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.
Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside.
He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.
It faced a blank wall.
The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.
The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.
She said, ‘Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.’
Epilogue:
There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.
Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.
If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy.
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Some people regard themselves as perfect, but only because they demand little of themselves.
–Hermann Hesse
Many of us in this program have a struggle with perfectionism. This is a central spiritual issue. Sometimes we feel ashamed or frightened by our imperfections, or we strive so hard to overcome them that we successfully close our lives down to a very narrow, controllable scale. Spiritual awakening means we have zest for life and accept our imperfections.
We know today will be shaky and insecure in some ways. We probably will make some mistakes or offenses. Our solution is not our old behavior of attempting to control whatever happens; it is to join life with a spiritual feeling. We let go of ourselves, and what happens? We are part of a larger whole. We are not in control of the process of life, and whatever we do is part of an ongoing dialogue, so we will have another chance to respond, even to our own mistakes.
Today, I pray for liberation from my perfectionism so I can more fully engage in life’s adventure.
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