“The older I get, the more I’m conscious of ways very small things can make a change in the world. Tiny little things, but the world is made up of tiny matters, isn’t it?” ~~Sandra Cisneros
“Make a conscious effort to surround yourself with positive, nourishing, and uplifting people. —people who believe in you, encourage you to go after your dreams, and applaud your victories.” ~~Jack Canfield
“If you don’t make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want to become in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape your journey by default. Your silence makes you reactive vs. proactive.” ~~Shannon Alder
#6 Life can be ordinary or it can be great.
Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.
Consciousness, or mindfulness felt like some far-out mystic proposition before sobriety and New Life. It was something that other people did or were into and I couldn’t relate to or recognize the benefits at the time. Today, better understanding how consciousness plays an important part of sobriety/recovery, Statement #6 in action encourages us to create the lives we desire.
In our WFS Program booklet it powerfully states, “Although we only get a one-way ticket through life, we speed through our days as if planning to enjoy them at another time. We live as if we have an endless number of tomorrows.” Anyone who has ever watched a child, grandchild or even pet grow up can relate; those moments of unsteady toddling babies or the silly antics of a kitten or puppy seemingly disappear right before our eyes, gone in a flash and we long to return one more time. So how do we enjoy those fleeting moments? Mindfulness is key.
Where do we start? If you have been sober for any length of time you have already practiced mindfulness or consciousness; any time you challenged a thought about drinking or using, you were using mindfulness. You were aware of what your mind was thinking and took action to stay sober. You were present in that moment and probably noticed Statement #1. Yet Statement #6 is an extension of that; it is being present for everyday ordinary moments. Being fully present in any given moment allows the fleeting to be experienced in ways unavailable when under the influence. It grants us the ability to recognize the temporary, enables gratitude and creates lasting connection. Here are four ways to help introduce or practice more mindfulness/consciousness:
- Slow down and pay attention to right now: Try to take time to notice things in this often-busy world. Use each of your senses, sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. For example, when you step outside, notice the coolness or warmth in the air, the fragrance of rain or freshly cut grass, listen to birds chirping, lawnmowers, feel the breeze or sunshine.
- Accept who you are right now: Each of us is learning and growing. If there is something that you do not accept or like about yourself, embrace it and know that you can grow into who you wish to be. This moment is not the final you. Each of us is a work in progress. You get to create and grow into yourself every day.
- Connect to your breath: When things feel overwhelming, we each have a tool that can center and bring us back to the present. Usually, we pay no attention to something so automatic, but when we pause and focus on a breath, we are slowing down and using mindfulness to create a greater feeling of balance.
- Look for ways to become mindful/conscious: Utilize the WFS Online forum where you will find groups, posts and insightful responses which can jump start a mindful practice or engage in a discussion in a WFS face to face group. There are websites and apps which have excellent information much like our forum; Calm and Insight Timer are two favorite apps as well as the website mindful.org.
This week, practice mindfulness for a set moment each day and by the week’s end, reflect on how it influenced your days. What did you notice? How does it feel? How does it compare to your life before sobriety and recovery?
Hi 4C Women,
This moment is not the final you! All I can say is, thank goodness. I love the fact that learning and growing emotionally is always a path we travel, not a destination. I have found that as I age, I experience life in so many different ways. I am still learning from the women in WFS meetings and I embrace that. Recently a group member said that she chose alcohol over feelings. While I experienced that, I had not heard it expressed in such a succinct way.
Over the years, I have heard women say that they were accused of caring more about themselves, their addiction, than their family or other relationships. Truth is, it’s the relationship we have with ourselves that we have a hard time accepting. So, we choose alcohol or drugs to not feel. Not because we don’t love others, we don’t love ourselves. At least that was the case with me. I hid, numbed, escaped my feelings of worthlessness by using alcohol. It worked but what a price I paid. When I think of all the positive qualities I finally acknowledged when I became sober, I was so grateful to have been given the WFS program to discover and uncover what I would have never believed while drinking. And so, life can be ordinary or it can be great by a conscious effort!
Here is the effort – to practice the mindfulness as Karen described, to view the ordinary as great, to pause and reflect during the day and view the moments as small pieces of treasures to keep in your memory box.
I came across a question in the New Life Diary from a while back. It asked what new thing have I tried in the past 6 months. Considering this past year and the isolation many of us experienced, I thought I would answer with a bit of honest humor so here goes: I tried brand new flavors of ice cream, tried not to annoy customers in the grocery store as that became my social outlet for conversation, tried just about every fast food place in the area even though I’m not too keen on drive-throughs, tried to pretend I now enjoyed cooking, tried to motivate myself to clean out my clutter with all the time I had on my hands, tried to sign up for virtual exercise classes (thought about would be a better word to describe my actions or non-action),tried to convince myself that I would be much healthier when I made a conscious effort to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Now for the serious changes: I reconnected with people that I had lost contact with, did a bit of soul searching as to what matters to me and it’s still the same – friendships and loving relationships – made a conscious effort to always thank those who have helped me in so many ways, learned I could speak my voice respectfully and even be heard sometimes, worked through loss in a more healing way, felt authentic joy for celebratory events, worked on practicing more self-care, forgave myself when I felt I disappointed someone or even myself, became more conscious of all that I am grateful for and not being great with technology, let go of my technology fear and learned zoom so that I could continue to provide WFS meetings!
Yes, life can be ordinary or it can be great by a conscious effort. What have you consciously been made aware of this year through reflection as to how life can be great? Click here to view the May Action for Happiness calendar that I feel relates to Statement #6.
Bonded in creating a life that is ordinarily great! Dee