Posted on

Monday Thoughts 12/3/2018

Monday Thoughts

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” ~~Aesop

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ~~Lao Tzu

“Ask yourself: Have I been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi and change your world.” ~~Annie Lennox


Statement #10
All love given returns.
I am learning to know that I am loved.


Sometimes those closest to us, including ourselves, can be the most difficult to love or to express kindness to. Whether we feel we do not deserve love or are unsure how to receive it, love can be difficult to experience at different times in our life. By focusing simply on kindness, a pathway to love is forged and can be strengthened. Here is an article by R. Owens with 5 ways to put kindness in action:

  1. Communicate on a deeper level by asking your loved ones how they wish to be treated. Don’t assume that loving this person automatically gives you insight into what they need. True love helps us develop special sensitivities to the needs of others, but often our love is tainted with attachment, which tends to turn those we love into objects we think we own. If we begin making decisions on our loved ones’ behalf, they will likely feel robbed of a sense of agency. This is the opposite of kindness.
  2. Empathizing is an important expression of kindness. We begin by empathizing with ourselves and developing a relationship to our own experiences, including our comfort, discomfort, and what we need to be okay. After that, we are able to direct that same empathy toward others. This empathy is full of kindness as it is a kind of attention that sees and holds the most tender parts of others.
  3. Learn to set boundaries and communicate when it may be difficult to be kind. We have periods where extending kindness is particularly difficult. If you are with love ones during one of these times, it is important for you to care for yourself. You do this so as to prevent taking your discomfort out on them. Asking for space is an act of kindness.
  4.  Let go of the idea of being nice. Being nice can be superficial, as well as inauthentic and lazy, as we use niceness to manipulate others or bypass real feelings that need to be expressed. We must challenge ourselves into a deeper engagement around the expression of love for others.
  5.  Holding space is another important act of kindness. Holding space means that we allow our loved ones to show up as themselves. We are not reacting but listening compassionately and witnessing them without judging them or criticizing. Holding space is at the heart of our loved ones (sic) feelings seen and heard by us.”

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I am subscribed to Action for Happiness calendars. The December calendar is all about kindness and relates so well to Statement #10. Hope you can practice kindness while learning to love yourself and know you are loved by others. Practicing kindness with the guidance of the December calendar suggestions and the article by R. Owens as provided by Karen, are all wonderful ways to love and feel loved.

Bonded in giving and receiving love,
4C WFS Member

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 11/26/2018

Monday Thoughts

Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.” ~~Babe Ruth

“What you know today can affect what you do tomorrow. But what you know today cannot affect what you did yesterday.” ~~Condoleezza Rice

“Why let go of yesterday? Because yesterday has let go of you.” ~~Steve Maraboli


Statement #9:
The past is gone forever.
No longer am I victimized by the past.
I am a new woman.


Recently in our f2f group, one 4C woman brilliantly described how she curtails thoughts about the past.  In her mind, she imagines or envisions “auto-correct,” backing up and erasing regrets/negative thoughts and replacing the words with statements which empower her towards her goals. This is an excellent tool to put action into Statement #9.

Instead of replaying events or thoughts from the past, we can zap unhealthy or unproductive lines of thinking and insert self-encouragement. Our Program booklet states “To loosen one’s grip on the past is not always easy. We evaluate our past so we can learn from it. We examine our feelings about the past so we can process and release them. Our interest in the past is to use it as a guide for how we want to be in the moment and to prepare for the future.”

Sobriety and Statement #9 in action focus on the present and plans for tomorrow. Romancing past alcohol or drug use kept the process repeating, but this critical Statement offers alternative choices and opens up endless possibility.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

The past has come back to me this past week and it’s been a struggle to work through it. As I reached out, I realized how blessed I am for Statement 9 and the support I received. I don’t usually read my horoscope which is on the side bar of my home page but for some reason, I decided to and here is what it said on the very day I couldn’t stop the tears and reached out. “You will likely receive the support you need if you seek out advice on a problem today. But where you find counsel isn’t as important as the information you are given. The key message is that you needn’t go through life’s rough patches or face its array of baffling questions alone. You also don’t have to feel like you’re the only person who must come up with all the answers now. Thankfully, it warms your heart to know that others have your back when you need them.”

As I started my Christmas decorating, I decided to open each wrapped ornament, ceramic item, holiday photos and snowmen (I am a collector) with great care and reflection. I was overwhelmed with gratefulness for the love I have experienced in my life even while feeling sad about the losses. I cannot change the past and while there are times I am conflicted with regrets, Statement 9 brings me back to the realization that it is futile to be stuck with what cannot be changed. So I keep on learning, trying to understand my strong reactions and seek peace and healing. I hope that each of you will reach out when you need to share unsettling feelings, gain insight from others and know you are doing the best you can. You are enough and most importantly, you are not alone. Part of no longer victimizing ourselves begins with forgiving ourselves for our mistakes and unhealthy choices. No longer will we be the provider of punishment and continued suffering. We can go to that auto correct button and press “forgive, heal and learn from the past.

Bonded in forgiveness, healing and learning as the past is gone forever!!

4C WFS Member

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 11/19/18

Monday Thoughts

“There is a universal, intelligent life force that exists within everyone and everything. It resides within each one of us as a deep wisdom, and inner knowing. We can access this wonderful source of knowledge and wisdom through our intuition, an inner sense that tells us what feels right and true for us at any given moment.” ~~Shakti Gawain

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” ~~Nelson Mandela

“Growing up is difficult. Strangely, even when we have stopped growing physically, we seem to have to keep on growing emotionally, which involves both expansion and shrinkage, as some parts of us develop and others must be allowed to disappear…. Rigidity never works; we end up being the wrong size for our world.” ~~Jeanette Winterson


Statement #8
The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.
Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.


The meme’s and quotes are readily found; “I am not adulting today” or “Who let me adult? I can’t adult.”  It can be easy to fantasize about a younger or past self, a self with less responsibility or a snapshot of a simpler time, yet to maintain sobriety and recovery continued growth is essential.

The practice of Statement #8 can feel obvious when returning to a place that remains unchanged, whether it be a physical location or even a relationship.  Sometimes the differences are stark, at other times growth may not be quite as visible. In early sobriety the freedom from substances are vivid, almost if a whole new world just opened up.

Over time though, growth can be shelved or its priority lessened. From our Program Booklet, “We can gain useful self-knowledge from reflecting on our life experiences. Continued emotional growth improves our ability to manage the ups and downs of life. It provides us with our own path to emotional peace and contentment. We uncover our inner strength.” Here are 4 questions for continued growth:

  1. Are you aware of your strengths and weaknesses? This awareness can help maximize strengths while encouraging growth in other areas.
  2. Do you practice personal responsibility?  In-between a life situation and your response to it is a fleeting moment when you decide how to respond.
  3. How do you define your ideal self? You can increase emotional and spiritual maturity when you define what this means for you.
  4. How do you acknowledge growth in your life? Comparing ourselves to where we were as to where we are now can move us forward. Liking who you have become can propel us onward.

Hugzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

The guidance for emotional growth as expressed in the Program Booklet is an accurate description of what will keep us on track to understanding what our priorities are – a continuing exploration of our life experiences, willingness to accept what needs to change and an action plan(s) to create the growth we desire to be able to establish our priorities.

I found an article online from Lifescript.com/well-being/articles that provided 10 Steps Toward Spiritual Growth that reflected the WFS Program so well that I would like to share them in this message:

10 Steps Toward Spiritual Growth
By: Ashleigh Frank

Spirituality is a belief system in which a person seeks to relate to the rest of existence (whether that is God, humanity, the universe, nature or life itself). It is a pursuit of peace, love and understanding. Many people want you to believe that the secret to spiritual growth and development can be found in a book, a lecture or some other product that will magically unlock the doors to happiness. But the truth about spiritual growth is that it comes from within. It is all about you and the way that you view the world. Here are 10 steps to help you on your journey of personal spiritual growth, and none of them cost a thing.

1. Want Change

It may sound silly, but the first and most important step toward personal spiritual growth is the desire to grow. All of the self-help classes, spiritual gurus and inspirational books in the world won’t make a lick of difference until you make a conscious decision to change. Spiritual growth and development is not a goal; it is a lifelong journey that requires time, energy and dedication. If you are looking for a quick fix or overnight results, you will be disappointed. When the novelty of your new spiritual growth technique wears off, you may be tempted to give up. It is much easier to let life carry you along as it pleases. The only difference between people who exist and people who really live is motivation. If you are properly motivated, keep reading.

2. Start Small 

There are many spiritual practices out there, and information is readily available over the Internet. But don’t make the mistake of trying to take on too much too soon. It is best to start with one new practice. Begin a meditation, prayer routine or yoga class at your gym. Attend a lecture on reiki at your local community college. Once you are comfortable with your new skill, add another element.

3. New Adventures

One of the great joys in life lies is learning new skills. If you never tried anything new, your life would grow stagnant. Take up an activity that you are curious or passionate about, such as writing poetry, practicing yoga or painting water colors. Enjoy the process of learning and improving your new skills. By embracing people and things that are outside of your ordinary routine, you open yourself to personal and spiritual growth, and you diminish your fear of the unknown.

4. Release the Past

The past is history, and there is nothing you can do to change it. Holding on to past events keeps you from experiencing new ones, and the emotional baggage will only weigh you down. Accept these past events, both good and bad, as learning experiences and move on with life.

5. Take Responsibility 

Sometimes you cannot control the events that happen to you or the people who do them. But you always have control over how you respond. Focusing your attention on what or who caused a problem does not offer any solutions. Instead, concentrate on your response and what you can do to improve the situation and prevent it from occurring again.

6. Pause and Reflect

Life moves so fast that sometimes it is important to stop, take a step back and really examine yourself and what you are doing. You can do this by practicing meditation. Meditation allows you to quiet your mind and clear your thoughts. Through meditation, you can step outside yourself and observe your life. Are you using your time wisely? Are you taking proactive steps to reach your goals? Are you happy? These quiet moments of reflection, when performed regularly, can help you right yourself on your spiritual path.

7. Stay Open

From a young age we are taught to judge and label actions, thoughts, words and people as “good,” “bad,” “right” or “wrong.” Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly judging others by how they look, what they say and more. But to feel connected to everything around you, first accept people and things as they are. It takes a conscious effort to stop looking through the lens of a critical eye, but if by looking for the possibilities and potential resources in life, you begin to grow spiritually.

Consider the difference between these two life philosophies: “Everyone is out to get me” and “Everyone is doing the best they can.” Imagine how much more stressful the first person’s life must be? Allow others to be themselves around you. Treat their uniqueness with respect rather than criticism. Remember, love is the heart of spirituality.

8. Appreciate the Present 

It is easy to get caught up in a materialistic mindset and focus on wants, needs and desires. When you begin pursuing possessions, you lose sight of what you already have. The world becomes an obstacle, standing between you and what you desire. Increase your personal spiritual growth by developing what you already have. When you do this, the world becomes an ally in helping you achieve your goal.

9. Accept Unhappiness

We all know someone who seems perpetually happy. She is always smiling, and her can-do attitude never fails. You might envy this person or even resent her. You might think, She’s so lucky. I wish I could be that happy. In reality, happiness is not a personality trait. It is not a gene that some people are born with and others aren’t. Happiness is a choice. And unhappiness is a natural part of life.

Everyone has their good days and bad days. It is how you deal with those bad days when they come along that matter. You are quick to treat your physical ailments, so don’t hesitate to treat your emotional and spiritual ailments (such as depression, insecurity, fear, mood swings and bad tempers). Use meditation, yoga, prayer or relaxation techniques to soothe your soul when you find yourself unhappy.

10. Don’t Fear Mistakes

Mistakes and bad decisions are some of our greatest teachers. If you never did anything wrong, you would never learn anything new. Think of mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow, and give yourself full license to make them. We are all imperfect people. If you are able to embrace your imperfections and laugh at yourself, you will become more flexible and open-minded. Remember: We live in an imperfect world so that we can better understand perfection.

Have patience on your quest for spiritual growth. The process toward enlightenment is slow and unnoticeable at first, and you may feel compelled to give up. Just keep in mind that spiritual growth is a lifelong commitment to love, peace and understanding, and it is meant to be taken one day at a time. Like so many other things in life, spirituality is about the journey, not the destination. To quote the Buddha, “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”

Everyone’s spiritual journey is extremely personal. I hope you find some wisdom, guidance and/or support in your spiritual journey to love, peace and understanding with the suggestions above.

Bonded in creating emotional and spiritual growth.
Love, 4C WFS Member

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 11/12/18

 

Monday Thoughts

“You can find something truly important in an ordinary minute.” ~~Mitch Albom

“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful its ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.” ~~LR Knost

“Sobriety is a rewarding experience for those who invest in the moments of each day.” ~~Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.


Statement #6

  Life can be ordinary or it can be great.

Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.


What’s in a minute? Joy? Sadness? Curiosity? Awe? Each of these listed here, plus endless other moments can be experienced in sixty seconds. In the past, before sobriety and New Life, it was easy to rush through to the next moment, ignoring everything to get to somewhere else. It was easy to miss life, which created a cycle of yearning for more and then missing the present again.

Statement #6 in action can assist in focusing on being present. From our Program booklet, “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 there are an endless number of tomorrows.”  With this knowledge, each moment can be lived fully, increasing feelings of balance while lessening regret.

Investing in each moment can lead to feelings of contentment, peace of mind and simple joy. Do you recall the first time you became aware of being connected to the moment? It feels wondrous! The sun warmed my face, the breeze tasseled my hair and the fall colors mesmerized my eyes; I was acutely aware of how fleeting that moment was and felt grateful for being present. No matter the circumstances, one moment follows another and we have the choice to be present.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I love the quote from LR Knost that Karen included in this message. Just as happiness is created, not waited for, I feel the same way about ordinary life, including those that become moments of greatness. Or, I would say, those moments of “awareness” of joy, surprise and wonder. I received two thank you cards last week and read them over and over because they were so loving and kind. They truly brightened an ordinary day. I felt the same joy on Halloween. The little kids are so joyful, showing off their costumes and grinning from ear to ear when I hold out the bowl of candy for them to choose from. It’s fun and brings back wonderful memories of my childhood when my mom took my sister and I out trick or treating.  For me, most of my great moments are the ordinary ones that become extraordinary because of one intense feeling – love! A beautiful sunset, leaves changing, a bonding moment with a friend or stranger who responded to my conversation, finding a cute decoration on sale, quiet reflection – all of these for me are love whether it’s nature or people. It’s the feeling that changes the ordinary into greatness and that is the conscious effort of awareness.

This week, I encourage you to practice that awareness. Make a list of the things that brought the ordinary into greatness. At the end of the week, keep the list handy to remind you of all that’s ordinarily wonderful, joyful and great in your life.

Bonded in awareness,
4C WFS Member

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 11/5/18

Monday Thoughts

“You can find something truly important in an ordinary minute.” ~~Mitch Albom

“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful its ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.” ~~LR Knost
“Sobriety is a rewarding experience for those who invest in the moments of each day.” ~~Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.


Statement #6
 Life can be ordinary or it can be great.
Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.


What’s in a minute? Joy? Sadness? Curiosity? Awe? Each of these listed here, plus endless other moments can be experienced in sixty seconds. In the past, before sobriety and New Life, it was easy to rush through to the next moment, ignoring everything to get to somewhere else. It was easy to miss life, which created a cycle of yearning for more and then missing the present again.

Statement #6 in action can assist in focusing on being present. From our Program booklet, “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 there are an endless number of tomorrows.”  With this knowledge, each moment can be lived fully, increasing feelings of balance while lessening regret.

Investing in each moment can lead to feelings of contentment, peace of mind and simple joy. Do you recall the first time you became aware of being connected to the moment? It feels wondrous! The sun warmed my face, the breeze tasseled my hair and the fall colors mesmerized my eyes; I was acutely aware of how fleeting that moment was and felt grateful for being present. No matter the circumstances, one moment follows another and we have the choice to be present.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I love the quote from LR Knost that Karen included in this message. Just as happiness is created, not waited for, I feel the same way about ordinary life, including those that become moments of greatness. Or, I would say, those moments of “awareness” of joy, surprise and wonder. I received two thank you cards last week and read them over and over because they were so loving and kind. They truly brightened an ordinary day. I felt the same joy on Halloween. The little kids are so joyful, showing off their costumes and grinning from ear to ear when I hold out the bowl of candy for them to choose from. It’s fun and brings back wonderful memories of my childhood when my mom took my sister and I out trick or treating.  For me, most of my great moments are the ordinary ones that become extraordinary because of one intense feeling – love! A beautiful sunset, leaves changing, a bonding moment with a friend or stranger who responded to my conversation, finding a cute decoration on sale, quiet reflection – all of these for me are love whether it’s nature or people. It’s the feeling that changes the ordinary into greatness and that is the conscious effort of awareness.

This week, I encourage you to practice that awareness. Make a list of the things that brought the ordinary into greatness. At the end of the week, keep the list handy to remind you of all that’s ordinarily wonderful, joyful and great in your life.

Bonded in awareness,
4C WFS Member

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 10/29/18

Monday Thoughts

“We are what we believe we are.” ~~C.S. Lewis

“Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.” ~~Oprah Winfrey

“Believe in your dreams. They were given to you for a reason.” ~~Katrina Mayer


Statement #5
  I am what I think.
I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.


Art is very inspiring to me; my older sister is an accomplished artist. I recall being mesmerized by her drawings and felt that she possessed some kind of magic. No matter what I did, my drawings paled in comparison and often felt inadequate.

Sobriety and the continual practice of Statement #5 have enabled me to learn to believe in myself. Instead of trying to become a version of my sister, I am developing as an artist, finding my own style and feeling the freedom that comes from being who I am. It is invigorating and the learning process has become joyful.

Over the weekend, I participated in an art show and felt capable of standing in my strength. While still new in the art world, I am able to believe in my abilities. Through the WFS New Life Program and fellow sisters, becoming who I am no longer feels scary. I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate and creative woman!

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Know your strengths…and focus on them. Remember that what we focus on in our mind is what we give power to. To be empowered is to make ourselves stronger, more confident. It is part of learning to love ourselves, to believe we are capable, competent, caring and compassionate women.

If you had to define yourself in 10 words or more, what would your list look like? Would it be uplifting or judgmental? Would it be encouraging or defeating? Would it be a mixture of praise and judgment?  Would it be difficult to compliment yourself, to list your accomplishments, including healthy relationships? If so, do you know why this is so difficult? Do you think your lists would be similar if you asked a trusted friend to make such a list of your characteristics/personality traits?

It’s important to be compassionate with ourselves as much as we are for others. We need to practice self-care while we are caring for others. While we praise others for their capabilities, we need to praise ourselves. As we share compliments with others on their competency to handle situations/people, we need to recognize our own competency. It’s almost like the golden rule in reverse – treat yourself as you would treat others, especially those you care about.

Last year we did an exercise for Statement #5. This might help in creating your list of 10 words or more:

I am capable of:
I am competent in:
I am caring about:
I am compassionate about:

I hope you will share your list or the answers to these questions with others. Perhaps even ask if they could add anything to it. I believe it will be worth the risk.

Bonded in being 4C Women,
4C WFS Member

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 10/22/18

Monday Thoughts

“You have dealt with so much and done the best that you can, take a moment now to appreciate how strong you are.” ~~Karen Salmansohn

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting the first one.” ~~Mark Twain

“Understanding can overcome any situation, however mysterious or insurmountable it may appear to be.” ~~Norman Vincent Peale


Statement #4
 Problems bother me only to the degree I permit.
I now better understand my problems.
I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.


Years ago, while raising alpacas, one of the most valuable tools in the field was balanced breathing. Alpacas are herd animals without a strong ability to protect themselves; they rely heavily on processing information related to their surroundings. Alpacas notice the little things like the breath of a 4 legged or 2-legged thing near them. Balanced breathing was just as important as a sharp pair of clippers!

Fast forward to today. My yoga instructor repeatedly states that our breath is our fuel. A quick Google search will tell that our breath sustains life by providing oxygen needed for metabolism and removing by-product carbon dioxide. Breathing also affects motor control and plays roles in physiological and psychological regulation. In a nutshell, breath is life. With something this important, this can be a natural place to begin when faced with a problem, large or small.

Statement #4 can be put into practice immediately upon discovering a problem. Just like alpacas banding together tightly when sensing something off, we can take a deep breath and band together for support. Reaching out to the WFS Online Forum, in face to face groups or a 4C sister, we find compassion and strength. Adding in slow, steady breathing can prepare our mind and body for understanding and problem solving.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I’ve heard it said often to just breathe when a strong feeling seems to stop us from doing what is so necessary for life – like breathing!

My way of practicing Statement #4 is to replace “problems” with “worry” and to make the distinction between worry and concern. It’s been said that worry is problem oriented and concern is solution oriented. As a former worrier, I was reluctant to give up this approach as that would also mean I would have to actually be in charge of finding solutions to real issues/concerns. It was much easier (or so I thought) to see my whole life as a problem that could never be solved. I still go back to worrying now and then and that is usually when I have put way too much on my plate. I compare it to one of those “all you can eat buffets” for one low price. Well, I’ve learned the price is much too high even when it’s low! Thank goodness for the WFS group and my friends to help me (not judge me) get back to problem solving real concerns. If I am trying to control another person’s behavior, that is a red flag that I am distracting myself from taking care of the only person I can control and that is me. I can set healthier boundaries, I can make choices that support my well-being and I can ask for help from those I trust.

I want to focus on productive problem-solving as that teaches us so much of what we are capable of, how open we are to new ideas, what risks we are willing to take in this new approach, learning the difference between worry and concern and believing we are problem solvers with great follow-through as we practice Statement #4.

Here are some ways to start the productive problem-solving for concerns/issues that require our attention:

  • Clear description of the concern.
  • Clear delineation of the “ownership” of the concern. Whose concern is it?
    A clear description of the scope of the concern. How extensive? How long has it existed? How many people are affected?
  • A clear description of the consequences if concern is not solved. What is the impact on family, job, marriage, school, life in the community, etc.
    List brainstormed solutions to the concern. This is where your trusted support system is helpful.
  • A system of ranking each solution to finalize the decision-making process.
    A clear description of yourself as a decision-maker. Are you procrastinating? Avoiding the issue? Are you shutting down or blocking creativity? Are you ignoring it, hoping it will go away?
  • Determination to follow through on the solution. Are you willing to take the risk and pursue the solution to its fullest?

Hope this is helpful if you are struggling with an issue. If it helps for now to use the word “problem,” please consider doing that. Much success in moving forward in your ability to make decisions, seek support and take risks.

Bonded in being powerful decision-makers,
4C WFS Member

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 10/15/18

Monday Thoughts

“Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have.” ~~Unknown

“If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the world belongs to you.” ~~Lao Tzu

“Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.” ~~Margaret Lee Runbeck


Statement #3
 Happiness is a habit I am developing.
Happiness is created not waited for.


Inserting the word “contentment” into Statement #3 when happiness does not appear to fit into daily life can create a bridge to fulfillment. It can be difficult and unrealistic to feel “happy” when going through extreme feelings of loss; much like when moving through overwhelming grief or anguish. By inserting the word “contentment”, this Statement can foster stability rather than trying to achieve a by-product of something else much like through alcohol, relationships or material substances.

In the past, my feelings of happiness (as well as self-worth) were attached to being in a romantic relationship. Unable to distinguish happiness separately while unskilled at how to release myself from unhealthy relationships, I lost my identity and the ability to feel joy or contentment. With happiness attached to someone/thing outside, it was impossible to create inner joy. Feeling emotionally chained, alcohol became a quick and repetitive attempt to cut away distress. It never worked.

Embracing the empowering WFS Program and Statements, it is possible to feel contentment, even while moving through unease. Yet, when my father passed away a few years ago, the feelings of grief and sadness felt overwhelming. Surprisingly, it was the continued practice of Statement #3 that helped create a foundation of ease and contentment so that I could manage the intense emotions. Instead of diving into a deep despair, I felt strong footing underneath and moved through the feelings, content in the knowledge that I could understand the process and let go. This felt so much more comfortable and I was better able to shift towards contentment and absolute joy for his life.

Here are 4 examples for creating contentment:

  1. Gratitude Journal
    Even one entry per day can set the mind to focusing on the have’s instead of have not’s.
  2. Measure Yourself with Your Own Yardstick
    We have no idea what it took for someone to be where they are; it is unrealistic to compare ourselves to another. Be gentle and measure yourself with your own yardstick.
  3. Embrace Change
    Everything is impermanent, valuing and embracing change can lead to feelings of ease, happiness and contentment.
  4. Mindfulness
    Consciousness in activities and/or choices can bring feelings of contentment. Multi-tasking can complicate life.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I agree with Karen that just changing a word can help us better understand and practice Statement #3 and make it work for us. I always like to add, happy “MOMENTS” are created not waited for. It is the awareness of those moments that creates the joy and memory. My foundation became peace in knowing that while there are troubling, painful times in our lives, they will not last forever. Years ago, I clung to the painful times as though there would never be an end. Perhaps it had to do with my blaming others for my circumstances and being the victim felt comfortable and kept me from accepting any responsibility for my life. If happiness happened, it was because I was drinking or it was a fluke. When I first read this Statement, I was taken aback. What do you mean, happiness is created, not waited for? Great! I not only had to work on my sobriety, now I had to create my own happiness? I am here to tell you that truer words have never been spoken. Once I let go of my victim role, I embraced change as Karen suggested above and I began to build that foundation of peace. That foundation opened the door to accepting responsibility, exploring new opportunities and especially being brutally honest with myself about the burden I had placed on others to make me happy. It also helped me move through loss, hurt and enormous pain. It was challenging yet it kept me centered and I had the support of friends and the 4C women in WFS. When I am hurt or confused, it is the knowledge that I am not alone and can express my concerns without judgment. I am so grateful because even with my foundation of peace, I need the support, input and insight from those who understand.

Over the years, I have had several exercises regarding Statement #3. Here are few questions.

What gives you the greatest joy?
When was the last time you felt that joy?
What brings a smile to your face when you think of it?
What new or different paths have you taken to create happiness?
Have you explored a new hobby or gone back to the one that you previously enjoyed?
What inspires you?
When is the last time you treated yourself?
When is the last time you played your favorite music and danced with joy?
I feel happy when_________________.

Please consider any or all of the 4 examples that Karen gave toward building your foundation of contentment, peace or joy. I hope you will find time as well to answer some of the questions I posed and perhaps share them with someone you trust, in a f2f group or online.

Bonded in developing a habit of happiness,
4C WFS Member

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 10/8/18

Monday Thoughts

“One day I looked at something in myself that I had been avoiding because it was too painful. Yet once I did, I had an unexpected surprise. Rather than self-hatred, I was flooded with compassion for myself because I realized the pain necessary to develop that coping mechanism to begin with.” ~~Marianne Williamson

“Failing well is a skill. Letting girls do it gives them critical practice coping with a negative experience. It also gives them the opportunity to develop a kind of confidence and resilience that can only be forged in times of challenge.” ~~Rachel Simmons

“I’m still coping with my trauma, but coping by trying to find different ways to heal it rather than hide it.” ~~Clementine Wamariya


Statement #2
Negative thoughts destroy only myself.
My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.


Recently, many women have felt triggered from numerous social and political developments. From the #Me Too movement and past personal traumas to the uncertainty with LGBT and reproductive rights, there is an air of fury along with an increase of raw emotion. Across this wide range of feelings some women are flooded with fear and negativity. Thankfully, the WFS community is a safe and restorative landing place.

Oftentimes, women can feel that intense emotions are negative. Throughout my life, thoughts of rage have led to extreme emotion, which can still feel frightening.  Finding what resides under this anger has opened up healing, bringing understanding and action to light. A continued practice of Statement #2 enables a reduction in negativity.

Negative thoughts are often impulsive and can be reduced through identifying and processing. Instead of turning away from the raw feelings thoughts can bring, even slowly paced processing leads to increased feelings of ease. For instance, try logging negative thoughts into an impulse log. Here is a log with two examples:

Impulsive or Negative Thought: 

  1.  I can’t handle this, I need a drink!
  2.  I am mad at the whole world, I want to hit something!

What am I trying to express with this impulsive or negative thought?

  1.  I am afraid, I am in emotional pain, I feel useless and alone.
  2.  Issues important to me are being dismantled and I feel alone.

What will I do instead?

  1.  I can call another 4C woman, go on the WFS Forum, take a walk, or practice breathing.
  2.  I will call my Senator/public official, join a committee, learn how to run for public office

How do I feel after?

  1.  Instead of drinking, I now understand that I was feeling afraid and doubted myself and wanted to escape this intense emotion, so I called a 4C friend, we talked, laughed and I feel hopeful and very happy that I chose to call her, and she too was happy that I called. We are having lunch together next week. My mind is more at ease now.
  2.  Instead of lashing out or getting into road rage, I found a group, signed up for their emails and am looking into what I can do today. I might run for office in the future but right now I am supporting those running for office whose values echo my own and made friends with two individuals at the last gathering. I feel focused on solutions and am putting my energy into helping advance this cause.

How do you move through negative thoughts? Which way is the most effective for you?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Love the exercise Karen has given us to process our negative thoughts. I related to her fear of experiencing rage as I have definitely felt that extreme feeling throughout my life. Understanding where that feeling originated was an eye opener. I realized that most of my rage came from feeling invisible, inadequate, rejected and powerless – feelings I carried from childhood into adulthood. And those are just a few that I have identified! I use to stay stuck in those negative feelings until I uncovered their origin.

Now when I feel those negative thoughts rushing in, I stop and focus on the core issue of where the thoughts are stemming from. I discovered that many times it is because I am not in control of the situation which means I am not in control of the outcome. Why this surprises me, surprises me! After all, I have learned a long time ago that I am only in control of myself, my actions, my decisions. So, it goes back to those initial feelings which tells me that if I were visible, heard, adequate and empowered enough, the people I love would follow my guidance and I would feel I had worth because they valued my input.

Now, just in case you’re wondering who those people are, it is my family.  I share this because while I have learned and gained insight over the years, I think my feelings are typical when it comes to family members (spouse, partner, sibling, children and extended family members).  Knowing this in advance, I am able to use positive self-talk, receive support from my friends and the WFS group, and even writing the Monday message helps me. No more running from my negative thoughts.

It’s amazing how my support system can bring me back to common sense, to what I already know deep down inside but for the moment, I lose track of it all. This is why I always emphasize that we are not alone. Reaching out, knowing there are people who relate to you, no explanations, no judgments, what a gift! And sometimes, we just want to be heard. I love being able to turn my negative thoughts around, knowing once again that I am in control of me, not anyone else and it’s my choice to set healthy boundaries as best I can. I am learning to challenge those negative thoughts rather than to be stuck in them. When I challenge, I see the core of “why” and it gives me a chance to create an action plan of how to cope, to create positive change that I am in control of and, as Karen said, focus on solutions and using my energy to advance a cause or find the path to keep creating my New Life.

Have you uncovered the origins of your negative thoughts? If so, how has this helped you turn those thoughts around?
Do you have a support system in place?

Bonded in support of each other,
4C WFS Member

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 10-1-18

Monday Thoughts

“Behind every successful woman there is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.” ~~unknown

“Tell your story. Shout it. Write it. Whisper it if you have to. But tell it. Some won’t understand it. Some will outright reject it. But many will thank you for it. And then the most magical thing will happen. One by one, voices will start whispering, ‘Me too.’ And your tribe will gather. And you will never be alone again.” ~~L.R. Knost

“We spend so much energy and breath trying to be accepted in tribes that are not in our ‘soul DNA’. Learn to walk away from a table that has no seat reserved for you. Align, go with your flow and the rhythm of synchronicity will lead you to your tribe.” ~~Malebo Sephodi


 Statement #1
  I have a life-threatening problem that once had me.
I now take charge of my life and my well-being I accept the responsibility.


Sometimes it comes in whispers, and sometimes it comes through a megaphone, but it comes. It comes when it no longer works, it comes when it makes absolutely no sense, but it comes. Yet the tribe, the tribe awaits. Women are welcome, anytime, from anywhere. A beautiful tribe of 4C women has open hands, minds and hearts.

Taking hold of any number of strong hands from the tribe, Statement #1 begins the WFS New Life Program. We are women reaching out to one another, bonded together in overcoming. From the first month of sobriety to the toughest day spent in recovery and beyond, we support each other. We listen, we laugh, we cry, we encourage. We are one in the same, we are capable, competent, caring and compassionate. We are the tribe of 4C women.

Even before knowing the need, before the whispers or megaphones, this tribe of strong and mindful women, live life. Real life, with all the joys, the sorrows, the ups the downs and everything in between, but always ready to welcome and extend a hand and heart. Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD, created and rooted this ever-growing tribe, inviting any woman desiring a new way of life to embrace Statement #1 and live, fully. Every day, through the WFS Online Forum, Face to Face meetings, on the phone or in person, this tribe forever strengthens and connects.

“We are capable and competent, caring and compassionate, always willing to help another, bonded together in overcoming our addictions.” WFS Motto

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I love belonging to this tribe of 4C women. After 30 years, I remain enthused and grateful for the women I have met and watched grow emotionally and spiritually through the WFS program.

Statement #1 gave me hope. It was life changing to realize that I was able to take charge of my life and actually accept the responsibility! It was freeing as it changed my negative thinking from believing I was stuck without a way out to learning new coping tools for what life handed me, all the ups and downs. It was tricky at first because those up times could be triggers that I had everything under control forever. Bring on the challenges – I was ready! Well, life experience has shown me that there is always room for learning new ways of coping and to be aware of diverse triggers. I’ve learned what many of my triggers were, some new ones along the way, and created plans to handle them as best I could.

This may also be a time when you are struggling with staying sober/not using. WFS is an abstinence program yet it is also a safe place to seek input, learn more about yourself, new ways of coping with life situations/people and to make plans for whenever such a situation arises again. Trust me, there will be more situations/challenges to face yet as we continue to learn, we build up the confidence to handle them differently. The goal is for a New Life and each of us is in charge of making that happen but remember we are never alone. Take the time t o reflect on the who, what, why and where of your urges and make those plans. This is the time to uncover our wounds, begin our healing and discover all the possibilities that lay before us.

It is also important to have a strong support system where you feel safe in sharing. This is what I love about WFS. We do the best we can, no judgments, no blaming ourselves if we make a mistake. WFS encourages learning from our mistakes, no beating ourselves up as this can be a trigger for “what’s the use?” Freedom, availability, self-respect, self-love, self-worth and all those other positive self’s – that is the purpose of practicing Statement #1. We are gaining a whole New Life and that is worth it all.

Do you know what your triggers are?
What coping skills/plans have you developed?
What are the benefits of recovery? (i.e., defining boundaries, healthy relationships)
What is the most challenging part of recovery at this point in your life?
Who makes up your support system?
How has Statement #1 changed your approach to recovery?

Bonded in accepting responsibility,
4C WFS Member