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Monday Thoughts 4/27/2020

“She believed she could, so she did.”  ~~Unknown

“Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”  ~~Dalai Lama

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”  ~~Marthe Troly-Curtin

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#5 I am what I think.

I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.

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Statement #5, the core of the WFS New Life Program, lays the foundation for who we are and where we are going. For many women, this can be a new way of thinking and an enormously powerful assertion. In the past, it may have been more comfortable to have someone else dictate who we were or how to live our life.

In our WFS Program booklet, it states “It is important for all women to know and use, the power of their mind and thoughts. However, it is most important for women with drug and alcohol problems to use our minds to enhance our well-being. We can consciously build positive images of ourselves. We create a new self in our mind first.”

It is critical to oversee our minds, especially now with uncertainty in the news and on social media. Being able to create a pause, or distance between unhealthy or repetitive thoughts takes daily practice. One of the most helpful tools I learned to let go unproductive thoughts came from a guided meditation. While I cannot recall the author, the speaker described a small, cool stream outlined with trees. Imagine yourself sitting comfortably along the edge of the water. A large, bright yellow leaf gently falls from a tree and lands on top of the water near you. If there is a thought that you would like to let go of, picture that thought as that yellow leaf. Your eyes are staring at this leaf. It glides down the stream, slowly at first, twirling round and round. You do not chase after it but continue watching it. You can see distance now between you and leaf and soon, it is only a tiny speck of color, then it is gone. It held your gaze but you did not run after it, you did not try to catch it, you simply let it go. This one tool consistently aides in releasing what is no longer needed.

How do you manage your thoughts today?

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

With so much time for reflection, I have been finding many of my writings from over the years and I am grateful to have them.  During this current time, I find myself starting to question who I think I am.  Before sobriety, I constantly questioned my positive characteristics and honestly, when asked to list as many positive qualities as possible, I was fortunate if I got past 3 and that was a struggle.  The lists I have made over the years are like a history lesson of my own personal emotional growth, my nurturing and beginning of the planting of positive seeds to answer the question, “Who do I think I am?”  I feel that with the social isolation, I have lost some of my identity and my purpose not to mention my energy level is so up and down.  Thank goodness for WFS and Karen’s message to remind all of us that while circumstances have changed, our core foundation of who we are remains strong and if it’s not where you wish it to be, we have the time, support and encouragement to begin or continue building it.  And the best part, for me, is that I no longer see my inability to do certain tasks (computer technology, fixing broken items, learning a new skill, etc.) as weaknesses.  I see them for what they are – just things I’m not gifted with as I have other gifts, talents, skills as we all do.  I have learned to seek help with what I cannot do and share with others what I can.

One of my favorite exercises for this statement is to list as many positive qualities, talents, characteristics as possible on a 3×5 index card and on the front in bold letters, write STOP.  Keep it in your purse and whenever you start any negative self-talk, the negative adjectives that you feel define yourself, take out the STOP card, turn it over and read the truthful definition of who you are in your own words.  You could even ask others what positive word they would use to describe you and include that.

2nd exercise:  Practice this exercise and use it whenever you need a quick reminder of how to feel good about yourself.  Exercise from“The Self-Esteem Companion.”

1.  Recall a time when you felt really cared for and loved.

        It can be a big event or a small moment.

2.  Think back to a time when you felt really successful.

        Anytime will do as long as it provides a strong memory

of your feelings of success.

3.  Remember a time that you did something important for

someone else.  It can by any moment of selflessness

that’s important to you.

4. Look for a memory of loving someone else.  Think back to

a moment when you felt love for another very strongly,

when that feeling filled your heart.

I’ve done this exercise a few times and it’s amazing how different the answers were depending on what I was feeling or experiencing that day.  What I love about this exercise is that the answers don’t require a huge event, although that is certainly just fine if it is a big event in your life.  Big or small, it’s about those moments of awareness that remind you how much you matter, how much positive feelings/moments you have experienced when you give quiet time to reflect.  What this exercise has helped me do in moments of doubt, of feeling sad or missing out, is that no matter how big or small, I have been fortunate enough to have experienced these moments of being cared for, love/loved, successful and gave selflessly as so many are doing right now.

Bonded in being part of a phenomenal group of 4C woman, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 1/27/2020

“She believed she could, so she did.” ~~Unknown

“The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.” ~~Marcus Aurelius

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you, you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”  ~~James Allen

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#5 I am what I think.

I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.

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Do your thoughts about your New Life reflect the life that you are living today? Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. used an empowering tool to create the life she desired; self-imaging. Self-imaging can help create the shift needed and it can begin with Statement #5.

Owning our thoughts can help pave the way to create a connected life. With 2020 being a year of envisioning for so many, it begins with our thoughts. Here is an article by Jean:

The Way it is

“WFS is a program of habit breaking and behavior modification through changed thinking. We live in our minds, in our thoughts. If our thoughts are poisonous, so too, will our actions be. If our thoughts are troubled, our actions are destructive to ourselves.

The WFS program is one of positivity, a program of positive imaging. As women, our greatest problem is the lack of a working self-image. We operate from an image given to us by our parents, or one parent, and then we operate from other images provided to us from other persons we are around. Because of this, the WFS program shows how to change into a positive way of imaging ourselves. Our keynote is: I am a competent, caring, compassionate woman.” And we literally think ourselves into this image and act from it.

We must begin to repair our opinion of self. We must view our good qualities and we must see ourselves as capable. Isn’t it strange that most women raise an entire family, yet see themselves as being incapable of doing anything?”

Statement #5 Tool: Self-imaging. Summarize your positive qualities. Define SMART goals; (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based) Confront distortions in thinking, measure yourself with your own yardstick, accept and know you are adaptable and unique. If you would like to share a helpful tool for this Statement, email karen@teamwfs.org

What do you envision for yourself?

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

Before WFS, I gave away my power, my self-esteem, self-love to the opinions of others or should I say the “judgment” of others. Most times, it wasn’t even the truth. It was my own distorted definition of who I thought I was. It may have started in childhood, bolstered by other authority figures and unhealthy relationships yet the outcome was the same – I drank because I felt unworthy, unlovable, not enough and a list of negative images. I had no idea of how to change that until WFS and much needed therapy. I am beyond grateful for learning self-love, self-worth and self-respect with the WFS Statements.

I bought a book at the WFS conference years ago entitled “The Self-Esteem Companion” by Matthew McKay, PhD., Patrick Fanning, Carole Honeychurch and Catharine Sutker. I guess it takes a group of people to teach others how to raise their self-esteem. It has wonderful exercises that I use to this day.

This is a visualization exercise. I hope you’ll give it a try.

Sitting in a chair, quietly speak these words to yourself:

I am a human being. I’m worthwhile simply because I exist and try to survive. I take care of myself. I take myself seriously. I correctly take myself into consideration in all matters. I have legitimate needs and wants. I can choose what I need and want without having to justify it to anybody. I make choices, and I take responsibility for them. I always do my best. Each thought and action is the best I’m capable of at the time.

Because I’m human, I make mistakes. I accept my mistakes without blame or judgment. When I make a mistake, I try to learn from it. I am imperfect, and I forgive myself for my mistakes. I know that others are equally worthy, equally imperfect. I have compassion for them because they are engaged I the same struggle for survival that I am.

I think this is a very powerful exercise and for me, it brings hope to working through my struggles and a measure of peace as I continue my healing process.

Think of the 4 and sometimes 5 Cs. How would you answer these questions?

I am capable of:

I am competent in:

I am caring about:

I am compassionate about:

I express courage by:

Bonded in knowing we are 4C women! Dee

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Monday Thoughts 10/28/2019

Monday Thoughts

“My mission in life is not to merely survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, and some humor, and some style.”  ~~Maya Angelou

“She believed she could, so she did.”  ~~unknown

“You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think.  The truth is that you are responsible for what you think because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice.  What you do comes from what you think.”  ~~Marianne Williamson


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


Statement #5 is an important cornerstone of the WFS New Life Program.  Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., our founder, discovered the thought/action connection through her own journey of recovery.  This knowledge allowed her to learn how to adapt and live a full, sober life. Jean then shared this insight with the world by creating Women for Sobriety.

There is a Chinese proverb that states “be careful what direction your toes are pointed in as you will likely get there” and this is also true for our thoughts.  Whatever we think about most often, directs our attention and life.  Learning to adapt and manage thoughts is empowering and life changing.

Here are six ways by Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. to be the boss of your brain:

  1. Listen and Acknowledge: Minds, like people, can relax and let go when they feel heard and understood.  Practice gratitude and thank your mind for its contribution.
  2. Make Peace with Your Mind: You don’t necessarily have to like the thoughts or agree with them; you just can let them be there in the background while you go out and get things done.
  3. Realize Your Thoughts are Just Thoughts: Our thoughts are passing mental events, influenced by moods, states of hunger, health, hormones etc. They are like mental habits, which can be healthy or unhealthy, and need time to change.  Just like a couch potato can’t run a marathon right away, we cannot magically turn off spinning thoughts without repeated practice. Be gentle with yourself.
  4. Observe Your Own Mind: Mindfulness includes gently bringing your mind back to focus as well as noticing when your mind wanders.  Like a good CEO, you begin to know when your mind is checked out or spinning its wheels, guiding it back to center or balance.
  5. Retrain Your Mind to Rewire Your Brain: Autopilot is not good for emotional functioning or well-being.  Over long periods of time, patterns become etched in our minds, cementing rapid response.  The good news is that we can rewire our brains from previous fear-based shortcuts into healthy and balanced decision making.
  6. Practice Self-Compassion: By practicing self-compassion, we can learn new ways of supporting ourselves in our suffering. Rather than criticizing ourselves, we can deliberately seek out inner and outer experiences that bring us joy or comfort; the beauty of nature, creative self-expression or memories of happy times with loved ones.

Being your own CEO, how do you manage your thoughts?
Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

As I read over the 6 ways to be the boss of my brain, each one is so invaluable and I honestly love the analogy of being the CEO of my thoughts.   I believe #5 stood out to me as there was a time when I would be on autopilot, a time when my self-esteem was practically non-existent.  My automatic response to many situations and relationships was that if anything went wrong, it was all my fault because I was stupid, inadequate, too needy, overly sensitive and lots of other esteem crushing words/thoughts.  What I realized is that I was trying to prove these thoughts to be true before the other person did when, in fact, that was probably the last thing they were thinking. I became good at projecting my thoughts as belonging to others.  Alcohol helped cover up those feelings but as we all know, a cover up eventually becomes clearly seen. A cover up is a camouflage that will never heal the pain of feeling unlovable or unworthy.  It is a temporary fix for a deep hurt.  And for me, my identify was wrapped up in the past.  Statement #5 became the building block for me to create my new, truthful identity of who I was in the present.  No more inner critic from the past trying to convince me I was wasting my time learning to love myself.  I gave my inner critic a name and when he starts to make me question my worth, I turn to my shoulder where he is sitting with a smirk on his face, and depending on what he is trying to falsely whisper in my ear, I tell him to be quiet (truthfully, shut up) or flick him off my shoulder.  I have worked darn hard on learning to love myself and no deceiver is going to take that away or have power over me.

I encourage you to practice the 6 ways to become the boss of your thoughts.  Love, nurture, praise, be compassionate with yourself as you would a loved one.  This will guide you to be who you think and know you are – a 4C woman!

Bonded in knowing I am who I think,
Dee

 

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Monday Thoughts 7/29/2019

Monday Thoughts

“Every thought has the power to bring into being the visible from the invisible. It is absolutely necessary for us all to understand that everything we think, do or say comes back to us. Every thoughts, word or action—without exception—manifests itself (in some way) as an actual reality.” ~~Ann Wigmore

“Your thoughts are seeds, and the harvest you reap will depend on the seeds you plant.” ~~Rhonda Byrne

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” ~~Henry David Thoreau


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


Recently, I was wondering about the different thoughts that we can have. I was interested in using Statement #5 to reduce worry, and I dove deeper into the thought process. What I learned was surprising. In particular, one publication was quite helpful, and I will provide a link to the full article, but here is an excerpt:

“Your brain produces thoughts, as a biological function, to serve you. And discovering that each of these types of thoughts happen in completely separate brain regions means that we can be trained to use one of these more than the other.

We need a lot of attention to the present when we perform tasks, and we also need problem solving. Those are very useful functions. What we don’t really need is the narrative component of thought, the useless, endless chatter—the part that makes us feel a bit crazy and keeps us trapped in suffering.

Specific elements may differ, but the endless stream of chatter is something we all share. It worries us about what is yet to come; it belittles us; it disciplines us; it argues, fights, debates, criticizes, compares, and rarely ever stops to take a breath. Day after day we listen as it talks and talks.” ~~Solve for Happy by Chief Business Officer for Google X

“Switching your mind into experiential mode of thinking is a more powerful alternative. By focusing on our senses, our breath, smell, touch, sound and sight we turn off the incessant thinking.

Dr. Ellen Langer, a social psychologist at Harvard University, is regarded as the pioneer of mindfulness in the West. According to her research, we can shift our focus by flooding the mind with things that it can’t evaluate, or judge — things it can only observe. Here’s how she describes it:

Direct your attention outside yourself. Observe the light in the room, pay attention to whatever is on your desk, catch that smell of coffee percolating in the kitchen, notice the wood grain on the table, or listen to the distant sounds of cars in the street. Don’t let anything go unobserved. Notice every tiny detail around you. This is what you used to do as a newborn child. Just observe.

I sometimes use a modified version of this approach where I start naming objects in my mind as I notice them:

Desk, coffee, kitchen, wood, table, car, air conditioner, cool air….

And before you know it, the incessant thought vanishes. Because the brain is terrible at multitasking, it needs to stop all previous thinking to absorb new information. If the new information is processed in a different area of the brain, it is unlikely you will fall back into incessant thinking.”

Using a form of mindfulness, we can reduce the chatter and create the life we desire.

Here is the link to the full article

Which ways do you find effective in managing your thoughts?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

This reminds me of the workshop at the WFS conference a few years ago – Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life. It is amazing how our thoughts about ourselves can do so much damage to our self-esteem if we continue to believe all the negative chatter and input that is not our truth of who we are today. Our past can hold us prisoner until we begin to forgive ourselves by releasing the past and healing. If I looked at how I described myself many years ago, I would question, who was that woman? I didn’t work this hard and, gratefully so, to continue to demean myself in the present.

I urge you to stop and consider all that you have accomplished emotionally and spiritually at this very moment and every baby step counts! As they say, this is not a race, but a journey to a New Life of self-worth and self-love.

So, if you doubt that you are a 4C woman and want to eliminate those negative definitions of yourself, answer these questions:

Is this how I want to feel? Will this get me what I really want? How is this working for me? Is this my truth?

Bonded in knowing we are 4C women,
a 4C sister

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Monday Thoughts 7/30/2018

Monday Thoughts

“Tennis is mostly mental.  Of course, you must have a lot of physical skill, but you can’t play tennis well and not be a good thinker.  You win or lose the match before you even go out there.”  ~~ Venus Williams

“Never believe for a second that you are weak, within all of us we have a reserve of inner hidden strength.”  ~~Victoria Addino

“To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.”  ~~Eckhart Tolle


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

Whether our interest lies in tennis, fancy cuisine or recovery, our thoughts are a critical aspect and steer the direction we take.  Venus Williams states quite honestly; “You win or lose the match before you even go out there.”  Jean understood this concept well and created Statement #5 to center the WFS New Life Program.

Instead of feeding the mind junk food, such as when ruminating on failure, fear or lack, there is an opportunity to pause and examine exactly what the mind is chewing on.  This can be a novel concept when alcohol or drugs have previously hijacked thinking.  With the clarity of sobriety, practice of Statement #5, thoughts can be prepared, processed and managed.

In Jean’s book Turnabout, she writes “The philosophy behind the whole program of Women for Sobriety is based upon the concept of our thoughts creating the world in which we live.  First the thought and then the action.  In another paragraph Jean goes on to write, “We must begin forming our world by beginning with our mental environment and accepting responsibility for our thoughts…. which dictate the actions to follow.  No longer can we allow, or permit, circumstances to mold us.  We are larger than circumstances.” “Exercise your mind and direct your thoughts.”  Free your mind and a 4C life follows!

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I’ve shared this bit of history before yet whenever I read Statement #5, I am brought back to that moment when I was a teen, asking my bio father if he would buy me a $25 bathing suit for my birthday. I can still here his response as though it were yesterday – “Who in the hell do you think you are, Miss Reading” (my hometown). I was crushed, humiliated and felt so rejected by that comment. I was use to his insults but somehow this cut a bit deeper. My mom and stepdad both worked in factories and they decided that I was worth that $25 and bought me the bathing suit. Still, so many years later, I can feel the sting of those hurtful words. Other things happened along the way that only added to the pain. I realized after going to therapy and having clarity by not drinking, that I chose to marry a man who rejected me as well, thinking I could rewrite history and prove myself lovable and worthy.

Statement #5 and Jean’s words were a huge revelation for me. I’m human and while I can still feel the pain of my father’s words, I KNOW the truth of who I am today. I am in charge of my identity and not a lie from the past. My father definitely had issues and he chose me to unburden his pain. My sister was shown love and usually got what she asked for from him yet, today, I am grateful because I have been given the tools to heal and create my authentic identity.

Here are 4 questions from last year. If you answered them back then, I hope you dated and kept them and out of curiosity, see the differences or similarities from that date. If this is the first time you are answering these questions, be sure to date it and keep it for future reference:

I am capable of: ____________

I am competent in: __________

I am caring about: __________

I am compassionate about: _____

I am enough, I have enough, I do enough

Bonded in accepting who I am today,

4C WFS Member