Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year - A Chance To Begin Again (A Do Over)

It's a New Year. A chance to begin again. A "do-over" in life. I used to think I would have to wait until the New Year to begin something for real - like a diet - because the New Year made it feel more "official."

Actually, every moment is a chance to begin. A chance to change course. A chance to - start all over again - without the guilt and burdens of the imperfect things you have done or may have said.

Removing the Burdens of the Past
You are in my way of thinking - perfect. There should be (I know "should be") no burdens of the past. With no burdens of the past - aren't we perfect?

There is a lot of talk in Al-Anon that we are not perfect. Here is where I disagree.

I believe we are perfect. What we do or what we say is not perfect. I am connected to my Higher Power and created so that goodness flows through me. I am a human being, living in a world of other human beings and my reactions to them and to the circumstances of "life" are not always in harmony or balance.

The teachings of Al-Anon help me center and react to the stresses of life more perfectly. The works of Al-Anon help teach me what is right or more right than how I used to respond.

If I can shed my disease of thinking too much - I can be a much better person - not to others and for the "sake of humanity," but - for me. This in and of itself is a break through. The words, "for me" are strangers to my lips and my mind. I have always reacted for others. I have been a caretaker, caregiver, advice giver, counsellor, fixer.

Changing and A Do-Over
I am changing. I now know I can claim a do-over. Now. Officially. For this is a New Year.

Yes - I am changing my thought patterns - with new thought patterns. One of the areas I am changing is I have become more open. Or so I believe. Let me give you what I think is a big example of my changing;

I have a friend who believes in Numerology. I would have thought this person was nuts. But I listened, read this person book on it and it was - well - interesting. I was a "number 1." Not surprisingly. But my "number 1" put me at odds with others - especially other "number 1's." I won't go into the details - because this is not the point of whether this is believable or not - but what is, is the fact that I would have thought this was crazy.

So, back to a do-over. As a kid, I grew up in the northeast. We would play baseball, football, kickball, and board games and whatever - all day. A do-over is when you swung and missed and claimed a "do-over" for some unexplained reason. Or you moved a piece on the board and it was a huge error and for some reason - like you had not been paying attention - claimed this "Do-over thing."

So, today - I am claiming a "Do Over" - officially. This do over thing gives me permission to change, steer the ship on a smoother course. The Time Machine (above picture) is of course not real and we cannot go back in time to undo stuff that we feel we may have done that has harmed us or others. But the Time Machine is symbolic in that we can "do over" now whatever we want by beginning to Let Go (there's that slogan again - See yesterday's post below) of the past. If I can let go of the past, the past cannot rock my ship like waves banging against the hull. The path I take or course, if I can follow this damn metaphor properly, is smoother without the past banging against the side of my ship, (my brain), trying sink me.

The past is a burden we carry around that keeps us from enjoying this second, this moment. It causes us (me!!!) to think we are (I am) not perfect and therefore should be punished (my guilt) or not forgiven because we are unworthy of being forgiven.

What "Perfect" Does For Me
I have come to believe we all are perfect. And the moment we live in - I live in - is perfect - because this is where I am supposed to be and I cannot undo God's Will. That everything I have done or what has happened is and was out of my control more often than not and to hold that thought helps me ease off on the brakes of my life and helps me accept myself and others. It releases.

The gift of the program about not being perfect - and this what I believe Al-Anon is really trying to teach me is that it is helping me understand that we are all imperfect and if so, we are all okay - especially me! And this MEANS YOU!!! And you know who you are as you read this! You are okay and will be okay.

It is a hard concept to understand and my brain, ego, previous programming, does not want me to look at myself in this way. My disease wants to call attention to the stupid stuff I did or hurtful things I have said or what I believe other have done to me. That is my burden. That is what I am shedding and calling a do-over on.

Last - this thought entered my mind - if I can just shut up most of the time - I can be of no harm to myself. What do I mean? I have this tendency to verbalize my thoughts. I "think out loud." When I hear myself think - I go - okay, I get it. Later, however, I sound stupid or say something stupid and I am perceived as a little weird. I am learning - even at my age - this is not a great thing to do at work. Especially with all the left brainers I work with.

Shut Up and HALT (so I don't call a do-over)
But more importantly - to shut up when I am hungry, angry, lonely or tired. The tired thing trips me up a lot lately. It used to be angry, but I understand my anger now. Now I am just not sleeping fully or resting fully. So when that happens, my propensity to "think out loud" occurs more often and my guard is down, and then I say something that is not the most intelligent. And, when I am tired, I am quick to anger. My anger spews forth in words I am soon to regret and in reality have no real baring on what or how I feel toward another person. This is another place where I wish I could do immediate "do overs."

Thank God for Al-Anon. I am seeing the speed bumps on my path of life more clearly. And the speed bumps are usually what I have placed in the road - not someone else's.


So, officially, I am Letting Go and claiming a "do over."


Cat said...

I so embrace the whole idea of a do over for the new year - I loved them as a child in kick ball - I need to love them now as well!

Have a very happy new year!

Syd said...

I think that each day is a chance for a do over. In Step Ten, I can see where I am wrong and make amends immediately. It's my daily do-over. I don't harbor things now but when I'm wrong, I promptly admit it. And I do like the part about keeping my mouth shut. Thanks Joe for another great post.

Anonymous said...

i am so glad i stumbled upon this gem of a blog. i really needed some help with my anger tonite and i found it here. i think i'll start my own al-anon blog....anonymously of course, since i have "two" lives........