October 7

DISCIPLINE MONTH: DAY 7: “Accept hardship as a necessary discipline.”― Lailah Gifty Akita

What a cool name, isn’t it? I like Gifty and I love Akitas…so, interesting name. And I really love this quote as a gentle reminder that what is happening is always a “gifty” thing.

Whatever is happening is a gift. Whatever it is. When we can learn this simple truth, we will suffer so much less. It is only our resistance to what is happening that makes it painful. And we are a completely undisciplined group of people, who run all over others and their lives in service of our Egos and our selfish and self-centered ways of being and thinking in this world.

I am blessed to live in proximity of several people, all in my age group, all neighbors and local acquaintances who I deem to be alcoholic. Certainly all dysfunctional. And they teach me every day what I was like and can still be, even without cocktails in me. The extreme self-centered focus of their day-to-day lives is fascinating to observe.

I relate. I cannot condemn it because I own such a big chunk of it. But I certainly do see the patterns and the dysfunction  and the discomfort and anger it produces in others who want to interface with them in any significant way. Great lessons. Thank you. I really want to curb my impatience and intolerance of their attitudes and behaviors for the great gift of understanding and compassion I get when I recognize the mirror they hold up for me.

My resistance to whatever is going on in my life is challenging for everyone, not just me. I get whiney and complain and grumpy and throw my baby tantrums, all very ugly behavior for a senior citizen like myself. Geez! Get over it Kell! As a special reminder, I can contact my mother, who is a chronic grocery list of what is wrong in the world and how she would design it all better. I work very hard to NEVER be her! It is exhausting to listen to the litany. I give her 10 minutes a week, and it wears me out. Of course, I want to reframe her chronic complaints, but she is not looking for that kind of change. She wants everyone else to fix things for her. She would still complain, but she wants others to make her happier.

I am so grateful for the mirror she provides. This is who I am, untreated addicts all are the same. I cannot believe what a great discipline it is to just listen to her for 10 minutes, offering nothing, fixing nothing, promising nothing.

And the people I get to work with as a sponsor/mentor/friend. Whatever is going on with them is a gift, but it is not always their first view of the situation. I am grateful that I can see it for others. It helps me see it faster for myself. Without all the self-centered drama, perhaps we can just learn to accept and allow life to show up and bring us the “gifty” without whining about the drab brown wrapping paper. I certainly believe this is the discipline I need to pray to allow each and every minute of every day. I just say a great big “Thank You!” but that is next month…gratitude, I mean…you will see!

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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