"Never Walk Alone Again"

"Never Walk Alone Again"

Monday, September 29, 2014

Now What?

So it's been a couple months now since you're recovery has started and right now you're starting to feel pretty good about yourself. You're probably starting to feel that you may now be able to get BACK to the person you once were, which is a recipe for disaster as we never want to return to the person we once were. We want to take our new tool box and tools and learn them so well and use them so good that we almost become a specialist in the trade. 

How do we accomplish such a feat you may be asking yourself, well it's simple really, it's just like learning to ride your bike or chase your dream of playing in the NHl...you have to practice, practice, practice. All to often we feel that we have done this and our once daily routine has now become an every other day routine and then a once a week routine right up to where we probably stop practicing and utilizing our new found tools at all. This my friends is what all the talk of the old cliche is all about...you have to "work your program" and as silly as it may seem it is the way to achieving your goal to recovery. 

I realize that you may feel there isn't enough time in the day sometimes to do it all but if you break down your day, get up a little earlier than normal and take the time needed that you will maintain this treasured life that you have once again begun to enjoy to the fullest. Below you see a sample of what I'm talking about and maybe just a daily routine that you may want to incorporate into your life and it is a simple one at that. 

First off, start everyday by just waking up and either talking to yourself or out loud and just tell yourself the following...." Today, I am going to be sober, I can't guarantee anything to myself or anyone for tomorrow or the next day but I do have control of today right now and this day I will live a clean life. 

Secondly, most of us today have either a laptop, tablet, computer or smart phone. If you haven't already begun to learn to meditate, download an app or take an online course. It will only take you 5 minutes to start this process but it will definitely get your day started in the right direction. You don't need to become a master of this overnight but just be open to it and learn as much about it as possible. 

Thirdly, Your daily readings and reflections are crucial, this may only take you 1-2 minutes to complete but it will be a very beneficial tool and allow you to be in a relaxed state of mind and use the tools you have been given to evaluate your rewarding for today. It will force you to think about yourself and then apply what you've learned up to this point. 

Now, you have just got your day started ,you've completed lots of work and prepared yourself to start your day and all it took was 15 mins. So, now what next.......

Fourthly, you have some options here but you need to find a way to get some sort of exercise in. Some enjoy doing it first thing in the morning while others like to exercise after their day has winded down as they then have some time to reflect on their day. The power of exercise is so wing that can not be overlooked, it will make you feel good about yourself and at the same time making you a healthier person and better able to fight the fight each and everyday. Make it a part of your daily routine.

The final exercise you need to ensure you do everyday is to take your daily inventory. This will also only take a few minutes but it will force you to be truthful and honest about your day and too see what you need to do to be better tomorrow and to eliminate and of those character defects that you discovered about yourself on your journey to here. This can be done in any number of ways but just a simple journal entry each and every night can make a world of a difference.

Now the final item I need to discuss is something that each and everyone of us do everyday but sometimes forget how important it is and how important it is to do this the proper way. We need to eat, but we need to begin to learn to eat healthy and on schedule. Any false belief that this shouldn't be an integral part of your program will set you on a course for disaster.. You will be eliminating and craving sensations from creeping up on you and you will be fuelling your body with good nutrients and helping you stay strong and healthy and as we discussed earlier this is a huge key to living a clean and sober life.

This my friends is as simple as it gets, it's probably a total of one extra hour in each of your life's but it is an hour a day that can mean the difference to everything. It will keep those tools in your box all finely tuned and ready to work, it will have you on your way to a healthier body and it will have your mind where it needs to be each and everyday. In the words of the immortal Erne Larsen and Father David the key to it all is "working your program" so if you've ever said to yourself...well I don't have a program to work well now you do!! This simple little template can be used by anyone and will probably become the most important program you will ever do!!



Saturday, August 16, 2014

10 Tips to Eliminating Negative Thoughts

“See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.” ~Dalai Lama

Even though I’m a yoga teacher, I still find it’s easy to fall prey to negative thinking. Having negative thoughts play out like a movie can only bring you pain, something that I’ve experienced many times throughout my life.

Negative thoughts drain you of energy and keep you from being in the present moment. The more you give in to your negative thoughts, the stronger they become. I like the imagery of a small ball rolling along the ground, and as it rolls, it becomes bigger and faster.

That’s what one small negative thought can turn into: a huge, speeding ball of ugliness. On the contrary, a small positive thought can have the same effect blossoming into a beautiful outcome.

I’d like to share with you an example of how one small thought can turn into a very negative experience.

I have lived on my own for the last ten years. Obviously during this time, I’ve grown accustomed to living in a particular way; I have my routines with cooking, cleaning, and living happily in my place.

My boyfriend of two years, who I have had a long distance relationship with, will soon be moving here and we will be living together. Lately, I’ve had negative thoughts of moving in with him knowing that my living routine will have to change and we will have to create a new routine together.

Unfortunately, I’ve already jumped into the future and have had thoughts that we will not be able to come up with a living arrangement that will make us both happy. In my mind, I have seen myself already getting angry about our cooking and cleaning situation.

He came for a surprise visit this past weekend and boy, was it a surprise for him. We had a miserable weekend together.

I did not enjoy his company because I was already angry with him, and he was confused and equally frustrated with me. What could have been a really fabulous weekend ended up being a painful and heavy weekend.

When we start to have negative thoughts, it’s hard to stop them. And it’s much easier said than done to shift your focus to positive thoughts. But, it’s the only way, especially if you want to avoid going down a path that is painful and unnecessary.

Here are ten things I did to help overcome my negative thoughts that you can also try:

1. Meditate or do yoga.

One of the first things I did was head to a yoga class. It took my focus away from my thoughts and brought my attention to my breath. Yoga is also very relaxing which helped ease my mind. Yoga helped me stay present to my experience so instead of jumping to what could happen, it brought me back to the now—the only moment, the most important moment.

2. Smile.

I didn’t do much of this during the weekend so I literally had to bring myself in front of a mirror and force myself to smile. It really does help change your mood and relieve stress. I also felt lighter because it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown.

3. Surround yourself with positive people.

I called a friend who I knew could give me constructive, yet loving feedback. When you’re stuck in a negative spiral, talk to people who can put things into perspective and won’t feed your negative thinking.

4. Change the tone of your thoughts from negative to positive.

For example, instead of thinking, “We are going to have a hard time adjusting to our living situation,” think, “We will face some challenges in our living situation, but we will come up with solutions that we will both be happy with.”

5. Don’t play the victim. You create your life—take responsibility.

The way I was thinking and acting, you would think I was stuck. Even if our living situation becomes unbearable, there is always a way out. I will always have the choice to make change happen, if need be.

6. Help someone.

Take the focus away from you and do something nice for another person. I decided to make a tray of food and donate it to the Salvation ArmyIt took my mind off of things and I felt better for helping someone else.

7. Remember that no one is perfect and let yourself move forward.

It’s easy to dwell on your mistakes. I felt terrible that I acted this way and that I wasted our weekend. The only thing I can do now is learn from my mistakes and move forward. I definitely don’t want to have a weekend like that again.

8. Sing.

I don’t remember lyrics very well and it’s probably the reason that I don’t enjoy singing, but every time I do sing I always feel better . When we sing, we show our feelings and this provides an amazing stress relief.

9. List five things that you are grateful for right now.

Being grateful helps appreciate what you already have. Here’s my list: My cats, health, a six-week trip to Asia, a new yoga class that I’ll be teaching, and for my mom’s biopsy coming out clean.

10. Read positive quotes.

I like to place Post-It notes with positive quotes on my computer, fridge door, and mirror as reminders to stay positive. Also, I’d like to share with you a quote by an unknown author that was shared in a meditation class that I attended:

Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Friday, August 8, 2014

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