Friday, April 24, 2015

The Work-In: Daily Motivation 4-24-2015

Friday, April 24, 2015
Today's Gift

She knows omnipotence has heard her prayer and cries, "It shall be done--sometime, somewhere." —Ophelia Guyon Browning

Patience is a quality that frequently eludes us. We want what we want when we want it. Fortunately, we don't get it until the time is right, but the waiting convinces us our prayers aren't heard. We must believe that the answer always comes in its own special time and place. The frustration is that our timetable is seldom like our Higher Power's.

When we look back over the past few weeks, months, or even years, we can recall past prayers. Had they all been answered at the time of request, how different our lives would be. We are each on a path unique to us, offering special lessons to be learned. Just as a child must crawl before walking, so must we move slowly, taking the steps in our growth in sequence.

Our prayers will be answered, sometime, somewhere. Of that we can be sure. They will be answered for our greater good. And they will be answered at the right time, the right place, in the right way.

I am participating in a much bigger picture than the one in my individual prayers. And the big picture is being carefully orchestrated. I will trust the part I have been chosen to play. And I can be patient.

From Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey ©


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Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Keep It Simple

Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content. --Helen Keller

There is wonder in the moment, if we but look for it, let it touch us, believe in it. And with the recognition and celebration of the wonder comes the joy we desire and await.

Being wholly in tune with the present moment is how we'll come to know the spiritual essence that connects all of life. We search for peace, happiness, and contentment outside of ourselves. We need instead to discover it within us, now and always, in whatever we are experiencing.

We can let our experiences wash over us. Longing for a different time, a distant place, a new situation breeds discontent. It prevents us from the thrill, the gifts offered in this present moment. But they are there.

We can practice feeling joyful in the present, be thrilled with the realization that right now, all is well. All is always well. Life is full of mystery and wonder and each moment of our awareness adds to the wonder.

Action for the Day: I am moving forward; we all are. I am on target. I am participating in a glorious, wonderful drama. Let me jump for joy. I have been specially blessed.

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One Day At A Time

Discovery
By discovering what our emotional deformities are, we can move toward their correction.
Without a willing and persistent effort to do this, there can be little sobriety or contentment for us.
Without a searching and fearless moral inventory, most of us have found that the faith which really works in daily living is still out of reach.
- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 43

Thought to Ponder . . .
Recovery is discovery.

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .
F A I T H =
Facing An Inner Truth Heals.

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Daily Motivation

Where to start

Are you not sure where to start? The place to start is where you are.

Are you having trouble deciding on the first step to take? Just pick a step, take it, and you’ll suddenly be in a much better position to know what must be done next.

Instead of waiting and wondering, speculating and procrastinating, worrying and making excuses, just go ahead and start. Put your time and energy into moving forward.

You may not get it exactly right at first, in fact you probably won’t. Yet even if you make some initial mistakes, that’s a whole lot better than doing nothing.

Start where you are, and go from there. Start where you are, and discover how much you enjoy the effort.

The best way to know what to do next is by doing what you can do now. This is where to start, so do.

— Ralph Marston



Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Work-In: Daily Motivation 4-23-2015

Thursday, April 23, 2015
Today's Gift

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear not absence of fear. —Mark Twain

It is not unusual to feel afraid. It is unusual, however, to hear anyone admit to feeling afraid. Sometimes we think there are some people who are so cool and calm that they never feel afraid. This may make us think we're not as good because we know how often we feel afraid. This is why it is important to think about what courage really is. It is not the absence of fear. Courage is not letting fear stop us from doing what we need to do.

We might have to get up in front of a group to give a speech. We could give in to our fear and not give the speech, or we could admit our fear to those who love us, and then go ahead and do the best we can. To go ahead in the face of fear is courage.

What am I afraid of?

From Today's Gift: Daily Meditations for Families ©




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Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Keep It Simple

When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen. --- Ernest Hemingway

It's hard to listen in a complete way. Often we listen, but we're still thinking about ourselves. We wonder, "How do their words relate to me? Do I have anything to add?" Often, fear is behind these questions. We fear saying the wrong thing. We fear looking stupid. Good listeners know how to let go of their fears. To listen completely, we step outside ourselves, and we're totally there for someone else. Sometimes we listen for only a few moments. Sometimes we don't even agree with the people we're listening to. But we let them know that they count. What a gift we give when we listen in a complete way!

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, teach me to listen in a complete way. Teach me to step outside myself and be their for others.

Action for the Day: Today, I'll listen to what the person says.


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One Day At A Time

Belonging
We discover -- but can hardly dare to believe right at first -- that we are not alone. We are not totally unlike everybody, after all.
The brittle shell of protective and fearful egocentricity is cracked open by the honesty of other recovered alcoholics.
We sense, almost before we can articulate it, that we do belong somewhere, and the loneliness starts leaking away.
Relief is too weak a word to convey our initial feeling.
- Living Sober, p. 34
Thought to Ponder . . .
I'm not alone anymore.

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .
Y A N A =
You Are Not Alone.


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Daily Motivation

Gift of achievement

There is a gift you can give yourself at any time, in any place, that will make you feel great. It is the gift of achievement.

Nothing feels quite the same as making the effort that results in achievement. When you make that effort, and reach that achievement, it helps not only you, but the whole world as well.

Achievements can be big, spread over many years and requiring thousands of people. Or they can be much smaller, taking only a few minutes and yet making a real difference.

Yet no matter what size the achievement may be, it always feels great to make a difference. And no matter what situation you are in, there is always a way to make that positive difference.

You can give yourself, and your world, the gift of achievement right now. The more you do so, the more richness and fulfillment you’ll experience.

At its very core, life is about making a difference. Now is a great time to give to yourself, and to everyone else, the gift of achievement.

— Ralph Marston




Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Work-In: Daily Motivation 4-22-2015

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Today's Gift

The first springs of great events, like those of great rivers, are often mean and little. —Jonathan Swift

Our lives are like streams which flow through time. Looking at the flow of our whole lives, we see the interconnections of many days that seemed minor. Each day contributes to the stream of goals and faith and relationships. As we look at the flow of a whole river, we see at its beginning a little trickle of water here, joining another trickle there, slowly gathering together a stream that develops force and direction.

We may look for intensity in our lives and ignore the quiet. Much of our lives may have been lived on a roller coaster of major crises. As terrible as it seemed, it was not dull. Today may seem rather boring. But we must learn to appreciate the more subtle trickle that a good day can be. Simply continuing with the flow - of faithfulness to our values, of being emotionally present in our relationships - adds up to a rich life.

May I see the continuity of my life in the simple moments of this day.

From Touchstones: A Book of Daily Meditations for Men ©


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Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Walk in Dry Places


Finding the Spirit of the Thing.

Faking it, and then making it.
We're sometimes advised to "fake it until you make it." But how can anything false really lead us to recovery? Aren't we told that this is an honest program?

We're not being dishonest by pushing ourselves to become actively involved in AA. The self-help movements have told us for years that we have to form an image of what we want to be in order to reach our goals. We are forming an image that corresponds to the sober people we want to b e. We are actually rehearsing sober living and working to accept a picture of sobriety in our heart of hearts.

There's also much to be said for "faking it" enough to attend meetings and try to benefit from association with people….. even those we don't like. This puts us in line for the change we really need.

A lot of members say that they "white-knuckled it" during the first months or years of sobriety. If this worked to bring recovery, it had to be the right approach.

Action for the Day: Even if there is rebellion within, today I'll talk and act like the sober person I want to be.

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One Day At A Time

Unmanageable
The unmanageable aspect is part of day-to-day living and carries in it the trigger for the alcoholic's obsession with drink.
All the laws that are at work in the world are going to make every life unmanageable from time to time.
But for the alcoholic there is not only an additional danger, but also an additional opportunity.
AA offers us a program that can put life's unmanageability into perspective.
- The Best of the Grapevine [Vol. 2], p. 58

Thought to Ponder . . .
The peaks and valleys of my life have become gentle rolling hills.

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .
A A W O L =
A A Way Of Life.

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Daily Motivation

You deserve a great tomorrow

You deserve to look forward to tomorrow with eager anticipation. What will make you able to do so are the actions you take today.

You deserve a great tomorrow, and you have the opportunity to earn it today. With your priorities and your actions, you can make use of today so everything falls into place for a rewarding and fulfilling tomorrow.

The good thing is, you can enjoy yourself today while putting in the focused effort that will produce a great tomorrow. Knowing that you’re headed in a positive direction is enough to improve whatever situation you’re in.

Tomorrow is not that far away, and now is your chance to fill its moments with precisely the kind of life you envision. Realize the power of the opportunity you have, and make full use of that opportunity while you can.

The direction you choose right now will determine where you are when tomorrow arrives. The things you do on this day can give great value to the life you live tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be great. Today is a great day to make it so.

— Ralph Marston



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Work-In: Daily Motivation 4-21-2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Today's Gift

To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward. —Margaret Fairless Barber

When we contemplate last month, last year, we can see many changes, good changes, have come our way. But we take the changes for granted sometimes. Or maybe we fail to reflect on them at all. We get caught up in the turmoil of the present, believing it will last forever, forgetting that yesterday's turmoil taught us much that we needed to know.

The past, for most of us, was rife with pain. But now we have hope. We have gained on life. We may be back in the good graces of our family. Perhaps we have patched up some failed relationships. A career has beckoned to us. Good experiences have come to pass. But we aren't free of difficulties. They need not get us down again. Hindsight assures us that this, too, will pass. It also guarantees that we will move forward, just as we have again and again, if we have but faith.

I will take this moment to look back at last year or last week. I can rest assured that I am moving forward. I will continue to do so.
From Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey ©


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Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Keep It Simple

The first skill needed for the Inner Game is called "letting it happen." This means gradually building a trust in the innate ability of your body to learn and to perform. --W. Timothy Gallwey

A strange and intriguing mystery confronts us in the Twelve Steps. We are mending our ways; we are becoming accountable; we are striving to do what is right, yet we are learning to let go. This seems like a contradiction of logic, but it leads us to a spiritual awakening.

We are becoming like the accomplished tennis player who has practiced diligently to develop every detail of their skill. Yet when they are playing the game, they cannot focus on control. They must get their ego out of the way and let their self go. It is in letting go that they rise to their highest level of fulfillment. Today we will do what we must. We can make the choices we are faced with. Then we allow ourselves to be carried along by our Higher Power to complete and fulfill the process.

Action for the Day: I will look for opportunities to let it happen today.

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One Day At A Time

Expectations
Until I could honestly look at myself and see that I was the problem in many situations and react appropriately inside and out;
until I could discard my expectations and understand that my serenity was directly proportional to them, I could not experience serenity and sound mind.
- Daily Reflections, p. 71

Thought to Ponder . . .
Expectations are premeditated resentments.

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .
W I S D O M =
When Into Self, Discover Our Motives.

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Daily Motivation

At peace with the moment

Frustration is caused by wanting to be where you are not, or to do what you are not doing, or to stop what you are already doing. Enjoy where you are and what you’re doing, and frustration is no more.

Of course it goes against your grain to enjoy something you’ve decided is not enjoyable. But it is not as hard as you might think.

Would you prefer to be frustrated, anxious and inefficient, or would you rather choose to enjoy the moment? Do you want your attitude to work against you, or would you like your attitude to work in your favor?

Can you find it within yourself to be at peace with the moment, with the situation, with the task at hand? Of course you can.

Let your choices, rather than habitual reactions, determine your state of mind. Let yourself be your best by letting go of the need to fight against whatever is going on.

Express your high standards not by getting frustrated, but by getting peacefully and purposefully busy. Be at peace with the moment, and enable yourself to live it at your best.

— Ralph Marston


The Work-In: Daily Motivation 4-20-2015

Monday, April 20, 2015
Today's Gift

Hurried and worried until we're buried And there's no curtain call, Life's a very funny proposition, after all. --George M. Cohan

Often, when we involve ourselves in a whirlwind of activities, plans, and expectations, we push ourselves so hard that we don't derive any satisfaction from success. We need to face our limitations. We can't do everything we want. Even when we can do a great deal, if we overextend ourselves, take on too much, we will not enjoy ourselves, and there is no reason not to enjoy our work.

Our activities are part of what we are. If we choose to live in a frantic hurry, worrying about the next moment instead of this one, we'll miss life entirely. Part of self-knowledge is learning to pace ourselves to our own speed, learning to set goals we can attain for each day. When we do this, we can say, "Now that I've completed this, I don't have to do one more thing to feel worthwhile."

Am I trying to do too much too fast?

From Today's Gift: Daily Meditations for Families ©


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Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Keep It Simple

A great obstacle to happiness is to expect too much happiness.---Fontenelle

Our disease is sometimes call the disease of “always wanting more.”
We push ourselves to get as much pleasure as we could. If one was good , two was better.
We didn’t see that what we were lacking was faith. At times in recovery, we still crave “more.”
We must pay attention to these cravings. When we have a craving, maybe we’re scared, and our Higher Power is trying to tell us that, if we have faith, we’ll be taken care of. Perhaps our Higher Power just has a message of love for us. All we need to do is listen. It may be that this is only “more” we really need.

Prayer for the Day: I pray to see my as spiritual needs. I pray to turn to my Higher Power instead of to alcohol or other drugs.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll think about how much recovery has given me. I will share this with a friend and with my Higher Power.

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One Day At A Time

Action
The program of action, though entirely sensible, was pretty drastic.
It meant I would have to throw several lifelong conceptions out of the window.
That was not easy. But the moment I made up my mind to go through with the process,
I had the curious feeling that my condition was relieved, as in fact it proved to be.
- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 42
Thought to Ponder . . .
What is now proved was once only imagined.

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .
A B C = A
ction, Belief, Continue.

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Daily Motivation

How great it feels

Remember how great it feels to make a difference? Remember how great it feels to set a goal and then to get it done?

Remember how powerful it feels to be faced with a difficult challenge and to work your way through that challenge. Remember how warm and good and right it feels to know you’ve been of real help to others.

Remind yourself of the power and effectiveness of your own actions. Remind yourself of how far you can go just by making the commitment to do so.

Remember all these things, and let those positive memories ignite your passion. Remember all the good you’ve done, and then look for opportunities to make more great memories.

That wonderful feeling of achievement is already within you, stronger now than ever before. Use this day to give it new expression.

Remember how great it feels to make the effort and to make it count. Remember to make more great memories of achievement right now.

— Ralph Marston



Friday, April 17, 2015

The Work-In: Daily Motivation 4-17-2015

Friday, April 17, 2015
Today's Gift

Resolve to be thyself; and know that who finds their self, loses their misery. --Matthew Arnold

Our need for approval compels us to try to look good - no matter what's going on. We imagine that somehow everything will be okay as long as it looks okay. Our hearts may be breaking from fear, disillusionment, and rejection, real or imagined, but we keep smiling so that no one will guess. Why do we do this to ourselves? Is it so hard to turn to a friend and say, "Hey, I'm hurting. I've been having a bad time and I need help"? Would the earth tremble if we said it right out, just like that?

We're not likely to get what we don't ask for. Instead of denying that our knees are shaking, our hands are sweating, and our stomachs are in torment, we can admit and share the truth. We don't have to say "Fine!" when someone in the program asks us how we're doing. Our real friends aren't impressed by stiff upper lips; they're impressed by personal honesty.

Today, I will tell someone the truth about how I feel. If I'm not fine I won't say that I am.

From the book: Days of Healing, Days of Joy by Earnie Larsen and Carol Larsen Hegarty




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Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Keep It Simple


We create revolution by living it.---Jerry Rubin

There’s a lot wrong in the world---Child abuse, homeless and hungry people, pollution. Our old way of dealing with these troubles was to break the rules or to “drop out” by using chemicals.

Now we have a new way to change the world. We’re changing ourselves. One Day at a Time, we’re acting like the caring , responsible people we want to be. We use the ideas of the program in our lives.

We’re kinder. We’re more honest. We stand up for ourselves and for others who need our help. What if the whole world started working the Steps? What a wonderful world this would be!

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, please work through me today. Help me make the world a little better place.

Action for the Day: I’ll list one thing that bothers me about the world today. How can using the ideas of the program help solve that problem? Remember, the program tells us to look at our own behavior.

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One Day At A Time

The Answer
The answer was on page fifty-eight:
"Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not give themselves to this simple program."
My problem was not that I could not, because I knew I could; my problem was that I would not.
After this discovery, I commenced to follow the program as outlined in the Big Book,
and for the first time in my life, I completely gave myself to this simple program. . .
As a result of practicing the AA principles in all my affairs, I've found a life I never knew existed.
I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude that there's no room for a bad day.
- The Best of the Grapevine [Vol. 3], p. 17

Thought to Ponder . . .
Joy is in knowing there is an answer.

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .
A A = A
nswer Available.


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Daily Motivation

Wishes and actions

Do you wish you had done certain things differently in the past? Going forward, you have the power to make those wishes come true.

There are times when you wish you had been more diligent, more disciplined, more considerate, or any number of things. Though there is nothing you can do about what has already happened, there is everything you can do about what will now take place.

Whatever you’ve wished you had done, this is your chance to do it. This is your opportunity to turn regrets into action.

You don’t have to create any more painful wishes about how life might have been. You can take the actions that will create the life you wish to live.

Take all those wishes about the past and transfer their energy into purposeful actions in the present. Enjoy making life happen the way you choose.

This is your day, filled with great possibilities. This is your moment to stop wishing and start living.

— Ralph Marston




Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Work-In: Daily Motivation 4-16-2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015
Today's Gift

We might not always be able to understand why things happen, we just have to learn to accept it and move on. -Nishan Panwar

We do not have to work so hard at gaining our insights. Yes, we're learning that painful and disappointing things happen, often for a reason and a higher purpose. Yes, these things often work out for good. But we don't have to spend so much time and energy figuring out the purpose and plan for each detail of our life. That's hypervigilence!

Sometimes, the car doesn't start. Sometimes, the dishwasher breaks. Sometimes, we catch a cold. Sometimes, we run out of hot water. Sometimes, we have a bad day. While it helps to achieve acceptance and gratitude for these irritating annoyances, we don't have to process everything and figure out if it's in the scheme of things.

Solve the problem. Get the car repaired. Fix the dishwasher. Nurse yourself through the cold. Wait to take the shower until there's hot water. Nurture yourself through your bad day. Tend to your responsibilities, and don't take everything so personally!

If we need to recognize a particular insight or awareness, we will be guided in that direction. Certainly, we want to watch for patterns. But often, the big insights and the significant processing happen naturally.

We don't have to question every occurrence to see how it fits into the Plan. The Plan - the awareness, the insight, and the potential for personal growth - will reveal itself to us. Perhaps the lesson is to learn to solve our problems without always knowing their significance. Perhaps the lesson is to trust ourselves to live, and experience, life.

Today, I will let things happen without worrying about the significance of each event. I will trust that this will bring about my growth faster than running around with a microscope. I will trust my lessons to reveal themselves in their own time.


From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©




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Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Keep It Simple

No human creature can give order to love. -George Sand

If we are trying to get others to love us, all we’re really doing is trying to be in control. Trying to control others can be a powerful drug. Remember, we can’t control others. We can’t make others love us. Our Higher Power has control, not us.

So, what do we need to do? Turn things over to our Higher Power and just be ourselves. Sure, it can scare us to just be ourselves. The truth is, not everyone will love us. But if we’re honest about who we are, others will respect us. We’ll like ourselves better. And we’ll have a better chance of loving others and being loved.

Prayer for the Day: I pray to have my need for control lifted from me. I pray to be rid of self-will.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list five ways my self-will---my need to control---has gotten me in trouble.

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One Day At A Time

Step Four
"Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."
My Fourth Step showed me to be a liar, cheat, and thief; I was totally ruled by fear and resentment.
I thought of others only in light of my goals and cared about them only as they affected me.
It may be that my life was perfect from a transcendent perspective, but the contingencies were hell -- and it was the contingencies that had my back to the wall.
- The Best of the Grapevine [Vol. 3], pp. 163-164

Thought to Ponder . . .
When I choose the behavior, I choose the consequences.

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .
F E A R = F
ace Everything And Recover.


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Daily Motivation

Not far away

You are not that far away from where you want to be. You are only a single decision, a single instant, a single positive action away from the direction you wish to go.

Whatever you seek is within reach. What you must do, is reach.

You will always be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you make progress. Just go ahead and get started.

Learn from all that has brought you to this point. Be thankful for the wisdom, the experience, the strength and the purposeful sense of determination it has all given you.

Then point that determination in a positive direction, and go. Go with gusto, go with enthusiasm and the greatest of expectations along the path that is already in front of you.

Right now, right here, you are not that far away. Step up and make the journey, for you deserve it.

— Ralph Marston



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Work-In: Daily Motivation 4-15-2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Today's Gift

Just be what you are and speak from your guts and heart - it's all a one has. —Hubert Humphrey

Some of us have doubted our inner voice so completely that we abandoned it totally. Many of us have discovered in the past that by our denial we had violated our inner voice with lies, even to ourselves. Now we question whether we can trust our instincts, and we may not know what we feel.

Spiritual recovery is a return to our guts and our heart. Standing up and speaking from our hearts may be difficult at times, but our self-respect rises as we do. That is where we go for our final decision-making. We develop better reception for the inner voice as we live. We accept that we are never absolutely right. We continue with humility, knowing we may be wrong and listening to others and our Higher Power. Yet we must live with our choices.

I will seek the courage to be faithful to my own instincts.

From Touchstones: A Book of Daily Meditations for Men ©


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Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Keep It Simple

Only those who dare, truly live. --Ruth P. Freedman

We receive from life, from every experience, from each interaction according to what we have given. When we commit ourselves fully to an experience, it will bless us. When we give ourselves wholly to any moment, our awareness of reality will be heightened. When we risk knowing someone else, truly knowing them, we will find ourselves.

How common, and how unfortunate, that so many of us "escape" life! We escape through hiding, hiding from ourselves and others. We fear self-disclosure, our own and someone else's. 

Our experiences today won't come around again---in just the same way. The people in our lives won't say again just what they'll say today. We must not miss out on what life offers. We can risk feeling it all, hearing it all, seeing it all.

Action for the Day: I will accept that the riches of a full life are so easily mine, and so deservedly mine.

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One Day At A Time

Honesty, Open-mindedness, Willingness
We find that no one need have difficulty with the spirituality of the program.
Willingness, honesty and open-mindedness are the essentials of recovery. But these are indispensable.
- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 568

Thought to Ponder . . .
Honesty isn't an event -- it's a process.

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .
H O W = H
onesty, Open-mindedness, Willingness.

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Daily Motivation

What gives you richness

What is easy is not fulfilling. What is fulfilling is not easy.

The effort necessary for achievement is what gives the achievement value. You cannot get anything for free and expect it to make a meaningful difference in your life.

What gives you richness is what you give yourself to. It is a beautiful dynamic and a challenging one.

Grab that challenge, treasure it, work it, grow stronger through your efforts and know the fulfillment it will bring. Find in every day and in every encounter the opportunity to offer life the unique gift of you.

Earn what you enjoy, and enjoy what you earn. Invest yourself in life and take joy to a whole new level.

Now is your chance to give, to make a difference, to make life richer and more meaningful with your efforts. Celebrate life through those efforts, and delight in all the good you can do.

— Ralph Marston