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PRACTICE: Stop … and Start

Practice Starting:

S – Synthesize:  Those who are familiar with 12-step know that a critical component of healing and health is completing a 4th Step. Important words within the Step “instructions” include:  inventory, fearless, moral, searching.  Wowzer!  This Step can be seen as terrifying ~ or oh-so liberating.  Perspective. For those who have never completed a 4th Step before, the prospect is often terrifying. For those who have, they truly know the emotional freedom that takes place. Each and every future 4th Step is done with a willingness to release gar-bahge that has, humanly, accumulated since the last time. (Note here:  doing this type of inventory does not require one to be in 12-Step, or even having ever heard of it. It’s the act of  inspection/ introspection that is universal.)  In order to “stop being who you were”  and to “change into who you are“; shedding the not-me-anymore frees the who-I-am-today. It is a powerful process of synthesizing the bestest of Self from the past into the framework of the me-today.  Everyone has wonderful qualities and characteristics that deserve to be brought forward. Everyone has equally less-than-sterling qualities and characteristics that hamper the experiences of joy and fullness-of-life in Today.  Rarely does one ‘dump it all’ and emerge from some spiritual and mental chrysalis as A Shining One. It is a process, repeatedly. A synthesis as one travels Life. A refining. An embracing. A letting go. (As was what was once said to Mikey: Try it. You’ll like it.)   Start the synthesis today. All one has to lose is what ‘was’ that no longer serves.
T – Truth:  Ah … to quote the Bard, therein lies the rub. Truth-telling. To Self, first and foremost, and then to others. Communicating Truth-telling (to self or others) is not just in verbal or written forms. Body language, facial expressions, sighs, snorts, smiles ~ all communicate.  Non-verbal actions communicate. Believing one’s Negative Committee (monkey-mind and “shoulding” on one’s self) is another form of negative communication. People-pleasing, needing to be-all-do-all, ‘knowing’ what’s best for others …. these are simply examples of codependent behaviors ~ and are barriers to living in integrity with Self and others. Some folks often demand “brutal honesty.”  I find those who l-u-u-u-v this manner of communicating simply just l-u-u-u-v being brutal, rude, cruel, cutting…. on and on. (I’ve advocated truth-telling for years ~ with the caveat that honesty, without compassion, is cruelty.) Stepping into defining one’s Truth begins at looking at old-held beliefs. Like expiration dates on foods in the back of the cupboard or freezer ~ time to check for dates/beliefs that have expired. Find the Truth for self, do an ‘ego’ search, then speak (and live) your Truth.  Things like:  I like Twinkies;  I don’t want to recycle K-cups;  I do color my beard;  I don’t wear a seatbelt;  I do sleep in on sundays. I don’t like tofu.  Silly things ~ yet not. Truthful things.   Another Bard quote: To thine own self be true. Be who you are, starting today.
A – Acceptance:  To many the word Acceptance is associated with being weak, mousy, being minimalized. To others it means to  condone history/ behavior/ the past. Neither of those is it. In Truth, Acceptance is a big breath of fresh air; a lightening; a freedom to move away from the mental holding-on of woundings (real or imagined) and toward futures. At the base of Acceptance is the recognition that “it is what it is.”  No falsehoods; no wishin’ it ain’t so. No inventory-taking of self or others, or moralistic valuation of ‘good’ or ‘bad.’  Yes, the kids at camp short-sheeted my bed. Yes, I was called four-eyes. Yes, I was cruel to my mate. Yes, they did that to me. Yes, I did that to them. Yes … I did that to myself. Then.  And …  they are not doing that now.  I am not doing that now. Through Acceptance of what was being what it was, I lovingly release ‘them’ from occupying my mindspace. I kindly and lovingly close that chapter of and in my life, taking with me only the knowledge of my strength to Start anew.
R – Resolve:  I love hyphenating words:  mis-take; dis-ease; and this one ~ re-solve.  If I am wanting to resolve an issue, all it takes (hahaha) is a reframing of what the issue really is, open up my willingness (putting on the big-girl panties or manning-up) to stop the disagreement ~ the confusion ~ the conundrum … stop the insanity !!   Stop living in the problem and begin living in a solution. If the Hatfields and McCoys (or the republicans and the democrats … or the carnivores and the vegans … or …. you get the picture) spent half as much time looking to Resolve the disputes as they did and do maintaining bitterness and separation, the world (and they themselves) would feel / do / be a heck of alot better. See the Truth. Find Acceptance for ‘different.’ Then Resolve to live differently. Become the new you you are today. Find a sense of peace.   
T – Trust:  Trust, and the issue thereof, is such a powerful action. It is often the end results of the search for truth, acceptance, and resolve. I remember hearing long, long ago that “Trust is earned.”  I was a bit confused how a gift I give is earned by someone else!  Greater clarity arrived over time ~ especially as I went through many a phase of trusting untrustworthy people. (That sounds awfully judgmental ~ doesn’t it !!) What I have since come to recognize is that it wasn’t so much about ‘them’ being untrustworthy, it was about me and my naivete’ ~ and yes, gullibility ~ in not listening to my inner voice ~ my gut ~ when it came to certain people, places, things and events.  Sooo … the real lesson was to learn to Trust myself ~ my inner voice ~ my gut, and then apply that ‘data’ to the situations at hand.  In my youth, I was taught, basically, to not trust the world, as it was a place (based on my environment – growing up with the military ~ always prepared to fight a battle somewhere against someone) that was unsafe. I do not believe that today. Yet, boy howdy, it took a great deal of reframing and synthesis to get there. To get here. I hope you get to that place if you’re not already there. It is empowering, gracious, and opens the world up. When you S.T.A.R.T, you are well on your way. Trust me!
Lin Church, Mssw
Coach ~ Mentor ~ Writer ~ Presenter:  JourneyWoman