Risk

Just before going to sleep last night I started thinking horrible thoughts. I focused on my inability to find a job. Then I concentrated on being with my husband or not being with him. I criticized myself for being a failure at making friends. My loneliness let me to feel that I am not okay.
This morning the alarm woke me with a start and I crawled out of bed to go for an early morning run. While I was running in the early morning light I heard the first flock of geese heading south for the winter. Just when I started to feel good and I wanted to keep running, I remembered my agenda. I planned to eat right, take a shower, and meditate before sharing a long ride to our Al-Anon writing workshop. I filled my mind with dread about being with people for such a long drive. I imagined that might have all sorts of bad moods. I wondered if there was any point in attending another Al-Anon function while my life remained so unmanageable.
The women in the car turned out to be very considerate and chatty. I identified with almost everything the said, but I avoided talking because I have a tendency not to listen. Eventually I admired their courage for speaking out and felt safe enough to join the conversation. I tried to be myself and share, which I did a little, but I really enjoyed listening, too.
Sometimes I wonder if it is healthier to Listen and Learn or to blurt out whatever is on my mind. Taking short time-outs to listen really helps me understand, but I also want to quit censoring myself. I would like to relax with who I am, instead of experiencing so much doubt, hesitation, and fear. I would also like to learn how to be myself and appreciate others, without criticizing or feeling off balance.
By coming here today for an Al-Anon writing workshop, I took a risk. I got up early, went for a run, ate right, made myself presentable, and prayed. Now I am writing my thoughts and feelings because I trust I have something worth saying, that I am a good person and I deserve to be happy. I would really like to just relax and be myself.

Guidance

Saturday morning while sitting on my bed I reached for the phone and called Quincy. Although this was an Al-Anon call, Quincy was in a hurry and needed to go. “Will you be at the meeting Tuesday night?” she asked.
I better be,” I said, “I have the program. Anything you want for a topic?”
“I’m in a hurry. Just don’t talk about that pray-for-guidance stuff!” Quincy laughed and hung up the phone. So that was my cue to talk about guidance.
Thinking about my experience, strength, and hope, I wondered what I would share with the group about guidance. Earlier that morning I had been praying for guidance concerning my work. It seemed as though the answers from my Higher Power were not very clear.
The longer I thought, the more I remembered. Hadn’t I always received guidance from my Higher Power – whom I call God? After all, God guided me through the doors of Al-Anon. My willingness to receive that guidance was so important. I needed to surrender my will to God’s will. I thought about how many times I heard just the right words from someone in Al-Anon or read just the right words in our literature. I thought about the guidance I often received through meditation and from just being still for a moment.
When I meditated on the word guidance, I kept seeing “dance” at the end of the word. I remember reading that doing God’s will is a lot like dancing. When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The movement doesn’t flow with the music, and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky. When one person relaxes and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to flow with the music. One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge on the back or by pressing lightly in one direction or another. It’s as if two become one body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender, willingness, and attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance from the the other.
My eyes drew back to the word guidance. When I saw “G”, I thought of God, followed by “u” and “i”. God, “u” and “i” dance. God, you and I dance. This statement is what guidance means to me.
As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust that I would get guidance about work. Once again, I became willing to let God lead.