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The Essential Me

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I’m juggling a lot of stressful family and work responsibilities right now. It’s easy to get lost in the potent stew of “must-do’s,” worry, and expectations (both mine and others’) and find myself trying to control events, people, feelings, and outcomes and make everything “right.” (Right, of course, means “my way.”) That’s how I used to live, on the adrenaline that goes with all that.

Yesterday, after a particularly emotional event, at a location where I’d had a long history of compulsive eating, I found my mind wandering. It was thinking about the old “junk-food pals” I used to hang out with and all the places I could get them—my mind does this; it does it’s own thing. But my mind is not “me,” not all of me, at least. There are some things my mind is good at: it’s a good calculator, for example, and it has some thinking, writing, and speaking skills. But there are a lot of things it’s not good at: leading me to green pastures and quiet waters is not its strong suit. It often ruminates, and, especially under stress, it latches on to old, familiar patterns. If I followed my impulsive mind down some of its rabbit holes, I’d be in big trouble.

I have a more authentic “me” that can observe what’s going on with my body, my feelings, and my mind. This is the essential “me” that connects with God/ HP. That’s the path that shows me Good Orderly Direction. This is the “me” that differentiates between reacting and responding. It’s the one that checks with God/HP, listens, and pauses before acting, speaking, or hopping willy-nilly from one impulse to another.

The new way I live is to continue doing my daily footwork, no matter what, as best I can today. My footwork includes prayer and meditation, working the Twelve Steps, and using the Tools. For example, I was thinking it was too much for me to write about this topic right now, yet here I am, using the Tools of writing and service, and it is reminding me of what to do to stay sane in a difficult time. Now, in a stressful situation, I try to breathe, pause, and check in with what’s going on in my body, mind, and emotions. I try to connect with God/HP before I chase after an impulse. There may be a better, more helpful response in the situation.

Have you been “losing yourself” in the activities, pressures, and distractions of daily life? What footwork do you do to avoid this or get back from it?

— Cait W., Scott Bar, CA USA

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