Bob's Daily Thoughts|
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|Wednesday, June 13th, 2018|
|Finding My Long Lost Sister!
After 74 years, I found my lost sister. When my mother was about 20 years old (in 1940) she fell in love with my dad. And she became pregnant. Unfortunately, my dad was married at the time. He caught his wife cheating on him and made the decision in anger that he would do the same to her. In addition, my mom came from a large Catholic Italian family who did not believe in single parenting and insisted that she give up her daughter. So my mom gave up her daughter, named Maryann, for adoption.
My brother and I knew only that we had a sister, named Maryann somewhere. We didn’t know any other details. We looked – mostly my brother, Ron, looked for many years only to run into one blind alley after another. Birth records were well protected by the adoption agency.
My sister, whose name was changed to Joann by her adoption parents, knew only my parents name and my name. She did not even know that in addition to me, she also had a living brother. She also didn’t know if we knew anything about her or would be open to connecting with her.
In the meantime, my cousin, Patricia, had posted information on a genealogy site information containing my name. My sister Joann had 10 children, one of which happened to read my name on her file. She wrote to Patricia asking if I could possibly be the missing link – her mom’s brother.
Well, you can guess what happened next – after 74 years, Patricia notified me of the request for information about my name and connected me with my long lost sister. What a joy! I called my brother and said, “Ron, I have a surprise for you. I think I may have found our sister.” Ron was beside himself – as I was. As we said good-bye, I promised that I would forward any information I had to Ron. As I was typing out the email to Ron, my phone rang. It was Joann.
This all happened within an hour of talking to Patricia. And – here’s the best part for me. This happened within 24 hours of a scheduled triple coronary bypass. I was feeling very positive about the surgery, but nothing like I feel right now. I am so filled with Joy that I have found my sister after all these years. She is alive and well. She is healthy and has 8 living children who are anxious to meet their uncle Bob. God is so amazing. (Or this could all be a coincidence!)
|Monday, June 11th, 2018|
|Trust In God
We have within us deeply rooted weaknesses, passions, and defects. This cannot all be cut out with one sharp motion, but with patience, persistence, care and attention. The path leading to perfection is long. Pray to God so that He will strengthen you. Patiently accept your falls and, having stood up, immediately run to God, not remaining in that place where you have fallen. Do not despair if you keep falling into your old sins. Many of them are strong because they have received the force of habit. Only with the passage of time and with fervor will they be conquered. Don’t let anything deprive you of hope.
St Nectarios of Aegina
|Sunday, June 10th, 2018|
|Thomas Merton Prayer
Thomas Merton Prayer
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore, I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
|Saturday, June 9th, 2018|
|Just For Fun
Fun isn’t something that is given or done to you, it is something that you allow yourself to experience.
As adults, we often get so caught up in “grown up” business that we can forget how to have pure fun. This isn’t the kind of fun that comes from doing a specific kind of activity or being in a specific mood for fun. Rather, this is the fun born from the state of pure being. You see this kind of fun in small children who are so busy being fully present to their lives and in their own bodies that the glow of fun radiates from them just because they are alive: the delight that flashes across the eyes of a child who discovers that water flows with the turn of the tap knob or the squeal of pleasure from a young baby whose tongue is being tickled by cold ice cream; then there’s the full, infectious laughter of a child watching the same hat trick for the fiftieth time.
Back when we were children, this experience of pure delight didn’t have to come from a heightened, heady event in order for us to feel like our day had been made; and it can be that way for us again - if we are willing to remember and reconnect with that part of ourselves that knows how to be in the flow of fun. You can begin this process by reminiscing on what was fun for you as a child. Think about what caused you to giggle in delight or wriggle in pleasure or burst into endless laughter that you couldn’t sit up straight no matter how much you wanted to. Try to spend a few moments with each memory, and really feel what it was like to be in those experiences – allowing that feeling of pure fun to wash over you. It lives, in you – that feeling. It can’t be bottled, manufactured, or sold. You just have to call it back up in order to experience it again.
Pure fun happens when we are fully engaged with ourselves and our world in each moment. It is the spontaneous delight that bubbles out of us when we let go long enough to bring it through; it is the experience of natural, organic pleasure that springs up from our bellies, through our souls, up through our faces, and down to our toes. We’ve naturally known how to have pure fun since we were babies and the flicker of lights caused us to jump to attention from the sheer enjoyment of being able to see. Approach your life today with the knowledge that pure fun isn’t something that is given or done to you; rather, it is something that you allow yourself to experience.
By Madisyn Taylor of The Daily OM
|Friday, June 8th, 2018|
John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!" He was a natural motivator.
If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"
He replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life! I choose the positive side of life."
"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.
"Yes, it is," he said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life."
I reflected on what he said. Soon thereafter, I left the company we worked at to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.
Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.
I happened to run into him about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?"
I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.
"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter," he replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live."
"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.
He continued, "...the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man.' I knew I needed to take action."
"What did you do?" I asked.
"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said John. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes,' I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity!'"
Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."
He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 6:34).
|Thursday, June 7th, 2018|
Some Facts about Dry Drunks
By Bob Martin
• They are a common experience of most recovering people!
• They usually come at (or near) predictable times after your last pill or drink: 6 weeks to 3 months,
5-7 months, 1 year, 18 months, 3 years. They also occur during times of elevated stress or when dealing
with problems. They are common during “The Holidays” or when dealing with major life changes.
• They usually come without warning, i.e. you’re in it before you know it.
• They last from a couple of days to a couple weeks.
Some Common Symptoms:
Fatigue “Achy” all over Clumsy Tired Stiff and sore
Irritable Angry Depressed Fearful Mood Swings Lonely
Isolated Feel “odd” – “out of it” Guilt and shame
Want to be alone “Fed up” “Life’s a bitch” Arrogant – better than others “Nobody understands me” “I’m a failure”
Eating and Sleep Disturbances:
Don’t feel like eating Always have the “munchies” – hungry all the time “Can’t get enough sleep Tired Restless sleep Weird dreams Drinking dreams
Thoughts race Foggy Can’t think straight Go blank “I’m
going crazy” Repetitive thoughts – obsessions Can’t see how one thing relates to another
Problems build up Feel overwhelmed Can’t slow down Feel
overburdened Lose daily structure Can’t get started
Difficulty with prayer Guilt and shame Isolated Angry What’s
the use” Going-through-the-motions Not connected Not grounded
|Wednesday, June 6th, 2018|
|Mentally Strong People
Things Mentally Strong People Do
1. They move on. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves
2. They keep control. They don’t give away their power.
3. They embrace change. They welcome challenges.
4. They stay happy. They don’t complain. The don’t waste energy on things they can’t control.
5. They are kind, fair, and unafraid to speak up. They don’t worry about pleasing other people.
6. They are willing to take calculated risks. They weigh the risks and benefits before taking action.
7. They invest their energy in the present. They don’t dwell on the past.
8. They accept responsibility for their past behavior. They don’t make the same mistakes
over and over.
9. They celebrate other people’s success. They don’t resent that success.
10. They are willing to fail. They don’t give up after failing. They see every failure as a chance
11. They are prepared to work and succeed on their own merits. They don’t feel the world owes
them a living.
12. They enjoy their time alone. They don’t fear being alone.
13. They have staying power. They don’t expect immediate results.
14. They evaluate their core beliefs – and modify as needed.
15. They expend their mental energy wisely. They don’t spend time on unproductive thoughts.
16. They think productively. They replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts.
17. They tolerate discomfort. They accept their feelings without being controlled by them.
18. They reflect on their progress every day. They tale time to consider what they’ve achieved and where they are going.
|Tuesday, June 5th, 2018|
|Uncover Your True Face
If you are wearing a mask to please others, then you have forgotten who you really are, a vast being of light.
Many of us know the feeling of being stuck in a particular role within our families, as if we are wearing masks whenever we see the people we love. Maybe we are the good daughters, expected to always please others, or perhaps we are the family clowns, expected to be jovial and make everyone laugh. This same scenario can play out within a work situation or a group of friends. We may be so good at our role that we hardly even notice that we are wearing a mask, and yet, deep down, we know that we are not free to simply be who we really are. This can leave us feeling unseen and uneasy.
There is nothing inherently wrong with wearing a mask or playing a role. It is a natural part of any social dynamic and it can even be creative and fun. It only becomes a problem when you feel that you have no other choice than to wear that mask, and this is especially challenging if you realize you are never without one. Perhaps you have forgotten who you really are - a vast and unrestricted being of light - and have identified yourself completely with a role. You may be the dutiful, caring son who keeps his parents dysfunctional marriage intact. You may be the angelic wife who enables your husband to continue on a destructive path. You may be the cheerful daughter to a deeply depressed mother. Whatever the case, knowing the motivation behind your performance - the function of your mask - can help to uncover your true face.
Anytime we find ourselves stuck behind a mask, it is an indication that we are entangled in a dysfunctional dynamic in which our true self cannot be seen. We have been placed in this situation for the purpose of our own healing and, in some cases, the healing of others. From this perspective, life can be seen as a series of situations that call us to remove our masks - gently, and with great compassion for all concerned - to reveal the beauty underneath.
By Madisyn Taylor of The Daily OM
|Monday, June 4th, 2018|
|Just Do It
"The Old Ones have always said that no matter who despises or ignores you, no matter who keeps you from entering their circles, it is right to pray for them because the are like us, too." - Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
You don't know how an apple tastes until you taste it. You don't know what a fish tastes like until you eat it. You don't know how it is to be a woman unless you are one. You don't know what it means to have a baby until you have one. So it is with the natural laws. An example: the natural law of forgiveness says, if you hate someone, pray for the person to be blessed with happiness, joy and all the blessings of the Great Spirit. You will not know about this law unless you do it. The natural law says love others as you love yourself. If you hate yourself or feel guilt in some area of yourself, you will tend to judge and condemn your neighbor. You cannot give away what you don't have. You teach your children by your example, not by your words. The natural laws are written in our hearts.
Great Spirit, teach me how to look into my heart.
From - Elder's Meditation of the Day
|Sunday, June 3rd, 2018|
There’d be times when you’d mess up big
times you’d fail
times you’d trip so hard
you’d get knocked down bad
Times like that you’d want to quit
but BEGIN AGAIN.
There’d be times when you’d say
“Enough is enough,
I’ve really had it now,
why bother trying?”
Yeah, there’d be times you’d get so tired
but still, BEGIN AGAIN.
There’d be times you’d think
you’ve just lost everything
times you’ve risked it all
and got back nothin’
Times like that you’d feel
everything you’ve worked so hard for
were in vain, but BEGIN AGAIN.
There’d be a second wind,
there’d be another star,
there’d be another hand,
to help you rise again.
Don’t start quitting,
never stop dreaming.
A new tomorrow waits
for those who dare –
to BEGIN AGAIN.
|Saturday, June 2nd, 2018|
“Gratitude is a fruit of a great civilization – you do not find it among gross people” – Samuel Johnson.
Samuel Johnson’s quote could easily have been written about this site. The attitude of gratitude is an absolutely crucial tool to successful recovery. Gratitude is the measure of our appreciation for what we’ve been given. We in Program have SO much for which to be thankful. We stand on the shoulders of giants – we are indebted to those members who’ve preceded us in Program and handed down the tools, wisdom and resources – the bedrock upon which our recovery is based we are indebted to our HP, our sponsors, to those who do service innumerable ways at ITR and – to each other = for mutual love and support – and for our precious gift of recovery. I am grateful for each day, for each moment.
One Day at a Time … I will continue to practice the attitude of gratitude and learn to forgive others.
|Friday, June 1st, 2018|
|Real True Love
The wonderful love of a beautiful maid,
And the love of a staunch true man,
And the love of a baby unafraid
Has existed since life began.
But the greatest love, that ultimate love,
Even greater than that of a mother,
Is the tender & passionate, infinite love,
Of one drunken bum for another.
|Thursday, May 31st, 2018|
|Pain and Suffering?
We have perennially tended to equate suffering and sadness with value and depth.
I remember my novice master challenging us with the notion that there is no recorded incident in scripture of Jesus laughing; the idea being that all of Jesus’ depth took its root inside his suffering. Laughter and lightness of heart are to be seen as superficial.
Any good psychologist, spiritual director, or mentor of soul, will tell you that most often, real growth and maturity of soul are triggered by deep suffering and pain in our lives. It’s not so much that God doesn’t speak as clearly to us in our joys and successes, but we tend not to be listening in those moments. Suffering gets our attention.
As C.S. Lewis once said, pain is God’s microphone to a deaf world. There is, undeniably, a connection between suffering and depth of soul.
We must be careful not to read too much into this. When we look at Jesus, and many other wonderfully healthy people, we see that depth of soul is also connected to the joyous and celebratory moments of life. Jesus scandalized people equally in both his capacity to enter into suffering and renounce worldly joys and in his capacity to thoroughly enjoy the moment, as is evident in the incident where a woman anoints his feet with a very expensive perfume. His depth of soul arose both from his suffering and from his joy. And his gratitude, I suspect, arose more out of the latter than the former.
In his novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the Czech writer, Milan Kundera, weighs the equation: What is of more value, heaviness or lightness? His answer: heaviness can crush us, but lightness can be unbearable: “The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But … the heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of a burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into the heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant."
What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness? … That is the question. The only certainty is: the lightness/weight opposition is the most mysterious, most ambiguous of all."
Truly it is.
Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI
|Wednesday, May 30th, 2018|
|Don't Forget To Live
First, I was dying to get my driver’s license.
Then, I was dying to be old enough to drink.
Then, I was dying to finish high-school and start college.
Then I was dying to finish college and start working.
Next, I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school, so I could return to work.
Next, I was dying for a promotion.
Then, I was dying to go to Europe.
Next, I was dying to play with my grandchildren.
Then, I was dying to get sober.
Finally, I was dying to retire.
And now, I am dying!
We live as if we are never going to die,
and we die as if we never lived...
Today is all we have! Live it to the fullest!
|Tuesday, May 29th, 2018|
Do you know the story of the touchstone? It tells of a fortunate man
who was told that, if he should possess the "touchstone," its magical
powers could give him anything he wanted. The touchstone could be
found, he was informed, among the pebbles of a certain beach. All he
need do is pick up a stone -- if it feels warm to the touch, unlike
the other pebbles, he has found the magical touchstone.
The man went immediately to the beach and began picking up stones.
When he grasped a pebble that felt cold, he threw it into the sea.
This practice he continued hour after hour, day after day, week after
week. Each pebble felt cold. Each pebble was immediately tossed into
But then, late one morning, he happened to take hold of a pebble that
felt warm, unlike the other stones. The man, whose consciousness had
barely registered the difference, tossed it into the sea. He hadn't
meant to, but he had formed a habit!
Any behavior that we repeat, we reinforce. If we repeat it often
enough, it becomes habit. That, of course, can work to our advantage
or work against us, depending on the behavior.
Is there a behavior you would like to make into a habit? Then
reinforce it by repeating that behavior at every opportunity. Is there
a behavior you wish to change? Then substitute another one and repeat
the new one often. In this way you build the kind of life you
want...day by day.
From Steve Goodier's RICHES OF THE HEART
|Monday, May 28th, 2018|
“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.”
- James A. Garfield
May 30, 1868 Arlington National Cemetery
|Sunday, May 27th, 2018|
|Going To The Gone
A checklist for Memorial Day
Go look in on your children still asleep
within their bed.
Remind yourself they're safe and warm
because of some long dead.
Go for a walk through cemeteries
lined with little flags.
Take time to ponder homebound heroes
flown in body bags.
Go stand between those granite stones
engraved with names and dates.
Imagine all who died defending
our United States.
Go on and kneel beside a marker
offering a prayer
with gratitude for those who gave their lives
Go home and count your blessings
from the hands of those now gone.
Then vow to the Almighty that their
mem'ry will live on.
by Greg Asimakoupoulos
|Friday, May 25th, 2018|
1. Detachment is simply watching the events that are unfolding around you, getting involved only when your journey is part of the experience
2. Detachment is stepping back from an experience in order to allow room for God to do His part.
3. Detachment is minding your own business.
4. Detachment is taking no hostages.
5. Detachment is giving up outcomes.
6. Detachment is letting all solutions be determined by God.
7. Detachment is understanding we are never the cause of someone else’s actions.
8. Detachment frees up our time and simplifies our lives.
9. Detachment means freedom from obsession.
10. Detachment is not making a big deal of situations even complicated ones.
11. Detachment improves us.
12. Detachment frees us from our reactions.
13. Detachment may be doing or saying nothing.
14. Detachment is disengaging, nothing more.
15. Detachment means not letting the behavior of others cause you to suffer.
16. Detachment is not letting someone else’s past determine your present.
17. Detachment is noticing people without judgment.
18. Detachment is freedom from chaos.
19. Detachment is letting decisions that need to be made by others be only theirs.
20. Detachment is not being dependent on others for good feelings.
21. Detachment is never letting someone else control how we think, feel, or behave.
22. Detachment is knowing that other’s criticisms are about them.
23. Attachment to God is what makes detachment possible.
24. Attachment to anyone other than God imprisons us.
25. Detachment is not letting the mood swings of others determine your own mood.
|Thursday, May 24th, 2018|
|May You ...
• May you fall into your own arms.
• May you speak the words you need to hear.
• May you have gratitude with each breath.
• May you build dreams with faith.
• May you embrace your soul with kindness.
• May you bring wisdom from your past.
• May you choose peace instead of anger
• May you see the light in your darkest night.
• Stumble upon yourself when lost.
• May you uncover courage beneath these fears.
• May you accept mistakes with humility.
• May you practice forgiveness to heal wounds.
• May you see the beauty of your imperfections.
• May you find love within your own heart.
|Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018|
|Love Beyond Naïveté and Romance
Several years ago, a Presbyterian minister I know challenged his congregation to open its doors and its heart more fully to the poor.
The congregation initially responded with enthusiasm and a number of programs were introduced that actively invited people from the less-privileged economic areas of the city, including a number of street-people, to come their church.
But the romance soon died as coffee cups and other loose items began to disappear, some handbags were stolen, and the church and meeting space were often left messy and soiled. A number of the congregation began to complain and demand an end to the experiment: "This isn't what we expected! Our church isn't clean and safe anymore! We wanted to reach out to these people and this is what we get! This is too messy to continue!"
But the minister held his ground, pointing out that their expectations were naïve, that what they were experiencing was precisely part of the cost of reaching out to the poor, and that Jesus assures us that loving is unsafe and messy, not just in reaching out to the poor but in reaching out to anyone.
We like to think of ourselves as gracious and loving, but, the truth be told, that is predicated on an overly naïve and overly romanticized notion of love. We don't really love as Jesus invites us to when he says: Love each other as I have loved you! The tail end of that sentence contains the challenge: Jesus doesn't say, love each other according to the spontaneous movements of your heart; nor, love each other as society defines love, but rather: Love each other as I have loved you!
Fr Ron Rolheiser, OMI