The Starfish Story

I love the Starfish Story:
A couple was taking a romantic walk along the beach, when they suddenly came upon an expanse of sand with thousands and thousands of starfish strewn across the sand. The starfish were in obvious distress, and would certainly die if they did not regain access to the ocean.

The woman picked up one of the starfish and threw it back in the ocean, and then another, and another. The man, recognizing the futility of her efforts, said, “Stop, Stop – what are you doing? There are thousands and thousands of starfish here, dying, and you can’t change that or throw them all back.” As she picked up another one, and tossed it into the sea, he continued, “I know you care – and I love you for that – but there are just too many of these starfish for what you’re doing to matter.”

As that fourth starfish landed in the surf, she turned to her man and said, “It matters to that one.”

May you never become so discouraged – by the never-ending parade of newcomers who come through our doors, and then go back out and disappear – that you stop being kind, stop being helpful, and stop picking them up (one at a time) and throwing them into the surf (the Spiritual Fellowship and the Steps of recovery). At the very least, it may save your life, and you never know when your effort(s) will create a tipping point that allows someone to stay.

Photo: I love the Starfish Story:
A couple was taking a romantic walk along the beach, when they suddenly came upon an expanse of sand with thousands and thousands of starfish strewn across the sand. The starfish were in obvious distress, and would certainly die if they did not regain access to the ocean. 

The woman picked up one of the starfish and threw it back in the ocean, and then another, and another. The man, recognizing the futility of her efforts, said, "Stop, Stop - what are you doing? There are thousands and thousands of starfish here, dying, and you can't change that or throw them all back." As she picked up another one, and tossed it into the sea, he continued, "I know you care - and I love you for that - but there are just too many of these starfish for what you're doing to matter."

As that fourth starfish landed in the surf, she turned to her man and said, "It matters to that one."

May you never become so discouraged - by the never-ending parade of newcomers who come through our doors, and then go back out and disappear - that you stop being kind, stop being helpful, and stop picking them up (one at a time) and throwing them into the surf (the Spiritual Fellowship and the Steps of recovery). At the very least, it may save your life, and you never know when your effort(s) will create a tipping point that allows someone to stay.

In Prayer: Look for Relief NOT Results

One of my favorite quotations – when Abraham Lincoln was asked: “Sir, why do you pray”? His response,…………”Because I have nowhere else to go.” We are inclined to believe what one great book says: “That which you pray for and truly believe, so it shall be yours.” I guess that’s making the assertion that Faith can overcome reality. No, it can’t. Nor is it meant to.
What is more realistic in prayer is to seek guidance and comfort, strength and wisdom, non-material gifts as well as insight.  If we arrive at prayer in peace and humility, if we are willing to open the channel, sometimes during and sometimes later we are inspired intuitively. We receive courage which gives us the strength to adapt and to realize, “Good things come to those who wait and This Too Shall Pass.”
If you are praying for the job, the woman or man, the change in others actions, the money, the power,…..I tell you here that the odds (as we say in the stock market) are long. But,…if you are weary, fearful, saddened, confused or angry, prayer can help you – (along with our regular meditation practice of Breath Meditation – (see the book appendice on Prayer & Meditation www.livingtwelvestepsrecovery.com) – learn the greatest skills of recovery: Emotional Control and Adaptation. You bend with the wind and your stalk becomes more resilient. Namaste

November 16
Pausing in the Moment for Prayer

As it progresses, each day will doubtless present moments in which
decisions must be made over situations we encounter. On these occasions
we ought to renew our simple request to the God of our understanding:
“Thy will be done, not mine.”
What about when instances of our emotional disturbance seem
greater than our patience and tolerance can bear? We can find and
keep our balance provided that we pause, remembering and repeating
a particular prayer that has appealed to us in our meditation or readings.
This will bring us courage, strength, and focus. We may even
find the possibility that instances we’ll face bring their own words of
prayer to us.
Pausing to focus, then saying our prayer over and over will often
allow us to clear a choked channel that’s blocked by anger, frustration,
fear, or misunderstanding. A practice that brings us a moment to collect
ourselves, returning to the surest help of all—our search for God’s
will and aligning our own to it. Therein lays probable relief from our
moments of stress.
Resting for a moment of meditation and prayer during crucial instances,
we might remind ourselves that it is better to comfort than
to be comforted, to understand than to be understood, to love than
to be loved. It’s been said that “faith is courage under fire.” It may also
be agreed that a pause for meditation and prayer provides us with the
peace gathering purpose found in Step Eleven’s intent.

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Breathing: The Basis of all Meditation

Oxygen
Air
Basic elements of life upon the earth – constant contact of ALL it’s creatures, moves through us in the involuntary act of breathing.
We improve our conscious contact with our mother the earth, life and the powers of the universe, rediscovering the presence of the present through conscious Breath Meditation.
Focusing on our breathing, doing it more fully, slowing our rate of respiration , we find our empathetic and harmonic life rhythm.

With this exercise we lead ourselves from the constant interruptions of the subconscious mind to a place of spiritual peace – between our thoughts.

A reading from “Living the 12 Steps of Recovery – One day at a Time – As It Was in the Beginning” (www.livingtwelvestepsrecovery.com)

We Must Slow Down to Meditate

Taking several deep, long breaths, we might now reread the preceding prayer, very slowly. This breathing exercise allows us to pace ourselves and savor every word, while we try to take in the deep meaning of each phrase and idea. Immense help will be found if we can drop all resistance to what our friend has written in the prayer, made possible by slowing our pace. We cannot relax or achieve consciousness of the moment
without continued practice. Let’s remember, debate has no place in meditation and, as such, finding the willingness to surrender is essential in achieving the desired results. In order that we may experience and learn from this lesson, we rest quietly in the thoughts of someone who knows—that being our prayer’s author.
Let’s imagine we are lying undisturbed on a spiritual beach, relaxing and breathing the atmosphere there while saying this prayer. As we partake, we can be strengthened, allowing ourselves to be lifted up by the sheer beauty, spiritual power, and love these magnificent words are the carriers of.
From this setting, let’s now look upon the sea and its apparent endless horizon. In the eternal distance beyond that place, we contemplate all the wonders we will seek that are yet unseen. This respite we have found can become our meditation’s spiritual location, but we can only go there if we’re first willing to reduce our pace to a slower speed of life.

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