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Old 05-01-2012, 01:40 AM   #1
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more language of letting go for May

Learn to say when

Chip turned the rented four-wheel drive Chevy Blazer off the road and into an open field. The three of us, Chip, Andy, and myself, were in Florida on a spur-of-the-moment road trip. We had met Andy at the drop zone, where he'd been trying out for a skydiving team. Now the three of us were on our way to Orlando. It had rained the day before. We started to tear through the field, when the right wheels slipped into a ditch.

Chip rocked the truck, backward and forward. The right wheels sunk deeper. Andy hopped out of the truck, looked around, and then climbed back in. "We're stuck," he said.

"I've got my cell phone," I said. "I'll call for help...."

Chip and Andy stared at me.

"You said you wanted an adventure," Chip said. "Well, this is it."

We all got out of the Blazer. The right wheels were entrenched in a ravine, and a large log was jammed into the underside of the vehicle. Andy had a plan. We'd each try to find boards or wood that could be placed under the wheels. We returned twenty minutes later. The guys propped the wood under the tires. Chip got in the truck. The engine revved. The wheels spun. Mud sprayed. The truck didn't move.

"I could call a tow truck," I offered again.

About one-quarter mile away from the field was an intersection that promised,at least eventually, some passerby. We tromped to the intersection and waited. Before long, we flagged down an old cadillac with a man and a young woman in it.

The man promised to return in a few minutes with his truck and his brother.

About fifteen minutes later, the two men and the woman appeared in a truck. They hooked a chain to the Blazer. Then they got in their truck and drove slowly away. They revved their engine. Mud sprayed. Then snap, the chain broke.

We looked at their truck. We looked at the stuck, muddy Blazer. We looked at the broken chain.

"Sorry," the two men said.

"Thanks for trying," we said. "Try calling a tow place," the taller of the two men said. "They'll come and get you out."

Andy, Chip, and I got back into the stuck truck.

"Well," I said. "Are you ready to call a tow truck now?"

The truck arrived. The professional tower had us out in fifteen minutes, and we were on our way to Orlando. We had been stuck for more than six hours. The entire time, we all knew what we had to do to get out: call the tow truck. For a variety of reasons, we didn't want to do that until we got tired of being stuck.

Sometimes, getting stuck is the adventure at hand. We might not know what to do to move forward. Or we may be enjoying the drama of being stuck. We may be stuck in a grinding situation in a relationship. We may be at a plateau in our career. We may be stuck in our spiritual growth. We may have at one time liked and wanted to be where we've found ourselves, but now it's time to move on.

Learning to say when-- whether it's when we want something more, or something else, or when we've had enough-- is an important part of using the language of letting go.

God, help me remember that I have the power to say when.
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:19 AM   #2
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Say when it's enough

"Say when," my friend says as she refills my glass, meaning she wants me to tell her when I have enough juice.

Saying when is a simple idea that we can use in our daily lives, as well. Sometimes there is no visible end to the troubles that beset us, and all we can do is seek shelter from the storm. But often, it's up to us to decide when we have had enough. An irritant might be just a minor inconvenience for a while, but the longer it lingers, the more irritating it becomes. Say when. Say that you have had enough, and refuse to let the irritant into your life anymore.

A draining person can latch on to a sympathetic ear. Know when that person is starting to take more than we are willing to give. Say when. The same can also be true of good things. Some of my friends like to make five, seven, and even ten or more skydives in a single day. I don't. I love the sport, but I also know when it becomes too much of a good thing for me. I say when.

Be aware of how much your cup can hold. When you have had enough, say when.

God, help me know and respect my limits.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:28 AM   #3
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Say when it's too much

I was sitting at the bus stop many years ago watching impatiently for the bus. I had been patient for so long-- taking the bus to the grocery store, lugging big bags of groceries home. Whenever I found myself feeling irritated about not having a car, I'd be grateful. I'd be grateful that I was sober and that I could get around. I'd be grateful for all the good things in my life.

Yet, it was getting harder and harder to be grateful.

The bus finally arrived, and I bustled my way on with my heavy bags, then lugged them the two blocks to my apartment after the bus dropped me off. I didn't want to cry, but I couldn't help it that day.

"God, I'm getting sick of walking and taking the bus," I said. "I'm tired of this. How much longer do I have to wait to get a car?"

Within two months, I was driving an automobile.

It's important to be grateful. But sometimes, repressing our emotions and not saying how we feel about a situation is a form of trying to control the situation,too. We think if we hold our breath, don't complain, and do everything right, the universe will just benevolently give us what we want.

Is there some situation in your life that you've been hoping would magically get better if you bit your lip and wished long enough? If you've started playing the waiting game in a particular situation, tell yourself how you really feel.

Maybe it's time to say when.

God, help my forgive myself for having needs and desires.
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Old 05-04-2012, 01:44 AM   #4
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Know when to say no

Saying no is another way of saying when. For some of us, the hardest word in the language to speak is the short, simple word no. Instead of saying no, we toil on. What will he think if I say no? Mary won't be my friend if I don't do this. The project won't get done unless I do it. I'm not a team player when I say no. A good Christian needs to sacrifice himself. Saying no is selfish. And the list goes on. We abuse ourselves, take on more than we want, and find ourselves bitter and resentful. And we've done it to ourselves.

Know your limits. Know when to say no. There may be a few people who are offended by the limits that you set, but usually those are the ones trying to control or manipulate you. Some well-meaning colleagues may tell you that you're being selfish, but your ultimate responsibility is to yourself. That responsibility includes knowing how and when to set limits.

Look at your schedule. Are you so overloaded or booked that you can't see when you could have any time for fun, relaxing, or your own personal growth? It may be time for you to start setting limits. Remember, you get to decide what's best for you.

Learn to say no and stand by your choice.

God, help me to have the strength to set reasonable limits for myself and to tell others when I cannot help them. Help me learn to say no.
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Old 05-05-2012, 12:50 AM   #5
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more language of letting go

Learn when to say no or yes

Read the following sentences out loud.


"No, this doesn't work for me."

"No, thank you. This doesn't feel right for me at this time."

Now try this.

"I have to think about that first, before I can decide, I'll get back to you later."

"I've thought about it, and the answer is no."

Now, read this.

"I know I said yes and that this was what I wanted. But I've changed my mind. This isn't working out for me. It's not right for me anymore. I'm sorry for any inconvenience I might have caused you."

Now, this.

"Go away and don't call anymore."

See, you can say all those things you thought you couldn't.

Now, read these sentences out loud.


"Maybe, but I'm leaning toward no."

"Maybe. It sounds interesting, but I'm not sure."

"Yes. That would be nice."

"Yes, I'd love to."

"Yes, but the time isn't right for me now."

Those are your basic choices, with a few variations. Learn them. Memorize them. Then ask yourself when each answer applies.

Learn to honestly tell people what your real answer is. Look into your heart to decide when a thing is, or isn't, right for you.

God, help me trust myself about when it's right to say no, maybe, and yes. Then help me express myself in an honest, loving way.

Activity: Do you have a difficult time expressing yourself? What is the most difficult thing for you to tell people-- no or yes? Try giving yourself permission by writing yourself a permission slip, then carrying it around in your purse or wallet. It might read something like this: Dorothy has permission to say no whenever she wants. Or it might read: I have permission to say no ten times this week, and yes five times. Then sign the slip, and let it be a reminder to you to own your power by saying no, yes, maybe whenever each of those answers is right for you.
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Old 05-06-2012, 02:35 AM   #6
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more language of letting go

Say when it's worn out

Throw it away when it wears out.

John and Al were talking one day about a mutual friend, someone they both knew and liked. "Mark thinks he has to be in pain all the time," John said. "He defines himself by his resentments. He's always angry, always upset, and so deeply concerned about how terrible and tragic life is that he's always pulling out his hair and wailing about life. I'm worried about him," John said.

"Let him go," Al said. "People need to wear things out. They need to take their time wearing out their beliefs and attitudes before they're ready to throw them away. You've needed your time to do this. So have I. Give Mark the time he needs-- however long that is-- to wear his beliefs out too."

Are you attached to any beliefs that are sabotaging your life-- beliefs about your ability to be happy, joyous, and free? Life is a journey through places, through people, and through our beliefs. We wear these beliefs out one by one, shedding them and making room for a little more light.

Give other people the time and freedom to wear out their beliefs. Give yourself that freedom,too.

Right now, this moment, you're wearing out a belief. Look around at your life. Trust where you are. Trust what you're going through. Some belief is wearing thin right now, as you read this. Say when it's time to throw out that belief.

You are loveable. You are beautiful, just as you are. You have a purpose. There's a plan for your life. You can take care of yourself. You can think, feel, and solve your problems. Sometimes life is hard, but it doesn't have to be a struggle. And it doesn't have to hurt that much and that long. Not anymore. You can detach, and you can detach in love.

Look in the mirror for a few minutes. Instead of just being honest with yourself about what you see, be honest with yourself about what you believe about who you see.

God, help me let go of my limiting and sabotaging beliefs.
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Old 05-07-2012, 12:27 AM   #7
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more language of letting go

Say when it's time to stop coping

In her book Recovering from the Loss of a Child, author Katherine Fair Donnelly writes of a man whose infant daughter Robyn, died from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).The child had died in the stroller, while the mother was out walking her. Th father had stopped to get a haircut that day and was given a number for his turn.

"It was something he never did again in future years," Donnelly wrote. "He would never take a number at the barber's and always came home first to make sure everything was all right. Then he would go and get a haircut. It became one of the ways he found of coping."

I hate "coping." It's not living. It's not being free. It reeks of "surviving."

But sometimes it's the best we can do, for a while.

Eight years after my son died, I was signing the papers to purchase a home. It was the first home I had bought since his death. The night before he died, I had also signed papers to buy a new home. I didn't know that I had begun to associate buying a home with his death, until I noticed my hand trembling and my heart pounding as I finished signing the purchase agreement. For eight years, I had simply avoided buying a home, renting one less-than-desirable place after another and complaining about the travails of being a renter. I only knew then that I was "never going to buy another house again." I didn't understand that I was coping.

Many of us find ways of coping. As children,we may have become very angry with our parents. Having no recourse, we may have said to ourselves, "I'll show them. I'm never going to do well at music, or sports, or studies again." As adults, we may deal with a loss, or death, by saying, "I'm always going to be nice to people and make them happy. Then they won't go away." Or we may deal with a betrayal by saying, "I'm never going to open my heart to a woman or man again."

Coping often includes making an incorrect connection between an event and our behavior. It may help us survive, but at some point our coping behaviors usually get in our way. They become habits and take on a life of their own. And although we think we're protecting ourselves or someone we love, we aren't.

Robyn didn't die because her father took a number and waited to get his hair cut.

My son didn't die because I bought a new house.

Are you keeping yourself from doing something that you really want to do as a means of coping with something that happened to you a long time ago? Cope if you must, if it helps save your life. But maybe today is the day you could set yourself free.

God, show me if I'm limiting myself and my life in some way by using an outdated coping behavior. Help me know that I'm safe and strong enough now to let that survival behavior go.
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:40 AM   #8
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more language of letting go

Say when something triggers you

How do you defend yourself when you feel angry and hurt?

When Sally was a child, she lived with disturbed parents. They said mean, hurtful things to her much of the time. She wasn't allowed to say anything back, and she especially wasn't allowed to say how angry and hurt she felt.

"The only way I could deal with anger was by going numb and telling myself I didn't care-- that the relationship wasn't important," Sally said. "Then I carried this behavior into my adult life. I learned to just go cold when I felt angry or hurt. I automatically shut down and pushed people away. One hint of feeling hurt or angry, and boom-- I was gone."

It's important to know our boundaries. It's even more important not to allow people to be reckless with our hearts. It's also important to know how hurt and anger trigger our defenses.

Do you have an instant reaction, not to other people, but to your own feelings of being betrayed, hurt, or angered? Do you shut down? Lose your self-esteem? Do you "go away" from yourself or others? Do you counterattack?

Feelings of hurt and anger will arise in the course of most relationships. Sometimes when we feel that way, it's a warning that we need to beware. Other times it's a minor incident, something that can be worked out. You may have needed to protect yourself once, a long time ago. But now it's okay to be vulnerable and let yourself feel what you feel.

Say when something triggers you and learn how you defend yourself.

God, help me become aware of how I protect myself when I feel hurt, angry, and attacked. Give me the courage to be vulnerable and learn new ways of taking care of myself.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:40 AM   #9
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Say when it's too much compassion

Sometimes, it's easy to step across the line and have too much compassion for the people in our lives. Although compassion is good, too much compassion can cripple the people we're trying to love. We understand so clearly how they feel that we don't hold them accountable for themselves. Too much compassion can hurt us,too. We can wind up feeling victimized by and resenting the people we're experiencing too much compassion toward. We're so worried about their feelings that we neglect our own.

Too much compassion means we don't believe in others enough to let them do what they need to do to help themselves. It's a way of telling them, "You can't." You can't handle your reality. You can't learn your lessons. You can't handle the truth, so I'll treat you like a helpless child.

Too much compassion can leave us prey to victimization and manipulation. We're so worried about how the other person feels that we neglect to take care of ourselves.

Here are some guidelines about compassion.

. If we're creating a problem for ourselves to solve someone else's dilemma, we've probably crossed that line.

. If we're so worried about another person's pain that we're neglecting our own wmotions, we've probably over-involved.

. If guilt is the underlying motive for our behavior, maybe what we're practicing isn't compassion.

The lesson here isn't to stop caring about others. Instead, we need to respect other people's right to learn their own lessons.

Too much of anything isn't a good thing. If we've crossed that line into too much compassion, we can step back into the safe zone and use a lighter touch.

God, show me if I'm harming someone in my life-- a parent, child, or friend-- by smothering that person with too much compassion.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:22 AM   #10
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Say when it's time to stop sabotaging yourself

Jenny sat down in the comfortable armchair in the small, pleasantly lit office. The man sitting across from her looked like a normal, friendly man-- not at all like she imagined a psychic would look. She relaxed and began to tell him why she was there.

"I don't usually visit psychics, but I'd like some information and guidance about the relationship I'm in now," she said. "The guy I'm seeing is a great guy. I'm really in love with him."

The psychic didn't have to be psychic to know that a "but" was coming next. He had heard the story many times before.

"But," Jenny said, " he's a drug dealer. But it's only marijuana. And he doesn't use himself. And he's just doing it long enough to make enough money to start his own business. Go legitimate, you know."

After rambling for a while, she stopped. "So," she asked the psychic, "what do you think?"

"You don't need a psychic to tell you to get out as fast as you can," he said, giving her money back. "It's obvious. The relationship is doomed."

As in Jenny's situation, it's easy to see the ridiculously obvious faulty thinking in our friends and people we're close to. Sometimes it's harder to see our own faulty thinking and blind spots.

"I love her, but she's married." "I love him, but he's a cocaine addict." "I love him, but I know he sleeps around a lot."

While many people enjoy the benefits from seeking intuitive spiritual guidance at some time in their lives, there are many times we can easily tell our own future. Stop sabotaging yourself. Listen to what you're saying. Listen to the but's, to the words that come out of your own mouth. Yes, some drug dealers do reform. Yes, people recover from cocaine addiction every day. Yes, people with long histories of infidelity do stop sleeping around. And some married people do get divorced and marry those with whom they had affairs.

Some people win the lottery-- every day. But more people never win the lottery.

Sometimes we're blindsided by events that couldn't possibly be foreseen. Sometimes it's easy to predict trouble. Whenever possible, save yourself the pain and heartache inevitably coming around the bend.

Stop sabotaging yourself. Be your own psychic. Listen to what your saying, and give yourself the same basic advice you'd give to a friend. You may be the exception to the rule, but probably not.

God, help me let go of my blind spots, the ones that cause me to sabotage my own happiness and well-being.
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