Building a Good life ..releasing the idea of struggle

winter of 1966 or 67, my siblings and I building a snowman on the front lawn

my sisters and brother (and me, far left) building a snowman on the front lawn (winter of 1966)

When I entered AA in 1986 and read the statement, “Let Go and Let God”, my first thought was, “You will never get anything done that way. You cannot just sit back and expect ‘God’ (what ever that is!) to take care of you”. I feared that I had entered some sort of cult of lazy, unsuccessful people, whose only real “success” was that they didn’t drink anymore. There’s a line from a Simon and Garfunkel song (My Little Town) where he describes the hero in the song as, “twitching like a finger on the trigger of a gun.” …I could identify with that. I was “all wound up and going nowhere” fast. I was nervous, jumpy and didn’t know how to relax without taking a drink. But I stayed and I began to learn a new way of looking at life.

One of the things that I learned was that the right action would be revealed to me if I didn’t blindly forge ahead, doing something that was full of struggle, hard (unpleasant) work, spending unhappy hours full of worry and misery, hoping that in the end, I’d be happy with the result. Equally true, I couldn’t sit back and refuse to budge from my preconceived attitude about the situation (or myself) and expect a higher solution to come through. Neither could I act like a caged animal, trashing about, refusing to relax (which had been very familiar to me) and expect to be receptive to higher guidance.

Learning  to relax and trust the part of me that is always connected to Divine Mind; the part that always knows the best road to take, and the perfect action (one that will produce the right outcome) has been the hardest thing for me to do. Realizing that  I couldn’t figure everything out with my conscious mind, but at the same time, I had access to all Wisdom, was not a Truth that came easily to me. There are still times when I forget this, and fall into the trap of believing that I am all alone, trying to figure out my own little life with no connection or help beyond my understanding. Those are not my happiest moments.

I know now how life is meant to be (even when I occasionally forget it). I know that I am always connected to an infinitely vast, loving, power that could never give up on me, isnt’ trying to test me to see if I am worthy, is always available to help me expand into a happier, easier and more fulfilling life.  I know that struggle happens when I forget who I really am; a part of the All Good.

I intend to say, “I now relax into the Goodness”, over this weekend and I invite you to join me.

“When you refuse to learn a lesson one way, it will be presented to you in anther way. There is always the easy way, but when you refuse to accept it, the more difficult and complicated way will be presented to you. Why not learn your lessons the easy way? Why not be like a little child, eager and receptive to all that is taking place in your life, and unfold with it all, in the most natural way? This is My plan for you, so why make it difficult for yourself when it is not necessary? It only holds up progress when you do. …when you raise your consciousness and keep it raised to a spiritual level in life, to what matters, then vast changes will take place and life will unfold for you without any effort. ” from Eileen Caddy, (founder of the Findhorn Foundation) Opening Doors Within

15 thoughts on “Building a Good life ..releasing the idea of struggle

  1. Dear Mary. This is a powerful post this morning…something I really needed to hear. I too struggle at times with the concept of accepting a loving, all-knowing presence that is there for me. Relaxing into the goodness is a beautiful concept for this weekend…thank you for this suggestion and for your honesty, beauty and all the wisdom you so readily pass on to others. Hearing about your personal journey makes your messages that much more meaningful.

  2. i surrender and “now relax into the goodness.” this concept (i love this post, mary) resonates with my highter knowing. seems the “effortless effort.”

    love to you and all

  3. Thank you, Mary, this was a great “remember when” moment for me. I entered AA in 1984 and I used to bring knitting, so I could keep my hands busy while I listened. I learned that from my sponsor. How far we have come on our spiritual journey.
    That “alone” feeling is the wound of separation that we all have. Connecting to Spirit and knowing that we are never really alone is a gift. We no longer need to fill the hole in the soul with alcohol. Another gift.

  4. What I love about this, and what I have learned first hand, is that even when we don’t pay attention to or choose the ‘right’ road the first time, it will be shown to us again and again until we take it. Spirit is like that little voice in our GPS system that ‘recalculates’ every time we miss the turn. Perhaps the longer the detour, the deeper the learning…I’d like to be so fully awake that I recognize and acknowledge and act on the messge when I get it the first time! But looking for the gold in the lesson keeps me from being hard on myself and allows me to move on…a little more awake then when I started! Thanks, Mary!

  5. What a wonderful surprise to get a Saturday Morning Post, Mary! Kathleen, your phrases, “wound of separation” and “hole in the soul” really jumped out at me as well as Kathye, your “GPS” analogy. While I was reading Mary’s post I recalled an image I try to keep in mind when distressed. That even when we aren’t even aware of a higher power or being connected to the Divine, we are – because unlike the umbilical cord that is severed at our earthly birth, we have a connection to God, sort of like an umbilical cord of divine support and guidance, but sometimes our behaviors or choices get us so tied up in knots we choke the energy flow that is always there – if we’d just unwind, and as you put it Mary, ‘relax into the Goodness’. Imagine a wound up top, those little toys we all loved to wind up as kids and watch them as they spin, spin, spin, but ultimately wind down and stop. Let’s wind down and stop this weekend and refill ourselves to the tippy top! I’m in!

  6. Talk about synchronicity, this lovely poem on Writer’s Almanac paints Mary’s picture of relaxing into the goodness – just have to share! Having grown up in Michigan, I do miss the quality of snowfall, the sweet stillness, the gentle falling back, back –

    Snow Fall

    by May Sarton

    With no wind blowing
    It sifts gently down,
    Enclosing my world in
    A cool white down,
    A tenderness of snowing.

    It falls and falls like sleep
    Till wakeful eyes can close
    On all the waste and loss
    As peace comes in and flows,
    Snow-dreaming what I keep.

    Silence assumes the air
    And the five senses all
    Are wafted on the fall
    To somewhere magical
    Beyond hope and despair.

    There is nothing to do
    But drift now, more or less
    On some great lovingness,
    On something that does bless,
    The silent, tender snow.

    • Susan – Thank you for sharing this poem. We are enjoying a beautifully soft snowfall in Western NY right now. On my morning walk with the dogs, I was looking at the surrounding fields and woods and marveled at the quiet. This poem couldn’t be more perfect!

    • We too had just a light snowfall last night…all sparkly and glittery in this morning’s sun…and then I read your poem and ‘a cool white down’…and the tenderness of snowing. Beautiful…thanks for sharing it Susan! Happy day! (I must say that seeing the beautiful weather in Phoenix while
      catching a bit of the golf tournament yesterday, made me swoon for the warm sunshine! I could easily picture you on your beautiful desert walk!)

    • I too love this poem Susan. I even read it to jack as we drove in the snowfall last night to meet friends for dinner. thank you

  7. Mary, as Debra has said, you share much of your humanity with us and through doing so, we are able to look at our own humanity. I seem never to stop learning lessons. They just come in different forms.
    SandyP in Canada

  8. Mary – I so appreciate your openness and honesty about your personal struggles. It’s one of the reasons that your messages resonate with us all. Thank you!

  9. You write good stuff. I know why Jon Katz lists you as one of his favorite blogs. Keep writing, and thanks for sharing.

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