A Change Will Do You Good

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“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” ~ Leo Tolstoy

What would you change in the world if you had a chance?  A priest who was traveling through Grand Central Station posed this question to a woman who was slumped against a wall, homeless, friendless and ‘an empty shell’.  Her answer was that she would change her mind.  She was so filled with bitterness and an inability to forgive.  Her only desire was to let go of hatred and that by so doing, would become free.

This is the same awakening that the physician in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous discovered in his recovery from alcoholism.  He says that acceptance taught him that ‘it is not so much what needs to be changed in the world, as what needs to be changed in me’.  The one thing we have the ability to change in this world requires a huge undertaking.  For the one thing that can be changed is me.

“Repentance calls us to an inner healing that comes from choosing a new mindset, moving us in a new direction, and releasing all that holds our heart in bondage.” ~ Daniel Groody

I was privileged to hear the joys, pain, celebrations, and sufferings of my counseling patients for four decades.  Often their emotions have been hinged on the doings of family members, employers, frustrations with the government or a variety of other external events.  These all have the ability to please us or fill us with bitterness.  Not much of it is in our control.

I have learned that bitterness and resentment have a sticky quality.  That stickiness becomes more than a diversion and can become the kind of hatred that so overpowered the woman who met the priest in Grand Central.  Freedom comes when we let go of those external distractions, take responsibility, and forgive.  Then we can set a new course, follow a new star, and change our direction home.  This is the essence of a really radical awakening.

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Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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Going Down to the Crossroads

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“You are now at a crossroads. This is your opportunity to make the most important decision you will ever make.” ~ Anthony Robbins

Here we are…at another Crossroad.  Which way to go?  It is not that one way seems less traveled by than the other.  It would almost be easier to be in a woods like Robert Frost and follow an untrodden, strangely dangerous, and unconventional path.

But this is one of those crossroads so often found in the rural Midwest, laid out in neat sections of corn and bean patchwork.  Standing on flat ground with an endless horizon, it seems the choice of direction is almost mundane.  We know it’s important to make a choice but indecision has frozen us in place.

There is no use in procrastinating…no need for ‘sinking down’ or giving up.  Because we are not alone in our Crossroad decisions when we trust ‘that which is unknown by us is fully known by God and the universe’. Here is what has to happen.  We must let go and take a few faltering steps with faith and trust that God is in charge of the outcome. We will discover or rediscover that we are…and always have been…in good hands.

Today I will experience life fully at the Crossroad by stepping out with faith, and trust.

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Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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Forgiving Our Families

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“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ~  Lewis B. Smedes

It’s not hard to own the hurts we suffered as children and adolescents.  Often, they are packed away in the suitcases that carry us away from home and out into the world.

Quarrels, punishments, being discounted and being treated unfairly are taken along with all the necessities, gifts and treasures.  We make promises to ourselves saying that we will NEVER treat our kids the way our family treated us.  Scott Fitzgerald likens these wounds to ‘splits in the skin that won’t heal’.  So we arrive at our destination, unpack, and neatly tuck them away as well earned, lifelong resentments.  They become poisonous possessions.

“Sticking with your family is what makes it a family.” ~ Mitch Albom

Forgiving family members for the cruelties, meanness and injustice we suffered is not absolving them for those behaviors.  A friend of mine had a difficult childhood with a mother who was filled with anger and pain.  Her loving responses always came with strings attached.  She was rarely fair to her little girl and often filled her with shame and guilt.

My friend struggled and kept going back for more, sometimes doubting her own quality of mothering with her children.  Finally, she determined to have a relationship with her mother that had clearly defined boundaries.  She made a profession of forgiveness to her mother and extended forgiven-ness to herself.  She loves her mother from a safe distance and has released herself from bondage.

Visits back home do not allow for putdowns or guilt trips.  Her family and memories as restored treasures since she emptied out the packed away resentments and claimed freedom.

The work of healing cannot begin until we find it in our hearts to let go.  Family is a gift presented to us by a loving God.  These are the people who know us best and with whom we are most deeply connected.  We must find ways to stick together.

_____________________

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Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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