Tag Archives: surrender

12-Step Program for America: Step 3

By Jim Selman | Bio

I have been making the case that our country is trapped in a vicious cycle, analogous to alcoholism or any addictive spiral that inevitably leads to ‘hitting bottom’, and that we need a rigorous ‘recovery’ program. Our Constitutional Democracy cannot work if our founding principles, the Constitution itself , and the institutions responsible for sustaining it are not aligned and functioning as a whole. In the ‘recovery’ literature and all 12-Step programs, the first and primary question to resolve is “Where is the bottom?”  Have we had enough of having enough? Are we ready to acknowledge that the system is broken and we are powerless to fix it? If we are, then we can begin the real journey to recovery.

Many would agree that we are ‘out of control’ (Step 1 of the 12-Step Recovery Program for America). And I propose that we—the people—are the ‘higher power’ that can see what is happening and begin to restore us to sanity (Step 2). The

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Learning to Die

By Jim Selman | Bio

Socrates said that we don’t really have wisdom until we learn to die. Cornell West said the same thing in the acclaimed documentary Examined Life by Astra Taylor. When I first became interested in aging and how our culture views ‘growing older’ many years ago, I learned that, beyond a certain age, very few people seem to be afraid of death. Some may be afraid of dying with unfinished business, but we eventually reach a point when the fact of our death is no longer

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Lent and the Strangeness of Letting Go

By Shae Hadden | Bio

I’ve been looking for a way to be free all my life. My entire search has, unfortunately, been focused on the practical aspect of ‘holding on’ to whatever I thought would give me freedom: a belief in some system or way of thinking, money, possessions, favorite books that contained ideas that were ‘liberating’, any activity that loosened up my body and mind, people I loved. But now almost nothing is certain in my life, and a deep desire to let go of my attachments to everything and everyone propels me forward.

This sensation is visceral. It’s like a snake wriggling out of its skin, a baby bird struggling to climb out of the nest. What to do when my whole being wants to do something I thought impossible: drop everything I’ve gathered around me (including my clothes and possessions), take one step to the side, and then begin again…buff naked and unencumbered?

A friend was reminding me this is the time of Lent, a time of letting go of what no longer serves us. For some, the focus

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Patience

By Shae Hadden | Bio

While waiting for the results of the U.S. presidential election to come in, I was musing on what patience is and how valuable it will be in the days ahead. Patience is the ability to endure without complaint, to persevere when things get rough, to tolerate without annoyance or provocation. Being patient is one way of relating to our circumstances and to time that allows us to avoid being victims. The way of patience is the way of surrender and trust—surrender to ‘what is’ and trust that our intentions will unfold in time.

The American people have patiently endured this months-long campaign…and, for the most part, have not been upset or annoyed with the slow playing out of their democratic process. Even though an urgent call for change echoes throughout both parties’ campaigns, the people’s commitment to democracy has allowed the political process to come to its own conclusion in its own time (without revolution). What awaits Americans next is to face their desperate need for unreasonable

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Acceptance

By Jim Selman | Bio

I don’t think that age is personal. I know it feels like it is ‘me’ that is getting older, but I don’t experience myself as older. If anything, I experience my ‘self’ as being ‘better’ than at any time I can remember over the past 66 years. I feel more ‘alive’, more engaged, more present and more satisfied than ever. It is true that my body can’t run, wrestle or climb as easily as in the past. I make love more often

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If You Are Afraid

By Shae Hadden | Bio

Believers in the Law of Attraction, take heed! If you are afraid, don’t try to resist your fear. If you do, then you will give more power to it and end up attracting what you are afraid of. I know. I’ve just experienced my worst fear: of being very sick, alone, and uncertain about what is happening.

The interesting thing was that, when I was most afraid, immersed in physical pain and emotional stress, I decided to surrender my fear, my pain and my life to that ‘Higher

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Acceptance

I don’t think that age is personal. I know it feels like it is ‘me’ that is getting older, but I don’t experience myself as older. If anything, I experience my ‘self’ as being ‘better’ than at any time I can remember over the past 66 years. I feel more ‘alive’, more engaged, more present and more satisfied than ever. It is true that my body can’t run, wrestle or climb as easily as in the past. I make love more often than in the best

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Surrender

If I could give one gift to my children, I think it would be “acceptance”. It isn’t too hard to understand intellectually that we should simply accept life on life’s terms and not try to control what we can’t really control. Yet, it’s a hard lesson to learn. I think not accepting may be the source of most, if not all, suffering. When we live with the view that reality ‘should be’ other than it is, we are living in a dream (at best) and a state of self-deception and denial (at worst)

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Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo Jump

By Shae Hadden | Bio

There’s a place near Fort McLeod in Alberta that goes by this odd name…the Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo Jump world heritage site …where the indigenous peoples used to lead the buffalo to jump off a cliff. A place where there’s a very finite line between life and death…and where life comes from death. You see, for thousands of years, the native people would use this natural geographical formation to ‘harvest’ these wild animals and feed their tribes each winter.

I’m remembering this place today because I’ve been reminded—not so subtly by being in a car accident—that life is the dash between birth and death. The instant I knew my car was spinning out of control yesterday morning, the only thought going through my head was “I surrender to you, God, for I am not in control”. In that moment, I felt like the buffalo must have felt—as if this was the last spurt in that great dash. As

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Lemons into Lemonade

Well, it happened again. I was mugged and robbed on the street in Buenos Aires—this time at 7:45 in the morning while walking on a major thoroughfare. I am normally pretty vigilant at night. This time, I stopped to window shop and before I knew it I was on the ground and the guy had pulled my wallet from my front pocket. I instinctively tried to kick him from the ground as he leaped over me and started running down Avenida Florida, which is a wide pedestrian boulevard. The next thing I know

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