Welcome to Hidden Angel Records and Hidden Angel Publishing!
Everything Is My Fault, a new book by Juliet Wright
You can also purchase the paperback version at:
East West Bookstore, 324 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041, 650-988-9800, www.eastwest.com
Bennington Bookshop, 467 Main St., Bennington, VT 05201. 802/442-5059.
Header Photo by Alice Garik: www.alicegarik.com
Photo by http://raikohartman.com/
“These past five years have been a time of grieving, acceptance, growth and renewal for me. I rely heavily on God, who is my reason for living. Contained in this compact disc are my very personal stories, experiences, wishes and dreams that I have put into song in an effort to heal. I hope they inspire you to create some of your own as part of your recovery.”
Order the CDs Fearless Moral Inventory, Beloved and the paperback version of Everything Is My Fault for just $35!
Meet Author/Songwriter/Musician – Juliet Wright
Juliet is a singer, songwriter, recording artist, author, and teacher who was born and raised in Central Vermont.
She spent much of her young life as an equestrian and was always active in music and theatre. She attended Interlochen Arts Academy from 1979-1982, where she studied piano, music composition, theatre, and dance. She graduated from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, in 1986 with a degree in Studio Music and Jazz Guitar Performance.
After leaving Miami, Juliet moved to Burlington, Vermont, to pursue her career as a jazz guitarist. She moved to Los Angeles in 1987, where she pursued her career as a guitarist and performer of pop and rock music. For the next 13 years, she made her living singing, and playing the guitar, piano, and saxophone in clubs and at private functions all over California.
She married Alex in 1996 and the two divorced in 2004.
In 1997, she began teaching general vocal music for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
She moved back to Vermont, in 2007, where she currently lives. She writes books and composes and records her own music. She also teaches stringed instruments to elementary school students in a nearby Massachusetts school district.
Her hobbies include writing and recording music, oil painting, knitting, and nurturing all the baby trees she has planted on her property. She is a devout Quaker and is active in her Quaker meeting. Codependency recovery is very important to Juliet, and she donates much of her time giving back to CoDA.
But it’s all in His time
Listening’s up to me
Got to do as I’m told
He has a plan for me
Loveable faithful me
The future is mine to see
Listening to his voice
He knows what’s best for me
~ Change from Fearless Moral Inventory
by Juliet A. Wright, copyright 2008, all rights reserved
Humility is one of the most important and meaningful spiritual principles for me. I must learn to be humble if I’m going to heal and grow as God’s child.
My definition of humility is that I recognize that I’m not any better than anyone else, I don’t have all the answers, and I’m not in charge. God’s in charge. It’s about what He wants.
Scripture speaks well of humility…
Humility makes us patient under trials.
~ Job 1:22 (NIV)
These are the ones I look on with favor:
those who are humble and contrite in spirit,
and who tremble at my word.
~ Isaiah 66:2 (NIV)
God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.
~1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)
Humility is the bed on which Step 7 rests:
- Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
Humility to me means that there is a God and I am not God. I heard that in a meeting once and really liked it.
God has a plan and I know very little about it. But he has a plan and it’s a good one. Far be it for me to call God’s plan anything less than perfect.
So I became aware of, accepted, and became ready to let go of my defects, especially over-responsibility and caretaking. Now I humbly ask God to remove them. God is above me. He is powerful over all things. He is wise. He knows what is best. So when I ask, I ask in that light, knowing that He sees the whole picture and I am just a tiny piece of dust. I only see what’s around me. So I ask in that context, humbly, not knowing the whole story.
I think faith ties into humility too. If I have faith in God the way I say I do, then I should be able to trust whatever He says and do what He is asking without question or doubt. This requires being humble and getting my big, fat human ego and pride out of the way. My defects of character include pride, vanity, control, over-responsibility and caretaking, amongst many others. God help me give up these defects.
To me, humility means that God knows everything and I know nothing. I give my life to God and submit to what I believe is His will for me. I will listen to God for guidance, and when I receive it, I will thank Him. When wisdom comes from my mouth after I’ve prayed, I know it is from God. Heck, whenever wisdom comes from my mouth at all — whether I’ve prayed or not — it is God, not me.
One Thanksgiving Day, I was driving north to see friends. I saw a beautiful sky filled with mysterious dark clouds and yet these clouds were surrounded by a little bit of pink, with the sun’s rays trying to break through it all. Then the Holy Spirit told me that the purpose of our lives is to make God smile. I need to be humble, admit when I’m wrong, and give to others. His sky made me smile. Nothing like one of God’s beautiful skies to make me submit to God. Thanks for the reminder, God. I got it and needed it. You are in charge.
When I’m humble, I ask God to remove my defects of self-will, selfishness, a controlling nature, and my urge to fix everyone and everything. Fixing everyone and all of their problems is not my job. It’s God’s job. Juliet needs to stop trying to do God’s job. I am not God. So I humbly admit that it is all about what God wants, not about what I want. I’m not in charge.
At the end of the Book of Job, Job realizes that he has to love God for who God is, not what God gives him. That is humility. I need to get out of the way, love and trust God, and submit to His will. I need to live in holy obedience so His will can be done through me and God can make me into the person He wants me to be.
I am one of the vehicles through which God works on this planet. In order to successfully complete this journey, I must get out of God’s way so He can work. I can do this by asking God to live through me. I did this recently. I was getting ready for a gig that was supposed to happen that night. I was worried about my set list and readings list. So I asked God to write the set and readings list for me. It worked really well. I felt really ready for my gig.
My family of origin taught me that I was responsible for everyone else. I was responsible for their behavior and their feelings. I have been practicing that behavior for many years. I started chipping away at it when I got into recovery nine years ago. I am only responsible for myself. That is the only person I can take care of. How egotistical of me to think I can fix others. I need to humble myself before God and give my family, the grief, the outcomes, the future back to Him. He has a plan. He knows best. He is wise. I must remember that and bow down before Him. Then I must do the work He has put me on this earth to do.
I will practice humility. This is God asking me to be humble. Asking me to do His work, risk looking like a moron. It’s about God, not me.
Practicing humility means that I’m willing to get up and try again. I won’t let my pride make me quit, even after I look like a stupid fool in front of people — such as with my students.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve swallowed my pride so much I want to vomit everything up in front of me. That’s how I felt in my family of origin. My inner child thinks this means that she doesn’t matter, only other people matter. She thinks humility means she is going to get silenced again. She thinks humility means she doesn’t count, her voice won’t be heard. I reassure her and tell her that’s not true. What’s true is that she is a beloved child of God. She does have a voice and there is a time and place for that. She must also submit to God’s authority and listen to Him. She must obey.
Juliet’s Mantras that Help:
- I’m not in charge here.
- Be still and know that I am God. ~Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
God’s way is the better way. Humility means that even if you have an idea about what to do, you should do it the way God wants you to do it. In the end, it will serve Him better — which means in the long run that it will serve you better. As my sponsor Grace says, “Turning it over means trusting that God loves you enough to give you the good stuff.”
So humility is necessary if I’m going to turn my defects over to God for Him to remove if and when He chooses. So I give it to God. When He answers me, I accept it, do it, move on. That is humility. He knows what’s better for me than I do.
I have Positive Affirmations that help me with my humility:
- I humble myself before the Lord; I will listen.
- It’s not about what I want, it’s about what God wants.
- I submit to the will of the Lord.
- God will live my life for me today. I don’t have to do anything. All I have to do is be a body.
- God will overcome the false prophets in my head.
Additional practices I engage in when working the Principle of Humility:
- Worship: Talking to God through consistent morning prayers and meditation is necessary for me to get out of the driver’s seat and focus on what God wants. I need to be alone with God every morning to listen for His voice and serve Him better.
- Journaling: I journal every morning to get the pride, ego, and control issues out of me and into the open so they can be dealt with.
- Exercise: Working out on my punching bag, swimming, walking on my treadmill or in Hopkins Forest, and lifting weights all help me to calm down and see things more clearly.
- Scripture: Reading the bible every morning helps me to remember that God is in charge of my life. He must come first and is giving me guidance on what to do.
- Constant God connection: I pray as much as I can throughout the day. This includes morning and evening prayers on my knees, silent prayers, and listening for His direction throughout my day.
- Read the daily list: I read my list of defects of character to God every morning and humbly ask Him to remove them if and when He is ready.
- Submission: When God gives me a message, instructions, or assignments, I try to do them, whether I want to do them or not. I trust that He knows what’s best for me more than I do. I do my best.
- Awareness: I increase my awareness of my moods, my actions, and the things that are happening around me. By being more aware of what’s happening in my body, my feelings, and my brain, I can be more available to hear what He has to say and become more humble.
- Slogans: I repeat my favorite slogans, such as “There is a God, it is not me,” “I can’t, God can, I think I’ll let Him,” “Willingness is key,” “This too shall pass,” and “Just for today.” Repeating the slogans really helps me relax.
- Rest: I get more sleep so I can hear what God is saying to me.
- Let it go: I realize that things happen. I don’t have control over what goes on.
 Co-Dependents Anonymous. Co-Dependents Anonymous. Dallas, TX: CoDA Resource Publishing, 2009, p. iv.
Your strength is to stand still, after you see yourselves;
whatever you see yourselves addicted to,
temptations, corruption, uncleanness, etc.,
then you think you shall never overcome.
And earthly reason will tell you, what you shall lose;
pay no attention to that,
but stand still in the light that shows them to you,
and then strength comes from the Lord,
and help contrary to your expectation.
Then you grow up in peace, and no trouble shall move you.
~ “To Friends, to stand still in trouble, and see the strength
of the Lord” by George Fox
Acceptance is a vital spiritual principle, one that I struggle with very much sometimes. I apply it to different things on different days. When I first started writing about acceptance, most of the time I addressed it in terms of what I can get done in a day. I attach my self-worth to what I can get done each day. This issue addresses my defect of workaholism.
Today, however, I am addressing acceptance on the level of recognizing that things are how they are. I will just work on trying to let it be, instead of letting the circumstances of my life tie my gut into a knot that strangles my soul. That chokes out every bit of happiness, joy, and faith I have, until I sink into Satan’s pit of despair. He would love that.
Now it’s not about what I can get done in a day, but about my beloved sister and (at this point) her wonderful late husband and why couldn’t I fix it? Why couldn’t I make it okay for them? When he was sick, I had a hard time accepting that and wanted to be the one to save him and save my sister Alice from having to go through all of the pain of taking care of yet another sick person. Now that he has passed, I am having a hard time accepting the fact that he is gone. Alice has to grieve and I can’t do it for her. I love her. I don’t want her to be sad. But I can’t fix it. I must let go and let this be her experience. This struggle all relates to my defect of over-responsibility and caretaking.
I think of acceptance as being my recognition of reality as it is.
Acceptance is the spiritual principle behind Co-Dependents Anonymous Step 6:
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
The defects of character that were revealed in my soul searching from Step 4 (the fearless moral inventory) and admitted to in the integrity of Step 5 (admitting our wrongs) must be accepted in Step 6. There they are, staring me in the face. No use denying it.
So I admit to my defects of character and agree that they are no longer of use to me. They need to go. Over-responsibility, caretaking, selfishness, low self-esteem, and all the rest of my 86-item defects list are only wreaking havoc on my life. I can’t get rid of them until I accept the fact that I have them. That is what George Fox was talking about in the opening quote to this section on Acceptance. Let’s see reality as it is and agree that it is there. Now what do we do about it?
The hard work I have been doing in recovery has allowed for me to work on removing defects of character, while still learning to set boundaries. Finding a balance that allows for me to care about others and still take care of myself can be very difficult. I am still learning how to do that. My over-responsibility makes that very challenging.
I would often become rageful, frustrated, and/or desperate over the stress of dealing with family business, illness, and crisis. This always seemed to come up at times, such as on a Sunday night, so I would go to work exhausted, sad, freaked out, unable to function. My over-responsibility and caretaking would tell me I had to fix the problem at hand right then and there.
The Juliet that is learning to set boundaries, refrain from over-responsibility and caretaking, may choose to take care of herself — instead of being available for potentially upsetting information that could make Monday morning more difficult than it already is. The new Juliet is learning to accept the fact that she can’t fix everything.
Juliet’s inner critic, on the other hand, gives her loads of grief for being selfish. Juliet is so selfish. Your family is having such a hard time and all you are worried about is getting to bed on time? How selfish of you. That is what my inner critic would say to me. It comes directly from the messages I received from my family of origin. I don’t have to listen to those lies anymore. The inner critic is tied to my low self-esteem, another one of my character defects.
I do think it’s important for me to be there for others, as I am able, and sometimes when crisis situations arise, the timing can be really difficult. It is up to me to assess each situation as it comes up and somehow strike a healthy balance between caring for myself and being supportive of others.
A year ago I was raging and frustrated, refusing to accept life as it was. My inner child would have been stomping her feet, all ticked off because her summer trip would probably be screwed up on account of illness and family crisis.
Now I am learning the difference between selfishness, self-care, and my ability to care for others. When I have recognized true selfishness in me, I have done step work around it, dug through my issues, and thrown my selfishness in the trash. At least, most of it. I have become ready to have God remove my selfishness and he did remove a lot of it. Thank you, God.
In order to get rid of my defects, I have to accept that they are there and that they no longer serve me as behaviors. I have had the integrity to admit my wrongdoings and now it is time for me to receive with gratitude the responsibility of changing my behavior.
I accept the fact that I feel overly responsible for and want to caretake my family. I receive the information that it is my behavior that sets this in motion. It does not belong to anyone else. I recognize how destructive this behavior pattern is for me. Feeling overly responsible for others has a negative impact on my own spirit, my ability to take care of myself, and do what God wants me to do. It also has a negative effect on how I treat others.
For example, there were days during my brother-in-law’s illness when I was so sad about him and my sister that I was bordering on despair. I was on the edge of the cliff, for sure.
I have a picture of a Protection Bird that I drew for my therapist that is supposed to protect me from negative vibes and sadness when I come into contact with someone who is sad. There were days during his illness that it didn’t work. I was still very melancholy to the point that I could barely function.
But function I still managed to do, by the grace of God. I knew I had to have faith that this was all happening for a reason. Maybe it happened to give me fuel for this book, so I can get it out there and share what I’ve learned with others. There were days when I was hurting from the bottom of my soul. Step work and my faith in God was all that would cure me.
It was on one of those desperate days that I looked in Melody Beatties’ Codependents Guide to the Twelve Steps for help. I realized that I needed to detach. I needed to separate myself from what I couldn’t change or control. This would lead to acceptance. Then it was up to me to do what I could to take care of myself. That meant writing this and getting it out of me. Journaling is still a vital tool that I use for my recovery on a daily basis.
The Juliet from 18 months ago wrote the following:
Acceptance. I pray for the willingness to be willing to accept the fact that I can only get so much done in a day. I receive with approval, whatever I got done today. There are only so many hours in a day. I accept the fact that I am only going to get done what God wants me to get done.
I believe I am doing the best I can. If I really don’t believe it, I will “act as if” until I believe it.
Yesterday, I practiced acceptance with my early morning orchestra when not one soul showed up. I even practiced acceptance when NONE of them brought their instruments down early to be tuned like they were supposed to and NONE of them had their music with them or their book either! Ugh! I don’t sound like I’m accepting it, but I am. That orchestra may only know two pieces for the concert. We may have to tell jokes.
The Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book says acceptance means I am recognizing that everything is the way it’s supposed to be at this moment.
So I give it to God and do what’s in front of me.
The Juliet of today is trying to favorably believe that there are circumstances in the lives of those I love that I cannot control. I had to accept the fact that I couldn’t cure my brother-in-law’s cancer. It was beyond my control. Now I have to accept the fact that I can’t take away my sister’s grief.
I am ready to have God remove these defects of over-responsibility and caretaking. They are debilitating. They are making my life unmanageable.
George Fox’s recommendation about acceptance in the beginning quote is to just sit still in the Light and face what is. Just look at it. This is truth. Then God sheds Light on it for what can be done about it. He will give us all answers.
So I accept everything is as it’s supposed to be at this moment. The experiences I have had with my sadness, the illness and death of my brother-in-law, the seemingly endless stream of family tragedy are all here to teach me something. It is fuel for me to become more dependent on God and give my life to Him. It is here to teach me something, to help me write this book, to help others, to get over my over-responsibility and caretaking. That alone would be worth it. Dear God, help me let go of my over-responsibility and caretaking. Dear God, help me to become closer to and more dependent on you.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
~ Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
What the above verse says to me is that, in order to follow God and do what he wants me to do, I need to get rid of all of the excess baggage that slows me down and often prohibits me from moving at all. This means getting rid of my defects of character. The first step to that process is acceptance.
Juliet’s Mantras that Help:
- You are only in control of where you put your attention.
- I’m not in charge here.
- Relax and watch.
- Be still and know that I am God. ~Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
- I listen to the Christ within that loves, guides, and strengthens me.
- All good in me comes from God.
- I do the best I can in everything I do and that’s enough. I am a good person.
- Let God’s will be done through me.
- Stop all or nothing catastrophic thinking, little steps at a time.
- Stop patterns of negative thinking; I think only positive thoughts about myself and others.
- Today everything God intends to accomplish in and through me shall be done.
This program works. Writing about what is going on with me, working it through, filtering it through the spiritual principles… it all works for me. Whenever I am in despair, I do my step work through it. Then God’s grace brings me healing and relief in the midst of sadness and darkness. That is a miracle. That is program. I am grateful.
Additional practices I engage in when working the Principle of Acceptance:
- More journaling: I journal as much as I need to in order to get the issues out of me, sort them out, and see how I feel about them.
- Worship: I pray to God to help me accept what is. This really helps me when I’m struggling with something. Then I meditate, listening for what he wants me to do.
- Exercise: Working out on my punching bag, swimming, walking on my treadmill or in Hopkins Forest, and lifting weights all help me to calm down and sort out how I’m feeling about things.
- Documentation: I record my thoughts and revelations about my experience with acceptance into a tape recorder and notate them later.
- Ask the observer: When I’m having trouble accepting something, I get into the observer position and ask myself, “How am I feeling right now? What is it about this situation that’s bothering me?” I journal about those feelings and thoughts.
- More mantras: Mantras help me to focus on listening for God’s guidance throughout my day, and they help me to hear and see the truth about myself. Two mantras that work well for me are “I open all before thee” and “Here I am, Lord.”
- Slogans: I repeat my favorite slogans, such as “Easy does it,” “This too shall pass,” “Act as if,” “Let go and let God” and “Turn it over.” Repeating the slogans really helps me relax.
- Turn it over: I give it to God, ask him to take over, and let it go as much as possible. To do this, I often put a note in my God Box about it.
- Let it go: I give it to God, let go, and let Him handle it. Move on.
- Breathe: I breathe in and out. I consider that everything is as it is supposed to be at this moment. I am safe.
 Fox, George. A Collection of Many Select and Christian Epistles, Letters and Testimonies Written on Sundry Occasions, by That Ancient, Eminent, Faithful Friend, and Minister of Christ Jesus, George Fox. RareBooksClub.com, 2013.
 Co-Dependents Anonymous. Co-Dependents Anonymous. Dallas, TX: CoDA Resource Publishing, 2009, p. iv.
 Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book, 4th ed. New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 2001, p. 417.
The view at the top of the ladder
Shows a soul searching for what she can keep
~ Beloved, from Beloved,
by Juliet A. Wright, copyright 2005, all rights reserved
Integrity is the spiritual principle that plants its feet firmly in truth. It is a foundational adherence to honesty and uprightness. I must have integrity if I am to live a Godly life. Integrity is one of the Quaker testimonies and is the structure on which a faithful Christian life is based. I must be honest and fair, focusing on the truth in all situations.
To me, integrity means that I live my life by an ethical and moral standard that is based on honesty and truth.
Integrity is the spiritual principle that is at the core of Step 5:
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
If I have integrity, it means I care about what the truth is and that I tell the truth. It means that I mean what I say, and I say what I mean. What I do and how I conduct myself is real and upright, not self-serving and deceitful. I conduct myself in a reliable, honorable way in all matters.
Now there lies a problem. Being a compliant codependent, I sometimes say yes when I mean no. During those times, I lack integrity. Last year, I went to a Quaker Yearly Meeting. It was my first time at this event. Well, as soon as I got there, I quickly overbooked myself as usual. First of all I signed up for the choir ahead of time. I love singing and enjoyed it, but I did not realize what a huge daily commitment it was. It was very time consuming. I also signed up to volunteer at the on-site Quaker Yearly Meeting Bookstore for three afternoons in a row. That was fine with me. No problem. But on my last day, I stayed one hour longer than I wanted to because the manager wanted to go to another meeting. I said yes when I meant no. That didn’t serve me because I got resentful. I lacked integrity. I won’t do that again.
I have to have integrity in terms of admitting how I feel about over-responsibility and caretaking. Sometimes I need to be by myself and take care of myself. I don’t like it when the phone rings late at night. I don’t like it when people I love are hurting. I don’t like it when they have crises late at night and call me, especially when I have to teach in the morning. This sounds really selfish, but it’s true. It’s just too hard for my little codependent brain and heart to handle. I get too upset. My heart hurts and I feel like I have to fix it. The hamster gets on the wheel and away we go with obsession. It’s too much. My heart is racing just thinking about it. That’s the truth.
Even the little things matter. Take my taxes, for example. I know I have to be honest and forthcoming about what I spend my money on. In the past, I have purchased classical music partly for enjoyment and partly so I can listen to it and become a better teacher and musician. One might say I could write it off as sheet music on my taxes. It is for my job after all. As much as I would like to do that, I cannot. It just isn’t right. Too bad. I bought a lot of classical CDs.
I used to get tax advice from other people who would tell me not to worry about it.
“Just write a figure in there and that’s what it is,” they would say to me. “Don’t worry about it.” I followed their advice when I was younger, but I can’t do that now. It’s not right.
I also need to have integrity in terms of the private strings lessons I give to some of my students. They often pay in cash. I know I don’t have to declare it because how would they know? But I know. Truth is truth. I made that money and I can’t cheat the government. So even though it’s cash, I’m declaring it honestly.
I have integrity. I have to admit that with Cain (a relationship that I looked at in the first book), I told him I would have sex with him even though I meant to say no. I can’t just completely blame him for being a bad person. I should have said no to begin with. So that is what I learned. I have to say what I mean and mean what I say.
I can’t just say that Brad was a completely bad person, because I should have walked out the door — although he was manipulative. I knew in my soul that what we were doing and where we were headed was not right for me. That was the truth. I should have followed God’s truth from the beginning of that relationship and saved myself a lot of heartache. I learned from that too.
How can I have more integrity in my life?
By not answering the phone, when I don’t want to talk. Let the machine get it when it’s appropriate for me.
I can have more integrity in my teaching life by admitting when I’ve crossed the line from responsible teacher to control freak who wants to be right, respected and admired by her students. On the one hand, my job requires that I fulfill the task of teaching my students to become honest, upright, responsible citizens. This means teaching them to remember to come to lessons with their instrument and their music and to be on time.
This can be a very difficult job. I have students who are always late, never have their book, never practice and don’t seem to care. They think the rules don’t apply to them. They play with long fingernails week after week, when I’ve asked them to clip them. Sometimes if they don’t have their music, they blame me, saying I didn’t give it to them. I know what is right. I know what is true. What they are saying isn’t true. I need to teach them to be honest and do what is right.
On the other hand, there is a limit to what I can make my students do. As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. I can’t force the students to be on time, to remember or keep track of their book, or to bring their instrument. I can only keep giving them the information they need to succeed.
When I repeat myself over and over again to my students about these matters and they still do not follow directions, it is easy to become frustrated. So then I think to myself “why bother? Why keep telling them what to do when they won’t listen? It is wasted energy. Why don’t I just give up the ghost and if they don’t have their stuff or do their work, who cares?”
The answer is because I have integrity. I have to focus on doing what is right, honest, and true. That means getting in the classroom and teaching those kids to the best of my ability, no matter what the circumstances are – because that is my job. Every student must get the best service I have. This means making sure that they know what to do, when to do it, where to be and when to be there. This means repeating it as often as I need to. It means adjusting my teaching methods as necessary to service different students so that they will be successful in my classroom.
Adhering to what is right and true in the classroom also means knowing when I’ve crossed the line by taking my job home with me and fretting all weekend about how some kid got the better of me. Then the correct thing for me to do is let it go. I need to let it all go and take care of myself. Because to not do this is to give my over-responsibility free reign. I will fret and stew and think “how can I get this kid do what they need to do? I have to fix them, to get them to do the right thing.”
I give the children the information they need repeatedly. At some point they need to take the ball and run with it. So at the end of the day I need to go do something that makes me happy, like sit by the fire and listen to it crackle, go stare at the stars in wonder or sit in my rocking chair on the porch and just breathe in and out. That is the magic answer for me to during those times.
I want to teach the children to have integrity too and accomplishing that can be a difficult job as I am not their only influence. I think it is very important for children to understand and adhere to the moral standards of truth, right and wrong.
I want to have integrity. Pointing fingers at myself, I know I have to get in the car and get to work at all costs, to follow my sponsor’s instructions. It was right for me to go to work even though it was dangerous for me to be on the wintry road and I was grumpy at the administration for putting our lives at risk. At least we got another day under our belt.
If I have integrity, I am going to keep admitting when I am wrong. But I also have to admit that I’m right once in a while. I do my best to do what is right. If someone asks me how much money they owe me, I will give them the true amount. If someone asks me why I left a recent music concert early, I will say it is because I found the performer’s lyrics offensive. That is my truth.
If I have integrity, I tell the truth even when it is easier to lie. That means that when I am listening to someone and their circumstances are starting to make me sad to my core, I must either tell them, change the subject, or end the conversation. Over-responsibility and caretaking are not a healthy choice. Going into despair and not being able to function are not a good choice for me. I must build in a new behavior of taking care of myself.
Juliet’s Mantras that Help:
- Hold the outcome in the Light of God.
- Relax and watch.
- Be still and know that I am God. ~Psalm 46:10.
- I listen to the Christ within that loves, guides and strengthens me.
- All good in me comes from God.
When I have integrity and something is done right, it is God doing it – which I think is true.
In sharing my thoughts about integrity it is easy to see how it is the principle behind step 5, as I have shared “the exact nature of my wrongs.”
Additional practices I engage in when working the principle of integrity:
- More journaling: I journal as much as I need to in order to get the issues out of me.
- Worship: Through prayer and meditation I ask God what the right thing is for me to do. He helps me see it clearly.
- Exercise: working out on my punching bag, swimming, walking on my treadmill and lifting weights all help me to calm down and see things more clearly.
- Documentation: I record my thoughts and revelations about my integrity into a tape recorder and notate them later.
- Ask the Observer: When I’m with others and I hear something I’m not sure about, I stop and take a time-out. I get into the Observer position and ask myself “Is this true for me? Do I agree with this?” I make a choice and speak my truth when the time is right.
- Turn it Over: I give it to God, ask him to take over, and let it go as much as possible. To do this, I say, “Dear Lord, let my words be your words, my thoughts be your thoughts, and my actions be your actions.” I do this as often as I need to.
- Breathe: I breathe in and out. I relax.
- More Mantras: Mantras help me to focus on listening for God’s guidance throughout my day and helps me to hear and see the truth about myself. Two mantras that work well for me are “I open all before thee” and “Here I am, Lord.”
- Slogans: I repeat my favorite slogans, such as “Easy Does It,” “This Too Shall Pass,” “Act As If,” “Let Go and Let God” and “Turn it Over.” Repeating the slogans really helps me relax.
- Pat Myself on the Back: I realize that I’m doing the best I can to do what’s right and give myself credit for that.
 Ibid., p. iv.
 Ibid. pg. iv