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Dr. Tian Dayton Headshot

What I Have Learned as an ACOA

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I have learned that each new day is just another day on my spiritual journey
Even a holiday
I know how to look around at any moment and allow the sheer aliveness of it to move me and remind me of the beauty and privilege of being alive.

I have learned that when life falls apart it is also, sometimes falling together.

I now understand that life is not a straight line, that even holidays can have some hurt and joy mixed together and still be rich and good and grounding and worthwhile.
I have learned to honor the ritual of getting together and affirming the bonds of family, friends, and this feeling of being alive. It is it's own reward. These moments are rare enough in our frantic world, however they come, I have learned to let the good of them seep into me and renew my strength and optimism.
I have learned that my family is not meant to, nor able to, meet all my needs, that that is wrong headed and doesn't work.
I have learned that I cannot meet all of any one person's needs, that that is wrong headed and doesn't work.
I have learned that those I love have their own Higher Power and it's not me.

I know that I cannot live without God's help.

I have learned that my integrity is worth more than fame or money and my self respect nourishes me and allows me to hold my head up.

I have learned not to take someone's love for granted, whether or not I think I deserve it, love is always a gift.

I have found my inner peace.
I have learned not to postpone joy for another moment, I will have it now.

I have become aware of all that I have to give thanks for. I "count my blessings" knowing, deep in my heart, that some of my greatest trials are part of my greatest blessings, because they are what forged my character on the anvil of experience.
They are what brought me to where I am.
I know that someday I will look back and see how in those moments, perhaps even this moment, God's hand was there, guiding me, loving me, teaching me and asking me to become more of who I really am and who I can be.

I have learned to love.
I have learned not to sweat the small stuff.
I have learned to appreciate those who love me and to thank God for their presence in my life.
I have learned to value friends.
I have learned to forgive others.
I have learned how to forgive myself.

I have learned that people cannot be more than who they are and that if they let me down it is usually more about them, than me.
And that if I let them down it is usually more about me, than them.
I have learned that God's hand is in everything and everywhere, that there is no empty space in the universe, that all is alive and intelligent and every tiny particle has the power to create something masterful.

I have learned not to quit before the miracle.

I have learned that when I reach out there is always someone or some thing there to reach back.
I have learned to listen.
I have learned what it means to be there for another person.
I have learned what it means to be there for me.

I have learned that people are not on this earth to do what I want them to do or be who I want them to be, that they have a birthright to be who they are and I have a right to feel as I do about it.
And I have learned that I have a responsibility to be who I am, to do my best with what I have been given.
I understand that it's up to me to clean up my unfinished business: whatever has happened may not be my fault, but it is my responsibility to work through what I may carry that could hurt others or myself unnecessarily.

I have learned to:
Keep it Simple: To breathe, breathe, breathe...
Easy Does It: Burning the dinner is less important than being together.
I can Let Go and Let God: If not now, when? If not here, where? If not me , who?

I have learned not to let people disappoint me so very much, not because they are not disappointing but because being overly disappointed isn't good for me, it drains my spirit of it's vitality.
And I understand that I can also be disappointing to people and not have meant anything by it.

I have found faith.
I have found strength.
I have found beauty and purpose.
I have found joy.

I have learned that life is not only what I make of it, but what it makes of me.