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You have the power to tolerate anyone and any situation. But tolerance is not just suffering in silence.
It means going beyond any personal discomfort you may feel, and giving a gift to whom ever you would tolerate. Give your time, attention, understanding, compassion, care - all are gifts, which paradoxically, you also receive in the process of giving.
And, as you do, you will experience your own self esteem and inner strength grow. In this way you can turn tolerance into strength.
Indeed we are a global fellowship. I nearly slipped into calling us an organisation! AA is not an organisation, yet we sometimes forget who and what we are. We forget for one day only we keep sober and try to live life as best we can. We forget the past often and revert to type. That is we revert to having only one view on life, that’s our own of course and not taking into account the bigger picture.
Tonight was a good reminder for me to keep on listening and keep hearing the words of others. All the experience strength and hope we can access, every time we get to a meeting. And then of course to put into action what we learn and know are the safer ways to live.
Put up with
A lot of people do put up with so much and then realise they may have been on the wrong path for them for years. A bit like me, I did things I was good at for decades because I was good at them, and though it was best to follow the knitting pattern as others were happy mostly, as I meandered into more work and more relationships which suited not them overall or me either in the long run.
Why are we here at all?
A good question which can be answered simply. To be happy and understand the way we can live and behave and find peace and harmony. And of course the prime reason is to love and be loved. And in some way belong.
Not so easy really, as lives get complicated and we are beyond the old patterns as the years change our outlook and our societies. We have expectations and desires, we have needs and wants. And still we make it even more complicated with changing and changing and changing, everything.
Do People change?
From their nature and their outlook so long ago, can we change is another question.
And of course we can, yet we need to be change agents with adeptness we so easily forget as we continue our life quest. Language for example, how is it we can learn a language from our birth and then we forget how to learn another? Or is it that we get complicated and keep learning new things based on where we are and what we know. Of course we do, so we place all we learn in the context of language and our capacity to see and understand.
Other Points of view
So many others with different outlooks and different points of view, we can be overwhelmed and sometimes we need take a break and listen hard and live more carefully. And I guess this where I am tonight.
Having said change is to the good, and still I need to take time to consolidate where I am, and this has been affirmed in recent days. Not taking on too much and not meddling with what works and trying to modify myself towards whatever normal may be.
Is there such a thing as normal? To an extent yet we are all different and we all see our world slightly differently and uniquely. We forget with peril that not everyone is going to want us to stay with consolidation as they have other ideas about life and how we live. And of course this hits me when I have been asked to consider some other service commitments in the fellowship.
Nearly time to take on new roles and have a go at something different. And on advice wait two months have a review with my mentors, there are still three out there! Smiles here having three is maybe greedy but they are for different elements of my situation, from medical to ethical and then to spiritual. So I guess as we interchange our roles with others then we get more changes with people we have in our lives.
Something we keep learning about. We develop and understand trust as we understand people and we can check the credentials by what people do and not by what they intend to do.
The Road to Hell is Paved with good Intent
Either we live on the road with our eyes open or we can find ourselves back in hell pretty quick. Word tonight, wherever we may be stick with fellowship and get to meetings.
I have great admiration for the courage people show and help me develop my own. As this world has become smaller and the fellowship wider, we can find here and anywhere in this world when we choose.
And of course we can not talk inside our fellowship, we can go out and seek advice as anyone can from anywhere we get to know and trust.
All humans are better for sharing and living together. When we find ourselves isolated, that is where fear can lurk and awaits more fear to join it.
Open Honest and Willing
We learn this in fellowship where we seem able to be less judging and more forgiving as we gain wisdom over the years. This is quite different to many other connections we develop in the years we keep sober. Often what drove us to insanity is alive and well in others, so we keep safe and find our path made easier in fellowship.
So complicated and makes us complicated too, so often the solution is simple and easy. And done by the day and in the day. I see a way forward at last, just for today and this day. Tomorrow is another story.
Wherever we may be in the world, it seems our simple path for complicated humans who have unique and authentic outlooks thrive best with our fellowship. A bunch of conventional anarchists we are. Long may it be so, acceptance is always the key.
Doctors chief quits over training fiasco May 21 2007
BMA chairman forced out by critics as pressure grows on Patricia Hewitt
Sarah Boseley, health editor
The chairman of the British Medical Association, James Johnson, resigned suddenly last night over accusations that he was siding with the government in the debacle over training jobs for junior doctors. Mr Johnson said the criticism of him had "got very nasty" and he felt he had lost the confidence of some of his colleagues.
His decision to quit made him the highest profile casualty so far in the increasingly heated row between ministers and doctors, which has seen white-coat protest marches in Whitehall and an apology for the fiasco by the health secretary, Patricia Hewitt.
She will be under fresh pressure this week when there is a judicial review into the legality of the new online application scheme that is at the heart of the controversy.
Juniors were outraged by the unfairness of the system which failed to select the best applicants for jobs and threatened, the juniors say, to wreck the careers of thousands who would be left without a place on the training ladder to become a consultant.
BMA chief quits after ‘damaging’ defence of failed training system May 21 2007
Nigel Hawkes, Health Editor
The chairman of the British Medical Association, James Johnson, has resigned after a letter he wrote to The Times defending the failed medical application system caused widespread fury and led to a number of doctors resigning from the BMA in protest.
Mr Johnson, a surgeon, wrote yesterday to the BMA tendering his resignation. “My letter caused an absolute furore,” he admitted. But he was unrepentant about the letter, signed jointly with Dame Carol Black, which defended the Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, regarded as the chief architect of the new medical training system.
Since the letter appeared on Wednesday, in response to one from Professor Morris Brown of Cambridge University and colleagues, a wave of anger has engulfed Mr Johnson. There has been no opportunity for the Council of the BMA, which he chairs, to meet since the letter appeared but opinions expressed on medical websites and in Times Online made clear that he had lost support.
On Times Online there were by early yesterday afternoon 496 reponses to the letter, universally critical of Mr Johnson and Dame Carol, who is chair of the Academy of the Medical Royal Colleges. Many called on them both to resign
Exclusive: Secret US plot to kill Al-Sadr May 21 2007
By Patrick Cockburn In Baghdad
The US Army tried to kill or capture Muqtada al-Sadr, the widely revered Shia cleric, after luring him to peace negotiations at a house in the holy city of Najaf, which it then attacked, according to a senior Iraqi government official.
The revelation of this extraordinary plot, which would probably have provoked an uprising by outraged Shia if it had succeeded, has left a legacy of bitter distrust in the mind of Mr Sadr for which the US and its allies in Iraq may still be paying. "I believe that particular incident made Muqtada lose any confidence or trust in the [US-led] coalition and made him really wild," the Iraqi National Security Adviser Dr Mowaffaq Rubai'e told The Independent in an interview. It is not known who gave the orders for the attempt on Mr Sadr but it is one of a series of ill-considered and politically explosive US actions in Iraq since the invasion. In January this year a US helicopter assault team tried to kidnap two senior Iranian security officials on an official visit to the Iraqi President. Earlier examples of highly provocative actions carried out by the US with
little thought for the consequences include the dissolution of the Iraqi army and the Baath party.
The attempted assassination or abduction took place two-and-a-half years ago in August 2004 when Mr Sadr and his Mehdi Army militiamen were besieged by US Marines in Najaf, south of Baghdad.
Dr Rubai'e believes that his mediation efforts - about which he had given the US embassy, the American military command and the Iraqi government in Baghdad full details - were used as an elaborate set-up to entice the Shia leader to a place where he could be trapped.
Mr Sadr emerged as the leader of the Sadrist movement in Baghdad at the time of the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. It had been founded by his father, also a cleric, who had confronted Saddam's regime in the 1990s and had been murdered by his agents in 1999. Its blend of nationalism, religion and populism proved highly attractive to Iraqi Shia, particularly to the very poor.
Although Mr Sadr escaped with his life at the last moment, the incident helps explain why he disappeared from view in Iraq when President George Bush stepped up confrontation with him and his Mehdi Army militia in January.
Dr Rubai'e said: "I know him very well and I think his suspicion and distrust of the coalition and any foreigner is really deep-rooted," and dates from what happened in Najaf. He notes that after it had happened Mr Sadr occupied the shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf as a place of refuge. Dr Rubai'e had gone to Najaf in August 2004 to try to mediate an end to the fighting. He met Mr Sadr who agreed to a set of conditions to end the crisis. "He actually signed the agreement with his own handwriting," said Dr Rubai'e. "He wanted the inner Najaf, the old city, around the shrine to be treated like the Vatican."
Having returned to Baghdad to show the draft document to Iyad Allawi, who was prime minister at the time, Dr Rubai'e went back to Najaf to make a final agreement with Mr Sadr.
May 21 1991: Bomb kills India's former leader Rajiv Gandhi
Rajiv Gandhi, the 46-year-old former Indian prime minister, has been assassinated.
He was campaigning for the Congress Party on the second day of voting in the world's largest democratic election when a powerful bomb, hidden in a basket of flowers, exploded killing him instantly.
At least 14 other people were also killed in the attack in the town of Sriperumbudur, about 30 miles from Madras, the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
No-one has admitted carrying out the murder but it is being blamed on Mr Gandhi's arch enemies, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a violent guerrilla group fighting for a separate homeland for Tamils on the island of Sri Lanka.
End of a dynasty
Rajiv Gandhi's death has shocked the world and marks the end of the Nehru dynasty that had led India for all but five years since independence from Britain.
After his brother Sanjay was killed in an air crash in 1980, he gave up his job as an airline pilot and was elected to Sanjay's parliamentary seat.
He became prime minister after his mother, Indira Gandhi, was assassinated by her own Sikh bodyguards in 1984.
There come to us moments in life when about some things we need no proof from without. A little voice within us tells us, 'You are on the right track, move neither to your left nor right, but keep to the straight and narrow way.
A person falsely claiming to act under divine inspiration or the promptings of the inner voice without having any such, will fare worse than the one falsely claiming to act under the authority of an earthly sovereign. Whereas the latter on being exposed will escape with injury to his body, the former may perish body and soul together.
You have to believe no one but yourselves. You must try to listen to the inner voice, but if you will not have the expression"inner voice", you may use the expression "dictates of reason", which you should obey, and if you will not parade God, I have no doubt you will parade something else which in the end will prove to be God, for, fortunately, there is no one and nothing else but God in this universe.
For me truth is the sovereign principle, which includes numerous other principles. This truth is not only truthfulness in word, but truthfulness in thought also, and not only the relative truth of our conception, but the Absolute Truth, the Eternal Principle, that is God. There are innumerable definitions of God, because His manifestations are innumerable. They overwhelm me with wonder and awe and for a moment stun me.
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