Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Friday, January 15, 2016


An associate noticed me undergoing irritation for a while today. Showing frustration. It was about a project that would create more paperwork. Something about taxes. My least favorite subject in the world.

So he asked me about mindfulness. He thought my daily practice would have insulated me from frustration. Maybe kept me calmer. But I told him that wasn't necessarily so.

Some think that mindfulness means that we're always in a state of bliss. Floating on a cloud of lasting serenity. Unperturbed by whatever we encounter in life. But practice and experience teaches me otherwise.

One definition of mindfulness says that we're "fully aware of present experience - with acceptance."

But when I drift away from mindfulness I can find myself caught up in emotion as much as anyone. But mindfulness - being aware of myself- allows me to bounce back much quicker and get into acceptance.

Mindfulness allows us to look at our thoughts. Then accept them without judgement, letting them pass.

I'll never get to a place where nothing perturbs me. But I know I'm at a point now where I'm more resilient - and accepting of things that I used to let bother me for days.

And that's why I practice.

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