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The 3Ms of Recovering from Anything

Palo Duro canyon trail
This picture from my camping trip to Palo Duro Canyon last year reminds me so much of what it feels like to set out on a new recovery journey. Long, rocky, arduous and yet potentially beautiful and life-changing too.

I don’t know where I would be in life today without my meditation practice.

I have been meditating since I was 19 – so nearly three decades this year.

That is a lot of “om” time!

And not a second of it has been wasted.

When my mind has wandered, this has given me the opportunity to practice bringing it back. When my mind has grown quiet, this has given me a glimpse of the parts of me that dwell beneath its waves.

During turbulent, uncertain times in life, meditation has reminded me of the link between breath and body and intuition – spirit. During times of peace, meditation has reconnected me to gratitude.

I cannot imagine my daily life without it.

Many of the mentors I most admire share a lot in their work about the connection between attention and outcomes.

“Where attention goes, energy flows” is a phrase I hear frequently.

Meditation allows me to focus my attention on healing, recovering, evolving. When I do this – when I let my energy flow towards these goals – often new intuitive insights emerge.

This is one such insight.

But first let me preface it with a short explanation.

I have a lot of experience with recovering from things.

Recovering from anorexia and bulimia. Recovering from chronic cyclical depression and anxiety. Recovering from codependency. Recovering from low self-esteem. Recovering from loss and heartache. Recovering from thyroid disease. Most recently, recovering from the parting with my longtime love a year ago last month.

With so many recoveries (if you will) now under my belt, you would think I wouldn’t feel so daunted when yet another new one pops up into view.


So the other day in meditation, I was attempting to locate some common threads about what has worked for me in past recovery efforts to, well, expedite recovery-related things in the present.

And by focusing my attention in this way, all of a sudden I realized what tied them all together.

In each and all of these recovery journeys, I have used a process I now call the “3 M’s:”

  • Make mistakes.
  • Make amends.
  • Make progress.

Make mistakes.

A mistake can be anything that sets me back, trips me up or stalls me out.

I might make a mistake in how I relate to someone else or in how I relate to myself.

I might make a mistake in how I spend my time or focus my attention.

I might make a mistake that causes acute or chronic troubles in my life.

Mistakes, like people, come in all shapes and sizes. But they always hurt. And they always teach.

Make amends.

Depending on the kind of mistake I make, I might need to make amends to myself.

I might need to make amends to someone else.

Or I might need to do both.

Make progress.

Learning how to make effective, lasting amends is its own kind of progress.

Then there are other kinds of progress as well.

But progress isn’t going to unfold if I try to skip over the amends part – the part when I have to first feel and then heal from the impact of the mistake I made.

I have to wait until the lesson part (make mistake, make amends) is complete and then I can move forward and make progress again.

If you are reading this and are also recovering from something, anything, I hope perhaps this insight may help you as well.

With great respect and love,



The 3Ms of Recovering from Anything

Shannon Cutts

Freelance writer. Author. Cockatiel, redfoot tortoise & box turtle mama.

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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2020). The 3Ms of Recovering from Anything. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 15 Apr 2020
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