Archive for September, 2009

Doing Step 4

boatsiteRowBoats

One of my newer sponsees is just starting to do her 4th Step.  She tells me that she’s had two other sponsors who didn’t give her direction and guidance on doing the 4th Step, nor did they give her any deadline by which to finish the Step.

While these aren’t an excuse, what I’ve learned from experience is that it’s helpful to actively move through the action or process of doing the Steps with the people I sponsor.  My first sponsor did that with me and it helped me process through the Steps and make progress.  This particular woman felt lost, confused and had been overthinking the 4th Step for many months, over 2 years, with two different sponsors.  When I told her she had a week to do the inventory for Step 4 she thought she’d heard me incorrectly.  I assured her that she heard correctly.  The reason for this instruction is that it’s important to get through this particular exercise as briskly and thoroughly as possible.  Once we start the process, information comes to us quickly.  Then, we take the next week to see what else floats to the surface that we didn’t recall during our intentional action of doing the inventory.  The act of seeking the information starts a process in the brain that can continue involuntarily over the next several days bringing more memories to our awareness that we’d long forgotten.  After this following week of letting memories percolate to the surface of her awareness, we’ll proceed to the 5th Step.

I suggest also, that sponsees inform family members and spouses that they will be doing some work that may lead them to seem a bit anxious or out of sorts at times over the next few weeks.  If the sponsee doesn’t catch themselves in a , their family members can also gently alert them, with a predetermined phrase, and the sponsee can call their sponsor or another member of 12 Step programs for support and help to process any upset so that it isn’t impacting loved ones at home.  We are responsible for our actions through the process of doing the Steps too.  The process isn’t meant to happen at other people’s expense during this or any other phase.  It’s a journey, and we are not alone.  Many have gone before us.

The brevity of the two week time span also offers us a target date, a light at the end of the tunnel.  It limits the amount of time that one spends in the recall of actions and feelings that we’re not proud of or enjoying thinking about again.  Remember, Step 4 inventory is who we aren’t.  We call these memories forth as a tool to honestly face our past – where we became lost – and to help us later right our wrongs, our mistakes, so that we can move forward unencumbered by the guilt, shame, embarassment, anxiety and discomfort we feel at the thought of them.  The end result is we have a spiritual awakening and we become happy, joyous and free as the Big Book promises – as a result of doing these Steps.

If you find this helpful, pass it on to others.  For daily updates, press the orange RSS feed to the right for directions.

 Affirmation for the Day – ” I am willing to grow.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

Course In Miracles Lesson – Let all things be exactly as they are.

Practice – In Let me not be Your critic, Lord, today, and judge against You.  Let me not attempt to interfere with Your creation and distort it into sickly forms.  Let me be willing to withdraw my wishes from its unity and thus to let it be as You created it.  For thus will I be able too, to recognize my Self as You created me.  In love was I created, and in love  will I remain forever.  What can frighten me when I let all things be exactly as they are? 

Advertisements

Comments (4) »

Timing Is Everything – Sometimes

lotus-flower-wallpaper

I’m no expert.  No professional.  I can only share my experience, strength and hope.  Lately, I’m being more careful with priorities and  the time shared in sponsorship thanks to the discernment taught to me through my growth in the 12 Step programs.

Early in the program a wise woman reminded me not to cast my pearls amongst swine.  Now that isn’t to say that some people are pigs, however, it does mean that if I’m willing to share what has worked for me and others, it needn’t be a wasted effort.  Well, it usually isn’t a wasted effort – even if all that’s happening is seeds are being planted for much later germination in the minds of newcomers. 

However, if someone asks me to sponsor them, agrees to how that will work and then is unwilling to apply what works to their life, then it doesn’t make sense for me to expend the energy and time that’s required when people are new and just working through the Steps.  It’s not that patience is lacking on my end.  It’s just that my time and energy are precious and are currently very limited.  It doesn’t make sense for me to share that limited time with people who aren’t willing to do the work.  No judgement necessary.  Recently, this has lead to transitioning two sponsees who were unwilling, or perhaps just currently incapable of doing the work as agreed.  It’s okay.  They are lovely people.  I want the best for them.  They can always call me if they want to, we just don’t have the sponsorship relationship.  They are in my prayers, and my hope for them is that they find sponsorship that they can hear and make progress with.  Timing is everything – sometimes, and perhaps this just wasn’t the best time for us to work together.  Meanwhile, I’m taking care of myself, using my time as wisely as possible with guidance from prayer and my sponsor, and making the most of the time spent with sponsees who are able and willing to process through the Steps.  It is a great honor, and a sacred responsibility for which I am grateful.  Thank You God.

If you find this helpful, pass it on to others.  For daily updates, press the orange RSS feed to the right for directions.

 Affirmation for the Day – ” I am divinely guided and inspired.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

Course In Miracles Lesson – Creation’s gentleness is all I see.

Practice – In quiet would I look upon the world, which but reflects Your Thoughts and mine as well.  Let me remember that they are the same, and I will see creation’s gentleness.

Leave a comment »

Gratitude Daily

gratitude

Growing up I learned how to lament, complain, and focus on how awful everything was in my life.  And the more I complained and moaned about how awful things were, the more awful things I had to lament about.  It’s a self perpetuating cycle.  And it doesn’t have to be that way.

We can keep the cycle, but replace what is running through it with something better.  When my first sponsor asked me to write a Gratitude List every day, that was the start of my change of awareness.  She asked me to write 25 things each day that I was grateful for.  Initially, this was a laborious, almost painful process for me.  My brain truly did not know how to see or notice what was good in my life.  The entire concept was new to me.  When we know better, we do better.

Now, many years later I am still writing that Gratitude List, every day.  And I’m very good at it.  Then, throughout my day I talk about what I notice that I’m grateful for – the rain we’re getting later today, the new brakes on my husbands vehicle, the progress made in school this week, the wonderful, supportive friends we’ve been blessed with, the surprise visit of our dear friend who just moved out of state.  All of these and more are what stand out for me already today as well as the peace and prosperity that are gently, flowing into our life.  I mention these good things in passing and in conversation with others, and how grateful I am. Thank You God, Thank You God, Thank You God, is a phrase I say throughout my day, and it’s easy because I really mean it.  Try it.  You’ll like it.

If you find this helpful, pass it on to others.  For daily updates, press the orange RSS feed to the right for directions.

 Affirmation for the Day – ” I am grateful for our many blessings.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

Course In Miracles Lesson – I am surrounded by the love of God.

Practice – Father, You stand before me and behind, beside me, in the place I see myself and everywhere I go.  You are in all the things I look upon, the sounds I hear, and every hand that reaches for my own.  In You time disappears and place becomes a meaningless belief.  For what surrounds Your Children and keeps them safe is Love Itself.  There is no Source but This, and nothing is that does not share Its holiness, that stands beyond Your one creation or without the Love Which holds all things within Itself.  Father, Your Children are like Yourself.  We come to You in Your own Name today, to be at peace within Your everlasting Love.

Leave a comment »

Affirming

affirmation cards

What we say affirms what we will have in our lives.

Over and over, I have seen this seemingly idealistic concept work in my life.  In the past when I spoke of what was wrong, what I didn’t want or like, what I was complaining about – I received more of it.

When this simple principle of caring about and giving attention to what we speak of became part of my conscious awareness, I was compelled to change my focus.  Whatever we focus on grows and multiplies.  Knowing this we become responsible for what we’re inviting into our lives.  Our Higher Power is in control, and we have a part in what is happening.  When my past complaining diminished, thanks to what I was learning in 12 Step programs, I also stopped getting sick all the time.  My choice is to chalk this up to a better attitude and positive talk.  I started looking for the best in people and worked on letting go of expectations.  I affirmed what I wanted in my life, if it was God’s will, and thanked my Higher Power in advance for it.  Then my life changed.  People wanted to socialize with me, jobs started coming to me, people did nice things for me, financially there were no more worries – my life improved.  Formal affirmations still work for me as does choosing how I speak in life.  Focusing on the positive works well.  For me it was an acquired ability.  It’s one of the best things ever taught to me and one which has improved my life.  I’m blessed to be able to pass it on.

If you find this helpful, pass it on to others.  For daily updates, press the orange RSS feed to the right for directions.

 Affirmation for the Day – ” I am making progress.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

Course In Miracles Lesson – My holy vision sees all things as pure.

Practice – Father,Your Mind created all that is;  Your Spirit entered into it; Your love gave life to it.  And would I look upon what You created as if it could be made sinful?  I would not perceive such dark and fearful images.  A madman’s dream is hardly fit to be my choice instead of all the loveliness with which You blessed creation – all its purity, its joy, and its eternal, quiet home in You.

Leave a comment »

God Centered

Lotus_Flower_IMG_1724

At a recent 12 Step conference one of the speakers mentioned the concept of being God-centered.

He spoke about how being God-centered is the opposite of being”self-centered”.  Important distinction.  The God-centered concept has been helpful for me to remember ever since.  When my focus is off of what works, what’s good and what is the next right thing to do, the God-centered phrase can get me back on track.  When my focus is skewed and becoming obsessive about me, the phrase can in an instant refocus me on others.  Asking in prayer for assistance to be God-centered is helping me – as does saying the 3rd Step prayer (p. 63 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous).  This prayer works sooooooo well.  So, be careful what you pray for, my experience is that you will get it.  Be thoughtful, and ask for direction, for God’s will and all will be well.  And, so it is.

If you find this helpful, pass it on to others.  For daily updates, press the orange RSS feed to the right for directions.

 Affirmation for the Day – ” I am divinely guided and directed.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

Course In Miracles Lesson – Let me remember that there is no sin.

Practice – Father, I would not be insane today, I would not be afraid of love not seek for refuge in its opposite.  For love can have no opposite.  You are the Source of everything that is.  And everything that is remains with You and You with it.

Comments (2) »

It Works

raupe

Lately, it’s been gratifying and inspiring to hear my sponsees marveling at how well things are going in their lives since they started working the 12 Steps and doing what works for others in 12 Step programs.

They’re making the connections between the following:  Doing a Gratitude List and how it changes their attitude and they find themselves in aprreciation for even little things throughout their days – How reaching out through phone calls to share about distress they feel regarding situations helps the distress dissipate, and how the call made them aware of solutions they then successfully put into action – The miracles that appear, seemingly out of nowhere building their faith and trust that their Higher Power is providing for them – Working the Steps and the transformation which that process creates within them, and in all aspects of their lives.

How inspiring, rewarding and reinforcing for me to be witness to the metamorphosis that happens for these amazing, courageous women.  At 12 Step meetings I was taught the closing phrase ” Keep coming back – It works.”  In later years I heard people add to that, ” – If you work it.”  And it does.  For those who choose not to work it yet, we can pray.  Those of us who have done the work and witnessed the process in others know how much it offers.  We want those same miracles for all who’ve suffered and come to the 12 Step programs.  The relief and release is such a gift when we realize the Promises (p. 83-84 of the Big Book of Alchohics Anonymous) coming true “before we are halfway through” with working the Steps.  It works.

If you find this helpful, pass it on to others.  For daily updates, press the orange RSS feed to the right for directions.

 Affirmation for the Day – ” I am willing to do what works.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

Course In Miracles Lesson – Let me remember that my goal is God.

Practice – Father, Our goal is but to follow in the way that leads to You.  We have no goal but this.   What could we want but to remember You?  What could we seek but our Identity?

Comments (1) »

What We Bring

2415968270077997123gqHcLx_fs

One of the meetings that we attend is going through some growing pains.  It’s good for all of us as a group to experience the process of working through topics. 

At times it can be very uncomfortable.  Perserverence is required.  What seems to be important to remember is to focus on what we can bring to the meeting instead of what we can take from it.  When new at meetings it was more important for me to listen.  I didn’t “get” what people were talking about, but I truly wanted to “get it”.

Now, my focus is more on what my presence can bring to the meeting most of the time.  Rigourous honesty is a key here.  We may never know what our Higher Power is using us for in a meeting, but we don’t need to know.  My experience from listening to others share is that our honesty can touch another member in miraculous ways.  The relief and clarity that I’ve gained – the new awarenesses – from another member’s humble, honest sharing has been invaluable.  To find out that I’m not the only one going through a particular situation has provided me with serenity and sanity that was previously inaccessible to me.  The generousity of other members has worked miracles in my life.  And, it’s important to pass it on.  So, keep coming back – it works. 

If you find this helpful, pass it on to others.  For daily updates, press the orange RSS feed to the right for directions.

 Affirmation for the Day – ” I am divinely guided and inspired.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

Course In Miracles Lesson – Let me remember what my purpose is.

Practice – Father, forgiveness is Your chosen means for our salvation.  Let us not forget that we can have no will but Yours today.  And thus our purpose must be Yours as well if we would reach the peace You will for us.

Leave a comment »