I was backpacking alone in Utah, carrying a huge pack on my skinny hips that looked like raw meat. I felt invincible, capable, with every step validating that there is nothing I can’t do. I loved it! That was many years ago.
A few years ago I happened across a radio interview, “Losses and the Laughter We Grow Into;” with author, storyteller, funny and wise man Kevin Kling and Krista Tippet (On Being).
At that time, I thought about the way in which Kling conveys his experience of being ‘dis-abled’. He said that in Dante‘s epic journeys, ‘Dis’ is “the underworld of shadow and reflection.” Kling therefore translates his experience as, “being abled through the world of shadow and reflection.” I embrace his reframe, because I too am abled, in my own way. In fact, many can relate, especially as we age and experience changes to our own abilities.
The following is my seventh entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.
Step 7: “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
Step 7 is found in Chapter 6 (Into Action), page 76, second paragraph of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. “When ready, we say something like this: My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that You now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength as I go out from here to do your bidding, Amen. We have now completed Step 7.”
The following is my fourth entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.
Step 4: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
Step 4 is found in Chapter 5 (How It Works) page 63, last paragraph, through page 71 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. We are to take a personal inventory in order to “face, and be rid of, the things in ourselves which have been blocking us. Our addiction is but a symptom. We had to get down to causes and conditions”. Searching and fearless means thorough and honest. We cover our entire life, past and present, leaving nothing out, exhausting everything we can bring to consciousness. Having set a firm foundation in Step 3, we now have the courage and strength to look within and shine light on the true causes of our problems. What we discover we write down. We search through every emotional aspect of our lives, resentments (anger), shame/guilt (I am a bad person/what I did was bad), fear (stress, tension, anxiety, terror) and all of our life situations: relationships (sex/people/institutions), work/career (people and institutions), finances (beliefs and fear around money), spiritual (God/religion), health (physical/mental health problems). We look at our life events, real and imagined, how and why we were threatened by what we believed was happening, and how our actions and reactions created or contributed to the destructive outcome for ourselves and others.
The recent tornadoes in the Southeast remind me of my life. There have been some very dark days where everything got turned upside down. Times where I have lost a lot, if not practically everything. I have had to sort through the rubble. I have had to put the pieces back together. I have had to rebuild my life.