Step 11 says “[We] sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood [God]....” One of the best ways to do that is through the Third Step prayer (“God, I offer myself to thee…”) I will explore and unpack various aspects of this prayer, and share my experience with how it has been working in me throughout this past year.
I will be building on my October 5 talk on Step 2 ( https://soundcloud.com/jay-s-mcgregor/jule-g-speaks-on-step-two). If you weren’t at the workshop that day, and have the time, I invite you to listen to the talk before we get together on Saturday, December 7.
Step Two and “Speed Bumps”
Step Two: We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
How are things in your life? When I hit speed bumps of “un-sanity” in mine, I’ve found that it is most likely a Step Two matter. What is my understanding of a higher power? And am I being invited to let my understanding of that higher power evolve into something different?
I am currently living Step Two as some new chapters of life begin, so I’m looking forward to being with you as we explore these matters together.
Please bring writing paper and a pen when we gather on October 5.
What Once Was Hidden
As we evolve in recovery, there are opportunities for Step 6 (“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character”) and Step 7 (“Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings”) to take on new and deeper meaning.
Through Step work, and the practice of Centering Prayer, we are walked through a healing process that illuminates things about ourselves that were once hidden. I have also found the “3 A’s” of Al-Anon—awareness, acceptance, and action—really helpful in this process
On Saturday I’ll talk about the difference being willing myself better (as an act of ego-will) and yielding so that I allow grace to wake me up.
I’m looking forward to being with you on February 9!
One of the final invitations in the first 164 pages of the Big Book is to “abandon yourself to God as you understand God.” Centering prayer is a fulfillment of this exhortation that allows the mysterious and magical forces of grace to heal us.
Where are you these days with the Big Book’s suggestion? And what does abandon yourself mean to those of us who, in various ways, have experienced abandonment? I look forward to gathering with you on December 8, when we’ll explore these ideas.
How I Think About Myself
Step 7 says: Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings. In past years, I have approached this step thinking that my defects of character were my shortcomings. However, as I continue the practice of Centering Prayer, a subtle shift has taken place, helping me to see that the shortcomings that show up in my behavior originate from my beliefs and my thinking about myself.
Centering Prayer is gradually revealing how I think about myself--with some surprising effects. At our workshop on February 10, I will talk about what I’m discovering, and how that impacts everything in my life, but especially my journey of recovery.
The right antidote
Step 11 says "Sought through prayer and meditation..." In Centering Prayer meditation, we tend to the meditation portion of this step — but what about the prayer part?
Join me this Saturday, May 13, as I share one of my favorite types of prayer of late: Welcoming Prayer, a resource from Contemplative Outreach, the national organization that promotes Centering Prayer. I find it to be just the right antidote for the discomfort that can come as our unconsciousness unloads through the “divine therapy” of the Centering Prayer practice.
I’m looking forward to being with you!
love makes me "entirely ready"
I have not often been entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character, as Step 6 suggests we become. However, I’ve found that willingness to have this happen got me pretty far along in that Step, even during those times when I was not entirely ready. Thank HP that this is a program of progress and not perfection!
Recently, I came across this quote from the spiritual teacher Nouk Sanchez:
“Trusting in God’s Will to resolve everything elicits a deep sense of gratitude that’s felt in advance. There is no shred of doubt about the outcome, even if we cannot see what the outcome might be…. It’s a certainty of faith that God is All-Loving.”
As my understanding and experience of HP shifts throughout my recovery, I believe more and more firmly that God is Absolute Love — a love so absolute that there is no opposite to it. It’s just Love. As this belief/experience of God has deepened, it has allowed me to actually become, at times, entirely ready.
I can be willing and ready because it is Love who will remove the defects of character when they no longer are of service to me and others. And Centering Prayer meditation has supported this transformation into trust.
I look forward to us sharing our stories on February 11. See you there!
My Way into the Fourth Dimension
Before I found my way into the recovery rooms, I was in bondage to alcohol, to my relationships with other people, to food. And through working the program, I found freedom from these addictions ... but I also found that my life was still shaped by fear and by my own my agenda and plans. Recovery brought a new connection with my higher power, but I was still the center of my own life ... still doing my own life, and checking in with God only so that God could help me with the life that I was creating.
Luckily, about ten years ago, I found an AA home group in which we read the Third, Seventh and Eleventh Step prayers each week. And over the years of saying these prayers weekly, I began to have a radical shift in my orientation. Over the past five years or so, the Third Step prayer has been a shaping force in my life.
God, I offer myself to Thee — to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!
This Saturday I will talk about how the line "relieve me of the bondage of self," and centering prayer, have been the vehicles for “rocketing” me into the “fourth dimension” that the Big Book describes.
I look forward to being with you on December 12!