When we get together on Saturday, December 8, I’ll invite us to explore the wording of Step Three, and then tell you a bit about how my understanding of the Third Step prayer has evolved over the years.
To close, we’ll “listen with the ear of the heart” to the prayer, using the method of lectio divina, in which we slowly and prayerfully experience its words.
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.
In Step 3, we made that decision to turn our will and our life over to the care of God as we understand God. This can be painful.
But the pain I suffer is not actually in turning my life and will over to the God of my understanding.
My pain is in my resistance to turning my life and will over to the God of my understanding.
Join us on Saturday, November 10, when I’ll say more about this distinction!
Step Two says: “We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” On Saturday, November 10, I’ll describe how I came to discover and trust the Divine Healer within. Join me.
“The principle that we shall find no enduring strength until we first admit complete defeat is the main taproot from which our whole society has sprung and flowered.” –Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
I would like to explore this redemptive truth—admission of complete failure on the basis of our own resources—and how essential it is to the practice of Centering Prayer.
I look forward to seeing you on October 20.
In working Step 11, which is all about trying to improve my conscious contact with my higher power, asking myself certain important questions can help.
What's my level of awareness of God's presence and action in my life? High, midrange, pretty low?
Where do I put most of my focus and energy? Getting things, doing things, owning things—or somewhere higher and deeper?
What’s my level of inner awareness—that is, how conscious am I of what's going on inside me? Is there anxiety, resentment, judgmentalism, fear?
Come join us on May 12, when I’ll explore these questions with you.
For years and years in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, the !0th Step was an unknown land for me. Step Nine--drama, struggle, amends, freedom, the Promises! Step Eleven--prayer and meditation, exploration of spirituality; loved it.
As for Ten, well, it was apologizing when you needed to, right? And making a list of good deeds and bad at night. Or something.
I was good at apologizing, bad at listing up my daily goods and bads. Mostly, I just ignored this Step. Then I discovered that it is 1) confusing (the Big Book and the 12 and 12 don't quite agree about it) and 2) substantial, powerful, and liberating, because it is a kind of mini-version of the whole program. By missing it, I was missing out on a lot.
I'll explore this somewhat-under-appreciated Step when we get together on April 14. See you there.
I’ll be speaking on the 9th Step: "Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others." Do you want to transform fear into freedom? Making amends is the way, I’ll argue. Not making them keeps us stuck in our own personal hell and stops our spiritual growth.
Are you willing to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience? You may be surprised at what you discover when you take action on this step. It's all good! Come find out more on March 10.
In centering prayer we acknowledge a core of basic goodness, a "Great Reality deep down within us." This is our Higher Power, and us, together. Our True Self. For many in recovery—myself included—we find it hard to reconcile our generally low opinion of ourselves with the cornerstone idea that God is there, deep down in every one of us. But reconcile it we must if we are to live free and purposeful lives.
A friend of mine who had struggled for years with credit card debt made this insightful observation: As long as he had debt, not only was he living in the past, but he had a hard time living fully in the present, and found it nearly impossible to imagine a happy future.
In the throes of being human, we accumulate spiritual debt, in the form (mostly) of resentments, fears, and the guilt we carry for harms done others. Making matters worse, shame often keeps us from facing up to this debt. As defiant alcoholics, and as approval-seeking co-dependents, we resist even going to a trusted confidant with simple acknowledgement of wrongs done.
We know the promises of the program are right around the corner, but we need to finish clearing up those things that block us from right relationship with our fellows and with God. During my talk on the 8th Step, "Made a list of all people we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all," we'll perform a mini-inventory of a recent harm done, analyze which aspect of self was involved, and investigate what’s required to become willing to make amends. We'll get to do it ourselves, and bear witness to each other, and in so doing, take a step on the path of lasting forgiveness and healing.
In sharing about my experience with the Sixth Step on February 10, I will be digging a little deeper into what it might mean to be “entirely ready.”
In the past, I’ve moved briskly through this Step without ever considering this pivotal question. I’ve more or less hidden its significance from myself. But I have since dis-covered (hyphen intended) that there is real work to be done in Step Six!
I hope to see you at the workshop.