We find unacceptable in others, that which we find
unacceptable about our selves. ~ Anon
In step #8 we get the opportunity to review our past relationships, what went wrong, what our part was, what we learned, and how we can make things better. A few years back, I decided to adopt a “Do Over G.O.D.”. Remember when we were kids, and the game did not go our way? We would holler “do over!” By embracing such a G.O.D., I can relax and realize that even if I screw things up, I will be given another shot at doing things in a healthier way the next time. Goodness knows, there will be many more chances to practice this program every day and every hour for the rest of my time in this human body.
The bottom line that I get out of this step is that there is a bit of bad in the best of us, and there is a bit of good in the worst of us. That feels so much better and more even handed than thinking the whole world is out to get me, or that people spend their nights laying there thinking of ways to foil my plans. During my spiritual journey, I ran into a guru who offered this challenge: to express Namaste to each person I met. Namaste means “the divine in me bows to the divine in you. I do not do this regularly. But, I do come away from situations that are harder to like, and ask, “what is the lesson this person is teaching me?” That helps. Find the good in others and yourself. Find the balance.
Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates: at the 1st gate, ask yourself: “Is it true?” At the 2nd gate, ask “Is it necessary?” At the 3rd gate ask “Is it kind?” ~ Sufi Saying
One of my sponsors, who eventually became a good friend says all the time, “speak your truth peacefully and quietly.” I have learned from her that most people shut out the “noise” of unwanted criticism, bossiness, judgmentalism, and harshness. It is probably to self-protect. I know when someone whispers, it is harder for me to hear, so I lean in more and pay more attention. We live in a society that loves to keep us thinking we are either too much or something or not enough of another. One can hardly get through a TV show without commercials telling us our bodies stink, we need medications to cope in life, our bank account or house is too small, and our pets need medication as well.
So, today is all about speaking the truth peacefully and quietly. The AA program teaches us to be honest in all of our affairs. It does not teach us to judge, harm, criticize, or push people around. My own business ends at the tip of my nose. There on outward is the responsibility of others. Thank goodness, there is a loving a merciful G.O.D., and it isn’t me. I do not have to fix anyone else but me. What a relief that is for me today. What a blessing that no one, no thing, and no event can knock me off my serenity boat but me. What a deal we have in AA.
Whenever you see darkness, there is an extraordinary opportunity
for the light to burn brighter. ~ Bono
Today was a hard one. I said goodbye to a fur friend named Sophie. Each time I lose a friend through death, it brings me back to HP, the universe, and what I came to believe through this program. I was proud card carrying agnostic when I came through the doors of AA. I had a great deal of anger toward religion, authority, and what I had been taught to fear, not love and trust. It took a loving and very patient sponsor to guide me into what I know and love today. We must remain teachable and flexible. We just do not know until we know.
What I know today, is there is a kitty heaven. I say the word know, because my conviction is there is a hereafter; not because it has ever been proven. Whatever works for each of us, is what works. I believe animals go into a hereafter where their jobs are to teach new ones how to handle their humans here on earth. This gives me peace. It makes sense to me and comforts me to feel as if death is not so much an ending, but a beginning. That AA says, “take what you like, and leave the rest” http://www.12step.org/references/ at the end of the meeting comes in very handy. AA and the program of recovery is as diverse as its members. I am glad Sophie could go out as peacefully as she lived. She taught me grace and dignity even in death. Let go and move on.
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go out side, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens , nature, and God.
~ Anne Frank
When I was a kid, I found my mom out in the garden just hoeing away in a great flurry. She had been out there for hours and it was time to fix dinner. When I asked her what she was doing, she said, “free therapy!”. I instinctively understood why, as I was a fellow member of a very violent household. That stuck with my all these years. She new intuitively that she was powerless in the marriage and in my dad’s disease. She had what her parents had told her “made her bed”. But, she knew how to survive the onslaught. She knew how to thrive regardless.
One gift this program gave me (and there have been many) is that for ten years (until Alzheimers took her mind), we had become friends. She taught me all she knew of gardening and thriving regardless of circumstances. She taught me that nature provides, the universe is bigger than anything we humans can come up with, and that to be in harmony with nature and the universe, is the one way to inner peace. She has been gone 3 years now. This summer I am building a garden path of stepping stones and yellow and purple blooming ground cover with a wall of lilies, irises and hostas on either side of it in her memory. She would have appreciated the sentiment far greater than any material thing I could ever buy for her. Seek peace, pick up the tools of recovery and dig in.