October 1, 2010

My Will or Principles?

I have my own experience that echoes the lesson of September 28th. 

Just like the author, in business meetings I often get a reality check. One time I responded to a long-term member's suggestion that we alter our Emotions Anonymous meeting guidelines to explain terms like cross-talk. He took a break from the group, but still I soldiered on, trying to make sure his request was honored by the group. Then, I decided to add some of the good boundaries of an Al-anon meeting I was attending. I felt it so important that people discuss the program tools and not therapy, medications, or outside literature. And of course, I wanted folks to know to use "I" messages. 

In our group conscience meeting the will of the group was to keep BOTH the old guidelines and the new. They were pretty clear that they wanted a choice!  I was stymied. Why didn't they just vote down the changes altogether?

Well, they did vote to do that, in practice.  A year went by.... and I noticed no one ever used the "revised" meeting guidelines when it was their turn to lead.  Indirectly they made their voices known. 

I received a powerful lesson from that experience. My pet project had been shot down. It did offend my pride and then I let it go.  Indeed  the program mantra came repeatedly to mind, "to place principles before personalities." 

In time, a brand new member decided to stay after for our group conscience meeting and pointed out a few of the things that the new guidelines would have explained .. had the leader read them. After this feedback, and some changes in our literature, the group decided they were ready to modify the meeting guidelines to fit our group. 

It did not matter that my earlier revisions had been defeated through lack of use.  Our solidarity in fellowship was what mattered. I may see a change that would benefit the group, but I need to wait until it is the will of everyone to support it. 

"With practice, I am able to apply this lesson to all of my relationships."

It is important for me to speak my mind in my relationships with others. It is equally important to allow others to decide whether my ideas fit their needs. The actions taken are out of my hands.  I have an easier time if I accept the results expressed by my Higher Power. 

Your proper concern is alone the action of duty, not the fruits of the action. Cast then away all desire and fear for the fruits, and perform your duty. The Bhagavad Gita

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