October 6, 2010

Opening my Heart and Mind

Do you find, like the author of today's reading in Courage to Change,  that as you heal, "new character defects, pop up like weeds in a newly mown lawn?"    Maybe it is those weeds that bring me back,  again and again to the Steps to look at them with a fresh eye.

The crisis that brought me to Emotions Anonymous is past.    Recently, I found Al-anon, when I realized I needed to understand my family dysfunction. With each change I have needed to make, Program has met me, offering new opportunities for spiritual growth. 

There is always something new for me to learn, and my emotions remain a ready teacher. I've gone from accepting my fear, to studying my anger.  I am surprised sometimes at the small things that anger me. Again in the words of the author,  "I thought that other people and situations were to blame, but I decided to concentrate on my own part of the picture." 

Each day I can do a Step Ten around each incident that causes me to lose my serenity. First I ask myself was it resentment I felt,  anger, or contempt?  When I know the true name for my anger, I often find out what thinking led to it. It can help to share my discoveries with someone I trust.  The process helps me find "a common thread:  the exact nature of my wrongs."  My "need to be right"  is what zaps my serenity in many situations. I  might find my problem is not the event that triggered my anger, but my beliefs about the events or what I think they mean.   

T.S. Eliot's words from Little Giddings are often my program mantra: 

We shall not cease from exploration, and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.  

Eliot's words remind me that, no matter many months or years I sojourn in program,   I will never cease to find new ways to apply our Twelve Steps to my life. Let this day be a fresh start, and another chance to "open my mind and my heart to the lessons my Higher Power brings to me."

"Learn from yesterday. Live for today. Hope for tomorrow. " Albert Einstein

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