March 7, 2013

Got Lent?

I missed the first weeks of Lent, but perhaps that is fine. Just like EA,  Lenten practice is full of choices.   I don't have to do it perfectly or on any time schedule.

I have been learning that this season (Lent) is  a practice with wilderness, echoing Jesus's  experience in the desert.

Not unlike people that come into our 12-step rooms for recovery, Jesus was forced to  face his wilderness. And he looked at things he would rather not have seen, and to face his inner nature, too.  His journey moved him to greater openness, liberty and humility.

For Jesus, "the Spirit drove him" into the wilderness.  That means I don't have  to want to go there either, for my journey to be blessed.  

"The Spirit drove Him out into the wilderness.  He was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him." 

Angels?  I did not recognize them 22 years ago, when I faced my first real wilderness of mental illness.  

I would never have found our Program without being forced to face what was untamed and unfathomed, within me. Had MY will been in charge, I'd not have been in a hospital to do it, and I might never had had the motivation to seek out Emotions Anonymous.  

Unlike Jesus, I did not know that I went there with God's blessing. I thought the discomfort and chaos I had experienced, during that  six week hospital stay in a town I had never heard of, was a curse. The blessing of EA,  was the chaos  was less than what I'd faced going into a mental health unit. 

By comparison, using the steps to face my nature and wildness, and sit in an uncomfortable folding chair instead of the hospital,  looked like a piece of cake.  Of course, I did not want admit to the chaos (wilderness) of unmanageability, that arose from being powerless over my emotional nature, but I had to.  When I admitted Step One, it turned out to be the crucible for accepting my wilderness and leaning into it, learning from past.

It is still good to respect and re-study my past chaotic places, to see how far I have come.  Step Eleven is  perfect for this, in forging a staying power to sit with the uncomfortable.

Because of Program, I can take myself willingly to the wilderness today, where once I was driven to it.  Prayer and meditation creates a peaceful place in me, so I can sit and learn what I need to from my wilderness. I say Amen, for all that Lent is bringing up for me. 

Continuing to learn from my experience in this wilderness, is my blessing this year.  The act of sitting alone quietly has helped me "grok" my wilderness, and see where my fears, envy and resentments come from. 

I can nurture myself as I stay with these wild guests, observing them and learning from them.

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