Step Ten All the way to bedtime, and a mental gratitude list!
October 27, 2013 Step Ten Month: "continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it." When I was a raw recruit to Fellowship, twelve steps and twelve traditions were written in a book, on some posters on the walls and talked about incessantly in step meetings and tradition meetings. I could understand step ten, it was something I could start doing immediately. And I was by being sober one day at a time!
It's a beautiful morning: the weather forecast is for a hurricane or nearly a hurricane. Last time I was in a hurricane was a long time ago. A category five Caribbean hurricane which goes on for days meant I had to stock up on rum, sticky tape for the windows, cigarettes to see me through and more rum just in case I ran out. The case of rum would not be enough! A very lively hurricane kept me on my toes, when a tree came through the window, and fortunately only knocked one bottle of rum over. And I caught it. Ironically for the duration which was several days, the film Titanic played over and over again dubbed in Spanish. All I need today is to go get a loaf of bread, a jar of coffee and a bar of chocolate because I'm sober today.
Step ten to self: thank you God for the help and support which keeps me sober one day at a time. As you know God, I cannot define you and what I understand or have come to understand is: there are 7 billion people on the planet, each with their own understanding of a higher power. And that's alright by me because if I cannot define God and no one else can, whatever God works is the right God for me and you. A multi-faith universal God and nobody's definition is any better or worse or indifferent to each other. We are of nature and of nature: as God works through people, so can the devil. And we learn which way we can go far easier when we are sober today.
Nearly the eleventh month and prayer and meditation becomes my focus. Step ten is about exploration and truth. Step ten is about humility to keep on learning the truth. I always felt that step ten was part of me and my outlook, because I wanted to find out more, I needed it to learn more about humility and learning. I can remember as a child coming top of the class in religious education. Somebody once suggested if I ever believed in God I would be a good priest or vicar or something. How wrong those suggestions would be for me, faith comes from learning, courage comes from vulnerability, and confidence grows by learning what works day by day. I was tormented in my youth preferring to label myself as an atheist or an agnostic: nuts and bolts rather than faith and God. I prefer no label today; at the same time recognise again and again that people get labelled one way or another. And as to whatever the label may be what counts is what goes on inside us: to thine own self be true as often as you can and step ten is handy when we can't.
When people share about how God is working for them I do listen intently to see if I could join in with their philosophy. Then I realised it’s not about joining in somebody else's philosophy, it is about developing your own philosophy and the twelve steps and twelve traditions offer limitless opportunity; to be free to be yourself and make your own choices based on reality. And reality can include God as you understand and how he/she impacts on your life. And I have no doubt the impact is true.
Step ten and gratitude: spot check and gratitude are balancing outlooks. We know that life on a daily basis is never perfection unless we understand that life is imperfectly perfect in the moment of now. And that we are subject to natural forces in all our activities. And the more people live in one particular place, the more their features blend together. Slowly through time, climate will impact on all generations and as each generation stays put, the more indigenous to those areas people's complexions become. Everlasting ignorance is built on contempt and prejudice. And I am happy these days that I don't know what is right for me most of the time, and I will certainly not know what is right for you today. Freedom to choose: step ten and gratitude makes anything possible or impossible one day at a time.
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