In treatment, we were instructed to complete a “Significant Event” form and turn it in to our counselor each evening, making note of whatever it was that got our attention that day. Sometimes it was a walk on the beach, or the phone call that didn’t come, or the hard conversation with my mom on Family Day. Other times it would've been something I’d read (page 449?! Mind blowing!) or an interaction with a peer. While not specifically linked to Step 10, I now recognize this as my first experience in the daily inventory. What mattered today? What did I do well? What behavior or words need amending?
An acquaintance has recently started posting a weekly list of "10 awesome things she has witnessed or experienced." I like her idea, and it has raised my antennae on noticing positive goings-on in the world rather than the negative loop I can experience with the affairs of politics or the wounded planet. Paying attention to all the good that is happening changes my frequency – if I’m focused on the bad stuff I can feel myself constrict. While not suggesting a Pollyanna attitude, I feel a deep relaxing when I take note what is hopeful, whether that is grassroots organizing, people finding their voice, or someone planting trees where there were none. I can bring it closer to home with my own behaviors: acknowledging a friend’s process, thanking someone for their meeting share, writing a gratitude list (which always includes recovery, a warm place to sleep, & hot running water), or pausing to respond in kindness rather than reacting. It comes back to the question of "how do I want to be in the world today?" Do I want to be part of the solution or part of the problem?
Step 10 asks us to promptly admit our wrongs. As my recovery has progressed, I view that directive as not just making amends to others, but as paying attention to my own peace of mind, as in my recent realization that I want to spend more time outdoors. Making amends to myself means that I got up on the trails last weekend, and have a date to share Forest Park with a newly relocated neighbor on Saturday. It means turning off the TV and snuggling in with a good book before bed. It means not putting off until “later” what I feel the nudge to do today, even if that means trading a task for sitting in silence.
Step 10 also means holding myself accountable. I have a writing project that is in the final stages before printing, and what do I do? Why, clean my closet, of course! I am a fairly dedicated person – I run regularly and go to the gym, I make a healthy lunch each day, I write this blog every week. But for some reason, when it comes to my larger writing undertakings, I have a tendency to dance all around the project, still holding on to the old idea that I need to wait for inspiration, for the perfect conflux of time and motivation and a good cup of tea. Rubbish! 90% (99??) of writing, or likely any creative endeavor, is simply doing it, suiting up and showing up and trusting that the juices will flow at some point. What I’ve found is that if I make it a habit, sometimes through gritted teeth, in a very short time I find myself wanting to get to my desk – the project takes on a life of its own that says, “Me, now please!” And so, by publicly stating my intention, I will draw myself to the finishing touches, looking forward to saying, not, “I am working on...” but “I have just completed....” Stay tuned.
I have entered that phase of my work life where I'm marking the lasts, as in last September, last October, etc. If all unfolds according to plan, this is my final Halloween at my workplace. Each year, staff and I perform the "Monster Mash," reworked to the "Monster Meth." Today's presentation was epic, a fabulous example of fun in recovery. I told a friend, who remarked "Remember when we were newly sober and it was the 'first this and that?'" I do remember, which makes so many of these "lasts" all the sweeter. It really could've gone either way back then, and I hope to never forget that.
What got your attention today? Can you think of 10 awesome things you've seen or experienced this week? (& thanks to Jillene for that idea.) How do you apply Step 10 to your relationship with yourself?