My assignment for the week is to question my preconceived notions of myself. God knows I’ve got tons of preconceived notions about everyone else, but that’s for another time. Right now, I’m keeping it at ground zero: my head, and what it’s holding onto regarding me. What do I cling to as examples of my story – good or bad, and how do I spin it?
Step Six: were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
What am I afraid of? Here’s a quick-hits list: failure and being laughed at. I avoid the first by never finishing anything, and what I do finish is never to my satisfaction. The second is harder, depending on that day’s level of paranoia and depression. All too often, this is my starting point for the morning: The world’s against me, and I’m not up to the challenge. The race is already over, and everyone chose somebody else. No chairs left. Hot potato. Goose.
So, how do I question these preconceived notions? What needs to happen as an action step that I keep not doing? Wallowing through life turns out to be a dry drunk at its best; a reality-bending isolationist’s nightmare at its worst. It’s choosing the rut and the pain I know; riding on the electric highway of lies that rockets around my brain at sub-sonic speed. Before I know it, I’m in another world, foreign and new, my defenses high. I become a reactionary tourist in my own life; hyper-vigilant and convinced everyone’s already picked my pockets.
I know what I need to do to get out of the rut. However, it’s in the not doing it that I can find my greatest shame and self-hatred, don’t you see? It’s a lose-lose. A loop of pointlessness, which rolls up into tight ball of anger, which is then misplaced on those I care about most.
This morning, I wrote down what I consider to be a “Wish List”. Checking off these boxes will quantify good habits that need to be forced at first. Perhaps a positive sense of accomplishment will start adjusting my true life vision:
- 10 minutes of meditation – I listen to an app.
- 5 minutes of A.A. reading – Today’s Date in the Twenty-Fours Hours a Day book, plus one page from the big book.
- 5 minutes of stretching – loosen up and breathe in good vibes.
There – 20 minutes in the morning: the humble, daily beginning of a better me.
It’s 8:45 a.m. right now. How long until I actually do what I’ve just written down? Turns out I finished up at 9:22 a.m. Flushing my mind and body with concentrated breathing cools my blood every time. After that, some gentle back stretches, followed by a well-timed Twenty-Four Hours a Day Prayer: I pray that I may not seek happiness but seek to do right. I pray that I may not seek pleasure so much as the things that bring true happiness.
It’s a victory, to be sure, considering my track record for keeping a schedule. There’s still the struggling part of me that believes that happiness comes naturally for normal people, and that I shouldn’t have to stop and re-calibrate my thinking.
Stop what, exactly? Clinging to negative thoughts and emotions, that’s what.
Time to start building new habits; not just sitting stopped on old ones.