Sometimes I only come to change after God and/or the Universe hits me up against the side of the head with a 2×4. I recently read somewhere (I scan over 300 blogs so it is hard to remember where I’ve read something) that our growth comes about every 7 years. It is spread out which is the good news. I only know to put my head down and bully through it. To avoid it, is disastrous.
From Growing Along Spiritual Lines: “Ego Deflation“:
I bounced along the bottom for many years while spirit dozed on the couch in front of the TV. Spirit woke up when I finally reached out for help after the pain became unbearable. I must have let go of a ton of ego, because I floated into my first meeting on a pink cloud. My outside circumstances hadn’t changed, but something was going on inside me that I didn’t understand. I had no urge to take a drink. I felt downright blissful. Like any good alcoholic I wanted more. I wanted to keep this great feeling alive. You pointed to the steps on the wall.
The pink cloud wore off in a couple of months, but by this time I had a sponsor and was well into my spiritual journey through the steps. Ego began to fall away with each successive step. Huge chunks broke off when I saw my part in resentments, shared my secrets, and made heartfelt amends during my ninth step. Slowly I began to get glimpses of God working in my life. These God-shots were like white pebbles leading out of the dark forest of self-will. God was no longer an idea in my head. God became a living experience and remains so today.Ego is like an invisible wall that separates me from God and you and everything wonderful in life. The steps dissolve ego much like a bucket of water melts the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz. But unlike the Wicked Witch, Ego has a tricky way of reconstituting itself. If I am not continuing to grow and change through the steps, the wall rebuilds itself. Sooner or later I’m alone again. All alone.
From al-an journal: “The Path of Change”:
I’ve been off the grid for a few months, working through some massive changes in my life. By off the grid, I mean off of blog writing, not my Al-anon program. I guess you could say I’ve been more in tune with my program than ever during this time. But I needed to focus, limit distractions, because I knew that real change would require it. I am so easily distracted by the bright shiny lights my ego tosses out for me.
In these past few months, I have noticed an almost unrecognizable person inhabiting my body. Unrecognizable, but more authentic than before. Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? How is it that authenticity could be so hidden that it’s unrecognizable? I guess I have my character defects to thank for that.
When I look back a ways, I can see that there was turning point for me; the day my sponsor asked me to make amends to myself, and with her guidance, I did so, wholeheartedly. Like most change, there was no big Shazam! Just a subtle shift that altered perspective enough to set me on a different path.
The geometry of change is an interesting thing. Take something headed due north, and turn it one little click to the right, then let it keep running. At first the change is almost imperceptible. But over time the distance grows exponentially between where it was going and where it is. One small change builds on itself over time, and over time, the cumulative result becomes surprisingly large.
It took six months or so for the effects of change to start showing up in my life, but they did. Decisions I made were different. Resentments I let go of freed me. Each little thing that I did differently set me on a path to a whole new place, and now the landscape of my life looks wildly different than it did a year ago.
The changes have not been small. We sold the house we’ve lived in for the last fourteen years, and moved to a more affordable area, where we rent a house less than half the size of our old one. This week I will go from being a person with a ridiculous amount of debt to a person with almost none. And I experienced the beauty of Europe this summer, something I have “waited for” my entire life. A gift from a friend, which up until now, I would not have accepted.
It’s been a big summer. One click to the right and the places I find myself in now are nothing I could have imagined. The hardest part of all of it is that I have physically moved away from the Al-Anon community that helped me get to this place. I miss them. I feel like a teenager leaving the womb to take the next indicated step, off to college. It’s the bittersweet, but inevitable result of growth. And even though the specific people I have grown up with cannot come with me, the program they taught me will. They have been an expression of my higher power, one that I have been able to hear. So today I will attend an Al-Anon meeting in my new community. My guess is that they will accept me, and love me, in the same way the old group did, because that’s how it’s done in this program. And I am grateful.