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How often does the seductive voice within our psyches discount our value as compared with another, whether in a boardroom, in a classroom, during a tennis match, or wherever others gather? Its insinuation in our awareness, as if the observation was our own? It clearly does not want us to thrive in our flawed humanness, unique to each of us. Instead, we feel less than, unappreciated, and prone to self-pity, and if addicted to a substance, lose our souls.

Before I entered Twelve Step recovery, I was under siege to this seductive voice: the worm of envy grew fat feasting upon my innards. Only later did I learn about boundaries, when breeched, and the need to maintain them.

Help to do this came by saying, out loud, “Kill the comparer,” a tool that was shared by a wise woman, decades ago. It works if used with Steps I to III, followed by the Step IX amends to ourselves.

I liken this on-going purification to warfare—The use of a proper sword is critical in the cultivation of the clean heart that Jesus speaks of in the Beatitudes…for they shall see God. And we will, even now.

 

 

As depicted in ancient texts around the world hardship, suffering, and death have always seared experience. Brought to our knees, we learn limits and obey, but today’s Covid-19 knows no historical precedent.

It foists upon our awareness the specter of mortality, tinges outlooks with grief, demands mindfulness as we move through each day, and garbles communication among the experts. Intense is the dislocation from the familiar. It feels like being whipped around in a centrifuge, its switch damaged, or like being abandoned within a Sci-Fi thriller that the author stopped composing. Isolated, leeched of energy, exhausted: such dis-ease psyches like barnacles burrow into hulls of boats. If unaddressed, loss of soul occurs. For some, prayer helps; others observe the recommended CDC precautions and follow the daily posting of numbers. Still others invent safe getaways and maintain significant contacts with Zoom. Belly laughter is key to sanity.

Certainly, this scourge bespeaks of an uncanny wisdom at work. Its outcome still eludes us.

A similar scourge, ILD with Rheumatoid Arthritis, is also shortening my life and demands full consciousness to keep self-pity at bay. Slow is the slippage, but decline is happening. Rather than relapse into denial or rationalization, however, I choose conscious contact with Higher Power through practicing CPA’s Twelve Steps. Central to this practice is the simple prayer: Thy will, not mine, be done—Six one-syllable words that easily slip off the tongue, but ones that empower new élan, new direction, and new joy. It still works, and with each day I’m that much closer to eternal life.

 

 

Step Three of Chronic Pain Anonymous – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

 This newly discovered Power in Step Two caught my attention. Given the waning energy of my terminal illness, how use or lean into this Power as I moved through each day’s unknown? Step Three’s decision was called for, but I had more work to do.

Again, the Ingredient willingness appeared in Step Three: this time, willingness to give up self-will/self-centeredness. I shuddered. Despite their at-homeness in my psyche, their sacrifice was essential. With their removal, a modicum of humility, another Ingredient, glanced upon my awareness and opened me to a new partnership with Higher Power.

Critical to this process was the invitation to formulate a God of my understanding. Since I’ve never lived in a dying body, I needed help. Especially worrisome was Beast, a toxic god from childhood, which had stagnated my psychosocial/spiritual development and cast doubt upon my CPA recovery.

Yet, Creator God had brought me into this existence fraught with chronic pain and illness, nudged me into hospice, then led me to CPA. After I caught on to the patterning, I learned to surrender my body into His care. He already had my essential being.

The more I practiced Step Three’s daily application, per the Ingredients, the deeper my trust in Higher Power’ care grew. There was still rich life within my limits, despite the sting of flummoxed instincts and dreams alerting me to even deeper disorders within my psyche.

This new empowerment subsequently led to scrutinizing these same disorders and bringing them to Step Four.

 

 

 

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