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The adjective, daily, jumped off the page from last night’s reading from Martha Cleveland’s book, Chronic Illness and the Twelve Steps (1988) and prompted a closer study. Such subtle directives are often heard during CPA meetings and yield valuable insights of recovery, if explored. Such, also, speak to aspects of multidimensional words whose meanings lap across borders, signifying other realities that shimmer with vibrancy.

This morning, I picked up the proffered suggestion and paged through the Twelve Step Ingredients in our other text, Recipe for Recovery (2015). Sure enough as I vaguely remembered, the adjective daily was affixed twice to daily practice, and once to daily application and once to daily commitment in Steps Three, Seven, Ten, and Eleven.

An embarrassing truth surfaced: how often my morning prayer slides me into the next twenty-four hours, without daily committing my stuff to the scrutiny of the Twelve Steps. It’s precisely my stuff, with its unseemly friction, which draws Higher Power’s course correction and contributes to my ongoing conversion of heart, an arduous process.

Only daily application of the Twelve Steps, I remind myself, can bring about critical changes in the bedrock of my psyche, pockmarked by decades of negativity that distorted thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors and that made living with me difficult.

Happily, I do not work alone. My sponsor and others of like-mind have supported me in this spiritual fellowship for years.

So this daily discipline continues steadying my wobbly knees as I move through my end-time and anticipate the Big Book Study in the Sky.

 

 

 

 

Step Four of Chronic Pain Anonymous – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

 Decisions taken in CPA’s Steps One, Two, and Three placed me upon a unique spiritual path. Companioned by a new Higher Power and supported by my sponsor, I was inspired to explore the assets and liabilities of my character that were jaundiced by decades of living with negative emotions and thoughts peaking from my rheumatoid arthritis.

Fourth Step work in another spiritual fellowship had produced the vague outlines of my birthright. Somehow, I had survived childhood trauma that necessitated hiding out in fantasy; its obsessive activity shut down my instincts and spiritual faculties of thinking and willing. When I did venture into the world, only my sense of it mattered, and decades of harming others was left in its wake. Thus began my first amends.

Then, pen in hand, I took on CPA’s Step Four inventory, the first of the action Steps. Again, willingness, appeared in the Ingredients, this time, to work the Step. What immediately surfaced was anger in my afflicted body, so long deprived of my care and compassion; it felt like resentments wallpapered my cramped psyche. Other disorders companioned the anger, projecting onto others and myself the many faces of pride, greed, sloth, envy, gluttony, and lust, all burrowed within disassociation.

Listing my assets, and there were many, offsetted this darkness and created a balance view of my evolution: its truth informed who I was and who I was becoming, even during my end time.

My completed CPA inventory in hand, I owned the patterns and habits coloring my character and the motives influencing my daily thoughts and behaviors, both positive and negative.

More work on my disorders lay ahead in Step Five, another action Step.

 

 

 

“It’s critical to live while dying than to die while living,” so urges Kathleen Dowling Singh, author of what’s become my handbook, The Grace in Dying – How We Are Transformed Spiritually as We Die. Such has become the leitmotif of my hospice experience that began last November.

Ninety days have passed since I signed those papers, de-cluttered my house of all that I’m not using, and finalized my affairs with my lawyer, broker, funeral director, and accountant—even alerted significant others of my decision.

Weeks passed with visits of the hospice team, experienced in end-of-life issues and supportive of my efforts to wrap words around my terminal illness: Interstitial Lung Disease. Initially, it felt like I was talking about someone else, even felt uneasy when they responded. To remedy this disorder, I began blogging my daily experience, and it’s been working. I also did not miss my supplements or my accustomed activities outside my home. The “little blue pill” became an even smaller white one, the dosage reduced from four milligrams to one. But my body is old and subtle changes are occurring.

I liken my decline to the pace of the snail: loss of muscle mass, need for nebulizer treatments for breathing, slower gait, and even some weakness and brain fog. Yet I continue all my ADLs and appreciate my helpers’ support, one day at a time. Conscious contact with Precious God and my CPA sponsor makes this work. Huge is my gratitude when I retire for the day to await dreams.

And Last week Medicare authorized a second ninety-day benefit period for my hospice care. I’ll keep blogging.

 

 

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