Self Will Run Riot
What does this mean to you?
“Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity…we step on the toes of our fellows…”(Alcoholics Anonymous)
Step Three is about exploring how we have tried to arrange people and situations to meet our needs. How we have placed self reliance above humility; above reliance on relating with our Higher Power and with others. And the results followed.
We tried so hard to control and manipulate people, places, and things, because we did not know H.O.W. to change ourselves.
Now we are learning how: by being Honest, Open Minded, and Willing.
“First of all, we had to quit playing God.” (Ibid.)
In Step One, we explore the physical nature of our dis-ease; in Step Two, the mental nature; and in Step three, the spiritual nature. These three Steps help us know that we can’t do it alone; but we can recover if we get help; and we make a decision to get that outside help. These Steps begin slowly connecting us to our Higher Power. We begin establishing a relationship with that Higher Power.
Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand him.
In Recovery Focusing, after getting our present “sense” of “God as we understand him” (remember, each time we sense inside we get new, fresh felt meaning of things), we move into Clearing a Space around “What is in the way of my turning my will and my life over to [my Higher Power]?” We list what may be in the way, simply acknowledging but not “going into” them.
We understand will to mean thoughts and life to mean actions.
Some of the things that came up include “not knowing how to turn my will and life over;” stubbornness; guilt and shame; fear; complacency; holding on to my character defects; and “my massive ego” (among others).
We then pick one of these things to felt sense into it.
Here are some of the things that came up in a recent group process:
I worked on the “self destructive” nature of the depression that comes after I suffer a codependent relationship.
What first emerged was an image of me stabbing my heart (and this is exactly how I feel after a codependent bout: full of self condemnation and self blame). [Note: Even disturbing images can help us feel better because they are capturing the experience and this feels like a step forward.] As I stayed with this, I felt my center heart area as being squeezed tight. I sensed my heart as lonely and almost dead in a dark emptiness. I realized it was “too hidden.” What my heart needs is to be held gently and be carried out into the light, gently again, but in a protected way.
Person A worked on his stubbornness, which felt like a big rock inside him. He was trying to move it but couldn’t. With this sense, he saw an image of a big boulder blocking a passageway in a canyon. The worst of this is that he felt incomplete.What does this need? It needs nourishing water. He saw water softening the dirt around the boulder, loosening it up so that he could move forward. The nourishing water was everything he was getting from the Program and how he was taking care of himself physically.
Person B focused into her complacency. She said it felt like a “not wanting to pick up the pieces of lumber to build a structure she needed to build.” The feeling was “a lumbering feeling…without strength.” “Blah.” What this needs is a jolt of energy to come from somewhere so that she could get on with the job.
Person C felt that the “release of Ego” would be like an exploding firecracker, with sparks of enlightenment going out everywhere. She felt “relieved.” She thought she needed to work on her denial and on acceptance.
Person D: Worked on his “tug of war” partner, the part inside him that resists.He saw this as a “young self with no foundation” and felt “a dark energy working against me.” And his current self as having “neutral energy.” There is “a full spectrum” but he is only seeing things as a struggle. He felt a loss of power inside.
By being with “what is in the way” of a Step or a Project or our moving forward in an area in our life, we can find its “feel” and “make sense” of it. This unlocks our stuck energy and shifts us into “willingness” to keep…moving forward.
After we process what is in the way of our making this decision to turn our will and our lives over to our Higher Power, we sense into “How would it be to make this decision?”
My Focusing instruction is: “Allow your body to feel into how it might be AFTER you turn your will and your life over to the care of God as you understand God, AFTER whatever is in the way gets what it needs.”
We hold and wait. The inner feel of something sometimes takes a while to form. The, it comes into “focus.”
As I went inside, I realized my codependent self is too young to take care of my own heart. I need to give it to my Higher Power for healing. The sense of this was of my having a big, pumping, strong heart. I could sense it as encompassing my entire chest area, with a strong outer “skin” off of which the arrows of others bounced. The best of this was that my heart could communicate with other hearts.
Person A said he would feel “very secure and protected” if he turned his will and life over, but also a bit confused with the “not knowing.” The best of this was hope. “Complete hope.”
A newcomer said it was like “arriving towards the sun” and “water out of a clean lake.” He said the best would be that he would feel safe in what he did.
Person B felt “empowered and energized.” And got a sense of Liberation.
Person C saw herself on top of a rocky peak, yelling “Eureka” and feeling a sense of accomplishment.
Person D said it would be as if he was a “Peaceful warrior, battling against his destructive patterns and habits.” The best of this would be freedom. “The circle is broken.” (He said the vicious circles of the patterns would be broken.) He got an image of the infinity symbol.
So. By sensing into how we might experience “turning our will and our lives over to the care of” our Higher Power, we open up a little more willingness inside us to do just that!
We get a clear sense of our daily turning point: the felt sense of ‘what is in the way’ and the felt sense of ‘turning things over.’
We shift from “self will run riot” to a healthy reliance on connecting with our Higher Power, ourselves, and others.
Here are the Step Three “Promises:”
“Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of [our Higher Power’s] presence, we began to lose our fear of today tomorrow, and the hereafter. We were reborn.” (Alcoholics Anonymous)
When you feel stuck, just hold whatever is in the way of you moving forward. Wait for its feel to emerge inside you. Symbolize this with a description (texture, color shape of its bodily feel; image; body posture, gesture; metaphor, memory; etc.)
This alone will help you shift into a right way of being.
To enhance this, allow yourself to imagine how it would be if you did move forward. Feel into that possibility. Ask yourself, “What is the best of this?”
Please feel welcome to share your inner “response” to this process I just shared.
Thank you for listening.