Cleaning Out the Lint Trap
No matter how many mistakes we have made, we are still perfect beings within, and the within may become the without if we will carefully train ourselves to listen to the inner voice of truth which speaks to us in our moments of quietness and solitude.”
~Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind
We searched out the flaws in our make-up which caused our failure… we had to get down to causes and conditions.
~Bill W, Alcoholics Anonymous
Striking that balance between self-reflection and self-absorption is key.
Regularly monitoring my vitals by checking my emotional pulse, taking my spiritual temperature, and observing my physical condition have become necessary self-reflective measures that support my serenity and sobriety.
Am I at peace in my relationships or am I bitterly reviewing and chewing over the same event that steamed me at work, with family, or with a friend? Am I seeking contact with my Higher Power? Am I getting enough sleep? Am I eating right? Am I exercising?
Oh, not always so much? Well then can I honestly say I am striving for more of these things, more often? Progress, not perfection.
I had no concept of this, let alone how to do it, back in my drinking days. I was trapped in my web of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors which would lead to amends years later. I had no capacity to observe myself. I had no capacity to make amends either.
Once I officially “worked the steps,” (the granddaddy of all self-reflection) in the framework of a curriculum of short but deeply powerful written exercises I discussed with another, the spot checks on my vitals are shorter, cleaner, more manageable.
It took me many months (way more than a year) to complete the 12 Step process. By now I have done it twice, both times a long haul. But now and even along the way, my path forward noticeably opened up, less tangles. I’m learning how not to let things pile up and create barriers.
Like cleaning out the lint trap after every load or so of laundry. My dirty laundry (real and metaphor) accumulates over several days. I now wash it in smaller manageable loads, and the amount of lint is small and easy to remove to keep the flow open. Unlike my mental dirty laundry of the past. Tons of guilt, shame, resentment, and regrets were stuffed down and accumulated over decades, unnoticed and unattended to… Tons of lint.
Thanks to the Science of Mind / New Thought teachings, now when I reflect on my day, I try to throw in my positive behaviors and feelings that made me feel proud and empowered. This feels more valuable than wallowing solely in my shortfalls du jour.
Now that I’ve cleared out the trunk load of accumulated lint from leftover fear, anger, and resentment I have room to actively choose to reflect on the times I’ve been helpful, proud, strong, of service, honest, caring, sincere, loving, generous, compassionate – let the list go on! And let that awareness accumulate all day long.
What do you notice when you mentally relive a time that brings you joy, peace, or pride?
Compare that to how it feels to mentally relive dis-empowering thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Are you able to catch and correct quickly when you get off track?
In gratitude, harmony, and support,