Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. ~The spiritual principle of this step: Willingness.
“If we are to be well and happy, not only the body but the mind also must be peaceful and harmonious.” ~Ernest Holmes
The Pause That Refreshes – Step 6
Were entirely ready – are we ever entirely ready for anything? Do we ever stop to ponder that before we undertake something of major import, or do we just dive in headfirst?
Maybe personality is a factor but in my olden days of addiction I used to plunge headfirst in to anything I thought would bring me relief from the squirmy discomfort of the moment. I went with the “it’ll be fine, it’ll work out” attitude with little or no thought as to whether it actually would or could.
In the world of 12 steps, Step 6 is one of the shortest – 12 little words which, on first glance, seem simple. But as all steps, they are simply profound.
I’m no mathematician but I see this is the halfway point through the steps. I first thought Step 6 paired with Step 7, but Step 6 delineates the conclusion of the first half of this magnificent process. Step 7 begins the second half.
Step 6 has two parts: the willingness part – am I ready – entirely ready – to rid myself of the (cause) negative thinking and beliefs that contribute to my (effect) bad behavior– or what is referred to as my “character defects?” – Character defects being the second part.
This calls for a quick glance back – how did I get here anyway?
Steps 1 – 3 largely take place internally. I use my mind and awareness to be honest, to recognize, and to admit where I am and what I am. I finally stop running from this obvious truth that’s been running right alongside me all the while anyway. I am out of control, out of alignment with my higher power. I realize I need this higher level of help.
Step 4 is taking that recognition to a deeply personal level, looking at myself with more rigorous honesty than ever before. I let down my defenses. I let the truth in. Step 5 is letting the truth out with another person. The hairball – and then, peace. Not as hard as I feared but still a tall order to vulnerably discuss my faults, my mistakes, my foolish choices with another.
So now I’ve made it to Step 6 – I pause and reflect. I have done such deep inner work and have spoken it out loud. I get to reconfirm I’m ready to transform. Am I entirely ready? Last call because the next half of this work is taking action in the outer world, not just internally in my mind.
I am entirely ready now––and willing––“to have God remove my defects of character.”
Here comes my resistance to the word “defect.” Areas that need work, improvement, and a desire to be rid of, yes. But I do not think of my character as defective. More so unskilled, reactive, and alcoholic. I am a work in progress… That awareness gives me a stronger platform for building.
I think of it as a character “reflect.” When I am spiritually fit and in alignment, my life reflects it in my positive relationships, experiences, and circumstances. In the past my life reflected back chaos, instability, non-authenticity.
However, I say to myself, that is semantics. Just get the principle in place and use whatever word will allow for deeper level of sobriety and serenity.
I make 3 columns, one each to list my “defect,” where/ when/ with whom does it usually show up, and a contrary action that I could do to diffuse the emotional, reaction, response.
I believe the contrary action piece of this work is one of the most valuable tools in this program. It’s pure Science of Mind.
It shifts my internal energy; it can change the dynamics of an altercation and diffuse a situation – and change my perception of things so I can handle it. If I’m feeling envious of someone, I can wish them good luck instead. If I’m feeling withdrawn I can reach out to someone instead. If I’m feeling the urge to be sarcastic, I bite my tongue and offer a compliment instead.
The Contrary Action piece is changing my life. That is a tool I want to keep very close at hand.
I heard someone say “You can begin the steps but you never finish…” Kind of like the Hotel California … but therein lies the gift. They are helpful for those of us who didn’t get the memo how to navigate life’s challenges in a healthy way. It’s something I get to experiment with over and over in the laboratory of my life.
Do you ponder and reflect before making a major shift or do you fluidly evolve from one stage to the next?
Do you spend more time thinking about a “character defect / reflect or the contrary action?
What is a contrary action you can take today that will offset some recent negativity?
In gratitude, harmony and support,