A month or so ago, a fellow WAYfinder sent me Barbara Brown Taylor’s Learning to Walk in the Dark. What a gift this book has been to me. Such a gift that I’ve decided, this spring round, to share it with all of you. Each week we’ll gather to discuss a chapter or two, as well as (as always) engage in a spiritual practice and “check in” with one another. Read a beautiful description of the book below and then sign up to join us for conversation and connection this spring. …Read More
An atheist Twelve Steps participant recently wrote that the Twelve Steps do not require him to believe in God, but rather, to stop playing God. This statement expresses beautifully what sits at the foundation of any true spiritual journey: humility. The Twelve Steps offers this truth – which is a process – perhaps better than any other tradition.
In America we love to play Master, riding the two delusions of our own absolute rightness and own absolute control. Deep down we know the truth – we ache inside its walls – but our ego, oh our ego – as poet W.H. Auden put it, our ego would rather us “be ruined than changed.”
The spiritual journey begins and continues with humbly facing the truth of your own life. It is being honest about what is, accepting it as part of your story and then including it as you transcend it. This is the process – not the destination – of enlightenment, salvation, recovery, liberation, whatever-you-want-to-call-it. True freedom is knowing “all is well” not because God is in control but because we have access to a Consciousness – some call it God – that allows us to be strangely at peace with not being in control.
And then, despite this knowing, to get to work anyway. Because, it is not just our own journey that will continue (or not) with whether we humbly face the truth, but our American journey as well. The Twelve Steps knows this; the whole process is done in community, and eventually, for community.
This is the spiritual path of the twelve steps. Join us over the next eight weeks as we raise our consciousness. To do so is for our own wholeness and peace as well as the communities in which we live.
April 3 - The Four Assumptions
April 10 - Power(lessness) (Steps 1 & 2)
April 17 - What Does "Surrender" Mean? (Step 3)
April 24 - 360 Degrees of Honesty (Steps 4 & 5)
May 1 - Letting Go & Opening Up (Steps 6 & 7)
May 8 - Transcend & Include (Steps 8 & 9)
May 15 - Consciousness (Steps 10 & 11)
May 22 - A Love That Is Greater Than I (Step 12)
Click for group meeting times and locations, cost, and to sign up.
| Anne Williamson |
Though I've yet to write the official description for the coming spring round, I want to share with you why I'm excited about our topic of Spirituality and the Twelve Steps, and why I think it is the right topic now….Read More
| Anne Williamson |
I haven’t been feeling particularly spiritual lately. No high-brow thoughts of g/God or the meaning of life. No extraordinary moments of awe or generosity. Instead, my thoughts linger on the ordinary: what to fix for dinner, household projects and preparation for baby #2, how to motivate myself to walk more, game nights and favorite TV shows. As my emotions fluctuate from joy to sadness, loneliness to connection, anger to peace, I don’t feel at all “enlightened”; I feel deeply human....Read More
| ANNE WILLIAMSON |
One of my favorite books to read my daughter is The Shape of My Heart by Mark Sperring. It runs through a series of shapes and their role in our lives concluding with, “And this is the shape I love you with. This is the shape of my heart.” So sweet.
Lately, though, it’s become more than a heartwarming children’s book for me; it’s become a question: how do we form the shape of our hearts? How do we? How do we actually become more compassionate, more loving?
There are a thousand stories every day – personal and not – that pull us to explore this question. But, recently, none has pulled my attention like the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. (You may find a timeline here.) The analysis of, and responses to, this event and its aftermath has been so diverse, it begs the-shape-of-our-hearts question. How is it that we feel so differently?
Perhaps it is because we’re not actually practiced in changing the shape of our hearts? The reason being: to really change the shape of our hearts requires deep discomfort. It can’t be achieved through loving someone you find easy to love. It comes when you expose your heart to that, to who, you struggle to understand, you struggle to empathize with, you struggle to love, and then say to your heart, repeatedly, as many times as it takes, “Open.” Whether a spouse we know intimately or a young urban black man we don’t know at all, we change the shape of our hearts by, as Jesus said, loving the “enemy” we perceive in them.
It is my belief this is the work of real spiritual growth. Whether we call it “salvation” or “enlightenment” or “nirvana,” it is not a destination but a process of changing the shape of our hearts. It’s a process where, instead of hoping to love some people well, we, in time, shape our hearts into a form where there is nothing but love… for all.
What do you think? LISTEN, LEARN, LOVE…Read More