Thursday, October 31, 2019

What is the key to Step 11?


Quite a week we've had here in Sonoma County coping with the Kincade Fire. I hope you are safe.

We meet early in November on Friday the 8th. I wonder what sitting with Step 11 and this koan may bring to you?

Bill K. 

Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.


A sponsee asked, “What is the key to Step 11?”

Her sponsor, without saying a word, leaned in.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Step 10 -- Promptly Clean Up My Mess


 Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.  

Koan: Both roots and branches must return to their origin, and so do respectful and insulting words.  Shitou Xiiqian

Healthy roots and branches, run through a chipper, are added to the soil as mulch to eventually break down and provide nourishment for future plants.

Diseased roots and branches need to be destroyed or burned to prevent the spread of pathogens.

Respectful words beget respectful relationships. Insulting words, like diseased roots and branches, spread insult and anger.

As soon as words leave my lips, respectful or insulting, I cannot take them back.  They are irretrievable, spreading forth their intended message.

Reviewing my day, or at any moment of the day, when I realize I have wronged someone, these wrongs are my diseased roots or branches needing attention.  Following this realization with Step 10 offers good news when I promptly admit my wrongs. The intensity of the fire I build needs to be hot enough to destroy the diseased branches.  By this I mean fired up in a good way – intent on correcting the situation. Or will my words fall short, leaving patches of still-diseased wood?

Early in my sobriety, maybe 5-6 years sober, I was running with my dog on a golf course cart path, not on the fairways.  It was an early week day morning, no one around, the sun just coming up ... and I knew there were signs saying “No Dogs” allowed.

Then I met up with one of the groundskeepers.  He yelled at me to take my dog off the course.  Unfortunately, the first words out of my mouth were insulting words.  I wasn’t hurting anything, right? I started to walk away, only to have that gut feeling of knowing that not only was I in the wrong, I needed to apologize for my verbal response, right now! I spun around and approached the groundskeeper.  Initially I think he thought I was coming back to reengage or even fight.  “No, no,” I said, “I mean you no harm.  My behavior was over the top, I’m sorry for this, I will never bring my dog on the course again.”  We shook hands, even smiled, and I sincerely wished him a good day.  It was a good run that day.

The origin of the insulting words came from me, so too of the respectful words afterwards.  Had I not made amends, there would be two not very serene people going separate ways, perhaps each spreading more “disease”.

Step 10 saved my butt.  When I promptly clean up a sour situation (caused by me) and then reestablish a decent relationship with another person, it’s a good day.  Promptly doing a tenth step, in a way saves two (or more) lives.

Bill K.

Note: This last Friday the three of us began sitting a little after seven...for about 5 minutes...all seemed well until one person said, "I'm going to get sick," so we closed down shop early. Our 12 & Zen this month had no discussion period.  What's important is that my friend is OK now. We surmise this was a little bout of food poisoning.