A few months ago I received a free gym membership as a benefit of new health insurance. Since then I’ve been to the club a grand total of three times including the first visit when I signed up. My muscles are flabbier and my joints are tighter, but I can’t seem to find the motivation to take the action. I know from past experience I feel better when I work my body, but ego keeps saying “You’re fine, Jeff. Take it easy.” It’s very much the same with my spiritual fitness program.
It is impossible for me to live to good effect one day at a time if I am not spiritually fit. Without a solid connection to the God of my own understanding, ego continuously catapults me into the future where my mind goes round and round searching for solutions to problems that don’t even exist. Or it drags me back down memory lane in morbid reflection, pointing out all the times I was a jerk and all the things I could have done better. The net result of living in the past and future is that I miss the joy of living today. I missed big chunks of life for more than thirty years before I stumbled through the doors to Alcoholics Anonymous. The obsession to drink was removed from me in the first week. Yet, I know it can return if I take my foot off the gas and let down on my program of action.
AA provides me with a spiritual fitness program, but like a physical fitness program, I have to get off the couch and take the actions. Along with meetings and sharing with other alcoholics, I find Steps 10, 11 and 12 -- the maintenance steps -- to be an effective daily exercise program. It’s easy and takes very little time.
Step Ten simply asks me to recognize when I’m feeling disconnected from life and to inquire about the cause. Have I been fearful, dishonest, selfish? I don’t need to figure it all out with my mind. Just be aware of what’s going on. In Step Eleven I ask for God for help. I tune into the power and receive the intuition to handle whatever challenges the day holds. Step Twelve reminds me I’m alive to be of service. Not only to other alcoholics, but to the world at large. When I take these steps every morning as part of my quiet time, living in the present moment is no problem.
Like our book says, it all boils down to willingness. When I am willing to take these simple actions, life is unbelievably good. When I’m not willing to go to the gym and sweat, it gets harder to bend over and tie my shoes.