February 19, 2016
Last Spiritual Friday was a deeply inspiring day for all of us. Ten of our current patients were our "spiritual teachers" for the day, creating and presenting a beautiful message on the topics of humility and willingness - the spiritual principles of Steps 6 and 7. The patients requested these two principles because of their personal struggles with them. As a group, they also saw Steps 6 and 7 as perhaps the ones least spoken about yet crucial for recovery.
Patient-led Spiritual Fridays are held every 5 or 6 weeks and are hands down our favorite Fridays! We want the patients to experience and really understand that regardless of where they have come from, what they have done, who they have hurt, and how much guilt and shame they carry, they have a great deal to give. I wanted the presenters to feel, and the others patients to see, the beauty still within them - their spiritual essence.
Each of our presenters gave gifts that were unique to them and everyone gave something different. Each came from humility, love, a generosity of Spirit, and a deep sense of honor and gratitude for being asked to give to the community in this way. I can't even express in words how blessed I felt; how holy the entire atmosphere of our time together was.
As the group entered, one of our patient leaders, an artist, played a PowerPoint presentation with beautiful artwork and music) depicting what he saw as spiritual. One of the photos was titled "Open Minded".
They then played the Crystal Bowl to center and mark the beginning of the service.
The service began with a patient reading from The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions on Step 6. He then shared his personal experience. "I did this before, but I wasn't ready to let go of my female dependency, my pride, my family, my narcissism and it took me back to using. I'm ready now. This step is everything to me."
Next was a beautiful meditation to the song "To Build A Home."
"It is easy to be humble when I play it small. But, we are not living in these times to play small. We are living in these times to discover our own greatness. Each one of us carries gifts within us. We are brilliant, divine, radiant, and gifted beings. Our role in these times is merely to cultivate and express those gifts. Whether it's the gift of music, the gift of loving others, being able to give others a sense of peace, or being able to express myself though writing - my job is to cultivate the gift. But then, how do I keep my humility as the greatness awakens? One of the first steps is to become aware that when I use my gifts for humanity, there is always a feeling that there is a divine energy flowing through me, giving me more power than I would ever have on my own. Humility comes when I have the awareness that I am an instrument of the divine. And this gift is a gift from the divine..."
So, so beautiful. Amen.
One of our patients offered a "Smudging Ceremony", using sage as a letting go commitment to our High Power and the community. He asked if anyone would be willing to volunteer and about 20 minutes later, I think almost the entire community stood and waited to be blessed. You could have heard a pin drop - it was if everyone sensed the sacred and sincere intention set by our patient’s smudging.
One of our writers read the poem she wrote for this day titled "Willingness". Then, another patient shared his incredible drawing "Humble and Willingness".
He described his artwork:
"Look into each other's eyes and be considerate. Around each eye is substance and that's us - we are there for each other. Let go, find inner peace. The cracks on the outer part of the eye - if we don't let go, we fall apart, we crack...”
Each patient received a copy of this. What a gift from G-d this young man has.
Each patient gave their gift and just like the mediation said, they showed us themselves as instruments of the divine.
A very touching moment came at the end. Two of our patients were to play guitar and sing, but one couldn't make it. So, we had a soloist, a courageous soloist, who sang a very long song with many verses. Towards the end, he forgot the words, stopped and said, "Wait, I'll get it..." Then he kept on singing and then would forget the words again and say, "Wait, I'll get it..." He finished the entire song - so humble and willing to go to any length to give that gift fully and completely. It was a tearful moment for a few of us and extremely joyful at the same time!!
We then passed the bag of "If” Questions around:
Q: If you could name your greatest conquest so far in life what would it be?
A: Staying alive.
Q: If you suddenly had the courage to do one thing, what would it be?
A: To confront my father about his alcoholism.
Q: If you could name the most gentle being you know who would it be?
Q: If you could complete the statement, "I love my life when...", what would you say?
A: When I am clean.
Q: If you could go back and express gratitude to one person who would you pick?
A: My mother - I'd thank her for getting me here.
Ahhhh, what a blessing! I pray you feel the beauty, love, and appreciation we all experienced that day.
Reverend Laurie Durgan