Purposeful Action

This morning, I woke up just before 6:00 a.m. and sat down on the yoga mat by 6:15 a.m. By doing so, I avoided the early morning depression and anxiety that has plagued me for the last few weeks. Apparently, I do better when I greet the day with purposeful action rather than idle thoughts. Lesson learned!

After asanas and meditation, I decided to read the ACA Big Red Book. I’m on Step 9 which is:

“Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

I have been on the threshold of Step 9 since last summer when I made my amends list (Step 8) but never acted upon it. The reason was pretty simple – I needed to forgive my younger, less mature self for past mistakes before I could begin the process of making amends to others.

It took me quite a while to work this out, but just before the Thanksgiving holiday, I achieved the clarity that I needed (thank you, God, and my sponsor, Dave) and knew I was ready to start reaching out to others.

By 8:00 a.m., I wrote an email to an old friend, someone who I have been estranged from for thirty years, a guy who was my best friend in college and for many years, thereafter. I asked him if he’d be willing to talk in person, by phone, or by email and he said, “Yes.”

At twenty-something years old, my behavior seemed smart to me. But forty years later, I know that the guy I was then wasn’t thinking straight. I reacted to a situation without fully understanding the repercussions – namely how I might hurt my friend. I blew up our friendship over money and pride. It also affected other mutual friendships and my connection to my college fraternity.

My plan is to do this face-to-face even though it means going to Manhattan to do so. Before I make that commitment, however, I am going to talk it out with some fellow travelers and Beth. I want to do this to the best of my abilities, but I don’t want to forget that I need to take care of myself. After all, this is for me even though it MAY have a positive effect on my old friend.

One of the hallmarks of Step 9 is that it’s done without any expectation that the other person will forgive and forget. It’s more about us acknowledging our part in a drama/conflict and taking full responsibility for ourselves at that moment. Making amends helps us to let go of something that we carry around with us, a memory that may plague our subconscious, but no longer serves us.

A part of me believes that the yoga teacher training and this process are connected, that I am simultaneously moving towards a more spiritual and more grounded way of being. As a man, a father, and a person who teaches children (including my own), it’s part of my job to clean up my messes. When I do so, I hope to find that I’ll walk through this world a little lighter, a bit happier, and more willing to live and create with more love.

Wish me luck on this Adventure.

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