My name is Michael and I have recovered from alcoholism. This is my experience with the practice of pausing and getting calm. A simple idea with a profound effect. I’ve never applied this concept to my life for a couple reasons. First of all I did not know about these simple ideas. And second, who has time for that. I’ve always had things to do. Disturbances to fix, fires to put out and problems to solve. Who has time to pause and get calm? The irony being I usually either made my problems worse or I responded in a way that was not what I would have liked to. I would face disturbance with disturbance only to magnify the whole frightening vision. I would grab the first thing I saw to extinguish the fire. Which meant if I was pumping gas I attempted to put the fire out with gasoline.
Before I began using the practice of pausing and getting calm I was the textbook definition of unmanageable. So when a friend shared with me the 3rd step practice in the Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions which says ‘in all times of emotional disturbance or indecision, we can pause, ask for quiet, and in the stillness say: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Thy will, not mine, be done’, it was eye opening.
I asked myself why more people were not talking about this. I’ve always been taught GO, GO, GO! A practice that kept me alive but brought about little serenity. This one said STOP! It opened up my eyes to why I drank in the first place. I wanted to ease the onslaught of thought constantly racing toward me. But this revealed to me that I could do that already. And I don’t need anything to do it but a breath and a prayer. Which I can access at ALL times. It is liberation.
At first since this was so new to me I needed a friendly reminder or two. So I began with notes around my house. Soon after I began wearing a bracelet with the words ‘pause and get calm’ on it. With a little time and practice I began noticing reminders everywhere. In song lyrics, the image of an animal paw or two (hence paws). Now God speaks to me through a variety mediums. And I can hear the messages because one simple yet profound aspect of my life has changed. Today, I get calm.” – Michael M.
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