We gather wisdom from so many places. The recovery movement started by the two Bill’s years ago has been refined and shaped and reflected upon and reacted against and absorbed into so many things. My siblings with a whole range of addictions have found blessing in a meeting room as I have. This wonderful new book The Pattern uses the Twelve Steps of the recovery process and uses them as a pattern for all people. Not only does the book shape how that can be done, but it also tells multiple different personal stories with each step to help readers find the concrete truth for their lives.
Such a personal story is this one — found near the end of the book:
Krin’s Story … One morning in my devotion time, I read these words.
(The Twelve Steps) are a new path, one that leads to infinite light at the top of the mountain. They advise me about the footholds that are safe and about chasms to avoid.
I once climbed Mt. Shasta, 14,179 ft., sheathed in ice. I had never hiked with crampons or a pick before, but in my usual cocky manner, I thought it would be no problem. Fortunately I watched a brief hiking video at the Ranger Station. It told me two things. First, when you reach Horse Meadows and can’t find the trail, look for the manmade steps formed of large rocks that will take you back to the path. Second, as you climb to the high ridgeline of Red Banks, do not go right of Thumb Rock. You do not want to end up near the glacier on the far side. It’s too dangerous, especially for novices. Stay left!
I hit the trail at midnight under a full moon, an effort to avoid late morning thunderstorms near the summit. Sure enough, when I reached Horse Meadows it was difficult to orient myself and find the ascending path. I did a 180 degree scan and saw, on the northern edge, the stair-stepped boulders that were my salvation. They were literally shining in the moonlight like a stairway to heaven. Relieved, I set off on the next phase of my journey.
The steepest and most exhausting part of the climb was the sheer cliff face leading to the Red Banks. The novelty of using crampons soon wore off as the muscles in my legs screamed and my breath came in ragged gasps.
Though I was intent on staying left of Thumb Rock, I lost sight of my objective. I pushed on and then in happened.
The only way I could go was to the right of Thumb Rock!
Gingerly, I stepped over the last boulder. On the other side, the glacier quickly descended. I thought of stories about climbers who slipped on sheets of ice, their bodies hurtling at 100 miles an hour as they sped to their deaths.
I looked to my left. The only safe way to proceed and get back on the path was a very thin trail that hugged the edge of the precipice.I was deeply frightened, my legs shaky from the ascent, my heart thumping against my chest. Though I knew it was unwise to keep glancing down the glacier, my gaze perversely swung there again and again. It was clear me that I could die up here, hiking alone, a novice, a victim of my own willfulness and cocky attitude. Such a fitting epitaph to my self-driven life. Despite my fear, the irony made me smile.
I said a quick prayer, “God help me,” then hauled myself on to the thin ribbon of pathway. That short distance seemed to take forever, one painstaking step after another, flattened against the rock. Finally I found a way to climb back up to the ridge and resume my ascent. I made it to the summit.
Even today, as I remember that moment at glacier’s edge, I have a visceral response, an inner shudder.
Forgive me if this seems overly dramatic, but when I think about returning to the chasm of fear, resentment and control issues that enslaved me prior to working The Twelve Steps, I experience that same inner response. I never, never want to return to that slippery slope.
There is a path, a pattern, we can follow every day. Even if we never reference these steps again, it can be found in timeless principles.
Making peace with others
Tuning in and turning outwards
These footholds keep us from the yawning chasms of life. They provide disciplines that bring us to greater heights of spiritual awareness.
Choose life, my friends. Choose the door to serenity!
The invitation is given to receive a free ebook copy by clicking the link below. May you gain clarity to accept the things you cannot change, wisdom to change the things you can, and courage to know the difference! Here