Friday, 22 February 2013

Step 11 Review

What the Book says
My experience
When we retire at night, …
I am often too tired to do a constructive review at night and will sometimes pick a different time, e.g. immediately after the end of the working day or early in the morning.
It does not matter when during the day I do the review, as long as I do it.
The advantage of doing the review in the evening or at night is that I often sleep better and wake up 'cleared' of yesterday's garbage.
… we constructively review our day.
Note: this is a constructive review of the day, not a constructive review of my whole life. Also, this is constructive, not destructive. The aim is not to pull myself down but to clear the junk out of the way so that I can build something better with God's help tomorrow.
Were we resentful,
This is not carte blanche to let rip about everyone and everything. If I have been resentful, I have been at fault. I may or may not mention, here, the object of the resentment. This part of the inventory, though, is about where I am wrong, not where others are wrong.
If I am resentful, I have demands or expectations. What have my demands or expectations been? What is the truth of the situation? What should my attitude have been? When I started to become resentful, what actions did I take—practically and mentally—to rid myself of this 'number one offender? Did I wallow or did I immediately turn to God and spiritual ideas or literature to fill my mind with so that I would not be overcome or weighed down with the resentment?
… selfish, …
Where did I take action that favoured me over others? What should I have done instead?
… dishonest …
Where did I hide a bad motive under a good one?
Where did I lie where I should have told the truth?
or afraid?
If I am afraid, I have an attachment to something in the world, and the world is constantly in flux, so anything I have in the world could be taken away and anything I want in the world could be withheld.
What is my attachment? What am I not trusting?
To make this constructive: how, instead, could I trust God? That even if I lose my job, God will find me a way to be useful and to be provided for in this world? That even if I lose this person or that person, God will provide enough people to supply me with opportunities to love and serve be loved and helped in return?
Do we owe an apology?
This is straightforward. If I have an outstanding apology, it must be made as soon as practicable once the review has been completed.
Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once?
Here, I will make a note of what needs to be discussed, of whom I will discuss it with, and when I will discuss it.
Were we kind and loving toward all?
In response to this question, I cast my mind back over the day and examine thought, word, and deed.
What could we have done better?
This is straightforward. We usually know the answer to this.
Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life?
This question, it should be noted, is not about whether we were packing lots into the stream of life but about whether we were thinking about that or whether we were thinking about ourselves.
Was I concentrating about input or output?
What I am doing or what others are doing?
Action or results?
Giving or getting?
We can have a life full of good activity but still be obsessed with how much we are achieving or what we are getting out of all of the activity. It is easy, when we are busy being constructive, to fail to spot selfish motives underlying it all.
But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse, or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others.
Beating ourselves up or exaggerating how bad we have been does no good: the purpose of this review is to clear away the rubbish, not become transfixed by it.
After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness …
This is a simple prayer. 'God, please forgive me.' Footnote: God has forgiven us already, but it is a good practice to express that willingness to be forgiven, because this prepares us for what is next—it underlines our recognition that there is room for growth.
… and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.
This is the most underused part of the review.
Many reviews contain long litanies of resentments and gloomy reflections about life in general, then stop.
Corrective measures fall into two categories:
Corrective measures of thought;
Corrective measures of action.
Regarding thought, it is will to consider what activities or people we found 'triggering' and identify what attitude we should take instead; to consider, when resentment or fear strike, how we are going to use the tools of programme to banish them immediately; to consider what the focus of our thought must be throughout the day to come.
Regarding action, this is the starting point of our plan for the next day: what tasks have been left undone and need to be started, continued, or completed? How are we going to prioritise? What are we going to do differently tomorrow? How are we going to use our time more constructively? How will we respond practically to anticipated trying situations or people?

God has got us well (or better) not so we can have a lovely time and bask in our own glory but so we can be constructive and useful and make the most of the skills and potential God has given us and the opportunities surrounding us in the world. If we do that, we will have a lovely time, but that is a by-product, not the primary aim.

It should be remembered that the purpose of the review—as with everything else in the programme—is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to others, and it is with this in mind that we should approach it.


Christopher Henry said...

Very,very helpful Tim.

kesavan chakravarthy said...

Thanks You For Sharing!!!