Okay, they don’t walk into a bar…but today’s post is about a Hindu goddess, and her name is Akhilanda. She’s the goddess of ‘Never not broken’ and she’s an amazing introduction into talking about the 1st step.
You know that feeling when you just woke up in your own puke or you suddenly realize that you forgot you mother’s birthday? They used to call it incomprehensible demoralization when I was new…but I don’t hear that term as much anymore. Anyway, you’re lying on your bedroom floor and you feel completely broken.
Well, according to the elephant Journal’s JC Peters, in that moment, you are more powerful than you’ve ever been. In her article on Akhilanda, she talks (from a Hindu perspective) about what we in A.A. call surrender, or the 1st step. As I was telling a friend in a meeting last week, I am the most powerful when I am completely broken. It takes that moment of brokenness to get me to give up all remaining hope that I have the answer to my problem. And then, in coming attractions, that’s when the a power greater than myself can actually have some wiggle room to work in my life.
It’s not the kind of broken that tears you down to humiliate you. It’s the kind of broken that tears you apart, and therein is Akhilanda’s (and the sober alcoholics’) real power. In pieces, we can begin to put things back together in a different picture…a picture that reflects more accurately who we want to be and what we want life to look like. Hopefully we do this with a mindfulness of aligning our ambitions with a Higher Power’s grand plan for our life.
In the myth about Akhilanda, she rides a crocodile. The crocodile represents our reptilian brain, but it’s also a powerful commentary on what we should do with our problems. Many people think the crocodile masters its prey with strong jaws that kill it…not so! The crocodile actually drags its prey into the river (or into the flow) and spins it senseless (until its broken) and THEN eats it.
If you’re sober today and you’re feeling broken or cracked, embrace that. Lean into it. Because the cracks are where the light flows in. If you’re sober today and you’re working really hard to become some vision of wholeness, release that. Let it go. We are never whole, and that’s a good thing. Because wholeness (by definition) is about limitation. When I am exactly what I’m going to be, I am automatically excluding everything I have yet to become. So again (and I hate this) there’s no destination.
Being broken is the perfect place to start over in our sobriety, because we have lost all expectation of what life is going to become. That’s the first step. It’s surrender. First we surrender to the fact that we are alcoholic and that alcohol makes our life unmanageable (waking up in your own puke, forgetting your mother’s birthday, fill in the blanks.) Then as we get a little freedom from that, instead of working the 1st step, the 1st step starts to work us. We recognize that there are many thing we are powerless over. There are many things that make our life unmanageable. This is how the journey of a few simple steps becomes the journey of a lifetime, and of limitless expansion.
It’s a new year, and I’m feeling a lengthy discussion of the steps (one day at a time) coming on. Happy Sunday.