(c) 2009 Joan M. Newcomb
I'm wanting to clear up some misconceptions around powerlessness and also around choice.
Anyone familiar with the 12 steps will know that the first step is to admit you are powerless, usually over a behavior or substance you're addicted to, but for some programs it's over people, places or things. It's a very helpful step, although tough for many when they first encounter it.
What admitting you are powerless does, is withdraw the focus from whatever it is you're trying to control. In AA, you're not admitting powerlessness over your compulsion to drink, but the alcohol itself. For others, it's helpful to admit powerlessness over the alcoholic (or gambler, or womanizer, or junkie).
Ideally, you're bringing your focus back to yourself.
In recent years I've been following the work of Robert Scheinfeld. His Busting Loose work says that you are an Infinite Being creating everything in your experience down to the smallest detail. At the same time he says you're powerless to change, fix or control everything because your Expanded Self is running everything behind the scenes. And then he says to only do 'what you feel motivated to do'. However when he says that, he's addressing the part of you that is the "Player" in the Human Game, not the Infinite Consciousness you innately are.
Which led to a lot of confusion on my part. My belief has been that I Am Spirit, and as such create my reality in the physical. When I shift my awareness to view things as Spirit, rather than as my Body-Personality, everything changes. It's not a matter of trying to manipulate the storyline or hologram, it's just using my skills and my tools in my spiritual toolkit, to enjoy the ride.
That's where Choice comes in.
From the 12 Step POV, you are powerless over others, but you're not powerless over your thoughts and actions. You make choices every minute not to pick up that drink or not to enable others. You can also make choices to redirect your thinking, so you're not obsessing. Hard to do at first, but gradually it gets better.
And in Phase 2 (the Busting Loose work) you are at Choice as well. Doing what you feel motivated to do is you exercising that choice. The thing to notice is what your motivation is! If you are making choices that are designed to manipulate the hologram, then you're operating as your "player self" and it ultimately won't work. It will backfire on you in some way or the same situation will reoccur, perhaps with different characters and scenery! If you make choices because it would be fun to go that way or do that thing, you're more likely operating as your Expanded Self. It's also helpful to notice if you're *not* making choices, which is operating from resistance, and could still be considered 'Phase 1'.
Robert says that it's no use setting intentions either. I can understand where he's coming from. In his personal storyline he was very anal and wanting to control everything about his reality. It's been revolutionary for him to relax and go with the flow, trusting his Expanded Self is steering the boat.
In a similar way, the 12 Steps has you turn your will and your life over to your Higher Power. It's letting go and letting your HP direct things. Again, it's helpful for folks who've been trying to control their addictions, or trying to control their addicts!
At the bottoming-out point, admitting powerlessness and letting go and letting Higher Power or Expanded Self take charge is the only way to go.
But then it's also very helpful to know that you're at choice in your life. And that there are no mistakes.
The way I see it, there's an energy flow called Life, and your individual body is your kayak. You can sit back and let yourself go with the flow. And you can use your paddle and your kayaking skills to enjoy the ride more. You learn when you're trying to control the river, because it doesn't work to try to paddle upstream. But you also don't have to avoid the white water rapids, either. It can be exhilarating to use the power of choice to navigate them.
When you're new to the journey, you're setting intentions is a way of communicating to your HP or ES what direction you'd like to go in. When You know You are your ES, then it's simply a choice to go in a particular direction for the fun of it.
So, notice if there's anything in your life that you're feeling stuck about (or powerless over). Notice if it's within your personal space or outside it. Yes, you've created the entire hologram, but repainting the scenery doesn't change your internal storyline. If it's outside of your space, drop it. Focus inside.
Doesn't matter if their actions are making your crazy. Make choices from inside you, from your inner Wisdom. Point your kayak in the direction that feels better or feels fun.
For the next week, do that whenever you feel motivated to. And notice how your life changes!