Tag Archives: 4th step inventory

Every faith and spiritual tradition I know of advocates some sort of introspection.

In 12 steps, the inventory process tells us to go within and examine our thoughts and actions and attitudes.  This is not so we can shame and blame ourselves.  It is so we can set things right...make amends by changing those thoughts and actions.

In New Thought, we are told to change our thinking to change our life.  The Law says that all manifestation begins in thoughts and beliefs, so if we wish to change our life, the place to go is within. Again, we need to have an awareness of what is and isn't working in order to change it.

Lately I've been studying a book by the Dalai Lama called "Ethics for a New Millennium."  In it, he says that spirituality is about going within and finding and developing traits such as compassion, tolerance and unconditional love.

I'm also reading a book called "Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential within us All."  That's where I got the quote for the meme.  The authors, David and Tom Kelley, say that unexamined failures limit us.

I love it when I keep getting the same message everywhere I turn!  I believe introspection to be one of the most powerful spiritual practices we can do, and yet, so many people either cannot or will not take advantage of it.

If you don't have a regular introspection practice, why not?


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What is your legacy?

Let's face it, we all have them.

We all have our legacies.  When we have a legacy of addiction  or alcoholism,  that is the first  legacy to deal with,  others come later.

Part of what is taught in New Thought is  called spiritual practice, more religious traditions refer to it as confession, and in the secular world it is called introspection.  In the 12 step world it is called steps 4, 5, 8 and 9.  This process is powerful beyond measure, and  yet I continue to encounter people who refuse to do it.  Those unfortunately are doomed to stay stuck in their legacies.  They may or may not get and stay sober.  But I believe that happiness and peace elude those who cannot or will not take advantage of this process.

And there are probably as many ways to do introspection as there are people.

I don't know that the method matters.  (Although I have tried many methods and what continues to be the most powerful and life changing for me is a very basic inventory based on a series of columns, as originally laid out in the textbook of AA). What I do know is that it is imperative, if you want to live a life free from the demons of the past and the self-imposed limitations based on outdated belief systems...IMPERATIVE that you cultivate inner awareness. I do not believe that it is possible to live a happy life unless a regular practice of introspection (followed by sharing and amends, or confession and penitence) is a part of that life. I feel very strongly about this. It is part of a lifestyle that works to allow for freedom and peace in our lives, at least it has for me.

It is also highly important to have a support system in place to be there for you when you do this. You are likely to experience anger, sadness and all the other feelings commonly associated with grieving.

Why grieving? Isn't grieving usually associated with a loss? Yes, and....in doing this kind of work, there is a loss when we take a good hard look at, for example, a legacy which may really suck, and we decide we are not going to claim that legacy.  As they say, if you have made a decision  to not  live the way you have been living, that is a loss.  The beautiful part about that is that you then are at choice to fill  the void with something more positive.  But the loss must be grieved.

It is not a pleasant process, except if you are anything like me, you know....you have faith that when the process is done, the legacy will no longer have the power to affect who and what you are, and you will be free to create a new legacy.

Today, I hope you are aware of your legacies, and I hope you are doing the inner work necessary to free yourself from them if they are not serving you.


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Copyrighted photograph by Image Angels Photography Services
Copyrighted photograph by Image Angels Photography Services

I've been thinking about forgiveness lately, mostly because I will be doing a workshop this Sunday in Davis on the subject.  If you are in the area I would love to see you!  Here is the information for that workshop.

While forgiveness is not specifically mentioned in the textbook of AA, I've discovered that it is a huge and important benefit to doing an inventory.  And forgiveness is one of the most powerful spiritual practices we can do.  It frees us up to live life freely, without the limits we place on our lives because we've not forgiven others or ourselves. ...continue reading