Messy part 2

22 May 2017

In the last article, I discussed something we all know: life is messy. We sometimes don’t want to face people or problems we can’t relate to, and we are likely to RUN Forrest RUN!

This time I want to write about internal messy. Yea, sometimes we want to run from that also!

We all have stuff, baggage, issues, shit, whatever you want to call it. It’s the ugly part of our human experience, brought on by personal failures, warped views of reality, skewed perceptions, hurts from others, the dark side of our cultures, and a lot of other factors.

It’s so easy to go through life and just coast…to not really deal with our “stuff.”

It seems we tend to grow and transcend in two ways:

  • Experiencing profound, unconditional love
  • Suffering–facing and working through our pain (facing it head on and dealing with it!)

It is the later we address here.

It takes much courage to engage in deep self-evaluation. We might be afraid of what we will find. Or we are tempted to run away from the pain.

Who likes pain? Given the choice between an ice cream and a root canal, healthy people will usually choose the ice cream, unless of course they have a lot of tooth pain and are desperate to get help.

I was talking with someone recently who discussed his experience with addiction and dysfunction. He moved to get away from his pain, but of course, the pain came with him. He tried avoiding his issues, going around them and getting in front of him, but he finally realize he had to go THROUGH them.

It’s what I heard Father Richard Rohr describes as:

  • Construction – how you develop our life, only to realize some of it wasn’t working
  • Deconstruction – everything must fall apart that wasn’t working
  • Reconstruction – the building up of the person you were meant to be; some would call this your TRUE self.

I experienced this, and continue to experience this, as the onion layers of my life are exposed. It’s never something to look forward to, but you reach a point where it’s the only choice to move forward.

It’s probably a shame that we don’t hit rock bottom more often.

Ah yes, desperation to get help. That is often a motivator to do the hard work, to endure the pain, and to push through to the next step—to RECONSTRUCT!

Speaking of steps, I think we can learn much from 12 steps originally proposed by Alcoholics Anonymous in 1939. Read the list below, which is Celebrate Recovery’s more generic list, and notice how much of them involve deep soul work—dealing with personal “stuff” (which involves working through the pain).

  1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.
  4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.
  8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. We continue to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and practice these principles in all our affairs.*

My encouragement to you is to have the audacity to deal with the “messy” in your life. Instead of ignoring it or focusing on the messy in others, turn inward and do the hard work necessary to re-gain your true self—the person you were created to be! You will be part of a relatively small percentage of humans who are willing to go there.

Often this work is best done with others. Consider getting a trustworthy counselor, or go online to learn about and find a group like Celebrate Recovery that you might connect with in your area.


Celebrate Recovery’s list of 12-steps

Royalty-free image by Dimitris Kritsotakis. Retrieved from:




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