I like this photo I took in Boston. It’s clear that the little *tugboat is tethered to the oil barge. They are color-coordinated, so I assume they belong together. I also imagine that if over-loaded, the barge could majorly hamper the amount of work the tugboat gets done. Smaller, lighter loads would take less time to place on the barge, perhaps less time to transport, and certainly less time to unload again.
Specifically, we’re admonished to ask for help in directing our thinking and in protecting us from those motives.
On page 86 the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous gives us the following instructions for beginning our day: On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.
It seems to me that’s what Bill is trying to say. Get rid of those motives and life would be so much less work, so much lighter!
- Self-pity makes us unhappy, weighs us down and saps our energy. Getting rid of it would be like moving a load of feather pillows from one port to another. Without self-pity our emotional equipment isn’t going to be on overload, in jeopardy of breaking down.
- Dishonesty muddies our thinking, confuses us and keeps us distant from others because we fear the truth. Removing dishonest thinking would be like using GPS instead of the wino along the bank for directions. Getting rid of it would make having honest discussions possible and open our mind to the gifts of truth and wisdom all around us.
- Self-seeking narrows our focus to the single speck of self. Removing the obsession with ourselves would be like getting a crew we can trust and being able to administrate instead of doing all the various jobs by ourselves. Looking outside ourselves and our own interests would make it possible to participate in the joy of sharing and allow us to experience the depths of give and take relationships.
For some reason page 86 is one instance where Bill suggests we pray but doesn’t provide a sample prayer. I’m sharing this one that I wrote. I’ve found it to be more meaningful than just muttering, divorce me from….
Lord, remove from me the self-pity that robs me of joy so that I might find strength to encourage just one person today. In the place of my dishonest and muddied thinking, grant me clarity and truth. I ask that you remove my self-seeking motives so that your perspective becomes my perspective all day.
Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives, AA page 86.
*Mark at www.fremonttugboat.com helped me with interpretation of the tugboat picture. Thanks, Mark!