The Warm Up
Ever been to a Chicago Bull’s game when Michael Jordan played? They have a warm up period before the game when the team goes out and shoots baskets. So why in the world would the world’s best basketball player, ever bother himself with just shooting a few baskets before the game? Geez, he is the world’s best basketball player, why not take a break, talk some fans, whatever. Well, maybe part of the reason he is the world’s best basketball player, is because he takes warm ups seriously.
OK…so we also have a “warm up” at Al-Anon meetings – it is the quite time, the opening, reading the twelve steps, traditions, etc.
But…I’ve been in the program 28 years, been thru the steps several times with sponsors, I meet with others to study literature, etc., etc. I can think I’m pretty “cool,” well “ahead” of many others in the group, a “senior” member, heard this thousands (literally) of times. So during the opening, I check out other people in the group, think about my errands after the meeting, let my mind wander to whatever, maybe judge someone. Why do I let myself do this? OK…(this is embarrassing): Arrogance? Laziness? Satisfied? Think paying attention won’t help? Too much “work” to listen closely? Well, it is probably a combination of all of those, and of course, not listening is not respectful of the meeting.
So maybe the analogy is a stretch, but suppose I use a Michael Jordan approach and take the “warm up” seriously so that I can, bit by bit, get a tiny bit better. There are two relevant quotes at the end of a couple ODAT readings: “It is the disease of not listening…that I am troubled with.” (pg 273, William Shakespeare); and “It is the privilege of wisdom to listen” (pg 317, Oliver Wendell Holmes). When I practice attentive listening during the entire Al-Anon meeting, I do walk out in a better frame of mind, and a little humbler.
Illinois North Panel 55