Stepping on the G.A.S.

Thought of the Week

Jim O'Neill
By Jim O’Neill

My younger brother and I have a saying that we share on occasion. Stepping on the GAS. It’s an acronym for Gratitude, Attitude and Servitude. I thought I had just made up the word servitude. My intention was for it to mean being of service to others. It turns out that Servitude means a state of subjection to someone more powerful as in slavery. Its opposite is Freedom and Liberty. So the next time I suggest that my brother step on the GAS I will clarify my intention and change the word to Service.

I find it interesting that in my desire to create a catchy acronym, I stumbled upon a word whose use has been is steady decline since 1800. Perhaps this stumbling is a shadow of my white privilege. Our society is waking up to White Supremacy. Frankly, I am embarrassed that I didn’t know the correct meaning of the word servitude. I just liked the way it sounded. I will share this faux pas with my brothers in the Liberty and Justice for All course which meets next week.

Stepping on the GAS grew out of my conversations with my brother who has been fighting a 30 year battle with Bipolar disorder. We talk on the phone frequently. It is really difficult at times. The depression or mania can sneak up us. Psychiatric care, counseling and 12 Step support groups are all part of the journey. We have worked on developing the Witness Consciousness. Pausing to be Grateful and noticing and adjusting your Attitude are key aspects of developing a Witness Consciousness. And of course being of Service to others is the real fruit and nourishment of this hard work.

What a paradox. Stepping on the GAS to Slow things down.

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