I've got a toolbox the size of Kansas...now where's that key?!
Over my lifetime I have always enjoyed reading, it started out with fiction, different genres and authors, loved Judy Blume, Louise Fitzhugh and Carolyn Keene when I was young.. I went through my Stephen King phase, my Dean Koontz, I even spent time with Danielle Steele. I love to read. To escape into the pages of someone else's world.
My first self-help book was on co-dependency. I read it, thought huh and moved on. In the last 11 years I have read countless self-help/self-development books. I have been told to wash my face, unf*@k myself and just think positively!
At some point I discovered online courses. Free ones at first and then ones ranging from $27 to a couple of $1000. Truth be told if I had the money for the courses and books I have purchased I'd have a large majority of my debt paid off!
But I don't want the money back. I can say with confidence that most all of what I have read or taken has had real value, I have a loaded tool box.....if I'd only open it up and apply.
When I read the below quote in The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman on May 19th I felt it....
Learn, Practice, Train
"That's why the philosophers warn us not to be satisfied with mere learning, but to add practice and then training. For as time passes we forget what we learned and end up doing the opposite, and hold opinions the opposite of what we should." --Epictetus, Discourses, 2.9.13-14
To stop reading or taking courses for a bit, slow down, let the mind be idle. I've been asked what would it mean to not read a self-development book in the morning, listen to a different self-development book on the way to work and NOT take or sign up for a course.
Well, it feels like I am failing somehow, that I am not being active in whipping myself into shape!! Getting my life in order, fixed for frick sake! Idle mind devil's workshop thing....
Pretty sure there is proof out there that it takes an individual several times actually doing something to learn it. I recently took The Science of Well Being course (haha yes another course!) and the instructor talked about how knowing is not enough. As people, we KNOW lots, but do we apply? Have we truly learned it?
Speaking for myself, I can tell you no. The great books that I have read, while reading, I think wow, that really resonates with me, I am going to practice and apply, make a change! I finish the book, put it on my shelf and kid you not, look for the next in that same moment. I don't practice and apply and then I wonder why I feel this sense of stuckness, I don't seem to grow, to change, why am I still reacting this way, following this behavior....better read another book, this one will be the key, the magic!
So I am trying to quit....not cold turkey mind you! On the way to work I am listening to music, admittedly it feels like I am missing something and I've found myself in tears more than once.
I took my daughter to the airport and felt a strange sense of panic, and directed that to that I had to listen to someone tell me what to do, how to fix whatever I was doing wrong. I turned on Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk. As I was listening I caught myself and thought, no Amy.
I turned it off and really sat with why did I feel so anxious around not listening to self-development, am I afraid to sit with my thoughts, to feel. Yes, yes I am. I had already cried so many times that week, and dropping my kid off at the airport, my person who I have been quarantined with for weeks, the one person that has been here every day with me, well that felt bad, scary, some parental co-dependency and lots of other emotions I didn't want to feel.
I'm sure I've read a book on this...
I really do want to apply the knowledge I've read, utilize the tools to learn and grow. Let go of my old comfy (read dysfunctional) old patterns that no longer serve me. In the words of Jen Sincero, make my brain my bitch!
The pain of not changing has finally become more than the pain of staying the same. It's messy, I feel out of control and I cry all the damn time but that's part of showing up. I want to weed through the crap, feel the abandonment, hold my inner child, find self-compassion and yes, wash my face!
Peace & Love