Jump Ship

Ha!  I just caught the fact that my book review of Jump Ship that I mentioned in a previous post somehow never got published.  Sorry about that.

Jump Ship by Josh Shipp book coverBefore anyone gets antsy, let me say up front that I’m not planning to quit my job and start another career in the near future.  I received Jump Ship by Josh Shipp a few years ago in a goodreads.com giveaway and initially requested it simply because I am fascinated by the process of personal growth.  I may actually be addicted to personal growth and self-help books. I currently have an interest in turning my passion into a profession for my retirement years so it certainly couldn’t hurt to read the book.

I loved this book for several reasons. First, I loved the writer’s open and honest style. It was informative. It was challenging. It was provocative. It was personal. On the first page of the introduction the author stated that he has a reputation for being “in your face, but on your side” and that was evident throughout the text. I can appreciate that style.  It is the same style that has worked for me while doing psychotherapy over the years. It is not a style that works for everybody, but it worked for me most of the time.

The second reason that I loved this book was because it was practical. There were no easy answers but there were actual things to do to help you to discern what your passion is and things to do to evaluate whether you could actually make it profitable.

Third, it is a rags to riches kind of story.  Who doesn’t appreciate that? The author obviously has practiced what he preaches.  I have a lot of respect for that. In addition, there were numerous stories of other individuals who have also undergone the process, not just the high points, but also the down and dirty, nitty gritty low points as well.

I would recommend this book for anyone who is considering changing careers, feeling burned out with the status quo, or who is in any way dissatisfied with an aspect of their life. There is much broader applicability to the information in this book than just humping ship from a less fulfilling job. With a little creativity you could make a new life with this information, not just get a new job.

I’d Rather Be Them

Want to Be ThemI don’t think I’m alone on this.  Sometimes it looks like everyone else’s life looks like it is going much better than my own.  I catch my self thinking “I’d rather be them” instead of embracing being me.  If this is ever true for you, tap along.

illustration for karate chop pointSetup (while tapping the karate chop point): Even though I often think that I’d rather be them instead of me, I am open to learning to accept being me. Even though I often long to be someone other than who I am, I am eager to learn to love and accept myself more completely.  Even though being someone else seems to be quite alluring at times, there is another part of me that likes who I am.  I am open to getting more in touch with that part of myself on a regular basis.

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…I’d rather be them instead of me

Side of Eye…This is another manifestation of the grass is always greener

Under the Eye…Even though I know the fallacy of that type of thinking it still creeps into my consciousness

Under Nose…When I want to be someone else I’m really rejecting me

Chin…How can I expect other people to accept me when I don’t accept myself?

Collarbone…When I want to be someone else it sometimes means that I just want to hide from my own problems and challenges

Under the Arm…Other times it means that I’m buying into the myth that other people don’t have the problems I have

Top of Head…While I know that is false, it is easy to fall into the trap since I don’t see their problems

Eyebrow…I only feel my own

Side of Eye…When all of my longing to be someone else or live someone else’s life is over

Under Eye…I’m still left with whatever it is that I need to deal with

Under the Nose…The energy of wishing and longing for someone else’s life is wasted

Chin…It would be better spent trying to be the best me I know how to be

Collarbone…That’s the advice I always give to others

Under the Arm…Be the best you that you know how to be

Top of Head…In every second, minute, hour, and day

Eyebrow…That’s the message I often need to hear too

Side of Eye…Be the best me

Under the Eye…During the good times and during the bad times

Under the Nose… Not trying to be perfect

Chin…I don’t really want to be someone else

Collarbone…But sometimes I’m materialistic and just want the things they have

Under the Arm…I don’t want to be them

Top of Head…I want to learn to be the best me I can possible be.  Because I am enough.

What Do You Believe You Are Capable Of?

Jump Ship by Josh Shipp book coverYou may have already read my book review of Jump Ship by Josh Shipp. As I mentioned in that review, the book offers much more than guidance for changing careers. There are many gems hidden in the pages that have potential for profound life-changing “ah ha” moments.  One of them is this question, “What do you believe you are capable of?”

Those 8 words stopped me in my tracks. I re-read them several times.  What do I believe I am capable of? It sounds like a lot of ego, but I have always believed I was capable of great things. There has always been a burning desire to do something big, something that mattered, something remarkable. I honestly don’t know where that came from. I don’t remember being told that I could do something important. Actually, I remember being told from a variety of sources that I wasn’t anything special.  There were those warnings that “pride goeth before a fall”, that I was acting “too big for my britches”, and many other quaint but powerful statements that suggest that “I am not all that.”

I heard them. Believe me, I definitely heard them. And there were times that I didn’t attempt something because I also, on some level, believed them.  Little things, like not being one of the senior superlatives in high school also caused me to question and doubt.  There were many comments and experiences to help balance some of this out. I received many accolades for being smart. My musical spark that never goes outtalent was almost always praised. And boy could I water ski for such a little kid. So while there were individual ups and downs in my confidence level at certain points in my life, that tiny little spark never went out.

It was that tiny spark that has allowed me to continue pushing through the tough times and continue striving for something better. So what do I believe I am capable of? I’m still not sure. Words like “anything” and “almost anything” come to mind but are quickly silenced by the doubts of other people that still ring in my ears. So, I chose to revise the question to “what do I want to be capable of?” That seemed like an easier place to start. In the context of Jump Ship I want to be capable of making a living as an author.

Next in the Jump Ship process is the internal review process. OK, so I want it – but do I BELIEVE IT? That is TBD. After writing and publishing the last two books I have discovered just how much is really involved in becoming an author. It isn’t as simple as just writing some pages of text and voila, you are an author.  My third book has been sitting in the wings, almost complete for more than two years. On my white board over my desk I have written “Authors Must Write” in big bold letters to remind me what I must do to accomplish this.

So my expanded  set of questions includes, “Am I capable of coming up with the ideas, capable of editing, capable of promoting, able to tolerate rejection, and all of the other things that go along with it?”  So far I’ve found that I am certainly better prepared for some of these tasks than others, and I enjoy doing some of these tasks much more than I enjoy others.

I do believe Josh Shipp’s premise that you have to BELIEVE in order to really ACHIEVE your dreams.  So what about you?  What do you believe you are capable of?

I Believe What I’m Told

sign of encouragementYour decision to believe what others tell you is fact or what they tell you is possible may be preventing you from going after the things you desire and can stop you from being your authentic self.  Although some people might disagree, I have had a strong tendency to believe what I’m told.  Fortunately, this has been less of an issue as I’ve matured.  Tap along with this video to gain more clarity about your tendency to believe what you are told.

 

 

Setting Boundaries

brown wooden fence to illustrate setting boundariesWhy is it so hard to set boundaries with other people?

This is something that I have struggled with most of my life.  For me, setting boundaries gets all mixed up with religious teachings about loving other people, societal values, and the general admonition to be nice.  Intellectually I know that one can set boundaries without being mean.  Emotionally, it usually still feels mean.  Try this tapping.

 

illustration for karate chop pointSetup (tapping karate chop point):  Even though I find it hard to set boundaries with other people, I deeply and completely accept myself and all of my feelings.  Even though I have found it hard to set boundaries with other people in the past, I accept myself and all of my feelings about this.  Even though I find it hard to set boundaries with other people, I deeply and completely love and accept myself and am looking forward to feeling better about this in the future.

 

Eyebrow…I find it hard to set boundaries with other peoplediagram of the tapping points

Side of Eye…I get all nervous

Under the Eye…And I feel it in the pit of my stomach

Under the Nose…And my jaw tightens up

Chin…Even worse, sometimes I stutter

Collarbone…When I do set boundaries, I’m usually very mad

Under the Arm…Then I’m more aggressive than assertive

Top of Head…Or a total basket case

Eyebrow…That’s not really setting boundaries with others

Side of Eye…That is just reacting

Under the Eye…I want to learn more about why it has been hard for me

Under the Nose…I think I’m afraid they won’t like me

Chin…There have been times when I’ve said no

Collarbone…And sometimes it works well

Under the Arm…And sometimes people react badly

Top of Head…I can’t really control other people’s reactions

Eyebrow…And by not setting boundaries, I’m attempting to feel like I’m in control

Side of Eye…But it is really false control

Under the Eye…Because my needs aren’t being met

Under the Nose…I’m looking forward to catching myself in this unhealthy pattern more often

Chin…So that I can observe it and change it

Collarbone…I am open to understanding my motivations in each situation

Under the Arm…I am open to learning new ways to set boundaries with other people

Top of Head…I am looking forward to respecting my own needs while still respecting other people.

 

This tapping sequence is just a jumping off point.  One way to take this further is to tap while telling the story about a specific time that you had trouble setting boundaries.  Include what happened, the thoughts in your head at the time if you remember, the feelings that were present during the event, the feelings that you have now when you think about the event, and even how you wished you might have handled it differently.  The more specific you get, the better the result.

The Art of Extreme Self-Care

The Art of Extreme Self-Care: Transform Your Life One Month at a time by Cheryl Richardson book cover photoThe Art of Extreme Self-Care: Transform Your Life One Month at a Time by Cheryl Richardson is aesthetically pleasing and full of insight.

This is a wonderful book and I have recommended it to many of my clients, friends, and family.  I have read a lot of self-help books.  This is definitely one of the best. I felt like I actually had a “to do” plan at the end of each chapter and I kept post-it notes nearby to flag section that I wanted to go back and re-read because the book was much too beautiful to mark or damage the pages.

Cheryl’s insightful observations and direct questions stimulated several pages of notes for my tapping journal. It looks like I have a lot of work ahead of me, but instead of dread like I often experience while reading this type of book, I am actually excited to do the work.

It has been a while since I read it the first time but have picked it up again.  I am as excited about it now as I was the first time.

Why All of the Book Reviews?

Book shelves full of colorful books that could be used for bibliotherapyThanks for the question.  The quick answer is that I’m addicted to books.  The long answer is that I believe strongly in bibliotherapy.

The term bibliotherapy may be relative modern; however, the concept of using books for healing is reportedly as old as the sign of the anxiety Grecian library at Thebes which translates as, “the healing place of the soul.”  In the 1930s Dr. Karl Menninger and Dr. William Menninger advocated the use of books within the psychotherapeutic process.

Pardek, an expert in bibliotherapy, defined it as a dynamic interaction which occurs between the personality of the reader and the literature. Others define bibliotherapy as the use of literary work in the treatment of emotional and physical problems.

Bibliotherapy has many uses including:

  • To gain insight into a problem
  • To provide relaxation and diversion
  • To stimulate discussion of problems
  • To encourage one to focus outside of one’s self

NOTE: Books are not a substitute for the therapists’ time and are not to be considered a shortcut.

When you walk through a bookstore or browse online you will likely notice a very large section of books labeled psychology or self-help. Many of these books may be recommended by a therapist during treatment. Bibliotherapy is not limited to that section of books alone. Biographies, novels, non-fiction, comic books, and children’s books may also be used to stimulate growth and wellness. The use of movies and videos has also gained popularity in achieving the same goals.

You can be sure more book reviews are coming……Happy Reading.

Tao Te Ching, Holy Bible, and Abraham Lincoln

Book cover of Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition by Lao Tzu from amazon.comI have been reading Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition by Lao Tzu, translated by Jonathan Star for quite a while now.  Sounds like light lunch time reading, doesn’t it?  In the introduction I was struck with the similarity between the Tao Te Ching and the Holy Bible.  Please hear me out.  The first similarity was the difficulty in preserving a knowledge base that was primarily oral.  Both the Tao Te Ching and the stories of the Holy Bible were oral traditions that were written down at a later time.  There are many similar challenges including the writer’s own biases when hearing and re-telling a story, the political and cultural influences of the time, language translation issues, and poor memory. Have you ever played telephone? By the time you get even 2-3 people deep into the retelling of a message it can often be significantly altered, not just in the details, but in the real message of the story.

The second similarity that struck me was the question of whether picture of open Biblethe story or phrase was intended to be literal or illustrative. This quandary is often evident in Bible stories and there is considerable discord between the factions that believe that everything is literal and those who believe it is a figurative lesson meant to inspire or teach.

A third similarity was that reading the verses of the Tao Te Ching elicits more questions that the answers provided. That has often been my experience when reading from the Bible. I can easily generate long lists of “but what about…?” from either book.

You may be wondering where Abraham Lincoln fits in all of this. Abraham Lincoln statueAs I was thinking about writing this post I recalled an event many years ago when my older son, then about 3 or 4, was almost inconsolable when he asked me about the man whose face was on the penny. I told him about Abraham Lincoln, and he asked me where he was. I explained that he had been killed many years ago.  My son began crying. When asked why he was crying he stated, “because I’ll never get to know him.” That is also the truth of the Tao Te Ching and the Holy Bible.  We will never really know.

As seekers of truth and wisdom we can make best guesses, sit in meditation, engage in prayer, and evaluate the cumulative knowledge of others, but we will never really know. For me it does feel sad.  So much has been lost.

Beyond the wisdom of the texts, what can I learn from this?

  • Don’t assume that others will remember my stories accurately
  • If it is important, I should write it down
  • It is my responsibility to share the stories of my “tribe”, culture, and my life. No one else can really do it.
  • If I want to know the stories and beliefs of my ancestors, I need to ask while they are still here and able to share them with me. I wait at my own peril.

Tapping Exercise: Who I Am is Constantly Changing

Black-eyed-susans with Embrace New Beginnings signSay this statement aloud, “Who I am is constantly changing.” How true does that feel to you?  Rate it on a scale of 0-10 (10=very true) and write down your number.

Begin tapping on the karate chop point and say the setup statements.

Setup: Sometimes I am confused about who I am. It seems that who I am is constantly changing. When I think I know something about myself it feels really good. When I’m uncertain about something I feel somewhat unbalanced. Accepting the changing nature of who I am is uncomfortable to me.  In spite of this discomfort, I choose to love, honor, and accept myself.

Eyebrow…Who I am is constantly changing

Side of Eye…And that is ok

Under the Eye…Who I am is constantly changing

Nose…I am open to learning to accept those changes more gracefully

Chin…Who I am is constantly changing

Collarbone…I am choosing to see that changing nature as more positive than negative

Under the Arm…Who I am is constantly changing

Top of Head…But sometimes it still makes me feel uncomfortable

Eyebrow…Who I am is constantly changing

Side of Eye…Sometimes that fills me with joy

Under the Eye…Who I am is constantly changing

Nose…Perhaps evolving would be a more comfortable word

Chin…Who I am is constantly changing

Collarbone…I choose to see the positive aspects of my changes

Under the Arm…Who I am is constantly changing

Top of Head…Expecting and accepting that change is part of the process of life

Eyebrow…Who I am is constantly changing

Side of Eye…My ideas and viewpoints change as I learn new things

Under the Eye…Who I am is constantly changing

Nose…My feelings and thoughts change as situations unfold

Chin…Who I am is constantly changing

Collarbone…I’d like to think that my wisdom is expanding

Under the Arm…Who I am is constantly changing

Top of Head…I deeply and completely love and accept myself and choose to embrace my evolution.

 

Book Review – The Wisdom of Forgiveness: Intimate Conversations and Journeys

Many of my friends and followers already know that I am intrigued by the Dalai Lama.  I was privileged to hear him speak in person once and have been very moved by most of his interviews and books.  What I have found most compelling is the apparent congruity between his teachings and his life. The Wisdom of Forgiveness: Intimate Conversations and Journeys by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Victor Chan describes this congruence beautifully.

The Dalai Lama teaches about emptiness, interdependence, and forgiveness. He speaks specifically about forgiveness for those who have treated you cruelly or unfairly. In his case, he speaks about forgiving the Chinese people who caused his exile.

The concepts in this book are meaningful all of the time, but seem more so during our current political and social upheaval.  Whether you are Buddhist or not, check it out.