…and a warm, fuzzy one.
you can try sound bath healing, sweat lodges, and tapping. you can participate in seminars, adhere to cleanse guidelines, and chant in tune. all in the hopes of fixing yourself.
I don’t doubt their utility. anyway, who am I to judge what works for others? try as much as you can.
but if you don’t ask tough questions like, why is (binge eating, sleeplessness, hypercriticism) a recurring problem for me? you’ll stagnate.
think of self-help like stand-up paddling. snark if you must, but stand-up paddlers generally look accomplished. if tuna is "chicken of the sea," then stand-up paddlers are oceanic royalty. they have it all figured out, balanced on their slab of foam.
poised on the surface, they’re floating above difficulty. and that’s the issue—they’re on top of what they need to delve into.
by definition surface work is shallow work. in other words,
self-help doesn’t work unless you do.
I warned you it’d be cold.
but there's a solution, there always is. if self-help is stand-up paddling, then exponential growth is deep-sea diving.
the real work lies in the depths and leads to the center of your soul.
but most people don’t bother. it’s murky down there. weird shit abounds: scuttling crabs, blobby jellyfish, darting sting rays, for crying out loud. who has the energy?
there’s the occasional dolphin, but they stick to themselves. and who can blame them? you’re unglamorous shivering in your wetsuit and peeing to stay warm. yeah, the dolphins know.
but if you persevere, returning again and again to the gnarly ocean floor, your eyes adjust. where your flippers once snagged on streamers of seaweed, now you easily untangle. the sharks everyone said would look like rocks (but look precisely like sharks) no longer terrify.
the more familiar you get with your emotional crapola, the less insidious it appears. life grows simpler, clearer. it all begins to make sense as you excavate the past.
that’s when you’ll discover the second truth, the comforting one:
the more you chip away at helping yourself, the less self-help you’ll need.
through self-help you can learn to help yourself.
you'll cling less to the latest books because you see them for what they are—rectangles of paper, not the life rafts you once imagined.
you won’t need them nearby in case you get scared or exhausted. you trust your ability to rescue yourself, to swim to shore.
best of all, it’s true. you can. you do.
ironically it’s the stand-up paddling, the cozy appearing experience, exposes the unpleasant fact. while deep-sea diving, our uncomfortable activity, reveals the comforting one.
funny how appearances deceive, isn’t it?
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