Books and Other Teachers
Along the way of this 55+ year ride, I have spent much of my time learning from books. Teachers and mentors of the human sort have often seemed messy, flawed, and not always entirely trust worthy. As a result I found most of my wisdom in books. I read anything from science fiction stories of authors like Spider Robinson Marge Piercy, and Robert Heinlein to philosophers like Thoreau, Jack Kerouac, and Camus . I explored the “WooWoo” worlds of Carlos Castenada, Joseph Campbell, Clarissa Pinkola Estes and so many others whose basic premises were the acceptance that our perceptions are mere agreements, not the Newtonian reality we have been trained to accept. While these explorations have always carried for me the seeds of greater potential, I have, up until most recently enjoyed them with a semi hopeful, passive view.
This transitional journey seems to be bringing me back, full circle, or perhaps more accurately, full spiral, towards those more “WooWoo'” or spiritual explorations, but this time with a less passive bent. I am feeling called to harness the lessons of the commercial worlds of advertising, marketing, and networking and blend them with a deeper call. A call towards exploration, and authentically sharing these explorations with fellow travelers. It is a call towards connecting with a tribe of courageous, & wholehearted explorers who want to dig deep, share encouragement and wisdom, and be willing to engage truth with compassion in an effort to be more, and affect more of our world(s).
Our teachers are everywhere, in books, on You Tube, podcasts, Facebook & other Social media venues. They are just outside our door in our brushes with the natural world. They are our neighbors, and coincidences, joyful moments, unexpected encounters, and even our houseplants.
Working with a Mastermind Group
The Mastermind process has connected me to a new type of investigation, into exploring some of the so called gurus of Personal Growth. Despite some trepidation I have found that working through these processes within our group, has been both fun, and life changing. For those that are unfamiliar, a Mastermind Group is an intentional and committed group of people that agree to, “meet weekly, monthly, daily even if it makes sense, to tackle challenges and problems together. They lean on each other, give advice, share connections and do business with each other when appropriate. It’s very much peer-to-peer mentoring.” (Forbes: 7 Reasons to Join a Mastermind Group). Our particular group allows for the sharing of leadership roles. We rotate who leads, and vote on the subjects we explore which alleviates some of the ego and power struggles that can distract from growth work.
We started with the Jack Canfield book, “The Success Principles.” This is a book that every person in transition should be gifted with. Though little of the information is truly new, the progression of principles, and the compassionate way they are presented will have you believing that you can actually succeed at changing your life. Working through this process has be a literal life changing event. I have often thought where our world could be if every school child had access to these techniques and principles.
Our latest book to work through is Jen Sincero’s, “You Are A Badass At Making Money” Written in the irreverent style you would assume from the title, Ms. Sincero challenges your attitudes about money, where it comes from, and how you can get it. It’s a fun read & let me note that it is most important to actually work these books. If all you do is read them, and even highlight all your favorite passages without doing the exercises, you will likely get less than what you would hope out of them.
Another classic “workbook” for creatives is Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way “A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity,” Though her book was originally published in 1992, and she has taught these principles of creativity recovery since 1978, the concepts and techniques are still as potent today as they have ever been.
For fun reviews of various “Self Help” books check out “By the Book” podcast, “Join comedian Jolenta Greenberg and her skeptical friend Kristen Meinzer as they live by the rules of a different self-help book each episode to figure out which ones might actually be life changing.” Sometimes helpful, sometimes full of their own #AhaMoments , often hilarious, these two women commit to each process for a 2 week period, and report back with their results.
Self Help books are easy to make fun of, easy to dismiss with a knowing and cynical wink. It’s a huge industry. When using them as tools, & being willing to share your vulnerabilities and dreams with others (& yourself) they can be a powerful way to move you in new directions. Ultimately, it’s up to you, & it sure helps to have voices of support holding you up when it gets hard.
Our teachers are everywhere. A teacher is one that for that moment, lights a fire, or opens a door to new awareness. Let each door opened bring with it it’s own challenges and joys. Allow us to muddle through our own next steps as we “Dance towards our greater becoming.” Here’s hoping that your journey brings you joy and heart-opening awareness as well. Happy Exploring!