Sunday, November 1, 2015

My space

It started a year ago, that thing I did when I started to sift through my book shelves and cardboard boxes to figure out which books I should let go of. I needed space and so I moved away from my idea that you must never ever let go of books.

Books are to be collected and cherished, and you must come back to them many times to read them to see what you missed the first time you've read them, which is a lot if you're me, I'm a fast reader and I like to devour new books. I like to also see how much I've changed in relation to a book if I've left it sitting for a while before coming back to it. Rereading a book can tell you a lot about how you've grown and changed.

When I started my counter-intuitive book clean out I soon realized that I had moved from being an avid fiction reader to someone who had collected a vast number of self-help books. I pretty much had every wrong and needing fixing solution in my personal library. It made me a little sad for reasons I wasn't quite ready to face at that stage. I made the decision to cull the flock and I ended up with a lot less self-help books while I kept the more scientifically slanted psychology and behavioral books. Fictional stories took up a larger percentage of my collection and that made me feel a little better. Stories are the best teachers.

About six months ago I started to feel real snarky about the self-help industry. I wasn't sure at first why and I was wondering if it wasn't that the industry had grown too large and too powerful. There was a wrong to be fixed for every book out there and apparently you didn't need any sort of qualifications to dish it out advice when it came to how to fix them. Are we really that broken? Do we really need all this advice on how to fix ourselves? We, and I'm talking about us "first worlders" now, don't have a lot to worry about  except for ourselves. Is that why we're so intent on fixing ourselves?

It's been interesting and disheartening for me to watch how workplaces have gone from a more relaxed view of managing performance to holding regular performance reviews and even including behaviors in them. Now we're not only told what we have to produce to rank well but also how to be, and since judging behavior is a highly subjective thing it can get a bit weird at times. We have been taught to look for things to fix in ourselves and as a result we've become hyper-vigilant when it comes to others, and armed with an armada of pseudo-psychology we happily diagnose those around us with things they really should be fixing, because goddess knows we're just triggers for their bad. They need to take responsibility for their own crap. I blame the self-help industry at least partially for this kind of thinking.

I have one of those weird situations at work; a work colleague loves the now late Dr. Wayne Dyer and goes on about how fantastic he was. It's weird to me because this person is deeply religious, and to me the good doctor was dishing out a carefully marketed mish mash of spiritual and religious thoughts. Good on Hay House for selling it and good on Dr. Wayne Dyer for making a living off it, and I'm sure it's helped people, but to me Dyer is the creepy guy who grabbed me by the hands at a conference, and pulled me so close he was right in my face before telling me he loved me. To be fair he did it to everyone and maybe I was the only one who was freaked out by it, I just don't know.

I spent years in the self-help zone and I feel that I'm at least partially qualified to say that the amount of money you can spend on it is not justified by the results you get. I've become a firm believer that if you want to achieve something you really need to involve other people, and in particular people who are qualified to help. That's not to say that it's not a good thing to arm yourself with information but please don't take Dr. Doreen Virtue's word for anything.

Fine. I'll admit it. I'm not a fan of Hay House.

Mind you, and this may surprise you, this whole post was born out of me thinking about my passion and how it's what we do naturally. Thanks a lot Mark Manson!

I'll say it again, 2015 has been a weird year for me. I completely lost the will to write while I kind of journeyed deep into my soul to find out more about myself. I spent long periods in introspective mode and I just didn't want to face outwards, and I most definitely didn't want to project (as in write or even speak) anything outwardly. Every time I tried I just felt a really strong need to be silent and go on about the business of watching myself again.

I went back to writing a journal after a while because I missed writing so much but I still couldn't project anything outwards. My journal became an interesting manifest to the changes that had happened in me, and writing in it highlighted beautifully to me when I tried to "autopilot" using old habits to get by, because I could tell when what I wrote didn't ring true to person I had changed into. It became another great tool to find more of my true self.

A few, weeks (or months perhaps, it doesn't feel important enough to check) I posted here about closing down Spilling Ink. I hadn't written anything real for ages and what I had posted was spaced out by months at times. I felt that I had perhaps outgrown this blog and that it needed to die. It was Julochka who told me not to and I'm glad she did, and I may actually owe her one for it. I'm not really sure why she did it but it made me think about what this blog is to me and why I started writing here in the first place.

I can't actually recall why I did except for that I feel much better when I write even if the process is sometimes a complete pain for me. I tend to pour things out and I don't edit, and I always find mistakes if I go back and have a look at a post.

That's not important though, what's important to me seems to be the act of expressing my thoughts and through that finding some structure in them. I actually feel heard when I write these posts and that seems to be vital to me. I think that I may have sort of stumbled on my passion here, and while I suspect this blog will never be more than this I feel that it's of significant importance to me, especially now when I feel that so much of my life is up in the air and I don't know where all the pieces will land. Writing is the only real sure thing in my life and it provides me with both comfort and stimulation, and a sort of structure.

Perhaps I will always write in some way and perhaps that's my happy place, the writing zone. Maybe that's where I get to make sense of a very confusing world at least to some degree, and where I get to place my own thought out there in the open so I can see and examine them better. I like the contrast the world provides when I do.

As I said in my previous post that I've spent a lot of time looking for my life purpose and also my passion, and I think this is where it is, in the quiet space that is me, the keyboard and the bright screen. That's the space that allows my thoughts to be manifested into something more real. Maybe that's where I feel the most alive. Maybe that's where I feel most real. I've always found it hard to make sense of a world where there seems to be no real plan at least not when it comes to humanity and where it's heading.

Maybe this is the creative space where I get to pull pieces together in a way that makes sense to me.

I'm just saying.

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