What is this blog about?

So I begin my blog.  Can’t tell you the degree of professional procrastination that has this date be Mar 11th 2008 vs. Mar 11th 2005.

Oh, what would I write about it?

What if I make mistakes?

What will people say about my mistakes?  

And my grammar sucks. What happens when I change my position, which I will, on any position? And on and on….

Enough already.

I have something to write about and it’s time to begin.

My thing is about living your life as a practice: the exercise and pursuit of a consciously created life.

And if that sounds too foo-foo (a term I learned from James Ray) give me a chance.

I’m really into the practical application of getting things to work, in particular your life.

The breakdown that has me look at life as a practice is described in a book called S.H.A.M. How the Self-Help Movement made America helpless, by Steve Salerno.   What Mr. Salerno claims is that all of this self-help stuff doesn’t work, and that they, the purveyors of all this self-help stuff, take advantage of the pitiful predicament of the unhappy masses by promising happiness, romance, riches etc., but they don’t work.

Yet people keep coming back because these hucksters (my usage) are good at making people feel good while they’re at the seminars etc., but when they go back to their lives it’s back to what they had before.

While I don’t agree with Mr. Salerno for the most part, he did point me to something useful, and that is people keep looking to get fixed and they think it can be done quickly.

Buy this CD, read this book, go to this seminar and you’ll have all that you need to turn your life around.

In fact the entire American culture is all based around getting what you want NOW.  People are looking for the tips and tricks to get what they want.   Often the tips and tricks work for awhile but then they’re back to being unhappy with their condition and off they go to the next seminar or next book to find the answer.

Mr. Salerno made me realise that the tips and tricks will never work.

I don’t agree with his conclusion about many of the offerings in the marketplace, in fact I think many of the people and organisations he criticises offer valuable help to many people, but I do agree that there is something fundamentally not working with how people approach their self-help or personal growth.

Living your life as a practice

And that something is a complete unawareness of the fundamentals that are required by any human being to grow and develop. Learning about and mastering these fundamentals are what I mean by living your life as a practice.

Socrates said “The unexamined life is not worth living,” and then they had him killed. I say the examined life is worth living, and I’m hoping for a much more successful outcome.

And here’s something fundamental about how to read this blog.

Please remember that nothing I say should be regarded as the truth. I first heard a speaker say this at a course called the The Forum now called the Landmark Forum back in 1993.   He then went on to say “it’s simply a place to stand from and see what opens up for you.”

Coming from a colonial British/Roman Catholic upbringing where we were taught to unquestionably accept authority, this occurred to me as hugely refreshing. This guy was not telling me to believe anything he was saying, but merely to try it on like a coat, walk around the room a bit, see how it fits.

If I liked it, I could buy it, if not I could return it, being all the wiser for having really tried on a new perspective.

This is how I will ask you to ‘listen’ to everything you read here.

I’m not trying to tell you anything that is true or that you should believe.  Hell, I often change my mind about positions I take, and that’s all about being human and growing.

But be open to being wrong about things that you believed, even cherished beliefs.

Oh, and another thing, if you reject something that I say, or something that someone else I endorse says, try not to reject everything else and the whole person with it.

Take what works and leave the rest.  (Something else I learned at the Landmark Forum). In a subsequent post I’ll talk about this as a practice.

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5 Responses to What is this blog about?

  1. Congratulations on reaching this point!! The most difficult thing is often just getting started.

    Life is indeed a journey and not a destination and I agree whole heartedly that many of us get a bit lost along the way and find ourselves searching for the next elusive “fix” to our problems/discontent. There must be a better way.

    I applaud you for what you are undertaking. I am currently reading Eckhart Tolle’s – Awakening to your Life’s Purpose (like everyone else who watches Oprah) which speaks to being present in your life and seeing things for what they are not what we perceive them to be … so the universe is signalling to those who are ready to listen.

    I look foward to following your journey and wish you every success along the way.

    Keep on keeping on!!

  2. Great topoic – my two cents:

    Self-help sells because we are in a consumption paradigm that doesn’t work any more and a new one is yet to be invented. We have too much choice. Blue jeans used to be one style and the choice was size. They were stiff until a few wears and washes. A year later, they were uniquely yours. Now, the choice in jeans is mind boggling – literally. How do you choose (how long to choose)? When you do, it isn’t long before your choice seems like it could have been better. You are soon depressed with your purchase. This climate of excessive choice is everywhere in our first-world environment while the third-world has one choice, starve. It’s an imbalance crying for compassion. Self-help just tries to help you get over it – throw out your old jeans and just get some new ones. Want a break from this paradigm? Be still. Be quiet. Listen to yourself, not your urges.

    Another element of self-help is the assumption that something is wrong. That’s another paradigm that will keep self-help selling. Shift this to nothing is wrong and that you are a perfect expression of life. A tree is perfect, is it not? Do you look at a tree and address where it needs improvement? If the tree is deformed do you see imperfection? More likely you still see beauty. The same is true with us humans yet somehow when something is wrong we go to being broken. We are just how we are supposed to be, there is nothing that is imperfect. Take that on and you will stop obsessively working on yourself and begin to help others.

    So how did we get to less happy? How was it that our parents were happier? Wasn’t all this opportunity going to make us happier? Consumer culture thrives on you being flawed and incomplete. It’s a powerful drive to get you to shop. All day, every day the message is the same. So, you work more so you can get more stuff and now you are tiered and veg out with the tube where you are told that you are inadequate until you have the next best thing so you go and work some more (and so on). Want out of this paradigm? Community. Get into a community, form a community, support a community. Be with people, not stuff.

    That’s my two-cent rant. Be still, be with others, care for others. Congrats Peter!

  3. Peter,
    congratulations on the birth of your “baby” ;o)
    I can relate to your feelings before you posted… I’ve been tossing around an idea for 7 months now (since Tahoe) and blogging keeps coming to mind. Now here you are presenting your blog (where is “blog” from anyway?), so yours is another vote for me to take the plunge. Gee, I can see how the first post would cause procrastination… do I write as I post, or do I write a draft first on paper, or… (analysis paralysis can set in easily). Your blog is as intriguing as you are; insightful and reflective, yet often posing more questions, which I suppose means more blogs… so I will book mark my return! And perhaps your life as a practice blog will inspire my blog. I trust this finds you well and practicing life to the fullest. Cheers,
    Brenda

  4. Great work –looking forward to reading more.
    Last night was session #1 of the Effectiveness
    Seminar. Can clearly see, creating possibiity
    with action is the key to success.

    Reading this today, just reinforces that thought.
    And, yes, it should be fun.

    Wanda

  5. Peter,

    As usual – full of surprises…..Your quote “My thing is about living your life as a practice: the exercise and pursuit of a consciously created life ” really struck a chord as Camille and I have been putting this in practice from day one. As you probably recall, we got married quite young and now 26 years later…happy like pappy…
    The spark was a bit of advice from an older brother on hearing the news – “bro, one piece of advice, don’t listen to advice”.
    This I think more than anything has shaped who and what we are today.

    Well done on getting one foot in the door…let’s see what you do with the other one…..

    Gerard

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