Consecutive Days Riding: 71 Consecutive Days Blogging: 72
Today’s Mileage: 10 Total Trip Mileage: 627
As I ride the bike today I think about an observation that I made last night at a well known national bookstore. I was gift shopping for my partner; she had been kind enough to provide me with a list of titles so that I would not present her with the wrong selection. I was glancing around the tables that displayed a wide array of colorful journals and diaries. Many of them were adorned with beautiful drawing and photos or inspirational messages:
Love as though you have never been hurt before.
Sing as though no one can hear you.
Live as though heaven is on earth.
Recipes: A cooking Journal.
Write it down!
Memories are all that’s left.
Live, Love, laugh!
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!
Life is the life you imagine.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change:
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.
I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.
Some of the authors and their messages I recognized and had heard before as they are quotations that frequent “daily wisdom” books and websites. Many of the journal covers bore no words but were adorned with pleasant scenes, often oriental Zen paintings of nature. As I looked over the selection I heard the voices of innumerable past clients, students and friends chanting: “I’m ready, but now what?”
The problem with inspirational messages by themselves is that they assume all the person needs to accomplish what ever task they have chosen is a pep talk. Like a coach who “fires up the boys” before sending them into a game. If they have not practiced and do not have a game plan all the pep in the world will not help win the game.
Therapists often see people who arrive at an insight, like “I have a problem,” who then believe that somehow their problem is almost solved. In reality, their journey towards health has just begun. The same rule fits for spiritual endeavors, recognizing that you have lost your connection with the divine or that you desire some change in your life is the first step in the journey. One of my favorite sayings as a marital therapist is “Marriages may be made in heaven, but you got to do your own maintenance!”
Another favorite sayings goes: “The devils in the details.” How to navigate around obstacles and move forward is the real challenge and often represents the place in which we need guidance not just inspiration. This is where therapists step forward with theories and techniques and spiritual guides step forward with “tried and true” wisdom and teachings.
If you find yourself considering an inspirational gift for a loved one, you might want to ask yourself if their inability to “pull it together and move forward” requires more than just a pep talk… perhaps you need to inquire about the location of the self-help, therapy and world religions sections!
Looking at the journals I noticed there were a number of messages that were either humorous or somewhat troubling, such as the: “It’s all about me Diary!”… Narcissism anyone? Or a humorous cartoon cat speaking to a cat with kittens: “Can I borrow these kittens for an hour? I want to freak out the people who had me spayed.”