Now, getting to my post. Years ago, while going through some difficult times in my life, I came upon a book by Geri Larkin called "Stumbling Toward Enlightenment." I was always drawn to the Buddhist way of life but had such a difficult time grasping the tenets of that way of life. So, one day in the bookstore while desperately seeking some book which would give me solace, I saw the title of this book and I just knew I had to buy it. I was stumbling...big time! Well, it got read, and re-read and marked up and dog-eared over that summer and, to this day, I still go back and read through sections of it.
This evening I opened the book to the chapter on Fear, Worry and Shame and it began with a list of Twelve Steps for Dealing with Misery (I had A LOT of underlinings and notes in that chapter!).
So, here are the Twelve Steps for Dealing with Misery according to Geri Larkin:
- Get over yourself. You are not the center of the universe. (Yup, that was me!)
- Repeat a hundred times a day: Nobody can read my mind. (Something my boyfriend could attest to)
- Stop watching the news. If it's bad enough you'll hear about it. (Got rid of my TV years ago so I am not being bombarded with the network news of choice since I really don't see any of them as being fair and balanced.)
- Change jobs. (I like mine too much to change right now - I just keep adding new ways to make money)
- Move. (Something I'm working on to happen in the next few years)
- Buy some new clothes from the consignment shop. (Do that all the time)
- Shave your head so there will be something new to focus on. (I'm not even going there!!!!)
- Forgive your parents. (Done...and they have forgiven theirs...who have forgiven theirs...etc. etc. - it's all about the conditioning in our early years - more on that in The Four Agreements by Ruiz)
- Repeat number eight for all your former mates. (Repeat for anyone you feel the need to forgive. Forgiveness is more about you and not the other person - also more on that in The Four Agreements)
- Reintroduce calming music into your life. (This I do ALL the time - love Windham Hill collections)
- Babysit someone else's kid. A baby with colic is good. (I've been doing that for a looooong time. In fact, the nieces and nephews I've taken care of over weekends are all now grown up - in fact I'll probably be babysitting my oldest niece's child soon - she's pregnant!. It was always fun going for walks, hikes, restaurants, museums, parks...they (and I) always love it.)
- Quit reading your horoscope. (Stopped doing that YEARS ago!)
Now, these may seem a bit harsh to some of you but, I assure you, at the time I bought this book (and I was VERY miserable), I worked on...well at least 11 of those steps (Don't think I'd have the courage to do step 7 quite yet.)
Although Larkin wrote these steps for dealing with misery, they are really good steps to help you lead a more peaceful life. Really.