So I read this shitty “boring memoir as self-help book” this weekend. I had bought it some time ago, hoping I could fix my life.
Well, it barely gave me anything new. If you had watched Oprah or Super Soul Sunday, you’ve already learned what this wannabe tough lady wanted to convey to her probably super rich, white, and bored audience.
I may never try to hate read a book again because it was full of phony baloney spiritualist schlock like:
“Fear is a choice!”
“Happiness is a choice!”
You can choose not to be depressed!
If you change how you think, then you can manifest the life that you want!
So much of that is basically just–try harder. But hey, the Universe is there to help you, too.
No mention of the systemic biases like racism, sexism, and homophobia that help keep people oppressed.
No, you should just get off your ass and do something–all with a bunch of affected AAVE speech:
“Thems is some big words…” (that’s not even grammatical for AAVE)
Anyway, it was so poorly organized, I don’t know how it was meant to actually give a reader real ways to change her life without getting lost in the bland pablum this woman was peddling.
I won’t mention the name, but the book has a yellow cover.
I picked up this book because, 1) I was told to (higher self + spirit guides) and also 2) I’m in a bit of a rut or transitional space, something I could been saying for the past 5 years, honestly.
Specifically, I need to increase my sales for my business so I can move out of this godforsaken house and on with my life–and also pay some bills!
As I was chatting with a friend today, it’s not a good thing to be feeling desperate when you’re looking for some answers to your life.
Sure, necessity is the mother of invention, but I think, especially in American society, that desperation can leave you vulnerable to shysters and crooks who want to manipulate into parting with your money.
So OK, I had already bought this book, so no harm there, and I was told to read this book by my spiritual team (if you will, I hate these cheesy-ass labels). I actually got some good things out of it, even if I feel a little scarred after reading it.
But the scarring is adjacent to older scars.
So much of this shit is what I learned growing up in the “faith” movement in the 1980s and 1990s.
If you just have enough faith, you can move mountains (read: get that Cadillac and new house!). It’s shit I’ve been trying so desperately to unlearn, and I basically unloaded more on myself by reading this book.
But yes–what was the good I got out of it?
For one thing, I know how I don’t want to write about spirituality. It was a very inspiring book in that regard.
But the most practical piece of advice for my life right now is about gratitude.
It’s a topic that makes me roll my eyes. It feels like such a burden–and it really shouldn’t (but I’ll get into that in a little bit). But also, it’s so on trend to have an attitude of gratitude.
Even beyond the personal development scensters, gratitude works, and it works really well.
Gratitude has some scientifically proven benefits about improving one’s physical and mental health and overall wellbeing. It’s not like working with crystals or doing rituals where your mileage may vary.
Gratitude has just been a tough practice for me, especially in the past few years. It comes and goes with my emotional state and circumstances. There have been times, though, I’ve been grateful just to have a roof over my head and food to eat because I was technically homeless.
But deep down, there are so many times where I think, life has just been so fucking cruel and unfair. I do not want to write in my gratitude journal, ever.
And, reading that book, I was reading about a woman who was kind of a dick and ended up with an amazing life.
So then, even when it comes to money, it’s definitely not given to those who “deserve” it, because the Universe finds them to be more morally upright and kind.
These sorts of disparities leave me with some really big, uneasy questions with unwieldy, flighty answers.
Why are so many kind people being taken advantage of and this self-appointed rockstar guru is given a life that she barely deserves?
Yes, it’s a version of the classic question: why do bad things happen to good people?
That’s probably for another blog post, but I bring it up because 1) I don’t think the Universe just automatically has your back (right? should the Universe be OK with evil people?
2) there must be more than just acquiring things and using spirituality to receive those things.
3) there’s a bigger story that we’re all a part of, and we don’t know how it even truly began or where it ends, even after death.
We just don’t know why so many things happen, good or bad, and to what degree we’re involved in those occurrences.
Whew, that’s heavy. But really, that’s to give us all some perspective here, to tether us to something bigger…
So yeah, alright–I have some major impediments to gratitude here, but a daily gratitude practice does help me live a better life, so I need fucking be grateful already…right?
Finally, the point of this post…
So from this trash heap of a book, the author suggests writing daily thank-you notes to whatever higher power you’re into.
And I think that unlocked a cage of ineptitude that I had been trapped in because when I write “I am grateful for…” there is no object.
It means nothing to me.
I have that same feeling when you have to go around the Thanksgiving table and say what you’re thankful for. Most of us can come up with something that sounds halfway decent.
But usually, I’m sitting there, stewing, thinking life is unfair–when it really is, and I’m not being an entitled bitch about it.
What unlocked for me is that by writing daily thank-you notes to God or Source, etc., there is an object.
We don’t just say “thank you” into a vacuum. We direct our gratitude to a person.
It’s something that even reminds me of worshipping and offering thanks to God, something I grew up doing for most of my life in the form of song. And now, not being in church, that part has been missing for me–that special connection to God (especially through song).
I need to say thank you to the Universe for so many things, even when life is unfair and hard and excruciating. It’s to help me keep perspective of all the good that has happened, so I don’t sit here in a boiling vat of my own bitterness.
And I’m not just writing this down because Oprah said to do it. Definitely science is helping me to do it. But finally, after years of trying to be grateful for whatever is in my life, I can do it in a more directed and meaningful way.
So let me start right now…
Thank you, Universe for bringing this book into my life–even if it was chock full of so much of what I don’t need.
I thank you that even though my spiritual team guided me to this book–and I feel like I need to recover from having read it–there’s still some method to the madness, that maybe something beautiful is opening up inside of me for me to share with others who really need to hear it.
Thank you, God, for the good people you’ve brought into my life, especially within the past year. Some have already moved on, but I am grateful for the light and beauty that they brought into my life and whatever good that they graciously accepted into their lives through me.
Thank you that I do have plenty of food to eat.
Thank you for bringing me to a better home where I can safely and freely be myself.
Thank you that the creepy housemate decompensated on me so I could stop wasting my time talking to him like he was sane and also hold the owner of this house more accountable.
Thank you for the chances to be more assertive for my well-being.
Thank you that the mammogram and ultrasound exam I went through on Friday came up with only cysts that will hopefully be aspirated soon.
Thank you for affordable healthcare to get those tests and low copays.
Thank you for all the opportunities that I don’t even know about yet. Thank you for all the opportunities that are available to me now.
Thank you for gifting me with grit, resilience, patience, perseverance, and a sense of humor to keep me from getting too serious.
Thank you that I don’t have to know everything, that I can ask for help early and often, and that I don’t have to do everything on my own.
And thank you, dear reader, for being here and bearing witness.
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