Now that my new book is formally launched, I’m starting to promote it. I’ve just returned home after being away for four days during which I had three book-signings. I had two others the week before. These were amazing learning experiences. Here are some early examples.
What I expected: That after a few days my dominant introverted side would rebel against a tight schedule involving much extraverted speaking and intense interaction with people, combined with very little solitary down time.
What I got: A big surprise! I was energized by the speaking and loved talking with everyone! People were really nice and it was lots of fun. In fact, I got a sort of high from it, and I was extremely grateful to have friends with me three out of those five times with whom to talk about it afterwards! It’s true that initially after a couple of hours of this I got a headache, but I quickly figured out the antidote: take an extra-strength Excedrin an hour ahead of time! I think the headaches were more about eye-strain (from wearing my contacts for longer periods than usual) than mental strain. In fact, the only thing that tired me out was the stress of traveling! In the two legs of flight between the Leon, Mexico airport, the Dallas airport, and Orlando we had three gate changes, one time change, and a two-hour delay. All this with no dinner until 10 p.m. That was a real Bear!
Conclusions: I’m not as much of an introvert as I thought. In fact, my dear cousin Hugh who attended my two Atlanta signings told me he sees me as very much of an extravert! But I think this only applies when I’m in the company of generous-spirited people who like me and are truly interested in what I have to say!
What I expected: That someone might challenge my unorthodox views, especially about religion, and that my conflict-anxiety would kick in to the point that I’d lose my confidence and come off as a babbling idiot.
What I got: No one exhibited any resistance to anything I said. To the contrary, a bunch of people came up afterwards and told me how grateful they were! One woman thanked me with tears in her eyes for what I said about dysfunctional God-images. A physics professor told me she resonated powerfully with everything I said. Her very words: “You have your finger exactly on the pulse of our times!” This time I was the one in tears. Two middle-aged men thanked me for sharing my Kundalini experience. A middle-aged woman said my reference to my nine-year “Dark Night” had emboldened her to be more open about sharing her similar experience with people who might be relieved to know they’re not alone and that Dark Nights are survivable! And a friend told me that a mutual friend leaned over and whispered, “She has real courage!”
Astonished Conclusions: I’m helping, even if only a tiny bit! And I have courage!!! And all this time I’ve been afraid I was a yellow-bellied coward. When did courage sneak in and stand alongside my copious fears and self-doubt? I don’t know. I never saw it coming.
The past two weeks reinforced something I’ve known in my gut for quite a while but rarely heard about from others: no matter how damaged the soul, the rewards of committed inner work are powerful, permanent, and a blessing to all. A sincere thank-you to the kind souls who are reminding me that my struggles have not been in vain. So now I”m wondering: what benefits have your inner work brought?
Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at www.Amazon.com or www.larsonpublications.com.
Ego and God-Image: Part VI
[T]he most important relationship of childhood, the relation to the mother, will be compensated by the mother archetype as soon as detachment from the childhood
Wonderful report from out in the field, Jeanie. It’s interesting to see how a seemingly self-confident woman such as you can doubt her strengths and not let the doubt stop her. I love that you are learning to develop extroverted skills and finding you have more possibility in that realm than you knew. I love how you keep moving forward and putting out your wisdom, even if you fear taking a hit for it. No hit administered! This encourages me as I prepare to launch my book into the world.
What have I learned from inner work? That coming back to breath always helps. That I can find quiet while breathing if I focus my energy in the bottoms of my feet where I feel my connection to earth and can ground fear and other upsetting feelings. That everything flows, so I merely need to wait if I feel overwhelmed. That it’s essential to take care of myself spiritually with meditation and time in nature and that taking care of my body is an important part of spiritual practice, because I am ineffective and frantic without healthy food, a walk, and a private place to rest.
Thanks for sharing your experience. As the world discovers you, you discover more of yourself.
Wishing you the best in all ways, Elaine
Thank you for your kind words, and for sharing your practices, Elaine. They radiate deep wisdom. I can’t wait to read your book, especially if these are some of the things you write about! I find them very helpful! After reading your comment I find myself wanting to be more mindful of focusing energy on my feet and remembering that everything flows!! Wishing you the best in all ways as well, Jeanie
Jeannie — what a wonderful report! Will order the book right away.Congratulations! Betsy
Sent from my iPad
I loved hearing from you, Betsy! Thanks! I look forward to hearing your reaction to Healing the Sacred Divide. Jeanie
You’ve given me new hope!
Yaaayyy! I’m so glad, Evan. It really is true: inner work works!! (Even though it takes some of us a lot longer than others!) Blessings, Jeanie
Glad it is going so well!!
I mentioned on my facebook page, but just realized that I didn’t mention to you directly how much I liked your book – It is an astute description of the developmental, maturational processes of spiritual growth and evolution, and a lovely call to deepen our relationship to our psyche.
Thanks so much for writing it!
Thank you, Martha! I’m so glad you liked it. Your opinion means a great deal to me, especially as you are one who works in the trenches to create greater psychological awareness with all manner of people and problems!
I knew people would love you…how could they help it. You’re genuine and lovable.
And you must be the kindest, most generous-spirited man I’ve ever known. Thank you.
I’m reminded of something one of my Teachers said, many moons ago: “Our THOUGHTS about a thing tend to be far worse than the thing, itself.” I believe you hit on a point of truth… you may be every bit as introverted as you think, but when we’re “in our passion” we tend to extravert (using extravert as a verb, here) and engage at levels where we barely recognize ourselves. Is one state more true than the other? I doubt it. Both are authentic states of being… but perhaps the greatest learning is that when we DO “extravert in our passion” it’s a great barometer to let us know that we have, indeed, found a true calling in life.
Inner work, I believe– ultimately– teaches us who we truly are, unfettered by old programming, conditioning and the societal lens of perception. And when we know who we are… THEN we can go forth and DO what we want, and HAVE what we want. Sadly, most western culture centers on the “doing” and “having” first, then on the “being.”
Thanks for your most astute observations, Peter. I agree with them both. I am always a bit surprised when I see myself “extravert in my passion,” yet I’m also grateful because I know it’s a genuine expression of my true calling. And a hearty “Yes” to the “being” needing to come first. It can be very late in coming, but I believe it’s essential if our contributions are to have any lasting value. Can you say something about the kind of inner work you do? I’d be very interested. Jeanie
Jeanie, the predominant thing about my inner work (which you can probably relate to!) is “it’s complicated.” No system, no religion, no guru… just a conglomeration of “things found along the way” since I first began noticing and ACTING on a sense of feeling out of step with the world. Rigorous self-inquiry, a dab of non-duality… a general rejection of needing to follow “world models” and fitting in. My Dark Night of the Soul (aside from suicidal periods in my teens and early 20s) hitting me around age 30 (I’m 52) where I moved towards the deeper exploration of what “me” really meant. The journey would require a book to explain.
I don’t really have a “practice” per-se (although I’m fond of Tai-Chi and long walking meditations on the beach) other than to say that I have turned LIFE into a “practice” of general mindfulness and awareness. I believe that if you’re willing to stay awake and aware of your truth– even when its UGLY(!!!)– and understand why emotions arise, you can do many things to reach emotional wellness, without conventional therapy. It’s really just rewiring your neural net; but of course you have to be very aware of what you wish the new wiring to be…
Thanks very much for your quick and thorough response, Peter. I do relate to your inner work. It’s been sort of the same with me, although I found a lot more focus and direction and had quicker results when I discovered Jung and started doing dream work. But I, too, have tried lots of things found along the way that appealed to me for one reason or another. And I would also say that losing the “isms” and simply practicing being more mindful of, and learning from, LIFE itself without preconceived ideas has always been the foundation of it all.