Welcome to what I’m loosely calling ‘Wilson’s Weekly Whispers.’
The ‘Wilson’ part is pretty obvious, the ‘Weekly’ is due to Steven Pressfield’s book getting me to ‘turn pro’ and committing to doing this regularly, and I’m using the word ‘Whispers’ because at the grand old age of 44 I find I don’t need to shout so much any more.
There are so many people out there desperately yelling to get attention and become ‘an expert’ that I thought I’d make this more of a quiet, fireside chat. I’ve realised that I think by writing, so by babbling on about what my books have taught me it’ll sort it out and get it deeper into my noggin. Which has to be a good thing.
When choosing what quote to start with from my books, I just couldn’t go past this one from buddhist nun Robina Courtin, because I believe it’s the rock solid foundation of all else in life.
Every book I’ve ever read, and every thought I’ve ever been exposed to about how to get the most out of our short time here is all predicated by the idea that, in a literal sense, it’s all in your head. What we call ‘life’ is not some factual, empirical thing at all – it’s merely our brain’s personal interpretation of the events happening to us. It’s Habit One in Covey’s ‘Seven Habits’, The Law of Attraction in ‘The Secret’, The Bible’s ‘As you think, so shall you be’ and Shakespeare’s ‘Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’
This busts us, and all our dramas, in a truly delightful and liberating way.
I’m currently reading a book called ‘Buddha’s Brain‘ by Rick Hanson and Richard Mendius and one of the great metaphors it uses to explain all this is ‘First Darts and Second Darts.’ First Darts are the normal unpleasant things life ‘throws’ at us – from physical pain through to emotional heartbreak and the like. These are experiences we simply cannot avoid and are part of being a human being. Second Darts, however, are the ones we throw at ourselves – taking random events personally, putting ourselves down, and all the stuff that buzzes around in our noggins when we get caught up in our own crapola. There are two hilarious things about Second Darts.
Firstly the most common one is the lie we tell ourselves that we can somehow arrange things so we can live a life without First Darts. We think that by earning more money, buying more stuff or arranging life ‘just so’ we can get to a point where, from then on, we will only have pleasure and escape pain.
Even funnier is how often we throw Second Darts at ourself in the middle of a positive experience. If someone tells us our jeans look great we internalise it with ‘Hah. They mean they hide the size of my butt.’ or ‘Hmm. What do they want from me?’
I’m only just starting to understand how to embrace this absolute responsibility for every single aspect of my life and avoid throwing Second Darts at myself, so I won’t wax lyrical on thatjust yet. But if I could go back and give my younger self one piece of advice it’d be Robina’s thought above. So I thought it a great place to begin ‘Wilson’s Weekly Whispers.’
Till next week…