Every book feels like a birth.
The process is consuming. Intimate, lonely and painstaking. Nothing glamorous about it. Pajamas, coffee, old toast, more coffee, endless doubt, painful angst.
Then, after months of nothingness, something miraculous happens. The seeds begin to sprout. They start to have life, a voice, and a distinct spirit. A relationship is born. And very soon, you begin to dance together.
When the book is done, you believe you are ?done.?
You think to yourself, ?I am done. There is nothing more I could possibly write on this topic.?
This is how I felt when I finished my first book, THE CONSCIOUS PARENT. I truly felt as if I had exhausted every resource within me. I felt as if I had over-turned every cobweb and cleaned out every room. There were simply no more thoughts on parenting I could ever have.
This feeling lasted for, oh, about a month after the book was out.
As soon as parents began to read it, their questions poured in. ?What about this?? and ?What about that.? I quickly realized that I had not covered any of their concerns.
Within weeks, I went from the top of the mountain and crashed head first onto hard concrete. How foolish of me! How vain! How naive! How could I have thought I was ?done??
So, I embarked on my second book, OUT OF CONTROL. And like creatures of habit that we all are, I went through the same idiotic pattern of thinking. Again, I thought, I was ?done.? Now, finally, I have offered everything I possibly can on the topic of parenting. This time I was convinced. The first book had nailed the connection piece, and this second book nailed the discipline piece. What else was there, for heaven?s sake?
Lo and behold, a few months after the second book hit the shelves, parents were still clamoring for more. ?We need more tools. More strategies. More examples. More know-how.?
What??? Didn?t I just write two books? Wasn?t that enough?
Once again, I was left to face my inadequacy that my contributions were negligible.
This is when I realized, ?I have to write a third book!? And I did. And now finally, after three books on parenting, I have learned the following:
- There is never a ?done? point: Just like in parenting, relationships, and self-growth – there is never an end-point. There will always be more to learn, offer, say, and do. Always something left unsaid, uncovered, untouched. To aspire to be ?done,? or ?perfect? is pedestrian, small-minded and above all, grandiose. To want to be ?done,? is a set-up, always leaving us feeling un-done at the end of it all. Now, instead of thinking in terms of ?completion,? I think in terms of ?progress.? Instead of yearning for that feeling of being ?done,? I only yearn for that feeling of ?present-moment-fullness.? This has shifted my entire way of thinking, being and relating. I no longer define my days in terms of the goals out there. Now I ask: ?Did I move an inch forward in this moment? Deeper? Longer?? and if the answer is ?yes,? then my work is ?done.?
- No one needs to change, but me: Part of the grandiose plan of every self-help author is that they will help people change. If I am absolutely honest with you – this used to be my top agenda, my shameless ulterior motive. But now, after writing three parenting books, I have finally let go of this delusion. I can honestly say, I have. Let. It. Go. It?s gone. And let me tell you, releasing this heavy-duty agenda has been the most freeing aspect of my inner work. I no longer write so that people change. I only write so that I do. I now see that to desire change in others is grandiose, narcissistic and misguided. To want others to change means that they are lacking in some way. And what this book has revealed to me is that no one is lacking in any way at all. Everyone is a manifestation of the consciousness they grew up with and therefore, to be honored for their point on the path. So now, I write to change myself. Indeed, I am a self-help author – helping herself All rest will flow from this space. The only person I seek to change is myself.
- To Desire to Change those Who are Unwilling is Delusional: I harbored many disheartening thoughts along writing this third book, such as, ?What?s the point of this? Those who really need to change will never read this book. What is the point of preaching to the choir?? In my zealous and earnest desire to reach the unconverted and hard-core traditionalists, I thought of different things: maybe I should not use the word mindful, or conscious. Perhaps I should bend my approach a little and allow for a bit of traditionalism. In short, I drove myself crazy. It was only after months of agony that it dawned on me: You Cannot Change Those Who Don?t Want It. No matter what you do. It was only when I accepted this somber reality that I let go of my agenda of trying to change the masses. As I said before, I realized that it was not about changing anyone at all; only the self.
- The Message Has to Be Authentic: When it was time to design the cover of the book, I begged my publishers to ?make my book look mainstream. Let?s be cute, traditional and non-spiritual. Otherwise no one will buy it!? I pleaded. My wise publisher replied to me, ?But your message is not cute, nor traditional nor non-spiritual. You have to represent who you are, not who you think you should be!? This should have been a no-brainer considering this entire new book is about releasing the authentic self. Yet, here I was trying to be something I was not. So deep was my fervor that everyone on this planet hear these teachings, that I was willing to become someone I was not. As I teach in my book, this – coming from lack and fear – is what creates great dysfunction and inner conflict. It is only when I let go of the need to tailor my message for the masses, that I could release myself to my highest creativity and wisdom. I now know deeply in my heart that it is from my authentic space that I will attract change. Not when I pretend to be someone I am not.
- The world is perfect the way it is, even when it isn?t: When you see so much suffering around you, it is natural that you want to relieve others of their pain. You want them to experience what you experience – your joy, your lightness, your freedom. At least, this is what I went through while drafting this book. I deeply desired that others felt what I felt in my heart: the unbound purpose, passion, spontaneity and fun. However, as I have ?grown up? a tad, I have come to see how in my doing so, I am actually negating a valuable part of life. I am negating the value of their suffering. As much as I want to help others out of suffering, it is really, only suffering itself that can lead them out of it. Therefore, each of us is exactly where we are meant to be in our consciousness. There is no ?good? or ?bad.? It just is. So instead of wishing the end of suffering, I have now learned to wish just the opposite: the active engagement of the self in the suffering.
And these lessons are the inspirations behind my new book:
To help parents:
Suffer well so that their children live with courage and noble authenticity.
To live life fully. To feel it deeply. And to allow it joyously.
To ride life?s ups with abandon and swim its downs with empowerment.
Because when parents are free, their children will fly.
Perhaps these lessons will help you in your writings, musings, livings, and lovings ?
I am not here to change the world. Just myself.
My joy comes from my suffering.
Suffering is a part of life; it is what makes us grow.
We are never ?done? with anything.
Instead of aspiring to a goal, I aspire to engage in the moment.
Stop looking to fix, cure, or heal others.
Embody the transformation within yourself.
Be assured that those who want to bask in your light will.
Those that turn away from your light, were meant to find it elsewhere.