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October 14, 2015

3 Tidbits of Advice that Lighten us Up & Set us Free.

Jerry old pics 2-2 (1)

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Advice is a dime a dozen, and most of it is not worth that.

But every once in a while you get a juicy tidbit that really does seem to lighten you up or set you free. I’d like to share three of those gems with you. The first from my therapist, the second from my girlfriend, and the third, well, we’ll see.

I’ve only talked to my therapist on the phone, never in person. But with some extended breaks I’ve been talking with her many Mondays at 11:00 am.

At one point she suggested I read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. I tried, I really did, but what that book taught me was to forgive my therapist for suggesting it. If you liked the book, great. It wasn’t my cup of tea.

But about two months ago, as I was experiencing a difficult break-up, my therapist suggested that I put a picture of myself as a young boy where I would see it often. She went on to suggest that when I look at it I ponder how innocent and gentle I was and still am.

When we are little, we are only innocent, totally lovable and loving. But things happen—loss of a parent, a bad break-up, misunderstandings. As an adult we are likely to be more defensive and less open. But that isn’t really us.

Under that hard candy shell we are still innocent. In fact, it is innocence that drives us to love more, connect more, open more. Looking at that picture of myself at a more obviously innocent time reminds me that I am still innocent. I still want to love and be loved, I strive for a world that works for all of us.

That reminder warms my heart, and opens me when I want to close and comforts me into feeling again—more than ever before. You were strong, brave and endlessly optimistic before you got hurt and tossed around. Opening again as an adult returns you to the power of youth with the wisdom of your years—outrageous, present and loving at any age.

Offering your adult self the company of your innocent self, the “I can do anything, be anything, climb anything” philosophy offers you the fountain of youth and a new lease on life, while turning over a new leaf. I dare you to look into the eyes of a baby, or of the photo of yourself at a young age: there you will discover that you are still innocent, still on fire, still open. There you will find power, energy and the magic that turns you on fully.

Post that picture, it will give you the best of company: the inspiration of you.

While my therapist has offered many great suggestions, like learning to embrace moderation and being easier on myself, putting that picture up really made a positive difference. The picture is still on the kitchen table, my younger self makes great company for me now.

Advice from my girlfriend:

Antero Alli, an obscure author, wrote, “communication is only possible between equals.” Taking that to heart, I consider the people around me equally brilliant. So the other day when my girlfriend said “you can’t really change anything outside yourself,” my ears perked up.

I thought of times I have tried to change my adult kids. Those weren’t the good times. Better times were when I loved them unconditionally—trusting who they dated, how they spent their time and their life decisions.

I have a checkered history of trying to improve the lives of my romantic partners. But looking back, relationships, romance and intimacy really flourished when I loved them just the way they were. The more I tried to change them, the dicier relationship became and the more immanent was a break up.

It sure seems to work better when I keep my nose in my own business, being present and available to people I love and care about and attempting to live the best life I possibly can.

Third piece of advice:

The third piece of advice started out as a quote from a book called Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment: “Virtually anything you ever wanted from enlightenment can be gotten by growing up.”

I read that quote over and over.

It returned my focus from lofty, esoteric consideration of enlightenment to the everyday events, like fixing breakfast or showering: how I could find much greater presence in those simple things. And how, when one of my kids didn’t do homework or had a dirty room I could meet them with love, empathy and compassion instead of the immature response of getting angry or upset.

Perhaps growing up right where we are really does make a profound contribution to our lives. It certainly has to mine.

While the quote knocked me out, it didn’t take on the personal nature of advice until I received an anonymous email responding to my invitation for people to proof read my new book.

The e-mail was brilliant and I quickly sent out sample chapters. They came back with the most astute edits I have ever seen. It wasn’t until several emails later that the anonymous emailer revealed himself to be Jed McKenna, the recluse writer of my favorite books on enlightenment.

Googling Jed reveals that nobody really knows who he is. Lots of people speculate. But this wily character remains a mystery.

Well, almost a mystery.

Here is what Jed said in an early email to me, before he revealed who he was: “You have been a significant part of my learning experience in this world. Best wishes on your new book. As I read the forgoing over, I marvel at how wonderful my life is. Thank you for your (unwitting) part in it.”

It turns out that my work had served as advice to him as his was to me. It’s such a treat when two like minded authors or people meet and recognize each other.

If you have great advice to share I promise to read every comment you make to this blog. Who knows, maybe we will end up making this world a better place by sharing what matters to us.

 

Relephant Read:

Buddhist Advice on How to deal with Difficult Emotions

 

Author: Jerry Stocking

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photos: Author’s Own

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Bonus:

This is all Buddhists want:

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Rae Jan 10, 2016 2:36am

Thank you so much for that inspiring teaching, I never really write to online writers but this was just so uplifting I needed to say thank you. I am battling a trust trouble with a new beau, it is 4am and he went out with friends mentioning he may be hung over tomorrow, last time we text was at 2pm today I was at work. He says he is extremely monogamous when in a relationship (with me) he is years older than I, I feel a bit forgotten in a way (based on past cheating and abandonment troubles) . If you hope to help me understand and work through it please email me so I may explain in more detail.

A Jan 9, 2016 2:00pm

One of the best bits of advice I recieved is this: the things that drive us crazy about the people we love are often directly related to the reasons we love them. For example, if we have a significant other who often forgets to load the dishwasher, this may be related to a carefree/laid back nature that attracts us to them. Or, if they don’t take offense when someone wrongs them and we become frustrated by this, we can remember that because of that general proclivity, they are also very patient with us. This has helped me greatly in learning to accept the flaws of others, as well as myself. 🙂

Mary Dec 16, 2015 10:36pm

Thank you for sharing that last tidbit Jerry. We all have something to learn from and share with each other. If only more people approached the world in that mindset, I believe there would be greater peace. For now, I keep sharing and learning from those I meet in the name of love.

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Jerry Stocking is a modern day Thoreau who left the fast paced world as a stock broker and moved to the woods. He now spends his time helping others, and himself, express their zest for life.

He lives his life with heart wide open on a 33 acre blueberry farm with two ponds and a peaceful pace. Often writing at 3 a.m., there are no social conventions here, just the pursuit of possibilities and unconditional love.

To find out more, take a peek at this “Getting the Joke.”, or read Jerry’s free e-book download his free e-book., visit his website
for some inspiration…