books are a road map, not a therapist

To begin, I preface this with a warning that I am going to probably use the word bullshit with some frequency in this post.  Because there’s not another word quite like it.  [Also, why is it bullshit and not dogshit or monkeyshit?  Also, why is it that spell check says that bullshit is correct, but I get red squiggles under dogshit and monkeyshit?]

The latest book I read was My Choice, My Life: Realizing Your Ability to Create Balance in Life by Jay M. Greenfeld.  That’s right, the same Jay that teaches me Physical Activity: Promotion and Adherence.  That dude motivates me so much in class I figured I needed to buy his book to continue the process come December.  Looking beyond the title (which though true, I admit, is kind of cheesy, but it’s a thousand times better than the titles of a variety of self-help books noted later).  Also, it starts off with a Monopoly analogy that carries through the book–I freaking love Monopoly, so this worked well for me.  It’s packed full of tangible tips and discussion within a fact-based but easy-to-read format.  They’re also written in a similar style to how he talks, which is epic [except class is more hilarious. Books are business and such].   Since finishing it yesterday, I started on the venture to find a new book to read.

I find it ironic that as I’m forced to read non-fiction all school year, that since starting second year my book choices have gravitated from fiction to non-fiction for the most part.  I started off reading stuff like Blue Like Jazz and have a bunch of other half-finished Christian books on the go, which will likely never get finished as they sometimes have the tendency to piss me off or lose me mid-book.  This is likely in similar vein to how I dropped Exploring the Bible and Religion and Pop Culture early on in the big picture of the course.  Like, Jesus, I love You, Dude, but Your followers can be a little intense.  After abandoning True Religion for the second time [which is actually pretty good] and never finishing Crazy Love, I then moved on to Fred Engh’s Why Johnny Hates Sports — if you’re in any way responsible for a child’s involvement in sport or physical activity, it’s awesome and I definitely recommend it.

So between that, The War of Art and Bethany Hamilton’s Soul Surfer, those are basically the latest non-school related books I’ve read.

The hunt for new books often finds me on Amazon, but I may morph out to The Book Depository to see what they have to offer [hello, FREE SHIPPING].  I’m hooked on this whole “own the behaviour and change it” thing.  Because it applies to freaking everything.  it has me perusing the Health & Fitness and Self-Help sections on Amazon.

Seriously?  The bulk of Self-Help titles are bullshit.  Self-Help in itself is probably the farthest thing from bullshit.  What’s bullshit about wanting to improve yourself, better yourself, grow deeper in things?  Nothing at all.

The fact that Self Help books are so lame for the most part, though?  That’s total bullshit.

Self-Help is beyond everything with the word “diet” in the title, or with buff men on the cover.  It’s beyond anything involving weight loss and anything within a timeframe.  Change has no timeframe and no end-point.  It’s beyond a book on a single domain of health, like is commonly done with books on spirituality like The Power of Now or emotional wellbeing such as Emotional Intelligence 2.0.  No, adding 2.0 to a title doesn’t make it any cooler, I think it actually makes it lamer.  It’s beyond the notion that a book on a type of therapy can be therapy, beyond authors think a book or even a workbook that they’ve written can be your therapist.

Sorry, my blank-lined, empty-paged notebook is my therapist.  It’s good enough for me.  If I ever find the need for a real therapist, i’m sure I’d be talking to a person and not reading a book. [Actually, I think we all need therapy, but that’s sort of unattainable, and a topic for another day].

Self-Help is about empowerment.  About you changing you. If applicable, maybe it’s change using concepts and ideas written in a book.  By writing a book, the author is not automatically changing you.  The majority of the time, the author of a book writes within his or her area of expertise, and so they should.  But as a person, you are more than one dimension.  We’re beautiful and broken, and a beautiful and broken mess of physical, emotional, social and spiritual beings.  We’re surrounded by different things [environment] and we do different things [occupation].  We all have different perceptions on each of these things, and while books can help us figure out where we’re at or where our beliefs lie . . . our beliefs should not come from a book.  You changing you is so not bullshit.

It’s beyond your body, beyond your emotions, your spirituality or religion, beyond your environment and beyond your social network.  It’s the intermingling of all of the above that makes a truly effective basis for change.

A road map is fine.  But road maps still mean that you take the journey yourself, choose where you’re going, and choose which turns to take or where to deviate from the directed plan.  Books, and dare I say education are the same.  The information is given to you.  What you do with it when you close the book is up to you.

love is louder than circumstance

You make all things work together for my good.

and if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us? [. . .] our God is healer, awesome in power . . .

 

I hear ignition in the words off her tongue.  I see the light in her eyes.

This IS the girl I knew last year, but the girl has grown.  I am seeing the change, seeing the love.  And I am blessed, amazed, astounded at the work that God is doing in this girl.

She’s sixteen, and has the beautiful trusting mind and relentless love of a five-year-old.  A glowing smile, and a hug every time we see each other.  And the above are a few of the choice lyrics that overflowed from her heart tonight during worship.

Last year she came but rarely engaged.  Worship was too crazy, too overwhelming for her, and on the bigger, busier nights, she’d often choose to stay home.  This year, I can’t even piece together what changed in her, except that God is doing amazing things through music in this girl.  She runs in every single week, finds me, gives me a hug and then holds onto my shoulders, jumps up and down and says “Kerri! Are we doing worship tonight?!”  And I am so, so happy every time that I get the opportunity to say “YES!”  And then she asks me repeatedly “How long until worship?”

The character of God is changing the character of this girl.  I love that when I least expect it, He opens my eyes through her in such a way that only a big, big, BIG God can do.

I am blessed.

I am blessed by her presence, her heart, her love, her perspective.  Her perception.  Seriously, she caught me tonight, figured out I was tired, and then after worship told me I needed to go home and go to bed.

I am blessed that through some path only an amazing God has created that our paths crossed, and I’m able to be a part of her world–I do one-on-one respite support for her at our youth events on Friday nights.  It’s something I never perceived happening when I signed up to be a youth leader, but it was definitely not an accident.  And it’s an amazing learning experience, not only in working with people with disabilities, but in life.

She opens my eyes every single time.

She teaches me how to trust.  How to engage when the moment is right for not everyone, but for me . . . as she does.  She teaches me how to open myself up to others . . . not for them to see more of me, but for me to see more of them.

She reminds me time and time again that LOVE is LOUDER than circumstance.

stairs.

In the middle of campus, there’s a set of stairs sandwiched between two escalators.  It’s been a topic of discussion in more than one of my classes, and Promotion and Adherence is no exception.  We watched this video in that class too — I’d seen it before, but I love the concept.  Who DOESN’T want piano stairs?

They might make more students actually use the stairs between the escalators on campus.  I actually race people by running up the stairs and seeing if I can beat the person who got on the escalator the same time I got on the stairs.  Mostly people on campus just STAND on the escalator, too, like the people in the video above. Hello, they are meant to make you go FASTER not SLOWER.  Additionally, a girl in my class said that the only people she ever sees on the stairs are people who are in kinesiology.  We need Point of Decision prompts hanging at eye level above all the escalators and elevators on campus.

Burn calories, not electricity. Take the stairs.

Today I was on a mission for baked chips on campus.  The vending machines in the athletic centre had none, so I ran [literally] to the other building via the skywalk on the next floor up, up one of the flights of stairs between the escalators, and up to the other vending machines.  Nada.  Back to the cafeteria.  Nope.  Oh well, no chips for Kerri isn’t exactly a bad thing, right?  Ran back down the stairs to the athletic centre again.

So, who is the only person on his way up the stairs as I am going down?  Yep, it’s my Promotion and Adherence prof, Jay.  Further underscoring the kinesology-people-on-the-stairs thing.

I try to take the stairs whenever possible — when I was still seeing my old pulmonologist [yeah, I’ve decided to ‘break up’ with him], I’d always take the stairs to the seventh-floor lung clinic.  Thatgot me a look from the receptionist a time or two!  [Hey, I may have asthma, but I’m young and otherwise healthy!]

They may not look like pianos, but they’re good for you!  If you don’t already, try it this week: take the stairs.  It all adds up!

midterm madness and other such chaos

So I dropped another class today, Religion.  It means no more unfinished readings and no more complete confusion.  It also means I still have to fight my way through another six credit hours of humanities at some point in the very new future.  In the last two years, I’ve dropped three humanities classes–Religion and Pop Culture, Linguistics and now this one.  Add to that my other chronic course dropping habits including Psych Skills in Sport and Life, Anatomy, Intro to International Development studies [in first year], Scientific Principles of Fitness and Conditioning [which I’m now in next term], Developmental Psychology, Introduction to Disability Studies and Introduction to Sociology, and you’ve got a pretty wide range of dropped courses.

I know my study habits leave something to be desired, but I really am trying to keep up this year and it’s just getting more difficult with increasing readings.  I have issues with procrastination, and I’m the first to admit it.  I have a master syllabus of all my requirements for each course I’m in that I look at frequently, important things are in my Google calendar which syncs across the board, and all my notes are always with me in Evernote.  And like Religion, some things just don’t work.

I was really excited for the second term of Religion, but considering I knew literally five points on the review, and was up until 1 am writing a paper and then launched into crazy Wednesday — work, a meeting with my Issues in Sport prof, Issues in Sport, lunch, practicum, Promotion and Adherence, attempt at religion studying and dinner, and then Physical Activity and Aging until 8:30 [or 8:10 today].

I would show you my awesome scorekeeping drawings from practicum today, except for I have no idea where my phone cable is and the e-mails of the pictures apparently aren’t coming through.  They were awesome, though, and the seniors thoroughly enjoyed them and kept telling me things to add.

The coolest thing today was that I had an impromptu tweetup with Donald after Physical Activity and Aging.  We found out via Twitter he was just a building over from me at school and he came by after the presentation he was at — how cool is that?

Tomorrow: work, no class, and probably a flu shot.  So a) I don’t get really ridiculous sick and b) my doctors don’t yell at me.

12 of 12 – october ’11!

On the 12th of each month, a bunch of bloggers from around the world take 12 pictures throughout the day.  Here are my pictures for October 12th, 2011!

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8:54 am – work. Blurry gym!  I decided to take all my pictures on my iPod today, but don’t have an epic camera app.  Fortunately, this is the worst of them.  This is the entrance to the gym where I spend most of my mornings at work!

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8:56 am – bus stop. Fall is upon us. :]  I love Fall.

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10:03 am – commute. Apparently there were men working above.  Just in case they fall on you or something, then you know?  I guess.  Not sure the actual purpose of this sign.

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10:04 am – commute. HOCKEY!!!

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10:12 am – mom’s office. I’m sure the real reason the university can’t afford to give us photocopies is that they use far too much electricity.

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12:50 pm – commute. On my way to practicum from the bus.  The whole bus issue was very confusing, but Dean made things better.  Hooray for buses with names I don’t understand but take me where I know where stuff is!

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12:54 pm – senior’s apartment/practicum. Waiting for T, the recreation therapist who’s coordinating my practicum..

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1:55 pm – recreation room. The blue team totally kicked butt at Ladder Golf.  [I was on the yellow team and keeping score, I didn’t help much, evidently!]

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4:15 pm – gym. Watching Ellen while riding the bike and listening to Matthew Good.  So I have no idea what the girls in tutus singing Nicki Minaj actually sounded like.  But evidently they were good as they got to go on Ellen and meet Nicki Minaj.

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4:34 pm – gym. Workout done.  Wednesday workouts are pretty quick because they happen between afternoon and evening class and we still have to eat food so as not to starve during evening class.  Though everybody just brings delicious smelling food to class anyway.

 

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5:48 pm – school. As part of my Physical Activity and Aging class, we went to a lecture by Paul Estabrooks on motivating people to be active.  Mostly it had to do with interventions that are beyond the scope of independently motivating someone to exercise.  Oh well.

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11:05 pm – home. Printing some papers for Tara, which leads to using the Windows computer downstairs since I can’t yet figure out how to network it with my MacBook Pro.  Here’s another nice thing about having a Mac — no ridiculous “applying update one billion”.  Basically this scared me and made me think the computer was going to explode.

 

12 of 12 was created by Chad Darnell.  Check out his blog to see a list of all September 12 of 12s.  Thanks for dreaming up this awesome idea to connect people around the world, and for allowing us to infiltrate your blog space for another year!