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.

2 thoughts on “books are a road map, not a therapist

  1. I really like this post, Kerri. I wondered if you read actual physical books or read eBooks since you’re so technologically advanced – sounds like real books? *high five* I recently finished reading a book called Accidents of Nature by Harriet McBryde Johnson, which I found at a used bookstore and thought would be lame, but I actually really liked it. It’s the first book I ever read narrated by someone with a disability and it’s a fictional novel about a girl with CP who for the first time in her life is going do special needs camp. Over the course of her book she reevaluates the way she thinks about herself and about others. It’s a quick read – meant for teenagers, and I finished it pretty quickly. I wonder what you’d think about it.

    1. Sounds like a great book — once I get the other two I ordered, I’ll order it from The Book Depository, too :]. New favourite book website right there.
      Yeah, I don’t really like eBooks. On a tablet they’d probably be a lot better, but I find it really hard to read on the computer, and I’m not totally sold on the tablet thing yet [shocker, right?]

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