I’m sure you’ve heard this saying before. I know I have, and I’ve said it myself, many times.
No matter how many times we hear it, know it and pretend we believe it, we still search and seek for the next thing. The next thing that will bring about inspiration, wisdom, fulfilment, health, wellness, success, everlasting happiness….you name it, we look for it.
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, in fact it’s a great thing. We need to seek and learn, that’s what this life is all about. I’m a lifelong student myself and love learning as much as I did when I was a little girl. The reality is there are many teachers, speakers, writers, artists and others sharing their knowledge and wisdom, but when it gets right down to it, they are all saying the same thing, just in a different package or format, it’s simply that we all resonate with different people. You may listen to six people share the same content, read ten books and attend several seminars and on the twentieth one you will have a lightbulb moment, sit bolt upright and say with amazement, wow that’s incredible, I never knew that, I’ve never heard that before!
As I mentioned, I am a lifelong learner. While I left high school at the tender age of 15, because I thought I knew it all – ha, I have studied formally and informally my entire life. I’ve attended countless courses, and workshops, online and in real life. I’ve gained qualifications, certificates, letters I can use after my name and pretty pieces of paper, but my real learning has come from life. From pain, experience, joy, stepping out of my comfort zone and being vulnerable. My hard earned wisdom (I feel I have earned the right to call it that) has come from mistakes (though I don’t believe in such things really, it’s just a good word to sum up the concept) adventures, triumphs and many lessons that can only be experienced by being present, open to all possibilities, welcoming all that comes my way and being ready to step up and take it on the chin.
I had a realisation a few years back and promised myself ‘no more courses’, after a rather expensive transpersonal coaching course. It was nice, I met lovely people but I realised it was stuff I’d already learned. The next time I promised myself was after an incredibly pricey residential at Mt Eliza Business School, where I did a Mindful Leadership Program. Again, it was nice, pleasant but essentially all of the stuff I’d learned previously. The lecturer said to me on day one that she was concerned I wouldn’t really gain much value out of the course, after we did our introductions and discussed experiences, but I enjoyed it for what it was. I promised myself then that I would do no more courses of this type. Of course me, being me, didn’t listen to that voice and I’ve since done a few more things, but I have enjoyed them all. We should never stop learning, in fact two of my greatest teachers are my grandchildren.
Last night I had a similar experience in terms of expectations vs reality. I attended Danielle LaPorte’s talk at the Sydney Convention Centre. This was quite an expensive exercise, given that I live in Adelaide and a big feat for me to pull off as I have a heavy workload this month. I arranged to meet some friends and arrived super early with great excitement and high expectations. After a long wait, Danielle finally arrived on the stage to thunderous applause from approximately 1700 mostly female excited fans.
I wanted to love this talk so much. I wanted to have my mind blown, my heart opened and my motivation fuelled. I wanted to be truth bombed, I wanted to be inspired. I’m really sorry to say this didn’t happen, well for me anyway. My feeling (please note this is my experience and I know there were many people present who would disagree strongly with me) was that her talk was unplanned and too loose for want of a better word. I didn’t expect a script, but I did expect some juicy content. There was no real theme to the talk, apart from the need for self-compassion which I agree wholeheartedly with. It felt to me and some others who were with me, that she got up onto the stage and just talked about what came into her head at that moment. Now that could have been the case, or on the other hand, to give her credit, perhaps that’s her style, and if so it was effortlessly pulled off. She is certainly an easy to listen to speaker, with a good sense of humour and a very natural style of delivery.
After about 30 minutes of speaking, Danielle threw it over to the audience for questions, or rather topics for her to speak to. The audience were eager to hear her thoughts on many aspects of life, and the women sitting either side of us were all sitting in what appeared to me to be total awe, jaws almost dropping to the floor with the wisdom that they felt was being shared on the stage.
As for me, it’s hard to speak without sounding judgemental or negative and that certainly isn’t the intention of this post. This post is for me, about the insight I gained into my own learnings and growth over the last decades. So first let me share the things I did enjoy about the night.
- The message of the need for self-compassion, this is something that is sorely lacking, especially for women and an important message for us all to hear.
- The observation that in the name of being spiritual, we have become excessively tolerant.
- Self-love is not always a popular thing to do and may look unloving to other people.
- Self-love means befriending pain and weakness and showing up even when we are weak.
As for what I didn’t love so much – the main thing for me was a feeling of lack of content, a massive lack of content to be honest. It felt unplanned, lazy and lacking in meat on the bones. I felt throwing it to the audience was not appropriate so soon into the presentation and to be honest, the responses she gave didn’t really hit the mark to the points raised. Don’t get me started on the length of time she was on stage. I have to admit to being disappointed in the whole event.
I’m always interested in hearing other perspectives and learning from teachers, I have more books than I can probably ever read in my lifetime, but I continue to buy at the same rate, as if all of the books might not be available tomorrow should I stop. I will continue to attend lectures, workshops and webinars, because I believe that everyone can teach us something.
I’ve been saying for a long time and I’m sure I’ve written it before that I’m really hanging out for someone to blow my mind. I want to go somewhere and lose myself in the incredulous nature of the wisdom and stories shared. I want to be amazed, overwhelmed and stunned. It’s been a long time coming and I still live in hope for that day.
In saying that, I don’t feel we give ourselves enough credit for the inherent wisdom we are born with and the wisdom that life and its wondrous lessons gives us. I believe that we are all sages, seers and teachers and we need to sit, be still and listen to one another more.
And maybe, just maybe, it’s time for me to blow my own mind.