This week’s Friday favourites is both short, and a day late (sorry! I’m blaming superstition: it didn’t go live because it was Friday 13th!) I have two recommendations this week, but I promise they are good ones….!
Mum, if you’re reading this, there’s no need to worry, I plan firmly on staying alive for as long as the universe allows! Matt Haig has just released a new book which has become an instant bestseller on Amazon, Notes on a Nervous Planet, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. In the meantime, I have been flicking back through his first critically-acclaimed, beautifully-written book which is an overwhelmingly honest first-hand experience of depression and anxiety. Here’s one of my favourite snippets:
Depression is also…
Smaller than you
Always, it is smaller than you, even when it feels vast. It operates within you, you do not operate within it. It may be a dark cloud passing across the sky, but – if that is the metaphor – you are the sky.
You were there before it. And the cloud can’t exist without the sky, but the sky can exist without the cloud.
Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations, the podcast: ‘Father Richard Rohr: Finding Your True Self’
On my Friday morning run, with no new audio book or podcast catching my eye, I truly felt I had ran out of content to listen to. So, I fell back on my go-to podcast: Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations. I’m generally hesitant to listen to interviews with religious leaders, as I tend not to be interested in theology, but this felt different. His advice was realistic and honest, and above all relevant to those of all faiths and none. My favourite quote:
Oprah: Define suffering?
Father Richard Rohr: Ok, I’ve got a definition. You suffer whenever you’re not in control
This was, to use Oprah’s phrase, an ‘aha moment’! It drew together so many strands of thinking I had consumed across different sources. Gabby Bernstein’s affirmation: “I forgive myself for choosing fear, today I choose love” instantly made sense to me: when you’re not in control, you are fearful, and you block love in your life. From fear comes manipulation of those around you as an attempt to get back in control. This control is not possible:
You cannot ever know for sure that your partner will not cheat, but you equally cannot manipulate the result you want.
You cannot ever know for sure that your children won’t by hit by a car when crossing the street, but you cannot metaphorically wrap them in bubble wrap and keep them from living their lives.
You cannot ever know for sure that you won’t lose your job tomorrow in a round of redundancies, but equally you cannot blackmail or threaten your employer to guarantee your position.
In situations in which we are out of control, the only thing we can ever do is set a positive intention for the outcome we want. By positive, I mean based out of love, not fear. Then, detach emotionally from the outcome, and set about building toward what we want, attracting positive energy and building toward our aim. If it doesn’t happen, then it wasn’t meant to be.
To have the strength to detach emotionally from the outcome, we must have faith. It may be in the form of God or religion, it may be a faith in the universe, or a faith in yourself. Wherever you place your faith, you must know in your heart that you will be ok, no matter what events unfold. It is a fundamental optimism which does not deny the reality of the harsh, brutal world we live in, but ultimately prevents suffering.
What have you been reading and listening to this week? Let me know!