In 2022, I read 98 books. “Wow,” you may have just said. “I wish I could read that much!” You shouldn’t be wowed. Reading that much isn’t commendable—it’s an addiction.
I turn to books, not Netflix. Don’t ask me if I’ve watched your favorite show because I likely haven’t even heard of it. And that’s fine. Choosing to consume books versus choosing to consume TV doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. It’s all consumption. None of it is creation.
Choosing to spend our time consuming versus creating is a concept I became aware of from my business coach, Kim Kleeman of Accelerate Successfully. It’s powerful when you really stop to think about how you spend your time.
Sometimes we need to fill our bucket, sure. But sometimes we’re creating an addiction or, at the very least, a crutch. I listen to audio books at 1.5x speed. I have them in my ear every moment I’m cleaning, walking my dog, doing all the rote tasks life requires. It has gotten out of hand. Taking a bath? Time to grab a book. Waiting for an appointment? I have to have a book with me.
What have I not been doing? Contemplating. Something I used to do often. Something much of our society no longer values. But quiet contemplation is the only thing that allows our inner voice—our soul, our guides—to come through.
There’s a big writing project looming. I can feel it hovering just outside my energy field. I’ve been saying I’ll wait until inspiration taps me on the shoulder, strikes me like lightning, wakes me from dreaming, but all the while, I’m not allowing the pauses for anything to get through. I’ve been filling all the moments with the words of others.
I love seeking counsel. Shamans, energy healers, astrologers, psychics, I meet with all the alternative experts, and they all say the same thing: Do the work to figure out your work.
- What is the mission of your soul?
- What is the talk your soul wants to give?
- You are here to be a spiritual leader. Find your work, dammit.
This week, I had an energy work session, and I was told repeatedly, in no uncertain terms, that I have been ignoring the signs. That my guides had been tapping me on the shoulder, and I’m too distracted to pay attention.
And it all makes me mental, literally, because I’m trying to think my way through it, to analyze it. I read more books on self-discovery, pop in another Eckhart Tolle on The Power of Now, constantly fill the now with new information, never pausing to be present.
Last night, I took a different kind of bath. I dimmed the overhead lights low. I lit candles and sunk into the tub. No cellphone in the room. No book. And with no book, my hands were free to rest under the water, rather than carefully staying dry to hold the paperback. No epiphanies occurred. I can’t schedule them, and of course I know that, but it was the most relaxing bath I’ve had in forever, and it set me up for a good night of sleep.
Today, I will clean my house with nothing more than soft music playing in the background. I’ll use the talk to text function on my phone to capture wisps of inspiration in notes as they arrive, and I’ll do this every day. This is the practice now. This is the work to access the work.
I’m not going to stop reading, but I will consume the books, they will not consume me. Reading will have dedicated times. I need to walk in nature with nothing in my ears. An energy worker told me to listen to the wind. A shaman told me to listen to the rain. Listen to nature, listen to the world. It’s always talking. What are we not hearing?
Very interesting. I would love to have a chat with you about this some day.
I may have an insight, or not.
Thanks for your honest words, Tami. They hit me in the gut: I’ve read about two books for pleasure in the past year—and I miss them. But, when my exhausted brain switches off at night, I watch PBS shows. When I do chores, I listen to NPR podcasts. It’s all great, but it’s also stimulating, not allowing for rest or listening to my inner, quiet, sometimes creative voice. I suspect all the visual/audio distraction are a way of avoiding my own fears of not being a good-enough writer, of not knowing how to “fix” my novel. Of not listening to my soul.
Well we’re in good company my friend :). We can all nudge one another.
Really really interesting! I was jealous of your reading, but I’m glad you’re doing the work! Me too!