Monday, April 8, 2013

On Change

I wanted to remind my readers if they had any New Years Resolutions this year.  Since one season has passed, perhaps, if you had any resolutions, it's a good time to visit them now.  Remember, back in Jan. I made some resolutions.  Here's what they were.

Here's the grades I give myself.

1) I'd like to be better at emotional mastery.  B+  (Better than expected.  Lifelong practice.)
2) I'd like to become a better cook. C+ (Could use a lot more improvement.)
3) I'd to become a better writer.  B+ (Haven't done enough practice, but after this month I might get better.)
4) I'd like to be a better fighter.  A+ (Made lots of improvements.)
5) I'd like to b a kinder person.  A- (Definitely noticed a change in my heart towards the poor.)
6) I'd like to go at least 2  and at most 3 destinations that expand my knowledge of this world.  F (I went to Santa Barbara, and I haven't made any plans to go elsewhere.) 
7) And linked back to 6, I'd like to go on another treasure hunt!  This time, I'm looking for ultimate stories and recipes  N/A (I don't need this to be done right now.)

In general, I feel like I'm a different person than I was when I landed in my purgatorial world.  So, that's good.  I definitely have had a shift in who I am, the skills I've been learning, and the person I've been becoming.  

I'm also proud to say that I've been doing a lot more pleasure reading, a pastime that I shamefully made no time for during law school.

Anyone who likes reading and is interested in the topic of change have to read the following books and letter:

1.  The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.  I like this book because Duhigg really provides a map of how people change.  He provides compelling and powerful illustrations of people who were thought hopeless that learned to become a new person.  For instance, how the child of heroine addicts learns to struggle through a series of hopeless jobs to make it as a Starbucks manager.  I think the cherries and sprinkles on this book is the tons and tons of research Duhigg compiled and how he managed to present it for the lay person.

2.  The Brain that Changes Itself by Norm Doidge.  This book is impressive because it takes its readers through the neural view of how the brain actually changes.  Did you know that experts on any subject draw on long term memory while non-experts do not?  It explains how sadomasochism is a neurally learned behavior and also how it can be unwired in the brain.  Again, like Duhigg's book, Doidge does a tremendous amount of research to explain and show that change is possible.

3.  The Solo Partner by Phil Deluca.  This book is not very well known and has had few readers.  Here's why: the main thesis states that one person can fix a dying marriage.  Yes, one person alone.  Not two.  Just one.  He does make a caveat that the book is not for marriages where the husband is physically abusive.  But other than that, Deluca draws on his history of practical experience and what he's seen is necessary to save a marriage.  Why would a single person be interested in a book about one person saving a marriage?  Believe it or not, the insights in this book has been helpful in me restoring my relationship with my father, mother, and brother.  Here's one key factor one needs to use this strategy: perserverance.

4.  How to Help People Change by Jay Adams.  This is perhaps the most practical book I've ever seen on counseling people to change.  The paradigm of this book is controversial at the very least.  Adams doesn't believe that people are born with mental disease.  Instead, he believes (as the first two books touch on) that mental disease is often a product of abuse by others and thoughts, patterns, and behaviors of the one thought to have such a disease.  Doidge's book would support this premise as he does show that people's thoughts, behaviors and actions actually can rewire the brain to become ill.  In any instance, if thoughts, behaviors, and patterns are responsible for illness, this book advocates that for people to change - their root values, thoughts, and behaviors first need to change and over time, so does their lives.

5.  2 Corinthians.  One of my favorite verses in the epistle states that " . . . he is a new creation.  The old has gone the new has come."  I originally wanted to put the Bible as a book here, but I admit, there are 66 books and that's not specific enough.  So, I chose the second epistle the Apostle wrote to the church in Corinth.  The overarching theme of the letter is that for people to change - that the old must go, but a new value, a new pattern must displace and root itself in a person.  

I grew up with a mother who was influenced by Korean Shamanism and Buddhism.  I came into a Christian faith in high school.  Therefore, I probably grew up understanding the fusion of these worldviews.  One of the primary differences between the Eastern religions and the "Western" Christian religion is that the prior emphasizes emptying of self.  The Christian one stresses the emptying of self, but then adds that there needs to be an addition or a filling to take the place of what has been emptied.  In essence, the self must be displaced instead of emptied. 

And with that interesting thought, I hope my reading list and thoughts on change also provoke you to think about the topic.

PS: I'll try to post more regularly.  

1 comment:

  1. More than self being emptied, it must die! Paul said this: "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live......" Living in Christ is where we change from getting our identity from our 'fleshly actions' to living in His power with a mind-set that is being transformed, day by day.