Why is personal development not working for me?

I’ve been reading personal development ever since I could read. Ok, maybe a few years after that, but I always loved books and movies that would promise a possibility of a different life through inner change. I am still in love with the possibilities personal development opens us to if we are willing (or perhaps a better word would be eager) to look at the ways in which we can change ourselves, and thus change our lives.

I can’t tell you how many personal development programs I’ve purchased and done online. How many counselors/coaches/therapists I’ve shuffled through. How many books I’ve read and reread, really wanting to improve and up my game so that I could better serve the world (ambitious perhaps, but not delusional!). And throughout the whole journey, no matter where I’ve come to, there is the possibility that I arrive at a time and space where I find myself thinking:

Why is personal development not working for me?

I know in my last blogpost I shared that I really achieved a very pure clarity that allowed me to see everything in my life the way it truly was and not as the illusions that made me suffer. And I also said this:

These systems started to work when I applied them in a certain way.

This quote of “a certain way” comes from The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles. I realized that was what happened as I was writing about what I was doing, and thinking about how it hasn’t really been that way since that experience (as I share on this blogpost, I never seem to get things to work out for me). That certain way I guess could be described as “connecting with my soul,” as my previous blogpost was talking about, but that can be seen as airy fairy and really, what does that even mean if you don’t even believe we have a soul, or don’t know what that means?

Well recently I’ve been humbly inspired to another piece of this “certain way” business that really caught my attention. It came from listening to a couple of interviews and rereading the book of Anita Moorjani, Dying to be Me (which to me is a must read!).

Here’s the idea. Personal development is basically “promising” us that we will live a “happier” (or “more successful” or “more fulfilled”) life as a result of doing what they suggest. While a lot of this information is truly fantastic (and true, and very actionable and real), there is a big pitfall in such a promise. That is that we literally, actually, reality-ly, physically, metaphysically, nonphysically, cannot find ourselves in a space of happiness/success/fulfillment if we are looking for the answer outside of ourselves. And this is the state many people are in when they do come to personal development.

We realize that this whole time we’ve been doing things out of fear of something else, out of avoidance of something, rather than out of true desire. And when we approach personal development in this way, we are signing up for failure, every. single. time. without. fail.

Why?

Well if we accept the law of attraction, we know that you attract that which you fear. Thus, if you’re doing anything for the purpose of avoiding something, you will attract that something you’re avoiding. So if we’re looking at how to become financially successful out of a desperation to avoid being a financial failure, if that is what we are motivated by (this is what I mean by “outside of ourselves”), I personally don’t see how it could, metaphysically/physically/nonphysically speaking, ever work out and have us come out as a financial success. At best, it would be a quick fix or create the longterm struggle, produced purely through action.

If we get on the treadmill to avoid being fat, if we take the job out of fear of not paying the bills, if we marry the person out of fear of never being wanted, if we go to a party out of fear of being rejected, if we think positive to avoid negative manifestations, we will ultimately find ourselves unhappy, even if we are able to keep up with the exterior world. If we apply personal development to avoid being unhappy with ourselves or avoiding a certain situation or circumstance, I personally strongly believe that this is why a lot of personal development “isn’t working.”

Quick story to illustrate the point: I have a set of books called A Bug Free Mind by Andy Shaw. The lessons in this book were absolutely essential to creating my first miracle in relationships. It talks a lot about (ironically) why personal development doesn’t work, focusing mostly on the way our minds are working against us. The first time I read this, it was revelatory to me. My questions were answered through this book, and in that “round of realization and miracles,” it was exactly what I needed. Being in control of my mind was the foundation to creating a relationship I desired.

After my clarifying experience through cleaning my thoughts up, I left that space of pure clarity and I instantly recognized, due to past experience, that I was not in control of my mind – because I had figured this out the first time, and that had been the problem. I was thinking “Oh GOOD, I get to shortcut it this time without going through the worst experiences – let me just get my bum back to cleaning up my thoughts and controlling my mind!” Yet, I went through crappy experiences again. And that wasn’t because of the information (very seldom is it really about the information itself – I won’t say never though because there is some crap out there). It was because I was completely motivated by my fear of wrongthinking, messy thoughts, lack of structured thinking, being out of control of my mind, being controlled by my ego, and living a life I didn’t desire, that I kept reaching for these books and desperately tried applying the lessons! And guess what I got?

(Are you one of these people too?)

Another example is meditation. I see things like this all the time: meditation gives you more time because it relieves your stress and makes you more productive, and you get to connect with answers that you otherwise would spend days figuring out. What is this, the overfunctioning burnt-out workaholic’s special? Where we feed only more of the ego in the promise that we’ll make more things happen and gain more prestige and more money and more more more… (not saying there’s anything wrong with making things happen, prestige, money, or more, but chasing these things certainly doesn’t give us the experience of “having” them!)

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The opposite of this (the certain way!) is to be motivated by desire. This is the complete opposite to doing something to avoid something you don’t want. They may be the same things, for instance, getting married. But one being done out of desire to be expressing life with another vs one being done out of not wanting to feel like an old bag are completely different things!

Reading more and more personal development out of fear of the unhappy life just isn’t going to get you the happy life, as weird and meta as that sounds. Connecting with desire will. Maybe at some point I will pick up the personal development books and programs that do serve me, but it will be after I let myself come from a place of desire rather than avoidance.

Connecting with desire isn’t a difficult thing either; remembering to do so may be, just as creatures of habit, but you instinctively know the difference. A tip is just ask yourself whenever you’re aware of it: am I doing this out of the desire in my heart, or am I just trying to run away from something else?

Always let your heart decide, and get clear on what that means. Trust me, you don’t want to waste your time TRYING SO HARD to APPLY THESE DARNED PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PRINCIPLES and GOSH DARN IT WHY IS IT NOT WORKING ALREADY?? Yeah, it’s not pretty. I’ll take that emotional craziness for you and encourage you to connect inside starting now, so that you don’t have to do that emotional craziness I did.

And if you’re thinking of applying what I’m writing here out of avoiding not getting what you want in personal development..well just think of what that’s creating!

xxx,

Catt

My Honest Review: Abraham Hicks Workshop

I just attended an Abraham Hicks workshop recently and felt like I should share what it was like for me, since I always wondered and never really found any interesting reviews prior to attending!

I got a second row seat stage right!

I got a second row seat stage right!

Throughout this whole experience I felt a little anxious and nervous, mostly because I was excited and that made me have ants in my pants (I was anxious and nervous in the eager kind of way), as I had been listening to Abraham recordings on YouTube almost nonstop for an entire year! On top of that I had been reading their books for even longer.

I didn’t read and listen to Abraham because I needed to know what was going on and validate that. I had an experience in 2012 where I trained myself, thought by thought, into a state of pure clarity and all-knowing understanding, and I saw myself and the world as it truly was for a period of time. What I found from listening to Abraham Hicks after was that everything they describe and “tell us we should do” is exactly what I experienced. I didn’t achieve it through following their teachings. I achieved it through thought cleansing, removal of all obstacles and “bugs” (as Andy Shaw would say), and my vision transformed into a state of pure knowing for about a month’s time. The closest I’ve felt the experience I had being described was in Anita Moorjani’s beautiful book, Dying to be Me where she describes her near death experience and what she saw from that perspective. I also found Anita’s book two years after my experience.

AHP Workshop timer

The workshop timer

Going to the workshop was something I had wanted to do for a long time because I had a couple of questions. I was really eager to ask some of my questions.

I arrived and found a great spot next to a few nice people. One thing I felt throughout the workshop was a level of trust I don’t usually have. I trusted leaving my bag on my spot, I trusted everyone would be kind, I trusted everything would work out really well. It felt like there was an understanding that we were all in there as positive, support for each other. And I experienced that in the first moments where I didn’t have the right change for a product I wanted to purchase. The lady next to me gave me the change I was missing – and said “that’s for you!” I was so happy and touched it was like one of those good help-people-out experiences (which in general life I tend to not have). I felt like this place was really cool, everyone at least tried to know and act on what was positive and helpful.

However as this feeling prolonged and grew and the more it stretched out, the stranger it felt. The workshop itself was pretty much as you hear online – Esther introduced herself, she connected to Abraham and began speaking Abraham’s message. They always kind of have a “talk point” – the grid, high-flying disc, upstream or downstream, let go of the oars, path of least resistance, unconditional love, the vortex – the talk points of the workshops lately have been path of least resistance and unconditional love. It was cool to see it happening live and that feeling of “You can’t be sure what’s coming next,” although if you’ve been listening to Abraham for a long time, they kind of give the same message in different ways. Then they get someone in the “hot seat” and answer their questions, have segments of refreshment every hour of talking, then call on more people and do the same. That’s pretty much how the workshop goes, and that was what happened.

In regard to the uncomfortable feeling I was talking about, first of all, it seemed like everyone there had some dramatic story they overcame – as Abraham would say, “dig yourself a hole to climb into and everyone will clap when I climb out.” Left and right hearing people interact with each other, all I heard was “yeah I was having such a difficult time and then this and that happened to me and I found Abraham/angel cards/I got into my vortex and everything’s been like yeah, SO AWESOME. SO GLAD TO BE HERE. ALL IS WELL.” And “well two years ago I had this spiritual experience where these spiritual beings talked to me.” And “I had the worst time for a long time then, I realized it’s all my resistance I just gotta get into my vortex and now everything in my life is so awesome it’s just so so good. My life is so good. So good. I’m SO in the vortex all the time now, THANKS TO ABRAHAM.” – just things of this nature everywhere. I felt uncomfortable because I knew I had a broader perspective experience, but honestly, I would never share it like that. I share it lightly/generally here to contextualize, and I share it to people who seek answers. I never once during that workshop ever shared my experience, and the sharing of these things made it really strange, almost like an attempt to self-validate.

The other thing I noticed was that while Abraham was talking, people all around would be like “MMM.” “Yes.” “Yeah.” But mostly, “Mmm.” Over and over again while Abraham was talking. And it was from this  that I realized what felt so wrong about the workshop: This is what happened when I attended Christian retreats. The pastor would be talking (and I’m not Christian at all), and I’m interested to hear what he has to say, and then it needs to be interrupted by these little sounds all around me going “Mmm.” It was the singly most frustrating and annoying thing for me about attending Christian retreats. It’s as if people need to say Mmm to validate themselves and their own “beliefs” about what they “believe” in (and if you’ve studied a bug free mind, you’ll know how useless/damaging “believing” something is). The other similarity I heard during the workshop was that people would end their interactions with one another with “All is well.” It was the exact same energy as how people in the church ended sentences with “Jesus loves you.” I found these things ironic because a lot of “New Age/New Thought” community individuals condemn organized religions, especially Christianity. True, the new thought community has completely opposite premises, but I found that the energy of group, the energy of inclusive vs exclusive, the energy of us vs them, was exactly the same.

About the workshop, I never got to ask  my questions, and I was disappointed by a couple of people they did choose. I know that I would have felt the same way with what I’ve written above regardless of whether I got chosen or not. I still found the insights Abraham sharing to be wonderful messages, but the way people received them felt uncomfortable and unsettling. As an addendum, Abraham always says your question will be answered whether or not you get called up, well mine weren’t.

At the end of the day, I think what I understood from the workshop was this one really strange idea I did not consider prior to attending. When this guy asked if he could drink poison and have his body convert it to protein if he were in full alignment, Abraham asked him in the state of pure alignment, do you think you would feel inspired to drink poison? And everyone laughed, saying no. I realized by the end of the workshop that in the state of pure alignment, I personally would not be inspired to sign up and attend a workshop. I still love and listen to/read Abraham Hicks, but attending a workshop kind of felt like an older tooth-fairy experience for me. At the end of the day, words don’t teach, only experience does. It’s down to you, and I’m sure Abraham wouldn’t hesitate to endorse that one.

I’m grateful to have the opportunity to attend a workshop in person, and I trust that sharing my experience can help out and give some insight to some people who consider attending Abraham Hicks workshops!

xxx,

Catt