Wishin’ I didn’t know now, What I didn’t know then…

Man, I used to LOVE Self Help Stuff! I really truly truly did! The insights, the wisdom, the stories and the steps to assist one in their own development. I just loved it, any way I could get it. Books, videos, seminars, personal life coaching sessions, it was all wonderful to me.

And then, it wasn’t, so much, anymore.

Somewhere along the way, my own enthusiasm seemed to drain. The vigor of this personal pursuit, faded. The peaked interest and the special tingles, I used to get from ‘resonating with an idea’, lost some sparkle to me.

In fact, to be truthful. I have begun… to resent it.

Yup, that’s right. The same person who used to be so excited and spellbound, by a Wayne Dyer PBS Program, or another book about personal success and happiness, or even, I hate to say it, a new free audio program on ‘Welcoming Every Circumstance’, by one of my heroes Steve Chandler, will now change the channel, or pass on the freebie.

After a few years of gorging myself on all this information, I have gotten kinda sick of it. In fact, there are a few things I think are important enough about this ‘shift’, that I will type it out here.

After a few years of Self Help Stuff, my life is radically different, than when I started it. Really, truly, different. Sometimes the scope of this difference gets me down. Sometimes, I resent the new changes, and have longing loving memories of the old ways of being. I want to be like Bob Seger and ‘Wish I didn’t know now, What I didn’t know then.’

After a few years of Self Help Stuff, I see things so differently. I cannot hear conversations the same. I cannot see them as I did before. Sometimes it is good. Many times it is not. Not everyone has downloaded all this same information as me. I find it almost like learning some secret stuff, that I wish I could unlearn. Like, that almost always, when we are talking about someone else, we are really speaking opinions and judgements we have against ourselves. ‘If ya spot it, ya got it.’ So if we are saying uplifting and complimentary things about others, we must have a healthy confidence in ourselves. If we are talking down about others, and pointing out their faults, then we probably have a similar inner narrative.

I want to un-notice this stuff in my day-to-day life. Because truthfully, as much as I have learned and understood, I do not practice it well at all. Nope. I am not one of these divinely anointed guru’s who seem to float around on clouds, and always have the perfect attitude and warm sunny response to the whole of life entire. Not at all. Honestly, the fact that I could be using these teachings and philosophies more to my own advantage, than I am, leaves me in a trap of double self judgement…

Okay, I know, I choose to be in self judgement, just like I choose everything in my experience… I know….

But I don’t. I actually find myself stuck, more often than I would like to, if all this stuff is so easy to understand and implement in my own life…

And there is the rub. Guess what… Life isn’t easy. Darn.

Suuuuure, I can get you a copy of a book or online video saying I am wrong in this too.

I do seem point my awareness at the gap, between where I am, and where I would like to be. In the self-help world, that may have to do with success and business and yes, material things. It also has to do with inner-peace, and letting go, and release of these worries of the world. In the practice of these ideas, I find my contempt pointed at my own failure to master them. Ignorance, it seems, would be more blissful…

And then there is the deeper influence that self-help has had on my being, my higher-self, even my eternal soul. See, I think that God has used this self-help stuff, to interest me and spark a curiosity, that would have been too scary or uncomfortable for me, waaay back in my twenties. I wouldn’t have wanted to dive into the Bible back then. However, after a few years of getting ‘spiritual’, I did feel called to express and discover more. I wanted to return to some of my religious roots. Through self-help, and new-age spirituality, I found Jesus.

NOW! Here is another hard part. A life shaped around WWJWM2D, is tougher than I ever imagined it could be. What would Jesus want me 2 do? How can I keep my eyes on Christ, instead of on the temptations of the world? In this moment, do I do what feeeels right, and my body wants, or do I temper my desires, and exercise my spiritual will? Can I win the battle and let anger, resentment, pride, envy, jealousy, lust, and greed find somewhere else to live, but within me?

I can’t win the battle. I don’t win the battle. I lose it. I lose my mind, my body, my demeanor, my sanity. I lose all that stuff, almost all the time. So there. That is why I don’t like self-help stuff (as much), anymore. I now see, how much I fail. I feel so far from where I want to be. I loooong to live in close proximity to the perfectness of God, and I ain’t even in the same galaxy…

So instead, I grumble and whine. I resent and pout. I am a baby, sitting in my dirty diaper, with an unwillingness for a change. I could even write a blog about it, tonight, and cry some more, while I choose to sit in my own poooop.

Truth is, many times that I was high on a life of self-help secrets, it was a fantasy world imagined in the years ahead. Just as I could begin this stuff, everything, and I mean, everything, would come together. Quickly, with a rush of the golden assistance of the Universe! Ha!

So impatient. So unappreciative. So blinded. So right and so wrong.

So many things are wonderful in my world, right now. I sit here and speak and write, I express my artistic side. I actually engage in an artistic endeavor every week. A deeply personal one, something I would have been too scared to do, years ago.

My beautiful bride slumbers softly in the bedroom tonight. I am so blessed by her presence in my world. I am in awe of the gift she is to me. A love so contorted in it’s arrival, that it had to be sewn by the almighty. No man could make this happen. Not me, for sure.

Working at the Brand’N Iron Bar and Grill, is a dream, that’s come true. I cannot think of something more perfect, and more exciting and more important for me to be putting my energy into, than our little spot on the side of Hwy 59, serving the local community. Doing it with reckless amateur abandon, intent on making people enjoy their experience. Creating comfort-food, serving, not selling, giving and working too hard, for laughably tiny pay. It just feels right, in so many ways. Deeply connecting, even spiritual ways.

And I laugh in this moment. For every thing I mentioned here, I live the flip-side too. I even carry a head-ful of the negatives, in unison with the positives. The balancing act can exhaust. I do love this blogging thing, yet I am anxious about it. I stay up waay too late with it, I am wasting my time, selfishly. I of course, love my wife. Marriage is hard though! I am no picnic to live with. I will fight, and say ugly things. I upset myself with my reactions. Compromise is not my forte. I love the Iron, yet I struggle with it too. Again, compromise, management, customer-service and looong hours, it is not always peachy, I have days and nights where I am not happy.

So. I must be careful, what I wish for. I get almost everything I want. I am blessed, beyond imagination. I am blessed however with every facet and side of my wishes. Not just the fun, good-time parts. I get it all. If I am to live into this life, as a Christian, as someone awake to their conciousness, and pushing their own limits, there is a price to pay. It doesn’t pierce the surface and release all the pressure to pray to God, or use self-coaching techniques. Nope. Feeling the struggle, being squeezed tightly, yet surviving, is building something. A stronger, deeper, foundation is under construction. It isn’t about being the tallest and prettiest. It is about withstanding the relentless tidal waves.

I usually fear that I am breaking under the stress. I fear that I am ready to wash my troubles down with a delicious glass of red. I fear, that I won’t have the balls, to keep myself on track. And therefore, my fear, reminds me that I don’t like self-help stuff anymore. It reminds me, that the help is going to have to come, from myself.

I sometimes think that is very true. It is up to me, although impossible. None of the blessings of my life, including sobriety, had much to do with my strength, it is his. When I forget that, I hurt, I stress out, I resent the smiles and 7 steps to happiness. I’ve lost the belief that it is possible…

And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.”  Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said,
“I do believe; help my unbelief.” 
Mark 9:23-24


Aaron Nichols



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