Sunday, January 13, 2013

Island of Enlightenment

Gal Pal Nancy alerted me to an article posted in Jezebel on January 7, 2013, Seven Extremely Confusing Steps to the Life you Want by Tracy Moore.

The article is a good-natured jab at a piece written by Oprah's personal coach/guru, Martha Beck called "Seven Steps to Living the Life You Want," Which is, as Tracy Moore points out, maybe the dumbest self-help article ever written.

Now I'm a big fan of life maps and visioning exercises. Give me old magazines, scissors and a glue stick and I can spend HOURS making a collage of my dream life. Seriously, I've paid for weekend retreats to engage in this type of self-indulgent and dreamy shenanigans.

So, Martha Beck, I get it. My dream life is an island located in a vast sea that I'm traveling. OK, I'll play along.

Until Step Four:"Create your Islands of Enlightenment." This appears to be code for "Identify all the bad stuff you did that you wish you didn't, pretend each one is an island, make a collage representing each of the bad habits (or thoughts or relationships) as a separate island in your life sea, and then, add monsters to the collage, beating up and otherwise destroying the bad habits/thoughts/relationships."  And when you are done, " you can hoist anchor and set sail."

Wha? That's the stoopidest thing I've ever heard! All I need to do is make a collage (and I DO love collage) of collage monsters destroying my collage bad habits, and, voila! problem solved?  I have a graduate degree in Social Work, but I never heard of a class called, "Managing bulimia through scrapbook art," or "When the restraining order doesn't work: Collage as domestic violence prevention." Not to mention, the politically correct bullshit of calling ending unproductive behaviors/thoughts/relationships "enlightenment." What is it about having metaphorical monsters metaphorically attack my real life unhealthy choices that constitutes "enlightenment"?
So I couldn't even finish Martha Beck's original column in my beloved Oprah magazine. Not sure how satirist Tracy Moore got through it all, but she did. And she comes to the same conclusion I did after merely starting Beck's column online. Which is this. I thought life was about the journey, not the destination? So why am I spending all of this time trying to get to a specific destination, in this case, my dream life island?

Oh Martha, you've failed me. And Tracy Moore, you rock.

As I get back to The 5 Book: Where do you want to be in five years, I'll remember to take it all with a grain of salt.

(And thanks to gal pal Nancy for sharing the Jezebel article with me via Facebook.)

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Awesome post, Clownface! I love self help and collage, too, but this Beck piece sounded like it went one collage too far. I enjoyed reading your own assessment of Beck's essay.