Articles

Articles

Recent Articles

What is Personal Development?

Maybe it’s having been sick. But when I have lots of time to daydream and drift, I tend to reflect on things in a new way.

And this time one topic that entertained me was “personal development”. It’s just a phrase, right, but it is used to cover a multitude of sins and blessings.

There are “basic life skills”, taught whilst growing up, or remedially. Like how to tie your shoe laces, disagree without violence, and cook at least one brilliant dinner. Or breathing, if that is where your capacity happens to be. And all of us will need support in many of them at the beginning and end of life, as well as at various points in the middle. They are basic in so far as they are about navigating life.

There is the whole hornets nest of “therapy”, which I know is not one thing. But everything that helps to manage or heal from complicated mental or emotional issues. In general, another navigational aid, but to navigate things some of us never have to deal with.

Then there is “enlightenment”. And by that I mean activities that make life lighter. For the sake of argument, I’m starting this range just after therapy, and ending it more or less where the lightness is something that is obviously permanent, even if only in the background. Enlightenment is the healing end of the non-therapeutic spectrum.

And then there is “expression”. Which is simply working with a guide or mentor who allows for light-touch, ongoing reflection and alignment of all of life and work. This is the evolutionary end of the same spectrum.

Somewhere in the mix we have “learning”. This is work with a specialist teacher in a field to acquire skills, concepts or experience. It might include qualification, or it might be way less formal. Learning, by its nature tends to have enlightening and expressive aspects.

And what do they all have in common?

Not one of them actually develops a person. Not one of them makes you a better you. Your value as a person is not defined by what you do.

Sure, you’ll experience wins, and we’ll celebrate them. You’ll experience losses, and we’ll mourn them.

But everything you add to a person during this lifetime will be gently discarded as it ends – the good, the bad and the ugly. All the stuff you work so hard to acquire? Gone. All the stuff spent so much to get rid of? Gone.

It might sound like I’m slating ambition or achievement, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Just if those come off the back of a desire to develop the person, that desire will never be satisfied.

The desire dissolves in falling deeply in love with the whole person, exactly 100% as she stands.

Not despite her flaws, but because of them.

Not except for her most spectacular mistakes, but because of them.

Not when she turns her wobbly (or skinny, or scarred) belly into something representing current superficial beauty standards, but now.

Not when she’s somehow reframed her deepest fears into positives, but when she still cries over them quietly at night.

Not when she’s given up the day job and launched as whatever the latest greatest type of coach is, but when she’s living her life, her way (including a job, or coaching, if that turns out to be her thing).

And then, ambition and achievement shine as expressions of who we are, not a scramble to get to something we are not.

All without an ounce of personal development.

But here’s a puffin, which is cuter.

Is it all woo woo?

What if it just wasn’t that woo? What if it wasn’t that quixotic? What if it wasn’t even that esoteric? What if some things are

Read More »

The Dark Side of Personal Development

Are you doing the spiritual equivalent of scrubbing a basketball court with a toothbrush?

In ye olden dayes, most organised awakening was through the ‘progressive’ path. That doesn’t mean modern and evolved!

Read More »

The experience of duality

Kind of a follow up to “What’s the Point of Life?”  One point was experience.  And, just like travelling, the ‘point’ of experience is to

Read More »

Love x Three

You’ve probably heard of the classic Greek agape, eros and philia? Well, this isn’t that.  Most people love with their heads, not their heart or

Read More »

Living Life Sideways 2024

The world is turning, apparently. Unless you believe it’s flat. Anyways, I’m being nudged into changing what I’m offering. All my one-off individual calls are

Read More »

I Don’t Know

A lot of the time, I just don’t know. I don’t have the answers. I do have a lot of questions. I don’t know how

Read More »

Subscribe:

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Most Recent:

Archives:

All Writings & More

articles_rect

Articles

My weekly nondual blog, with nothing off the table.

3books_shopstyle

Books

Published poetry and photo-illustrated mini bites of inspiration.

tales_rec

Telling Tales

Explorations in stories, poetic form and messages.

audio_rect

Video & Audio

Meditations, teachings, and spoken word poetry.

writing gallery

Writing Gallery

An easy glimpse into a collection of some of my writings.