After quite a hiatus from blogging, with traveling overseas and reorganizing, I’m pleased to be back with more perspectives and thoughts about social cultures, mentalities and attitudes. Spending time in one of my favorite countries and cultures, Australia always seems to offer a delightful take on everyday life. “How ya going?” and “G’day, mate” may seem typical Downunder colloquialisms to us living Up-and-over, but it really is a part of the everyday greeting in their everyday mindsets. Even as a majority Christian country, the quite common conversation closing of “Bless you” is heartwarming to anyone of any religious belief or practice.
While Jeff and I were there for a family wedding, we were also fortunate enough for Jeff to be invited as a guest speaker on stress relief and coping skills for a Caregiver Support group, or Carer support as they call it. As my sister had been my mother’s carer while my mother was alive, she had become quite a fan of our Caregiver Relief Kit audio program and of course turned out to be a great spokesperson for its benefits to her Carer Support friends. Quite happily, this product had become popular locally to her, which also lead to these speaking engagements that we were both so honored to be a part.
So maybe it has to do with the general Aussie fairdinkum disposition, maybe the polarity of the region makes them respond differently, maybe they’re well-fed with 5 daily meals (the addition of morning tea and afternoon tea, both involving a required intake of cakes, biscuits and pasties!); or perhaps altogether another reason, it is refreshing to observe a very different audience interaction than what we had become accustomed to for our American caregiver support networks. With a willingness to play along with the light-hearted mental exercises and asking poignant questions relevant to their particular circumstances, it was gratifying to see an audience with a “how can I make this work for me” attitude. In this we understand that the value of what we teach lies within the value that the recipient places upon themselves, regardless of whether it is given for free, or whether for a nominal fee or even greater. What is even more gratifying to us, the provider of the information is to witness first-hand, appreciation for a new learning versus the “throw-away” mentality of those who deem a gift of service as “let me see if your information is worth anything, but first let me see how much free stuff I can really get and then I’ll decide if I even want it.” A sad and jaded state, but valuable education nonetheless, for those of us who provide transformational teaching models.
This now brings me to a related point that I have noticed in a lot of self-help information floating around. While many of the information available is highly helpful, it’s not the actual informational content that got me thinking, but rather the reader or receiver comments, now widely public, following the content is what I am most interested. Most recently something that I had read had to do with practical tips for living and 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself. Good info and much that I agree with however, cursory at best. While the content of the article dealt with 30 things not to do, it also went ahead to name what normally happens when we do them. Many identify with the scenarios following those actions. For many of us who are used to introspection and making changes and adjustments, replacing useless habits and patterns with better, more useful ones is easier done than those who internalize and say, “yes I do that and that’s exactly what happens; so how do I change it?” In this case telling us what not to do is easier said than done.
The responses following the online article were just that. Great info… it’s exactly what I needed to hear… everyone should read this… that is so true… Hardly any on, how do I do otherwise? What can I do to change this? So as in standard talk therapy, where identifying the issue and how and when it was created occupies so much of its mass, those engaged in successful change-work know that identifying and stopping do not work without replacing the old pattern with something better, more useful, more fulfilling; otherwise filling the new void with yet another unhealthy, yet rationalized pattern will happen quicker than we know.
So then, are most of us just comfortable with the knowing, but yet uncomfortable with the changing? Do we not want to do the work involved to actually create something better? Do we want to take the responsibility or do we just want to talk about it and commiserate with others on similar issues? Do we just feel better for the moment before going back comfortably into our uncomfortable patterns? Maybe it’s personal attitude, maybe it’s cultural traits, maybe it’s regional mentality, the reality is change does not always have to be uncomfortable, and if we have the right change and coping tools it can be one of the most fulfilling rides of our lives!