Your Drug of Choice

September 24, 2012 by  
Filed under current, The Space

When you’re having one of those days, or one of those years

Do you find yourself in the self-help section of your local bookshop, searching, searching for the solution to your woes? Hoping that the book with the answers will jump out off the shelf and go – me! I’m IT! Buy me, and your life will forever be transformed!?

Or have you found yourself reading web pages that promise to fix your life, and found your finger hovering over that Buy Now button?

Or is the refrigerator your go-to drug when you’re feeling down-and-out? One more piece of chocolate pie, one more glass of wine… then I’ll feel better.

We wont even go near buying shoes, handbags, lipstick, kitchen gadgets… as drug of choice for changing your life.

I had some time to spare on Friday while I was waiting for someone, and I found myself in Dymocks in Brisbane. It’s about the only bookshop in the city centre now Borders has gone. I wasn’t after anything in particular, so I wandered aimlessly through fiction, sci-fi/fantasy, literature, and then down the back, my eyes skimming over the business section. Then I remembered I’d like to get Brené Brown’s new book. That led me, inexorably, to the self-help aisle.

My eye was drawn to two women who were standing in front of the shelves looking for all the world like deer in the headlights. Stunned. Transfixed. Unable to turn away.

I was sooooo tempted to ask one of them if they needed help, a recommendation, a shoulder to cry on.

I tried to get the attention of one. She turned my way, half-smiled, and went right back to being transfixed by the books on the shelves. Every so often she’d pluck at one, like picking at lint on your trousers. Pluck. no. Pluck. no.

And it hit me. That used to be me. I used to be the woman who couldn’t walk past a bookshop without standing hypnotised before the shelves of the self-help-new-age section. Plucking at books like clutching at straws. The staff at my local shop knew me by name :)

I had the groaning bookshelves to prove it.

As drugs go, it was expensive, but not terribly toxic. Every now and again I would find a nugget in those books that would help me. I’d read passages aloud to my dear long-suffering husband. Listen to this!

Until I realised that this, too, was an addiction of sorts. Always seeking solutions, answers, remedies. Always seeking them in books.

And I talked to other women who were seekers too. They often sought their answers in different places than the bookshop, but seek they did.

And more often than not, we left feeling as empty as we were when we arrived.

Oh, sure, there was the high of having a brand new book in its bag, tucked under our arm. We couldn’t wait to get home to dive into our brand new, transformed, life. Often, I didn’t wait. I’d dash to the nearest coffee shop and almost feverishly open the pages, expecting magic and miracles with a side of latté.

Sometimes, though, the book didn’t get opened even when I got home. Occasionally, I’d find one under a pile of stuff, still in the shopping bag. And there are many, many of the books on my shelves at home with markers still in them, not even half-way through.

The drug was always and ever in the searching, not in the consumption.

When I recognised the symptoms of addiction, I went cold-turkey. No books for a year or more. No Amazon orders of all the books we don’t get here in Australia (including Brené Brown:) The only books I was ‘allowed’ were those from the library. But the cold-turkey wasn’t enough. The searching was a symptom of a deeper malaise.

The searching was a symptom of a lack of nourishment.

My soul longed for nourishment. Deep, nurturing, soul food. It longed for passion, desire, enthusiasm, beauty, and a sense that all is right in my world. Above all, my soul longed for the real me to step forward and be heard.

I began nourishing my heart, my body, my soul – first, by listening.

I listened to the wind call my name.

I listened to my heart sing love songs.

I listened for the sound of the beloved, and the call of longing from the universe.

I listened, and I heard what the real me needed to come forth.

I listened, and I heard what fills me up, what fuels me. What puts a smile on my face and a spring in my step.

I listened, and learned that this will be a lifelong journey. And I was glad.

I listened, and I heard.

I listened, and I fed my soul what it really wanted.

Time alone. Colour. Beauty. The connection of friends. Laughter unbounded. Love unbridled. Work that fills my soul with joy every single day. My family. My sweet dog. Long walks and drinking in the bliss of this land. Writing from the heart. Soaring melodies and beats that thrill my blood. Going shopping with my sister and not buying a thing. Great food, and family gathered around the dinner table. Intense conversations that get to the heart of the matter. And reading! Yes, the joy of reading has come back too, once it was no longer about seeking…

Now, when I am tempted by another self-help book, I take a deep, deep breath and ask what it is I truly need to nourish me.

And I listen.

image: Diego De Nicola

If you’d like to delve deep into what nourishes you, uncovering your heart’s desires and soul’s needs – join us in Calm Space Salon. The doors for the Season of Desire are open for just a few more days.

About Our Serenity Space Writer

I am Káren Wallace. I believe that life is meant to be lived, lusciously! When not breathing in the beauty of the land I live on, you can find me crafting big (giant) dreams here at The Calm Space, encouraging women around the world to nourish themselves first – so they can better nourish the whole world back to health and vitality – and working with women who are ready to have the juiciest experience of themselves they’ve always envisioned at Your Luscious Life. I’d love to connect with you: on Twitter @karenwallace, and on Facebook!

P.S. Is your name on the door of Calm Space Salon? I’d love to have you there! Please take a look and join us if this sings to you. The doors will be closing soon on this season! Here’s all the details: Imagine a Space


7 Responses to “Your Drug of Choice”
  1. Chris Owen says:

    Karen I think it’s very unseemly to be watching me so intently and hanging out looking at my sagging bookshelves.
    What are you doing getting inside my head?????
    Beautifully engaging writing Ms K!
    Boy do you have me nailed!!!

    • Oh lol Chris! It wasn’t me lurking behind the pot plant in the corner ;)

      Thank you. I am so curious about the experience of filling the holes in our soul with seeking instead of what fills us.

  2. Anne Maybus says:

    I love your writing, Karen. The picture you paint is so true of many of us. Let me just cancel that CD order…

    • Chris Owen says:

      Ahh Anne! So she’s been poking round at your place as well heh?

    • Why thank you Anne! That is high praise indeed coming from writer you! And lol about the CD… You know, once upon a time I thought I was the only one who did this and so I hid it, or tried to turn it into a positive (in my head anyway), justifying the search, making excuses for the new book… turns out I’m not so unique in this ;)