Now that my new book is formally launched, I’m starting to promote it. I’ve just returned home after being away for four days during which I had three book-signings. I had two others the week before. These were amazing learning experiences. Here are some early examples.
What I expected: That after a few days my dominant introverted side would rebel against a tight schedule involving much extraverted speaking and intense interaction with people, combined with very little solitary down time.
What I got: A big surprise! I was energized by the speaking and loved talking with everyone! People were really nice and it was lots of fun. In fact, I got a sort of high from it, and I was extremely grateful to have friends with me three out of those five times with whom to talk about it afterwards! It’s true that initially after a couple of hours of this I got a headache, but I quickly figured out the antidote: take an extra-strength Excedrin an hour ahead of time! I think the headaches were more about eye-strain (from wearing my contacts for longer periods than usual) than mental strain. In fact, the only thing that tired me out was the stress of traveling! In the two legs of flight between the Leon, Mexico airport, the Dallas airport, and Orlando we had three gate changes, one time change, and a two-hour delay. All this with no dinner until 10 p.m. That was a real Bear!
Conclusions: I’m not as much of an introvert as I thought. In fact, my dear cousin Hugh who attended my two Atlanta signings told me he sees me as very much of an extravert! But I think this only applies when I’m in the company of generous-spirited people who like me and are truly interested in what I have to say!
What I expected: That someone might challenge my unorthodox views, especially about religion, and that my conflict-anxiety would kick in to the point that I’d lose my confidence and come off as a babbling idiot.
What I got: No one exhibited any resistance to anything I said. To the contrary, a bunch of people came up afterwards and told me how grateful they were! One woman thanked me with tears in her eyes for what I said about dysfunctional God-images. A physics professor told me she resonated powerfully with everything I said. Her very words: “You have your finger exactly on the pulse of our times!” This time I was the one in tears. Two middle-aged men thanked me for sharing my Kundalini experience. A middle-aged woman said my reference to my nine-year “Dark Night” had emboldened her to be more open about sharing her similar experience with people who might be relieved to know they’re not alone and that Dark Nights are survivable! And a friend told me that a mutual friend leaned over and whispered, “She has real courage!”
Astonished Conclusions: I’m helping, even if only a tiny bit! And I have courage!!! And all this time I’ve been afraid I was a yellow-bellied coward. When did courage sneak in and stand alongside my copious fears and self-doubt? I don’t know. I never saw it coming.
The past two weeks reinforced something I’ve known in my gut for quite a while but rarely heard about from others: no matter how damaged the soul, the rewards of committed inner work are powerful, permanent, and a blessing to all. A sincere thank-you to the kind souls who are reminding me that my struggles have not been in vain. So now I”m wondering: what benefits have your inner work brought?