How Barry White Changed My Porridge-Making....

If you're a raving fan of self-development literature, you might, like me, have 723 books on the subject. Alas, I have a guilty confession about my self-help library....

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I recently took a mindfulness course as part of my ongoing recovery from adrenal fatigue and burnout. I was full of inspiration and faithfully did my daily meditation practice. Well, pretty faithfully. I fell down on the exercises in the self-help book.

Does anyone do those exercises in self-help books?

Here is my shameful secret: I skip the to-do lists, the journaling, the filling in of the neat columns of how I want my life to look in five years. I don’t do the exercises in books.

There, I said it.

Instead, I keep power reading, as if the material will somehow absorb by osmosis. There’s a spoiler alert up ahead about how that has worked out for me.

The same has been true for attending courses.

Last year I went on a Wild Woman Tantric Retreat to unleash my inner Goddess.

It worked. Kinda.

My Shakti was in full, glorious blossom after the course, but I noticed it started to fade in the weeks following the retreat. I was sliding back into my old, distinctly un-goddess-like ways. Shiny things started distracting me from my home practice. I was getting sucked back into perfection, rather than nurturing my messy, creative Divine Feminine.

How would swinging my hips every morning to Barry White or Luther Vandross make me harness my inner goddess?

Oh, the rational brain is so quick to judge, isn’t it?

Doing the work – be it the exercises or the home-practices – is a way to be mindful of the changes we’re trying to integrate. That is the point.

Swiveling my backside to Barry as I stir the porridge every morning is not the game changer. It is the awareness that I’m generating while girating (that’s a mouthful) that helps me to live from my Divine Feminine.

When I do it, I’m switched on. It’s a bit of fun that breaks the monotony of the morning routine. And that makes me feel inspired, that lightness and levity.

I think it’s working.

I’ve learned that we have to grow inspiration, not “find it” by paying for a book, or attending a course. The osmosis approach doesn’t work. Not if you want real change.

As consumers seeking change, we put a lot of hope and expectation into our self-help purchases. Perhaps we need to put more gentle expectation into our own follow-through.

Inspiration is a muscle – that I know for sure.

It needs frequent training, or it atrophies.

For you, my fellow self-help exercise-skipper, I’ve found a workable solution. First, forgive yourself. You’re not alone. Second, see the bigger picture of the change you’re trying to make.

Everything we do has the potential to be an act of kindness, of healing, of growth. Our actions simply require charging with awareness and intention.

That’s what the exercises try to do – to make us aware and intentional.

But exercises don’t need to come out of a book, or from a course. How we interact with others; how we drive; how we talk to ourselves – all of these have the potential to be sacred acts of growth and loving kindness.

As for me, I’m still working on my Shakti.

In the meantime, I’m compiling some pretty cool porridge-stirring tunes on Spotify...

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Dr. Mandy Lehto

Coach, Presence Expert, Courage-Builder, Possibilitarian,

Hey gorgeous! Have we met? I'm Dr. Mandy Lehto, speaker, coach and writer who helps amazing people get out of their own way already. Nearly ten years ago, I waved adios to my senior investment banking job in London to help as many people as possible start living their un-lived lives. Nowadays, I spend a disturbing amount of time thinking about overcoming fear and the obstacles we place in our own way (we are bizarre creatures, aren't we?). If being braver, a bit more bonkers, and living on purpose is your thing too (squeal!), lets hang out here, and come for green tea over at mine on