Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson
I only happened to stumble across this little nugget of self-help knowledge after signing up for a book club, and at first, I was almost certain that I wouldn't like it. But I'd already signed up, and there was no backing out now.
For the first few weeks of the book club, I found myself sluggishly working through the assigned chapters, making notes to discuss in group.
Really I found it a chore, and would typically leave it to the last possible moment. And for someone who loves books, this wasn't what I expected for my first book club.
The author, Rick Carson, states that "Gremlin-Taming is a method for meeting the inner challenge that is inherent in every activity from climbing Mount Everest to getting a good night's sleep..."
To be honest, when reading the book, my goal wasn't to climb Mount Everest, or get a good night's sleep, it was to find and practice the tools to "tame the gremlin in my head and be on my way to freedom from self-defeating behaviours and beliefs", which he also claims.
In simpler terms, I wanted to get a hold on the little voice in my head that's always telling me I'm not good enough, and tell it to fuck right off. I was hoping that Rick and his book could help me do that.
As the weeks pressed on, I started to become more engaged with the book and grasp more of an understanding of the gremlin taming process. I also hate calling it gremlin taming but that seems like the most appropriate word for it right now so that's what I'm going to call it.
What I loved most about the book was the concept of simply noticing.
The idea that we are not required to put in any effort, or to open up our coping strategy filing cabinets for various coping skills to deal with specific situations that end with us getting more fucking stressed..
No, we just have to simply notice and that is all. And I love that. The simplicity of it.
When the author refers to simply noticing, I see this as a form of practicing mindfulness.
Another thing I love that Rick talks about. Have you ever thought about having all of your ducks in a row? And all of the wonderful fabulous things you'll do when you have all your ducks lined up? Oh, how perfect and beautiful life will be when that happens.
The author brings us right back down to earth and gives us a nice reminder in chapter 3 that this is never going to happen. I appreciate this reminder. And I will say it here again.
You will never have all of your ducks in a row. So let's move on .
I think most people expect to finish a self-help book with all of the tools they need to beat whatever disorder or ailment they are struggling with, and they expect that the tools within that book will hop right out off the page and jump into their body and save their lives. Unfortunately that's not how it works. Trust me, I've spent thousands on self-help books.
Truth is, self-help books do contain a lot of great knowledge, but the tools and skills within require a lot of time, energy, and an incredible amount of practice for someone to see positive changes in their day to day lives. Change is possible though.
What is it they say in AA? It only works if you work it? Something like that.
I like that Rick Carson ends the book on a realistic note, and not on a sales pitch. He's not trying to sell us on some kind of gremlin taming vitamin regime or diet - he is being realistic, and as much as I hate this word - authentic.
Rick reminds us that there is no finish line when it comes to gremlin taming. Your gremlin wants you to believe that your happiness lies in the future, and not in the here and now. The chatter in your head tells you it's not available or attainable now, but will be in the future.
I like that he states that contentment is not a "static state" or an entity to be captured. It is an experience.
And taming our gremlin is an ongoing, lifelong process.