How To Do The Work (2021) (Book)

Spoiler: these are my notes on the book and here I share my main takeaways.

On: You are not your thoughts and the concept of consciousness
“Even though consciousness makes us human, most of us are so immersed in our inner world, so unconscious, even asleep, that we aren’t aware that there’s a script continually running through our minds. We believe that script is the true ‘us’, the Self. But that chatter is just our thoughts. We practice thoughts all day long” (p.26).

… Wait a sec We practice thoughts?
“(…) from the moment our eyes open in the morning until we close them at night. you’ve practices thoughts so consistently and for so long that the act of practising is beyond your awareness. (…) You may label these thoughts as ‘you’, but they are not you. You are the thinker of your thoughts, not the thoughts themselves.”

So why do we have them one might wonder (yes they neverrrr stop, do they?!)
“Thoughts serve a purpose; they allow us to problem solve, create, and form connections. There is however, such a thing as relying too much on our thoughts.” (p.27). Ofwel de ‘monkey mind’.

On: Widening the definition of trauma
“I believe that our understanding of trauma should be widened to include a diverse range of overwhelming experiences or (…) any negative life event ‘that occurs in a state of relative helpnessness” (p.44). Because the current concept doest not ‘take into account the range of emotionl and spiritual tramas, which are an outgrowth of consistently denying or repressing the needs of the authentic Self (…). Trauma creates the fundamental belief that we must betray who we are in order to survive” (p. 44-45). Here also referring to distrusting your intuition and your version of reality (p. 48).

Just read the whole chapter.

Other quotes that hit me:

    • One can be only as connected to others as they are to themselves (p. 158).
    • I realised that the peope I was choosing to love were not random. It was all part of a pattern. (p.159). And as we all know, patterns tell a story in itself 🙂

    • When the source of our trauma is the person we are dependent on, we learn how to cope (in this case receive love) by enmeshing ourselves in that bond.(…) This will leave you similarily unable to meet your own needs in adulthood (p. 160- 161).

    • Often we confuse the intense emotions associated with a trauma bond for love (p.161).

    • Those coping strategies helped us survive issues with our primary attachment figures (…)(p. 162).

Why I appreciate this book so much
In a very easy and understandable way Nicole provides an interdisciplinary approach to what we would call ‘psycholical’ phenomena (depression, trauma). Integrating concepts from eastern philosophy, psychology, biology into a very easy narrative. Without medicalising, spiritualising or making it a purely academic read. This is also why the book receives a lot of negative feedback, which I mostly perceive as a lot of criticism rather than critique. Reading the book as it is, in the timeframe it was written and with the message it sends accross, this was the first book where everythings comes together in an accessible way.

How to do the work. Recognize your patterns, heal from your past, + create your self (2021). Dr. Nicole LePera.

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