Find and Follow Your INNER COMPASS
Instant Guidance in an Age of Information Overload
Author: Barbara Berger
I have been an ardent fan of Barbara Berger for many years now. Her style is real, personal, and down to earth. She is there to help the reader help themselves, to define and lead a quality life. She cares. In “Find and Follow Your INNER COMPASS”, Berger addresses the fact that we are continually being bombarded with information on what we need to do, as well as what we shouldn’t be doing, to live a happy life. The bottom line here is that we need to decide what is right for us as individuals, and follow that path.
In her foreword Berger talks about how plugged in we are to each other, how we have constant online access to what everyone is thinking, saying, feeling, and doing. I read these words, and think about my younger years. Rotary dial phones (only came in black, and the repairman did come inside the house), typewriters (and the advent of erasable typing paper), and hand written, snail mail letters. (Loads of perfumed letters were sent through the mail!).
Berger states that we are continually bombarded by what we “should” and “should not” do to live a happy life. She posits that how can anyone know what is best for themselves in any given situation? Is there a way to take into consideration each individual’s wants, needs, and desires? This book is all about finding one’s internal guidance system – one’s Inner Compass. We all have an Inner Compass, and it is always sharing information with us. How does it do this? Through our emotions. What a thought!
In this book Berger talks about our emotions, and why they are important. When we live a life aligned with our Inner Compass, and our emotions, we are aligned with who we truly are, and with what is most suitable for us. Part One talks about what our Inner Compass is, and how it works. Part Two addresses the challenges of working with our Inner Compass, such as what sabotages our ability to listen to and follow our Inner Compass. What is the true significance of our emotions? Are we being selfish in doing so? How can we constructively deal with the fear of other people’s disapproval?
Throughout the book Berger presents, in terms that we can all understand, what our emotions are, and how we can use them to guide our lives. What I really liked was when she connected our Inner Compass with the Great Universal Intelligence. Now we are rocking! When we are aligned with this very basic yes/no system, we are happy and content. When we are not aligned, we feel discomfort and uneasy. Bottom line – we feel better when we are aligned with ourselves, when we are being our true selves. Our Inner Compass basically tells us how we feel about life, how we feel about our decision, how we feel about what is going on around us.
Berger gives us two basic reasons why we may not be in contact with our Inner Compass: (1) a lack of awareness that our Inner Compass even exists, and (2) most of us have been trained from childhood to make most of our decisions with an eye to pleasing other people. Another biggie that Berger addresses is that we may have been taught that our feelings did not matter. (My immediate thought here was that as women enter various professions, they distance themselves from their emotions so as to appear to make “logical” decisions. A corollary to this is that most boys are taught from day one not to cry, not to express their emotions. No wonder we have not connected with our Inner Compass!)
There is an excellent exercise in Part One that helps the reader to connect with their Inner Compass. In doing this exercise, it is very evident that Berger relies not only on what she has studied, what she has been taught, but what she has learned in working with her clients. Win/win!
Berger advises her readers to check in with their Inner Compasses regularly. Life is ever evolving, we are always having to make decisions – so yes, connect with your Inner Compass as many times a day as you need to! In conjunction with connecting with our Inner Compass is the thought that we have to deal with our own personal fear of our emotions. Berger suggests that we start slowly when connecting to our Inner Compass, so that we do not overload ourselves with anxiety. We are told that change will happen naturally and automatically. Whew!
One of the really nice little “add ins” that Berger gives the reader is an emotional scale, running from high, good feeling energy, to low, bad feeling energy. This is both an interesting and helpful scale.
I also loved the examples given in the book, such a dealing with a job offer, and a marriage crisis. Examples of what each of us can face in life at any point in time. Berger also addresses what can happen when we do not pay attention to our Inner Compass, and that negative emotions can actually be our friend. I love the breakdown of life activities into “Survival”, “In Between Stuff”, and “Your Passion”. A good way to give ourselves a heads up on where to put our energy.
Part Two deals with dealing with our fear of disapproval and other challenges to following our Inner Compass. Berger talks about our concern that if we follow our Inner Compass, we will make someone else unhappy. She talks about our thinking determining our experience, and that happiness is really an inside job. She also reminds us that different people react differently to the same situation. I love the section on taking our power back – that in reality we are the only ones that can make ourselves happy. Berger also references very real issues, such as other people being out of alignment, and wanting us to fix them, and arbitrary standards of behavior (standards of behavior set by people or groups outside of ourselves). Berger shares a wonderful map on assertive rights by Manuel J. Smith (from “When I Say No, I Feel Guilty).
I am not going to state what her experience was, because that would be a spoiler, but Berger shares what her Inner Compass told her at a significant time in her life, and how it changed her life.
This is a fantastic book! If you are willing to work with it, your life will flow freely, and you will experience anything that you have the ability to envision! Definitely a resource book for personal growth!
© July 2017 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.