Tuesday, October 05, 2010

My Tank and Me: One Woman's Search for Peace

Oh my God.

I swear to you this kind of kismet-y stuff seems to happen to me all the time. ALL THE TIME.

So I open USA Today – which I do on a semi-annual basis – and what’s the lead story in the "Life" section on Monday? A story about a new book, from Gotham Chopra and Krishu Chopra, with Deepak Chopra. This amazing new book is titled Walking Wisdom: Three Generations, Two Dogs and the Search for a Happy Life.

Anyone who has even visited this blog even once has probably heard me say this before but I can’t help myself: Oh my dear God in heaven, help me please. I can’t stand this.

Yes, yes, yes. I know. I need to chill. I need to direct this outward. I am doing that. This is my outlet, okay? I might implode otherwise.

I ask you: was the world looking for a guide to stress-free living, the kind that results from walking a dog? You’re kidding me, right?

But let’s assume we were. Everyone was looking for the perfect book about stress-reducing via canine exercise. We all were desperate for guidance on how to walk our dogs, ruminate about life and love and lollipops (or whatever the three Chopra men chat about during their walks in Central Park) and figure out how to release our anxiety, let it travel down the leash in a manner of speaking and away from our inner cores. Assuming everyone was searching for it, is there any reason we had to find it in a book from Gotham Chopra? And, even better, from his three-year-old son, Krishu?

We’ve had books emerge from Mrs. Dr. Phil, from Jay McGraw, Dr. Phil’s author-son, and from Sean Covey (of the Seven Habits Covey’s), among others. Question: Do they have any credentials, other than their personal relationships? Irrelevant, and already addressed by every marketing exec in publishing. They have what passes for credentials these days: the ability to capitalize on an enormous and fawning fan base and sell them even more crap that they don’t need.

Let’s get back to the dog-walking lessons, or stress-free lessons or whatever the Chopra’s have to sell, errr, share with us, shall we? This is my favorite quote in the USA Today article, and the kismet-y part of this story: "My father is all over this book in his own words, so we thought the 'with' was the best way to recognize that," explains Gotham, 35. Having the Deepak Chopra name on a book cover isn't a bad thing, either. He has sold more than 20 million books over the years.

[NOTE: “Having the Deepak Chopra name on a book cover isn't a bad thing, either.” When I was much younger, we used to think about this confluence of favorable circumstances, where one naturally followed the other, a little differently. I think we used to recognize it with a poetic phrase that went something like, “No s--t, Sherlock. “]

Honestly, I found many, many more moments of pure gold in this article. I can only recommend you read it for yourself and enjoy. But here are a few I couldn’t resist noting here:

"She grounds us. We're going in so many different directions. Cleo teaches us to live in the present. She doesn't take herself too seriously." What humans need to do, adds Deepak, is to "tap into that."

"Infinite flexibility is the secret of immortality, and dogs have that ability to adapt," says Deepak, who once again lapses into workshop-speak. Speaking of workshops, he has worked the power of dogs into his seminars, meeting with celebrity dog trainer Cesar Millan to talk about leadership.

Apparently, people buy this stuff, literally and figuratively. Remarkable. Maybe I need to turn this around and just be more positive. Maybe I can do this and share the love. Why not? Why not me?

Before we go there, let me make this clear. We all need some form of peace; I get that. And if that means you take a moment each day with the Bible, or you spend time contemplating the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path; or you do TM or run a 5K; or you create a mandala or play a mandolin - God Bless. Namaste. You get no argument from me.

But this kind of specious, vacuous, insipid, cloying attempt to "sell" peace to the masses is repugnant to me. Especially when it trades on the name of someone who has millions of "followers" who are inclined to continue feeding their self-help habits. No matter what form the new "lesson" takes.

So - onto my idea: I’m going to set up a gorgeous, colorful, soothing and restorative tropical fish tank in my home. About two weeks after that, I’m going to submit an outline for the following book proposal to my agent and see where we land: Swimming Smart: Three Generations, Nineteen Fish, and the Search for a Splash-Free Life. (I'll ask my six-year-old great-niece to be my co-author and give my mother a "with" credit.)

The chapters shape up something like this:

The Palette of the Sea: how the many colors, shapes and sizes of fish happily swim side by side, and through their serenity and their (how did the Chopra's put it? Of yeah..) "living in the present," teach us the secrets of living in peace together. (Note to self: do NOT include the fighting fish in this chapter.)

Less is Enough: how fish can teach us the top five tips about healthy nutrition and the dangers of emotional eating. (Tip 1: Eat when you're fed!)

Silent Waters: why talking is highly overrated.

Castles Aren't Roadblocks; They're Beautiful Ways to Teach Us a New Path: swimming through, around or above obstacles with ease.

Moving Is Life: ‘cause if you stop, you’re floating; and if you’re floating, you’re dead.

What do you think?

So scootch over, Gotham. I'm going to be sitting on that couch on Oprah right next to you and Krishu. Just me and my tank. And my 'wisdom.'


Dave said...

Funny Renee. Very funny! -Dave

renee said...

Thank you so much for the comment, Dave. Glad you enjoyed it.

Cosmic Connie said...

Terrific post, Renee. Someone sort of beat you to the fishy-lessons theme...


...but hey, there's always room for more.

(BTW, the woman I wrote about in that post complained on a radio show a few years ago about bloggers such as myself, who, according to her, engage in random sniping. She specifically named me as one of those sniping bloggers. I can't imagine why. :-))

renee said...

Thanks, Connie - this link was terrific.

Maybe she and I can do a book tour together....

you think we'll get along?

: )