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Does the phrase “self-help” make you wince?

That’s ok.

Many people associate self-help with a fix-it mentality. Life would be so much better if we could just correct that bad decision. And then the next mistake. And the next.

What if we could create a model that omits the guilt?

Now you’re talking.

Just like blank notebooks and freshly sharpened pencils, the September series, A Lot to Learn, will set a new standard where everyone is a lifelong learner.

Rob Brezsny frames spiritual growth within a vibrant state of curiosity and receptivity in his book, PRONOIA Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You With Blessings. Here’s what he wrote:

Receptivity is not a passive state. Nor is it a blank, empty waiting around for whatever happens to come along.

In urging you to cultivate receptivity, I don’t mean you should become a lazy do-nothing, bereft of goals, reacting blindly to whatever life throws in front of you.

Receptivity is a robust readiness to be surprised and moved; a vigorous intention to be awake to everything you can’t control.

When you’re receptive in the pronoiac style, you have strong ideas and a powerful will and an eagerness to disseminate your unique blessings, but you’re also animated by the humble certainty that you have a lot to learn.


I was reminded of this theme while watching QVC. LOGO designer Lori Goldstein chatted with host Jacque Gonzales, waiting for the next product. Jacque laughed about stumbling over the intro when she first presented a peplum blouse, pronouncing it “pep-loom”.

Since the fashion industry is known for witty, sharp put-downs, I held my breath waiting for Lori’s comeback.

Lori looked at her and said calmly, “We all learn.”

That’s grace in just three words.

Lori Goldstein has learned a lot since arriving in Los Angeles from Ohio at the age of 17. She landed a job working for fashion icon Fred Segal and quickly gained the insight that style was more than being well dressed.

For Fred, it was constant creative expression. She remembers, “He was someone who was very much an individual, someone who showed that you can break the mold and do things your own way.”

During her long career as a stylist, including collaborating with famed photographer Annie Liebovitz for over 15 years, Lori applied the smart individualism Fred taught her. Every project had to be approached on its own merits – it was the key to successful shoots. The rigid egoism of “this always works” actually never worked.

Lori says, “The way that I live my life always is through instinct. I think that pulse is always there for us if we tap into it. I’m not somebody who looks to other people to see what they’re doing.”

This week, maintain “…a robust readiness to be surprised and moved”. You’ll probably have or witness a slip-up that’s obvious to everyone else in the room. Before you leap to judgment or put yourself down, take Lori Goldstein’s generous response as your new mantra.

We all learn.