Here’s a great self-help book I’ve just read by Steven C Hayes which has given me some new thoughts on mindfulness, as well as guidance on how to decide what I want to be when I grow up.

This manual, firmly based on cutting-edge psychological science and theory, details an innovative and rapidly growing approach that can provide you with the power to transform your very experience of life. Highly recommended for all of us.

David H. Barlow, professor of psychology, research professor of psychiatry, and director of the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University.

The first 80% of the book focuses on Acceptance And Commitment Therapy, which has a lot in common with my understanding of Buddhist beliefs around suffering and the causes of suffering.

In the later part of the book Hayes provides some thoughts and guidance on how to develop some direction in your life, which I’ve mentioned before I need. I’m contented as I am but this makes it hard for me to make any plans.

The analogy he uses is that we are like a bus driver with some rotten passengers, but we should focus on where we want to go rather than stopping the bus to deal with the passengers.

Hayes proposes that we use our values to determine our future direction. Values, as he defines them, are not goals but rather principles or choices you inherently believe are best (i.e. a value is “always pay my own way” rather than a goal of like “make x dollars by y”).

To work out where to go, he provides 10 areas and suggests we probably already know what areas are most important to us and what many of our values are in each area:

  • Family
  • Parenting
  • Intimate Relationships
  • Friends
  • Career
  • Education
  • Leisure
  • Health
  • Spirituality
  • Citizenship

It’s certainly given me a framework to at least start working out what I want to do with the time I have left. Until now I’ve been totally lost but this book has given me a way forward.

It amazes me when these crazy coincidences happen. I thought I was reading a book about mindfulness when in fact I ended up with help moving forward with my life post-chemo. Very spookily apt timing.