BOOK #28/100 that was assigned to me to read by my students in 2015
When You See Beyond Your Fear, You Are Free
Subtitle: Imagine this is about a 1988 MTV VJ
The first time I read this book I was around 2004 when I was a displaced PhD working at NCCJ, a not-for-profit that fought bias biogtry and discrimination. I kept up my "history habit" by making my work password "professor," teaching night classes at a bunch of colleges across South Florida (and yes it's true I love teaching so much I showed up to teach one week after giving birth, much to the shock and chagrin of my students who might have preferred happy hour to World History).
Before reading this book I already knew that basically a person can spend 15 years preparing for one career and find out there are just no jobs as history professors, period, move on with your day today and deal with it.
I loved this book the first time I read it, and I'm glad I had the chance to read it again.
The lessons come from graffiti-scribbling non-mice people named Hem and Haw (omg enough said?).
For them the Cheese isn't Cheese, it's whatever GETS the cheese for them (power, respect, security)
So here's the story.
Sniff and Scurry the mice notice the cheese is running low at Cheese Station C, so they find different better new cheese at Cheese Station N and go off in their Angelina Ballerina lives.
They live in reality.
The world changes, change with it.
One day Hem and Haw show up at the cheese station and see there is NO CHEESE.
Hem and Haw aren't mice. They're people.
So things are sooooo much harder for them.
So the day after the day they find there is NO CHEESE, Hem and Haw go back to the same place. Dorks.
Now they get agitated.
They DESERVE cheese!
The cheese has ALWAYS been here!
They are angry and irritable and hungry.
Haw says to Hem, lets go and find new cheese before we DIE.
Hem says NO! This is what I KNOW! I have to go HERE because this is what I KNOW so it's what is INTENDED for me.
(Meanwhile I'm thinking if HAW checked in on foursquare of facebook SOMEONE would tell him to get himself somewhere else, but this book was written before Social Media, back when writing sayings about Cheese that became a poster was COOL and I have it under GOOD advice that many corporate "Trainers" used posters like this to help people deal with reality.
So anyway, Hem and Haw are starving and weak and keep going back to the same place, the place the cheese used to be, and the cheese isn't there and basically they're crazy.
Then Haw starts laughing at himself. YAY!
He wakes up from his delusion that doing the SAME thing will bring NEW results and writes on the wall: "What would you do if you weren't afraid?"
fter that he writes lots of things on walls -- this is before Facebook, when graffiti was the "best option" for mass education of immediate simple ideas)
For the next week Haw goes off on the proverbial Hero's Journey where he faces adversity and gains wisdom.
He finds cheese, not much, but enough.
And when he tastes it he realizes the cheese he USED to eat really sucked, so he writes on the wall that people should "smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old."
Smell the cheese. This makes me giggle but I keep my grown up face on and finish the book.
Haw learns to encourage himself, writing "When you see beyond your fear, you are free,
" and learns to use his imagination to ENCOURAGE himself instead of scaring himself.
He learns that the act of IMAGINING ENJOYING the NEW CHEESE would bring him to the new cheese and that the quicker you let go of the old cheese, the sooner you have room for the fresher, better cheese that will bring you joy.
That's right out of the Law of Attraction and I love it x 1000000000.
So Haw brings cheese to Hem and Hem (starving, still going to the place where the cheese used to be) has this green eggs and ham moment and says he WON'T try the cheese and he wants the OLD SAME cheese that he LOVES.
Haw encourages his emaciated friend to realize he is in a cheeseless situation and to go look for some freaking cheese.
Haw starts to expect good things and tries to imagine them, then goes off to look for them and finds them.
OId beliefs do not lead you to new cheese.
Finally Haw is stuffed in a cheese binge with a bunch of other non-starving people who found the cheese AGES ago accepts that the universe is always changing and that change is a GOOD thing so he asks everyone to toast "Hooray for CHANGE!"
and they all live happily ever after.
Who Moved My Cheese
by Spencer Johnson.