Monday, December 12, 2011

Ask "the Experts"

Lately, I’ve been noticing that there are a lot of experts around. There are experts on parenting topics, on gluten-free diets, on traveling, on fitness routines, on medical issues such as diabetes and stress, and on, well, just about everything you’d ever want to know anything about. I’m quite certain that there are experts out there on buttons and belly buttons, and probably on the proper way to pop popcorn. Bookshelves these days are filled with books written by “experts.”
            I have a healthy respect for expert advice. I wouldn’t want to tackle a plumbing problem without consulting a plumber, nor would I try to master a difficult yoga pose without consulting a yoga teacher (those headstands can be treacherous!). I respect the knowledge and experience and commitment of doctors, lawyers and pastry chefs, and have a great reverence for anyone who knows anything at all about calculus or chemistry (two subjects I would surely have failed had I been forced to take them in college). And if you are passionate about something, and interested in it, then why shouldn’t you become an “expert” on the subject? There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I love knowing that there are people who are experts on Charlotte Bronte, or who have devoted their lives to the poetry of Longfellow, or who know every kind of fish in the ocean, or how to correctly dry flowers.
            Of course, I also know that when it comes to making important decisions in our lives, there is really only one expert: ourselves. An expert is not going to tell you whether you’d be happier on the West Coast or the East, or whether you should marry the girl next door or run away with the postman. And sometimes, I wonder, with all the expert chatter going on around us on TV, in books, on the Internet and so forth, how in the world are we going to hear what our “inner expert” is saying?
            I love gathering information and researching various subjects, but when it comes to my personal life, I know that there’s only one place to go when I need an answer, and it sure isn’t to Dr Phil, Wikipedia or As my first yoga teacher would say when a student was confronted with a decision, “Just sit with it.” 
Without even moving, in silence, it’s amazing how true expert advice bubbles up.

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