How I said goodbye to guilt and shame

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There’s a chubby, embarrassed, terrified little boy who lives inside me.

I didn’t want anyone to know he was in there, so for years I tried to hide him.

Because I was ashamed of the things I endured as a kid I created masks and coping mechanisms that were great for compartmentalizing and compressing, but terrible for healing.

I connected with him few years ago and we’re cool now.

Shame is made out of guilt, regret, embarrassment and feeling worthless and unwanted.

Shame shapes, stops, cripples and unfortunately, sometimes, seemingly breaks us.

It may be born out of that thing that happened to you.

The way you were treated as a child.

That thing you never talk about and carry as a secret.

Perhaps you’re ashamed of where you come from or the choices of those closest to you.

It might be the embarrassment and regret of your own choices.

It’s like a boulder we carry.

Will you put it down for just a minute?

Seriously, if you need to pick it up for a bit longer you can, but for now set it down.

Good.

Now let’s look at it.

You couldn’t really see it that well while you were carrying it.

What’s it made out of?

No surprise that it’s heavy.

It’s heavy and it’s expensive.

What has it cost you?

How has shame kept you from being who you really want to be?

How has it held you back from doing what you really want to do?

Have you had enough?

If you just thought “yes”, here are some ways to get free.

1.  Recognize that you have choices.  You can’t change the past but you can stop it from eating away at your future.  If you find yourself always behaving like a victim and looking for ways to be easily offended, then the shame has found a nice home for itself.

2.  Be honest about the ways you have used shame as an excuse.  Do you have a mission or purpose that you are afraid to fulfill and have you used shame as a place to hide.

3.  Forgive:  the person who hurt you, he teacher who was horrible to you, yourself, your ex, the kids that bullied you in school, your dad and your mom.  Forgiveness is not about saying what happened was ok.  Forgiveness is about saying it wasn’t ok, while finding the strength to let go and move on.  Forgiveness does not require you to put yourself in harms way again,  but it does provide a light for the road ahead.

4.  Seek redemption.   Whatever you have been through, someone else is going through it right now and they need your help.  Think about where those people are and go to them.  That thing that you have been so ashamed of might become your life’s work.

No, this work is not easy, but there is a powerful, amazing life waiting for you on the other side of your past.  I invite you to engage the process of healing from your shame today with the hope that the steps you take will ultimately lead to brighter tomorrow.

For one on one coaching with Jim Trick, email ThatLifeNow@gmail.com or call 978-994-0431

Follow Jim Trick on twitter @JimTrick

Life coaching is the deliberate process of helping people identify and achieve personal / professional goals.    Coaching tends to focus on the present moment with special attention to a desired result.  Focused conversations create an environment for growth, purposeful action, and sustained improvement. Coaching brings a myriad of benefits: fresh perspectives on personal challenges, enhanced decision-making skills, greater interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence.

So this is Christmas

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So this is Christmas – Jim Trick

Here is my standard disclaimer…

You are hard line atheists and far right leaning evangelical Christians and everything in between.  You are gay and straight, folk and classical, so on and so forth…  More importantly, you’re my friends.  So I’m gonna talk about Jesus for a minute and I want you to get the chance to tune out if this aint your jam.

Christmas, here’s the deal.

I don’t care about whether or not December 25th was the actual date that Jesus was born on.

I am 100% ok with the Christmas traditions we enjoy coming from so called “pagan” origins.

I’m also cool with “X-mas” and my guess is that Jesus is as well. (Do your homework on this and I bet it won’t bother you either)

We have soooo commercialized Christianity.  I’m not surprised with what we’ve done to Christmas.

Poor ol Christmas…

Here are a couple key, points that might be helpful in understanding what Christians believe about Christmas.

Yes, I TOTALLY get how nuts all of this sounds…

We believe that Jesus is God.   I would use the term “God the son” to clarify his place inside the whole God thing.

The Father and the Spirit LOVE being with the Son, but the Son has work to do, so….

Jesus lowers himself and takes on a body.  This is called the “incarnation”.

I’m not sure how many Scrabble points that word would be worth, but your friends would be so impressed!

The incarnation is basically Christmas.

In the first chunk of the book (the Old Testament) prophets had a lot to say about Jesus.   How he’d show up, what he’d do and so on.

That’s where we get the virgin birth and a bunch of stuff that you’ve heard about but have been like “what’s up with that?”.

At the core of Christmas is God basically saying I love you enough to become like you, so that you can know me and we can hang out together the way the three of us (Father, Spirit & Son) have been hanging throughout eternity.

Their space is chalked full of love, peace, unity and purpose.

Ok…. so no, I’m not jumping ahead to Easter.

If this is the core of Christmas then I will close with a couple questions.

What would it look like for you to leave your comfort for the sake of someone else’s comfort?

Today what would it look like for you become like someone else so that you could love them better?

Do you spend more time lamenting the love you lack than you do looking for people to love and care for?

Here’s a huge, one sentence prayer that you can offer up.

“God, help me to see Your love for me in the Christmas story and help me to better love all who come my way.  Amen”

Love you guys so much.

Merry Xmas!

A Guided Fall by Wendy Tamis Robbins

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Its my pleasure to introduce you to the work of  Wendy Tamis Robbins

If you love her work as much as I do, please subscribe to her blog and tell your friends!

In her first guest blog at ThatLife.com she puts an inspirational twist on my favorite season.

Enjoy!

A Guided Fall – By Wendy Tamis Robbins

Rather than mourn the loss of longer, warmer days until we find ourselves eating turkey and counting how many shopping days remain, how can we consciously create a time of growth and renewal over the next six weeks?

After the lazy days of Summer, the long weekends, the loose schedules and lack of structure, I see the signs of Autumn all around me. Whether it’s the late day sun shining on a crimson leaf, the crunch of acorns below my feet or the smell of apple cider on the stove. As the bronze glow fades from my skin, a similar glow around my spirit dims as the back to school, back to structure bell tolls.

I am hesitant to let go of the care-free feeling I embraced the last three months. It makes me wonder if people began to refer to Autumn as Fall because a fall is usually something you don’t choose to do. You don’t choose to fall down the stairs. In fact, you make every conscious effort not to fall. You don’t choose to fall in love, you just brace yourself when you feel the arrow pierce your heart. Leaves don’t even choose to fall from trees, they just can’t hold on any longer. And no one chooses to turn their back on summer, to just pack up their swim suit and walk bravely toward winter. That fall must be involuntary, from warm to cold, from light to dark.

But just because we fall against our will, doesn’t mean our fall has to be unconscious. Autumn is a time of harvest. So I invite you to welcome the six practices I set out below into your lives for the next six weeks for a guided, conscious fall through Autumn. And how many of us actually (or secretly) seek such structure, long for predictable patterns, and thrive on schedules.

The intent is to harvest the gifts you already have by seeing them with new eyes, appreciating them with a new heart, utilizing them with new focus and celebrating them with new energy.

Today I offer the first – Reflection. Each of the following five weeks I will offer the next practice so we can digest and explore each one fully before moving on to the next. May these practices yield an abundant and bountiful harvest.

Reflect . Refocus . Restore . Revive . Receive . Rejoice

Week 1:  Reflect

First, reflect on what’s working in your life and what is not. What do you need more of and what do you need less of?

What are your strengths and what areas could use some work, some focus, some love. Look at each aspect of your life (mother/father, husband/wife, lawyer/doctor, writer/singer, friend, caregiver) with a clear mind and a compassionate heart. Be fair but forgiving, objective but empathetic.

What direction are you headed right now? What major decisions in your life set you on that path?

What small choices that you make every day, intentionally or without any thought, have subtly changed your direction over time? Does that direction align with your core values and goals?

What would a slight pivot look like?

What would a complete sea change entail?

Fat people are funny!

 

A man sits on a wall in the Canary Wharf financial district of London, April 1, 2009. REUTERS/Simon Newman

Fat people are funny!

Nineteen years ago, in a tiny, dark studio apartment I sat and ate a large sausage and extra cheese pizza by myself.

The electricity had been turned off because my financial life was as out of control as the rest of it.

I had already had dinner with friends but like many of us who are or were morbidly obese, dinner with friends always looked normal.

It wasn’t what I ate at dinner that caused me to eventually become 430lbs.   What caused me to get that large was what I ate secretly, alone, in shame and on this night, literally covered in darkness.

I ate the last slice and called the electric company.  Shortly after the lights came back on, but things were no brighter.

No one knew…

Food wasn’t the only thing I was hiding and the amount of energy I put into being someone I thought others would want to have around was exhausting.

Years ago, when I reclaimed my life and transformed my body I lost more than weight.

It was in the process of saying goodbye to unwanted lbs that I was able to say goodbye to the part of me that felt it needed to be more ,in order to be loved, accepted and included.

In my case “more” equaled funny…

As my body changed, countless people said the following.

“Wow, you look amazing! Are you still going to be funny?”

Seriously, countless and usually before I even opened my mouth.

Others, after random conversations would say “You look great, but you’re not as funny as you used to be”.

When it became clear that this was going to be a common theme, I called my friend Gina and told her about what people were asking and saying.

“Gina” I said, “people are telling me I’m different now… They are saying that I’m not as funny anymore”

“Thank God!” she replied.

At the heart of her exclamation was the fact that being a clown all the time was not the full measure of who I really am.  She made the point that not being my authentic self was not only not good for me but also not good for the people with whom I was connecting.

She reminded me that what people really needed was for me to be real and that in being real I would free others to do the same.

That is my encouragement to you.

The part of you that feels it needs to do more, be someone else or put on an act so that people will love and accept you, serves no one.   Getting free and discovering how to be the real you is a gift to yourself and to the world.

Here are a few steps towards greater authenticity.

Check yourself – By becoming self aware we are able to discover where we feel most ok.  Begin to notice when you naturally feel at ease and connected without putting on an act.   Also take notice of when you feel on edge and find yourself putting on a show.   Those cues will enable to you know when you need to pause and connect with the real you,  you long to be.

Know who your friends are – Spreading yourself too thin relationally ensures that people will get less of you.  Deep friendships are a two way street where you give but you also get.  One sided friendships are not real and will drain you if you are the exclusive giver.  In a balanced relationship you are more likely to be real and from that place you are free to serve your loved ones better and ask for what you need.

Free yourself to fail – For me, trying to be funny all the time was my  way of making up for people having to be friends with me.  My opinion of my true self was so low that with humor I was trying to apologize for who I was. Not only do you have nothing to intrinsically apologize for but by being honest about where you actually miss the mark you will find a way to heal the parts of your relationships that  need it.

 

Are you ready to try life coaching on for size?  Email ThatLifeNow@gmail.com or call 978-994-0431 today!

If this post was helpful like it, share it, subscribe and live it. 

Follow Jim Trick on twitter @JimTrick

Life coaching is the deliberate process of helping people identify and achieve personal / professional goals.    Coaching tends to focus on the present moment with special attention to a desired result.  Focused conversations create an environment for growth, purposeful action, and sustained improvement. Coaching brings a myriad of benefits: fresh perspectives on personal challenges, enhanced decision-making skills, greater interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence.

Meditating is a sin?

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Meditating is a sin?

I was raised in a stream of Christianity that said it was a sin to meditate.

Some of you are saying, “Yup; because it is”.

Most of you are saying “What?” and “Why?” and “That’s frigging nuts”.

Others are taking the middle ground thinking, “It’s ok to meditate, as long as it involves reading the bible and or praying.”

I was raised in a stream of Christianity that said it was a sin to meditate and I did too, because I didn’t know what meditation was and my view of God involved shame, worry and a cultural / behavioral track that I thought I had to stay on in order for God to keep on loving me.

This morning the early autumn air was crisply and beautifully fresh.

When I got out of bed, I went to the bathroom and drank a giant tumbler of cool water.

Next, I sat on a cushion on the floor and lit a candle.

For a  bit, I focused on nothing but my breath, feeling the sensation, as air came in through my nose, filled my lungs and gently exited my mouth.

My eyes began to close.

There were sounds…

Cars outside, people walking by, birds waking up…

Those sounds, as I became aware of them, became part of the moment.  Not in a way that was dismissed or  attached to.  They were simply noticed.

Thinking about my body and starting at the top of my head, I worked my way down to the bottom of my feet, all the while noticing sensations and feelings.

My nose was a little blocked…

My lower back was tight…

My toe hurt a little…

Back to being aware of my breath…

The word “Pneuma” was brought up and with no particular rhythm, I gently started to repeat it silently.

My breath, body, feelings, sounds and a sacred word were peacefully and sweetly grounded and at the same time, flowing.

In this quiet posture thoughts began to arise.

As they came, they were noticed and allowed to float away as I lightly and sweetly returned to my breath and my sacred word.

My timer softly chimed after eleven minutes and I slowly opened my eyes.

Sin?

Really?

I know the arguments of the right leaning fundamentalists inside and out, because I was one.

Sure, guru worship exists, but this is not that.

Meditation is not an attempt to clear one’s mind nor is it held as a path to some kind of enlightenment.

Sure, some people have screwy motives and can take something beautiful and twist it, but this is not that.

I’m no longer limited by the fear mongering and lazy thinking of a misguided subculture and I wish the same for you.

This practice helps me to be less distracted by the negative self talk in my head.

It enables me to focus better throughout the day.

Meditation does not serve as a substitution for anything, but rather as a supportive enhancement to my other spiritual practices.

My longing for you, is that you walk in freedom, thoughtfully enjoying every practice that supports you becoming who you are called to be.

My longing for you is peace.

 

Who do you love loving?

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The first time I noticed being loved, I was a chubby seven year old little boy, dressed in my best cowboy attire.

There was a red bandana, a cowboy hat and from the days of realistic looking cap guns, a shiny six shooter holstered to my waist.

The plaid, Tough-skin pants from the husky department at Mitchell’s department store were not true to form but didn’t matter.

My parents were taking me to Six Gun City and I was losing my mind with excitement.

An older cousin had been describing New Hampshire’s fake western ghost town / mini theme park for months.

Amidst miles and miles of,  “Are we almost there?”, “I can’t believe it!” and “Can I ride a horse, shoot a bad guy and get a big ice cream?”, I paused.

“Mom, are you happy?” I asked

“I’m happy when you’re happy, Jimmy” she replied

I’ve never forgotten that moment or the care behind those words.

The heart of love is not merely a feeling.

The heart of love is a mix of feeling and subsequent action.

Think of someone you love dearly.

Get a clear image in your mind.

Now, as if they were sitting in front of you, finish this thought;

I love you (say the person’s name) therefore I (insert an action that makes them feel uniquely loved as an individual).

Maybe you want to finish this sentence on behalf of several loved ones.

Perhaps you can list several actions for one person.

Now consider how serving someone you love makes you feel.

Is it a chore?

Is it an obligation that you are checking off a list?

Are you just going through the motions because you feel like you’re are not getting anything in return, or are you like my mom?

When she said “I’m happy when you’re happy”, what she was really saying is you are my boy, and I love loving you.

She was saying you are the apple of my eye and the heart of my heart.

She was saying If bringing chubby little you, to a fake western ghost town, way up in New Hampshire, feeding you ice cream and allowing you to engage in a fake gunfight with a fake cowboy is going to make you feel love, then lets go!

Whose happiness makes you happy?