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.

 

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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.