Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

Discovering the Real You

I don’t know about you, but I get a lot of marketing material these days about workshops and classes that promise that I will discover “the real me”. I usually smile because I have no idea what that means, how can one not know who “the real me” is? Sometimes this means identifying what thoughts and behaviors we are programmed to believe from an early age that no longer work for us. A great example of that is I come from a long line of lawyers and judges. It was simply assumed from birth that I was to become a lawyer and carry on the family tradition. What I really wanted to do from the time I was in high school was to be an outdoor counselor for organizations like Outward Bound. My parents would not hear of that and threatened “bad things” if I did not become a lawyer.
So I became a lawyer to please my parents. I practiced law for nearly 27 and I was very good at it. However, I had the nagging feeling that I was destined for something else and practicing law seemed like a role I was playing for other people. Finally, in 2004 I asked myself, “whose life is this anyway?” and quit to follow a spiritual path. It was on this path that I discovered who I truly am. So to “find the real you” we need to understand the difference between the person you have become due to social conditioning and the person you could be if left to your own devices.
If you have experienced any of the following, you may need to ask yourself “am I doing what other people want me to do or what I want to do? [If you’ve ever heard the Talking Heads song “How Did I Get Here” you how exactly what I mean. The link is below, don’t be afraid to sing-a-long, it will open up this inquiry even further for you.]

· Many people, including myself, have experienced periods of insecurity and low self worth. In order to attempt to avoid these feelings, we seek to make other people happy by sacrificing ourselves to please them.

· When we were very young, we were praised by our parents or authority figures and then disciplined. When we were disciplined, we felt that we were defective. Thus, we subconsciously felt inferior to the authority figures because they were “better”.

· We felt like there was something wrong with us because we saw other kids having fun and we weren’t. We assumed this was because they were better than us. Then we felt inferior or just lost because we grew up believing that “they are okay, I am not okay”.

· We sought out authority figures to disempower ourselves because it felt ‘safe’. These can be employers, teachers, preachers, healers, counselors, spouses or siblings. We subconsciously felt like we need these people because we believe we are losers. So we seek out people that we think will make us okay, when, in fact, we are okay. This includes workshop teachers and gurus.

· We sacrificed what we wanted to be in order to be what “they” wanted us to be. As a result, we feel like imposters and deceivers because we are not expressing who we truly are.
In order to “find” yourself, there are some things you can do to heal this belief that we have to be who other people want us to be.
1. Notice when you are in the position of “I’m not OK, you’re OK”.  Once you are aware of something, you can change it. You can’t change what you aren’t aware of. Just notice when you feel uncomfortable and are people pleasing or trying to not make mistakes. Notice when you feel inferior to others. Awareness is the first step in personal change. Ultimately, we have to understand that if we compare ourselves to others, we can’t win. We will always feel like losers.

2. Don’t be afraid to be who you want to be. You are the only person that has the power to decide what you do, what you think, and what you believe. Understand that we all have this struggle, the struggle to be ourselves. One of the most empowering decisions you can make for yourself is to do what you think is best for you and stop trying to please everyone else.
3. Focus on your own path. What anyone else is doing or thinking about you is not your concern. What anyone else is doing is also not your concern. Simply observe, don’t comment or judge. When we are thinking about other people that puts the focus on them. Be grateful for being the most unique person on the planet, you! There is no one else like you. When you can take control of your life and stop worrying about what other people think of you, then you can focus on you and become what you want. Use the benefit of creating gratitude, appreciation and kindness towards yourself as you observe how far you have come, the obstacles you have overcome and the good stuff you have done.
4. Get rid of the story. We all have stories and rationalizations of why we are the way we are. We feel and believe based on what happened in the past and we use that to get sympathy or excuse our behavior. Stop it! The story is not you. When we stop thinking about the past, we can assess what we have in the present moment and go from there. You may have a lot of stops and starts along the way, after all it’s a practice that most of us have done our whole lives. Don’t give up, it will be worth the heavy weight you get to unload, the burden of a disappointing story about your past that is dumped.
5. Stop judging yourself and other people. If you are critical of others, you are critical of yourself. That is not helpful and distracts you from being who you want to be. The way you behave and think towards others affects on how you behave to and think about yourself. Show kindness to others when you feel inferior to them, either externally or just think kind thoughts internally. Be kinder to other people and help them and you tend to be kinder and more helpful to yourself. So focus your mind on helping people and being kind. Focus on the positive things in yourself and in the people around you and appreciate what is positive in yourself and others. If you catch yourself thinking something critical or judgmental about yourself OR another, immediately follow it up with a positive thought about yourself or that person.
6. Really put yourself compassionately in their shoes and understand what they are experiencing. When we come at a relationship as an equal, we are empowered and authentic. Seek to understand, not judge. When you find yourself frustrated with others, or judging them, try to understand them. When I quit practicing law, I had to go into my senior partner’s office (my father) and tell him I was quitting. He asked me what I was going to do and I said I didn’t know. He went ballistic, but I understood that he was afraid for me and it wasn’t about me. That helped get me through the unpleasantness of the moment.
7. Detach and see the lesson…every experience we have in life is intended to bring us wisdom and understanding. The ones that create emotional and mental pain and suffering are the experiences that can motivate us to a higher consciousness out of necessity. Whenever I experience suffering, I stop and take 60 deep breaths and then ask myself “what am I supposed to learn?”
8. Learn to be patient. I have always said that God has a terrible way of teaching patience. Basically patience is the ability to be happy until we get what we want. Success is getting what you want while happiness is wanting what we get. If you meditate, meditate on the fact that we always get what we want. The catch is that we always want what will make us more aware, more conscious, more enlightened. This usually involves some amount of discomfort. If you can want what you get, you shorten the lag time of being happy.
9. Be your own biggest cheerleader. If we don’t congratulate ourselves for our successes, no one else will. Instead of making posters or vision boards of what we want to happen in the future, make some of all of our accomplishments of our past. When we focus on our successes, that is the rudder that will steer our ship on the right course.
10. Enjoy the journey. Too often we judge ourselves by what we accomplish. We make goals that may be impossible to attain and then beat ourselves up for not achieving them. In order to be who you want to be, enjoy every moment of every day. No one else gets to be you.
If you apply these principles in your life, you will discover who you truly are. The truth is you are whoever you believe you are. I believe that I am happy, successful, loved and magical. It doesn’t matter if I actually am any of those things, what matters is I believe it. This is what you are going to learn in those expensive seminars and workshops you are thinking about taking. So save yourself a lot of money and start being yourself now.

*Talking Heads
“How Did I Get Here”

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

The Green Eyed Monster

Two of the most disruptive and distracting emotions for us in life are envy and jealousy. If you’ve ever experienced either of them, chances are you’d be interested in learning more about what’s really going on when they arise, and how you can shift out of it to feel more peace. They are called the Green-Eyed Monster by Shakespeare who compared the emotions to a cat playing with a mouse.

Envy and jealousy are related because they are based on the interrelation between fear and desire.  Envy is the feeling that our mind produces when we see someone else with something that we believe that we want. It could be a person, an object, a lifestyle or an image. Jealousy arises in our mind when we have something that we perceive may be lost to another person. Many people associate jealousy with people – a person we desire or want to possess, and mainly it does, but it can also of course apply to an object, situation  or lifestyle. Oftentimes these words are used interchangeably.

Both of these emotions are classified as “negative emotions” because they tend to be unhealthy and cause suffering. At the worst and most destructive, these emotions can lead to violence,  high levels of stress and anxiety when experiencing these emotions and it certainly can cause strife and disharmony in our relationships.

The root cause of both of these emotions is the belief we are inadequate and we need something outside of ourselves for happiness or to feel safe. Both are based on the unhealthy belief that if we possess something we will be happy. We focus on what we don’t have (envy) because we wonder why someone else has something we ascribe value to and/or we don’t feel we deserve it. With jealousy, we focus on losing something to someone else (jealousy) because we want to keep it and/or feel for some reason that we are not worthy or good enough. Both emotions are symptoms of a deeper issue of the illusion of ownership. We do not own anything.

The common experience of jealousy for many people may involve:

  • Fear of loss
  • Suspicion of or anger about a perceived betrayal
  • Low self-esteem and sadness over perceived loss
  • Uncertainty and loneliness
  • Distrust

The experience of envy involves:

  • Feelings of inferiority
  • Longing
  • Resentment of circumstances
  • Ill will towards envied person often accompanied by guilt about these feelings
  • Disapproval of feelings

The best way to deal with either envy or jealousy is to discover what the feeling is trying to tell you. All emotions have a message, especially envy and jealousy. So you have to look at yourself and ask “what is this feeling trying to tell me about myself?” The next time you experience it, sit with a notebook and write down the answers that come.  It will be a worthwhile journey of self-discovery and healing. Jealousy is always about the person feeling it, not the person you are jealous of.

Most of us have some unresolved conflicts we carry from our childhood. We experience these conflicts as vulnerabilities, insecurities, or fears. When we fall in love and our love is reciprocated, these vulnerabilities, fears, and insecurities seem to vanish. We feel loved despite our imperfections. We feel whole; we feel safe. But when this love is threatened, the fears and insecurities that we thought had gone forever come back in full force. If this person whom we love and adore–the person we thought loved us despite our flaws–is going to leave us for another, then there is no hope for us, ever! We no longer feel secure even in those things we previously loved in ourselves. As glowing as the love was, so dark is the shadow of its possible loss. As we move with awareness into the core of our jealousy, we discover ungrounded expectations, projections, envy, loss of self-esteem, infantile fears and insecurities.

Envy is the emotion that you sometimes feel when you want something that someone else has. At its core, as with jealousy, is the mistaken belief that possessing something will make us happy. This is probably the most common cause of suffering humans experience. Otherwise known as “grasping,” envy can reach malicious or spiteful proportions. Envy usually is evidenced by the use of the words “if only”. “If only” I had that job/woman/man/bank account/car/house/ metabolism/boobs/ clothes  (you can fill in the blank).

Many times if we simply look in the mirror every morning when we get up and say to ourselves “I am enough. I am happy. I am going to have a great day”, that will be enough to get us out of the negativity of our situation. Keep saying that to yourself over and over.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

In To Me I See

I have been on a “spiritual” path for fifteen years. By that I mean I have been either seeking the meaning of life, the purpose of living, or universal consciousness or all three. Prior to that I was a trial attorney for 27 years, a deacon in the Southern Baptist Church, married with three children. In 2004 I quit my day job, left organized religion, got divorced and embarked upon a “spiritual journey”. By that I mean I studied alternative healing, wellness, magic, meditation and Eastern philosophy. I lived with a witch for two years. I have been in the inner circle of several spiritual organizations, partially because of my legal background.

Life continued as I studied all sorts of mystical arts and alternative healings. I got engaged twice, with no marriage. I could not find what I was looking for, even though I was not even sure what I was looking for. I loved the tales of wizards and magicians I read when I was young, I wanted to learn how to wave a magic wand and make things better for people. I became a “workshopaholic”, hoping to find the secret to life.

It took two pivotal events for me to come to understand what my life was missing. The first was losing everything I had financially. I had joined a cult led by an Indian mystic, primarily because the cult leader promised to teach me the equivalent of waiving a magic wand, the gift of Shakti Pat. After I had invested all of my money in businesses the leader had started, I was told to leave the cult. To this day I don’t understand what happened or why I was asked to leave. The second event was I fell completely and desperately in love with someone who told me that they loved me and then left me for someone else. Both of these events occurred roughly simultaneously, so you might imagine that it was not a good year.

I experienced the full range of emotions going through these events. It was the dark night of my soul. Somehow I kept my chin up and kept walking. As I walked, I noticed that through the grief and anger I was able to detach at times from my angst and started to ask what part I had played in creating these little dramas. When I looked deep inside myself, everything that I was blaming on other people I was guilty of myself. I had used people as they had used me. When I got angry because people didn’t validate me, I was being arrogant and afraid. I began to understand the difference between confidence and arrogance.  I took responsibility for the fact that the melodramas I had created were perfect classrooms for lessons about myself.

I suppose that I could have wallowed in my grief and anger and obsessed on what have happened to me. I have learned on my spiritual path that being a victim is non-productive and won’t change anything. I got tired of telling my story of woe to others, as I am sure others got tired of hearing it. It did give me another perspective of those who feel victimized and abused, and I have compassion for those who are going through the dark night of their soul. I understand the gift of the dark night of the soul, especially when it involves the two most basic fears, loss of self-esteem in the form of wealth and a broken heart. I recognize that someone saying “snap out of it” is heartless advice.

The two lessons I learned more than others were that gratitude is more powerful than fear and judgment is what holds me back me from a limitless life. I know that popular psychology would recommend forgiveness and compassion, for me it is more about gratitude and absence of judgment. I personally believe that the concept of forgiveness is flawed because it assumes that there is something to forgive, i.e. some transgression, something wrong. When I am grateful and free from judgment, there is no need for forgiveness because nothing is wrong. If I can be grateful, then I can have compassion and love because fear and gratitude can’t coexist. Without fear, I can contemplate the positive aspects of my experiences rather than focus on the negatives.

When I put down the microscope and pick up a mirror, I am amazed at how fast my life improved. Whatever I perceive outside of myself is simply a reflection of what is going on inside of me. I have to quite judging other people and focus on being the best me I can be. As a result, my financial health is beginning to recover, and I have found the woman of my dreams. Every day is a new beginning for me. I focus on what I think, say and do. I believe that what comes out of my mouth is more important than what I put in it. I don’t take what anyone else is thinking, saying or doing personally. I have to say that this is not what I envisioned the spiritual path to look like. If this is the spiritual path, it is more painful than I imagined. I wonder sometimes if people who claim to be spiritual and say life is bliss are really on the spiritual path. After all, if everything is perfect what is there to learn? All I can say is if this is not the spiritual path don’t tell me.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

Women’s Lives Matter

This is an especially challenging time to be alive for everyone. Increasingly violent terrorist attacks, shifting political landscapes, environmental disasters, and overpopulation create challenges that world leaders are struggling to contain. Politicians are losing control of their electoral base, as well as their credibility. Being female in these times is even more challenging due to the challenges confronting women specifically. I daresay that running for public office for women is even more challenging for men as women are often questioned about physical issues that are completely irrelevant. Whether Hillary Clinton has a chance for election may depend on how successfully she overcomes the bias against women in national leadership roles.
One of the most prevalent challenges is gender stereotyping and minimization. Women face wage discrimination; job (hiring and promotion) discrimination; sexual exploitation; and under representation in politics and leadership. Pick any leadership position and you will find that far less than a representative number of leaders are women. The wage gap continues to exist, whether it is on Madison Avenue or in Hollywood. Female governmental officials continue to lag behind their representative base. Leadership roles are still weighted in favor of males, even though there is no real reason for that to happen.
Women’s health issues are still hugely important, both in the industrialized nations and third world countries. Prenatal care, infant and birth mortality, breast cancer, menstrual issues, unsafe labor conditions, child slavery, rape and sexual attacks frequently target women with life threatening conditions. Third world countries are particularly dangerous for women, with little or no resources to raise their situation or to combat HIV, AIDS or other STD’s. The issues of sex slaves and international sale of girls and young women have not been resolved.
Probably one of the worst issues facing women is domestic violence. Statistics indicate that 25% or more women experience domestic violence. More and more battered women’s shelters are closing due to lack of funds. Many women wait as long as three years before they report domestic violence. Female genital mutilation is still very much a global problem. Estimates suggest that as many as three million girls are mutilated every year in third world countries. Even England has estimated that as many as 170,000 women have survived this mutilations. It is ironic that many cultures overseas view women as chattel and there are completely different standards for women than men. This is barbaric.
Sex selective abortions have always been a problem in China, but the practice exists in all countries. As many as 4500 sex determined abortions were conducted in the UK even though they are illegal. In many countries women have difficulty getting free birth control, with women often forced to have abortions when they couldn’t get birth control. In the US, funding has been terminated for elective abortions, even if the abortion was necessitated by rape.
The only way to combat these problems is to make them public. Women and men must become more vocal in finding solutions to these issues that render women second-class citizens. Women must be encouraged to report these acts of violence and segregation if we are to solve these problems. Women and men must start discussion groups, contact their governmental representatives, and insist that police enforce laws prohibiting such conduct. We must encourage organizations that provide support for women and support them.
Simply not liking something is not enough. We have to start taking action to make change happen. The biggest change we can make is to stop accepting these conditions that affect women. We need to become more active in combating these situations if we are going to make a difference. As we go through the New Year, remember that there are millions of women who are being victimized, and you may even know some. Let us change how we respond to such tragedy. To re-frame a trite phrase, women’s lives matter.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

Wednesday Night Group Meditation

We will be having the Wednesday night group meditation again this Wednesday night, Jan. 27 at 8PM ET.

You are welcome to attend in person or by teleconference. The tel# is 218-339-2934 and the log in code is 8675309.

If you need the address to the Cave in the Sky please email me and I will give it to you.

This week we will be meditating on changing the energy in your life.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

The Spiritual Industrial Complex

I read an article recently which accuses much of the spiritual new age movement of being a tool of the ruling elite to dumb us down in the same way that religion was used for thousands of years to keep the masses in their places. It argues that meditation, yoga and mind training techniques so popular these days with the middle class are simply Prozac to stop people from actually doing anything to change the social problems we recognize but accept as reality. It further argues that if we do not participate in social change all of our meditation, worship and spiritual practices are actually victimizing us and subjecting us to the powers that be.

This is quite a reactionary argument that has merit to a greater degree than I have ever considered. I have to admit that much of what I have learned in the spiritual arena focuses on how to heal my problems and suffering and could care less about what is happening to my fellow citizens. The training that I have received from quite a few industry leaders focuses on my personal development at the expense of social change. When you think about all of the mind changing courses out there, all of them focus on personal development versus social leadership.

I do not agreeing with the proposition that personal development subjects us to control by the illuminati, and I definitely believe that we have to heal our suffering and trauma before we can change the world for the better. However it is worthwhile to remember that being spiritually healthy has a purpose greater than personal wholeness. There is a new term floating around called “spiritual materialism”, which accuses body mind philosophy as being narcissistic, selfish and vane. It embraces the concept that we are to be optimistic no matter how bad it gets, and somehow this is wrong. I don’t buy into that.

What we must do as we heal ourselves and change the way we perceive our world is to take responsibility for everything we perceive. All perception is projection and we can change it as we change our perception of it. I have always insisted that we create our own reality, but that does not mean that we sit in a lotus position as the world goes to hell in a hand basket. We also have the responsibility to change whatever we can change outside of ourselves as well as inside of ourselves. We need to vote, we need to be vocal with our elected representatives, and we have to be informed. This is our responsibility in a modern age. The yogis are coming out of their caves to join the modern world. We can do no less.

To make this point even more vividly, the article proposed that teaching meditation to assholes only makes more efficient assholes. Interesting proposition to say the least, but it does raise the point of what is the goal of meditation? Is it to calm us down like Prozac or is it to raise our awareness? And if we are raising our awareness, what are we raising it for? After all, what is the point of giving a Maserati to someone that refuses to go faster than 25 miles an hour?

The good news of this article is that it does make one contemplate why we are on a spiritual path and what we hope to accomplish. Not everyone can go teach spirituality or mind control. I am seeing more and more people learn how to meditate and give up their day job to teach some aspect of the Spiritual Industrial Complex. Very few are able to maintain their lifestyle even though they claim that is not their purpose. It does strike me as odd that so many people are paying lots of money to learn how to go broke. If someone wanted to paint an authoritarian picture of that it would be illuminating and I can see how someone might think that the Illuminati were using this to control the masses.

I only bring us this discussion because it was useful for me to look deep inside myself and examine what my motives and objectives were in following this path. It does not escape me that I may just want to avoid getting a real job. However, I also recognize that meditation, self awareness and surrender has their place in my emotional, mental, spiritual and physical growth which will allow me to be a much more effective voice for social change. I hope that is true for us all.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

New Age Healing–Psychology or Magic

There is a huge industry developing globally that consists of “spiritual energy healing”, “healing core issues”, “enlightenment” and similar therapies. It looks a lot like amateur psychology to me. More and more “healers” are taking workshops and looking for emotional causes that “cause” physical illness and “core issues” that cause suffering and stress in their clients. These healers claim that healing these emotional or psychological wounds will heal the physical body. There is a huge amount of anecdotal evidence that supports these claims, but very little clinical data to prove it.

First of all, it is clear that the mind plays an important role in physical health. Depression is basically a mental issue, although physical illness can contribute to the downward spiral of negative thinking that leads to physical ailments that leads to negative thinking and on and on. Interestingly enough, hypnosis has proven that patients who can be lead into a mental trance can have surgery without any physical pain. Hypnosis has also shown to be an effective cure for conditions caused by emotional and mental pain such as post-traumatic stress disorder. There is much clinical evidence that connects the way the mind works to physical well-being.

What is not so clear is how emotions (or emotional trauma) and physical illness are connected. There are many “spiritual energy healing” modalities that primarily involve discussing the emotional causes of illness. I wrote an article for Pain Pathways Magazine years ago that explored the nature of “energy healing” as a collaboration between the healer, the client and the divine. What I was actually describing was the “placebo effect”. The placebo effect is a well-documented circumstance in medical research where sugar pills are given to one group and test drugs are given to the second. If patients that took the sugar pills got better, this was attributed to the mind’s belief that they were getting the trial medication and healed the patient regardless of what they were taking.

Many “new age/spiritual energy healers” attribute physical issues to emotional issues. In other words, if you had pain on the right side of your body, it was attributed to some kind of emotional issue with masculinity. If the pain is on the left side, it is attributed to feminine issues. This could be attributed to father or mother issues. Shoulder issues had to do with regret. Lower back pain was attributed to feelings of rejection or lack of support from your parents, particularly the father. The thought is that if you can identify the emotional issue you can heal the physical issue. By taking a client through their past traumas, it is believed that physical ailments will go into spontaneous remission.

To be completely transparent, I have been a “new age/spiritual energy healer” for eleven years. I have an amazing track record of people healing after a session with me. However, I strongly doubt that I have anything to do with the healing; I was only setting the client up for a placebo effect healing. For example, I was called to a hospital in Hong Kong for a session with a person who had fourth stage brain cancer. The doctors were clear that she did not have many days to live. She was a student of new age spirituality and had affirmations plastered all over her hospital room walls complete with vision boards. All I said to her is “you have permission to heal yourself”, and left. I got a call two hours later from the client who told me she had just had an MRI and all of the tumors had disappeared. I didn’t charge her anything.

What I suspect is happening with this “new age/spiritual” psychology is that we have made the placebo effect a billion dollar industry. More and more people are getting into pseudo-psychology by becoming life coaches, career counselors, self-improvement gurus and energy healers. People pay thousands of dollars to basically learn psychological techniques to identify the purported traumatic causes of physical, emotional, or mental discomfort. They are given charts and questionnaires that they use in determining the “root cause” of disease and then use some sort of technique to tidy that up. Whether it is a shamanic, dramatic, mystical or ancient modality, it is clear that it is intended to tap into the power of our minds to heal the client. In other words, we have spent thousands of dollars to learn a placebo technique. Conversely, we have disempowered ourselves by paying “healers” to do some sort of technique or counseling that we believe will heal us. I believe it would be much more helpful to believe we can heal ourselves and then do it.

Many of us are not taught in our formative years this profound aspect of life, i.e. that our perception creates our reality. Instead of learning how to use our minds to create the life we want, we are taught survival techniques on how to read and write, multiply and divide, and compete. We are taught that life is hard and we are victims subject to forces beyond our control. As more and more people understand that this in not true, more and more people are going into business for themselves and learning how to be happy no matter what happens in their life. The goal of all psychology is to learn how to navigate the “land minds” of life and be happy and productive.

The one problem that many of these new age psychologists face is determining that their client has severe mental problems that have to be addressed by qualified medical professionals. These “healers” are not trained to recognize sociopaths, psychopaths, borderline personality disorder or any other mental or emotional diseases that are best left to medical professionals. Sometimes people are not ready to go deep into their subconscious minds and their psyches can be bruised or even fractured by some of these new amateur psychologists. Websites don’t disclose the clients that went into deep depression or psychotic breaks; they only have testimonials from the happy recipients of the placebo effect. Healers are not trained to understand the difference. After all, if I have appendicitis, I am going to a surgeon, not an energy healer. I am not sure that “energy healers” are trained to recognize medical problems that require surgery and instead delve into the emotional issues that may be causing the medical crisis. After all, if there is no blood, how is one to tell?

We all must recognize that there are some issues that should be left to medical professionals. Forgiving my parents won’t heal my appendicitis, but I may feel better about it when it ruptures. We need to recognize what we are doing in this new wave of alternative healing, and that is being an amateur psychologist. Experience is critical in these treatment modalities, experience in what people are experiencing. If someone has never been divorced or never lost a spouse, it is rarely effective to go to them to be healed of grief. Only someone that has experienced what the client is going through has the wisdom that can help that person. Otherwise you are simply regurgitating information.

When I was a little boy, my dream was to be a wizard like Merlin in the King Arthur legends. I wanted to be able to wave my magic wand over people and everything would be well. I also wanted to escape the traumas of my dysfunctional childhood and make everyone happy. The irony is sometimes it takes a traumatic childhood to manifest our magical selves. We are all wizards, and many of us believe in magic. If there is magic, it is to convince ourselves that we are the source of healing ourselves if we would just give ourselves permission.


Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

Losing Wait



Good lord the time, money and effort I have spent on being something I am not…thin. Exercising, diet supplements, starvation, reading theories, secrets, nutritional journals, labels, counting calories, filing out charts, injections, doctor visits, on and on and on. I suppose I am not the only one, the diet industry is raking in millions, if not billions of dollars a year. According to the body mass index published by ridiculously misinformed doctors I am overweight. I think they are paid off by the diet industry anyway. Overweight is better than the obese level I have been at for most of my adult life. I have the same waistline I had when I was in high school. I have a 42 inch chest and a 32 inch stomach and they tell me I am borderline obese. I can always be thinner but I am not buying into the labels the diet industry wants to put on me. When I weigh what the chart says is healthy I look anorexic anyway.

I have a tattoo on my shoulder that is the number 23. I get asked what that means all of the time. What is means is that anyone can go exercise for one hour in the gym, but it is the other 23 hours that makes the difference in health and body size. Nutritionists claim that dieting is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition. In other words, although exercise is important for physical well being, it is the food that we put into our mouths that makes us look the way we look. I tend to find that if I don’t eat dairy, gluten or sugar I can lose fat fairly quickly. I agree with the nutritionists that preach refined, processed foods are killing us. However giving up ice cream, cake and alcohol does take some of the icing off of the proverbial cake.

It is amazing how the nutritional industry has changed since the AMA came out with the food pyramid in the 50’s. Current thinking has decided that pyramid was unhealthy and we should eat far differently than what was thought was healthy 50 years ago. I do agree that eating more raw food makes me feel and function better; especially raw butter cream icing (kidding). I also tend to agree that we are a nation of gluttons; the food portions here are obscene. I travel internationally a great deal and what we get in restaurants here would feed a family of four abroad. So eating more realistic food portions also goes a long way towards appropriate weight and health.

Paramahansa Yogananda taught that we should chew our food at least 100 times before we swallow, including soup. The digestive tract starts in our mouths, and when we thoroughly masticate our food we actually get more benefit from it. Chewing 100 times also slows down how fast we eat. Having grown up with three brothers it was a feeding frenzy at every meal. When we eat slower, the chemical processes that tell our brain that we are full kick in sooner and we don’t eat as much. So there is a physiological reason for Yogananda’s teachings.

We get fat because of toxins in our body. Our fat protects us from poisons by absorbing these toxins in the body. So the reason we get fat from eating poorly is not necessary a caloric issue, it is due to the chemicals and toxins that are in the crappy food that we eat that triggers the formation of fat cells in our body. While overeating can happen with kale, it takes a huge amount of healthy non-toxic foods to create the fat that one Twinkie creates. This is also why eating non-organic meats is so bad for you. Having been in the cattle industry for twenty years, I can assure you that non-organic meat equates to poison due to the steroids, gmo engineered foods that are feed to commercial beef steers. The same biological process that creates fats in humans occurs in animals lower down the food chain. So by feeding poison to beef cattle and chicken, these animals get fat and more desirable for an unsuspecting public. This is why there is so little prime organic beef. The grade “prime” means intramuscular fat. I raised prime organic beef and it takes a specialized organic diet to create prime grade organic beef. So eating non-organic beef and chicken sparingly is a really good idea.

There is a deeper psychological issue involved in overeating. It may be that emotional trauma makes people want to be invisible and overeating and being morbidly obese will definitely do that in our fitness crazed society. Overeating also makes us feel good temporarily and forget the traumas of the past. Obese people are also subconsciously telling life to “wait”; they don’t want to participate. So “weight” can equate to “wait” in the subconscious mind. So being “overweight” can also be “over wait”.

Whether you are overweight or pleasantly plump is largely an issue of perception. It is interesting that society values body shapes inversely from the food supply. When food is plentiful, thin is beautiful. When food is scarce, curves are desirable. Until we can get past the illusion of physical appearance, thinness or curves will always be desirable, normal, healthy bodies seem to never make it on the cover of Vogue magazine. I am encouraged by the recent movement to appreciate curves; perhaps we are gaining some sense that how people look has nothing to do with beauty. I think I am going to have some French fries.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson


I live in New York City/Manhattan, the melting pot of the known world. Fashion is always a malleable thing here, with cultures standing out, clashing, merging and creating a vibrant newness every day. There are also the corporate type that wear suits and ties all of the time. The one thing that I notice and love about New York is that there are so many styles to choose from. It is fun to notice whatever is the new hairstyle, the newest shoe style, the newest fashion craze. I am told that the leggings industry grew out of one woman’s dilemma of not having any clean pants or skirts to wear, so she just cut the feet off of a pair of panty hose. Voila!

I also counsel people on how to breakthrough their illusions and become bigger, brighter lights. (My website is www.jamesgrayrobinson.com). It occurred to me the other day that how we dress is one of the biggest boxes that we put ourselves into. My father wore a suit and tie six days a week for most of his life. His “sloppy” clothes consisted of a button down collared shirt and ironed blue jeans. I completely understood that he grew up in the Depression and he wanted to dress as elegantly as he could to underscore his success later in life. When people looked at him, they instantly knew he was a force to be dealt with and a very successful man.

There are many reasons why we dress the way we do. Some people are guided by comfort, some people guided by price, and some people are guided by appearance. Being the raging rebel that I am, I usually dressed “down” as often as possible to be as opposite to my father as I could be. I did not understand that at the time, but it is pretty clear looking back that was my motivation. I think that is a large part of the goth and gangsta look these days, basically a rebellion against the status quo and an attempt not to fit into any kind of mold.

I remember back in the 60’s and 70’s the great discrepancy between corporate dress and the counter culture. Blacks and grays clashed with primary colors and offbeat designs. I was never allowed to wear that “hippy stuff” because it might reflect poorly on my wealthy parents.

In contemplating what to wear these days, we have a much wider range of styles to choose from than ever before. Corporations allow jeans and “business casual” to replace suits and ties. Even designer t-shirts and blue jeans are considered stylish these days.

It occurs to me that clothes can reflect a lot about who we are and what image we want to present to the world. Clothes can also be a limitation about who we are because we may be wearing a “uniform” of sorts that keeps us in a box. Clothes should reflect our uniqueness and individuality. I dress according to how I feel. The saddest thing about style is how people judge us by what we wear. How limiting and judgmental! It would be such a wonderful place to live if everyone on this planet would let go of their prejudices about style and let people be whoever they want to be. If I want to wear my underwear outside of my pants and be Superman I will.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

Never Say Sorry

How many times do you reckon you have said: “I’m sorry” in your lifetime? What comes out of your mouth is more important than what you put in it. Do you really want to say that you are “sorry”? Sorry means “in a poor or pitiful state”. It is clear to me that most people don’t mean what they say and say what they don’t mean. We have to get clear on how we feel and what we are trying to communicate.

Instead of saying “I am sorry”, consider saying something else. The best alternative is to say “thank you”. For example, if you are late, when you finally arrive, instead of saying: “I am sorry I am late”, say “thank you for waiting for me”. It is positive while saying “I am sorry” is a criticism. When we love ourselves, we do not criticize our behavior, we look for the positive in the situation. I am reminded of dogs that go belly up when they submit to dogs or someone they perceive as more powerful than they are. We have to start saying what we mean and mean what we say. I know many people who say “sorry” when they are being insincere, they have no intention of changing their behavior, they have learned that all they have to do is say “sorry” and their behavior is accepted.

The truth is we have to start communicating in ways where we acknowledge the being we are communicating with as well as not devaluing us. If we feel that we have to apologize for something, the only way that is meaningful is not to repeat that behavior. It does absolutely no good to keep repeating objectionable behavior and saying “sorry, sorry”. When we do that, we lose our credibility. “Sorry” is the mantra of addicts and alcoholics. If you intend to make things right, the only way to do that is to never repeat the offending actions.

There is nothing more self-destructive than an insincere apology. If you are chronically late, you will permanently damage a relationship by thinking that saying “sorry” is all you have to do. That person will eventually drop you like a rock because they will begin to doubt your sincerity and not believe you. When we begin to use “sorry” as a panacea, as a cure-all for unacceptable behavior, our relationships will deteriorate quickly. When we use “sorry” to avoid taking responsibility and being authentic, we quickly lose credibility.

So we need to look for more positive, more authentic ways to acknowledge what we are doing and taking responsibility for our actions. Make a list of the things you chronically say “sorry” for. Being late, interrupting, being abusive, getting drunk or high, inappropriate language or behavior, the list goes on and on. When we look to acknowledge the pain or hurt we have caused, we begin to be more conscious about the consequences of our actions. Instead of saying “I am sorry I am late”, consider saying “Thank you for being patient.” Instead of saying “I am sorry I lost my temper”, say “thank you for understanding I am under a lot of stress and I acted inappropriately.” Instead of saying “I am sorry and I will never do that again”, say “thank you for standing by me when I am acting irresponsibly.” It is all about being accountable and taking responsibility.

In fact, every time you are tempted to say “sorry”, say “thank you”. How you put it into the context of what is happening is up to you. Instead of saying “Sorry I am a disappointment”, say “thank you for having hope for me”. Instead of saying “Sorry for wasting your time”, say “thank you for spending your time with me”. Instead of saying “Sorry I am not making sense”, say “thank you for listening”.

On the flip side, never say you are sorry for being you. Express it, shout it, climb up on the rooftops and exclaim it. Many times we are being authentic and real and it threatens someone. When they confront you with it we say “sorry” because we are afraid they will not like us. Well BS on that. You can say “thank you for your opinion” but never say “sorry”. When we say “sorry” when we haven’t done anything wrong we limit ourselves and put ourselves into a box that we may never crawl out of. Acknowledging the other person will always pay off, belittling yourself never will. So make this happen, be thankful, not sorry.