10 TALKING POINTS
For Carolyn Hobbs’ new book, FREE YOURSELF
- In Chap. One of your book, FREE YOURSELF, you describe how the Power of Conscious Choice leads to more joy & happiness. What is Conscious Choice & how can it reduce defensive reactions by saying “yes” to what is?
- In Chapter Two on Curiosity, you teach that the Power of Simple Questions can eliminate back pain, headaches, neck pain and stress symptoms. Would you be willing to take listeners through a simple question to help reduce pain?
- You describe in Chapter Three that the Power of Responsibility helps us step out of any victim stance by asking, “Which part of me feels scared, sad, anxious or rejected right now?” How can distinguishing the voice of ego from the voice of our wounded child or our wise Heart help us cultivate inner peace?
- Also in Chap. Three, Your Aware Heart, you mention the importance of identifying Core Beliefs. What are Core Beliefs? Give us an example of how identifying our core belief can create closeness & intimacy in our marriage?
- Chapter Four teaches readers the Five Core Feelings. What are the Five Core Feelings & why is it important to drop below our surface feelings of anger, frustration, jealousy or resentment to name our core feelings to loved ones?
- You claim in your book, FREE YOURSELF, that Compassion is the most important of the Ten Powers of our Wise Heart. What is Self-Compassion? Why is it important? Give us a few quick two-second Compassion phrases we can use while sitting at a red light, working out or standing in a grocery line.
- How does the Power of Acceptance help us reduce anxiety, fear, despair and hopelessness to experience more inner peace and less problems in daily life?
- What is a “Do-Over?” How can it reduce conflict and save a marriage?
- In Chapter eight, you say Forgiveness comes from the Power of Letting Go? How do we free ourselves from resentments without condoning bad behavior?
- Chapter Ten of FREE YOURSELF invites us to choose Inner Peace. How does the Power of Surrender bring more peace into our daily life. Can you give us an example of how to choose inner peace over problems?
FREE YOURSELF CHAPTER TITLES & TEN HEART POWERS:
Chapter One: Your Trusting Heart: The Power of Conscious Choice
Chapter Two: Your Curious Heart: The Power of Simple Questions
Chapter Three: Your Aware Heart: The Power of Responsibility
Chapter Four: Your Resourceful Heart: The Power of Fearless Love
Chapter Five: Your Compassionate Heart: The Power of Acceptance
Chapter Six: Your Kind Heart: The Power of Generosity
Chapter Seven: Your Grateful Heart: The Power of Appreciation
Chapter Eight: Your Forgiving Heart: The Power of Letting Go
Chapter Nine: Your Truthful Heart: The Power of Integrity
Chapter Ten: Your Peaceful Heart: The Power of Surrender
**”Self-Compassion Talk” on SF-Bay Area Aging Boomers Radio Mon., 4/6th
Carolyn Hobbs shares Feedom found in Self-Awareness, Self-Love & Compassion:
**Lahaina FREE YOURSELF Book signing August 8th on Maui
Article Last Updated: Monday, October 06, 2014 7:01 Local therapist, teacher and author Carolyn Hobbs has penned her second book, Free Yourself: Ten Life Changing Powers of Your Wise Heart. She draws from her personal experience, her role as teacher and her 30 years as a therapist to invite readers to make changes that can vastly improve their lives.
Hobbs uses teachings derived from Buddha to help readers employ her practical tools regardless of their personal-belief systems. Buddha’s First Noble Truth is “Suffering is woven into the fabric of life,” and the book focuses largely on ways to overcome that inevitable suffering. Hobbs also writes that “unconscious ego habits” derive from expectations put on people by gender, family and society and hinder an individual’s ability to achieve personal joy.
Free Yourself is written in two parts and 10 chapters that address the powers that Hobbs claims will ultimately result in inner peace. The first section is called “Freedom From Sabotaging Ego Habits,” and the second is “Bringing Freedom and Inner Peace into the World.”
Hobbs proceeds to share the 10 “heart choices” that she argues will improve one’s life and relationships. These choices include trust, presence, curiosity, awareness, resourcefulness, compassion, kindness, gratitude, forgiveness, truthfulness and peacefulness. At the end of each chapter, she lists four heart tools to practice before moving on to the next chapter. These tools include practices like meditation and daily intentions.
Hobbs’ heart choices are illustrated with episodes from her own experiences as well as her clients. She also uses examples from her couples’ therapy sessions. It is fascinating to hear the types of issues that can cause unhappiness and impinge on finding a meaningful life for others.
One of the most important lessons that can be learned from Free Yourself is to love and respect yourself. After accepting yourself, Hobbs explains, you can share and help others. Challenges are thrown into everyone’s lives, she writes, but fear, loss and illness can be better dealt with by using the tools she offers.
Hobbs also shares her deep appreciation of the living world around her. The natural setting, weather and wildlife in the Durango area bring her peace, and she invites others to take part in the healing aspect of nature.
Hobbs encourages readers to follow the simple steps she’s developed and use her well-organized tools to live in the present, be aware of their bodies, minds and especially, their hearts. A kind, compassionate person who can accept his or herself will be able to share and enrich the lives of others.
It is clear that Hobbs is passionate about her life’s work and that she sometimes struggles with keeping herself on the “wise heart” road. By sharing her experiences and, sometimes, her roadblocks, she gives readers the special gift of knowing that everyone’s life is a work in progress, and it is a daily choice to live fully in the moment. Hobbs’ writing style is warm and friendly, and her tools can be used by anyone with an interest in living more fully.
Hobbs’ closing words are uplifting and wise.
“Freedom is the truth of life, including who we are in our heart. Freedom is everywhere every moment, alive in all living things. Freedom is the gift of this moment. Unwrap it now.”
firstname.lastname@example.org. Leslie Doran is a Durango freelance reviewer.
DURANGO TELEGRAPH ARTICLE/ FREE YOURSELF/GRATITUDE
Volume XIIl, No. 50, Dec 11, 2014
The Independent Weekly Line on Durango and Beyond
Gratitude during the holidays – and beyond
(Editor’s note: The following is a condensed excerpt from Carolyn Hobbs’ latest book, Free Yourself, Ten Life-Changing Powers of a Wise Heart. The excerpt comes from Chapter 7, “Your Grateful Heart: The Power of Appreciation.” This is the second book for Hobbs, a licensed marriage and family therapist living in Durango. Her book is available at Maria’s Bookshop.)
I feel steeped in gratitude this hot July morning. The inner peace abounding in my soul feels untouchable, as if I could never be ruffled by anything ever again. Why? Because yesterday a herd of elk – mommas, babies and young males with fuzzy antlers – stampeded past me so close, I felt the ground shake. This moment will live in my heart forever.
Yesterday, Sunday, we woke up at six to hike above 11,000 feet in the San Juan Mountains before the afternoon thunderstorms arrived. For four hours, my heart felt drenched in the beauty of this summer’s wildflowers: Columbine, Perry’s primrose, purple fringe, and meadows of tiny bluebells and Indian paintbrush. When my friend and I sat down to eat our sandwiches, we spotted 25 female elk grazing below with their frisky babies in the meadow. But this is not why I feel steeped in gratitude.
After lunch, as we stood to leave, we were blessed with elk close up. I looked over my shoulder, to spot a large brown female elk running full speed toward me. I looked directly into her eyes, and she into mine. She leapt to her right mid-air with the grace of a swan, leading her herd away from us by 8 or 10 feet.
My friend and I squatted behind a short ponderosa pine, jaws agape. Two hundred huge thousand-pound elk, dark brown fur flying, breezed past us as one body, like a flock of birds. They looked straight ahead, dutifully running toward the ancient yet familiar call of their leader, a six-point male. Baby elk, barely 3 feet tall baring the round spots of youth on their backs, pushed their long, gangly legs to stay by mother’s side, despite how hard they were panting. Though it only lasted a few minutes, this precious gift from nature felt like a timeless eternity. My friend and I felt altered for hours after. Even as I write this two days later, it brings tears to my eyes.
I love glimpsing wildlife while roaming in nature. It feeds my soul like nothing else.
In such moments, gratitude arises spontaneously. It is easy, natural to feel grateful for the things we love. We find ourselves brimming with gratitude when we fall in love (every time), hold our newborn, make a new friend or win the lottery. Those recovering from surgery, heart attack or a cancer scare feel grateful just to be alive.
In other words, gratitude comes easily when we get what we want.
But what about the rest of the time? Is it possible to stretch our notion of gratitude?
Too often, we muster a pittance of gratitude after the fact, when it is too late. We finally locate gratitude for a good lover or spouse after they leave. When it is too late, we finally see past our anger and complaining to recognize all the good things they brought to our lives. Even with our children, we can stay so lost in the daily hassles and pressures of parenting, rarely touching gratitude for the whole precious experience until long after they have left home.
We repeatedly take our health for granted – until after we lose it. Then suddenly we are flooded with gratitude, teary eyed for the good health we had. I am in this predicament. One week ago I hiked for hours, blessed with elk sightings. Today, I write with a knee injury, barely able to walk. Gratitude was not my first reaction to being injured at the peak of hiking season. That is much longer than the four-letter word(s) I found myself mumbling under my breath, through gritted teeth.
Whenever illness, injury, pain or conflict enters our world, gratitude is not our first reaction. (Nor our second or third, for that matter.) Our egos stay lost in the “story” of what happened, who is to blame and why this can’t possibly happen right now – all forms of resisting the truth. But when I remember gratitude, I feel lighter and more peaceful. I stop feeling like I’m swallowing bad medicine.
Trust replaces mistrust. Acceptance replaces resistance. Humility replaces pride.
With my knee injury, as soon as I let go of how I thought this week should go, I surrendered. I sank down into receiving some much-needed rest (the “gift” of this injury). I revisited patience, letting my knee’s wisdom guide my choices.
Gratitude is rarely used and even more misunderstood. We fear that if we feel grateful for being sick, we will never get well. That is, we live under a mistaken assumption that gratitude is synonymous with bringing more of what we don’t want.
But right now, try stepping into a whole new brand of gratitude: Gratitude for what is, exactly as it is. Try feeling gratitude for every life experience, the good and the bad. Try saying “yes” to the things you like and those you don’t like.
Say “yes” to the tense neck, the conflict with your spouse or friend, even money worries. Wonder to yourself, “What lesson might this experience be here to teach me?” Keep extending gratitude to those unwelcome visitors you try to avoid: loneliness, despair, fear, sadness and regret.
If you find yourself plodding through a painful breakup, try being a loving friend to your heart by saying five things you are grateful for. Drop the storyline in your mind, and notice how gratitude feels in your belly and your heart.
For example, my therapist friend Brad felt resentful when his weekly client quit on him – until Brad saw how hurt his client felt when Brad canceled his appointment to go skiing. Brad learned the importance of consistency – a lesson he never forgot.
My friend Anna stormed into her first appointment with her new cardiologist, angrily declaring, “I refuse to take any steroid drugs! I’ll lower my cholesterol naturally or not at all.” Once the cardiologist told my 47-year-old friend that her plaque was in the worst place possible and could lead to a massive stroke in a few months, she leapt into gratitude – for her doctor finding the problem and being able to help.
My client Larry complained that his wife was too sensitive, too caretaking – until he was in a car wreck and suffered a back injury. Unable to drive himself, he needed his wife to drive him to physical therapy for four months. “I tell her how grateful I am every day,” he told me, “that she’s so generous with her time.”
Gratitude holds secret powers – powers we were taught little about. Gratitude can turn your bad mood good (on a dime). It can change a bad day into a good one. It has the power to wake you from playing victim or complaining about your relationship to creating the relationship your heart longs for, without changing partners.
How? By embracing life. Gratitude trusts life, trusts this moment, just as it is. It does not need this moment, or any other moment, to be any different, easier or better. Yes, a grateful heart embraces all of life, including illness, pain, loss, even death. It welcomes good and bad equally, without judgment. Gratitude trusts that – even though you went to great lengths to avoid your current experience – you are having the experience you need to be having to learn the lessons you need to learn now. n
– Carolyn Hobbs