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TJ Watkins, Life Coach
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Many of us have had the experience of setting a goal, and initially, like the first week on a weight loss diet, we are so pumped and motivated that it seems like nothing can stop us; and then something does. What is this something? It seems like this something just comes from out of the blue, but the truth is it has a name: ego. Generally, the word is associated with someone with a boastful and external confidence, but that is only one of many ego manifestations. Unbeknown to many, the ego also hides in the negative feelings and stories we have about ourselves. Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2011 at TJ Watkins
This past weekend while on my second hour of cardio, I became aware of a very strong thought pattern: being terrified of failing at my upcoming bodybuilding competition. I have never really seen it this clearly before, and I am surprised by the depth of the feeling. In my clarity, I found a mind pattern that has been so prominent throughout my life that it is startling to see how every achievement has been driven by this terrifying feeling. Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2011 at TJ Watkins
Sometimes we find ourselves lost in the drama-filled story of our life. This story is so compelling that it draws us in emotionally, physically, and spiritually. They all seem so real: the financial challenges, relationship pain, career path, and spiritual matters. All of this really impacts our life; or does it? I suggest we look closely and refrain from getting sidetracked with mainstream ideas and labels. The mainstream ideas oversimplify by labeling that which really needs to be investigated. Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2011 at TJ Watkins
All of our conditioning has been around the promise of a better tomorrow, or a savior who will take the pain away and heal our emotional wounds, but these mind patterns have not worked for any of us. They have only built emotional scar tissue so we feel less and less, until we become empty seashells that once contained something alive, beautiful, and vibrant. Inviting this exploration into the pain and discomfort brings forth those hidden aspects that run most people’s lives, simultaneously revealing the opportunity to choose a more liberating life experience. Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2011 at TJ Watkins
I am relearning a very important life lesson while preparing for my upcoming bodybuilding show: life unfolds at its own pace. Many of us attempt to ignore this important fact and get lured in by those who promise a quick result of one kind or another. No part of our individual life lesson plan can be skipped or fast-tracked, and when we get sucked into believing that someone can speed up our achievement rate, that too is part of the unfolding process. Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2011 at TJ Watkins
Right about now you may have realized that I am using bodybuilding as a specific example of what happens to every human being who faces an uncertain situation. When uncertainty infiltrates the human psyche, story creation is the method it uses to cope. Up to now, this mind pattern ran automatically when uncertainty occurred, but now we have the awareness that it exists. Being aware gives us the opportunity to investigate and discover how uncertainty leads to many of our actions that result in some very painful outcomes. Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2011 at TJ Watkins
Many observers of bodybuilding or other body sports assume that the individual practicing the particular discipline is someone who is self-obsessed and, to a degree, narcissistic. I must admit that these stereotypes would not be present if there were not so many examples that support such assumptions, but the opposite also exists. There are those who are on an egoless journey to discover aspects of themselves through their particular sport. However, one will never know which is which until we abandon the judgment and experience the person. Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2011 at TJ Watkins
It’s 3:15 a.m. and the alarm goes off. Every part of my body wants to go back to sleep, but I’ve made the commitment to do another bodybuilding show. As I lie in bed reaching for the heating pad to loosen the stiffness in my lower back, I observe the same old thoughts emerging. They urge me to continue sleeping; they present me with many different options about when I should get up and how not to jump on my elliptical machine to get my 45 minute cardio session started. This morning the commitment wins, and I get up and start the cardio session. Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2011 at TJ Watkins
During the last few weeks, I’ve recognized a new kind of openness in the people around me. This openness is difficult to explain, because it is like an energy that manifests itself through the questions that they ask that are completely exploratory in nature. They really have a desire to experience the inner knowing that up to now has been drowned out by the stories and voices of deceit in their minds. A readiness to experience a reality other than the illusionary reality of our everyday life is what I sense in them. Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2011 at TJ Watkins
When I listen to clients’ pain-filled stories, I recognize how their attention gets diverted while some really disturbing things are happening to them or to someone they care about. This is especially prevalent in cases where some form of abuse is present. A typical story of pain I hear is when the abused blames one parent for turning a blind eye while being abused by the other parent. We have all heard these stories, whether they are dramatized on a talk or reality show or they have happened to us. The bottom line is that the abused feels justified in acting out years later because of the abuse story. But let’s look closer: things are not always what they appear to be. Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2011 at TJ Watkins
Last week I wrote the blog Keep choosing the lie that identified an aspect I called I want what I want, and it seems to have seriously troubled some folks. It was a strange week because without realizing it, I had managed to scrape the scabs off some of my readers’ I want what I want aspects. This really became evident when I ran into a regular reader of the blogs at my local coffee shop. He explained to me that my last blog insinuates that we are all living a lie. He was very upset by it, but surprisingly, not angry, which pointed to an opening within him that I chose to explore. Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2011 at TJ Watkins
I can’t believe I did it again. I am so stupid – all the signs were there. How could I have walked right into the same situation again? When will I ever learn? These are some of the rants I hear from clients, friends, and family when they realize that they have allowed an old behavior to take center stage in their lives. Ironically, these internal dialogues feed the very aspect that created all the messiness in the first place. Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2011 at TJ Watkins
I can’t believe I did it again. I am so stupid – all the signs were there. How could I have walked right into the same situation again? When will I ever learn? These are some of the rants I hear from clients, friends, and family when they realize that they have allowed an old behavior to take center stage in their lives. Ironically, these internal dialogues feed the very aspect that created all the messiness in the first place. Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2011 at TJ Watkins
In my daily life, I am inundated with the stories of clients who completely despise the behavior of others. I listen to them vow that they will never be like their parents, bosses, or friends. They tell me about all the shortcomings of character, values, and beliefs of others in their lives. The most amazing part of listening to these stories is the intensity of the judgment energy with which they are told. In moments, I can almost smell the fear and anxiety in them. They so desperately do not want to be that angry, judgmental, jealous, and nasty person, that they do not even realize that is exactly how they are presenting themselves. Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2011 at TJ Watkins
Earlier this week, I caught a glimpse of a news story in which a man in the Netherlands had a dream and decided to build an ark, much like the Biblical character Noah, who built an ark after he received... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2011 at TJ Watkins
Big sporting news last week was the capsizing of the Oracle team sailboat while it was doing practice drills in San Francisco Bay in preparation for the America’s Cup yacht race in 2013. The news footage was awesome: it almost looked choreographed. In a conversation later with one of my clients who is a world class sailor, she explained to me that it was not staged, and that the vessel actually entered into the death zone. The death zone is when a sailboat enters into a series of very fast moving events; once these events get started, they cannot be stopped, and must run their course. Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2011 at TJ Watkins
Since my return from South Africa, I have been seriously challenged to stay connected with the love roots amidst vicious attacks made on my family and me here at home. The love, trust, and regard I held for people with whom I have shared many special moments are almost disappearing behind the dark curtain of old ways of being. I observe these dark but familiar voices of vengeance and total annihilation of another entering my mind, but I choose to do nothing. Doing nothing makes me feel weak because I am not showing up in my war suit, the attire that has walked me through many a street battle. Yet, I sit through the feelings. Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2011 at TJ Watkins
One of the great challenges of being human is clearly seeing those aspects of us that run in default mode. Default mode refers to behaviors that we move into automatically and are so deeply programmed that it never even occurs to us that we are displaying them. This default mode gives rise to aspects of us described by some authors as the shadow, the unconscious, the dark side, and a host of other labels. When we wake up to these aspects – usually behaviors or addictions – most of us feel powerless, and the desire to cover it or to fix it becomes an uncontrollable obsession. Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2011 at TJ Watkins
While in conversation with a close friend earlier this week, he used the term “wind at my back." This term intrigues me because in the years I was cycling, I battled through many windstorms and could always feel which way the wind was blowing. When the wind was at my back, I could go faster, cover more ground, use less energy, and occupy a state of mind of enjoyment. This enjoyment mindset allowed me to do everything right. It seemed like the push–pull pedal stroke I normally struggled with came so much more easily; keeping my shoulders relaxed and my knees inward happened automatically. Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2011 at TJ Watkins
I recently returned from South Africa where I spent a few weeks visiting family, friends, and several social projects we fund. After meeting up with family, one of the first social projects I visited is set in a beautiful part of the country that is about a two hour drive from a major city. As I approached this project, located high in the hills of an amazing landscape, I was immediately struck by the peace and intense silence just below the surface of my awareness. The peace I became aware of in the Ixopo valley followed me all the way through my stay in South Africa. Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2011 at TJ Watkins
During the last few weeks, preparing for my trip back to South Africa, I have felt my anxiety levels increasing as I’ve observed my mind rushing into the future while the judgment of past choices attempts to vacuum up all the air. The only thing that has kept me sane has been the ability to allow it all to be in my space without judging it. This has opened many learning opportunities, and I can see how past choices that were good for that time and space have turned into cancers in this time and this space. Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2011 at TJ Watkins
Many times in life, we are confronted with life situations that seem extremely complex, but are, in essence, very simple. The complexity of any life situation is always on the surface, or within the realm of the fear-based ego. On this level, we think, justify, and follow a course of action that will ultimately just render more pain. Simple solutions are always the most difficult because they require us to surrender to the love root that is guided by an intuitive knowing that shatters all our ego identities. Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2011 at TJ Watkins
One of the biggest reasons that a relationship ends is that people stop being willing to take the time to invest in the relationship. Consistently investing time and energy in our relationships demonstrates to others that they are important enough to us that we choose, despite all the demands placed on us, to show up for them. I have observed this to be the most accurate indicator of the state of any relationship. Once you realize this, you are no longer drawn in by the promising words that never align with the actions. Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2011 at TJ Watkins
Just woke up from a restless night; chest is tight, stomach churning, and my head is pounding. What is happening? I am still in bed with all these negative dialogues floating in my head; I watch them going around and around. I allow them to be there, but they are causing a physical reaction in me. I keep repeating the words, “I am open and willing to see what is hidden,” and then I see it: the anger that is keeping me trapped in this mind play. I instinctively move closer to meet the anger and discover what it has brought. Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2011 at TJ Watkins
Through the years, experience has taught me to walk away from situations that involve unconscious negative energy because these situations breathe life into aspects of me that are also unconscious, and that never really ends well for anybody. The point of this story is to illustrate that sometimes, we accidentally scrape the scabs from the deep wounds of others, and they are unable to distinguish between us and those parties who share real responsibility for their woundedness, thereby creating pain-filled outcomes for all parties. In this case, the young man was affected by my request that he follow the rules, and this sparked a feeling of being singled out – a sense of the unfairness of my “authority” – but whatever triggered it, the what is showed up clearly: he was affected. Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2011 at TJ Watkins