Isn’t it that time of year when you just want to get cozy with a great book?
I have a Thin Thinking Read recommendation that I believe you will not only enjoy but that will change the way you relate to yourself in a transformative way.
I was lucky enough to be introduced to Tara Brach’s work a few years ago by a dear therapist friend of mine. Have you ever read a book and it’s been more than a book but like food for your soul? Well Buddhist psychologist Tara Brach’s ground breaking book Radical Acceptance was like a feast of lessons in self-compassion and mindfulness.
If you ever feel like you are living in a perpetual trance of unworthiness? (which we do a lot of our time) I think you will get a lot from this book.
Tara Brach uncovers the trance and shows us a way to become present to ourselves, self-compassionate, and at home in our body.
Join me in the 84th Episode of Thin Thinking Podcast and let’s get into more about this amazing book and why I think it’s a perfect thin thinking read for the autumn.
In This Episode, You'll Learn:
Links Mentioned in this Episode
Subscribe and Review
Have you subscribed to the podcast yet? If not, go ahead and click the ‘subscribe’ button for your favorite podcast platform! You don’t want to miss a single episode.
If you enjoyed this episode, it would be very helpful to us if you would leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. This review helps people who are on the same weight loss journey as you to find us and soak up all the wonderful insights and lessons I have to offer.
If you aren’t sure how to leave a review in Apple Podcasts/iTunes, view our tutorial by clicking here.
Subscribe and Never Miss an Episode
Rita Black: Do you ever feel like you are living in a perpetual trance of unworthiness? In Tara Brach's Seminole book, Radical Acceptance, she uncovers the trance and shows us a way to become present to ourselves, self-compassionate, and at home in our body. In this episode, I am going to get into more about this amazing book and why I think it's a thin thinking read for the autumn. So grab your book marker and come on in.
Rita Black: Did you know that our struggle with weight doesn't start with the food on your plate or get fixed in the gym? 80% of our weight struggle is mental. That's right. The key to unlocking long-term weight release and management begins in your mind. Hi there, I'm Rita Black. I'm a clinical hypnotherapist weight loss expert, bestselling author, and the creator of the Shift Weight Mastery Process. And not only have I helped thousands of people over the past 20 years achieve long-term weight mastery, I am also a former weight struggler, carb addict and binge eater.
Rita Black: And after two decades of failed diets and fad weight loss programs, I lost 40 pounds with the help of hypnosis. Not only did I release all that weight, I have kept it off for 25 years. Enter the Thin Thinking Podcast where you too will learn how to remove the mental roadblocks that keep you struggling. I'll give you the thin thinking tools, skills and insights to help you develop the mindset you need, not only to achieve your ideal weight, but to stay there long term and live your best life.
Rita Black: Hey, hey, hey. Come on in everybody. Welcome friends. It is coming up to my favorite time of the year. The time the end of October is my favorite time here in LA because it finally begins to cool down usually. We'll see this year. But the one thing that I miss about living in places that see the seasons is the turning of the leaves. So those of you who are in those regions of the world where the leaves are turning, I'm a little jealous. In LA, they just turn brown and fall to the ground. But it's a romantic time of year when we come inside and we snuggle up with a good book. And so there may be some of you who are already fans of Tara Brach, who is a Buddhist psychologist and is probably one of the most influential forces in the world of mental health, who has brought the idea of self-compassion into popular culture.
Rita Black: So I am highlighting her most popular book, Radical Acceptance today. It's funny, I gave it to my daughter a few years ago and she devoured it and highlighted many of the passages and it's one of those books you do wanna highlight and remember. There are so many great passages in there. So why I recommend this book for you as a thin thinker is that any journey to weight mastery isn't just about weight. It really is that journey of accepting and loving yourself. And why I think this book offers many concrete tools for opening up your mind and heart to accepting and loving yourself.
Rita Black: So I'm gonna read to you from the synopsis and some of my favorite passages and also my daughters' cuz she's highlighted these as well. So let me just grab the synopsis and read.
Rita Black: Believing that something is wrong with us is a deep and tenacious suffering, says Tara Brach at the start of this illuminating book. This suffering emerges in crippling self-judgment and conflicts in our relationships, in addictions and perfectionism, in loneliness and overwork, all the forces that keep our lives constricted and unfulfilled. Radical acceptance offers a path to freedom, including the day to day practical guidance developed over Dr. Brach's 20 years of work with therapy clients and Buddhist students. Writing with great warmth and clarity, Tara Brach brings her teachings alive through personal stories, in case studies, fresh interpretations of Buddhist tales, and guided meditations step by step. She shows how we can stop being at war with ourselves and begin to live fully every precious moment of our lives.
Rita Black: All right. Sound inviting enough? I think it does. Okay. So let me read you one of the first passages in the book. Perhaps the biggest tragedy in our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns. Entangled in the trance of unworthiness. We grow accustomed to caging ourselves with self-judgment and anxiety, with restlessness and dissatisfaction. We grow incapable of accessing the freedom and peace that are our birthright. We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe and beauty around us, to dance and sing, yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small. Even if we were to win millions of dollars in the lottery or marry the perfect person, as long as we feel not good enough, we won't be able to enjoy the possibilities before us. We can learn to recognize when we are keeping ourselves trapped by our own beliefs and fears. We can see how we are wasting our precious lives. The way out of our cage begins with accepting absolutely everything about ourselves and our lives by embracing with wakefulness and care our moment to moment experience by accepting absolutely everything.
Rita Black: What I mean is that we are aware of what is happening within our body and mind in any given moment without trying to control or judge or pull away, I don't mean that we're putting up with harmful behavior or with either our own or others. This is an inner process of accepting our actual present moment experience. It means feeling sorrow and pain without resisting. It means feeling desire or dislike for someone or something without judging ourselves for the feeling or being driven to act on it. Clearly recognizing what is happening inside us and regarding what we see with an open, kind, and loving heart is what I call radical acceptance. If we are holding back from any part of our experience, if our heart shuts out any part of who we are and what we feel, we are fueling the fears and feelings of separation that sustain the trance of unworthiness. Radical acceptance directly dismantles the very foundation of this trance.
Rita Black: So that gave you a pretty good idea of what the book is about. Here is a little passage called Running Away Deepens the Trance. What I like about Tara is she uses a lot of different pulls, storytelling, different folk tales and poems along the way, and really weaves them into her interpretation. And this is one of them.
Rita Black: A traditional folk tale tells the story of a man who becomes so frightened by his own shadow that he tries to run away from it. He believes that if he could only leave it behind, he would then be happy. The man grows increasingly distressed as he sees that no matter how fast he runs, his shadow never once falls behind, not about to give up. He runs faster and faster until finally he drops dead of exhaustion. If only he had stepped into the shade and sat down to rest, his shadow would've vanished. Our own personal shadow is made up of those parts of our being that we experience as unacceptable. Our families and culture let us know early on which qualities of human nature are valued and which are frowned upon. Because we want to be accepted and loved, we try to fashion and present itself that will attract others and secure our belonging. But we inevitably express our natural aggression or neediness or fear parts of our emotional makeup that frequently are taboo and the significant people in our life react to us. Whether we are mildly scolded, ignored, or traumatically rejected on some level, we are hurt and pushed away.
Rita Black: The shadow becomes a force in our psyche. As we regularly exile the emotions that could elicit rejection from others, we might bury and forget our childlike excitement. Ignore our anger until it becomes knots of tension in our body. Cover our fears with endless judgment and blame. Our shadow is rooted in shame, bound by our sense of being basically defective. The more deeply we feel flawed and unlovable, the more desperately we run away from the clutches of the shadow. Yet by running from what we fear, we feed the inner darkness. Whenever we reject a part of our being, we are confirming to ourselves our fundamental unworthiness. Underneath, I shouldn't get so angry lies there's something with wrong with me. If I do like being stuck in quicksand, our frantic efforts to get away from our badness sink us deeper. As we strive to avoid the shadow, we solidify our identity as a fearful deficient self. As happens in any addiction, the behaviors we use to keep us from pain only fuel our suffering. Not only do our escape strategies amplify the feeling that something is wrong with us, they stop us from attending to the very parts of ourselves that need our attention to heal.
Rita Black: As Carl Young states in one of his key insights, the unfaced and unfit parts of our psyche are the source of all neurosis and suffering. When we learned face and feel fear and shame we habitually avoid, we begin to awaken from the trance. We free ourselves to respond to our circumstances and ways that bring genuine peace and happiness.
Rita Black: All right, I'm gonna read to you one last piece about leaning into fear and just to give you a taste of what this book is about. And I really highly recommend this is a really great autumn read as we head into the dark days of winter to really go into the winter with an attitude of even though the days are darker, that we can reach within and appreciate and love ourselves more. So this, the chapter is called Leaning into Fear.
Rita Black: In a popular teaching story, a man being chased by a tiger leaps off a cliff in his attempt to get away. Fortunately, a tree growing on the side of the cliff breaks his fall dangling from it by one arm. Tiger pacing above jetting rocks hundreds of feet below, he yells out in desperation, "Help! Somebody help me." A voice responds. "Yes?" The man screams "God! God! Is that you again?"
Rita Black: "Yes." Terrified, the man says, "God, I'll do anything. Just please, please, please help me." God responds. "Okay, then just let go." The man pauses for a moment and then he calls out, "Is there anyone else there?" So in the face of fear, letting go of what seems to be our lifeline is the last thing we want to do. So true. We want to avoid the tiger's mouth and the jutting rocks by accumulating possessions, by getting lost in our mental stories, by drinking three glasses of wine each evening. But to free ourselves from the chance of fear, we must let go of the tree limb and fall into the fear.
Rita Black: Opening to the sensations and the wild play of feelings in our body, we must agree to feel what our mind tells us is too much. We must agree to the pain of dying, to the inevitable loss of all that we hold dear. Letting go interfere. Accepting it may seem counterintuitive yet because fear is an intrinsic part of being alive. Resisting It means resisting life. The habit of avoidance sips into every aspect of our life. It prevents us from loving well, from cherishing beauty within and around us, from being present to the moment. This is why radical acceptance of fear is right at the center of our spiritual awakening. Leaning into fear does not mean losing our balance and getting lost in fear because our usual stance in relating to fear is leaning away from it to turn and face fear directly serves as a correction.
Rita Black: As we lean in, we are inviting, moving towards what we habitually resist. Leaning in allows us to touch directly the quivering, the shakiness, the gripping tightness that is fear. Whether it's a familiar but vague feeling of anxiety or a strong surge of fear, leaning in can help us become aware and free in the midst of our experience. We might wake up after a disturbing dream. We might have gotten a call from our doctor's office about a suspicious mammogram. We might hear a rumor of our company downsizing. We might have read a new warning about a potential terrorist attack. In any of these circumstances, a new way to begin the process is to pause and ask ourselves what is happening right now. It is especially important to address this inquiry to the sensations we feel in our throat, heart and stomach. These are the areas in our body where fear expresses itself most distinctly.
Rita Black: When we begin to face fear by focusing on sensations of what often happens is our mind immediately produces a story. We might get lost in our plans on how to respond to a frightening situation, or we might fixate on fearful beliefs and assumptions. I'm afraid. I'm a failure. I'm afraid I'll never find love and intimacy. I'm afraid that so and so will see how stupid and uninteresting I am and push me away. We might remember a recent conversation where our insecurity seemed obvious and embarrassing, or we might plunge into a past memory, which we came face to face with a feeling of powerlessness. The key to awakening from the bonds of fear is to move from our mental stories into immediate contact with the sensations of fear, the squeezing, pressing, burning, trembling, quaking, jittering life in our body. In fact, the story, as long as we remain awake and don't get stuck in it can become a useful gateway to the raw fear itself. While the mind will continue to generate stories about what we fear, we can recognize the thoughts for what they are and drop under them again and again to connect with the feelings in our body.
Rita Black: And throughout the book, she has meditation sessions that are written that you can read through and enjoy. There are many techniques and tools that she gives. Well, I hope you enjoyed some of those passages. You can see how she really opens the door to stepping into some really powerful healing, confronting feelings and fears. Really bringing the shadow up to the light. There are many meditations in this book that are really powerful and I think you would find this book a great gift for yourself or maybe for someone you love. So check it out. She is a great teacher and I I'm really happy to introduce her to you if you are new to her or remind you that she exists, for those of you who may have enjoyed her in the past and forgotten.
Rita Black: So, have an amazing week and remember that the key and probably the only key to unlocking the door, the weight struggle is inside you. So keep listening and find it. Have a fantastic week. I will see you guys next week.
Rita Black: Do you wanna dive deeper into the mindset of long-term weight release? Head on over to www shift weight mastery.com. That's www shift weight mastery.com, where you'll find numerous tools and resources to help you unlock your mind for permanent weight release tips, strategies, and more. And be sure to check the show notes to learn more about my book From Fat Thin Thinking, Unlock your mind for permanent weight loss.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.