Listen to Frank's national radio show interview.
Christopher Celery (CC): Welcome to Empire Radio. This is the Professional Roundtable. I am your host, Christopher Celery, and at the Roundtable right now I have a gentleman who is the owner of his own counseling service. He’s a Seattle therapist – let’s welcome Frank Robinson to the Roundtable.
[sound of applause]
Frank Robinson (FR): Hi Chris.
CC: How are you doing out there sir?
FR: Just fine. Having a little trouble hearing you due to the static. There we go, that’s better.
CC: That was an applause actually.
FR: Oh okay.
CC: Frank welcome to the show, thank you for accepting our invitation and for coming to us live on the radio!
FR: My pleasure.
CC: Why don’t you start us off and tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
FR: I am a private Seattle therapist. I am doing a spiritually-based counseling practice. I have a book out there, and a meditation CD. In my spiritually-based counseling practice I guess I’d say that there is a place way deep down inside of myself where I feel a connectedness to something much bigger than myself, and where I feel pretty solid and peaceful. And when I live my life from that place, my life simply seems to work better than when I am coming from a more fearful or reactive place. So, in my work with people, I help them begin to recognize when they’ve gotten pulled off-center and to learn how to get back to center. That’s the core of what it is that I am doing.
CC: Alright, and what got you started in the counseling world?
FR: Actually, I worked my way through college being kind of a counselor advisor in the residence halls at the University of Washington back in 1966. So I’ve been doing this in one form or another ever since then.
CC: For those who are just starting out, and are just trying to figure where they are going in life, what kind of licences or training do you need to continue in your path?
FR: My license requires an undergraduate degree, and then there is a two-year graduate degree, and then there is about 5 years of clinical supervision, testing, and licencing. And then you’d be into developing your practice.
CC: So it’s not like something you can just hang a shingle outside the building and say hey listen, I am here? [laughs]
FR: No, it doesn’t work that way. Not here. [laughs]
CC: It’s probably a good thing though, right?
FR: That’s right.
CC: Tell us a little about the book and the CD that you have.
FR: Yeah, the book is called “Finding Your Soul at Work, at Home, and When You’re Alone” and it really is a practical guide to spirituality. It’s about a guy who’s.. Oh he’s kind of a depressed, middle aged guy, who is divorced and struggling with life, and he meets this wise, older woman, who guides him through these eight clues to finding his soul. And the eight clues to finding his soul have to do with things like understanding the gift of suffering. That all of our feelings are there to guide us, and our suffering is trying to tell us something we need to know that will help us to get back in balance and to heal ourselves. So our job really isn’t to get rid of our suffering but rather to go toward it and explore it, and discover what it is trying to tell us. For example, if you have your finger on a hot stove, the pain isn’t the problem. The problem is that you have your finger on a hot stove. And the pain is not telling you to leave it there and to cry louder or to complain about somebody that told you it was okay to put it there. It is trying to tell you to get your finger off the stove. And generally, when you burn your finger on a stove, you get a little blister, your arm doesn’t fall off. So generally speaking, the universe isn’t going to give us any more suffering than we need to learn what it is there to tell us. So that’s one of the clues.
Another one has to do with learning how to live life fully in the moment. Being totally present and fully in the moment can relieve a lot of fear, and worry, and anxiety, and stress.
Another one has to do with learning how to choose ego over soul. One way of thinking about it is that all we have in life are moments of now, and at every single moment of now in our life, whether we’re aware of it or not, we’re either coming from that loving, strong, soulful place deep inside of us, or we’re coming from a fearful, insecure, reactive place. That’s what really determines the quality of our life. The quality of our life isn’t really determined by what happens out in the world, or by what we have or don’t have. The quality of our own life, moment to moment, is determined by whether we’re coming from that loving, soulful, centered place, or if we’re coming from fear and reactiveness. And that soulful place inside of us is where we have access to our backbone. Our real power. And the kind of power that comes from that deeper place is not power over anything or anybody. It comes out of a kind of groundedness, or a clarity of its own. It’s where we have access to our intuition, our creativity, our discernment, our timing, our balance, our playfulness, our wisdom, all the things that make our lives work better. When we’re in a fearful or reactive place, that’s where we find fear, and all the things that come from fear: anger, greed, guilt, resentment, vindictiveness, spite, jealousy, boredom, all those kinds of things. Moment to moment, learning how to choose coming from love rather than fear.
Another clue has to do with learning how to love yourself. How to hold yourself with some tenderness and compassion. It’s not loving yourself in an egoic way, like “Me, me me! -- aren’t I great!”. It’s more about our soul holding our ego with tenderness and compassion. It is giving ourselves permission to be exactly who we are and where we are in life. We are all right on schedule.
Another one of the clues has to do with being honest with yourself, with the world around you, and with all things. Of course, all honesty starts with being honest with yourself, to be honest with the person in the mirror.
Another one has to do with attachment. Learning how to let go of attachment to outcome, to all kinds of things.
Forgiveness is another one of the clues. You know, forgiveness is a gift that transforms the giver. You know, everytime you forgive somebody, you’re going to get out of it even more than the other person.
And then there is meditation, which is what my CD is about. I developed a one-breath form of meditation where… A lot of people say that they don’t meditate because they don’t have time. But this meditation practices a one-breath meditation, but you do it first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and all day long, every ten to fifteen minutes, no matter where you are. And what you do in that one breath is simply to… You take a breath, and at the moment you begin to exhale, you do two things simultaneously: (1) you physically relax as best as you can; you just let go of holding on to any tension anywhere in your body. You do this just for the time that it takes for the breath to fall. The second thing that you do is to totally let go of holding on to absolutely anything being of any importance at all. And that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that are important in life, but holding on doesn’t come from love, it comes from fear. And it turns out that letting go is an infinitely safe and wise thing to do. So when you’re letting go, you’re totally letting go of holding on to the past. And that doesn’t mean forgetting, or denying or stuffing. It’s just letting go of your holding on, your clinging to your story. It is letting go of holding on to the past. It’s letting go of your attachment to how things will turn out in the future. And again, it’s not letting go forever. It’s totally letting go for just the time it takes for one breath to fall from your body. It’s letting go of the illusion of control. Nobody has ever been in control of anything, not for one moment, in the history of the universe. But there really is something profound that happens when you can let go, even for a few seconds, of wanting anything to be any different than it is, and just being at peace with where we are. It’s letting go of the need to be specia. And sometimes it’s even letting go of being able to let go. Because sometimes we’ll get so hooked we just can’t let go. Then it’s about opening our heart to our own close-heartedness, and giving ourselves permission to feel whatever we’re feeling, whatever the stuckness is - our jealousy, our anger, or being scared and letting ourselves feel it. Basically, what I think of is, it’s our soul holding our ego with tenderness, and compassion, and giving ourselves permission to be exactly who we are, right on schedule. The amazing thing is when you can really open your heart to our own close-heartedness, how very quickly our heart just opens and we’re back in that strong, loving, centered place. That’s kind of, in a nutshell, what that is about.
CC: Alright, well Frank it was great having you on our show today. I’m going to send everybody off to your website because, as I understand, there is a free copy of the book on the website. The website is www.frankrobinsoncounseling.com. You can also send Frank an email here. You can also give him him a call at 206-522-3264. Frank, it has been a pleasure having you on our show today.
FR: Absolutely, thanks Chris. Appreciate it.