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Minimalism: if not for our own sanity, for the world.

I’ve been relatively minimalist for a while now, but after selling and giving away 99% of my remaining “stuff”, I feel so incredibly liberated and realise how VERY little we really need and how VERY little all that stuff contributes to happiness — quite the contrary in many cases!

My blissfully empty house, just before leaving for a totally minimalist lifestyle.

“The paradox of course, is that if you choose the path of LESS, you will all receive MORE.”
From Shaltazar’s “Opportunity for a New Humanity

PLUS, for those of us blessed with any level of financial abundance, reducing our need for financial outgoings offers the wonderful opportunity to channel that overflow into something truly useful — something that contributes to the increased quality of life for those less fortunate, rather than into something unnecessary like (in my case) renting a larger space to fit a bunch of stuff in!

But it doesn’t have to require a seemingly “radical” step like I’m taking right now…

#vanlife

You don’t have to go live in a tent, #vanlife or even a tiny house necessarily…

I know that if you’ve got a family — especially small kids — to consider, you may feel that you need much of the stuff and the space that it occupies…

But consider a small step with a BIG impact: if each one of us reduced our outgoings by ONLY $10/week and systematically and consistently put that savings towards something like Charity Water and other genuine charities, we could potentially end much of the world’s more serious problems, one by one…. in just a matter of a few years.

Now THAT is certainly something worth considering!

Related: The Magic of Minimalism for Mental Health

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Let Food Be Thy Medicine

Paul’s Story:

“I knew I was not well. I had to take a break to catch my breath every 10 steps or so. I felt the pressure on my chest every morning….

…I started not wanting to wake up because I knew what was next…

…I was scared about what was going to happen to me. What happened to my family growing up was now happening to me.”

Paul had a 100% blocked artery and most likely would very soon suffer what is known as the “widow maker” — the most deadly of heart-attacks.

It’s a story that is, sadly, all too common. In fact, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) kill 41 MILLION people each year — that’s 71% of all deaths globally.

The saddest part? …

According to revelations from scientific research1, the vast majority of these NCDs are totally preventable, often with no medications whatsoever.

You see, almost all NCDs (most cancers, heart disease, depression, dementia, asthma and many more) are caused by chronic inflammation2 … and when you realise that, it becomes simple to avoid (and in many cases reverse) these diseases.

The Diet-Disease Connection

3 Steps to Help Heal or Avoid Chronic Inflammation (and most NCDs*)

[1] Avoid pro-inflammation foods (basically all junk/fast food, vegetable oils like Soy, Canola, Corn or Sunflower and anything else which is high in Omega 6, and most processed foods such as flours, sugars and pretty much anything in a box or bag!) and any other toxic or nutrient-depleting substances.

[2] Focus the majority of your diet around a broad variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds (as close to their natural state as possible, obviously leaving out anything that creates allergic/intolerant reactions) — ensuring to include antioxidant foods (like blueberries, spinach, raspberries, etc) and foods high in Omega 3 (or consider a fish oil supplement).

[3] Support your microbiome (which regulates immune responses such as inflammation3, as well as producing most of your “feel-good” neurotransmitters — particularly important for sufferers of depression and/or related disorders) with pre- and pro-biotic foods, and by avoiding excessive use of antibiotics.

“I recently saw a patient treated at Harvard by multiple specialists. She was on 42 pills a day for severe allergies, asthma, and hives. She even died twice and had to be resuscitated after anaphylactic shock. In just a few short weeks, simply by changing her diet, she got off all her medications, and her allergies, hives, and asthma were gone.” 7
—Mark Hyman, MD

So what happened to Paul?

Thankfully Paul met with a plant-based nutrition specialist and discovered these simple truths before it was too late.

After just THREE short weeks, his angina disappeared. Within one year, he lost over 19kg in excess weight and maintained the loss. He reports his energy is sky rocketing and he feels the picture of vitality and hope.

Don’t let your friends and family fall prey to this terrible epidemic of avoidable NCDs. Please share this post.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION

1. “The Inflammation Syndrome” by Jack Challem.
2. “Inflammation: A Unifying Theory of Disease” (Harvard)
3. “Role of the Microbiota in Immunity and inflammation” (NIH)
4. “8 Food Ingredients That Can Cause Inflammation” (Arthritis Foundation)
5. “Foods that Fight Inflammation” (Harvard)
6. “The Impact of Diet and Lifestyle on Gut Microbiota and Human Health” (NIH)
7. “The One Diet That Can Cure Most Disease” (drhyman.com)

* DISCLAIMER: Whilst clinical studies confirm the preventative nature of this approach, it is not presented as a “cure-all”. Please do your own research and consult a qualified naturopath, dietician or other healthcare professional before making any decisions that may impact your health.

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Emotional Self Care Through Spiritual Awakening Experiences

[An excerpt from the book, Buoyant]

Have you ever had that feeling of just wanting to explode from the inside out—to break out of a feeling or situation? I used to get it all the time. Mostly it would feel like a ROAR from within…. the Great Lion of my heart wanting to break out of the small cage I had accepted for my life.

It’s the neverending urge to awaken to our highest and most powerful truth: that we live in an inside-out reality—that we are Spirit having a human experience, that our body is not our true self, that our inner state influences our outer state. To learn to accept this results in the possibility of deeper spiritual awakening experiences, and it is these awakening experiences that nourish our soul.

It’s the ultimate in emotional self care.

Want to know how to unlock your cage? Keep reading…

First up, what is a “spiritual awakening”?

In simple terms it’s about moving from seeing and receiving to BEing and creating.

It’s knowing that truth is relative.

In my many years of design and business branding I came to understand one crucial factor: an audience’s perception of a business is what determines outcomes for that business, and that perception is created by positioning (how the business “frames” itself in the audiences mind).

Let me break this down a little more for you…

It’s pretty classic glass-half-full stuff really, but from a higher programmatic level. If we’re talking about our “experience”, how we perceive a situation determines the outcome of our feelings. If I think something is “wrong” or “bad”, then my feelings will correspond negatively with that perception. The position we take on something creates that perception.

It’s like when we stand on one side of a large building, we see it one way (perhaps gloriously lit by sunshine, illuminating it’s best features), and when we stand on the opposite side, we may see it totally differently (perhaps dark and dirty from the position of the building’s back alley).

The important thing is that both aspects are “true” from those positions. Hence, from what I can tell, ALL truth is relative.

From a much higher point in our possible perception, we see only unity — oneness… we see that the truth is that we—or I (as this singular unified field of consciousness)—create all things and are responsible for all things, and that we are all things. That as we heal ourselves with love, light and forgiveness, we are healing an aspect of the whole. That there is no real distance between the aspects of our (greater) self that we are presently focussing on in the illusion or Maya of our linear time-space experience and any other aspect of the whole… So, herein sits these “spiritual awakening experiences”—these moments where we realise that we can BE something else in that moment… that we can switch from focussing on aspects that don’t serve us to aspects that do.

It’s the most powerful way for emotional self care: to nurture ourselves by simply choosing to BE a different state, by taking a different position and perspective in the timeless-spaceless spectrum of all possibilities available to us in every moment (regardless of the outer circumstances). Of course, it’s challenging for our logic-based minds to understand, so let’s look at it another way…

Recoding our outer experience from within.

Over the 20-something years in my business, I’ve created a LOT of websites. These days you can get a basic website from WordPress.com or similar sites, and you never see what goes into the creation of that website — you never see the code behind it.

But when I started, the ONLY way to create a website was with code first… and of course this is still true—without the code, there’s no website. It’s just that smart people have built beautiful systems that bring predefined code snippets together at the press of a button to produce the end result.

The downside of this is that, without knowing how to recode certain structural aspects, you’re stuck with a website that was predefined by someone else. It’s like those housing estates where all the houses look basically the same. It’s uninspiring, restrictive and bland.

Our lives are exactly the same.

If we blindly accept our cultural biases, instructions on life given by our well-meaning parents, peers and teachers, and the face-value of what we see with our limited logic-based mind even, then our lives are equally limited. Predefined. Uncreative. Out of our control. Frustratingly fixed.

This is where we feel the ROAR from within…. the Great Lion of our heart wanting to break out of this small cage we accepted for our lives.

Can you see how resisting or failing to understand your own capacity to control the code of your life might create emotional disorders? If you were a wild lion put in a cage, first you may be fearful and confused, then you might pace—frustrated and angry, then you might eventually fall into hopelessness and depression (which is suppressed anger), or you may just choose to forget yourself, accept your caged fate and live out a dull, cookie-cutter life as predefined by your captors.

None of those states are who you truly are.

Once we awaken to the fact that we can access and edit the code (take a new position and reframe our lives)—that we can project a different or more awakened experience into being (like how a quick change in code can completely and immediately alter the way a website looks and operates)—THEN we can literally feel whatever we want to feel… which of course, will be…

  • loved
  • peaceful
  • joyful
  • complete
  • abundant
  • inspired
  • creative
  • powerful

…the things that we, from our highest perspective, know that we already are.

Last night I was experiencing a lower state and this morning it continued, until I chose differently. I forgave myself for stepping back in the cage. I recoded my perspective. I took a new position … and it changed instantly. I feel the wild wind in my mane and the freedom of Being.

Now it’s your turn! There’s no lock on the cage. There never was.

Still feeling stuck? You might benefit from some one-on-one coaching to gain some personalised strategies to enable you to move forward more effortlessly towards your best life. I’d love to help!

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Morning Depression? Probably not.

I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but morning depression may not be what it seems.

We wake up feeling groggy, tired and heavy, with a reluctance to get up and a general lack-lustre feeling. Oftentimes, these symptoms are mistaken for depression but may be something else entirely. However, it’s very difficult for a depressed person to tell the difference between being over-tired or undernourished and the actual emotional disorder.

In my own experience I have become to see with great clarity that diet is probably the number one factor in whether I feel “depressed” or not.

Sure, there are general mindsets that help us process the world in a more emotionally beneficial way, but our general emotional state is created by our neurotransmitters (which include our feel-good chemicals like serotonin, oxytocin, etc)—the vast majority of which is produced in the gut by our microbiome. And since the health of our microbiome is directly related to our diet, what we eat and drink affects how we feel and how well we sleep.

If I eat pizza and ice-cream less than 4 hours before bed, I’m likely to have disrupted sleep. Not only is my body busy digesting when it should be resting, but it’s also dealing with a chemical disruption that affects serotonin production.

I’m not an expert, so I won’t try to explain any of that in detail. But the proof is in the pudding as they say (or, more accurately, the proof is when you DON’T eat the pudding! haha). When I predominantly eat a variety of fresh vegetables and other feel-good foods, and avoid sugars, alcohol, stimulants and processed foods, and exercise a little, I generally feel good. When I don’t… well, I definitely don’t feel good—I have all the “symptoms” of depression (including morning depression) in ever-increasing levels. And this is coming from someone who experienced over a decade of manic depression and tried many traditional approaches.

Unfortunately, our food industries are not helping. Cheap, lifeless, processed foods are making people sick and sad—there’s much scientific proof, but it’s buried by the companies who seek to gain from our ignorance. We’re blindsided by “health ratings” and “added nutrients” into thinking that this junk is real food, but it’s not. And, in particular, processed sugar is literally a poison (for your microbiome, your brain and your body)… and we’re unknowingly ingesting a truckload of this stuff in processed foods every day.

For more on the topic of “morning depression”, please check out this post.

If you’ve read this and still feel that you’re having a real depressive episode, please take a look at this article to get some ideas that should help.

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Today I met Jesus at the Ferry Terminal

Today I met Jesus at the ferry terminal, sitting down with an orange juice…

He said “do you know who I am?” — but not in an egoic or condescending way, just in a kind of curious tone. He talked about the Divine (calling it “dad”) and spoke in fluent scripture like it was his native tongue. He directly quoted things that Jesus had said (according to the Bible anyway) in the first person, and whilst he never said he was Jesus per se, there was a definite inference there for sure.

He said he was leaving on the 10.55 and will be back “to judge the living and the dead”. It would have been laughable if it wasn’t for the pure confidence in his speech and the unnerving sincerity in his tone.

Living on an island I’m kind of used to meeting odd folk who have escaped from the wilds of city life, but this was still a unique and genuinely surprising moment. My initial reaction was to assume that he was a delusional schizophrenic, but the more he spoke, the more I realised he was radiating a kind of unspeakable joy about him. I almost want to say that he had a “glow” about him, but that might be taking it too far … Regardless, if anyone could have been the reincarnate of Jesus in this lifetime, perhaps it could have been him?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I totally believed him (and later on he gave me a St Anthony medal and said that he was Anthony, so that kind-of confuses the message a little), but what REALLY struck me was one simple idea…

According to our beliefs, we manifest our expression.

You see, here was this dude, in full performance mode (or complete association with the character Jesus) and yet I could FEEL divinity pouring through him. Regardless of what was “true” or not, I could really feel what he believed. As he spoke, I sensed his oneness with the Infinite. And even long after he left, I could still feel the lingering presence of something far greater than mere humanity.

Was this just wishful thinking? Maybe. But needless to say, if there are Divine moments (and I do believe there are), this was certainly one of them.

So where does this all lead to?

We all have the capacity to express Divinity.

It has nothing to do with who you are or who you were, it has everything to do with what you believe. You see, personally I believe that every single one of us has the capacity to express Divinity — both in our own lives and, more importantly, projecting into the lives of others.

What Anthony/Jesus showed me today was that we just have to KNOW it with absolute certainty: we are ALL ONE with the Divine. We are ALL the “Christed Ones” — the enabled, annointed, chosen conduits of the expression of the Most High. And from that place, we can nudge others’ souls into a greater level of awakening!

Between you and me, I’m secretly hoping I’ll meet Siddhartha Gautama next time at the ferry terminal, but Jesus is alright by me too I guess! haha

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The Magic of Minimalism for Mental Health

[An excerpt from the book, Buoyant]

I have consciously chosen to live a minimalist life because, after separating with my partner of 10 years some time ago, I realised that I had fallen into the trap of attachment and that there was very little “stuff” that I actually needed or even wanted.  This was another great buoyancy-inducing treasure I discovered on the disruptive journey of awakening.

The Process

Every six months I look around and throw out, give away or sell whatever I haven’t used, don’t particularly care about or realise I just don’t need.

I began to notice that every time I let something go I felt lighter emotionally—that it was easier to feel calm in a simpler, decluttered environment and that I found I had more and more focus on what was truly important (which, as it turns out, is very little other than our interactions with other people, our sense of self, our enjoyment of life and our contribution to the world around us).

These days I genuinely enjoy everything I own, because it’s truly useful and I’ve chosen it very carefully and purposefully.

One example of this is that I chose plates and bowls that I really love—and these are the only plates and bowls I own, so it’s brings a subtle pleasure at every meal. I also figured out the one type of business shirt (and a couple of colours) that looks the very best on me (you might wish to get the assistance of a stylist for this if you’re unsure)—so, even though I work from home, I never have to wonder about making good visual impressions with clients when I hop on video calls during the day.

The Practical Benefits

Beyond the basic benefits of decluttering, simplicity, confidence and focus, there are some fantastic practical benefits, like the fact that…

  • I can move house without needing to spend a lot of money on removalists,
  • there is much less to dust and clean,
  • I can live in a smaller space without feeling crowded out by furniture,
  • I can afford to live in a nicer neighbourhood or apartment because smaller spaces cost less,
  • I save time and mental energy making needless decisions (e.g. I don’t have to struggle each day figuring out what to wear—I have a minimalist closet with 2 types of clothes; work shirts and casual t-shirts),
  • I don’t waste time and money buying clothes or anything else that I may not use very often, and
  • I feel free to take off and travel (all of my things would easily fit in a friend’s garage or shed, or a cheap storage space if need-be).

Minimalism for Mental Health

The greatest benefit of minimalism is improved mental health and emotional buoyancy.

It sounds extremely cliché, but it’s like being released from The Matrix of commercialism, consumerism, attachment and the delusion of stability and “safety” that we think having a bunch of “stuff” brings us. Releasing the need for “stuff” makes it easier to prioritise things that are genuinely important and more fulfilling (for example I can spend my money on travel to visit friends and family more often, rather than getting a new couch or paying off a big TV, etc) and it offers a sense of increased clarity and spaciousness—a rare commodity in our increasingly crowded world.

Start Small

If ever you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or anxious, I highly recommend beginning the process of culling useless stuff.

It doesn’t have to be anything significant at first—most people freak out if they think about getting rid of larger items like furniture. But, as you let go of a number of smaller things (that you’ve no-doubt stashed away for some unknown “rainy day” that never comes, or for some strange nostalgic reasons that you only ever re-visit when cleaning up and only then recall why the hell you kept those things!), then you start to need less storage space and less display space… So then perhaps you realise you don’t need 3 tables and 2 bookshelves—one of each will do just fine.

When you’ve dealt with the majority of little things, then you can start to tackle the bigger stuff.

Maybe you have a whole spare bedroom full of furniture for when a friend or family member comes to stay once a year? You’ll find that you could just as easily give them your room and sleep on the couch (or vice versa if you had a decent pull-out couch) and you could then immediately sell that extra furniture and potentially downsize your whole space to save money on rent.

Finding Freedom

Anyway, there are endless numbers of ways that you can start to minimalise the unnecessary aspects of your life and create the possibility for more of what’s truly important—these are just some basic examples. But hopefully you’ve seen the value in this approach and can muster up the courage to start today and open up a whole world of freedom for your mind and your life.

You see, it’s important to remember that having lots of “stuff” is not an issue within itself, but when your “stuff” has YOU, then it’s due for review!

Time and time again I see how we externalise our sense of self through our outer reality, and how that attachment causes mental dissonance, experiential disorder and emotional dis-ease.

We often don’t realise it, but thanks to our upbringing and many other cultural influences (particularly modern marketing messages), we fall into the trap of misleading ideas like “only when I have this, then I can feel that“—but the truth is that we don’t need external things to feel internal bliss.

We just lose ourselves in the lie that alignment is “out there” rather than “in here” because when things do line up in a positive way externally, then we allow ourselves to more closely align internally with the good that we always are in our highest, most-natural state of Self.

Happy travels!

P.S. To find out more about accessing your natural state of bliss, I recommend reading this blog post.

Also related: Minimalism: if not for our own sanity, for the world.