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How to Control Your Experience (& Improve Your Health) Through Perception

[An excerpt from the book, Buoyant]

In his cellular biology lab, one of my favourite research scientists—Dr. Bruce Lipton—uncovered the mysterious fact that individual muscle cells actually react and change based on their perception of their environment, and that the “real” environment was far less influential on outcomes. Further research led him to discover that the same is true for human beings as a whole: we react and change based on our perceptions of, or beliefs about, our environment, and not our environment as it really is. Dr. Lipton suggests that virtually every health problem originates from a wrong belief—and this certainly includes problems with our emotional health. And, with this in mind, the odds of attaining effortless wellbeing without changing many of your perceptions is close to impossible, so let’s get started!

Firstly, consider the part that fear plays in our lack of wellbeing and how it directly affects the outcome of our physical experience by driving unhelpful behaviours. And whilst some of our fears are deeply rooted and need more than a simple shift in perspective, there are many that we CAN work on and, in doing so, take great strides forward toward unlocking our inherent state of bliss.

I’ve always loved the F.E.A.R. acronym: False Evidence Appearing Real—and it conveys a simple understanding of the part that perception plays in our lives. Indeed, if we can cast out fear and “false evidence”, we can live from an empowered and constructive place, effortlessly. This is buoyancy at it’s best.

“Truth exists regardless of whether or not you believe it, while a belief only exists for as long as you believe in it.”
—Don Miguel Ruiz Jr.

I think this stuff is pretty basic, but let’s look for a moment at how we can control our experience through perception…

Every event that occurs has an almost infinite variety of possible perceptions.

Or, at the very least, it has more than one—no matter how bad it seems, there’s always another, more helpful, way to look at things.

And since perception leads to feelings, and feelings lead to outcomes, life really is like one of those “pick a path” books, so choose your adventure wisely!

For example, if a large apple falls from a tree and lands on the grass in front of you, you might perceive this as…

  1. Scary! Nature is trying to kill me by dropping large objects on my head!
  2. Neutral. It’s an apple—who cares?
  3. Interesting. I wonder why that apple dropped—is there a bird up there trying to get a meal?
  4. Awesome! A fresh apple for free, and I didn’t even have to climb the tree to get it!

As you can easily see, your experience might range anywhere from disturbing right through to ecstatic happiness, depending entirely on the perception of that event. As I discuss numerous times and in numerous ways throughout my books and blog posts, events only have the meaning we give them, and that meaning means EVERYTHING in terms of our experience.

Reframe everything to get an ever-improving experience.

So if you want to reframe your experience, you need to take a deep-dive into the events and memories that make up your past and that influence your present.

What areas of your life are producing negative feelings? What events are at the base of those areas of your life, and how could you reframe (choose a new perception of) those events to produce a more positive emotional experience of that memory?

And don’t stop there. Our memories are just one area we can create a shift in our experience through reframing our perceptions. Every day provides a myriad of opportunities to inch closer to bliss. Every time you feel an unpleasant emotion, consider what event may be causing it and ask yourself this one very powerful question:

“How could I reframe this event to produce a more positive perspective?”

And then, before you know it, your life is an almost endless string of unbroken moments of wellbeing. How does it get any better than that?!

For more information about changing the experience of your life, check out my new book, Buoyant.

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The Life-Changing Power of Allowing Discomfort

With allowance and awareness, the feeling of “nothing is working” and “I don’t understand why nothing is working” can easily become “This is the OPENING for the exact creation of experience I’ve been longing for”.

How would that feel to look on every aspect of emptiness, confusion, brokenness, disarray and lack, and simply see it as a space being cleared for FAR better things to be constructed?

Our highest Self is ever present in the process of deconstruction. There is some level of intention in all of it—even if we can’t see it right now.

“Did I really intend my business to fall apart?”
“Did I really intend my relationship to fall apart?”
“Did I really intend to have a car accident?”
“Did I really intend to come into this life with the DNA of addiction and depression?”

Answering these questions with a definitive “yes” or “no” often keeps us stuck or in resistance, so instead, try asking: “What space did these deconstructing, dramatic and potentially deadly events create for me to become present, discover inner strength and have the possibility of creating something entirely new that serves me better?”

That’s a bit of a mouthful, so for the sake of simplicity, you can try this instead…

“What space do these events create for a more blissful way of being?”

This is the uncomfortable space of ALL possibilities. When we embrace it completely, we can start to see rapid, beautiful, mind-boggling miracles of manifestation and Bliss in our lives.

It’s just a matter of leaning into it.

Begin to feel and acknowledge the newness coming through, rather than getting dragged back into the drama. This is where the magic happens. Patience.

The crux of this process is the combination of:

  1. non-attachment,
  2. gratitude and
  3. awareness (of your unbreakable oneness with All Possibility in every moment).

To me these are the 3 MasterKeys to radical transformation (find out more about the MasterKeys).

We’d all love it to be faster—and you can speed up the process of manifestation with practice— but for now, hold space. Allow what is to be as it is. Ask better questions. Lean into the void and let the possibility of an entirely new and more amazing experience infect your mind and life.

“Be attached to nothing. Be grateful for everything.”
—Dr David Che

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Prayer: The Forgotten Art of Faith & Communion

“I stand in the place of the One who heals me.”
—Prayer by Carolyn Myss

My religious upbringing ruined me in a way…

But not in the way that you think perhaps. It actually taught me many great things that I am recently re-learning. One of these things is the forgotten art of prayer.

But there’s definitely a subtle difference in the sort of prayers I’d offer these days from how I prayed in the past. These days I more closely follow a format akin to how Carolyn Myss explains it in her video below…

It’s without religious overtones, without specificity of distracting names and without any grovelling, asking, belittling of self or faithless statements of being unworthy or in need of forgiveness for an endless string of mistakes I will probably make all over again tomorrow.

So what is prayer to me these days?

  1. It’s a statement of FAITH, coming from the place of already-there-ness.
  2. It’s an acknowledgement of our position in the ONENESS of life.
  3. It’s a RELEASE of control, a release of specificity, and an embrace of Divine Love.
  4. It is a humble statement of gratitude for what is ALREADY here for us, right now.

From this perspective, all you can do is a sort of wonderful “falling” into grace. And all it requires is to KNOW who you really are at your core—which is an individuated expression of the Divine—one with all love, peace, bliss, joy, wellbeing and healing.

Prayer is a sort of absorption—an allowing of your “stuff” to be dissipated and dissolved by your highest Self.

So how would I pray?

Just like Carolyn Myss’ prayer; “I stand in the place of the One who heals me”, I love simple, humble yet confident and deeply grateful statements that acknowledge the powerlessness of the small self and the incredible nature of the Divine Self.

Mostly, my prayers contain a lot of “thank you” and “I am so grateful for…” and statements like the one above where I “stand” or “reside” or “rest” in the place of ultimate Truth.

I’ll be covering more about these ultimate Truths in my upcoming book “Buoyant” which is soon to be published in the coming months, so I look forward to sharing it with you then!

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Seeing Life (and Suffering) from an Infinite Perspective

Last night I was listening to one of the Conversations With God audiobooks and, I forget exactly what triggered it, but at a particular moment I was struck with deep bliss… So much so that I switched off the audiobook and entered a grateful meditation, just to enjoy the fullness and express my thanks for this moment of Divine awareness… then a very unexpected thing happened…

Turning back time (again)

I had hardly closed my eyes when I was transported back in time, before this lifetime’s incarnation, to clearly see my much-younger parents (at that point seemingly happy, loving and committed spiritual seekers) and in that moment I finally understood why I chose them, and I also saw my whole life from a lovingly purposeful perspective. This was such a joyful revelation that tears were immediately streaming down my face.

You see, for most of my life my parents have not been very happy and certainly not loving towards each other. In fact, my dad has been a depressed alcoholic who turned his back on his spiritual quest since I was about 5—or as long as I can easily remember anyway. From what I understand, my mum was also depressed since before I was born because of their relationship and other factors. Both of them left positions of leadership in their spiritual group when I was four.

All in all, between that, my painful shyness, brothers who constantly bullied me and the confusion of a life where no-one explained anything important to me, I didn’t previously have many happy childhood moments in my conscious memories. And finally, after silently brooding (and occasionally yelling) their way through my tweenage years, my parents divorced when I was 15 and my mum took me away from my childhood home to live in a new country—which was when I fell into a deep depression myself.

“Intentional incarnation? No way!”

So you can understand why, when I was first introduced to the idea that we “chose” to be here (and most-likely even chose our exact incarnation, including our parents), I was confused. Particularly because at the time I was on the tail-end of over a decade of bipolar manic depression. I thought…

“Why on earth would I have chosen THIS bag of misery?”

The only thing that made sense to me at the time was the idea of karma—that I must have been a second-rate citizen in my previous incarnation to “deserve” this.

And maybe that was true.

But more importantly…

What struck me with such clarity last night was my definite intention to be here—to incarnate into the exact circumstances of my life, to have my parents DNA and this timeline of events all thrown into the experiential melting pot for the purpose of discovering who I could be (or how the Divine might express) through this colourful adventure in the playground of possibility.

The gift from this experience was not only seeing my once-happy parents expressing their own Divinity and gaining clarity that I really did intend to be here, but also embodying such an unshakeable sense of our infinite nature.

Another layer of the illusion was stripped away and I was left gazing at my life (in fact all of our lives) in a much more loving and compassionate way than ever before—partly because this latter part of my life is becoming such a stark contrast to the earlier years, that it’s a great story to illustrate exactly how miraculous it can be to remember who we really are at our core—or “let go and let God” as they say.

I know that some of us have experienced hell on earth.

I know that some have been scarred so deeply by life’s events that it’s hard to face even this single moment, let alone a whole lifetime of them. But what I hope, with all my heart, is that you can consider who you really are under all of that suffering and start to “be” from that place … I hope that somewhere in these words you can find encouragement that peace is not only possible, it’s your ultimate and unfailing essence. And that as you align more and more with your Divine Self, you will discover that the suffering can all dissolve into nothingness—just like it did for me.

For more information on healing memories, please see this post.

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Turning Back Time: Healing Memories in One Miraculous Moment

This is probably one of the most impactful and important moments I’ve had in this lifetime so far…

A whole new level of bliss and understanding has just opened up. It’s all been because of a potentially life-changing level of “remembrance”—a more complete experience of being Divinity in every moment, across all time, space and dimension. I’ve intellectually known this for a while, but clearly not fully embodied it before, because the results seem immediately miraculous.

Read the story of my experience below to find out why this is so exciting… not just for me, but for many people who’s behaviour and emotional health (indeed our WHOLE experience to some extent) has been driven by deeply rooted subconscious suffering.

But first, some background…

I’ve had a colourful past that included many painful memories. I’ve experienced long periods of deep depression and even been suicidal on numerous occasions. Initially diagnosed with clinical depression by one doctor and bipolar disorder by another, I’ve tried many things (both helpful and harmful) to try to escape the mess in my mind.

In the last decade or so though, I’ve learned a lot of really helpful ideas to deal with depression, improve my health and get my life on track (which are all in my book “The Journey Back to Bliss“). These have kept me alive and helped me manage my emotional health—even bringing a relatively consistent flow of happiness back into my experience—which is amazing in itself compared to what my life used to look and feel like.

However, whilst my life is predominantly good these days, there always seemed to be a missing piece of the puzzle because there would be certain painful memories that I just couldn’t seem to let go of, and I knew they were driving some of my behaviours and holding me back, to some degree or another, of really experiencing the consistent fullness of what my life could be.

Basically, despite the amazing changes in my life, there were times when it was still a struggle.

After developing a strong base of basic, helpful practices, I had also tried to practice new approaches to personal memory reconsolidation (a psychological understanding of “re-filtering” old memories so they don’t subconsciously drive unhelpful behaviours anymore):

  1. “Cutting the cord” technique; mentally, emotionally and spiritually disconnecting from old relationships and moments.
  2. Reframing: acknowledging that events are meaningless within themselves (other than the meaning we give them) and then mentally assigning new meaning to certain experiences.
  3. Using Christie Marie Sheldon’s “clear and transmute” technique.
  4. Developing a deeper awareness of our highest self—Divine Love—a state which holds no fear, no struggle, no pain.

These techniques ALL helped to a certain degree. In some cases they were “the answer”…. yet, in others, I still couldn’t seem to completely let go. And, as a result, there were still unhealthy behaviours that would resurface in my life from time to time.

The one I personally loved was the simplest: trying to become aware of our inherent nature—our ultimate position—as one with Divine or Perfect Love (I used the word ‘perfect’ to help my mind differentiate between all the other sorts of ideas that are unfortunately also assigned to the word ‘love’). This led me to a mantra I would often say whenever I faced a fearful or painful moment or memory: “I am Perfect Love”.

So, getting back to my story, here’s what happened:

Last night, as an uncomfortable memory arose during meditation, I closed my eyes and said my mantra “I am Perfect Love”… Nothing happened at first, but then I found myself instinctively commanding “I am Perfect Love in this memory” and immediately it began to dissolve like ice in a cup of hot water. I couldn’t believe it. For the first time I was not only seeing, but actually experiencing these moments from the perspective of the timeless Watcher rather than re-experiencing the memory as if I was that old version of me… and in some sort of subtle vision, I could see the whole memory begin to turn and collapse in on itself. I found there was a dreamlike softness coming over the whole scene.

It was transforming from sadness and self-hatred to something without any of that hardness or pain. It seemed like it was actually deconstructing and detaching it’s destructive claws from my psyche. All the reasons to keep that memory locked down and hidden away were completely dissipating.

Excited, I began to bring into consciousness as many memories and moments in time as I could—repeating the new mantra each time… and soon all these once-painful memories seem to be rapidly swirling around and disappearing into nothingness. As the revelation of actually being Divinity across all time—in every moment—more fully sunk in, I felt the process was doing its own work; dissolving all delusion and disconnection across all time, space and dimension…. across all lifetimes even.

Then, suddenly everything became completely still…

My mind was empty and I was left in an absolute and blissful state of presence. Quickly, I drifted off into a very peaceful sleep. Even in my dreams I found I was “playing” in places and times that had once held only anguish for me. It was almost shocking and perhaps a little confusing, because it was so foreign to me to be able to find anything other than heartache in those memories previously. But still, there it was. Divine Love.

This morning I awoke to the subtle feeling of deeply calm spaciousness… It’s as if there is simply a whole lot less “stuff” getting in the way of my experience of Self.

As I try to revisit old memories—curious as to whether this was just some fanciful imagining—I find them all to be as a soft dream, with the words of my new mantra echoing quietly in the background.

It’s like sand now; I can pick it up to look more closely for a moment but it soon falls through my fingers.  The sharp pain of these moments is nowhere to be found. Instead, I find the Self as Divine Love: seated, silent, warmly smiling, watching from the perspective of perfection and wholeness.

I’ve experienced bliss before, but now I can’t wait to see what it’s like to experience the real fullness of life—the true buoyancy of our inherent nature—without ever being dragged down or held back by the weight of my past again.

For me, this is nothing short of miraculous.

But it’s not enough to just “say the words”, so how did I get here? And, much more importantly, how can I help YOU get here—to this place of loving bliss, this playground of possibility, this state of incredible buoyancy?

Imagine knowing how to live life with a blank canvas—on which you could paint whatever you wanted, to create an inner life for yourself that brought only bliss, love and wellbeing.

That’s what I’m going to explore and share in the new book I’m writing—Buoyant, so please keep in touch because I’m so very excited to share this with you.

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Depressive Episodes: What Triggers Them & How to Help

The Symptoms

Often symptoms of depressive episodes include sadness with no specific cause, hopelessness, the physical sensation of heaviness, low-energy, brain fog, lack of clarity, vagueness, desire to withdraw, escapism, generalised negative thoughts and statements, difficulty in getting out of bed, oversleeping, etc.

The Triggers

Triggers vary greatly depending on the individual. Often they caused by deeply buried childhood experiences related to shame (even mild embarrassment can set it off for some people), hurting others or being hurt (this can be any aspect of mild-to-extreme physical, verbal or emotional abuse, including “light-hearted” bullying and other negative “humour”), loss of a loved one (including just people moving away, not necessarily dying), long-term loss of life direction, or indeed any trauma.

It can also just creep up slowly due to low-level stress, anxiety, overwhelm or sometimes, seemingly, for no reason at all.

However, these are only the “obvious” triggers that most psychologists and counsellors look for.

The typical approach to mental health completely overlooks what I believe are in fact equally important accumulative triggers — most of which relate to gut health and the microbiome.

Basically, since our microbiomes (friendly bacteria in our bodies) regulate and produce the vast majority of our neurochemicals, they are largely responsible for how we feel at any given moment.

Thus, if we literally feed our microbiome what it needs to thrive, we will also be capable of managing our emotional state with far greater ease. It’s like the story of the two inner wolves — one will help and one will harm you — and the one you feed will be in control. If you consistently feed your body garbage food, you will experience an increasingly challenging emotional state.

The Treatments

So this leads me to how to deal with a depressive episode…

Firstly, if there are any emotional memories arising in that moment, it’s important to get help from a CBT-trained or positive-psychology-trained counsellor/psychologist straight away. Because there’s something very important called “memory reconsolidation” that basically means when a memory is freshly revisited, we can re-frame it in a more positive way before it gets filtered back into our subconscious — which is a driving force for our behaviour, beliefs and emotional responses to life.

(I recently had an incredible experience that relates to this, which you can read about here).

Secondly, the simplest way to help manage a depressive episode (or possibly even avoid it in the first place) is to move to a whole-foods diet, predominantly eating vegetables as close to their natural state as possible, include probiotic foods like yoghurt and sauerkraut (and these probiotic supplements are highly recommended too), avoid all processed foods, avoid all alcohol (and any other drugs), cut down on caffiene and other stimulants and avoid all refined sugars. Drink lots of water to flush out toxins and get your body back to a healthy state.

Thirdly, if you feel dangerously low, take a natural St John’s Wort supplement daily for a few weeks until your mood noticeably lifts. (Incidentally, I previously used Microgenics Hypericalm—an excellent 3600mg dose St John’s Wort supplement—although that particular product doesn’t seem to be available anymore unfortunately).

Lastly, and probably least-important but still very worthwhile long-term, practice mindfulness. This helps reduce the mind’s tendency to revisit the past, be fearful of the future and mis-read the present — bringing in the much-needed “presence” that stills the mind, calms the emotions and gets you focussed on exactly what is really happening right now (which is typically nothing bad at all).

The Proof

There’s more to my own story and there are other more advanced helpful ideas like holding space, but in short, these four basic approaches have enabled me to completely change my own life (from severe manic depression to blissful wellbeing) and help others do the same — all without the need for ongoing medication.

If you’re struggling yourself, or know someone who is, I really hope this helps. I’ve also written a book detailing 13 ways to overcome depression. Please send me a private message if you would like any further information or ideas to support your wellbeing.

BTW, for more information on this topic, please also see this older post.