Monday, 28 December 2015

Star Wars and The Hero's Journey



Great show looking at the hero archetype as theorised by Joseph Campbell, why we are so intuitively drawn to it, and how heroic characters like that of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars can be a light and guide to us in our own life.

Check it out at : http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/458496650/the-heros-journey




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From the Odyssey, to Robinson Crusoe, to Star Wars — why are we drawn to stories about heroes? And what do they tell us about ourselves? This hour, TED speakers explore what makes a hero's journey.


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"We have not even to risk the adventure alone for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known we have only to follow the thread of the hero path. And where we had thought to find an abomination we shall find a God." 
-Joseph Campbell


Sunday, 20 December 2015

Take The Unpopular Route







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TOWARD SELF-ACTUALISATION 
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6. TAKE THE UNPOPULAR ROUTE
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This is connected with number 3.

Many people are living what they feel to be a fake and empty life as a result of following what is popular over what they truly want to say, be, and do in their life. At the heart of this behaviour is fear; fear of rejection, fear of unpopularity, fear of being left alone. For a healthy and balanced relationship with ourselves though we must meet this fear head on, deciding more regularly with direction from our own inner voice as opposed to that coming solely from outside sources.

Take the unpopular route more often. Use the road less traveled. You may stand in solitude at times but better to be with a true centre and no public, than to have the public and no centre

Monday, 14 December 2015

Be Honest and Take Responsibility








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TOWARD SELF-ACTUALISATION 
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5. BE HONEST AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
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With honesty comes pain and discomfort. This is why we avoid it. Yet, on the other side of this discomfort can be found tremendous freedom and autonomy and the possibility for truly deep and meaningful relationships.

As much as possible keep your heart clear and transparent and you will be more free in yourself and with others.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Let The Self Emerge






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TOWARD SELF-ACTUALISATION 
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4. LET THE SELF EMERGE
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In each of us there is a subtle indicator, a guide as to where best to go and what best to do in each new moment. 
 
We can connect with this inner nature more by shutting out socially-defined clues as to what we should think, feel and say and instead let our experiences enable us to say and do what we truly feel.
 
We know what is best for us in the moment. We are born knowing.
 
Use your intrinsic indication and it will never falsify your life.

Choose Growth






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TOWARD SELF-ACTUALISATION 
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3. CHOOSE GROWTH
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Life presents us always with a choice between the immediate and the delayed, the short and the long, the easy and the hard. Each choice has its positive and negative side. To chose safety is to remain with the known and the familiar but to risk becoming stale. To chose growth is to open to new and challenging experiences but to risk the unknown and possible failure.

In which direction are you most often choosing?

Monday, 7 December 2015

Do Your Thing And Do It Fully







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TOWARD SELF-ACTUALISATION 
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2. DO YOUR THING AND DO IT FULLY
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If worry of someone else's judgement is always in your mind you can never be completely total-you will always be divided and falling short of what you can be and do in life. Learn to drop this worry, to move more into un-selfconsciousness, like a child again, and all that you do will take on new power and quality. Think less about others - why they are judging you, how they are judging you. Instead give total undivided attention, in the moment, to what you are doing.

Do your thing and do it fully and completely. Let this be your new criteria.



Dive in more, deeper and deeper, to all that you do, and suddenly you may find things flowering in your life from seeds buried long long ago.



Remember in self consciousness you shrink; in un-selfconscious you open and spread. 


Do your thing and do it fully.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Find Your Calling







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TOWARD SELF-ACTUALISATION 
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1. FIND YOUR CALLING
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The 21st century is awash with literature and ideas on self improvement and development, on how to realise your maximum potential and possibilities. In the 40+ years though since his passing, very few teachers and authors have been able to say anything new on the subject, or even provide a simpler, more actionable, and most importantly, grounded and direct framework than that of what Abraham Maslow shared.

Describing the nine behaviours which lead to 'self actualisation' (the terminology he used to define the achievement of ones full potential) Maslow walks us through what self actualisation may look like, right now, to me and to you, in the real world, at three o'clock in the middle of the day. It is this reachability and tangibility which sets Maslow apart in a genre so often detached from real life affairs, one lost in its own world of pretensions and impractical ideas and language. 

Here is behaviour number one.

Numbers 2-9 are to follow over the coming days.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

How to get off Coffee the easy way








People ask me all the time, 'How do I kick my coffee habit? I enjoy the focus and the clarity I get from it but not the crash that follows later.' Here is what I recommend. All the benefits off coffee minus the caffeine shakes and the dreaded crash later. Enjoy the quick info graphic too that I put together on some of the benefits to be had from consuming this on a daily basis.


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Upgrade your coffee habit
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-2 thumb sized pieces of fresh turmeric root, or 1 tsp turmeric powder, or 2 capsules turmeric extract
-4TB shelled hemp seeds
-3 cups hot water
-2 TB raw sweetener of choice
-Pinch sun dried sea salt
-2 TB raw cacao powder
-Tonic/herbal extracts of choice (optional). 1TB maca is a good addition.

Add everything to a high powered blender and blend until fully emulsified. Add to a saucepan and heat to desired temperature, drink and enjoy.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Tip of The Day #5





Every culture has their power flowers, that is flowers held in high regard for their culinary, ornamental and medicinal use. Of these the artichoke is probably one of the most well known, with a use spanning from the gardens of Rome up to the present day shelfs of supermarkets all over the world. A member of the thistle family, artichoke is most well known medicinally for its liver protecting abilities and positive effect on the digestive system of humans. Two of the potential compounds highlighted to be behind these effects are caffeoylquinic acid and apigenin, which are thought to increase bile flow and formation, a substance which plays a key role in healthy digestion and liver function. 

If your liver then is in need of some TLC (most people's are) then artichoke can be a priceless ally to be welcomed to your dinner table. They are available in most supermarkets either raw, or ready prepared, and are a quick and tasty addition to your meals. Give this recipe below a go, which combines artichoke with garlic (another potent liver protecting food), and enjoy the benefits of clearer, healthier skin, and deeper sleep, which comes from having peak liver function. The image accompanying the text is what an artichoke looks like fresh, if you are unsure. Happy cooking. 


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Fresh Artichokes with Garlic
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•2 raw artichoke heads
•2TB extra virgin olive oil
•1TB raw Apple cider vinegar
•1 clove crushed garlic
•Salt and pepper to taste

Trim stem from the artichokes if there is one. Add artichokes to enough boiling water to cover. Cover and simmer just until tender, about 15 to 20. Drain, let cool and then remove all petals and cut the remaining core in half. Add all other ingredient to a bowl with the petals and core and mix well. All of the core is edible and for the petals the edible part is lighter in color and down at the base (where it was attached).

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Tip of The Day #4






Few foods can match the humble cucumber when it comes to internal and external application for beautifying and nutrifying the skin. A member of the Cucurbitaceae family (alongside melon and pumpkin), cucumber has been in use for over 3000 years. Much of cucumbers skin regulating and improving benefits come from its rich water (around 95%), cell salt, and silica content, which combine to add shine to the eyes, skin, and hair, when used over a regular period of time. Many of these nutrients are found in the skin so to get the most out of your cucumber don't peel them, and try and get ones which have not been waxed or sprayed with any questionable ingredients (organic, as a rule of thumb, is usually a good bet for this). 


Cucumbers in general have a bad rep, with many associating them with old memories of soggy cucumber sandwiches from school break time. It need not be that way. Give the recipe below a go to jazz up this store cupboard stalwart and banish those old soggy memories for good. Alternatively, simply add them to your vegetable juice. They go great with lemon, apple, ginger and celery. For topical applications simply slice thinly and rub onto your skin, let it dry and repeat. Or apply the fresh juice to your face with a facecloth/flannel. Instant facelift. 

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SOUR NIGELLA PICKLES
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•2 large organic slicing cucumbers chopped into quarters or 4 small pickling cucumbers
•2 cloves garlic
•1 bay leaf
•1TSP nigella seeds
•Fresh Dill
•2TB unrefined sea salt
•Around 700 ml of spring water

All spices are optional but add more depth and flavour to the recipe if used. 

Crush garlic and add to a glass jar with cucumbers and all the other spices and herbs. Make the brine by dissolving the salt into the water. Pour the brine into the jar until it covers the cucumbers. If it comes up short add more water until it does cover them. Seal jar with a lid or a cloth tied in place with an elastic band. Leave for a minimum of 1 week. Pickles will keep fermenting for up to 4 weeks and can be enjoyed at any point within this time frame. Moving them to the fridge slows down fermentation and souring. Enjoy them as they are or as an accompaniment to your main meal

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"Cooling thermal nature; sweet flavour; diuretic; counteracts toxins and lifts depression; cleanses the blood; influences the heart, spleen-pancreas, stomach, and large intestine; quenches thirst, moistens the lungs, purifies the skin; acts as a digestive aid, especially in the form of pickles. A pack of grated cucumber placed on the face beautifies the skin. If placed over the eyes, it relieves hot, inflamed, swollen, dry, or irritated eyes. Cucumber skin is rich in silicon, chlorophyll, and is bitter. Eating cucumber with skin enhanced its medicinal virtue in the above applications. A tea of the skin alone is used for swelling in the hands and feet."

- Excerpt from 'Healing With Wholefoods' by Paul Pitchford
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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Book of the Day 3





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BOOK OF THE DAY #3
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 Written in the mid second century by the philosopher Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Meditations presents a noble approach to life. Schooled in the classic tradition, Marcus Aurelius reflects the mature harvest of the Stoic school of philosophy. His philosophy is best summed up by the saying "Do not be too concerned, for tomorrow you die". Lest this sounds too bleak, the awareness of mortality motivates a good, noble and upright life. Since we all die, the best thing is to live nobly and honestly. This is not only the way to live well, but also the way to avoid suffering. Meditations is composed of aphorisms and insights from Marcus Aurelius that allow his philosophy to be lived out. 

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"Above all, never struggle or strain; but be the master of yourself, and view life as a man, as a human being, as a citizen, and as a mortal. Among the truths you will do well to contemplate most frequently are these two: first, that things can never touch the soul, but stand inert outside it, so that disquiet can arise only from fancies within; and secondly, that all visible objects change in a moment, and will be no more. Think of the countless changes in which you yourself have had a part. The whole universe is change, and life itself is but what you deem it." 

-excerpt from 'Meditations' by Marcus Aurelius, translated by Maxwell Staniforth

Monday, 9 November 2015

Heroes can show us what is Possible







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Heroes can show us what is possible
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It can certainly be suggested that as we get older we become surer of who we are, but the potential to grow always remains throughout our life, no matter what. A central notion of the work of Carl Jung was that we should always seek to grow; that, despite never being able to reach an 'ideal' state, we should always be reaching to be the best, and the highest, we can be. The challenge though, comes not in realising this but in putting it into practice on a daily basis. How and what can I do to motivate myself to take action? Here is where the rubber hits the road.

In youth this may have unconsciously took the form of heroes, people whom we looked up to and admired for their qualities. While it may be tempting to think now of this idea as a childish one, especially in adult life, really it can still serve to propel and move us forward through the trying process of growth and change in our own life's. 
By looking to other people's achievements we get a glimpse of what is possible inside ourselves, and in our own life, and most importantly that there are other ways of living. We are not stuck permanently as we are, we are allowed to choose another way, if we wish.

If you find your self stuck, lacking inspiration or motivation then find people, or books, or videos which rekindle your inner fire and visit them daily. Keep them, as Marcus Aurelius called it, as your 'dogmata', your place to retreat and return to when needed, to re-motivate and re-align.

For me at the moment this is watching the short film titled 'Portrait of a Dancer: Lauren Cuthbertson', which is where the image above was taken from. Do check it out, I imagine you will enjoy it, and in closing remember that at your hands you have the life's of many others who have already trod the path you wish to walk, use their actions and words to light better the way you wish to go.


Friday, 6 November 2015

Book of The Day #2







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BOOK OF THE DAY #2
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Mycelium Running is a manual for the mycological rescue of the planet. That’s right: growing more mushrooms may be the best thing we can do to save the environment, and in this groundbreaking text from mushroom expert Paul Stamets, you’ll find out how.
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"There are more species of fungi, bacteria and Protozoa in a single scoop of soil than their are species of plants and vertebrae animals in all of North America. And of these, fungi are the grand recyclers of our planet, the mycomagicians dissembling large organic molecules into simpler forms, which in turn nourish other members of the ecological community. Fungi are the interface organism between life and death.
With each footstep on a lawn, field or forest floor, we walk upon vast sentient cellular membranes. Fine cottony tuffs of mycelium channel nutrients from great distances to form fast growing mushrooms. Mycelium, constantly on the move, can travel across landscapes up to several inches a day to weave a living network over the land. But mycelium benefits our environment far beyond simply producing mushrooms fit our consumption.
Humans collaborate with these cellular networks, using fungi, specifically using mushroom mycelium as spawn, for both short and long term benefits. Mushroom spawn lets us recycle garden waste, wood, and yard debris, thereby creating mycological membranes that heal habitats suffering from poor nutrition, stress, and toxic waste. In this sense, mushrooms emerge as environmental guardians in a time critical to our mutual evolutionary survival. Our fungal friends equip us with tools to act responsibly and repair our shared environment, leading the way to habitat recovery. So knowing how to work with fungi - by custom pairing fungal species with plant communities - is critical for our survival. The twenty first century may be remembered as the Biotech Age, when these kinds of mycotechnologies play a prominent and increasing role in strengthening habitat health."
- excerpt from 'Mycelium Running' by Paul Stamets

Friday, 30 October 2015

Book of the Day #1



Just as what you consume physically can effect the quality of experience you have in the world so too can the visual and audible content you choose to take in.

With this in mind I will be sharing books which have shaped/are shaping the ideas and thoughts I am having, and ones especially which I feel have contributed to helping me overcome challenges I have faced, with the hope that they may be of similar benefit to you.

Do share with me your own favourites too as I am always open to being stretched and challenged in new ways and directions.


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BOOK OF THE DAY 1:

Abraham H. Maslow was one of the foremost spokespersons of humanistic psychology. In The Farthest Reaches of Human Nature, an extension of his classic Toward a Psychology of Being, Maslow explores the complexities of human nature by using both the empirical methods of science and the aesthetics of philosophical inquiry. With essays on biology, synergy, creativity, cognition, self-actualization, and the hierarchy of needs, this posthumous work is a wide-ranging synthesis of Maslow's inspiring and influential ideas.

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"It is certainly possible for most of us to be greater than we are in actuality. We all have unused potentialities or not fully developed ones. It is certainly true that many of us evade our constitutionally suggested vocations (call, destiny, task in life, mission). So often we run away from the responsibilities dictated (or rather suggested) by nature, by fate, even sometimes by accident. We fear our highest possibilities. We are generally afraid to become that which we can glimpse in our most perfect moments, under conditions of great courage. We enjoy and even thrill to godlike possibilities we see in ourselves in such peak moments. And yet we simultaneously shiver with weakness, awe, and fear before these very same possibilities."

- Excerpt from 'The Farthest Reaches of Human Nature' pg 34

Monday, 26 October 2015

Skin Rejuvenation The Easy Way With Clay



Looking at my face now you would be hard pushed to tell that I once suffered from a debilitating chronic acne condition. Thankfully at the time I chose to sidestep the more conventional route of prescription medication to explore alternative avenues. The rest as they say is history with my skin now looking flawless, day in day out, as long as I stick to what I know and have learned over the years in regard to skin health and lifestyle. I am currently putting together a free ebook on this topic as it is something very close to my heart, and one that pains me very much when I see people needlessly suffering, and failing, with what is currently vogue and on offer as a solution at the moment. In the meantime though check out my website for some tips and suggestions, which while not directly advertised as for the skin will have a profound effect on it (alongside many other things) if practiced on a consistent basis over the long term.

Enjoy the recipe below too, one of my weekly skin protocols, which will provide instant and noticeable effects to the health of your skin.


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As far back as the Egyptians clay has been recorded as a useful beautifying and detoxifying tool. Through its rich mineral content and absorption and adsorption properties it is able to deep clean pores, exfoliate dead cells, while simultaneously feeding skin cells. Give this recipe a go at least once a week, preferably after the sauna and/or steam room, and notice some immediate improvements in the look and tone of your skin.

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Green Clay ACV Face Mask
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•1TSP Organic French green clay
•1TSP raw organic apple cider vinegar
•Enough extra water to make a thick paste

Add ACV and clay to a bowl and begin to mix until clay absorbs all the liquid. Next add enough water to the mixture until you have a paste which can be spread. Cover face and neck and leave on until completely dry (around twenty minutes) and then wash off.

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"Clay possesses unsatisfied ionic bonds around the edges of its mineral particles. It naturally seeks to satisfy those bonds. For this to happen, it must meet with a substance carrying an opposite electrical charge. The particles of clay are said to carry a negative electrical charge, where's impurities, or toxins, carry a positive electrical charge. Positively charged toxins are attracted by the negatively charged edges of the clay mineral. An exchange reaction occurs whereby the clay swaps its ions for those of the other substance. Now, electrically satisfied, it holds the toxin in suspension for both to be eliminated."

Ran Knishinsky - The Clay Cure