7 Tips To Make 2020 A Great Year!

As we enter into not just a new year but a new decade, it’s a great time to pause on all the distractions and create a window of time to get very clear about your year and decade ahead. One of my favourite Sanskrit phrases is ‘yad bhavam tat bhavati’ which means what we think we become. It all starts here, with the thought, the intention and the vision. Then the manifestation of that thought into reality is what follows.

Making 2020 a great year is going to require some planning AND action. I like to put aside a morning or afternoon to dedicate some time solely to laying out my vision for the year ahead and getting clear on how I would like that year to unfold. It’s a process that requires a few stages so I have outlined 7 tips on how to create a magnificent 2020.

1. OBSERVE. Observe 2019 and ask what would you have changed about it? Einstein once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. So if there are things that you didn’t like in 2019, and you don’t assess them and use that information to create change, then it could well be that similar experiences will re-occur in 2020. So scan back through the year and pinpoint the experiences or results that you would like to address or change so that they don’t reappear in the following year. Now I need to make a point here that this is not to look back with regret, pain, shame or suffering, rather look back from a place of learning, growth and possibility.

2. GOALS. Write down what your BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL is for 2020. This is the one big thing that you would like to see happen by the end of 2020. It will be the one thing that in December 2020 you will be able to say, “YES! I did it!!” and possibly even do a fist pump at the same time having known you really stepped up and achieved something that was a great accomplishment! Think BIG!

3. FEEL IT. Feel like it’s already happened. To attract what you want, you need to be energetically aligned to the thing that you are attracting. So if you want to attract abundance, you will need to stop feeling poor. If you want to be in a loving relationship, then start by being loving. Your feelings are like a wifi signal that emit out into the ether and it draws into you similar energies or vibrations. This is one of the more challenging aspects of this process because generally our feelings are a result of our past experiences and if we haven’t had the experience then how do we know what it feels like? This is where your imagination will have to come in. I had a client who wanted to buy a house in a beachside town. They loved the idea but never imagined it would ever come true. I had them everyday imagine they walked from their home to the beach each morning and felt the sand between their toes and the sun on their skin and the sea breeze in their face. And within a year they had bought their home by the sea and were living that reality. We were given an imagination for a reason!

4. PLAN. Time can fly by and before you know it very little has been done to manifest your new reality. Each week you will have to carve out some time to make sure that your vision actually goes from a thought to a reality. I like to print off a weekly calendar and highlight the times that I will be dedicating to enhance certain areas of my life and also to assess my goals and check they are still on track. This can look like blocking out 3 mornings a week for a gym workout or yoga class. Sunday nights might be a 1-hour vision assessment session. Monday evening could be dedicated to going through your banking, bills and finances. Once you segment and allocate the time for these things it takes the stress out of having to get around to doing them and also brings more order to your process of achieving your goals.

5. READ. There are thousands of great self-help books to help you continue to expand your thinking and keep it positive and productive. Where your attention goes it grows. So if your mind is engaged in a positive self-help book it will be upgrading your thoughts a whole lot more than a trashy Netflix series. You could pick 12 books that you want to read that year and aim for one a month. Some suggestions to get you started are: The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, The Success Principles by Jack Canfield, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra and The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles.

6. MEDITATE. One of the most important things I feel you could do if you aren’t already doing it is meditate everyday. Meditation contributes to every area of your life from physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. But when it comes to expanding your perspective of who you are and what’s possible for in 2020, then meditation will play a big part. When you meditate your mind liberates itself from deep conditioning of old patterns of thinking that can hold you back with self-doubt and unworthiness. In meditation you may experience impulses of creativity and bursts of ideas that flow through you. Things like writing a book, a business idea or an impulse for an investment. Meditation isn’t about renouncing the world and having nothing, it’s a tool to help you tap into your creative potential and live a full life.

7. ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER. Find yourself an accountability partner who will check in with you regularly to make sure you are on track. It’s very easy to start on January 1st, 2020 with all the best intentions. Ideas are easy. Action, that’s another thing altogether. Action takes time and effort. To create a great successful life we will have to do things that you simply won’t feel compelled to do which means that often you will naturally take the easiest option which won’t always be the best option. An accountability partner is someone that you could meet once a month and assess each other’s progress. This might sound laborious however it does have huge benefits to it. Another option is to find a good coach that will do this job for you.

So here we are, we have farewelled 2019 and embracing a new year. A year that will have twists and turns, unmet expectations, highs and lows. It won’t be perfect and it will present challenges. There will also be magical moments of such beauty, simplicity and joy. I wish you a wonderful year ahead. Thanks for being with us on this journey through 2019. Here’s to making the planet a better place to live for all species in 2020.

_________________________

If you are feeling like you need a break from the busy-ness of life in 2020, then you might like to join us in Bali in May. This 6-day retreat in the rainforests of Bali will leave you feeling revitalised, uplifted and clear on your goals in life. It’s a powerful experience that incorporates yoga, breathwork, meditation and breakthrough sessions to help you reconnect with your most remarkable Self. Find out more by clicking here.

How To Give And Not Make A Mess

Are you one of those people that feels really uncomfortable when a friend pays for your meal?

Do you feel a sense of embarrassment when you are given a generous gift?

Do you squirm and feel uneasy when you’ve been given a glowing compliment?

Maybe you would much rather be the one that is giving, then you could avoid any of these unpleasant sensations?

It’s that special time of year when we do a lot of giving. For some people, they just LOVE giving. There are people like my parents, who most of their lives have given SO much to their family, the local church, the school and the community as a whole. It’s almost endless how much they give. This is a wonderful quality, however it can come with a downside also. Firstly, we can give too much, which sounds crazy, but giving too much can make others feel uncomfortable. Then there is giving and not being able to receive, which leads to an imbalance and state of depletion.

We are being saturated on social media by the likes of Gary Vee as to why it’s so important that we give, give and give more. ‘Be of service’ is the latest mantra being flogged to us time and time again. Which is all great, and yes it’s something that the world needs more of after we’d had a very ‘ME’ oriented society for so long.  However when it is done without balance and awareness, it leaves us flat stoney broke, depressed, low in energy and a lot of recipients of our giving overwhelmed.

Giving and receiving is an art form that requires a degree of mindfulness…one that I’m still learning. There needs to be a balance of knowing how much to give, and when to receive. We can give in many ways, like giving praise, the emojis at the end of our text messages, being of service with our time, sharing our money, imparting our knowledge, showering people with our affection and offering gifts. You’d think yes, just give, give, give. But it’s not that simple.

There are times when I have given too much affection, too much of my time, too many compliments or even too much knowledge, and it’s like overfilling a container, it gets messy and uncomfortable. If someone was to hold out a glass and asked you to fill it up, and you just kept pouring over the brim because you have so much to give, things would not only get messy, you’d most likely upset the person who held out their glass! Giving makes us feel good, which is why we do it…but there are a few other factors that need to be taken into account when we do this.

It is not what we are willing to give to people that’s important, it’s what they are capable of receiving. Understanding the recipients need is critical in knowing how much to give. This applies to emojis, affection, knowledge or anything else that we are giving. When we give too much, it leaves the other person feeling awkward, uncomfortable or overwhelmed, which in the end defeats the purpose of giving, right? Who would have thought the simple act of giving would be so complex?

Then there is the art of receiving. If we like to give, and yet we aren’t very good at receiving, then we are doing two things, firstly depleting ourselves of energy, time and money and secondly, we are depriving those people that also like to give the ability to experience that joy also. Receiving isn’t a natural trait for many of us. We can be programmed with a sense of unworthiness or poverty mindset, and receiving compliments, money, love, or affection can be incongruent with our ingrained belief systems which in the end causes us to feel uncomfortable. Learning to receive may require a process of over-ride deep conditioning through meditation and affirmations. What we can do is explore deeply within us and ask ourselves what program are we operating with? Then set about daily to not only shift these old thought patterns bit old feelings also. If you are always feeling poor or stressed about money, then this vibration will continue to manifest through your life and your decisions will be influenced by this inner feeling. So we have to take time out each day and get into this feeling and thinking body and work at shifting it to one of abundance and security, knowing that we will be supported and provided for. The Universe is infinitely abundant. So when someone showers us with any abundance we open our arms with gratitude and say ‘YES’ and THANK YOU’.

Giving and receiving is a delicate process that isn’t black and white, it’s a variable for each person and each situation, like walking a tightrope. Finding that balance is something we have to feel out. Some people hold out a big container and say, yes, fill it up, I’m open to receiving! Whereas others might hold out a tiny thimble and ask for a small morsel, and others might not be holding up anything at all.

How do we get this right every time? We won’t, but being a little more mindful through the process will go along way. It’s a work in progress and a balancing act that evolves over time.

Happy Festive season and may you give and receive joyfully!

                                                                  __________________________
The Portal Film, Book and App is now out!
To experience the moving heart-opening film or to host a screening you can click here.
To be moved by the stories and enlightened by the wisdom of the futurists in the book and receive your bonuses click here.
To learn to meditate, do yoga classes and find inspiration in the app click here

A Guide To Protect Yourself From The Stresses Of Those Around You

If you’re an empathetic person you’re probably having a tough time of late. A recent Gallup poll that surveyed 155,000 people in 140 different countries revealed that we are becoming sadder and angrier than ever before. This isn’t great for society and it isn’t great for empathetic people either. Being sensitive to the feelings of others and really feeling their pain, sounds like an honourable thing, but geez, it’s can be uncomfortable, and at times debilitating. Which begs us to ask the question, is empathy a good thing? If we experience the feeling of pain when others are in pain then aren’t we self-perpetuating more pain?

This is where compassion comes in. Compassion is where we understand that someone is in pain, and we feel love for that person or people, and our energy level doesn’t deteriorate. Compassion isn’t an emotion, it’s a state. Emotions are when we react to other people and circumstances. Compassion is a state that holds itself regardless of how someone else is feeling. Empathy is when you feel someone’s pain; compassion is when you feel love for someone in pain. It’s easy for us to sit and suffer alongside those that are suffering, in fact, it’s almost expected of us through our conditioning. Quite often the person in pain will want their partner or friend to also feel their pain so that there is a better connection. However, does that really help the healing, and support progress out of that state for all involved? Could Mother Theresa or Fred Hollows have done their work if they were emotionally affected each day by the people they cared for?

Compassion and empathy are very close to each other; they are both a sense of awareness about others and their state of well-being. But for empaths, one thing we have to be careful about is how much we allow that to deteriorate our own state. This requires mindfulness and practice to simply hold space for that person or group of people, to acknowledge where they are, and with grace, love and warmth, simply be there for them. This then becomes a guiding light and foundation of support for them, to release what needs to release, to feel what they need to feel, and be ok knowing its not causing suffering for you also. On the flip side, when its our turn to go through a challenging time, (and they will surely come), knowing we can lean on solid, unwavering support, someone who is going to be able to hold space for us and not fill us with guilt that we have turned their life into emotional turmoil, will be a welcome relief.

So how do we switch empathy to compassion? This is a process that requires some initial practise until you become more skilled in it if it’s not something you are familiar with. Check in with what your feeling body (read emotional state) is doing and mindfully elevate it to love. Love is the quality and essence of compassion. So pause and ask yourself, am I being pulled into their energetic frequency? Am I synching into their emotional state? Then from that unemotional place of pure love, simply Be there. Just Be. Give yourself the right to just Be. It will, in the end, be better for you and your health, and more importantly, be better for them also.

___________________________

Tom is a meditation teacher, author, speaker, coach and filmmaker. To leaern to meditate with Tom or attend one of his retreats head to https://www.tomcronin.com/. To find out where to see his film The Portal or how to host a screening yourself, head to https://entertheportal.com/

Why These 4 Woo-Woo Phrases Are Causing Confusion

This article was inspired by a conversation with a friend of mine who recently commented on a situation by saying “Well Tom, everything is perfect”. I stopped to contemplate this for a moment noticing a misalignment with that comment of his. It was such a simple statement and one we see daily on Instagram posts but I couldn’t let this one pass. No, everything isn’t perfect! Then I started to think about all the other ‘spiritual, woo-woo’ comments that have started seeping into our mainstream language and felt it might be time to clear some things up about them.

A lot of what we say and do gets programmed into us and quite often we find ourselves being molded by a collective movement of thinking, speaking and acting in a particular way. Before long we just naturally use phrases and terms without even thinking about them as they become part of our psychology. Off-the-cuff phrases and terms start to get deeply embedded into our society without us really contemplating the meaning of them at a deeper level. Some of these phrases can cause conflict or confusion in people and for this reason, I thought it important to share with you four phrases that I’ve noticed seeping into our society that need to be cleared up and possibly even removed from our daily language.

1. There is only the now.
I was once approached by a company wanting me to promote a watch they made that just had ‘NOW’ written across it, with no time. Very cute yeh, but I’m not sure how this would work when needing to schedule my meetings and workshops 🙂 Yes in each and every moment there is the present, however, we also have the past and the future which are an integral part of the evolutionary process. When the universe exploded from the ball of energy the size of an acorn, in that instant, time, space and matter were all created. Time is an essential part of that because it allowed a sequence to unfold and the game of life could then be played. The past plays an integral role in the process of evolution. For instance, if I put my hand on the hotplate on the stove and burn it, my ability to remember the pain of that experience guides me and reminds me not to do it again. Thank goodness for the past and our ability to remember! We also have a future, and I have the ability in this moment to create intentions, plans, and a roadmap for me to manifest in that future space. Our future is molded by our present thoughts and actions and therefore is also part of our reality. All three, past, present and future, need to be integrated into life and play a relevant role in our existence.

2. Everything is perfect.
Once upon a time there was only perfection in the form of an acorn size ball of pure energy. However, the perfection sought an experience other than itself and broke the symmetry to create imperfection and the Universe was born. Everything within the Universe became the antithesis of that perfection. Everything had the quality of imperfection. The oceans are imperfect as fish consume huge amounts of plastic, there are children starving in the world right now, there are women being abused, there are child sex slaves being trafficked, there are tribes going to war and yes, my car is imperfect, (there is a rattle in the right-hand door). All of this is imperfect. To say that everything is perfect is a loose statement that ignores the fundamental nature of the universe being manifest in its imperfect state. And although we will never get it to perfection we’re in the process of ironing out those creases. This is the sequence of evolution.

3. You are limitless/You have limitless potential.
Although this is a beautiful and inspiring statement, and at the subtlest level yes, beyond all forms there is the limitlessness of Being, yet this gets confusing for many people because it’s conflicting with what really is true. As a human being, we aren’t limitless and we don’t have limitless potential. I see many conventions and coaches talk about ‘your limitless potential’. This can lead many people to become disheartened as they continuously get let down by the limitations of life. If I ask you to jump 10 feet in the air you won’t be able to do that, if I ask you to manifest $500,000 in front of me you also won’t be able to do that and if your parents get terminally sick, you won’t be able to heal them. What’s important is we get very clear on what this statement means. There is an aspect of limitlessness within the universe which you are a part of and it is beyond form and beyond phenomenon. However, within our mind and body dimensions, we are contained and face many limits. Learning how to function within those limits, and embrace those limits will help us to be more accepting of life.

4. It happened for a reason.
When certain challenging events happen in our lives I often hear people going into deep philosophical questioning as to why that experience happened. And although we can learn something from every experience, there are some events that happened randomly and by sheer accident, and how we deal with that event is up to us. Floating around in the universe are trillions of objects like suns, planets, meteorites, moons, cars, humans, animals, ants etc. Some of these will collide by accident. Every now and then while you’re walking on the footpath or driving your car, there’s a good chance you’ve have hit a moth or trodden on an ant, causing a cataclysmic event in that insect’s life. Most likely the family members of that insect won’t be dissecting the experience going into the deep discussion as to why this happened. It just happened. We’ve started to make life very complex by having to have a deep spiritual understanding as to why every event has occurred when we can simplify things by just simply looking at the event and going yes it happened.

A recent report was published by Gallop that revealed that we are becoming angrier, sadder and more anxious and some of this might be caused by our incredibly high expectations that we are putting on ourselves to be spiritually perfect and reach a level of affluence that is way beyond our capacity. Yes we do have potential, yes we do have the capacity to make a comfortable life for ourselves, but let’s also be grounded and grateful for the current experience and accepting of the limitations of life.

You might know of some other woo-woo phrases that have seeped into our daily language that are causing confusion in people. Please feel free to share them below as I’m sure there are heaps more out there!

_______________________

 

Tom is the producer and co-writer of the film and book THE PORTAL, which is an experiential documentary created as part of a bold, global vision to shift humanity out of a state of crisis. To watch the trailer and find out more about this project click here.

 

 

How to Cure Insomnia and Dive Deep In Meditation

If you are struggling to go deep in meditation or fall asleep at night it usually means the same thing…an addiction to thinking. I used to have the most chronic insomnia, taking me hours to fall asleep each night, and that changed dramatically to the point where I would fall asleep in minutes! In this short video I share some tips on how to fall asleep quickly and also go deep in meditation.

Going Deep In Mediation and Curing Insomnia

Are you struggling to go deep in meditation OR suffering from insomnia? Well in this video we cover both of these and how you can sleep better and go deeper in meditation.

Posted by The Stillness Project on Saturday, 6 July 2019

__________________________

Tom is a meditation teacher, author, corporate speaker and personal coach. He provides one on one coaching as well as group coaching in his Zen Academy for Transformational Leadership. For his 21-day, meditation program Faster Deeper Bliss click here. To contact Tom about receiving his guidance or booking him to speak at your company click here.

How To Find Your Life Purpose

During a recent coaching call, one of our Zen Academy members had a perplexed look on her face.
“Why are you looking so confused? What’s troubling you?” I asked.
“I literally I have no idea what my life purpose is? I just don’t know what I am supposed to be doing,” she responded in an exasperated manner.

You may also feel that lost sense of not knowing where or ‘what’ you are meant to be doing right now. It’s a dilemma many of us face, one I have been through myself. So many people are on the treadmill, feeling lost, turning up to an uninspiring job each day then coming home to watch Netflix. It’s very rare to find someone that is truly passionate about what that are doing and are really clear about their life purpose.

There is a way through this stage though, and I find it’s about stripping back to simplicity, and not over thinking it. In fact, the solution I feel is completely opposite to thinking, it’s BEING. But we will get to that in a minute.

Finding your life purpose doesn’t mean you have to go and quit your job, join a charity or go live in an ashram. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, finding life purpose and Self-Realisation comes way after the base needs of financial security and shelter. So being broke and not having a home to live in isn’t a good base for finding your life purpose. So regardless if your job is fulfilling or not, foregoing financial stability to find a life purpose isn’t a path that I would recommend. Stay in your job for now because this isn’t about what work you are doing it’s about how awake and aware you are.

Our primary life purpose is to discover our inner being. Over everything else, this is our number one purpose. We go through life very distracted by and attracted to the outer world, the world of ‘getting things’ and ‘having experiences’. This outcome oriented source of fulfilment is so compelling and luring that we tend to ignore the inner world of Being, which is very subtle. Being is the inner silence, it’s the source of wisdom, it’s the source of love and it’s Light. It’s eternal, it’s unshaken and it’s divinely blissful. It is also ever-present, only it is easily overshadowed by a thinking mind and feeling body. So for most of us the state of our inner being is ignored and undiscovered.

There are many ways to connect to this state of Being and I find meditation to be the most accessible for me. In meditation, we transcend the limits of physical and mental form and connect to the quiet of Being. With regular daily practice this awareness of Being and Presence will stabilise more and more. Once this becomes more established in our experience of daily life, then you will start to get impulses or cognitions that will compel you to express that wisdom, love and light in some way shape or form. It won’t come as a desire, rather more of a creative impulse that you will spontaneously act on.

So if there is no clear direction for you to express yourself through a life purpose, then keep connecting to the inner being in your daily meditation, go about your day with your job or what other activities that you are doing, and in time the impulse will come. It might be to write a book, become a nurse, do yoga teacher training, make a film (think long and hard about this one, it was much harder than I thought!!!) or it might even be that you join an ashram and meditate all day. There’s no right or wrong and after a while of that you may get another impulse to express Being in some other way. It will be a natural flow.

This is the greatest gift that we can give to the world- for you to simply transform from a stressed anxious angry person to someone stabilised in Being and feeling light and loving. This is your number one purpose to start with. Upon sharing that with our Zen Academy member on the fortnightly call, I could see a huge weight lift off her and she smiled and felt much lighter. All the complexity had melted away and simplicity remained.

______________________________

The Zen Academy For Transformational Leadership is a fortnightly coaching program for people who are ready to go out into the world and be a conscious leader. These sessions aren’t for everyone, they are for people who are open to diving deep into spiritual discussion regularly, are ready to take action when the impulse arises and are willing to make a financial commitment to be a part of this. To find out how you can join in on these fortnightly coaching calls click this link here and book in for a one on one call with Tom.

How To Meditate When You Literally Dont Have Time To Meditate!

So a couple of weeks ago I wrote an article talking about how we often don’t make time to meditate because we have positioned something higher up as a preference than the deep fulfilment that comes from meditation. Usually it’s the case that we have the time to meditate but it’s just not as a high-priority as some of the other things that we are choosing to do. However there are circumstances where we literally will just not be able to find the time to meditate. Today I will share with you some tips and suggestions on how to meditate when you literally have no time to meditate. This was inspired by an inquiry I had from one of my students today, (thank you Beth) who has a newborn child and really is struggling to find time to meditate.

This is common now for many people as we take on more demands than ever before and there will be days where sitting in a chair and closing your eyes for 20 minutes to do a meditation may just not be possible. It is those days that we need to be adaptable and look at alternatives for a meditation practice.

Meditation doesn’t have to always be an eyes-closed, withdrawing-the-senses-from-the-outer-world experience. We can incorporate a meditation practice while we are driving the car, while we are pushing the trolley in the supermarket aisle, while we are preparing dinner, and while we are at kid’s sport. It just takes a little practice and a little tweaking on what our understanding of meditation is. Yes, sitting in a chair, closing our eyes and transcending deeply into the quiet inner world beyond thought and the senses is a very powerful and effective form of meditation. One that I highly recommend we do on a daily basis.

However being present in an eyes open state, and completely in this moment without the fluctuations of the mind traversing into the future and the past is also an effective meditation practice. Being present and mindful of being the embodiment of love in each moment regardless of your environment is also a meditation practice. Freedom from emotional fluctuations in the feeling body, experiencing the subtle and blissful state of Being is also a meditation.

This can all be done throughout your day regardless of how busy you are. So yes you might have a lot of things on, and you might have no time at all throughout your day to sit in a chair and close your eyes and dive deep into meditation, however that doesn’t mean that you’re unable to be blissfully present in each and every moment. That is your meditation on those days.

So here are some tips to meditate when there is no time to meditate:

  • In the shower, pick up the soap, smell it, assess what fragrance is in the soap, feel the warm drops on your skin, and have gratitude that you are able to shower with clean warm hygienic water. There are many people in the world right now that this is not possible.
  • While on the way to work, either on the public transport or while driving, take time out from listening to the radio or a podcast, don’t go on social media and don’t read the paper. All of that is mind wandering into other people’s thoughts. Sit and be present. Can you be there, and empty the mind of thoughts. This won’t be easy, but with practice you will have glimpses into a space with no thought, just Being present.
  • While at the supermarket, take in the sounds around you, what do you hear? Be aware of the smells around you, what do you smell? What do you feel on your skin, is it cold or warm in there? Come to your senses and just observe that.
  • When cooking dinner, prepare your meals with love and do it slowly. Be aware that the food you are preparing is to be consumed by you, your family or friends. Be mindful that the energy that you are preparing and cooking with will go into that food. Ask yourself am I the embodiment of love now?
  • Before bed, turn off your phone, turn off your wifi, turn off your TV and anything that is bright or noisy, and then sit at the foot of your bed on the floor. Just for a few minutes close your eyes, place your hands over your heart and repeat slowly five times: “I Am The Expression Of Love.”

So there you have some very simple suggestions to help you meditate when you have no time to meditate. Perhaps you have some suggestions that you might like to share with us? We’d love to hear them below!

____________________

Our monthly meditation coaching sessions are becoming a huge hit around the world! Feel free to check out our Inner Sanctum monthly meditation coaching. It’s less than $1.90 a week! Our last session had a big response with attendees saying:
“Your description of deep transcendence brings me to tears.”
“Wow, Magnificent! Thank you Tom.”
“A brilliant focusing of the concepts developed through meditation.”
“I always feel so invigorated after these sessions, thank you Tom!”

My Top 5 Herbs To Improve Your life

One of the many benefits of having a wife studying naturopathy is that your home starts looking like a health food store. Over the last few years, I have become a testing device for countless medicinal herbs and I have to say, I’ve been amazed at what I’m learning.

Herbs have been used for thousands of years to heal the body and maintain optimal health and although some people feel you should get everything you need out of your diet, I feel it’s getting harder and harder to do that with so many of the nutrients and minerals farmed out of the soil.

This is where herbs come in as a way of boosting and enhancing your body on top of your diet. There are so many great herbs out there however today I want to share 5 of my top picks for herbs that can improve your life.

1. Ashwagandha: This is an adaptogenic herb native to regions like India, northern Africa, and the Middle East. It is used to reduce inflammation, fight cancer cells, lower cortisol, can lower blood sugar levels and reduce depression. This is the bee’s knees of herbs!

2. St Mary’s Thistle: This is a flowering plant from the daisy family. It is used to help cleanse the liver, promote skin health, promote weight loss and boost the immune system. Ideally, a great choice for liver cleanses!

3. Echinacea: This is extracted from the Native American coneflower and is used to combat cancer, boost the immune system, is anti-inflammatory and can improve mental health in relation to ADD and ADHD. Is a great choice for fighting colds and flu’s!

4. Astragalus: This belongs to the legume family is an adaptogen and has anti-aging properties, is anti-inflammatory, and boosts your immunes system. Great if you have sinus issues and effects of colds and flu’s.

5. Turmeric: Otherwise known as Bio-Curcumin, it has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. It can dramatically increases the antioxidant capacity of the body, is linked to improved brain function and lowers the risk of brain diseases and may be useful in preventing and treating Alzheimer’s Disease. Simply great as a daily supplement for SO many things!

If you are interested in trialling turmeric there is a special offer for you where you get 3 free bottles with your first order. Just click here to try it.

All these benefits listed above are derived from controls studies however it’s essential to understand that every physical body is different and requires different attention. Before using any of these herbs I would suggest seeking professional help from naturopaths, nutritionists and doctors and also doing your own level of research on each of the herbs. Oh, and my wife says to let you know that rotating herbs and not depending on them every day is best practice.

Are there other herbs that you might recommend? Please share them below as we’d all love to know which ones you like.

Why My 16 Yr Old Son Skipped School And I Was Ok With It

Friday morning at breakfast and my 16-year-old son tells me he isn’t going to school today. “Something much more important has come up” he tells me. He’s marching in the city with 40,000 other kids to help the government wake up to the climate crisis that’s unfolding before their eyes. “The thing is Dad, the 60 year olds in government don’t care that much, they know they won’t be here for another 50-70 years, but we will. We have to live with this and they don’t!”

What moved me about yesterday’s march was the genuine level of passion and integrity behind the voice of these youths. This was not a day to skip school… this was a day to make change. They really are concerned for the future of this planet.

But another question was asked at breakfast, by his sister, who asked us all: “Do you really think it will make a difference?” This wasn’t asked in a negative futile way, more at a deep level of enquiry as to what needs to be done to make a change for the better.

The beauty of democracy is that a government will make most of its policies on the need to win 51% of the countries vote to retain power. The challenge with democracy is that if that 51% of that country have a mindset that isn’t progressive and for the enhancement of society or the planet, then that will influence the government’s policy. So as much as the march was for the government, it was also to help sway more people to join in the movement for change.

I often struggle with my own impact on climate change. I recycle my paper and plastic, I pick up plastic when I’m at the beach and turn off the lights to save electricity where possible. But as most people feel, it’s so far out of our reach that we feel helpless. I feel that the immediacy of the need for change has to come from the top down AND bottom up.

Governments can influence policy when it has the courage to do so. Last December, Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City said they would remove diesel cars and vans by 2025 with all of Norway to phase out conventional cars by 2025 also. So yes things like this can be done when governments are willing to implement policy over big business.

But what about from the bottom up, i.e. the grass roots of society? This will require more than recycling our newspapers and plastic cups. It’s going to require a complete shift from a consumeristic “need more to be happy” mind set. It will only come when we transcend the programming that getting new things will make us happier. It’s been proven through numerous studies that prioritising our extrinsic values over intrinsic values will NOT make us happier. What this means is that if we feel we will be happier when we get more clothes after excitedly purchasing them from an online store and having them arrive in the mail at our doorstep, then think again. Studies prove this is not the case. If we think we will be happier when we get the latest sofas and rugs delivered from IKEA because we were tired of the old ones, then think again. Studies prove this is not the case.

As long as we have a yearning to have more so that we can be happier, then we will continue on this path of deteriorating conditions. Living from a state of lack, with a sense that there is a hole to be filled by acquiring ‘items’ is a big part of what is driving our climate crisis. This will change when we are fulfilled more from the inside. How do we do that? By assessing what our intrinsic values are and then putting more attention on them. Intrinsic values are what it sounds like, they come from within.
Some intrinsic values are:
• A sense of purpose
• Loving relationships
• Having a sense of inner fulfilment
• A state of calm
• A connection to the Divine or God
• Gratitude

When we have an increase in our intrinsic values then we will be less geared to seek fulfilment through external ways and if this happens in a scaleable way, then we will start to see significant change to the way humans impact the planet. When we combine that with change from the people at the top like governments and corporations, then we really might start to see some big changes! Sounds promising right?

 

Tom is a meditation teacher, author, corporate speaker and personal coach. He provides one on one coaching as well as group coaching in his Zen Academy for Transformational Leadership. To contact Tom about receiving his guidance or booking him to speak at your company click here

How To Bring Back The Love On Valentine’s Day

Today is Valentine’s Day, a global day of celebration for love. Although for many people, whether they get a big bunch of flowers, chocolates or fancy dinners or not, feeling love simply won’t happen today.

There’s one big barrier to feeling love….FEAR. Having spent a lot of my life in some state of fear or anxiety I know all too well that the feelings of fear and love cannot co-exist simultaneously. We may feel one, or the other, but not both at the same time. We can have the most wonderful partner in our life but if we are in a state of fear or anxiety, then love will be absent and a feeling of disconnect will take over.

It’s a remarkable design of the body to protect us from dangerous situations. Our body’s primary objective over everything else is survival. If we are faced with a marauding tribe or a sabre tooth higher on the open plains, our body would immediately shift into sympathetic nervous system state. This would change the brain functionality from the frontal lobe of creativity and intuition into the survival mode of reptilian brain. Our breathing would change, our pulse would beat faster and our blood sugar levels would increase. But more importantly, our biochemistry would change. Our body will start pumping cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine into the blood and cut out any release of melatonin, serotonin and oxytocin. Oxytocin is the biochemical responsible for generating the sensations of love, empathy and kindness. When faced with a dangerous situation that may require you to fight or flee, the sensations of kindness, empathy and love are not going to be very useful at this point so for efficiency, the body shuts down any release of these biochemicals.

This is all well and good on the wild plains 10,000 years ago however in our nice comfortable and safe environment of modern day society, this extreme stress response doesn’t have the same requirements. I’m noticing ever increasing levels of anxiety, overwhelm and stress in the world today. With this will come reduced levels of empathy, love and kindness. This is a big price to pay, for a society without love empathy and kindness is not a society I’d like to contemplate too much.

There is a distinct correlation to feeling fear and egotism, ie. our attention being centred directly on ourselves. Anxiety and fear is all about the ‘I’, the ego. It’s extreme narcissism and when you are in that state of anxiety and panic, it’s very difficult to switch over to feeling love and kindness for others. In that state the ego demands all of our attention and everyone else’s needs get ignored. We shift from feeling part of a community, with the ability to feel connectedness with others, to being self-centred and self-obsessed. Anxiety and fear wreak havoc on our relationships, depriving the vessel of it’s most essential ingredient for it to flourish….LOVE. If even someone is showing us levels of love, in this state we are unable to feel it or acknowledge it.

There is a way to change this and it’s not by trying to feel love. That simply won’t work. Something has to happen before love enters the picture. We have to shift out of the sympathetic nervous system state to reduce fear and anxiety, so that oxytocin can be produced and love can prevail. If we want happy healthy loving relationships then we have to eradicate fear first. Sounds simple I know, however it does require some steps which I have listed here that can help reduce fear and anxiety in the body.

1. Twice a day meditation. When we quiet the mind, we move the body out of the hyper stimulated state of sympathetic nervous system state and into parasympathetic nervous system where the reversal of SNS occurs. The body spontaneously will produce more serotonin, melatonin and oxytocin in that quiet state. The challenge is that when we are stressed and anxious, sitting still in meditation can be quite difficult which leads me to the next step

2. Physical exercise. Work out, get up a sweat and burn off some of the cortisol! Sitting in a chair all day or slothing on the sofa aint going to cut it…you have to release those biochemicals that are expecting you to run from danger or fight your way out of it.

3. Re-wire your brain. Sounds like a complex process but really it means change the way you think. Our minds can default to fear based thoughts vey easily…mine certainly has a tendency to do this and so I’ve spent many years working on recoding my mind to think differently. Anxiety and fear is our mind distorting our currently reality and creating a fantasy world of future scenarios that aren’t real. So observing the mind and catching it before it leaps forward in to fear based fantasy land is key to being calm. As Eckhart Tolle says: “All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence.”

4. Connect with Being. This comes back to point one. In deep meditation we surrender our individual status and transcend all forms and phenomenon. WE become one with presence and pure awareness. We simply are. Amness. Being. Self. No story, no drama, no future, no past. In Being we become one with unconditional love. We discover we are love. It shines out of us. The ego or small self fades and what fades with it are all of its fear based sensations and thoughts. As Anita Moorjani said in her book ‘Dying To Be Me’: “I knew that was really the only purpose of life: to be the love that we are.”

Love is our essence and fear will hijack it from you. It’s like a thief that sneaks in and steals it from you and from your relationships. To reconnect to our lovingness, we have to remove fear first. Less fear more love. That sounds like a much nicer world doesn’t it? Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Tom is a meditation teacher, author, corporate speaker and personal coach. He provides group coaching through his Zen Academy for Transformational Leadership. To find out more about joining this global community click here.