Clarity & Sovereignty

Inspiration –  “The truth is not simple it’s just profoundly clear” – Forrest Landry

 

Sovereignty is a deep seeing and honouring of what’s true and real within us.

It’s freedom of compassion, of empathy & creativity. The ability to make sense of the world and live with agency over our thoughts, choices & actions.

Whatever path you are walking towards your sense of self being, in whatever way that is working for you, is a kind of evolutionary path to increasing your individual sovereignty. It is a journey inward away from the conditioning that keeps us small to an enabling of  the larger, ever emerging potential of who we are.

The personal freedom to no longer be the protagonists of the movie of (your version) of the world, so you create one where you are alive to the joy of replenishing the natural ecosystem you live in.

The freedom to stop playing your life though the filters of a win/loose game and simply start living. Creating. Replenishing.

Others can help us be sovereign by helping us remember who we really are.

By helping us see past what we have identified with as us, so we can see through to the foundation of us, that of our truth and potential.

Even when we are aware of our identity filters, we often fall into the trap of wanting approval or behaving in a way that seeks out the reaction we want from others, to elevate our mood or status in line with them. In these interactions we often maintain and sustain a limited self. Trying to present the version of ourselves that gets the reaction we want, but it’s always at a cost of being heard, seen and ultimately the potential for a real connection.

What ends up happening when we behave and make sense of the world from a perspective that is disconnected and limited, is we lose our way.

If we want to be in continuity with others, we first must be so with ourselves.

If we want to change the reaction, we must change the action.

If we want to change the expression, we have to change the root.

Individual Sovereignty is the root. The founding path to building an interior ecosystem of continuity. So, each individual has the founding capacity, wisdom and vision to create an ecosystem that is inclusive, replenishing and set’s others up to thrive.

As Forrest Landry said. “The truth is not simple it’s just profoundly clear”, learning what the truth is, starts with gaining a clarity of self.

 


Notes:

 

1. With respect to the word truth – I have taking an excerpt from Forrest’s website to explain how we use it in this context. You can read further about this here.
Truth is more than “that which one can consider” (perceive) with total confidence, clarity, and certainty.

Truth is that with which one can personally act with total confidence and effectiveness. Truth is not so much about correctness in thinking as it is about the significance and efficiency of choice. It is not so much about perceptual certainty as it is about expression with clarity, effectiveness, and confidence.

One knows truth as much through the process of feeling as through the process of thought. It is only when both feeling and thinking are used together that one may know Truth.

2. If you would like further reading on defining the concept of human sovereignty you can find some here

Artwork: 
Brett Whitley – Self portrait in the studio 1976

Whiteley’s tiny mirror self-portrait reflects the influence of Eastern art in his portrayal of man as merely part of a larger landscape. However, this painting also hints at a darker side, as Wendy Whiteley explained in 1995:

… he was warning himself and other people watching. It was the cage of his interior, his addiction, the window or a glimpse of possible escape into paradise: the escape from one’s psyche.

This painting won the Archibald Prize in 1976 and was acquired by the Art Gallery NSW in 1977.

I Surrender.

Artwork by Fabio Bacchini – Instagram @_baccc

 


 

I want to have a conversation with you about surrender.

It’s a big topic, one that I’ve been thinking about for some time.

More recently I’ve come to a theory.

The theory is that surrender is one of our primal needs. Like love or touch (as opposed to food and water type needs).

On that basis – I’ve been watching.

I’ve tried to really consider how and where it shows up, and have been tracking it, to see any common correlations.

January has been a super month; this year has gotten off to an amazing start. Full to the brim with lessons and opportunity to show up more as myself. It’s the scary, messy kind of opportunity that you don’t always wish for but know deep down are the most valuable.

Something ended last week. Within this I noticed how my head was full of thoughts about it that I couldn’t shift. Even nonsensical stuff. I started to think about what it was to be stuck thinking about things within the context of loss (in this case loss of future connection).

Once you frame it in the context of loss, you see almost instantly (well I did anyway) that it’s not “thinking”, it is control.

The sticky thoughts are not you actually really thinking… it’s just control disguised as that. It was an unwillingness to surrender to the loss. Like a last ditched attempt to somehow change the outcome.

This then got me thinking about how loss brings a forced surrender. It (whatever ‘It’ is) is gone, and you don’t get any further choices. You can’t control what isn’t there, so all you can do is just surrender to it.

Back to the theory. 

If surrender is in fact a primal need. Then it will find its way into our lives whether we like it or not. It will creep in and it will push and influence out choices – mostly unconsciously, if we have not given it the space it deserves, as a primal need.

Alas, I came to think.

That maybe there is a correlation between the amount of loss you experience and the amount you are willing to surrender in life.

When you choose to surrender you are choosing things like love, trust, connection, focus, orgasm, achievement (think the athlete in flow, pushing past their known ability to win). That’s the kind we choose.

The reverse of this is, then, when surrender will choose you, and as the brilliant beings we are, when it’s primal, and it’s a need, we always choose the quickest and easiest path.

Loss. Pain. Fear. The death (metaphorically speaking) of something.

So, the theory of surrender has expanded.

We must surrender to survive.

Therefore, if we are unwilling to do so in love & trust, achievement or connection we will unconsciously break our lives over and over, so we surrender to loss – because loss is the fastest, most effective way to fill that need.

My focus for this year is to cultivate more joy. To live this, I’m making decisions that minimise suffering. Doing something every week that pushes me into unknown outcomes, things I can’t control, things I need to trust and connections that require love past my perception of my own ability, choosing to surrender over and over, in as many ways as possible, may just be the path. Or not. I don’t actually know.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to surrender to that & see what happens.

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The Ironic Truth

Inspiration

“We’re so complex; we’re mysteries to ourselves; we’re difficult to each other. And then storytelling reminds us we’re all the same.” Brad Pitt.

Motivation

Understanding – is that how to tell our truth?


The Ironic Truth

You know those moments when someone tells you something deeply personal, particularly heart braking and overtly confronting about their past, where you are left, with a feeling of being powerless to respond, so you say… I am sorry. I’m sorry that happened to you, I’m sorry you went through that, I’m sorry.

Sometimes this can be a considered reply, and the right reply for the moment, however, much of the time it is a stop gap, of sorts, a way to bridge over your real, internal (usually uncomfortable) reaction to the information being presented. Maybe with good intention, say, to not offend, or not upset or isolate someone you care about through your reaction. What’s interesting and paradoxical about this situation, is that the apology should probably come from the person telling the story.

Let me explain.

As the person telling the story, the one telling the truth of your life, of your circumstance, of your heartbreak or pain, take a moment now to think about how much time you have had to consider this truth. Not only the actual instance that caused it, but also how much time you have had to consider, process and get comfortable with other peoples reactions to it. In fact, it’s not new. By the time you say it, even for the first time, you have probably thought deeply, openly and at length about how you will feel if some one doesn’t understand, how you would react if someone does, and all of the potential in betweens.

On the other hand, you have the person listening, for the first time. They have never been confronted by this exact piece of information before. They don’t understand your relationship to the trauma of it and they don’t really understand their own. Even if in the moment they get the feeling that it impacts or activates their own internal daemons, they don’t really know how, why or what to do with that just yet. What I am proposing is, that this moment, right here, requires deep empathy from the story teller.

Being a better story teller is something I would like to be in my life, and thinking about the audience in this way, makes me consider how I can use understanding within that. How by framing, preempting understanding and personalising your narrative opens hearts and ears, so instead of shutting down an experience with an I’m sorry, you leave your audience, loved one, friend or stranger open to a conversation. Invite them to become a participant in the evolution of the story itself. Creating an exchange that is both deeply meaningful and truly honest. Which is, in essence, connection.

Is it that being understood starts with being understanding?

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Our Dark Teacher

Inspiration:

“Allow the heart to empty itself of all turmoil” – The Tao Te Ching

Motivation:

How do we find gratitude for our darkest teacher? Who are the people who teach us the lessons we didn’t want to learn?


Our Dark Teacher

Sometimes I forget just how much generosity it takes to simply be ourselves.

We moderate, regulate, and over compensate to be something. What? It is likely if we were asked in that moment, of trying and changing and compensating, what we were aiming for, we would not know. More like that, less like this, or just this, only in this other way. We find ourselves contorting around an endless road of participation in something that has neither a means nor an end in the truth of who we really are or even aspire to be.

It takes a deep sense of giving to openly allow ourselves to surrender to the truth of where we are, when where we are is not close to the potential of where we would dream to be. It is an omnipresent need in the times when what we are capable of creating does not meet our idealism of creativity. When connections falter, ideals break and time passes to quickly.

So we stumble, and fall. We fail. We get rejected. We don’t meet our own expectations. As we stumble, we remember the dark teacher that pushed us down. As we fall, we remember the one that took the ground from below us as we slept. Confronted by rejection we feel our hearts weep for the time we didn’t ask but were taught, too young, too soon, the feeling of neglect.

The dark teacher is the person, place, time or space sent to educate us on the lessons we never dreamed of, to fill our worlds with experiences that we never asked for and to bring us to our knees with an abusive, neglectful  reality that is too real to look directly in the eyes.

How easy it is to forget just how much generosity it takes to believe that we ourselves are reason enough. How quickly we forget, that we are the ones that need it most. It takes a kind of primal energy, to connect to the place within ourselves, to remember, like a homecoming of sorts, that if our needs are not pinned to our within, we are almost certainly going to go without.

I have often thought about the tightrope we walk, in the face of our own personal honest expression of who we are, what we think and how we want to be in the world. It comes from a narrative of never really fitting in, not at home, not at life. My own fine line to dace between the wanting to be myself and longing to be in communion with another. The balance between the expression of a cold truth and the warmth of acceptance.

Do we let our big dreams of being of service, of creation, of leaving a truthful individual expression of ourselves in the world become the hardest obstacle?

If we surrendered to our own fallibility and forgetfulness and humbly said, I’m sorry, I forgot just how generous I need to be with myself would it empty our hearts of the turmoil that we too often use as a tool to against ourselves through the pursuit of acceptance?

“To know tranquility is to embrace all” says the Tao. I don’t think this was referring to a kind of apathy to the worlds suffering. To embrace all may simply mean to surrender to our own mediocrity as the foundation of our pursuit to find our greatness. Perhaps it is that we are only ever accepted in the world outside with the depth of generosity that we are willing to give to our own self-acceptance.

 

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A Dance With My Future Lover

Inspiration –

“If you had to envision your most remarkable life, what would any random day of that look like” Milton Glaser

Mindset – 

I love this task, writing a day in your life, of the most remarkable life you could imagine. I found it truly liberating and so full of self love. Here is an excerpt from my story, focused on a morning with my future lover..


A Dance With My Future Lover

Sundays always feel so good. Sundays in summer, well they feel even better, you know when you wake and can already feel the sunshine, even in the dim light of my room, and I feel the summer happening right outside the window.

On these summer mornings I find it so easy to wake up and immediately smile. The air and the heat and the dim light in my room, and the instant knowing that the day is full of vibrancy. Even more so on days like this when he is home. I turn slowly, softly, almost not moving a single layer of fabric on the bed to let my eyes take him in.

There is so much to be said of time apart. Most people go on about “I miss you” or cry out “you missed this” but that’s not me. I said it from the very start, and even before we met, I knew this. I would never miss you, if you were away, you were pursuing your life, and your dreams, and your passions in the world and you need to be in that for yourself, to be the version of yourself that I want to wake up and love (and make love to) and love some more. So as I lay here, and my eyes take you in, I feel such gratitude to have you close knowing that I appreciate it, you & us with deep reverences for not just our time together but also the time we are apart, it is the two that creates this.

It strikes me with a little nervousness, which never goes away, how deeply I love you. I watch you. Sometimes, like now, when you are sleeping and don’t know I’m looking I look away because I feel a little creepy! It is so palpable that I could eat it. It’s something I consume as much inside me as it is a concept in front of me. “I am in love with you”, I say in my head.

He is trouble, but the kind that you choose.

I contemplate waking you, which would be almost 100% selfish, but I contemplate it anyway. With a little smirk, I think if you only knew how kind I am to you… I slowly move to get up out of the bed. But before I do, I lean over, and just above your cheek bone, between the cut of your beard and the resting place of your eyelashes, I gently, slowly let my lips hit that small bit of your face that seems the size that is made just for them. My mind may not have missed you but my lips sure did.

I slide out of bed, the tug of my morning rituals calling. I like that you sleep later than me, I like that I get the morning to find my pace, some space and I like not talking before meditating and coffee.

10.05am. Ok, now, I can go wake my man. Not that I’m counting down the minutes.. ok, I’m counting down the minutes. There is never a day, he is here and I don’t feel this little pang of newness and nervousness within that. I honestly don’t think I believed I was even capable of really loving someone openly and consciously until well into my 30’s. I was forced to look at the fundamentals in my being, and I was so closed to love, like being loved, loving and trusting someone, a man even worse than women, it was so far removed from me, like 3 degrees of separation. I could tell you all about it, I could see it in others, I could imagine its vividly, but to do, to act, to be that. No way. So in a sense, it is new. It’s new for me. New to love; new love. I try, and I think succeed to be so kind to it. To myself within it, to shower him with kindness, understanding and open hearted truth. Radical honesty we call it.

I walk up the hall, and into my dim bedroom, I can feel him, his energy is so large, I feel him as soon as he is in my space, he has a presence even when he sleeps. It’s remarkable, that someone could have so much life that even in rest they fill a room. It is surly one of the things I love most about him. This touchable, presence that people don’t quite know what to do with. He turns it up and down and opens it and closes it off, it’s a mastery, a performing art I’m awed by, in a kind of uncomfortable way that makes me both swoon and nervous at the same time. He knows, that despite all my strength, he can bring me on a journey (one I often surrender to) into a world of emotion and feeling I never knew possible, at the flicker of a look or the tilt of an arm. He captivates me. I obviously don’t let him know this all the time. Ha, one must maintain a sense that he could indeed not move me so, but he has me so twisted and I choose him every single time.

As I walk into the room I throw off my tee, because, there is simply nothing better than the feeling of his hands on my naked back. It’s the way he moves my hair I think, or the way he puts his hand around the back of my neck, or the way he pulls me close, like I’m never close enough, or just all of them. Whatever way, it is bliss.

I lay next to him on the bed, and run my hand over the side of his face, up through his hair and down his neck. He smiles without opening his eyes & mumbles, hmm hello baby. I melt. I kiss his face and I run my hand over where I kissed, up through his hair and down his neck again.. “I’ve missed you” he says, eyes still closed.. “I didn’t miss you” I reply back with a smile.. he opens one eye, to see me smile.

He once told me, when he was on the phone, he was in Singapore, and we were not really even together yet, we were connected, but not yet committed to any connection we felt in any real way. Ok, I totally was, but he was not and that was ok. He said “the very first time I saw you smile changed my life” I was surprised, It was random in the middle of a unrelated conversation, and I replied, “oh…” and he continued, “you have this smile that is so consuming, you light up a whole room with it, your soul, your whole soul sparkles and you can see it in your eyes and your mouth and your face and it took my breath away, I felt changed, to see your smile, it changed me”. He always has such a way with words. I have thought of this many times when I see him, see me smile. Its like a self-fulfilling prophesy, one I deeply love.

He smiles, at me smiling at him, “come here” he grabs me, and pulls me in, under his arm, his hand on my neck, down my back, my heart on his heart, I start to beat to a whole new rhythm, his dance, our dance, this music, its everything.

He holds me close as he slowly wakes up, we giggle, and chat a little, and he marvels at how many things I manage to get done before he wakes. Then he lifts my head, to meet his eyes. I could live in there, that kind of clutter of eyelashes and deep dark gaze. Everything in my life is minimal except this complicated messy, dark handsome being who is anything but. He kisses me in a way that makes my heart skip beats, and go out of time, which he has learnt in the past, to look out for, like an indication of achievement of his kissing me, and he smiles with satisfaction and kisses me once more.

There is not a part of this mans body I don’t want, nor a part of mine he cant have and that is the way we make love.

If the space together and apart is what makes us so strong, what makes me continue to fall in love over and over again has to be the little things. The little things he does only for me. It’s about consideration and care. The care he puts into what he does for me. It is the thing that really caught me in the start, that he is a man of action & his actions towards me have always been so intentional and so deeply kind. He does these little things, like say, take me to a particular café for brunch because he researched and found that they are the ones that use the eggs I love most. But he wont tell me he has done this, he will wait and watch me as I figure it out, like little golden kisses of consideration scattered into my life. When I do see them, his eyes and his energy show how this is an act of vulnerability for him. Sometimes he will send me flowers, but for the summer solstice or the first day of spring, sometimes it’s a little trinket or hand made item he picked up on his travels that comes with him telling me an elaborate story just to make it all that more special when he gives it to me. Mostly, like every other day, he will do something with the soul purpose of just making me laugh, such a true gift. When I think about him, with me, the creation of a uniting ‘us’, I think about the amount of time he spends in consideration of what he gives me, and our us, it is so personal, and so very meaningful. He see’s me and turns what he sees into a continuous action of kindness.

Making love to him gives me freakish amounts of energy – really, it’s not normal. So I jump up, say “good morning” with a huge smile and go to walk out to shower and start the day. He grabs my hand as I walk past, and pulls me in to kiss me, hands on my body, my skin tingles under each touch. I smile, kiss him on the cheek, just above his cheekbone in that little spot where his eyelashes meet his face and there is just enough room for my lips. I love you, he whispers. I look him in the eyes and say. I’m glad you are home.

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Digital Tribalism

Inspiration

“You must be the change you want to see in the world” ~ Gandhi.

Motivation

Has connection got worse since we became so digitally connected or do we simply need to up-skill to catch the wave of modern tribalism?


 

Digital Tribalism

It’s difficult to miss the extent of which the world has changed in the past three decades. The exponential growth of technology has created a dynamic shift in every aspect of our everyday lives. How we eat, interact and work has shifted onto a mobile platform from dinner via UberEATS to a corporate employment strategy that involves filters on Snapchat, the world is different.

All of the above has been given a lot of airtime and a lot of consideration around how it impacts us on personal, country and global levels.

How we create, build and interact within community has also experienced exponential change. This change has caused great impact on the individual level that has been the focus of considerable negative coverage.

People feel disconnected. People feel lonely.

The thing is, loneliness is proof that your innate search for connection is still intact. The philosopher Aristotle, in his famous conversations with Plato said that there should be three parts to a loving friendship: Unity, Pleasure and Goodness. These are innate skills we are all equipped with, so the only thing standing between any person and their ability to create deep bonds with another is lack of access to others.

I have thought about this a lot. How it could be, that in a time where we are more connected to more places and people than ever before, the average persons experience of connection has decreased.

People have been saying tribal communities are a thing of the past, but I find myself questioning if this is really true, not to belittle the personal experience of people feeling this, more so to understand if it is that the opportunity to connect has actually increased (as you would expect inline with the advancement of digital connectivity) and we just all missed the how-to on YouTube?

Do we need, as a species; to rewrite the way we think connection is made, in order to open the gates to our new global tribe?

Historically if you connected with someone outside of your direct community, it was dangerous, often resulting in loss of life, so we have some deep wiring that unconsciously drives us to be afraid of reaching out into the unknown. Our wiring needs to untangle from the past and we need to reset our thinking about how and where connection is created.

If you set aside, all of the notions you have for how friendship, real lasting deep connected friendship is created historically, and forget any rules or conditioning you have around where it’s found and just look at the tools you have at your fingertips to create new connections in your life, how would you do it?

How would you search for your tribe?

It’s a question that forces you to look deeply within, past the stuff you do or the job you have or your role in your direct family. It is an asking of self; who am I? What kind of person am I? What am I really passionate about? And how do I find people that I will relate to?  What do I admire in others, what am I interested in learning about or being exposed to? What languages, places, subjects or activities are am I interested in?

Well, the chances are, if you set aside a day, just one Sunday even, to search online, on the global platform of connectivity you have at your fingertips, you would probably find groups, conferences, communities and institutions that share your interests. You will probably find them locally, or within your country, but you would also find them globally, in new and exciting places. You even have algorithms that have been specially created and optimised to support your search, and could probably find options that tick many boxes on your tribal wish list.

Perhaps the issue with digital social connection is not that its all “surface level” but that we, the user, are treating it that way and the results are simply a reflection of what we are putting in.

Friendship, the kind that Aristotle spoke about, with unity, pleasure and goodness takes effort. Real life effort. Regardless of where and how they are formed, this rule applies.

You make the connection. Then you do the work. Then it takes time. After all tribal trust was built over generations, not over night, and even with this generational membership every new generation underwent initiation and event to prove commitment to the tribe.

Finding your tribe is not as easy as a click of the button, the click and the button is just the new pathway for you to build and grow with other humans. Creating lasting bonds however is your personal choice and responsibility towards commitment.

Maybe when everyone stops dismissing digital social connection as “just fun” or “not important”, and starts approaching it as you would any other community, asking what are it’s needs, which needs do you personally want to serve and how it can serve you in return.

Ultimately, it comes back to what it always has, how much time, energy and effort are you prepared to put into building connection in your life? And how prepared are you to reach out and be vulnerable to create that connection?

It’s easy to read the Gandhi quote at the top of this and jump to the “change the world” narrative, however I urge you to consider it in another way, a little closer to home, “You must be the change you want to see in the world”, in your world, in your life, with your own personal ability to connect. Be the one to change your view on how, so you can head out into the world and find your tribe.

I like to think of this as a life changing kind of crowd-sourcing…I call it Digital Tribalism.

A Skeptics Guide To Organic Food

Over time, in the act of doing what I loved, I became a bit of a, dare I say it “organics advocate” and it has caused me some grief.

The thing is, people don’t like organics… and as it turns out they don’t like the advocates of it either! At first it baffled me as to why – why would people be so offended by the concept of eating clean fresh, sustainably grown food?

But then I realized. People are afraid and confused.

The fear and misunderstanding is real. The mixed messages within the media who confuse rumour with fact, and the branding laws around organics are confusing at best.

The fear runs deep, because part of the issue is quite personal. To admit that there is a legitimate reason to eat organic food is also to admit that the whole industry you have trusted to supply you with quality food, the food that keeps you alive and healthy has been lying to you. It also means feeling a little like a fool in some way. The manipulation of perception about what is happening within the food system by major brands is a big truth to swallow.

I get it, really I do. I too have been there and it is no walk in the park. Accepting that you no longer choose to part of the mainstream changes everything and for many, blissful ignorance is a seemingly easy option.

I can’t really help a lot with the second part, that is a journey people need to walk for themselves. What I can help with is clearing up a little of the common misunderstandings around organics.

 

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In my experience so far the misunderstand comes in these four main areas:

Organics Is Not A Dietary Choice.

When people think of the words “organic food”, they automatically think about
dietary choice like vegetarianism, veganism.

The connection between veganism & organics started because the initial pioneers oforganic farming as the vegan movement in fact started a mainstream food option. As a part of their ethos they felt it was imperative to protect the earth and the wildlife by growing food in a way that did not include harmful chemicals. Unfortunately, with many modern vegans choosing mass-produced chemically grown wheat, corn, soy and legume products, this ethos has slipped away, but nonetheless, we credit them for starting the movement towards sustainable growing practices.

Eating organic is simply about the way the food is produced. This includes all food types, from sugar to beef, leafy greens to tofu. It has no connection at all with any kind of preferred eating style or diet.

Organic Food Costs Too Much

It is an assumption that organic equals expensive

Organic food is 10-15% more expensive than conventional food, mostly because small local producers that have higher overheads grow it.

The costs reflect what food should cost when the farmer is actually making money for producing food. When the costs actually get out of line (meaning they are 50-80% more than conventional foods) is when the farmer is forced to sell via a centralised markets that are then adding substantial margin onto the goods before selling it to stores. It should be noted, it is usually the case the higher the retail price, the less money the end grower usually is making. I point this out, because the issue is not the growing of organic food for a reasonable cost, the issue is the supply chain that gets the food from the farm to the store, it is an important differentiation and one that gives farmers (the real hero in all this) much torment.

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The Science Says…

When people hear the words “organically grown or chemical free”, they often jump
into a scientific argument about the nutritional content of a particular plant grown conventionally v’s organically.

The nutritional benefit of food comes from three areas, the quality and makeup of the seed, how rich in nutrition the soil is which it’s grown and how the body absorbs the nutrition once it’s been consumed. The main purpose relating to nutritional value, of eating organic food is to reduce the amount of chemical exposure to your body, so your body can function at an optimal level and absorb more nutritional value from the food you consume.

A study conducted by The National Institute for Research in 2006 was able to demonstrate that an organic diet provides a dramatic and immediate protective effect against exposures to pesticides that are commonly used in agricultural production. More so they concluded that these children were most likely exposed to these pesticides exclusively through their diet.

In 2014 Australian University RIMT conducted a 7 day study that put participants on an exclusively organic diet for 7 days. The organic eating participants were found to have a 89% reduction of chemicals in their system.

It is actually astounding that within just 7 days, there was such a significant reduction in chemicals in the systems of participants.

Is It Really Organic?

When people hear “certified organic” they feel mistrust and don’t understand why
statements like “organic ingredients” and “all natural” can be used on non certified items.

Trusting our food is actually organic.

For me, and many others this is one of the hardest hurdles to cross. The biggest problem in this space is the labelling laws around the use of the word “organic” on products. At present there is no clear law that protects organic producers. What that means is anyone can use say their product is “produced with organic ingredients” or “naturally grown” or “natural” and it is hard for the customer to tell the difference between what really is organically grown and what is branding.

The easiest way to ensure that you are eating something organic is to look for certification. At present there is a global standard that the following certification bodies adhere to:

USDA (USA) NASAA (Aust) ACO (Aust) Bioc (Europe) AB (France) BIO (Europe) COBA
(Canada) JAS (Japan) BIODYNAMIC (Global biodynamic certified)

It’s confusing that there are so many, and it would be a better future for the market if they consolidated down to one or two main peak bodies and rules, however for now this is what we have. The certification process is complex and producers, distributors and manufactures are held very accountable for keeping in line with the standard.

I owned and ran a catering business that was certified organic and from first hand experience know that the audit process is very real, and comprehensive. If you would like to learn more about what it means to be certified organic you can do so here.

People are confused, fearful and annoyed by organics! And with every voicing of the word “organic” it prompts one of these reactions.

So lets drop this word & start thinking & talking about what actually important here.

Let’s start by asking a question. What am I eating?

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The system is complex, not because it necessarily needs to be, more because that is the way it has been created. It has left us, as a society, so disconnected from what is real about food, where our food comes from, how it is grown and produced and more so how it is marketed to us. If we all were to tell ourselves the truth about what we are really eating we would be overwhelmed with the disrespect we have been shown by the companies we have entrusted with the role of nourishing us.

Which is why, now more than ever we must step forward and take direct responsibility over the way we feed ourselves, our children and our families, the earth and nature as a whole.

We live in a time when we can recite the words of the latest hit song, when we know which celebrity is dating who and what the president of America tweeted 10 minutes ago, and yet we don’t know where our breakfast came from. Let’s not give away our ability to live a long and healthy life simply because we don’t put the time in to understand what we are eating and ask ourselves this question.

What am I eating?

Next time you hear the word organic, don’t think about diets, about debates, the
word organic or the science, just focus on the food. Is it in season? Is it fresh? Where was it grown? How was it grown? Who is the farmer? How is it best prepared?

What am I eating?

Be in ore of the simple fact that in doing so you simultaneously nourished your mind, help the earth and supported a local farmer and take care of your heath.

One should never underestimate the power of real food.

Balanced-Meal

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Chocolate Five Ways

Inspiration

“When you reach the end of what you should know, you will be at the beginning of what you should sense.”

~ Kahlil Gibran

Motivation

Could the slow, but eventual death of sugar consumption, be the birth of truly delicious desserts?


Chocolate Five Ways

Recently the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement that, for the first time, supports a vast amount of science about why we all (especially children) shouldn’t be eating sugar.

The new WHO guideline recommends adults and children reduce their daily intake of “free sugars” to less than 10% of their total energy intake. That equates to about 25 grams of sugar intake per day. With the guidelines reaching further to say that children under the age of two, should have zero added sugar. Free sugars refer to monosaccharide’s (glucose, fructose) and disaccharides (sucrose or table sugar) that are added to foods. The recommendations were made based on the now mounting evidence of the link between preventable diseases, like diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders and the consumption of added processed sugars and artificial sweeteners.

I have to admit I was pretty excited about this announcement. Long since being convinced of the impacts of sugar on the brain. If you are into the science you can view an extensive file of resources and articles here.

So this leaves us all with a very important question… What should we eat for dessert!!

To help with this modern day problem, I decided to put together this list of my most simple to make, delicious chocolate recipes to share with you. This has been an ongoing request from friends, and it is with great pleasure that I contribute to your keeping of the sweet life, without of course, causing you the long-term health issues that too much sugar will create.

I highly recommend keeping a solid supply of these recipes on hand at all times!

 

Rich Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate-truffles

These small round treats are full to the brim with good medium chain fats, which have been shown to improve cognitive function, alertness and overall ability to focus. Got an exam, big workday or busy day running after your children, stash a few of these with you and consume at will.

Ingredients

  • 500g cashews – soaked over night in water
  • 30g of (organic) cacao butter
  • 5 tbl spoons of (raw organic) cacao powder
  • 4 tbl spoons of (organic) rice syrup
  • Almond meal for coating (or anything you desire)

Method

(You need to start this recipe a day in advance)

  1. Soak the cashews overnight – then drain liquid.
  2. While soft, blend in a blender or food processor (vitamix / food processor best – but normal bender is ok). Blend until they form a soft paste. They will appear a little crumbly (you can also keep them chunky if you like more texture) and a little.

TIP: The best way to get them totally smooth and creamy is to blend in small batches. Once blended to your liking, empty mix into a bowl

  1. Place a bowl over a pot of boiling water, and melt the cacao butter. Once melted mix in the cacao powder & rice syrup, it should be a paste like consistency
  2. Mix the chocolate paste into the nut mix until you get a clumpy, thick consistency then take portions as big or small as you want & roll into balls in your hands.
  3. Coat the balls in the almond meal & put in the fridge on a baking paper lined tray and allow 20 minutes to set then.
  4. Eat!

 

Chocolate Coconut Puddings

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This is the perfect dinner party dessert or if you are like me and have no limits on when you eat chocolate, a wonderful breakfast bowl!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp of grass fed gelatin (or your preference of plant based equivalent)
  • 400 mls organic coconut cream
  • 50grms organic raw cacao powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons of raw honey or maple syrup
  • 150g whipped coconut cream
  • Your choice of toasted nuts, seeds and chocolate dusted coconut (pictured) to serve

Method

  1. Combine gelatin with three tablespoons of water in a small bowl and allow to sit for five minutes until the granules have softened and expanded.
  2. In a plan over medium heat, place coconut milk, cacao powder, cinnamon, honey (or maple), whisk to combine. Bring the mixture just to a simmering point and then remove from the heat.
  3. Add the gelatin to the warm coconut mixture and stir until it dissolves. Then transfer the mixture into your ramekins of choice and set in the fridge for one hour.
  4. Serve sprinkled with your choice of topping, whipped coconut cream and dust with a little extra cacao powder.

 

The Worlds Best Chocolate Smoothie

Chocolate-smoothie

Eating a liquid breakfast is an easy way to kick start your brain without slowing down your body’s digestive system. This smoothie is packed with goodness and tastes like a rich chocolate milkshake!

Ingredients:

  • 1 x organic pasture fed egg yolk
  • 1 x tablespoon hulled tahini
  • 1 x table spoon rice syrup
  • 1 x teaspoon essential greens (I use ISO Whey unsweetened green powder, however you can use anything that is pure, unsweetened (no stevia) & organic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla powder
  • 2 table spoons raw organic cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons of MCT oil (I use Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil)
  • 1 cup Organic almond mylk (please use organic, pure almond mylk, so many nasty things in mass produced nut mylks) you could also use other dairy alternatives like Coconut milk or Cashew mylk.

Method:

  1. Mix egg yolk, tahini, rice syrup, greens & vanilla in a small bowl until combined (will look a little like a caramel paste).
  2. Add in the cacao and MCT oil and combine to make a chocolate paste.
  3. In your blender, combine the chocolate paste and almond mylk (or your choice of liquid) and blend for 1 minute.
  4. Drink & smile because it tastes delicious!

 

Double Chocolate Oat Cookies

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Who doesn’t love cookies, and more so who doesn’t love eating them guilt free! These delicious cookies are a great afternoon snack or a health treat for the kids.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of organic gluten free Quick Oats
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tbsp psyllium husk
  • ½ teaspoon organic vanilla powder
  • ½ cup organic raw cacao powder
  • 85grams organic (pasture fed) butter
  • 80grams organic rice syrup
  • 100 grams chopped dark sugar free chocolate (I used 80% raw dark organic chocolate sweetened by coconut sugar)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 C / 356 F and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl & stir to combine.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients together in a small bowl until combined and add the wet mixture to the dry one.
  4. Mix with a spoon until combined then using our hands mix the ingredients together, rubbing the oats and wet ingredients together so they are soaking up the liquid and become soft. The trick is to get the oats nice and soft.
  5. Once combined roll about 1-2 table spoons into a ball and softly flatten with your fingers – keep them quite thick, for delicious end results.
  6. Place on trey and cook for 15-18 minutes (16 minutes was probably perfect for my oven, so you may need to play with this depending on your oven)
  7. Take off hot trey as soon as they come out of the oven & onto wire cooking rack so they don’t keep cooking.
  8. I can highly recommend eating these when they are hot!!

 

Crunchy Chocolate Trail Mix

chocolate-granola

Snack the right way with this delicious salty sweet mix that will keep you feeling good guilt free. Personally I prefer not to leave home without a little stash of chocolate crunch in my bag!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups mixed organic almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts and pepitas, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups coconut flakes
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
  • 1 cup of organic rice puffs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 teaspoons rice malt syrup
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 120ºC / 250°F and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Combine all ingredients except the salt together in a large bowl, making sure all the nuts and are coated in chocolate/ coconut oil/ rice syrup mix, then spread evenly on the tray. Then, sprinkle the sea salt overtop of the mixture.
  3. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden, turning halfway through the cooking time. They will go dark, which is a sign of impending crunch!
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  5. Store it in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 2 weeks
  6. TIP – this tastes GREAT on the Chocolate Coconut Puddings mentioned above!!

 

Having amazing sweet treats in your life need not be bad for you, nor difficult to make yourself at home. Be creative, mix up the ingredients, add spices and herbs that you love and mix and match flavours.

Here is to you living the most delicious life possible, one chocolate treat at a time.

Surprise

Feature Image – Incredible artwork by Mike Dargas (mikedargas.com). Yes, it’s a painting!! 

Inspiration

“Passion gives me moments of wholeness.” ~ Anais Nin

Motivation

Spontaneous thoughts on the topic of love


Surprise

Take a deep breath, let it out, take another and as you exhale, bring to mind a time when you have been deeply pleasantly surprised. When something tickled your imagination because the world presented it to you before you had imagined it, seen it or dreamed it elsewhere.

Last week I was home with my little boy, in the morning he woke, and I didn’t hear him walking to my room, so just as I opened the door, he also was opening the door. We both screamed and then two seconds later we both burst out laughing, the pure joy, of the feeling of surprise washing over the morning and our hearts. There is a bliss found in this moment that is unlike any other. A vulnerable moment where the environment conspires to push you over the comfort cliff into pure vulnerability and then catches you right before you hit fear. It’s a complete moment of pure surrender.

It got me thinking about acts of unexpected event in our lives. In a romantic context, could there be anything more sensual than being taken on a path of surrender to a point of delight that is both unexpected and considered at the same time. When a lover takes the time to attend to the details of your experience, pushing you into the unknown all the time holding you safe in their guidance. It’s trust, in motion. It is deep consideration in action. It is magic. It is also, dare I say, out of fashion.

When I think about modern dating (I’m not going deep into this topic, because it isn’t the point here) it doesn’t really have much of any surprise attached to it. Spontaneous experience does not live in the realms of dating app algorithms nor does it live in dinner and a movie. No such surrender lives in the rules of contact, the “I’ll meet you there” or the “it’s a numbers game”. I’m not insulting any of these realities, they exist and have their place, but I cant help but question, that if there is no surprise, if the spontaneity is gone, has the bliss of unexpected sensual delight gone with it?

It is not hidden that the construct of traditional marriage style relationships are not going so great. The divorce rate is now past 50% of all marriages in the western world. It gets me to wonder if part of the reason this is the case is that by the very nature, a marriage style relationship is founded on consistency and routine. When meeting and experiencing time with another is so devoted to your own set of rules and accommodation of habits of when, what and how things should play out, does that come at the cost of never really surrendering?

So what could this look like?

Step one, you have to think about the person, what they like, the things they have said, the things they do in passing, what opens their mind, heart and world to joy. Step two, you have to research; search out and find ways, places and people that bring these things to life. Step three, you have to really consider how this person will feel about all parts of the experience. You have to deeply empathise with them, and take time to consider how they see the world. Step four, you have to think about details, the little things that sparkle and give depth. You really need to take the time to make sure that everything is conspiring with you to bring forth the true depth of experience you want to bestow on your lover. Step five, you have to be creative, to bring the timing, presence and circumstance into play. Step six, you have to let go of any expectation and make the whole experience about the other person. Step seven, you have to listen, watch and hold space for them through the whole experience.

When you really consider what it takes to truly delight someone you care for, in surprise, it is in fact the personification of deep connection.

Step one. Consideration. Step two. Effort. Step three. Empathy Step four. Attentiveness. Step five. Creativity Step six. Selflessness. Step seven. Kindness.

 

Surprise-2

As the giver it takes vulnerability, but is there any sensuality in life without this? It takes a deeply passionate gesture to bring someone out of the grasps of self-control safely into the arms of surrender and back down to earth again softly. Perhaps this is what Anais was speaking to when she said “Passion gives me moments of wholeness.”

I tend to lean towards this being something you practice at all stages of a relationship; as strangers, as intimate partners, as long time companions.

The incredible author Paulo Coelho once said, “The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion” and in the dating world, where experience has somehow been distilled down to three or four standard options of activity you have a choice. We can choose to tell people all about how show up in the world all while fitting into the status quo; or we could simply do something to surprise them.

The flip side of this is. You also must be open to receive.

As with all deeply loving actions, the benefits for the giver are exceptional.

Inspiration, originality and creativity breads more inspiration, originality and creativity. It also breads energy, excitement, focus, worth and positive bias.

Seems like a good deal to me.

Before We Flow

Inspiration

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle”.  ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Motivation

Have we been so seduced by perfection that we have forgotten the beauty of struggle?


Before We Flow

Over the past ten years, there has been a group of Neurologists that have been studding the science and biology of flow states. That mystical state of being where you lose time, where you are in the “zone”, where everything has a new beat, a perfect rhythm, where it all flows. Flow is deep creative expression. Flow is inspiration. Flow is pure focus. Transcendence.

It’s truly a fascinating space, like a sneak peak into a part of humanity that we have all known, but never quite understood. One of the most interesting discoveries is that flow has stages. Four stages in fact. There is a preparation (like an education), there is the struggle (turning what you have learnt into a practical reality, taking risk) there is a the flow (where the meeting of what you know and what you do are greater than their individual parts and you transcend your perception of your own ability) and then there is a stage of recalibration, like a resting.

I want to talk a little about the struggle.

When thinking about the impacts that social media has on our lives, the newly found access to one another’s lives that the Internet has opened for us in recent time has confronted us with the overt proliferation of fake news. Not the fake news/ alternative facts from the actual news corporations (that’s a totally different topic) but the fake life stories that flood our news feeds and make up the majority of all social platforms, the ones that come from everyday people.

I’m talking about the touched up selfie (#iwokeuplikethis), the manufactured shots, the product placement that fills peoples lives with things that are not even theirs, that they pretend are (#ad the least used hashtag on the internet!), the overly groomed, best view, polished, exciting, social, adventurous dream lives that flicker into view daily.

It got me to thinking about what potential deeper impacts this is having on us culturally. Obviously, as a million articles already published will tell you, it’s probably hurting our relationship with ourselves, and reality, but I’m not so sure this is the worst of it.

The age of FOMO has turned into the age of FAKE. It is fake, not because of the impossible image of perfection it portrays but because this mass misrepresentations of life denies the existence of any struggle to get it.

As cliché as it is, good things take time, energy and effort to create. Good lives, take time energy and effort, loss, mistakes, misunderstanding, wasted time, messy endings and hurt to create.

I should preface, I am not anti social media. I actually love the power and potential that social media has to offer the world. If ever there was a time in history that we could say “power to the people” it most certainly is now. I marvel that I live in a time where all the “people” are actually connected on a freely available truly democratic interconnected energetic link.

But let’s be real here, socially speaking, things are not going so great in the world. Globally, more than eight hundred thousand people commit suicide every single year. This is an epidemic. How can so many people be ending life at their own choice on the very (scarily) common notion of “I’m not good enough”. Do you stop to ask, “good enough compared to what?” What are they comparing themselves to?

People are comparing themselves to what they see most.

The most powerful tool ever created for positive social change has turned into the most powerful tool for the inciting of crazy misperceptions of how reality is and more so the kind of reality we should be striving for.

It is causing so many people to feel that because they struggle to meet this perfection, they are somehow unworthy of life.

When reality for many people is not even close to this image they strive for. Reality for so many is figuring out how to simply survive day to day. Faced with this stark disparity day in day out, people end up believing that they are doing life wrong. That the inability to meet this impossible standard translates to not being worthy of life.

If you deny the struggle you deny the flow. If the very act of struggling is banished to the dark corners of life, in private places, where it can’t be seen or acknowledged, then life will never meet flow. Life without flow is depressed, repressed and unexpressed.

If this were the end of the story, it would be kind of easy. Easy to find a solution, but no, as this topic suggests nothing about this is easy.

The problem with suppressing the struggle is you become a victim of it. As soon as you fail to acknowledge that the act of struggling has real purpose in both public and private life, you begin to suffer.

Suffering is expressed in many ways, but more commonly as martyrdom. It is expressed as trolls, lies, victimization, abuse, addiction, aggression and destructive vindictive behavior. Suffering has become the hash tag to modern life. The seduction of suffering is the drama. Drama generates attention, a behavior that is reinforced daily in our news feeds. Seeking attention through drama is the misappropriation of a real human need. The need to be truly seen, as you are by others. The need to be vulnerable as a human and connect with other humans means countless interpersonal struggles, drama and suffering is the empty ended shortcut to this need.

There is a difference between suffering and struggling. I think we all know this. I think we understand as beings, that suffering is when we are denied the basic means to survive. Everything else, every other uncomfortable experience is a struggle, in the name of learning, in the name of progression or in the pursuit of passion and love.

Could we start looking at struggling as a gateway to flow? Could we start seeing the beauty in the mess? Could it be that if we embrace the difficult, messy, imperfect path we take to growth with open arms, open minds and open hearts ready to work for our own kind of bliss, we will set a new benchmark for beauty?

Martin Luther King Jnr once said “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.” My favorite line of this quote is “And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.”

We work for our freedom each time we struggle for our flow.

 


For more info on flow states & the science of flow check out this page.