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.

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The Death Of Time

Inspiration –

“…and time is the stuff of which a self is made.” ~ Mohsin Hamid

Motivation –

Who is really in the decision seat of my perception of time?

The Death Of Time

At the current rate of innovation and my current rate of willingness to try new kinds of risky, cool things (and generally mess with my biology), my estimate is that I will live until the grand age of 156 years old.

By innovation I’m talking about human longevity and the rapid pace at which health and our understanding of the human system is increasing. I should note that collective adoption rate is never in direct correlation to understanding in anything. So I’m talking about the human longevity projects really pushing the bounds of imagination and for some comfort (you can read about some here & here if you are interested) that are still perhaps not widely discussed or getting lots of press.

Before I gave it much thought, I was automatically programmed to just assume like I think most people do, that the end of my life would be some time between 80-90 years.

I think this assumption was built over my lifetime of listening to the averages. The statistical data that is fed to us constantly, without real context, or taking into consideration choice. We end up subscribing to it as unconscious fact, and then that fact somehow gets twisted into belief, which then becomes a kind of pathological “knowing” or our “truth”.

Every major goal or purpose I wanted to pursue in life had been forced to fit within this timeline. Which basically means that everything I had done in my life thus far had been set and measured around a time line I had never really considered, verified, questioned or chosen.

Last year I read a book called “how to get filthy rich in rising Asia” by Mohsin Hamid. It is really a great book. It’s about death. Or more so the life lived before death happens and it has me asking some questions around how I have been measuring time in my life. How old is the age I internally set my creative motivation clock by? Or more so, how much time do I think I have to live a purposeful life?

Digging into the current conversation and innovation on human longevity is really quite wonderful. I already have a love of psychics, and the discoveries being uncovered around cellular health and DNA and how connected mind, body and energy is within all this in every little atom of our existence is truly sci-fi psychics fabulous. Only it’s not sci-fi, it’s real.

I really took a deep dive into the research, attended conferences, and read a whole heap, on the many aspects of longevity (including vitality, consciousness and genetics) and within this I came to the decision that I can make it to 156 (that’s the year 2135). If the earth will make it to 2135 is another conversation entirely, for another day.

A lot of focus is given to what we want to “do” with our lives, even more towards how “purposeful” of a life that doing creates. But how often do we get called to take a step back even further and consider within what framework are we making these decisions?

I think it would be easy to look the investment and focus on advancement in the human longevity space as being somewhat, shallow. Perceived as a group of smart people, spending time and money on research that is seemingly trying to obtain the fountain of youth. But what about the very real and exciting consequences of such research, one of which is to finally light up the pressing need for the whole of society to seriously take a step back and consider exactly how much of their time is spent apathetically living in resignation to a prescript of how much time you are spending doing things, making choices and living in a particular way, purely because you have not questioned it.

I agree with the futurist Kevin Kelly, when he says that we all only have a limited amount of attention to give and this fact is one that wont change much in the future, even if life is elongated. The more time passes, the more and more things there will be in the world vying for that attention. So the choices you make about your time, how much you have, how you use it, and what you can do to create more of it, are really some of the most important responsibilities we have as individuals.

I think the first choice we need to make, as a foundation to our living, is if time is going to be a choice we make, or one that is made for us.

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Desire

Inspiration – 

“Love is a decision, not an emotion” ~ Lao Tzi, Tao Te Ching

Mindset – 

Sometimes you have to decide what you are looking for before you find it.


Desire

It’s true. I do.
I want passion and peace to coexist.

I want trust and risk to counterbalance each other.

I want real ethics in business, and my investment in integrity to produce consistent returns.

I want love in all things done.

I want Nature cherished and plastic abolished.

I want abundance in all forms for myself, and all who seek it.

I want the truth.

I want more chocolate than I feel like eating.

I want technology to advance in service of humanity.

I want to be a creative force & an evolving creation.

I want a revolution.

I want to be of service.

I want life and touch and connection and sunshine and bliss and I always, always want the ocean.

If this is what I want, then this is what I need.

Love, Connection, The Ocean, Truth, Freedom, Choice, Knowledge and Gratitude

What about you?

When was the last time you sat down and wrote a list of all the things you want and all the things you need? When was the last time you wrote all the things you have? It’s more than ok to be honest about what you desire.

This is the starting step, to asking the real question about desire, questions like; what unaddressed need does each desire point within yourself? What part of yourself have you suppressed or denied for this need to exist? What is the truth of this desire?

The quirky thing about desire is that once you find its truth, the root cause, it just disappears. I think that this can be scary – if you don’t have needs and desires how will you feel impassioned and motivated? But maybe the real questions is; if you don’t rely on need and desire what else is there? Maybe what sits behind need and behind desire is a bliss beyond your wildest dreams.

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For The Love Of Food

Inspiration –

“One cannot think well, love well or sleep well, if one has not dined well” ~ Virginia Woolf

Mindset –

I have really done a deep dive into food. Among projects, I have created & built a full service organic catering company, designed & built six commercial kitchens, spent countless hours on organic & biodynamic farms, designed and built two cafes, created many menus of the edible and drinkable kind, designed and written whole wellness nutrition programs for both men & women and after all this, I still love to cook.


For The Love Of Food

In the book, The Women That Run With The Wolves,  (by Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes) she tells a story that goes like this..

“An old witch from Ranchos told me that La Que Sabe knew everything about women, that La Que Sabe had created women from a wrinkle on the sole of her divine foot: This is why women are knowing creatures; they are made, in essence, of the skin of the sole, which feels everything. This idea that the skin of the foot is sentient had a ring of a truth, for an acculturated Kiché tribeswoman once told me that she’d worn her first pair of shoes when she was twenty years old and was still not used to walking ‘con los ojos vendados’, with blindfolds on her feet.”

It’s the last four words of this that really got me thinking. Has the simple act of feeling become obsolete? is it a story to be told for the future? Is it resigned to the archives of folk law?

We wear layer upon layer of clothing, to separate from the climate. We separate ourselves from our neighbors behind fences and locked doors. We use technology to remove our natural imperfection (sometimes referred to as the things ‘wrong’ with us).

We package our food up in plastic bags and metal tins and send it so far from its origin that its hard to know where anything actually comes from anymore. We tell our children to separate from desire – sit still and be quite – when the natural choice would be dance and sing; We shy away from engaging in deep conversations with strangers, let alone eye contact and this sometimes even applies to people we know yet as humans we desire deep connection above all else.

And rarely, ever so rarely do we touch; I mean the skin of your body, touching with the world around it.

I love looking for the simple truth in things. The simple solution. The simple answer, and food is a topic I have considered at length. The thing is, most of the time, to see the simplicity of the matter you need to take in the complexity of the big picture. When I look at the big picture of food, the simple truth is that almost all of the issues relating to nourishment (from lack there of, misunderstanding of, manipulation of and degeneration of) arises from disconnect.

People have disconnected from themselves, and as a result they have disconnected from the basic principles of nourishment. 

So back to the soles of our feet. This got me thinking, if this is true of the feet; then what is the calling of our hands?

In modern society it is the fortunate minority that gets the privilege to partake in the experience of feeling, skin to earth, the creating of the food that is to nourish them. The sliding of your hands slowly down into the earth, letting life run through your fingers, feeling an entire ecosystem vibrate its song of life in your hands, for it is in the act of planting a seed that all things come to life. You make love.

The hand that grows the food makes love to the earth.

Perhaps in an ideal world we would all partake and be responsible for our own nourishment from seed to reseed but the world we currently live in is not ideal… I ask then, how do we connect? How do we connect with the food that nourishes us in a world that continues to plant seeds of disconnection? The simple solution… we can touch.We can eat with our hands!

Have knives, forks, spoons, chopsticks, straws and spatulas dealt us the most unthinkable of disservice? Have these utensils of disconnection between our food and our bodies laid the foundation of the ultimate path to self-destruction of our individual nourishment? 

When was the last time you sat down to some creamy warm potato mash? The flowery texture balanced by butter, cream, water, salt..

When was the last time you sat down to some cream mash, reached out your hand, bypassed your fork or spoon and slid your hand right into the bowl. Can you feel it? The warmth, almost too hot, but not too hot to keep your hand in there.. the creamy mixture sliding in-between your fingers, the small lumps sticking to the palm of your hand.. Then with a slow steady motion you pull your hand back with a scoop, hold it up to your mouth, slide out your tongue and lick.

Forget the Instagram photos of your morning smoothie in a jar, this is the real food porn.

Sorry.. back to the story.

All of a sudden something strange will happen. All of a sudden you will feel your food. All of a sudden with one foul scoop of mash, you are connected. I was asked to write about decadent food. The first thought I had was, “all food is decadent”, shortly followed by a second thought.. “is it”? The truth is, all food has its own unique beauty and magic but the decadence, that my friends is deep within the connection.

I dedicate much of my time to working out ways of bridging the gap between people, and the food that nourishes them. I sometimes find myself wanting to sing it out to all I meet. I talk about integrity, about its origins, its story, and its history.  I talk of its journey, its keepers, and its medicinal magic, but I know, none of this is heard.

Nothing really sticks, until that moment.

I know you all know what I mean by this. Everyone has had one. The moment when what you eat stops time, it stops all other thoughts, all the future, all the past fades away and all that remains is the sensation that you have in that moment with that food. It’s the wide eyed, cant talk, never want it to end moment.

The giggle.

The cry of joy.

The OH MY GOD. 

That is the connection between the individual and the nourishment. It is love.

Before you have that moment of connection with a lover, the history, information and education of them, is nice but it passes like other information that holds no relevance for you. However when you connect, when there is love, it is as though your brain is rewired to hear of and learn about nothing or no one else. This is connection.

I have included a wholesome recipe below for your cooking pleasure. Its summer where I am so berries are in, however *I have included some details of lemon & lime so it can be made in winter too. Eat it at room temperature (not cold from the fridge) with nothing but your hands and some people you love.

In fact, it would please me so, if you were to create somewhat of an affair of it all.. Bake anything you love, what ever that is, be it steak or mash (I know you all want some!) fruit dipped in chocolate or cookies and cream… why not cook a whole meal. Then set your table. Make it a special event, put napkins, your best silverware, plates & cutlery on the table. Invite friends and family for your special feast. When its time to eat, and the food is served ask everyone to stand up. Then reach in and with complete abandonment, eat with your hands! Stand, sit, sit on the floor, hell why not sit on the table, throw a spoon or two over your shoulder, feed each other with your hands, lick each others fingers..

This is decedent food.  Absolute all out, over the top decadence, and then watch yourself fall in love.

With what you ask?

With your food.. yes, this will happen

With each other, yes, that is bound to happen too (finger licking can lead to all sorts of emotional exchanges)

With yourself… that’s right. And this is where all connection starts.

Tag me in your photos if you dare to share !! 

STRAWBERRY CASHEW CAKE

Ingredients:

Cake:

440 g cashews – soaked overnight in mineral/ spring water

500g strawberry sauce

50 ml lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

350 g honey or (100g xylitol)

270 ml coconut oil, melted

Base:

160 g activated almonds

90 g desiccated coconut

6 stoned medjool dates

Pinch of sea salt or Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

Strawberry Sauce:

500g Strawberries frozen

250g honey or (100g zylitol)

Topping:

250g Strawberries frozen

100g honey or (100g zylitol)

Mixed nuts to serve (I use pistachio)

*

Base: Process the nuts and coconut until broken up to a nice crumble and then add the dates and when your mixture comes together and holds well it’s ready.

NOTE: If you over process the nuts will release a little too much oil and it will become oily.

Strawberry Sauce: Place strawberry and honey into a saucepan and simmer until reduced, puree strain and cool.

Cake: Blend the cashews, vanilla and salt. The mixture will be thick and hard to mix so stop the blender and give it a stir using a plastic spatula. Now add the honey, the warmed coconut oil. Blend that into your cheesecake mix and you will see it will become more fluid. Blend until smooth and has the texture of cream and adjust to taste. Mix in strawberry sauce. Pour the mixture onto the crust. Remove air bubbles by tapping the pan on the table.

Topping: Place strawberry and honey into a saucepan and simmer until reduced, puree strain and cool. Eating: With your hands please!

*For Lemon/ Lime option – replace the strawberry sauce with: 420 g lemon &/ or lime juice1 teaspoon each of lemon & lime zest. Add the lemon, lime & zests to the main nut cake mix – once combined, while the mixed is running slowly add 270g of melted coconut oil & mix to combine.


Note – This blog first appeared on Nabalo – you should check out their site, it’s full of all things wonderful & wellness.