Here’s the thing about being a conscious cluster of chemical reactions in a 3D reality… we truly are boundless. Every being is limitless in potential. Boundaries and limits are an illusion: on an atomic level, everything is interconnected.
Without boundaries, a boundless universe becomes an infinite mist of stardust. For structures, stars and space to be held together, boundaries are necessary.
And, as humans, we are alchemists. Using hands to craft the boundless imagination into reality.
Being boundless beings, we need boundaries.
Boundaries are the structures that shape our lives.
Every aspect of our life can be affected by the boundaries that are, or are not, set.
So set boundaries. And know that the boundaries, lines & limitations that that are present are illusions – constructs that can be influenced by the energy of thoughts and the crafting of hands.
The New Year is a perfect time to reset and redirect our lives intentions. But let’s face it… making change is hard. That’s why this article is filled with stress-free ways you can help reduce your carbon footprint this year.
Have some eco friendly tips that weren’t mentioned above? Share them below!
With the newly popular Netflix series “Tiger King” being released and Karen Basket memes swimming through the internet, I figured this was an appropriate time to create a post like this.
Paying for one on one experiences with big cats isn’t exclusive.
Most of the people who partake in these kind of experiences do it with innocent intentions, however, the sad reality is that this kind of tourist attraction is cruel and inhumane.
The truth is…
Cubs, when not being unnaturally held by tourists, are shoved in small cages away from their mothers. The older cats are actually sedated with large amounts of medications to pacify them for tourists, and confined to small cages the rest of the time… not much of a life for a majestic creature who would normally spend its waking hours roaming across 60 miles of territory. Sounds mind numbing, right? It is. These poor creatures are visibly stressed behind the scenes and are often seen exhibiting unnatural behaviours to cope, like tail biting and restless pacing.
There are plenty of examples of animal exploitation for human entertainment. For example: lion taming, bull fighting, elephant riding, koala holding… the list is endless. Many of these places claim that they adhere to ethical standards, or perhaps that they don’t sedate the animals. The truth is, it doesn’t matter – these animals are in completely alien environments, in the hands of the world’s most terrifying predator: us. This causes them extreme stress. Imagine living your entire life in either fight or flight mode with your arms tied behind your back, been gawped at and groped by strangers. All in the name of a good selfie.
How you can help
Don’t pay for “exclusive” one on one experiences with wild animals. Many of these places that exploit animals will claim that your money goes to support the nourishment of these animals. Instead, all it does is increase the demand for these soulless and harmful interactions.
Speak out against it, and don’t be afraid to be honest about the truth of these situations. If you see someone doing it, don’t automatically assume they’re stupid and evil. The people who are partaking in these experiences usually have no idea what’s happening behind the scenes. If you’ve done it yourself, it takes integrity and honour to honestly reflect on your experiences and voice your thoughts.
Sign a petition! Many organisations around the world are working night and day to bring experiences like these to an end. You can help support the cause by signing a petition that’s taking a stand against these cruel acts. Here is a petition by World Animal Protection that is asking trip advisor to stop promoting wildlife entertainment venues. https://www.worldanimalprotection.org.uk
It’s not a secret that these ingredients have negative side effects – so why are they hiding in your breakfast?
Did you know that the food you consume directly affects your cognitive function?
The foods you’re eating might be causing or amplifying symptoms of ADHD. And the worst part – you might be eating them for breakfast.
Artificial food colouring “may have adverse effects on activity and attention”. That phrase was taken directly from one of the most common breakfast cereals in the US and Canada (🍀🌈 cough cough). Disturbing, right?
Studies suggest that these processed foods have negative and measurable side effects on the brain. Amongst many unsettling facts surfacing about artificial colouring, “Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 contain benzidene, a human and animal carcinogen permitted in low, presumably safe levels in dyes”, so these ingredients are probably cropping up sneakily in your pantry.
So… why are these ingredients hiding in your pantry? It’s a good question – one that I’d love to hear answered by the companies using them. Hopefully, one day these ingredients will be banned in every country. Until then…
How can you avoid these ingredients?
Buying whole foods is your best option for avoiding potentially harmful ingredients. “Whole foods” are basically foods that come from nature rather than processed industrially. For example, an apple versus and apple pie. By avoiding packaged or processed food you’ll lesson your exposure to ingredients that could potentially upset your wellbeing. And, as an added bonus, the natural pigmentation that occurs in fruits and vegetables contains polyphenols, which are antioxidant-rich compounds that help detoxify and nourish the body.
In moments when you do buy packaged food make sure you read the label. Some products have substantially more quality ingredients than others.
How can you optimise your brain health?
Just as there are certain foods that have negative effects on the brain, there are foods that optimise your brain health. Sourcing foods that are rich in antioxidants like blueberries, beets and green tea are supportive of your brain health. For extra support you can talk to a healthcare professional about natural supplements like lions mane mushroom.
Your environment may also be affecting your brain health. Toxin exposure can negatively impact your brain health. If possible try to avoid spaces where you could be exposed to chemicals. And get outside for fresh air as often as possible.
Altruistic thoughts support your brain health too. These thoughts cultivate positive connections in your neural-pathways, which impacts not only your peace of mind, but also the physical health of your brain.
The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician. Therefore the physician must start from nature, with an open mind.
‘Organic’ has multiple definitions. The meaning it holds to a scientist is completely different from a farmer, and this has created a lot of confusion.
Is there any difference between an “organic” apple and a regular one?
Here’s how the mix up happened: scientists use the word organic to refer to ‘compounds containing carbon’. That means alcohol, wood, and even people are considered organic matter. Technically, from this point of view, everything you could possibly eat is organic.
But, to the farmer, organic means:
Food that has been grown to closely resemble the natural processes of Mother Nature.
For a producer to be certified organic, their growing conditions have to meet standards that promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity. Organic food, unlike conventional produce, is grown using limited and natural pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and other chemical fertilisers.
Conventional farming uses toxins that are sprayed on food to kill ‘pests’ that could degrade the crop. For this to be done, the produce has to be genetically modified to resist the harmful nature of these chemicals. Once the soil becomes laden with these toxins, microbes in the soil die. This creates (more than) two major problems:
Microbes blanket the earth and sustain everything that lives. Conventional farming fields, where toxins are sprayed and unsustainable farming (tillage) is practiced, only survive a handful of harvests before the soil withers into lifeless dirt and becomes permanently damaged.
Microbes are essential for soil health AND gut health… these two processes are interconnected. You have 2-6 pounds of microbes living in your body… mostly in your gut. There is a rising amount of evidence linking the quality of gut microbiome with physical and mental wellness. Studies show that there is a strong correlation between gut microbiome and mental health. This relationship has been called the ‘gut-brain’.
Choosing organic food means less toxins in your body and more harmony in the ecosystem. This is a sustainable solution, and if the demand for organic food continues to grow, it could have extremely restorative effects on our environment. It even has the potential to heal our carbon imprint.
Going organic is a simple resolution to combat climate change and support a greener future.
You can support sustainable local farmers by searching “Community Service Agriculture near me”.
Recognising the signs of anxiety and stopping it in its tracks
Anxiety can seem like a condition that’s solely of the mind, but this isn’t the whole truth. Anxiety is a fight or flight response of the body that affects every system – from digestive to nervous. It’s all interconnected.
Some of the symptoms may surprise you…
Shortness of breath
“Pins and needles” sensation
Frequently needing a bathroom
Muscle aches and tension
Sense of dread
Did any of these catch you off guard?
Where are you breathing from right now? Your upper chest or low belly?
Taking moments every day to pause and take “yoga breaths” can stop anxiety in its tracks.
When you shift your breathing into your belly, you activate your parasympathetic nervous system. This tells your body, “it’s okay to relax, there isn’t any danger present” and allows you to enter a state of “rest and digest”.
When the sympathetic nervous system is activated, the body is basically gearing up to face danger and diverting energy to respond to it.
Imagine you’re a caveman, and you notice you are being stalked by a leopard… what changes would you experience in your body? Your heart rate and blood pressure would increase, muscles tense and prepare for action, digestion become slow, and your blood flow would be diverted to important stress response organs… all in the midst of the great escape.
Did any of those symptoms resonate with you?
The “fight or flight” response helped us survive for thousands of years. But in the modern world, the “dangerous leopards” lurking in the shadows are bills, health issues, family problems and other day to day stressors.
Becoming aware of the science behind anxiety can be extremely liberating for those who suffer from it. Pinpointing signs and symptoms as they arise can help you to consciously shift into a restorative state.
Take a deep breath, feel the air move through your body, and know that you are loved.
Next time you’re travelling out of country, you might have the opportunity to change a life!
Organisations around the world are working day and night to create a better future for stray cats and dogs in need of support. Volunteers are needed on every level of the process, from rescuing and rehabilitation to transportation.
Cats and dogs all around the world are waiting to be homed with their adopters, and you can help make it happen. Flight companions are needed to help bring these patient puppers to their forever home. By connecting with an organisation you may be able to accompany one of these sweet souls… fully organised and paid for by the organisation. They make the process easy for you – all you have to do is get in contact.
The animals rescued by these organisations are given a second chance at life, usually being saved from meat farms or inhumane living conditions. If you aren’t a traveller, or don’t have the financial means to donate at the moment, one of the greatest ways you can make an impact is to share the existence of these organisations – especially with anyone you know who is a frequent traveller.
Before your next trip, search ‘volunteer flight companion’ to see if you can help support cats or dogs in countries you are planning to visit… you may even save a dog on your layover. Please try and contact these organisations at least a few weeks in advance.
These are some non-profit organisations that could use your help.
Rescue P.A.W.S “If you have been staying in Thailand, or are planning a trip to Thailand in the near future, you may be able to help a dog or cat on their journey to their new home by becoming a flight volunteer! This just means that you would be letting a dog or cat fly with you to your destination (organized and paid for by Rescue P.A.W.S.)…”
Soi Dog Foundation “Over 100 adopted animals are currently waiting patiently at Soi Dog’s shelter in northern Phuket to fly to homes in Europe, the USA and Canada…”
Dog Rescue Thailand “We want to welcome you to join our team, for a shorter or a longer period of time. You are needed in the shelter to socialize the dogs, cuddle, activate and teach them to walk in a leash…”
Elephant Nature Park “Being a flight volunteer doesn’t involve any additional costs for you and we will organize everything for you and meet you at the airport to help you check the dog in. At your destination you collect the dog, go through customs and the owners will be waiting there for you. You will be rewarded by a lovely reunion between dog and owner…”
Save Korean Dogs “Traveling from Seoul, South Korea, to the US or Canada? You can be a flight volunteer!…”
CB Rescue Foundation “We are in need of Flight Companions for the following DIRECT flights. (Air Canada, Air Transat, WestJet)…”
Pegadas e Bigodes “We have an increasing number of dogs being adopted to other countries, in particular Belgium and the Netherlands. We need to fly them to their new homes but of course they can’t travel on their own – they need a flight companion!…”
No Dog Left Behind “Thank you for your interest in volunteering with No Dogs Left Behind in China…” From emergency response to the dog finally being adopted and everything in between our team is working transparently to allow our followers to be a part of the mission…”
Alternatively, you can also help these organisations by working hands-on with the animals while abroad, or you can donate monetarily to help support rescues, medical rehabilitation, food, shelter, and costs of transportation.
Share this article with somebody you know who travels frequently!
If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you or somebody you know has asthma and would like to improve the condition through natural means. If this is your position, ensure that you consult with your doctor before making any changes in medications or routines.
Asthma is an inflammatory condition that affects the respiratory system and causes difficulty breathing. While reasons for developing asthma differ for each person, methods of management tend to include steroid medication. These steroids are designed to provide relief by reducing mucus and inflammation.
Asthma medication usually comes in the form of an inhaler. Some ‘puffers’ are designed to be used as-needed in situations of respiratory distress, while others are used regularly for long-term management and reduction of inflammation. To gain a better understanding of how to naturally improve asthma, it is important to understand how it works.
While there is no cure for asthma, it can be naturally improved by addressing the underlying systems involved with asthmatic symptoms.
Inflammation is a defence mechanism that the immune system uses to protect the body against potential threats. Inflammation can manifest in an abundance of different ways, including: hives, itchiness, swelling, redness, heat, and pain. The immune system is compromised of a network of cells that govern our entire being. It works with every system of the body to strive for homeostasis. This means that it works functionally with all of the systems of the body: circulatory, digestive/excretory, endocrine, musculoskeletal, nervous, reproductive, and, of course, respiratory. The immune system is not a solo entity that acts on its own accord, but a part of one large system that works synergistically.
Viewing asthma from this holistic perspective helps us to understand how making shifts in our lifestyle can have a significantly positive impact when trying to naturally improve this condition.
When nurturing the following practices with the intention of improving your asthma, it is important to give yourself time to allow inner shifts to occur, as dramatic change won’t happen over night. You should aim to cultivate a healthy, stable relationship with the following practices before attempting to potentially reduce or eliminate your need for medication. Always consult with your doctor before making any changes that may affect your wellbeing.
If you are feeling pressured to reduce your asthmatic medication, I ask you to explore where the sense of pressure is coming from. Quite often, we hold subconscious beliefs that being on medication makes you unhealthy. This belief creates an unnecessary tension and usually hinders the process of healing. Alternatively, adopting the belief that medication works with the body and supports healing will complement your process and relieve the pressure you have set on yourself.
How To Naturally Improve Your Asthma
There is evidence to suggest that decreasing the amount of dairy consumed can have profound effects on asthmatics. When the body breaks down dairy, mucus production increases. A build up of mucus in the respiratory system worsens asthmatic symptoms. Some patients have reported a significant positive shift in their asthmatic condition resulting in removing dairy through an elimination diet. If you love dairy and don’t see yourself eliminating it from your diet, avoiding it before bed may provide you with some relief, as people who suffer from asthma tend to experience worsened symptoms in the early hours of the morning and late hours of the evening.
Breathing exercises can potentially improve asthmatic symptoms. Studies suggest that breath training creates biochemical, biomechanical and psychophysiological shifts. One study suggests that “exploring sensations of breathlessness and breathing discomfort mindfully while being in a relaxed state could… be useful” in reducing hyperventilation, which worsens symptoms of asthma. Tuning into your breath can help you activate your parasympathetic nervous system (also known as the body’s ‘rest and digest’ state). When the parasympathetic nervous system is active, the immune system gets the message, ‘it’s okay to relax’.
Studies suggest that dietary antioxidants (such as vitamin A, C and manganese) may be linked with improved asthmatic symptoms. While our body is fighting off potential threats, immune cells (such as macrophages) produce free radicals. Free radicals are pro-inflammatory molecules that can cause cell damage. Antioxidants ‘mop up’ these free radical molecules, helping to cleanse the body and reduce general inflammation.
Many people (including myself) experience allergy-induced asthma. Allergic reactions can trigger asthmatic distress, as both asthma and allergies are governed mainly by the inflammatory response of the immune system. Stinging nettle is a common weed that acts as an antihistamine, making it a natural alternative to allergy medication. While allergy medication offers temporary relief, it has been suggested that stinging nettles may actually improve and reduce allergies long term. Nettle leaves lose their sting when frozen or boiled, and can easily be included in a tasty salad or a refreshing cup of tea. Before treating your allergies, it is important to remove potential triggers within your environment: mould and mites are two common allergens that are known to aggravate asthma conditions.
Many asthmatics are typically “mouth breathers”. While this may feel like the easiest way to breathe, it’s likely doing more harm than help. Think about the difference between panicked breathing versus restorative breathing… stress breathing usually happens through the mouth, while relaxed breathing is paced through the nostrils. Mouth breathing can be seen as a stress response that can trigger “fight or flight” reactions in the body and negatively affect asthma conditions. Because of this, some practitioners recommend nasal breathing exercises as part of treatment for asthma – this can be as simple as breathing mindfully through the nose several times a day.
The same fire that cooks food and comforts with warmth can torch the hand that holds it.
Awareness is a gift that human consciousness has blessed us with. This gift has the capacity to bring fulfilment and ecstasy, but it equally has the same ability to bring pain and suffering.
The Ego, for the most part, has a bad reputation. It is usually thought of as negative and associated with narcissism and poor behaviour. While these may be side effects of the ego, its purpose is more profound.
It is the vehicle to awareness and understanding. It is the lens through which we explore this reality, our self and the world around us. The ego serves a valuable purpose and plays a vital role in personal development and spiritual wellbeing.
Consciousness remains one of the greatest unexplained mysteries. The functions of the mind, pleasant and not, have been explored through science for hundreds of years; and through spirituality for thousands. Ancient texts speak of the wild mind and its capacity for both enlightenment and suffering.
Uncovering and dissecting the ego is a process, and not always a graceful one. Exploring the “negative” facets of the ego (sometimes known as our shadow self) will help us understand our true identity. This introspection can help us overcome the boundaries that bind us to suffering.
It is through awareness that we know despair – and it is through awareness that we shed light on the dark spaces that exist within.
“Dark” Aspects Of The Ego Brought To Light
The emotional state a person naturally strays toward during challenging moments.
This can be considered a person’s “emotional home” because it is the space that one spends the most time in.
In emotionally challenging moments do you become stoic? Anxious? Angry?
Noticing what emotions naturally arise when faced with difficulty brings forth insight, making us aware of the patterns that our mind has subconsciously created. Realising these patterns helps us recognise that we are the observer of our thoughts and emotions, not the thoughts and emotions themselves.
An action a person takes that could potentially harm something meaningful in their personal life.
Self sabotage is caused by subconscious limiting beliefs about our self. These are often feelings of being inadequate or unworthy, which propel us to take actions that confirm these beliefs as true. The ultimate truth is that these beliefs are stories that we have told ourself, about our self.
Do you find yourself searching for a ‘negative truth’ when things seem “too good to be true”?
We don‘t know what limiting beliefs we have about ourself until we become aware of them surfacing in real time. This awareness sheds light on the stories we have created about our self, and how these stories came to be formed. This understanding helps us to redefine our beliefs and instil uplifting affirmations.
To remove ourselves mentally from our present reality and retreat to a place that distracts and brings comfort.
Escapism is often used as a means to avoid fear, trauma, pain, discomfort or responsibility. It shows up in subtle and harmless forms like daydreaming, video games or sci-fi books. It can even disguise itself in sneaky “productive” behaviours like fixations on work or fitness. (Workaholics and gym-rats beware!) More obvious examples are substance abuse and addiction.
Do you have an unexplainable feeling of guilt lurking in the air during your leisure time?
Healthier expressions of escapism encourage creative thinking. More difficult manifestations can help us work through the traumas we may hold, giving our ‘self’ a safe space to explore and heal.
Honesty, kindness and patience towards the self lets light into the closed off spaces within that seek recognition and healing.
When one consciously redirects thought or conversation to avoid a topic that brings up personal discomfort.
Have you ever found yourself trying to dodge conversation when somebody genuinely asks “how are you”?
Deflection is a mechanism that we use as a means of avoidance. Sometimes we are aware of when we use deflective tendencies, other times we do it unknowingly.
Taking note of moments where we find ourselves deflecting gives us insight into the truth of how we are feeling. Becoming aware of these tender areas helps us to provide them with the attention, patience and love that they require.
A bizarrethought or impulse that appears “out of the blue” and seems out of character.
Intrusive thoughts can be unpleasant or frightening, but they are a completely natural occurrence in most people. This phenomenon can be experienced constantly throughout the day, but often goes completely unnoticed unless the thoughts become particularly disturbing and distressing.
Do your thoughts ever frighten you?
The wild spontaneity of intrusive thoughts are the result of our imagination. Recognising an intrusive thought is an opportunity for playfulness. The same spontaneity that brings about intrusive thoughts also gives birth to learning, imagination and creativity. These wild thoughts can help remind us that we are the witness of the thoughts, not the thoughts themselves.
When the judgements and opinions we form about others reflect our ideas about our self or our past.
Projection is a challenging behaviour to recognise. Our judgements are based on biases that have been created on a subconscious level. Our opinions are coloured by our beliefs and personal life experience. Therefore, anything we observe is viewed through the lens of ‘self’. This viewpoint is innocent and natural, as it is through personal perspective that we grow and experience the world around us. However, it can be disruptive when we outwardly project our pains and fears onto others.
Do you ever find yourself making judgements based from personal insecurities?
Projection is what happens when we become aware of our personal insecurities through observing our interactions with others. This expands our capacity for compassion, helping us to create authentic relationships with others. Taking notice of projection in the present moment is an opportunity to bring forth honesty and sincerity.
To become fixated and “stew” in negative or worrying thoughts.
Rumination is when we get stuck in thoughts and feelings of anxiousness or melancholy. Negative thoughts accumulate like the water in a stream. The build up of worries will transform a stream into a river, etching its path deeper into the landscape of our minds and making it ever more challenging to escape from.
Do you ever stumble into a negative thought, then find yourself falling down a seemingly endless rabbit hole?
Rumination can be an opportunity for observation, introspection and compassion. Mindful contemplation can help us heal buried wounds and transcend negative patterns of thought. Reaching an observational state of mind can give us the space to explore new avenues and discover unseen paths.
Weighted thoughts and emotions can feel like a long night with no sun on the horizon, full of darkness and uncertainty…
Existence can be overwhelming. The contents of our life and the heaviness surrounding the unknown can feel too much to bear at times, but there may be a solution SO simple, it’s almost unbelievable.
The effects of this therapy are so profound that it is frequently used in palliative care. Dying patients who are struggling to come to terms with ‘the end of life’ are sometimes offered this therapy to manage pain, anxiety, restlessness and insomnia.
Everything about this human life is complex. We’ve barely begun to understand even the most fundamental concepts that affect us every day, like gravity, consciousness and death. Pondering the bigger picture as it is, helps us to release our desire to change the unchangeable and embrace the nature (and humbling) natural laws of impermanence.
Sometimes, all we need is to reconnect with the simple truth of the present moment: that against all odds, this planet exists, and we exist to perceive it all.
While releasing fear around the unknown may be an uncomfortable process, it is a gratifying one. As we lay to rest the ideas we hold that bound us to ‘attachment’ of what is in the now, we release our anxiousness surrounding situations and circumstances we cannot change.
Next time life starts to weigh heavy, turn to the night sky… a little starlight may be all you need.
What does it mean to be productive? The word often makes us think of things like the fast paced hustle and grind. As a society we have a skewed idea of what productivity looks like, which has led many people to burnout, anxiousness or depression.
There are two major energetic influences behind ‘productivity’: force and flow.
This ‘force-flow’ relationship is like the ebb and flow of the sea. Neither is better than the other, and both are necessary for Mother Nature to support life. This energy exchange is the current that keeps life afloat. Sometimes we are with the tide, other times we work against it.
The sea ebbs and flows naturally, as humans often we are caught up in the tide, and can find ourselves working against rather than with current circumstances.
We often use force, through hard work, to produce physical results in our life. And when we hear “go with the flow” we suspiciously picture a free spirited hippie floating through life in a daze. ‘Flow’ is usually viewed as counterproductive, but this isn’t exactly the truth.
Force and flow are in relationship with each other, and it is this synergy that yields results.
Productivity is subjective between person, place and moment. The seasons and cycles within our lives need space for this ‘ebb and flow’ relationship. Just as we sleep and wake, both force and flow are equally important to the process.
The most important thing is to simply ‘be’; to listen to our intuition, and do what feels right moment by moment, with each changing tide.
Here is a list of things that you can do in your spare time to help you be productive, whatever that may look like to you.
Learn a breathing exercise – Sitali breath, Lion’s breath and Breath of Fire are all techniques that many people find beneficial
Learn to bellydance
Flow – Guided Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Kung Fu – Yin yoga is great before bed
Practice mobility – There are plenty of free resources available to help teach you how to strengthen your joints and muscles. Try a quick Google or YouTube search.
Experiment with your style – Try shaking up your wardrobe or hairstyle.
Open your taste palette – Have you ever heard of an Indonesian Jamu? Or a Costa Rican Gallo Pinto? Chances are that you have ingredients laying around your house that could spice up your palette and enhance your health.
Mental, Emotionaland Spiritual
Learn a new language – studies show a 5 year delay in Alzheimers for people who can speak more than one language
Watch a TED Talk
Listen to a podcast
Write letters to your loved ones
Make a vision board
Tune into a guided meditation – New to meditation? Try searching “mindfulness, visualisation or sound bath”.
Play a childhood board/video game
Learn to sing or play an instrument
Write a short story
Research what’s happening in your community – Chances are, recreation and leisure activities are happening in your neighbourhood. A little research could connect you with like-minded people who share the same interests or goals. Stuck indoors? Social media is your online neighbourhood!
Start a video log that you can watch in the future – Daily, weekly, monthly or annually, a video is a beautiful way to collect memories of yourself and your loved ones.
Play the wikipedia game – Pick two completely irrelevant words. Try and get from “A” to “B” by only clicking links within the articles. Fewest clicks win.
Positivity & Self Care
Avoid your phone for 30 minutes – If stepping away from your phone is difficult for you, that’s a sign that you should be disconnecting more often. To disconnect is to retreat; to retreat is to reconnect.
Detox your social media – Cleanse your newsfeeds by unfollowing people who don’t add value to your life.
DIY body scrub, face cleanser, toner and moisturiser
DIY conditioning hair/beard mask
Soak your feet in warm water and sea salt
Start a virtual movie night or book club
Positive affirmation reminders – Set notifications to go off spontaneously that remind you to relax, rehydrate and smile. But most importantly, remind yourself how blessed you are.
The iron jungles have closed and us gym rats are feeling the consequences. Fitness equipment for purchase is scarce, leaving many of us trying to squat our furniture and family. Quenching our thirst for growth may seem like an impossible task when lacking in resources. If you’ve been mourning the loss of the gym recently, here are a few tips to help you on your path of growth.
Tight muscles may be the reason your squat or military press haven’t been progressing as you’ve hoped. Breaking down “knots” helps to release toxins that have built up in the muscle. It also encourages the flow of blood and lymph to help flush these toxins away. Support the process by drinking plenty of fluids after the massage.
People have used oils native to their land for thousands of years to encourage healing. For example, olive oil is used ceremonially in the Mediterranean, while some Asian cultures favour coconut oil. These oils are often infused with sacred herbs. This is something you can try at home too. Fill a glass jar with a natural oil and drop in your favourite ingredients: sea salt, lavender, bay leaf, mint and lemon are all great options with known benefits. Place your jar somewhere warm with plenty of sunlight and let it sit for a couple of weeks to allow the oil to absorb the plant nutrients.
Many cultures around the world use tools for their massages like smooth quartz, jade, or even bone. Whilst rubbing ourselves down with a chunk of femur might not sound ideal, a large, smooth crystal will do the tricks. Alternatively, you can use your bodyweight to press into a small solid ball like a lacrosse or golf ball.
Target specific mobility functions
We all have that area we’ve been neglecting. Now is the time to refine the basics and focus on the key exercises that you’ve likely been skipping out on at the gym. Poor posture and weak joints are areas that don’t often receive the time they deserve. Our mobility is the foundation on which we grow. While mobility training won’t make you ‘swole’, it will reinforce the foundation you build upon.
If you are seeking mobility guidance I highly recommend Dr. Jen Esquer (@drjenfit on Instagram). Her platforms are packed with golden nuggets that can completely revolutionise the way you move.
Expand your definition of growth
Expansion feeds the soul, but growth goes beyond the physical. Manifesting strength in the body takes energy and dedication. So much so that we often forget to focus on growth that isn’t “gains”. To direct energy primarily into muscle gains is to starve the unseen parts of yourself which also need your attention.
Growth is what happens when we exercise and expand our capacity to experience, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Our body grows under tension, as does the mind, character, and spirit. Tension shows us our boundaries, giving us the awareness to overcome life obstacles & limitations.
Tension creates traction. Traction can slow you in your tracks, or propel you toward your vision, depending on how you work with the pressure given.
Diamonds are formed under pressure. So are heroes.
You are resilient.
This article does not contain any affiliated or paid marketing. Suggestions provided are personal recommendations.
Many cultures and religions from all over the world believe that salt has the ability to cleanse and purify. Since ancient times salt has been said to remedy ailments and ward off negative spirits.
Now that we are living an age of technology, we have evidence to support the rumours that date back thousands of years: salt really does have purifying properties. These natural crystals have incredibly rejuvenating effects!
How can you use salt to cleanse your mind, body and home?
Salt water is an eco friendly and powerful mouthwash. Gargling salt water kills bad bacteria in that live in our mouths and throats. Doing this has been practiced for hundreds of years, long before we understood the science behind its magic. Gargling regularly with salt water helps cleanse the body of unwanted and negative energy. Recent studies have shown that this practice can not only protect us from ailments like the common cold and flu, it even aides the symptoms and helps our body recover at a faster rate.
Salt bath detox.
If you don’t have access to a salt water sea, a sea salt bath is the next best thing. I don’t recommend taking baths frequently as the average bath uses 80 litres of fresh water, but soaking in a tub of salts every once in a while can be benefit the body. My favourite alternative is to do a foot bath! Fill a wash bason with warm water, add a handful of salt and a few drops of your favourite essential oil.
Many cultures believe salt water has the ability to draw negative or stagnant energy out of the body and restore it to a pure state. Dermatologists recommend salt water baths to patients as it is widely believed that they help to relieve the symptoms of skin conditions such as eczema. Salt baths are also known to improve wound healing.
Sprinkle salt in your home.
It is believed that salt has the ability to absorb negative energy. Many cultures and religions practice sprinkling salt around their homes to protect them from unwanted energy. Take a small handful of salt and sprinkle a thin line under your windows, doorways entering/exiting your home, and if desired around the walls of your rooms. This is believed to absorb negative energy from your space, leaving it purified and rejuvenated. Let the salt sit for a few hours (or days) before cleaning it up.
Refresh your mattress.
Soda bicarbonate is a natural salt compound that works wonders on home cleaning and can be used for an abundance of purposes. Try cleansing your mattress by sprinkling ground sea salt or soda bicarb on it. Let the crystals sit for at least 3-4 hours before vacuuming off. This natural method helps deodorises your bed and kill bad bacteria.
Often, we end up with the same goals and resolutions, year after year, without much success. What we don’t tend to realise is that the process itself is flawed. The process we use is functionally the same as if we were to choose a destination and try to get to there without any form of navigation. How are we supposed arrive without any sense of direction or mapped route?
Shifting our focus from attaining the result to asking the right questions gives us clarity. These insights help us understand the direction we want to move in.
Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.
We are the creators of our craft; the alchemists of our lives. We have the ability to take the mundane and transform it into something of awe. All of the tension in our lives can be woven into beauty, just as the beauty in our lives can crumble under tension.
Vision, imagination and discipline can make miracles happen. While we cannot control the outer circumstances of our lives, our mindset is within our control.
“You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.“ – James Allen
Remember that life is about the journey, not the destination. Simply having a vague goal of “get fit” or “make more money” isn’t going to make you happier now. Try not to get too distracted by obsessing over the ultimate goal – experiencing progress and investing energy in the process is what brings fulfilment.
Here are some valuable questions worth asking yourself in times of reflection and redirection:
What were your best and worst moments of last year? What experiences have made an imprint on you this past year? What can you do to commemorate the beautiful memories? What lessons did the difficult times teach you? How can you apply these lessons to every area of your life? What would help you experience the most growth right now: strengthening your weaknesses or nurturing your strengths?
What do you want to change going forward? Write a list of everything you would like to change in your life and separate them into two categories: things within your control, and things outside of your control. What are some small steps you can take to change the things within your control? What are some small steps you can take to surrender the grief that you hold, caused by things outside of your control?
What is your ultimate “dream”? Imagine, you are what you would describe as happy, successful and fulfilled. What does happiness feel like? What is your definition of success? What does it take to be truly fulfilled? Are your values aligned with your ultimate dream? Are your actions aligned with your values?
I found the cottage through a quick Google search.
The owners had given me a discount because “the property had not been maintained in a few months”. I didn’t understand what that meant, but the price was right – I packed my car and found myself there the next day.
The cottage was in the middle of the woods. My GPS could only take me so far before I had to rely on written instructions like “when you see the red ribbon tied to the tree at the fork in the road, take the left”.
Isolation was what I was searching for, but I had no idea I would be this secluded. The cottage was hidden behind a scene of thick trees and waist high grass, deep in the middle of the Ontario woods.
As I used my sleeve to clear my way through the cobwebs that formed over the front door, I understood why I was given a discount. The counters were littered with ants and other insects, and the beds were covered in spiders – mostly dead.
It was the perfect setting for a horror movie.
Regardless, the space was gorgeous. I was captivated by the smell of fresh pinewood and the vibrancy of the deep greens that illuminated through all the windows.
Exploring further I saw something that shocked me: the toilet was little more than a wooden plank with a hole in it, balanced over two stumps, twenty feet behind the cottage. It was at that moment that the gravity of my decision had hit me. I was not prepared to shit in the forest at 3am.
As the sun began to leave that evening, my peace of mind went with it. The once big and beautiful windows that lit up the entire cottage grew dark. I couldn’t see a thing outside – and having no curtains in the space made it so that if I had any source of light on inside, anybody could see me.
That’s when the panic set in.
I realised that I was completely isolated in the middle of the woods. The only person who knew my exact location was the old man from the internet who I had rented the place from. Oh, and the cottage had many doors, none of which had locks and opened with a brief shove.
All I had to protect myself was a 20 pound iron dumbbell and a dull kitchen knife I had found.
What if a bear smells my food and comes pushing through the door?
I lay frozen in bed with my senses on high alert, aware of every inch of skin on my body, knowing that I was surrounded by spiders.
Hours passed. I gripped my phone. It was the one thing that gave me any sense of security and connection...
Even then, I was afraid to use it in case the light from its screen alerted some stranger to my presence. And, my reception was horrid: if I did need to call for help, it would have been far too late before anybody could reach me.
I had become a feral animal: eyes wide and ears peeled for the slightest pin drop. Every muscle in my body was tense and prepared for flight or fight. The only thoughts that passed through my mind from time to time were “I can’t do this for another night“. Bears, strangers, wolves, spiders… I was terrified of all these things. Until, suddenly, I realised something that changed my perspective for good:
“The only danger I can be sure of is the fear in my own mind”.
This idea brought with it a feeling of calm, and many questions, such as: “what do ‘security’ and ‘protection’ even mean?
This question stirred in my mind until the sun came up, and with it arose these realisations:
“Security is not defined by lock and bolt, and ‘protection’ is not defined by armour and weapons”.
In my eyes, it is knowing that if a storm hits, I will survive. And if the walls do crumble, I have the foundation and support I need to rebuild something stronger.
Realising this was liberating on every level. It helped me to understand that I have the ability to define the circumstances in my own life, and that mindfully choosing my own definitions could be freeing and empowering.
Often, letting things break down, be it: limiting beliefs, concepts, or our relationships with ourselves – is essential for processing in life. Just as a break down of muscle tissue is required for growth, destruction strengthens mental, emotional and spiritual fitness through the same break and build cycle.
This experience opened me up to believe that whilst destruction is perceived as damaging, it is essential for all growth and development. It is the force that gives birth to stars and sustains life itself.
“What is chaos to the fly is normal to the spider.”
In moments where you feel secluded under a blanket of darkness, I ask you to ponder on this thought:
How can I redefine the situations and circumstances in my life that cause me suffering?
Have you ever had an obscure or disturbing thought come into your mind completely out of the blue? Maybe you see somebody bending over to pick something up and you get an urge to knock them over, or somebody hands you something precious and you feel suddenly compelled to chuck it across the room.
If these kind of thoughts (or even more bizarre ones) are a regular occurrence for you, I have some good news: this is completely normal!
They are called “intrusive thoughts” and they do not reflect your true feelings or desires. Having these thoughts does not make you a bad person! This phenomenon is an automatic byproduct of your imagination. The positive aspects of the human imagination are well known – creativity, innovation and much more – but what is not often talked about are the downsides, namely: anxiety, intrusive thoughts and paranoia, to name but a few.
There are well-known techniques that can help with anxiety and the negative thought patterns that can be associated with intrusive thoughts, one of them being mindfulness. This is the practice of making a conscious effort to connect with the present moment. When we actively practice doing this, we naturally let go of the thoughts in our mind and refocus on the Now.
One mindful exercise you can try today is simply focussing your mind on your breath. Any time your mind begins to wander, gently and without judgment, bring your attention back to your breathing. This will bring the mind to a state of ease.
Imagination is one of the greatest gifts we have been given as humans. The wildness of our thoughts accompany us on our journey through life from start to finish. Let it be an uplifting reminder that fear, as well as faith, rely upon us believing in something that we cannot see.
If you are experiencing overwhelming negative thoughts or are struggling with your mental health, please do not hesitate to reach out and talk to someone. Whether it be a loved one or a medical professional, being honest and open is essential for our wellbeing.
You can chat to your doctor about different therapies available, as well as taking advantage of resources that can be found in books and online.
You don’t have to struggle alone. You are unconditionally loved.
The Buddha once told a story of a man who lived many moons ago. After days of travelling on foot through bushes and swamps he reached a massive bed of water. Just within his sight he could see an island, which gave him promise of comfort and safety.
The man knew his only option was to find a way across.
He spent hours collecting broken branches and long strands of grass, then began to build a raft that could keep him afloat.
The man wearily climbed on and began paddling away from shore. Some time later, he arrived on the island, and was free to continue on his journey.
The Buddha posed the following question to this followers:
What should the man now do with the raft?
This teaching is in fact about Buddhist practice and the road to enlightenment but it is applicable to many different situations in life.
It would have been impossible to cross the water without building the raft, but to drag it across land just because he needed it once would hold the man back on his journey.
This parable demonstrates to us how certain things in life: people, projects or actions, may be essential for us at one time, but in order to move on and grow, we must let go. There is no point in beating yourself up for the time and effort you may have expended in the past through relationships, work or otherwise. Instead be aware of how these factors helped you reach where you are now. Equally, we must not cling to comforts that have helped us in the past if they will not help us to succeed in our future goals.
“Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.” – Dalai Lama
If you are suffering from depression, anxiety or any mental health issues, you are not alone. You are divinely supported, even when the ground feels fragile. I am sending you unconditional love.
It can be hard to feel supported while battling heavy emotions and dark thoughts. Our mind can leave us feeling completely separate from the world around us; like a dark fog lurking with no sunshine in sight.
If you are experiencing challenges with your mental health, what you’ll find in this ‘self help guide to happy’ can put your mind at ease:
Cognitive behavioural therapy is an increasingly common counselling technique used by practitioners across the world. It views the mind as a space where negative or anxious thoughts can amplify and develop. By using a structured exercises to work through real-life situations, it can help us to retrain our mind and our perception of events. It has proven to be as effective as medication in treating anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. It is important that you reach out to a trained professional if you are seeking one-to-one therapy, but there are also plenty of CBT exercises and short-courses (free and paid) that you can access online.
Meditation has been practised in many different forms for thousands of years. Recently, mindfulness meditation, which originated in Buddhism, has been emerging as a highly effective technique for relieving stress and helping to treat mental illness. Some professionals claim that it can also help with physical illness and pain. Mindfulness works by retraining the mind to focus on a particular object or activity, usually the breath, which allows us to step back from and observe the thought processes that unconsciously govern our lives. Over time, we can develop our awareness so that we can be fully present in each moment and free ourselves from negative patterns of thought.
There is medical evidence to suggest that tuning into classical music has a huge range of health benefits. A study held at Oxford University showed that people who listened to classical music after a stressful task had significantly lower blood pressure compared to those who listened to other genres. Studies have also shown that relaxing classical music lowers cortisol levels (the stress hormone). For anxiety, it has been shown that classical music can be more effective than commonly used sedative medications. Don’t be intimidated by classical music if it isn’t something that you’re used to – there are plenty of playlists available on YouTube, iTunes or Spotify. One relaxing melody you could start with is “Raindrop” by Chopin.
Studies in recent years are suggesting that there is a constant communication between your gut bacteria (microbiome) and your brain. It has been shown that people with severe mental illnesses have an altogether different microbiome than healthy people. Some studies have suggested that ingesting certain probiotics (live organisms) alter electrical activity in the brain, resulting in positive mental health benefits. The foods that you eat influence the balance of bacteria in your gut – several studies have shown that, for example, eating a plant-based diet can positively affect your microbiome. This is due to the live enzymes in the fresh foods that supports our good gut bacteria. Although not enough studies have been done uncover the relationship between our mental health and gut bacteria, the evidence from existing studies is very promising.
Our brain has a unique self-care system that takes place while we slumber. Essentially, our spinal fluid swirls around the spaces in our brain, clearing out all the “junk” that has been collected throughout waking hours. This process reduces inflammation and has undeniable restorative effects on our memory, mental health and physical wellbeing. Research suggests that we need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. If you aren’t prioritising your sleep, this is simple change that you can make that will drastically improve your mental health.
There is a tale of a ring that was said to change the state of any man. It could make the saddest man happy and the richest man sad. A struggling beggar had spent his life searching for this ring to bring him peace of mind. Eventually he prevailed. On finding the ring, he discovered no sorcery or enchantment, only a simple engraving that read “this too shall pass”.
Everything in life is temporary, the good and the bad.
Whilst we cannot change what we see; we have the ability to change how we see.
We cannot control what is happening on the outside, but with some patience and practice, what is within control, is our mind.
Life is a journey full of sunshine and storms, and the weather outside is something we cannot control. When you feel caught up in the downpours of life, know that it is within yourself to weather the storm.
Kindness, patience and love can steady the waters of the most turbulent mind.
Impermanence is a blessing, for without it we would not have life itself.
Refresh and renew the atmosphere in your space. Whether you are starting a new chapter in your life or leaving an old one behind, these tips will help bring some peace and tranquility to your space.
Why it’s important to nurture our space.
Enclosed spaces collect and retain energy. When we feel something negative or uneasy in our home, it is most likely an accumulation of funky energy that you are sensing rather than a ghost or spirit.
Energy cleansing is used to help rid the mind, body and spirit of negative or unwanted energy.Here are some practices that can help you reset the tone of your home:
When you look at the decorations in your home, how do they make you feel? Does the picture in your living room have a dreary undertone or an inviting presence? The art we have in our homes can influence the way we feel in a space. For example, if you hand painted the picture you have hanging in your living room, it will give you a different emotional experience if it was painted at the start of a flourishing relationship or in the midst of a heartbreak. Take some time to admire the artwork you have in your home and ask yourself how it makes you feel. If it brings you joy, dust it off and show it some love. If not, show it some love and gift it to someone who may enjoy it.
A heartfelt meditation can shift the most stagnant energy into something soulful and nourishing. When we mindfully connect with our space as we meditate, we act as a beacon of energy. This connection allows us to transmute the energy in our space and imprint it with our own light. The more love we can allow ourselves to receive and radiate while we meditate, the more we are able to nourish our space into something sacred. Make sure you are comfortable so you can allow yourself to release tension in your mind, body, and living space. If you have healing crystals this is the perfect time to let them work their magic.
Salt is a superhero when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting. Many cultures and religions from all over the world have believed that salt has the ability to cleanse and purify. It is said that salt has the ability to absorb negative energy. Sprinkle salt around your walls, under your windows, in doorways, and even on your mattress. This will help detoxify your space; it’s almost like a deep sea spa treatment for your soul space. Let the salt relax for anywhere from hours to days before vacuuming up.
Smudging is an ancient practice where sacred herbs are burned to clear away negative or stagnant energy. The properties in these natural elements purify the energies of their environment, creating a warm and soulful space. Some sacred herbs you could use as tools to cleanse the energy in your space are: sage, lavender, cedar, eucalyptus & bay leaf. Incense can also be used for this purpose. While you are smudging make sure to mindfully use your own energy to brighten the space as you make your way around. Don’t forget to smudge objects that may hold stagnant energy, like wallets or pillowcases.
Vulnerability is bravery. Trusting in your ability to honour and love the darkest parts of you will create space for light to shine through.
Being emotional, sensitive or anxious is a blessing. “Heavy” emotions are windows into self awareness and understanding, which can allow us to nurture the deepest aspects of ourselves.
Exploring your emotions rather than taking them at face value will unveil strength you didn’t know you had; there is always more than meets the eye. Emotions like anger and frustration are opportunities to understand your Self. If you explore these “negative” emotions long enough you will discover that at the very centre is unconditional love.
It takes integrity to observe, understand and love yourself without judgement.
Positive affirmations are powerful tools that help us change the negative thought patterns in our mind. Most of our day to day thoughts go unnoticed, almost as if they run on autopilot. When we take the time to consciously think uplifting thoughts and put energy into affirming empowering beliefs, we begin to create transformational connections in our mind and massive shifts in our reality.
What is an affirmation? An affirmation is anything and everything that we tell ourselves. If we tell ourselves something for long enough, we often begin to believe it as true. When our mind runs on autopilot and we aren’t aware of the thoughts that are passing through, we may be telling ourselves disempowering thoughts and limiting beliefs.
The effects of limiting beliefs The human brain works in pattern recognition. When we say something over and over to ourselves, our brain recognizes a pattern and forms connections and pathways affirming what it is we have thought. These pathways directly influence every emotion we feel, decision we make and action we take.
A way to visualize this is to picture a small flowing stream of water. Each time we think a thought such as “I’m not smart enough” or “I’m not strong enough” we begin to pour more water down the stream. As the water begins to gain mass and speed it runs deeper into the dirt, eventually forming a river.
This analogy helps us understand the mind. The water flowing down the stream is the energy of our thoughts, and the path is the neurological connections becoming deeper rooted over time.
When our thoughts are limiting and disempowering, they affect what we believe about ourselves and influence how we interact with the world around us. Holding negative beliefs could keep one in a place of ill health, poor finances and unfulfillment.
Taking the time to consciously affirm uplifting and empowering thoughts has a huge effect on our reality. Through affirming positive beliefs we have the ability to transform our mental wellness, physical health, financial situations and much more.
How to get the most impact out of positive affirmations
-Don’t just think it, feel it. The more emotion we put behind our uplifting thoughts, the more of a snowball effect they will have. (Emotion = energy in motion).
-Say them out loud and write them down. The more often we repeat these affirming thoughts to ourselves in a variety of ways the more we instill these empowering beliefs into our reality.
Here are some examples of affirmations that you could use to help create transformational shifts in your life.
Morning affirmations -I can handle anything that comes my way today. -Everything I need is within me. -Today I will be the most confident, courageous and decisive version of myself.
Evening affirmations -I am grateful for the beating heart in my chest. -I release any tension I am holding and surrender all of my worries. -I am at peace. I am loved.
Physical healing -I am aligned with energies that harmonize and heal. -Every cell in my body is thriving. -My soul is showering my body with health and happiness. -I thank my body for loving, supporting and healing me.
Mental wellbeing -I am enough. -I am exactly where I need to be. -I am whole as I am. -Everything I need is within me.
Wealth and abundance -Money is energy and it flows to me effortlessly. -I am open to opportunities of wealth and abundance. -The more money I allow into my life, the more resources I have to share.
Love and romance -I am deserving of a love deeper than the ocean. -The universe is guiding me to people and places that fuel my soul. -I am open to receiving a love full of passion and romance.
I used to be an atheist. In fact, I would have proudly told you I was an “antitheist” – I didn’t believe in God, and I was positively glad He didn’t exist. My world of deduction and logic simply left no space for a bearded man in the sky pulling the strings. The universe didn’t owe me a God, and I didn’t want one either, thank you very much.
Looking at the world this way is like an unfinished book. A few chapters in, I felt I already had all the information that I needed. I was utterly convinced by the scientific method and the elegant way it could deconstruct life’s big questions. So I stopped reading, and put the book down. Anytime my curiosity resurfaced, I would refer back to what I had learnt in Chapter 1 and re-convince myself of how right I really was.
This world and its inhabitants owe an indescribable debt to science. I personally owe it my family’s livelihood, my future career, and probably even my life in some way. Its power and beauty are often put down by artists and religious zealots alike. The scientific method – observation, hypothesis, experimentation – is the most powerful tool we have to understand the world around us. However, we must be careful not to overstretch its limits. Not all questions are susceptible to logical induction or deduction. In fact, it can be mathematically proven that there are some hypotheses that cannot be proved, despite being correct. The idea that all questions – physical and metaphysical – can be solved by the scientific method is scientifically unfounded. Furthermore, it is often said that questions about the universe that cannot be tested through scientific enquiry, such as “why are we here”, are simply meaningless. I used to believe this. There need not be an answer to these questions, so why bother asking them?
The truth is, we all believe in abstract concepts, no matter how pragmatic we claim to be. Take love for example. The feeling we get when we wake up next to the person we love, and we watch them blink as the sunlight hits their face. The look in a mother’s eyes when she sees her child for the first time. The pain we feel when our heart is broken: the emptiness, the loneliness, the physical ache in our bellies. These can all probably be explained by fluctuations in serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline etc., but I have yet to find someone who can look me in the eyes and say that they believe that this is it and there is nothing else, however silly they might feel about it.
Love underlies our reality. It exists in a different plane altogether. Like parallel vectors that never cross paths; both nonetheless real. This may sound farfetched, but it’s really no more extravagant than the latest scientific theories about 4-dimensional space-time or the multiverse. These underlying planes are where God may or may not be. Just because we cannot see or detect His presence, we can entertain the possibility that God may exist by listening to our instincts telling us that this might be the case. When discussing spirituality in the book “Letters to My Son”, Kent Nerburn illustrates this perfectly: “only a fool refuses to walk in the sunlight because he cannot see the shape of the sun”.
Every known society or civilisation of human beings has had an idea of God: Ra, Yahweh, Mithras, Osiris, Allah, and countless others. This does not prove the existence of a God, but it demonstrates the feeling that we all have that there might be some meaning to it all, or some purpose for our miraculously improbable existence. Some say that this is a childish response to not being able to answer questions. In some ways, this is true. Why does it rain? Why does the harvest fail? These problems that used to belong to religion have now been claimed by science. However, to dismiss this as ignorance is to dismiss that childish sense of wonder altogether, that has been so carefully and deliberately beaten out of us by ourselves and others as we “grow up”. We leave our dreams about the world aside, and we learn to eat the facts.
Nothing of what I have said proves the existence of God, and certainly no God in particular. I only mean to suggest that we should not dismiss our true feelings on these matters too readily.
Imagine you wake up, over the rainbow in Oz, and you set out to find the Wizard. As you wander the strange landscape, you meet other wanderers. Some tell you they know the way. They all try to lead you in different directions, convinced theirs is the right way and everyone else’s is wrong. Some paths appeal to you, others do not. Some people gently invite you to find your way with them. Others say the Wizard doesn’t exist at all and you’re wasting your time. Imagine that, after years of wandering, struggle, and doubt you get there in the end, you pull back the curtain, and it’s been a runny-nosed old hustler all along.
Rhythm and song grace us with the ability to tune into ourselves and the universe around us. Listening to the sound of crashing waves, birds singing, or the voices of our loved ones can bring us a sense of peace, purpose and awe. Since ancient times, we have known of the benefits that sound and music can induce. To truly tap into the magic of music and sound in our day to day lives, it helps to understand why it is so important and sacred.
When exploring the world of sound, certain terms can be confusing. Words like “vibration” and “frequency” are used by mystics and scientists alike, which only goes to show how fascinating sound energy is to people from all walks of life.
Doctors and scientists measure these natural rhythms and vibrations to help to heal and balance the body. For example, MRI (magnetic-resonance imaging), ultrasound scanning and EKG/ECG (electrocardiograms) all work by measuring vibration, frequency, or natural electrical rhythms. In terms of physics, the atoms we are comprised of are pure vibrational energy. If we break down the atom, we find that 99.9999999999996% is empty space. You may feel like a solid creature, but you are in fact a vibrational energetic being comprised of a pulsing beat and constant fluctuating rhythms. Thinking about our bodies in this way can help to explain the feeling of euphoric oneness that we experience when at a concert, festival, or roaring sports event. It is as if the atoms of our body are syncing up with the energetic environment around us.
Physics aside, in the metaphysical world we understand and explore these rhythms in a different way, with the guidance of intuition, trust, and sacred ancient wisdom. Practices like deep meditation can help us “tune into” different frequencies and vibrations to induce different emotional states. Taking the time to mindfully listen to certain sounds connects us with our divine energetic nature, and allows us to unify our mind, body and spirit.
1. Standing bells and singing bowls
Found in temples and meditation halls across the globe, standing bells and singing bowls are known for their soulful sounds. These instruments originated from countries such as China, India, and Nepal, and have dated back to a little over 500BC. Used by sound healers and yoga practitioners all around the world, these beautiful instruments are said to purify and cleanse negative vibrations, and help up reach deep states of relaxation. I personally use my singing bowls before and after meditating, during reiki healing sessions and after smudging a space. I also love using them to cleanse my healing crystals.
2. Binaural beats Binaural beats are streams of frequencies that are said to help induce specific brainwave states, encouraging different physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits. Tuning into these frequencies may help you reach deeper states of meditation, study more effectively, aid your sleep, reduce your stress levels, or even promote physical healing. You can find these beats on platforms like YouTube, Spotify or iTunes.
3. Classical Music There is medical evidence to suggest that tuning into classical music has a huge range of benefits. A study held at Oxford University showed that people who listened to classical music after a stressful task had significantly lower levels of blood pressure compared to those who listened to other genres. Studies have also shown that classical or meditative music has proven effective for patients undergoing intensive medical care. Playing these tunes had greater effects on easing anxiety than midazolam (a sedative drug) for preoperative patients, and postoperative patients had significantly lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone). Classical music may not be your cup of tea, but if you’re skipping out on these soulful symphonies, you may be missing their grounding and healing benefits.
4. Chakra Chants The chakra system is made up of 7 main energy centres. These energy centres play different roles in connecting and unifying our minds, bodies and spirits. Each chakra vibrates at a different frequency; below I have listed the different sounds associated with the different chakras. Connecting with these energy centres can help bring us contentment and promote overall healing. In a later blog post, I will go into more detail about each chakra and the role it plays, but for now I suggest that you allow your intuition to guide you to which chakras are needing attention. You may feel drawn to focusing on one particular area, or devoting time to connecting with each energy centre.
When chanting your desired chakra sound, I suggest you find a quiet place where you feel safe. Close your eyes, take a deep breath in, and start your chant on your exhale. Try to focus on the vibration of the chant, and ideally stretch the chant over your entire exhale. It may help you to connect with the chakra of your focus by picturing its colour while you chant. You may chant to your heart’s content, but I suggest you commit to at least 5 mindful expressions.
7. Root chakra [Survival and tribal] Sound: LAM Colour: Red Location: Base of the spine. Physical connection: Feet, bones, immune system.
6. Sacral chakra [Relationships and sexuality] Sound: VAM Colour: Orange Location: Lower abdomen to navel area. Physical connection: Sexual organs, hips, pelvis, bladder, bowel.
5. Solar Plexus chakra [Personal power and confidence] Sound: RAM Colour: Yellow Location: Solar plexus. Physical connection: Stomach, middle spine, liver, adrenals.
4. Heart chakra [Emotional power, love and forgiveness] Sound: YAM Colour: Green Location: Centre of the chest. Physical connection: Heart, breasts, lungs, arms, hands, diaphragm, circulatory system.
3. Throat chakra [Expression and communication] Sound: HAM Colour: Blue Location: Throat Physical connection: Throat, thyroid, esophagus, mouth, jaw, teeth.
2.Third Eye chakra [Wisdom and insight] Sound: OM Colour: Indigo Location: Slightly above the center of the eyebrows, mid- forehead. Physical connection: Brain, pineal gland, eyes, ears, nose, nervous system.
1. Crown chakra [Spiritual awareness and universal connection] Sound: OM (or silence) Colour: Violet or white Location: Top of the head Physical connection: Provides universal/life-force energy throughout the entire body.