Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Daily Intention: "My Life is a Perfect Example of Synchronicity and Flow"

[Post by Cliff Harvey]

This affirmation is one that came from Psych-K - a modality that I use in the mind-body side of my naturopathic practice. 
I use this often when I feel as if I am trying to keep too many balls in the air and when it's hard to keep track of all that needs to be done

Sometimes we may feel as if we are battling, that life is a struggle, that we are having to 'force' the life that we want to become true. This though is only our perception...
Time marches on as it always has, life continues in it's unabated flow, and we as an integral part of the universe, and we as perpetuations of the divine are part and parcel of this universal flow. 
In the seminal words of Max Ehrmann: "And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should". 

And so while we strive for the things we want, and work towards that which we desire we can with the simple affirmation "My life is a perfect example of synchronicity and flow" make peace with that which is greater than us. That we are part of the beautiful dance of life...and that we should enjoy it; enjoy the moment; enjoy the flow...and enjoy the dance. 

~ Blessings
Cliff


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Lent Challenge: Diet

[Post by Cliff Harvey]

Since posting about the Lent Challenge a few people have messaged asking what I'm going to eat over this period.

The reality is that this is pretty similar to the way I usually eat, just a little stricter and with complete abstinence from coffee, alcohol and the omission of the odd sugar containing treat on a Sunday (which is usually some gluten free cake or chocolate.)

The basic structure will look like this:

Breakfast:

Low grain muesli with fruit, berries and coconut cream

This 'Low Grain Muesli' is simply my way of limiting grain intake whilst also having an easy breakfast. I cut a piece of fruit (usually pineapple or banana or mango) and add nuts, seeds, berries and occasionally top with a sprinkling of puffed amaranth. I use coconut cream mixed with a touch of water (and occasionally blended with golden pea protein isolate) in place of milk. 

OR
Gluten free toast with nut butter

I generally have a pretty light and easy breakfast. While I'm not a big fan of bread in general I do often have a piece or two at breakfast for simple ease. It is one of the 'compromises for convenience' that I bring into my lifestyle. 


Lunch/Dinner:

Sprouted legumes with salad greens, added seeds, olive oil, salt, pepper

This is one of my most common 'go to meals'. I simply take a huge bowl of salad, throw in a few cups of sprouted lentils or mung beans and add a handful of nuts or seeds (especially walnuts and pumpkin seeds). I dress liberally with olive oil and add a dash of salt and pepper. Easy. quick, nutritious raw food goodness!

OR
Sprouted legume stew

Another super easy option. I throw a whole bunch of veggies (broccoli, cauli, onions, garlic, beans, peas etc) with a whole lot of lentils, mung beans or chick peas (or occasionally other beans) into a crock-pot or slow cooker, add water and vegetable stock (and occasionally some Marmite!) and leave for the day to cook while I am seeing clients. Boom! 


Snacks:

Smoothie - golden pea protein isolate, banana (or mango), berries (and/or berry powder - varying type), ground flaxseed, flax oil and/or coconut cream.

I make sure that these are calorically dense and protein dense due to the occasional sparsity of the other meals. Also making sure to supply plenty of quality fats from coconut and flax and lots of micro-nutrients from berries, berry powder and ground flax-seed. 


Other snacks may be nuts, seeds, extra sprouted legumes, dates after training or a 'Primal Bites' by Delish.

I like to keep things as simple as possible. I have way too many other things going on to stress and worry about exhaustive and complicated food prep...but that's no excuse to not eat well, even when omitting meat, dairy and eggs. Give it a go!

~ Blessings
Cliff


Saturday, February 18, 2012

DO IT NOW!

[Post by Cliff Harvey]

via workisnotajob.com

As an author I'm often told by people that they would love to write a book.
My friend, best-selling author Ian Brooks told me that his reply to this is "Are you writing?"

I pose this same question to my clients and workshop participants.
And it need not be writing but could be singing, painting, dancing or in fact anything that one wants to achieve, that drives our passion and purpose, or even simply something that serves a desired end-goal (such as finding a new job.)

"I want to" is never going to get us where we want to be. Only the doing, or 'the work' as (Seth Godin describes it) is going to get us there.
The only moment we have is the present and so we need to start doing right now, and continue to do each and every day to develop the habit of doing 'the work', to progress towards our goal and to actually become that which we want to be.

When I started writing Choosing You! I considered myself an 'aspiring author' - but soon realised that an aspiring author is a frame that projects what I wanted to become into the future. After that realisation I began to consider myself simply an author. I also developed the habit of writing daily, for how could I be a writer if I wasn't writing? And while I slip from this routine occasionally the habit of writing is with me, and the books that I enjoyed writing as much as I hope that they are enjoyed are the fruits of that habit.

If you want to be, then start to do...and do it now...



Thursday, February 16, 2012

I Don't Like Big 'Buts'


[Post by Cliff Harvey]
img. via bibsandbaubles.com
So often we negate our gratitude for how amazing things are, and how much we have progressed, grown and evolved with the word 'but'. 

For example, I have heard variations of this from many of my clients over the years:
 "Everything is going really well...BUT...I'm not where I want to be..."
The 'BUT' in this case negates the value and appreciation we have for how well we have done, and for how well we are progressing. 
I challenge you to instead express gratitude for the positives, rather than being self effacing in spite of how well you have done in any endeavour. 

1. Appreciate the progress you have made. 
This may mean simply stopping and reflection on how well you have done, and avoiding using 'BUT' to qualify it!

2. Try using AND instead of 'but'.
This can reinforce what you want to be true and what will become true...not what you are currently unhappy (frustrated) with. 
In other words you might frame things as:
"Everything is going well (and for that I am STOKED) and I continuing with my process I continue to get great results!"

When we frame what we say in the present, and in a positive, emotionally compelling manner we begin to integrate those thought forms much more effectively into our unconscious/subconscious and we begin to 'become' that more and more. 

What we say becomes real, so speak the truth that you want to become. 


Monday, February 13, 2012

The Lent Challenge: The value of recognising attachment and addictions

[Post by Cliff Harvey]

I've often commented on the use of religious devices and festivals as tools for self development. And I think if we cut away the dogma and ritual from them we can see that there were/are valid reasons for them.

Many religious devices compel putting aside time for meditative practice (i.e. the Sabbath) and others such as the fasting periods of Lent, Ramadan and others provide a realisation of our attachment to things (namely food, largesse and our vices.)

In the case of fasting practices after we strip away dogma and ritual we can see that the intention to give up some of the things we have become attached to helps us to realise just how attached we are, and in doing so we can recognise how our vices may be controlling us and affecting the way we act, and the way that we are. We also become aware of how little we actually do need in order to be happy, and how living with less can actually free us from our drive to possess and consume more and more.
This is the reason that I do Lent every year. I find short term fasting and abstinence is a great way to recognise patterns of behaviour and attachment. And I think that this was the original reason for this festival, and in fact many other devices and tools used in any of the world's faiths.

Lent is a Christian period of fasting lasting (generally; there is some variation between denominations) between Ash Wednesday (in 2012 this is the 22nd February) through to 'Holy Thursday' (also known as 'Maundy Thursday) - the Thursday before Easter.

Traditionally Lent involved a commitment to 3 practices:
1. Prayer
2. Fasting
3. Alms giving


The fasting or abstinence aspect of Lent is what most people nowadays associate with the period.

Traditionally this was very strict, and involved variations of abstinence from meat, dairy and eggs and in many cases alcohol, although often these were in most cases allowed on a Sunday. In modern times, particularly in Protestant circles Lent has become a time in which to give up a vice or a luxury.
Either approach can hold a lot of value in our process of greater self-realisation and growth.

Last year I stopped drinking coffee for the Lent period as I had already committed to 6 months off meat, dairy, eggs and alcohol.


This year I am going to engage in a very strict period of fasting, meditation and contemplative exercise, mimicking the oldest traditions of Lent.


My Lent Challenge

Fasting:
Abstaining from meat, dairy, eggs (except on on Sundays)
In addition I will be abstaining from alcohol, coffee, and all sugar and gluten (which I don't really eat anyway)

Meditation/Contemplative Work:
At least 20min of meditation per day

Almsgiving:
Donating 10% of any income derived from this time frame to charity

Who's up for a pretty tough challenge?!
Comment here or at my FaceBook Page and let me know what you are giving up...or if you'd like to join me in the challenge above!

~ Blessings,
Cliff

[Note: Due to my friends at Wok+Wine hosting their latest awesome event on Thursday the 23rd I will be starting Lent 2 days late on the 24th Feb!]



Sunday, February 12, 2012

Shoot for the Stars...You Might Just Hit the Moon!

Benchmarks = Mediocrity
~ Seth Godin

[Post by Cliff Harvey]

Lately I have been getting a double helping of inspiration in the morning from two sources: Believers by my good friend Dr Ian Brooks and Small is the New Big by Seth Godin

Both are collections of short, inspiring business (and life) anecdotes, and so lend themselves to providing a quick shot of motivation, ideas and energy to a productive and purpose filled day of awesomeness! 

I start the day by reading a chapter/story from Believers and then listen to the audio book of Small is the New Big on the way into my office. This morning, after being sufficiently motivated to give my clients and patients the absolute BEST customer experience I could, I was struck whilst driving, by Seth's simple words 'Benchmarks equal mediocrity...'

This simple phrase meshed seamlessly with Ian's take on the current economic crisis. Which (and I am liberally paraphrasing) is that the only way to survive, and thrive in these lean economic times is simply to provide a superior customer experience. 
I think at the end of the day any of us who are in a business or activity that we love are on the most basic of levels simply providing a conduit for our clients/customers to be happier. This is the essence of a positive customer experience in my opinion. 
Was my client happier as a result of their experience with me?
Were they overjoyed with the experience they had?....
Were the enchanted and blown away by the experience?!
- If they were you can guarantee that they will be back as customers and that they will tell others about it (according to Ian, research shows that they will tell an average of 9 people about the experience!)

If on the other hand we satisfy ourselves with arbitrary bench marks of standards and service, rather than striving to enchant our customers and overwhelm them with a joyous experience we may simply be shooting for mediocrity. 

The danger of course in setting bench marks as a target is that often they are simply not big enough. They are not the 'Big Hairy Audacious Goals' (I stole this from super-heroine activist Sarah Jamieson) that drive us to   achieve at levels we previously thought impossible. 
The little goals we often don't even achieve because they don't create that fear...that 'Oh F**K!' feeling that setting and making ourselves accountable to a really big goal does. 
The bigger the goal the more we will be driven to achieve it because we need to steel ourselves, commit to a higher degree and we feel an imperative to work harder and more consistently. 
It is easier to slack off when we 'know' that we can achieve a goal quite easily. 

And at the very least if you shoot for the stars you may hit the moon. If you shoot for the moon you may not even leave the ground...


Thursday, February 02, 2012

Living (and Dying) Without Regrets...

{Post by Cliff Harvey]

Australian nurse Bronnie Ware in her book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing recounts her years caring for those with less than 12 weeks to live (note: I haven't read the book yet)

She encountered the top 5 regrets amongst the patients she cared for:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Several words spring out at me when reading this list, and provide a call to action for how to live a life without regrets:


Courage and more specifically the courage to live for you, not for what other expect of you.


Work - and not working for works sake, but to work instead doing what we love, and in order to provide ourselves with the means for having joyous experiences. As importantly allowing ourselves the time to fully appreciate the range of experiences that are part of our life of passion and purpose.

Staying in touch.... The people we love are our greatest asset. Not things, not money. Nothing can be more important than the people we love, and the currency we share with them is our time together. When we sacrifice that time we are cheating ourselves out of life's most joyous moments.

Allowing happiness... The way this is framed is really interesting: 'I wish I had let myself be happier...
I was just this morning working with a client, and one of the themes that I kept revisiting with them was 'getting out of their own way'.
So often we let the inconsequential get in the way of what is really most important. We allow the perceptions and expectations of others be our driving forces, rather than focussing on the intrinsic motivators that are most in line with our values, ethos...and ultimate happiness.

So let's flip these regrets into a simple intention list for living a life without regrets!
(Here are some examples, feel free to rephrase these in any way that is meaningful to you.)

1. I have the courage to live a life true to myself.
2. I give myself the time to experience all the joys and wonders available to me.
3. I have the courage to speak my truth and express my feelings.
4. I honour myself by creating and keeping strong connections with those I love. I give these relationships time in abundance!
5. I allow myself to be happy...I am happy! Happiness is my birth right! :)

~ Blessings
   Cliff