Monday, May 30, 2011

Doug 'Vicious' Viney on working with Cliff....

In the short time I've known Cliff he's helped me to become leaner, lighter and stronger. By showing me a better, healthier food plan that was easy for me to follow, I noticed dramatic changes to my body and improvements in my body-composition.
Thanks Cliff...where were you 10 years ago?!

~ Doug Viney 2007 K1 World Grand Prix Champion

A note from Cliff:
A lot of the readers of my books and blog don't realise that I started out in the field of performance nutrition and still work with many top athletes and especially fighters - through my business

It's been an honour working with Doug since returning to NZ. Great guy and a great fighter. More about Doug can be found here:


Saturday, May 28, 2011

About Time Rich Cash Optional ~ excerpt from the new book by Cliff Harvey

From Time Rich Cash Optional; an unconventional guide to happiness. Available worldwide now

Going Beyond Actions to a Conscious Paradigm Shift

Our current paradigm is not working.
We have fooled ourselves into thinking that accumulating more and more possessions will somehow, at some stage, provide happiness in our lives.
I think most of us realise that this is futile, and yet we keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again. They say that making a mistake is one thing, but repeating it is madness … so perhaps we have all gone a little mad.
It certainly seems that way when we look at how we are depleting the Earth’s resources at an ever-increasing rate, polluting our beautiful planet, enslaving other living beings and treating them with appalling cruelty, and becoming, as a species, sicker and more tired.
There’s got to be a better way!
And there is.
But to create the change necessary requires more than simply changing actions within the same paradigm we have created. It requires a ‘conscious shift’ out of the current norm of consumerism and materialism to a mindset of greater simplicity, a mindset where giving is more important than receiving, and a mindset where we have allowed ourselves to dream the lives we want to be living and have rationally evaluated what is really necessary to bring that life to fruition.
The economic crisis of the last few years has brought this to the fore for many, and I have seen in clinical health practice and in my lectures and workshops that the people I speak to have really begun re-evaluating what is most important in life. This may well have been the silver lining to the cloud of our most recent economic depression.
We need to re-evaluate life and how we live on a greater scale, and perhaps now we are at a time where a real conscious shift is happening, as more and more people rebel against the norm of working long and hard for little real reward and instead focus on increased happiness and satisfaction.
Our motivation is the primary driver of what we do and is unfortunately provided by the conditioning of the prevailing world paradigm, which is clearly shaped by consumerism and materialism. In fact I would go so far as to say that the prevailing mentality in the modern world is greed.
And whilst actions of conservation, charity and connection are absolutely crucial to even begin to enact change in the world, there must also be a fundamental shift in consciousness to change the paradigm of how we live. We need to begin to recognise what is most important in life – not just that there are problems in the world – and begin to live our lives according to what is most important.
We must absolutely begin to live our lives in a way that does not conform to the processes destroying the planet and reducing the potential of happiness in the world. Our very survival depends upon it.
We need to realise (in the epiphanic sense) that happiness and joy come from joyous experiences – joyous experiences provided by the acts of connection to others, connecting to the world around us, and ultimately connection to that which is greater than us. This aspect of that which is greater than us may be called, in esoteric circles, the super-conscious or divine, but it is being proven more and more regularly, within the realms of emerging sciences such as Noetics, to be an integral and tangible aspect of the physical universe.
Perhaps when there are enough amongst us who are more concerned with people than Prada, a ‘tipping point’ will occur and the prevailing paradigm will change.
A paradigm of thought is only so because a majority of people believe it, therefore profound, paradigm-shifting change in a very real sense can occur when enough people believe in its possibility and begin to act in concert outside the norm. This fundamental change in perception away from status, ego and greed must occur in order for us as a species and for the planet as a whole to survive.
The modern sciences are proving again and again that we are all connected and we are, in turn, connected to everything else on the planet and in the universe. By honouring this we are, by extension, honouring ourselves; conversely by honouring our own health (not just physical but emotional, mental and spiritual) we honour and improve the health of the whole.
I have been asked countless times about my seemingly simplistic attitude that happiness is the goal of an objectively desirable life. 
As a health practitioner I have seen that health is equal to happiness! Health of the body is happiness of the body, health of the mind is happiness of the mind and health of the spirit is happiness of the spirit.
And so, although this seems simple, I wonder:
Why not?
Why can’t we all be happier?
What is stopping anyone from being healthier and happier?
We all live out our own karma. Certain things must occur because events of the past have precipitated them, and often they provide for the learning opportunities we need to experience in this lifetime; and yet we can still feel victimised when calamity befalls us. But we have the choice in any given moment to act in ways that improve our circumstances, and we also have a choice to begin to engender more and more the conscious shift that can literally change the entire world and the universe in which it sits.

There is beauty in simplicity. I invite you to be part of the beautiful change.

Time Rich Cash Optional 
an unconventional guide to happiness 
Now available worldwide via Amazon & CreateSpace 
In New Zealand order from the Publisher 

Available at:
 Goodey's Bookstore 
  (23 Crowhurst Street, Newmarket, Auckland)
                              Pathfinder Books 
                             (38 Lorne Street, Auckland Central)


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Time Rich Cash Optional (an unconventional guide to happiness) has arrived!

This is an unconventional guide to happiness...

We are at a critical junction in our development.
The old ways of materialism and consumerism have not made us happier; in fact it seems that more and more people are becoming sick, tired and less happy.

Stop simply being alive...and start really LIVING THE SH%# OUT OF LIFE!

In Time Rich Cash Optional you will discover how to:

  • Embrace the unconventional to find your life of passion and purpose
  • Fill your days with moment after moment of wondrous, joyful experience
  • Uncover your creativity and playfulness to become a ‘Life Artist’
  • Integrate work, life and play so you’ll never again have to ‘work’ to make a living
  • Simplify your life and discover more time, money and energy
  • Define your dreams and set the goals that really matter

In stores from the 27th May

Available NOW at Amazon and other online retailers


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hunting and Fishing for 'Sport' - cruelty by any other name

I was brought up hunting and fishing.
As a kid I loved nothing more than heading off into the bush with my old man and bringing back a goat, or a rabbit or two for the table. We had a well stocked freezer and much of what we ate was what we had shot in the bush.
People may debate the killing of animals for food. My thoughts on this are well known and I am not going to delve into that area in this post.
I was always taught by my Dad to only hunt for the table. If we shot it, we ate it. And once we had enough for the table we called it a day. One deer could feed us for a long time!
We did the same with fishing. We went out, caught fish and ate them. We didn't tag and release, and we didn't keep catching fish once we had enough to feed the family.

We never hunted solely for the 'sport' of it. And never fished for sport either.

Hunting and fishing for sport is cruel and unnecessary. Particularly fishing for sport is to me abhorrent. Ensnaring another living being with a hook through it's lip or jaw (or worse if 'foul-hooked' or deep-hooked) and dragging it, against all it's struggles to the boat or shore, only to release it cannot really be anything other than cruel (to cause pain and suffering to others, or feeling no concern about it according to Oxford dictionary online).
The argument that fish do not feel pain has little merit. Researchers at the University of Guelph, Edinburgh University, Purdue University and others have independently concluded from their respective studies that fish feel and respond to pain in very similar ways to humans.
People will say though that fish are 'dumb', as if intelligence (or lack thereof) were some sort of excuse for cruelty. Maybe I could go fishing from the top floor of the mall for stupid people?

They may say that it is better to fish and release than to kill animals. I would say it's better to just not fish at all if you're not going to take it in and eat it, and to be sensible in that respect too. Once you have a reasonable amount landed then chill out! Have a beer, have a coffee, sit, relax, go home. Why keep fishing?
The mortality rates of released fish vary by species and method. BUT there is always a percentage of fish that will die as a result of sport fishing.

A 2 year study on sport fishing off Baja California showed that nearly 1/4 of the Marlin caught and released died within a short time (about 75% of these with 2 days and 94% within 4 days).

Over fishing is already a huge problem. Sport and recreational fishing is also a huge activity. Even if people continue to fish, the collateral damage of fish mortality over and above what is taken for food must have a detrimental (and unnecessary) affect on fish stocks.

Just this weekend I was talking to a good friend of mine - an archetypal hunting, fishing Kiwi. He was appalled by the recreational fishing quotas that are allowed. In the northern region of New Zealand for example I could take a total of 20 fish per day. That amount is outrageous given that there is compelling evidence that fish stocks are becoming more and more depleted.

Simple things we can do to affect change:
- Stop sport fishing
- Eat meat less
- Eat fish less
[Use vegetarian options more]


Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Moment of Realising Dissatisfaction

We arrive at an important junction when we realise that we have been consistently feeling a certain way that we would rather not feel. 
These moments of realisation allow us to begin to engage in the actions that allow us to adjust our 'set point' of thought, feeling and emotion. 

There is a huge importance in 'framing'. How we frame things has a huge effect on how we feel in the future. Think of it in terms of training. You don't do a run and then suddenly become an athlete - it is a process of training the body, and to creating a positive mental environment is also a matter of training. 

This is the importance of recognising amongst other things negative self talk.
In the moment you can see where a negative train of thought is occurring and you can help reverse that for future moments by repeating positive affirmations that are as you WANT to be, not what appears to be true now. 


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Words that Inspire - An adaptation from Romans

"Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of all; extend hospitality to strangers.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 
Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 
Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 
If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 
Never avenge yourselves...
No, if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink. 
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Tools and Intent vs Blind Dogma

The value of religion and spiritual traditions is in the contemplative tools that they provide us, and the 'calls to action' in the realms of morality and ethics.
Of course there are justifications found in scripture for abhorrent actions too, and so that must be taken with a grain of salt and we must with our own judgement separate the wheat from the chaff. The danger of being a zealot is that you take the words of men as a literal interpretation of the word of God and apply no reason or rationality to your actions. Blind faith is the very worst kind.

In my humble opinion 'God' has no words, for God is the superconscious, the divine, or perhaps with even less religiosity that energy or connection that we all share. What has been wrapped around the concept is superstition and ritual, some bad and good - but only good or useful if it provides for a personal (not transmitted by a priest or guru) experience of the interconnectedness and oneness of all. That direct connection to source is indescribable and so we must use allusion to elucidate. But that allusion will always suffer from being  inescapably indeterminate.

The benefits that I see in having come to my own piece with the idea of religion, is that if you aren't hung up on the idea that 'my religion is the right one', or that 'the way that I believe God is, is the only way' then you can see the benefits for what they are, and take a pragmatic approach to your own spiritual practice.
You recognise that tools such as prayer (which is really just positive affirmation) and meditation as well as more esoteric 'energy balancing' techniques are simply time honoured exercise to allow for greater peace, calm etc. In fact the religion itself become inconsequential as a dogmatic vehicle, but beneficial in that it may have a codified system of contemplative techniques that have been honed over a long period of time.

I see Religion like language. Saying that your religion is better than someone else's is like saying that your language is better. It just doesn't make sense. They both are frames within which we try to elucidate concepts that cannot be adequately explained and may contain elements which are either practicably unprovable or in some cases yet to be proven quantitatively.
Another analogy I am fond of is that religion is like a sport. You may enter a sport to improve your physical health for example. The sport provides for an improvement in health. But to believe that it is the only way to improve health, or the only valid sport is naive and ridiculous (notwithstanding that some in certain circles such as kettlebells, pilates, cross-fit etc may disagree with me!)

One of the biggest problems with some 'religious people' that I see is that they aren't DOING anything. They simply blindly follow the words in a book, or the words coming from their priest, guru, imam or holy man. They spend no time contemplating the nature of life. They spend no time using prayer as it was intended (as a vehicle for eliciting real change in belief structures).
They are simply taking a superior stance by believing (blindly) that there way is the right way and that they will have salvation because of something they believe. Well in my humble opinion it is not that easy.

Forget about salvation, forget about 'enlightenment'.
Instead get on with the work of being a happier, more loving, more connected person. Use tools if you must to help you on your journey but don't get hung up on them. Do you worship a spade when you dig in your garden?


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Don't Call Me White

I was never much of a NoFx fan back in the day, but I always dug this song and in light of my blog posts about Waitangi Day and race relations in New Zealand I found myself singing this song, out of the blue after years of not even hearing it...

I made a note on my writing board - where I write all my random ideas for books, e-books and articles the simple words "Don't Call me White!"

And I don't actually mind being called white...I mean it's just a simple descriptive value right?
But the funny thing is I've never actually considered myself to be 'white'. Even as a little kid I never thought of myself as white, because it never occurred to me to think of myself as anything - even in spite of societal and cultural conditioning to do just that. Of course I didn't consider myself 'black' for quite obvious reasons, and of course if I had claim to that it would merely be another label.
Now when I think about it there is still a strange resistance from deep within to labeling myself as anything.

A compounding factor is that I don't really know my family heritage. The only things I do know are that my paternal Great-Great Grandfather came across from England to Aoteroa and my Mum was born in England. What makes up 'me' is an unknown picture of potentials and family myth.
On my Mother's side we are probably at least in part Romani and/or Spanish and on my Father's we have a family lineage stretching back to Brittany and Normandy by way of England and Ireland and of course the ubiquitous other Romano-Celtic, Anglo-Saxon blend that makes up the history of the British Isles. And what happened here in Aoteroa is somewhat of a mystery too, given that the family tree has more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese...

And I'm guessing a lot of Kiwis are in the same boat - in fact many people born into settler families in countries like NZ, Australia and Canada may have the same lack of firm ties to, and community with, any particular ethnic groups.

I have often wondered if this is one of the reasons many 'white' people in these countries can feel a little baseless. They don't feel like they belong in countries that they know they have lineage from, and yet the only country they know, they may on some level feel as if it is not quite 'theirs' either.
They are trapped in the morphology of being part of a settler culture (and may be still marked as an outsider by some) in spite of the place where they stand being the only place that they truly feel they belong. I remember as a child telling a teacher in a Maori studies class that although I may be considered Pakeha I felt as if I was drawn from the depths of the very earth of this land we call Aotearoa.
But in spite of this I have traveled and wandered like a leaf drifting over foreign soil, blown by a wind fueled by doubt and frustration that would only be exhausted by the search itself.

And this - my hybridity, my mongrel, my path, my wanderings; have led me to feel like a universal everyman. And one still not comfortable with the label 'white'.

There surely must come a time when these labels cease to have the same level of meaning and identification (by self and others).
For the time being there is work to be done, because where there is still racism and xenophobia the labels themselves do have a need. But as we become, more and more a greater tribe of humanity, I for one hope that perhaps we'll no longer be white, black or brown as an identifier of who we are.


Sunday, May 01, 2011

My Beef with Vegans...'re surprised that I have beef with Vegans?
Well on the whole I actually don't... But militant, angry Vegans...I certainly do!

I can relate to them, having been a militant and occasionally angry vegetarian in my teenage years, but I guess with age I have become more pragmatic, and infinitely less angry.
My beef with Vegans is essentially the same beef I have with anyone who is an extremist. My simple premise is that if you are an extremist in your views you will inevitably paint yourself as a hypocrite at some stage.

Take Veganism for example. I consider the reduction in meat consumption and the reduction in egg and dairy intake to be an important part of reducing our impact on the planet, and it is for that reason that I eat a primarily (almost entirely) Vegan diet. But many Vegans are so militant about their views that unless you are the perfect Vegan you are considered part of the problem, not part of the solution. I see this strikingly when Vegetarians are criticized by Vegans.
Aren't we all part of the same team here?
Are you really as perfect as you claim?
My view conversely is that if you are making an effort to reduce your impact on the planet and are doing it in real and practicable ways you are making yourself part of the solution.

You are only a hypocrite when you preach something and then act counter to that argument.
There are several things I have run across recently that are examples of these hypocrisies.

For example many militant Vegans that I know have dogs. Dogs eat meat, and so if the dog is being fed a healthy and appropriate diet then the Vegan dog owner will be buying meat to feed it. Now I understand the dog needs to eat meat to be healthy, and that it would be cruel to feed it a Vegan diet - and that is something I am absolutely not suggesting as an alternative. My point is that the Vegan does not need to own a dog. Dogs are a luxury item in terms of pure resource usage.
I love dogs, I have had dogs and will again in the future - so I have no issue at all with keeping dogs, I am simply making a comparison based upon the 'choice' argument as a rationale for Veganism when confronted with arguments about natural eating patterns, essential nutrients and taste. They (militant Vegans) say that is a choice to eat meat (and thereby kill animals) and that if the choice can be made to limit killing then it should be taken.
If this is your rationale does this not also apply to forsaking your enjoyment of owning dogs to reduce collateral killing and resource use?

I have also had the experience of being somewhat berated by Vegans for my (very) occasional consumption of meat or eggs. Some of these very Vegans are very into their own particular brand of fashion and have a lot of clothes, accessories and many pairs of Vegan shoes.
The hypocrisy in this example is that having all those 'things' and in particular shoes surely provides for collateral damage to the environment which has an effect on the wellbeing of animals. Sure they are Vegan, but they are created from petrochemicals that require a lot of resources to extract, that result in pollution and cause environmental damage.

A final beef is with Vegans who use fly-spray or otherwise kill insects. I simply do not kill insects. I can't remember ever having killed insects. I don't see the point. They can't hurt me and so I simply leave them alone and they in the main do the same with me.
It has come to the point where if I am bitten by a mosquito I simply let her drink her fill and then fly away - knowing that she won't bother anyone else for a while. She gets a meal and I feel good about having been able to feed another being for the night! (Simply being aware of our aversion to mosquitos is a great exercise in mindfulness too BTW.)
When a Vegan uses fly-spray and in one fell swoop kills dozens, perhaps hundreds of insects I just don't get how they could then judge someone else.

The greatest change we can make in my humble opinion is to over time become more aware of the effects of our actions and try to reduce our environmental impact and the impact that we have on the lives of sentient beings. And a way that we can begin to do this is to commit to a more simple life of joyous experience instead of being focused on having things, and labeling ourselves with limiting definitions.

Cliff's next book Time Rich Cash Optional (an unconventional guide to happiness) will be available in May! Order links and info at