Love, Laughter & Light,
Love, Laughter & Light,
Boy was it an honour to have Derek Rydall on the podcast today.
His story (and the way he tells it) is truly inspiring, intriguing and down right incredible.
Just a few years ago, Derek was a struggling actor who almost died... twice. The first time at his own hands with alcohol, and the second while going snorkeling and getting trapped in coral.
In fact, this second time there was a moment he just plain gave up. But in that moment, he had an epiphany about life and was never the same again.
This started him on a huge path of self-discovery that led him to writing an amazing book, Emergence: Seven Steps for Radical Life Change.
And this is what we talk about on today's show.
I seriously could have gone on talking to Derek for a good while longer. Maybe I'll have him back on the podcast again one day to go deeper on a few topics.
You can give the episode a listen via the player above.
Love, Laughter & Light,
“I couldn’t give two shits” is a pretty weird expression. I mean, why anyone would want to give any number of shits towards anything is beyond me. As if some grand shit giving presentation is the pinnacle of all meaning.
Not giving a fuck is another way of putting it. But I prefer the sheer perplexity of using ‘not giving two shits’.
People often say, including me several times on this blog and podcast, the key to being happy and peaceful in life is to tear off the masks we wear and just be ourselves. In other words, to stop giving two shits about who everyone else wants us to be and just be our true, authentic selves.
The word ‘authentic’, though, has apparently now been added to the list of buzzwords and clichés in the personal development world, which means we can no longer use it or run the risk of being forever castigated. I, on the other hand, couldn’t give two shits about this (see what I did there?) as I actually like the word authentic. It’s in the dictionary like all the other words and I happen to feel it illustrates my point quite well.
Maybe I’ve learned to not give two shits about this stuff now, but it’s definitely not always been that way. I spent a large portion of my life giving two shits about everything. In fact, I gave more than two shits. I would go around giving as many shits as I could about every shitting aspect of life.
To put it another way, I was a serial shit giver. And it was very tiring.
I’d give shits about what every person thought of me, where I was going in life, what people thought about where I was going in life, how much money I was earning, how much I’d achieved, big life things, small everyday things and just about everything in my existence.
The weird thing was that, on the outside, I attempted to portray someone who was super laid back and didn’t give two shits about anything. I’m not sure how successful I was at that, but underneath I was desperately bothered about everything. Shits were secretly given in all areas and directions.
What this created was an almost constant state of inner turmoil, worry, panic and anxiety about whether all this stuff I gave two shits about was actually going to work out. Regardless of what happened, I would keep on making up more stuff to give a shit about and was never able to actually sit back and just be at peace with everything.
After a while, this gets very tiring. It’s like trying to balance all these spinning plates and not allowing any of them to even slightly wobble for fear that life will disintegrate and never be the same again.
We all do this to some extent, though. Some may try to spin more plates than others, but we all have at least a few that we give two shits about.
It all comes down to our natural human instinct to derive meaning from our lives. We desperately want all this ‘existing’ we do to mean something. And so we look for this everywhere and anywhere we can. Unfortunately for many of our unsuspecting minds and souls, that includes attaching meaning to a lot of what could be otherwise seen as seemingly irrelevant stuff.
That promotion at work you’re dying to get only means something because we have decided to attach meaning to it. The business succeeding only means something because we attach meaning to it. Even our families only mean something to us because we attach meaning to it.
In other words, we give two shits because we decide, whether consciously or subconsciously, that something is worth giving two shits about.
Of course, that’s not to say attaching meaning to things is neither good nor bad. Many would argue that giving two shits about one’s family is a pretty good thing to give two shits about.
But it’s pretty powerful and enlightening to understand that somewhere along the line with all the things we give two shits about there was a decision made on some level to actually start giving two shits about that thing. Because when we understand that there was a decision made, we open ourselves up to the potential for making another decision to then detach that meaning.
I suppose this is a posh way of saying that meaning doesn’t have to be dictated to us by society if we don’t want it to. We can decide what really matters to us in every aspect of life. It brings about a new version of an age old question: To give two shits or to not give two shits?
As I said, it’s not that attaching meaning to anything, everything or nothing is inherently good or bad. But understanding the concept allows us to evaluate whether attaching meaning to a particular ‘thing’ is actually serving us in the most optimal way.
Take your trip to the local coffee shop for your Friday mid-morning treat of a chocolate covered croissant, for example. You’ve been stressing out at the office all week and now you get to enjoy that heavenly French bakery taste to just ease that stress a slight amount. Only, you get to the counter to discover a very apologetic manager explaining how he made an error with the orders and so no croissants were delivered today.
This just isn’t acceptable. You give the manager a bit of an ear bashing, which if you’re British, like me, comes out sounding more like a gritted teeth apology. But you leave the shop, realise it’s just a fucking croissant and get over it. You detached the meaning you had originally placed on it and decided you actually don’t give two shits.
It’s pretty easy to let go of the meaning in a situation like this, so let’s look a little bit deeper and consider why you spent that whole week stressed at work in the first place. More than likely, it was stuff like deadlines, meetings, pressure from the boss, etc. In other words, the desire to both progress (get promoted) and not regress (get fired).
In the grand scheme of things, though, does it really matter? In my experience, most people want to be ‘successful’, but also lead peaceful and joyful lives as well. So does it serve us to attach so much importance and meaning to things like this?
Something I used to do was get so wrapped up in all the shit going on in life that I forgot to see the bigger picture. When I zoomed out and took a bird’s eye view of my life, I could see that all the stuff I worried about and was attaching so much meaning to didn’t actually matter that much.
Yes, I want to progress, achieve things and make an impact in the world. But at the expense of my own inner peace and happiness? No chance. Because that, ironically, is the main thing I actually give two shits about!
So choosing to take a zoomed out view of our lives and breaking that attachment of meaning we have in so many areas, even the ‘important things’, can actually serve us so much better in the long run.
Many of us like the idea of this. It all sounds so wonderfully zen and idealistic to stop ourselves giving two shits about as much as possible. But when it comes to applying the principle, it gets a little trickier.
It’s like “oh, wait, you mean I have to actually stop giving two shits about this and that?” Well, no, not really. Nobody has to do anything. That’s kind of the point. You can choose to give two shits or not.
A huge stumbling block in all this, however, tends to be the fear of judgement. Or more specifically, the fear of not receiving the judgement we would like.
When I first became exposed to the idea of just not giving two shits about many of the things I used to give all the shits about, it sounded amazing. Then I thought about what everyone else would think if I were to actually follow through and do it. And it scared the hell out of me.
What would ‘they’ think if I didn’t hold down a secure job? What would ‘they’ think if it all went wrong and I couldn’t afford to live in a particular area anymore? What would ‘they’ think if I stopped caring about many of the things ‘they’ seemed to care about so much?
Truth is, unless you’re a sociopath, it’s impossible not to care what people think. We have a mammalian brain that’s largely responsible for us seeking out connection and not wanting us to do anything to risk being exiled from the various ‘tribes’ in our lives.
So not wanting to be judged negatively is a subconscious desire of the brain in order to maintain a place in a tribe and, therefore, keep us safe. But simply being aware of this can help us appreciate that breaking free from a tribe and ‘going it alone’ is no longer such a big risk to survival, as it would have been at certain points in history.
Finding new ‘tribes’ of people who are aligned with what we, as individuals, want is a much better way to go. This way, we satisfy the subconscious ‘tribe seeking’ part of the brain while still self-actualising and living in line with how we want to live.
So receiving judgement we don’t want from others happens. But the judgement belongs to that person, not us. It’s theirs, not ours. And we get to decide whether we want to react to that judgement in a way that serves them and their beliefs, or us and our desires.
It will be a work in progress. But simply understanding this concept was hugely powerful for me and my ability to start giving fewer shits in life.
The irony in all this is what I’ve found to be a kind of ‘shit giving paradox’. It seems that the fewer shits we give about something, the happier and more content with it, and life in general, we are.
I suppose this is just one way the universe likes to kick us in the balls. We can spend all our lives giving so many shits about so much stuff in life and still have all this inner turmoil and frustration.
Surely, if you care so much about anything and everything, then you deserve to experience success, contentment, joy and fulfilment in return. It’s not impossible, of course. Many people throughout history have done just fine without reading my ramble here, or something similar.
But, from personal experience and seeing it with others, working towards giving fewer shits about all the stuff we believe to be so important in life appears to be a master stroke of zen-ness.
After all, life is way too short to fill it with giving shits about so many different things.
I’ve been wanting to have Rob Westerburg on the podcast for a little while now.
We’ve been connected on Facebook for a few months and I absolutely love the kind of stuff he shares.
So it’s a pleasure to have him on the show today.
Rob’s a coach who helps people get over their inner struggles to live healthier, happier lives.
And he’s so awesome at doing this, in part, because of his own story of overcoming inner turmoil and a heavy gambling addiction that almost saw him take his own life.
So on the episode we talk about Rob’s story and how to start doing the work in overcoming your own inner demons.
Loved this convo with Rob, and I hope you enjoy listening to it.
You can give the episode a listen via the player above.
Love, Laughter & Light,
I've been trusting in this practice for a few weeks now.
And it's been working like gangbusters.
Rather than boring myself to death feeling like I have to do things, I've started simply following my excitement in various areas of my life.
It's a great mindset shift towards starting to look for opportunities for happiness, joy and excitement.
As opposed to feeling bogged down in the repetitiveness of everything.
I explain more on the podcast.
Take a listen via the player at the top of the page.
Love, Laughter & Light,
Meditation is huge when it comes to improving powers of focus, feelings of inner peace and positivity of thought.
That statement above has almost become a cliché over the past few years as meditation has become more and more mainstream.
But it makes it no less true.
I remember a few years ago before I got anywhere near the holistic health or wellness world and I thought the idea of someone meditating meant they were obviously some kind of hippy weirdo who had more time than sense.
I would roll my eyes at the thought of meditating, believing that it wasn’t for ‘people like me’ and that it didn’t really work for the average person.
And now here I am writing an entire blog post about it. How times change.
But do we have to actually sit there for an extended period of time meditating with crossed legs and nice music on? Or is there a way to get the benefits without needing to do all this several times a day?
Well, this is exactly what I want to explore in this post by giving you some of my best ways to ‘meditate without meditating’.
As I’ve shared previously on this site, I struggle with my mindset and mental and emotional health from time to time.
Up until relatively recently, I didn’t even realise it was a problem for me.
I went through my life assuming I didn’t have any of these issues and that it was just ‘normal’ to have to deal with crippling self-doubt, constant comparison of myself to everyone else, feeling anxious about everything and allowing my negative thoughts to rule me.
That it would just all somehow fix itself and disappear when I became ‘successful’.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
Introducing a regular practice of meditation helped me to deal with this ‘stuff’.
Of course, it wasn’t the only thing.
But meditation and silence allowed me to slow everything down, breathe and just bring me back into the present moment to see all the negativity for what it really was.
After implementing a meditation practice I noticed that I became more grounded, centred and calm about everything in my life.
And, after years of being in an almost constant state of anxiety, panic and negativity, I found the ability to focus and, ultimately, experience joy more regularly.
In essence, meditation is ‘mind training’.
It’s about bringing yourself to the present moment and being able to empty or do whatever you like with your mind, as opposed to having it control you all the time.
Think of it like going to the gym, but for your brain.
When you go to the gym, you don’t expect to go once and suddenly drop 20lbs or look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Nor do you jump straight in and go from zero to running 20 miles or lifting 100kg.
And in much the same way, we can’t do this with meditation either. We can’t expect to do it once and be a brain master, nor can we expect to be able to go from zero to 10 hours a day sat on the side of a mountain in the Himalayas.
So meditation is about building up a practice of training ourselves to slow down, be in the present moment and be in a state of full awareness.
It follows, then, that reaching a ‘meditative state’ doesn’t require sitting in the lotus position for hours and can be reached through various other ways:
One of my favourite ways to meditate without having to do it in the traditional, lotus pose kind of way is switching to walking meditation.
There are a couple of ways to do this that I like, with the first being a simple case of ‘as it says on the tin’.
Simply get outside and take some time out for yourself to just walk. This is a great way to get away from all the phones, screens, people and stressors in life and spend some time with your soul.
Although simply going for a walk can be very relaxing, the best way to experience walking meditation is to actually pay attention to the present moment and concentrate on your breathing.
So no music, podcasts, phone calls or messages. And also trying to not think about things in the past or all the stuff you have to do in the future.
Try counting your steps and moving at a pace that doesn’t increase your heart rate too much so you can continue to breath deep and slowly.
Even better would be if you could try timing your breath with your steps. So, say four steps to breathe in, hold for one step and four steps to breathe out, for example.
It’s best to do this in nature if you can where you can really experience the pleasantness of the surroundings and, even better, to go bare foot while in contact with the earth to combine your walking meditation with the benefits of ‘grounding’.
Beyond a simple ‘walking meditation’, I’ve also tried (and loved) the experience of ‘slow walking’.
This may seem a little weird, especially if there are other people around, but stay with me.
Slow walking is where we would use the same principles as above for normal walking meditation, yet aiming to walk as slowly as possible.
The key here is to be continually moving and never motionless, yet always in a steady, very slow manner. Like a lion creeping up on an antelope.
This is a supreme way of staying ‘in the now’ as it results in us needing to fully concentrate on what we are doing in order to maintain the steady movement.
Move slowly, stay steady, breathe deeply, don’t stop.
Just make sure you’re not doing it around somewhere like Piccadilly Circus as chaos may ensue ;)
I am by no means any kind of Tai Chi or Qi Gong master. In fact, I am pretty much still a beginner.
But that does not mean I love it any less.
The slow walking I mentioned earlier is a very basic form of Tai Chi as it incorporates the principle of slow, continuous, rhythmical movements designed to build up the flow of chi in the body.
Of course, I cannot do these ancient martial arts and practices any justice with a simple section of a blog post here.
But, in a nutshell, these are practices that integrate certain postures or movements with specific breathing techniques and inward focused intention.
A huge part of them is all about rebalancing what is known as energy, Chi or Prana in the body when it becomes blocked due to certain ways of living.
Whether or not you believe this ‘energy stuff’ is real, it still creates a hugely relaxing feeling of calm, inner peace and monumental clarity and focus upon completing.
Getting into these sorts of ‘eastern’ practices really doesn’t require you to start wearing long robes and growing a Mr Miyagi beard. Just 10 minutes of practice in your home or somewhere private using a beginner’s guide on YouTube is enough to get you started and feeling the benefits.
Something that I have also found particularly useful is using what I like to call ‘meditation bursts’.
Maybe you did some kind of meditation or silence in the morning, or maybe you just forgot to do anything at all.
Whatever the situation, let’s just pretend that you’ve got to 4pm and things are getting a little stressed and overwhelming. But you have the kids coming home soon or a meeting coming up – so time is a factor.
Rather than going into a whole meditation practice or Tai Chi session that will more than likely get disturbed, it can be very effective to just take a 60 second burst of meditation.
Simply find a comfy chair, get bare foot if you can, turn off all notifications on your devices and set a timer for 60 seconds. Then just close your eyes and breathe deeply and into the belly, focusing on trying to breathe around 5-6 times over the 60 second period with a four seconds in, two second hold and four second out timing.
Okay, it’s nowhere near ideal. And you will get a lot more benefits from a ‘proper’, extended mediation practice.
But this is a great way to return yourself to the present moment and bring some calm back when things get a little rushed.
I also like to use it before coaching calls, podcast interviews and any other situation where I want to be fully present and relaxed. It just enables me to take stock of a situation and stop that feeling of everything running away with me.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, the aim we’re going for here is to bring ourselves into the present moment in order to appreciate what’s going on around us, rather than being caught up in thinking about the past, future or anything else that isn’t happening right now.
And mindfulness in our everyday activities is a really great practice we can start to develop for this.
Take eating, for example. It’s very common to get tied up in a lot of other activities while we eat – reading the newspaper or a book, listening to the radio, watching TV, working or taking phone calls.
We may feel like we’re killing two birds with one stone, but we’re actually taking ourselves away from being truly present with eating that meal.
I’m not saying we need to do this at each and every meal, but we can certainly experience some kind of mindfulness in the present moment by taking some time really taste the food. Focus on the textures, the tastes, the smells and just really bring yourself into the present moment, as opposed to using distraction techniques like TV and newspapers.
And this works with any activity too.
Whether it’s doing the washing up, cleaning the house, taking a shower, walking to work or any activity! Simply practicing the art of really being in the present moment and the smaller details of what’s really going on without the need for something to occupy our minds can be very powerful when it comes to feeling more calm, focused and peaceful.
These are something I’ve mentioned before in a couple of previous posts as I’ve found them to be extremely useful both with myself and my clients.
They are similar to the Tai Chi and Qi Gong practices I mentioned earlier and are based on the same principles of using the chakra system to balance energy in the body.
I know, I know! All this talk of ‘energy’ and ‘chakras’ may seem a little out there and ‘woo woo’.
I used to think all that stuff was weirdo, hippy BS too. But, to put it bluntly, it’s not. And whether you ‘believe’ in it or not, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that doing them (properly) can leave you feeling awesome.
Anyway, I have a free PDF that explains it all in a little bit less ‘woo woo’ detail than it sometimes is.
But, in a nutshell, we have chakra points in our body that energy (Chi/Prana) flows through and these exercises are designed to target a specific ‘blocked’ chakra to encourage rebalancing.
Again, it doesn’t really matter too much what you believe is actually happening inside your body. Just know that these exercises can help as an alternative to meditation and to get you feeling more peaceful, calm and focused.
Check out my PDF by clicking here and letting me know where to send it.
This has got to be one of my favourites, and one I completely neglected up until very recently.
I used to really love art and drawing when I was younger. Up until the age of around 15-16, I would regularly find myself pulling out a sketch pad and drawing cartoons or just doodling for hours on end.
Then I discovered the world of ‘work’ and needing to focus on being a ‘real adult’ who didn’t bother with these silly things anymore.
But doing something creative like this and really opening up that ‘right brain’ activity is a great way of getting into the present moment and experiencing some form of meditative state.
When I suggest this to people, the next comment tends to be something along the lines of “I’m no good at art” or “I can’t draw” or “mine will suck!”
But that is just your left brain coming back into play!
This isn’t about creating something ‘good’ or ‘bad’, nor is it about judging the quality of what you’re creating. It’s just about creating.
So don’t worry if your three-year-old draws a better cat picture than you. The idea here is to get that right brain opened up, which is all about visualising and creating from scratch without following any pre-set rules or ideas.
Just get a few coloured pencils, a blank pad and draw something. Anything! It doesn’t even have to be an actual picture and could just be a swirl of colours you’ve created.
It doesn’t have to be drawing, though. You could paint or write or even build rock sculptures out in the garden with the stones out there. Just anything that requires you to create your own rules and not follow any instructions.
Maybe you’re not going to try all six of these ways as an alternative to meditation.
Maybe you’re not going to use any and just stick with the traditional way.
But hopefully these will help if you ever fancy trying something different or are struggling to start or keep your practice going.
Take a listen to the podcast episode for this blog post via the player at the top.
Love, Laughter & Light,
Ah what a wonderful conversation this was with Kate Pallot.
We have been connected online for a few months now and it was a pleasure to invite her onto the podcast for a chat.
After suffering the tragic loss of her step-son several years ago, Kate understandably suffered with all kinds of mental and emotional pain.
Then she made the decision to make some changes, learn what was actually going on inside her head and embark on a journey to investigate this whole 'mindset thing'.
And now she's sharing what she's learned in an epic way and has even recently released her first course around dealing with fear, anxiety and self-doubt.
So that is exactly what we talk about on the show.
A fantastic episode that I hope you enjoy listening to as much as I did making it!
You can give the episode a listen via the player above.
Love, Laughter & Light,