Natural Wellness: Mind, Body and Spirit

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Throughout this post I will be linking to a compilation of useful videos and articles that i found inspirational whilst writing this over the last couple of days. I highly recommend reading and watching them as you read as they all fit in somehow to the overarching message for fighting coronavirus and boosting immunity. First of all, I’d like to share this quote from my favorite philosopher Alan Watts as a guiding light for you as you read throughout this post:

“By replacing fear of the unknown with curiosity we open ourselves up to an infinite stream of possibility. We can let fear rule our lives or we can become childlike with curiosity, pushing our boundaries, leaping out of our comfort zones, and accepting what life puts before us.” ~ Alan Watts

I think this quote very nicely summarizes the best view possible in regards to a positive outlook towards the current crisis, creating positivity in our lives by acknowledging the abundance of life all around us.

What can YOU do, with ONLY what you have at hand, to increase your natural health & wellness?

What I see when I look at the news, but also at people around me (mostly on screens), is that the world is going through a phase of change that is far deeper than any previously caused by a pandemic.

People are being forced to quit their jobs, or are being forcibly laid off. The world is moving online, and any previously common methods of interacting with the external world have shifted to those more remote alternatives.

What were previously thought of as standard means of making money: i.e. office jobs have become obsolete for the time being, due to the human contact involved in going to work or going out for food. Shopping for groceries and necessary goods have predominantly become once a week or once a month events, and new habits of planning ahead and stockpiling food, rationing and hoarding are becoming more commonplace.

You could say this is like a pre-apocalyptic movie setting really, except its real life and the problem is quite tangible. Nobody really knows whats going on, making it prime time for the world to get its act together and start focusing on natural health. Tens of thousands have died, and these coronavirus pandemics are appearing more frequently with this being the third major outbreak (SARS and MERS before). So what if this becomes the new norm? How will the unemployment gap be filled? How will people start to develop new ways of life? I think we are seeing history unfold before our very eyes, as the world changes people must change with it. But this is not a bad thing, it is the guiding principle of change that steers us towards sustainability; the inevitable balancing act between self-serving humanity and an interconnected ecosystem that tries to keep up with our demands. In the end, the changing norm now exemplified by the coronavirus, is something we can only expect to occur frequently given the cause-effect relationship of humans treating nature badly. Unless, people in all of their collectives (family, work, community, country, globe) decide to take active and conscious steps (which will inevitably include short term monetary sacrifices) towards relinquishing material domination over the natural world.

This includes the fair treatment of other life-forms, ethically sourced and sustainable methods of resource extraction, collection and waste management. We need to close the loop on capitalism and imbed the loop itself within well thought-out and scientifically curated operating boundaries. (see Planetary boundaries by Johan Rockstrom https://www.ted.com/talks/johan_rockstrom_let_the_environment_guide_our_development , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetary_boundaries)

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Image source:https://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/planetary-boundaries/planetary-boundaries/about-the-research/the-nine-planetary-boundaries.html

Maintaining safe adaptive protocols and respect for these limits at all costs, reflected at all levels of government as well as at individual levels, in my opinion, should be a top priority . End-of-cycle waste can no longer end up in landfill or in the ocean. The recurring bottom-line should be focused towards strengthening the system rather than weakening its foundation. The mistreatment of animals as seen in wet markets in China which led to the development of the current coronavirus strain is just one example of the ‘normal’ risks we take everyday and how they should no longer be accepted as the risks are now too high.

So, I think what people can do with what they have at hand at home is simply to spend time bettering themselves. What i have tried to do is to learn a new skill. Currently I am enrolled in a web development course on Udemy, and have been exploring free courses online. As time is something we have in spades at the moment, learning new skills is a great gift we can give ourselves. Here are the links to some really awesome courses mostly free due to the coronavirus crisis; Compilation of links including some from Google, Amazon: https://www.classcentral.com/report/free-online-learning-coronavirus/ 85 free courses on Coursera: https://www.classcentral.com/report/coursera-free-certificate-covid-19/

What can YOU do, share or recommend to others with limited means, in maybe tough circumstances with little or no income?

This part highly depends on internet connectivity. Assuming that you live in a place in the world which is relatively modern, you have access to all the amenities the modern human global citizen should possess. This includes the internet, and with it, comes endless possibilities. Today with a decent broadband connection, anyone around the world can log into YouTube, type in the skills they want to learn, and the roller coaster ride begins, with endless recommended videos and links to choose from. Learning is no longer the issue, but rather it has become what to do with what you know. From this aspect of doing, as I have just graduated from college 2 years ago and have yet to find a decent job, I am also discovering the way. What I DO know however is that if we are determined to set ourselves against a task or to achieve a goal, anything is possible.

So when it comes to Natural Health & Wellness, I believe the categories we can work on are 3-fold: Mind, Body, and Spirit.

Mind:

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A Couple Days ago, my friend added me to a Whatsapp group called 21Days Abundance Meditation Challenge. It’s by Deepak Chopra and it’s a 3 week journey where every day you meditate for 15 minutes, and he gives you a mantra for the day to keep in mind. For example today (i’m on day 3), it was “today i focus on what i want to attract into my life” . Chopra says we can manifest abundance in our lives by serving humanity with our unique skills and talents, and by choosing what to focus on, we quite literally, decide our fate by steering our thoughts with our mind. I believe him.

This can at first sound like mumbo jumbo, but actually it’s quite real. There are two kinds of people in the world according to Chopra; those who feel abundance in the world and those who feel scarcity. What you choose to focus on manifests in your physical reality. With all the negativity going around these days it makes it all the more important to take the time every morning to set out the intention for the day, and then to follow up with the attention necessary to make it real. So its intention and attention, together that coordinate your life towards your chosen focus point, which is quite exciting really. having all this potential in our minds eye is powerful, but it requires a focus point to operate i.e a goal; make more money, have more health etc.

However, we seldom remember to nurture and protect our minds, minding the endless cascades of information that bombard us from every direction, making it harder and harder to maintain a steadfast focus throughout our daily lives. Meditation helps keep this focus by reinforcing positive affirmations, through mantras and other useful tools like visualization and grattitude, to help us stay grounded in the present moment where pure potentiality unfolds constantly.

Here’s the link to the Day 1 of the 21 day abundance meditation challenge:

Taking care of our minds is paramount to taking care of our bodies, but this is similar to saying 1+2=3 or 2+1=3, two ways of describing the same thing. The mind and the body are one, and by nurturing one or the other, or both in conjunction, we increase the overall health and wellness in our lives from the ground up. Meditation is something we can do to escape the online world of overstimulation. There is more content online than we’ll ever be able to individually consume on our own, and there is no point frantically clicking around hundreds of videos in one sitting when by the end of the session all you got was an overload of information and a tired brain. We need to learn to take a break frequently throughout the day to just close our eyes and meditate, go inside and be aware of how our body is feeling. Anxiety and ADHD have become commonplace in my generation and all those born after 2000. With internet technology dominating normal ways of life, we have yet to understand the best way to use it in a healthy way. Best practice is subjectively allocated to the user, who without proper knowledge (the user manual for life which was never given), we can harm ourselves unintentionally. So the user drifts and floats around the web mindlessly with no goal in sight. Have a goal, and focus on one thing at a time, and what you do focus on will have more value. It’s all about quality over quantity once again.

Body

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We can meditate all day, but if we don’t take care of the body, which is the temple of our soul, then we cannot live abundant lives. This means developing healthy habits that involves physical movement to stimulate blood-flow articulation of the joints. We can choose to do this today in many different ways, and many methods exist from both East and West: Yoga, Tai Chi, Xi Gong, Calisthenics, Bodybuilding, HIIT etc. Anything that gets the blood pumping and the heart rate up for a little bit on a consistent basis is all we really need. It doesn’t have to be high intensity, in fact if your goal is long term-health, it’s probably better to do low-medium intensity but consistent exercise rather than high intensity workouts that could damage your health over time. We are creatures designed and born to move, and science has been in for a long time saying that people who are more physically active are healthier and happier. Not only in their body, but in their relationships, careers, etc. When we don’t move, we become stiff and develop illness and disease. When we move we allow our body to stretch and flow and grow in a healthy way.

This is my favorite Shifu (master) on the internet, he’s really good at explaining how to get fit in a simple way. Just follow along on his weekly workout videos for some fun and wholesome exercise, which is also family friendly! He mixes Shaolin movement, punches kicks and Qi Gong movements to balance the body from the inside out. This is week 1, to find the next one just type ‘shifu yan lei’ family workout week 2 into youtube:



This one is also good from the same shifu, it’s great 35 minute workout for the body, with Qi Gong to stretch the tendons and small muscles in the body that don’t often get the love they need:

I also tried this programme from Athlean-X, for a more structured, weekly workout plan to do at home, It was nice to have a very specific and laid out plan that he provides for free in the video:

I think it’s good to mix Western technical knowledge and Eastern ancient technical methods to reach a good wholesome workout regime. Just mix and match whatever you want and make sure to leave rest days in between. Overworking the body is not conducive to good health. However, making sure to move and get the circulation going and break a sweat for at least 20 minutes a day will benefit your body. I started implementing Qi Gong relaxation breathing (internal) after physical exercise like going for a jog (external) to combine internal and external for optimal results and recovery.

Benefitting from exercise is something we can learn to do in the activity itself, experiencing the joy of flow in activities like yoga and xi gong that emphasize slow deep breathing and connecting not only to our bodies but to the world at large . The joy of movement happens in the reaction of our body to stimulus. This is called Hormesis, and it functions in the same way as vaccines or cold showers do in terms of their health-creating benefits. The concept goes a bit like this in a nutshell: small dose of stress short-term – body adapts – long-term immunity. It helps to understand the mechanics of the world, the air that we breathe to fuel the life in our body, the organs and veins that transport nutrients and filter toxins that we engage with in the world around us. The pendulum that swings between states; rest & digest, fight & flight, day and night, inhale & exhale. There are lots of home workout for free out there on the internet, and with nothing more than a chair and a couple of sticks, and maybe even a pull up bar, people can exercise their body in the comfort of their home. Preferably outside in the fresh air, of course. I hope you enjoy!

Spirit

This video is a TED talk I found which was very enlightening to me, it describes a theory of life from Taoist philosophy. The speaker, Master Shi Heng Yi compares life to climbing a mountain, and how each person should reach the peak in his own most suitable way. He describes how when you reach the top, no one will be able to tell you how the moment of clarity you experience is felt, neither will you be able to perfectly describe it to anyone. The main takeaway i got was the 5 major hindrances to climbing the mountain (life):

  1. Sensual desire: Derived from the 5 senses; Seeing, smelling, touching, hearing, tasting. If the temptation to indulge in sensual desire becomes too strong, it turns into obsession which is negative for you.
  2. Ill-will: Describes a state of the mind which arises from negative emotions; Aversion/rejection/dislike of the present moment. Unless we learn to let go of ill-will, we cannot enjoy the journey.
  3. Sloth and Torpor: Heaviness of the body, Dullness of the mind. Characterized by sleepiness, non-motivation, lack of energy and depression. In order to continue your path, find a way to get out from the cell.
  4. Restlessness: The state of an unsettled mind, worrying about the future or rejecting the past. The monkey mind that constantly jumps from one branch to another, unable to stay in the present moment.
  5. Skeptical doubt: Indecisiveness, getting lost in thought, worrying about other people’s opinions. This leads to getting disconnected to your goals.

To prevent these hindrances, we need to structure our lives in a way so that these hindrances do not occur. Each of them brings dark clouds over our minds, and the monk reminds us to just let it rain. We can use this 4-step method described in the talk to heal the soul:

  • Recognize what state of mind you find yourself in
  • Accept, acknowledge and allow the situation/person to exist in peace
  • Investigate your mental state, ask Why, What, How, to solve the problem
  • Non-Identification, the practice of disconnecting from the physical body and seeing things from an external perspective

Physics has spoken of the unified field theory, where everything is connected. Some call it God, the Holy Spirit, or some call it Source, some call it many names. But it all points to the same thing; that the universe and everything in it is connected on a deeper level than just the physical. Pure consciousness is pure potentiality. But what does this mean? I think this is what the monk talked about when reaching the top of the mountain, each of us will see for ourselves the meaning of the universe. By taking the time to connect to this abundance in our daily practice through meditation, movement, nature and mindfulness, we behold the food to nurture the spirit.

This is naturally the section i have the least to talk about, because the realm of the spirit is the realm of the ‘unspeakable’, in the sense that it is impossible to express in words. However, this ephemeral element takes an important place in all of our lives, and it is important that each of us find our own path to spiritual clarity. No amount of intellectual analysis will explain it. In Tao philosophy, it is said “if you try to accord with it, you will get away from it” for there is no you separate from life which has to accord with it. As Alan Watts would say, this is like trying to lift yourself up by your own bootstraps.

How can we help-encourage-ensure stronger immune systems to improve our natural resistance to Covid-19?

From what I have gathered so far in my 23 years of life, there are a certain amount of things within our control that can either positively or negatively affect our lives depending on how we approach them.

Firstly, diet. I think it is the most important tool at our disposal that we have complete control what we choose to put into our bodies. However, everyone is different and each of us should find the diet that best suits their body.

However, I have noticed that a predominantly plant-based diet is the best bet as it provides the best ‘bang- for-your buck’; nutrients per calorie (https://www.drfuhrman.com/elearning/eat-to-live-blog/128/andi-food-scores-rating-the-nutrient-density-of-foods).

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In essence the goal when eating food is to feed the cells in your body with the essential foods; protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, in the most efficient way without going over or under what your body actually needs. Empty carbs like white flour, sunflower oil, or sugar, tax your body’s digestive system whilst providing little valuable nutrients. Any excess or lack in the essential food elements leads to health problems, so what we can do is to firstly be mindful to the intake of our foods (i like to use https://cronometer.com/ sometimes to track what i eat to see if i am getting enough vitamins in my diet). Secondly, the quality of our food, fresh and organic is obviously best, home grown even better! As then you can control exactly what ends up on your plate. Having a diverse diet is also important, lots of greens, sunshine and exercise as well.

I think breathing is the next big thing i want to mention here. We inhale Oxygen (O2) and exhale Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Two molecules going in, three molecules going out. The air we exhale is heavier, i.e. has more volume of molecules, than the air coming in (oxygen (o2)+carbon(c)=Co2). Where does the carbon come from? Well, as I learned from the TED talk linked below, it actually comes from the food that we eat! As it turns out, when we lose weight, 80% of that comes out of our body in the form of carbon dioxide. In other words, if you lose 10kg, around 8.4 kg of that comes out of your lungs.

So, if you want to lose weight, the principle goes: eat less, move more. Why? Because when you move more you breathe more. And when you eat less, there’s less carbon to burn, breathe more, more carbon leaves your body. Poof, voila, you are air! I learned that Antoine Levoisier from the 1700s said when you eat, “nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed.”

IN: Food + O2 –> OUT: CO2 + H2O

Carbohydrates (hydrated carbon), which we take in, ends up leaving our body in the form of gas, through our lungs, or H2o into the toilet. So here’s an extension to the proverb, ‘you are what you eat’. You are also how you breathe! And a bunch of atoms. Add to the mix deep breathing and relaxation, and you’ve got a hell of a health practice on your hands. The classic one I practice every day is the Wim Hof Method (WHM). It involves breathing deeply for 30 breaths, with deeper inhales than exhales, followed by a full exhale – breath retention, then a full inhale – short 15 second breath retention and release. This is one round, and a whole session lasts optimally 2-3 rounds. I highly recommend taking part in the follow along on YouTube. As far as free health training from home for the immune system goes, i’d say WHM breathing is one of our best tools available today:

The method also combines Cold exposure for scientifically proven health benefits associated with something called “Thermogenesis”. It involves strengthening the vascular system and organs with cold (contraction of the veins) followed by hot (relaxation of the veins) to create a highly immune-boosting response in the body. The legendary Wim Hof just turned 61, and he did a 61 minute Ice bath to treat himself to some good old cold exposure and remind himself of the beauty of life!
I had to include Wim Hof in this section because i find him truly inspirational and whenever immunity boosting comes up, he’s the one i’m instantly reminded of. So remember guys, if you get stressed out, just BREATH MOTHERFUCKER.

In conclusion i hope you enjoyed reading my blog post as much as I enjoyed writing it and I hope you find some of the links and videos as useful as I did! Honestly there are so many gems out there, my friend once called YouTube an Academy more valuable then his college degree. Sometimes it feels like there are so many pieces to the puzzle just floating around, with no idea how to fit them all together. I think taking the time to learn about the Mind, Body and Spirit and fitting in healthy habits like meditation, exercise and reading, is a great blessing in life and a way to develop clarity and the ability to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. I am really happy to be a part of the Natural medicine community and be able to share my thoughts with the world through writing blog posts. Imagine how awesome that is, try explaining that to a caveman 10,000 years ago; being able to share your thoughts electronically to thousands if not millions of people around the world with the click of a button. I think we are all so lucky to be a part of this moment in time, and I for one am truly grateful to be riding this wave of change into the future with abundance and unlimited possibilities all around, and am excited to see what the future holds. As i started with an Alan Watts quote, I thought it only fair to end with one too:

“To put it still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.”
― Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety

Stay Sustainable, Safe and Healthy,
With love as always,
Dizzybee

Building Natural Immunity During the Coronavirus Crisis

In times of global crisis and pandemics, we all need a bit of immune system boosting natural remedies to help us fight the virus!

So, I thought i’d share those natural remedies that I have come across so that everyone can boost themselves at home and fight the virus with the help of mama nature.

1)Turmeric + Black Pepper

This is a spice mix that has been used for millenia in India, and has incredible health-generating properties. The active ingredient in Turmeric that we are after is something called ‘Curcumin’, which is a very powerful yellow colored chemical that has antibacterial, antiviral and powerful anti-inflammatory properties. The great thing about mixing it with some black pepper, is that when the curcumin combines with the ‘Piperine’ in the black pepper, it makes it up to 2000x more bioavailable in the body and therefore boosts the immune system ‘value’ from the curcumin. I like to add this mix into my tea (it’s really tasty in black tea or jasmine tea), coffee, or food as you really don’t need much (quarter tea spoon of turmeric and a small pinch of black pepper is enough to have an effect). Herbs and spices are a powerful way to boost the immune system and this combo is just one of many that you can use to foster immune system health.

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2)Cold Showers

This is probably the most powerful trick you can start to use to really boost your immune system. Having been made famous by Wim Hof, the WHM (Wim Hof Method) has now become a popular tool for boosting the immune system. The main pillars of his method are breathing, meditation and cold exposure. Cold showers have been proven to reduce inflammation in the body, increase white blood cell count, boost energy, reduce anxiety, and boost immune response. Think of it as a cardio workout for the veins in your body, which actually represents a system of hundreds of thousands of kilometers in length! Start slow, adding 30 seconds of cold at the end of your normal shower, and incrementally increase this to a minute and so on. My favorite part of taking cold showers is that its extremely efficient, and can trigger what i like to think of a ‘paradigm shift’ in your mood, day, and life if practiced frequently enough, or simply at the right time as a strategic tool. Try it first thing in the morning for a fresh start to the day, after working out, or just before sleep to have a deep and relaxing sleep. The order In the WHM the routine (you can download the free app) usually goes like this: stretching and relaxation first, then the breathing for 3 rounds where each round consists of 30-45 deep breaths (more inhaling than exhaling), followed by a breath hold on the last deep exhale, followed by a ‘fully in’ breath for 10-15 seconds. This really helps to relax and when you take a cold shower afterwards it becomes a truly transformational experience that rejuvenates the body and mind. Definitely worth a try! (https://www.wimhofmethod.com/practice-the-method)

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3)Tahini + Pekmez

This is my most recent discovery and probably my new favorite food combo that I discovered in Turkey, said to boost the immune system by the locals. Tahini is a paste of sesame seeds, which is high in antioxidants, healthy fats, and B & E vitamins and has been shown in studies to improve brain and heart health. Pekmez, is a Molasses-like syrup principally made from boiled down fruits (traditionally red grapes) that turns into a deep black liquid which is jam packed with nutrients and antioxidants that boost the immune system. Traditionally, this combo is served in Turkish breakfast on toast or as a dip at the proportions of your choosing (usually 50/50), they are a very tasty way to boost your immune system and together they form a powerful addition to our natural remedy toolbox. I like to go one step further and add natural pine honey to the mix, which also has its own antibacterial and antiviral properties, thank you bees!

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Well, those are my top 3 immune system boosting tips for you during the Coronavirus crisis. I hope you will find them as useful as I did!

You could also add some meditation to your daily routine to stay in a positive mood, and to stay grounded in the present moment. As we go through this crisis together we all need to be mindful not only of ourselves but of those around us.

I find it fascinating how natural remedies from different countries around the world have managed to create unique blends of different natural elements, that have powerful protective effects on our bodies and immune system. It is so important that this knowledge and indeed, value, is not lost by modernisation. We need to preserve our global cultural heritage in all its diverse forms, from natural remedies to ancient practices from all corners of the globe; Tai Chi, Yoga, Xi Gong, Ayurveda, Meditation, which all hold powerful health fostering potential for us all in these troubled modern times.

I think this is a great time for us to reconnect to the natural world and meditate on the principle of ‘Less is More’, where quality overrides quantity in the importance of the value and spaciousness it provides. Not only in the short-term, but more importantly in the long term, by preserving wisdom and essential knowledge in a meritocratic way, we place more importance on what matters. In other words, what works best for everyone, what contributes towards health and wellness for ourselves, but also our environment which we depend on for our health. Part and parcel of such a principle is the focus on positive energy and emotions like love, gratitude, joy, hope, and compassion that can help boost the immune system, rather than focusing on negative emotions like fear, worry and anger that might do the opposite. In any case, that’s my take immune boosting the natural way!

Stay healthy everybody, stay sustainable, sending love to you all,

Dizzy Bee

Covid 19 – What happens next?

Covid 19 also known as the Corona Virus has recently been announced as a global pandemic. As of today, 12th March 2020 there are over 125,000 global cases confirmed, and over 4,600 deaths (WHO situation report number 52 https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports). Who knows how soon things will get better, or how far worse they will get before that happens. My major concern is the original cause has not been addressed. From what we know the outbreak began in Wuhan, China caused by the irresponsible keeping of animals in close proximity, as well as disrespect towards safety precautions and hygiene for animals. If it has happened before it will happen again, unless we change the underlying cause. If nothing happens to prevent such animal markets from existing in the first place, pandemics like the current Covid 19 are to be expected frequently. Not only this, but because of the evolving nature of the virus, as in this virus is actually quite old and has been around for a long time, but it has become resistant to our vaccines. It has become immune to our weapons against it, which is why it is taking so long to find a new vaccine (around 1-2 years is the prediction). Originally animal agriculture was promoted in China as an economy booster, but because not enough regulations were in place to safeguard rampant viruses from developing in tight cooped up animal-cages, the perfect environment for virus propagation existed and probably still exists today in animal markets in China and other rural regions of the world. What we need is the right policies in place to create safe environments. When it comes to food, ensure the entire supply chain adheres to strict standards and precautionary measures. When it comes to economic growth, ensure that the different available pathways do not encourage irresponsible upkeep that can lead to pandemics and virus propagation. It’s quite logical to me really, but unfortunately when it comes to making money, people will do just about anything to get it. Including mistreating animals, ignore the rules, forget about the consequences, and think extremely short-term, to the point of no return as we are experiencing today, where everybody has to deal with the consequences. It is always better to get to the problem at the root, before it grows too far to handle. After all, we are still dealing with a world in which we do not yet fully understand the very nature which we dabble with, often overextending our reach and trespassing over boundaries we know not what lies on the other side. “The real problem of humanity is the following: we have Palaeolithic emotions; Medieval institutions; and God-like technology”-E.O.Wilson. In regards to responsibility, this quote brings to mind the power we hold in our ability to alter our environments to such extents that it can literally change the climate and weather systems, let alone cause global pandemics due to irresponsible animal agriculture. This is not a game, what is allowed to happen on a daily basis is the very foundation of the world being built for future generations, the amount of pollution we emit, the amount of waste we produce unsustainably, the amount of animals we rear for slaughter, and the amount of forest and rainforest we cut down for toilet-paper. These will all have far reaching consequences, not only on the ecosystems from which they are snatched, but also on the local and global level. This is the problem when man builds his economic system on false pretences of infinite resources on a finite planet. It is all one closed system, it may not look like it, but it literally is, from an energetic perspective, all interconnected. The air that you breath, the food that you eat, the bed where you sleep, is all made from and produced by the natural world, in one way or another. When we mess around too much in the natural world, it affects everything down the line, like a domino effect, it may not be instant, but it is there, and it accumulates. Hence rising anxiety and climate related panic which is on the rise, probably for good reason. I do not blame people and institutions for not trying, i only condemn the absence of responsibility and ability to predict such occurrences in their policy-making systems, so that they may adapt and change them accordingly. This is why we vote, this is why democracy exists. The people of the world, which live with the consequences, need to be able to choose, in the most matter of fact way, the extent to which their lives can be fondled with and manipulated without their consent, which is today a very real and far-reaching problem.

From the WHO report 52 https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports

The statistics are quite worrying to say the least, and with new cases being confirmed more frequently and and at exponential rates, the onset of a global pandemic is quite worrisome. People are starting to panic, and fake news is propagating itself around social media. It is safe to assume that people should only be taking their updates and advice from OFFICIAL sources, namely certified international organisations such as: WHO (World Health Organization) to name but one. Whilst people are stockpiling hand soaps and toilet paper and filling their pantries, it seems like pandemonium is lurking just around the corner. I think this over reaction is uncalled for, as shops will in many cities continue to sell goods, and delivery services will in all likelihood continue to function as normal like Amazon delivery which also delivers household items, so no need to leave the house. If you are really worried it would be wise to purchase some air filter masks, and pay more attention to hygiene especially when going out into public spaces. The Global economy is getting hit really badly, leading to reduced stock prices, employee cuts, and closed shops. People are getting ready to buckle down at home for the long run, or until this pandemic dies down. With the notion that actual cases of people contracting the disease might be worse than the figures show, and that we don’t actually now how contagious this virus might be, it seems safe to assume that the safest route forward is taking every precaution possible. This means closing schools, as has been done in France and most of European countries. Also, canceling holidays, public meets and events like the Japan Olympic games which was due to take place later this year.

“Over-reacting is better than non-reacting”: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/coronavirus-covid19-global-academics-insights-pandemic

In conclusion i hope that more thought is put into creating preventative and protective measures in China and other countries where animal agriculture, the root cause of this global pandemic, can be addressed. My personal opinion, if it matters at all, is that animal agriculture should be removed altogether; nutritional science has known for a long time that the healthiest food, in the truest sense of the word, is plant-based. From the effect on the body, the environment, the spiritual and ethical standpoints, a plant-based diet is the best possible solution we have today to fulfil many of our individual, societal, economic and environmental needs. Especially on a planet with limited resources, space and increasingly competitive capitalistic tendencies, and a growing human population. As humans, we do not require animal protein to function, thrive or satisfy our bodily needs. Food from the plant-world is far more nutritious and healthier for us than animal products. Protein (in all it’s amino-acid profiles) from a nutritional perspective is fully satisfied in by plants/algae/legumes/fruits/vegetables etc. It does not need to originate from animals, far from it, and in actuality animal agriculture causes more ailments than it cures, especially in relation to its sourcing, rearing and supply chain quality. We need to now look outside the box, as individuals living in larger systems, which in turn inhabit even larger systems, and so on and so forth. This systems approach allows a new perspective that mirrors actions and reflective effects, combining them in one simultaneous unit of measure, implicit in its considerations, as opposed to being mutually exclusive and existentially different due to the inconsistency in time-intervals that separates them. They are expressions of the same body, as two waves on an ocean represent the same body of water, separated by time, space, and energy. Thinking from this connected perspective allows for freedom of thought, but also enlightens and simplifies right action from a logical point of view, using any and all available data to its full meritocratic potential. I hope we can move forward from this pandemic with more lessons learned than damage dealt, and with the knowledge that the likelihood of this happening again will be hopefully reduced by actions taken towards this goal. After all the only thing standing in our way is our willingness to accept change, furthermore to accept the truth of what objectively is real and needs to change, versus being wilfully ignorant, postponing corrective measures, and dealing with unnecessary repercussions, had we not just acted sooner with the degree of responsibility befitting a global society with the knowledge and means to change.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay sustainable, with love,

Dizzy Bee

The Power of the Ego

The ego has become a hot potato recently, not only because it is a notion that we all have wrestled with, but also because it is so central to who we are and more importantly, what we do. The thing is, people don’t really like the Ego, because they associate it with negative behaviors which stem from self-seeking, greedy or otherwise negative emotions. I do not dispute these negative connotations but would rather like to associate them with the dualistic notion that so intertwine negativity with positivity, and the potential lessons we can learn from the distinction between assumed reality and practical wisdom. In eastern philosophy, the Ego is regarded as an illusion of self, as distinct from the true-self which corresponds to the underlying fabric of existence, that is all-encompassing, outside of space and time. It all starts by asking yourself who you are, on a fundamental level. Are you the flow of perceptions and feelings, or are you the collection of photons, atoms, particles and bacteria that make up your body. Are you able to observe your existence from an ‘outside the box’ perspective, you being the box, and if so, who is doing the observing? The ego is in my opinion a very powerful tool, for reasons i will elaborate in this post, and therefore should not be labelled entirely negative, but neither should it be used unwisely. Like all tools, take a hammer for instance, you can build a house or break something with it, and then put it back in the toolbox, where it belongs. If the toolbox is your brain, you want to be careful what you do with it and how you use it, for the tool of the ego should be used with caution lest we forget the power of the mind and the effects it can for better or for worse have on our subjective lives. In a world of increasingly rapid and exponential changes, we certainly can be reminded of the power and responsibility of our minds, and particularly that of the infamous Ego, its most powerful and deceptive tool. I feel like this is why ‘mindfulness’ exercises are becoming so popular, the abundance of stimuli and information being thrown around these days make it easy to forget to ask the important questions: Who are we? Why are we here? What is the purpose of our existence? We all need to take some time to reflect on these questions, and in attempting to answer them become enlightened to the power, responsibility and privilege of being human; not only in the practical sense that it brings us so much efficiency and access to information, but in the very ability and implications of being able to ask such questions in the first place, and the doors opened therefrom.

Ying and Yang, an ancient Chinese symbol for “the duality and interconnectedness of seemingly opposite or contrary forces.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yin_and_yang

According to Buddhist doctrine we suffer because of 5 main reasons and these are all in a way linked to one another, and are really just different ways of describing the same fear. they are called ‘Dukkha’, and represent the main reasons for suffering in its various forms. You suffer because:

  • You don’t know who you are
  • You grasp and cling at experiences which are transitory and dreamlike
  • You are afraid of/avoid unpleasant things (pain, abandonment)
  • You Identify with the ego
  • You fear death

“We are asleep. Our Life is a dream. But we wake up sometimes, just enough to know that we are dreaming.”

― Ludwig Wittgenstein

We can try as we might to attach ourselves to these symbols and worship them to the degree of the strength of our belief systems, but they are just that, beliefs and symbols of the truth which is and has always been right under our nose. Some people are haunted by their memories and expectations, which are representations of times that are gone, or don’t exist, forgetting that the present is an everlasting opportunity for a fresh start, and attachment to provisional ideas hold you back. For in remembering the past or postulating the future, you are reconstructing and experiencing them in the present, for better or for worse. You may once have been shat on by a pigeon, but today the memory can cause you pain, though it happened a long time ago. If you identify with the feelings you once felt, which don’t exist any more, you may well be unnecessarily causing yourself to suffer. You may feel shame or regret for a personality you once conveyed in your youth, despite the fact that you are a different person today both from a cellular level and experientially. Similarly you may reminisce on a good memory, a first kiss, winning the lottery, laughing with friends, and be reminded of the potential for joy in every single moment. In this sense it is freedom from causality that awareness provides. Awareness of the present moment and it’s contents, the freedom of choice of perspective. It becomes in this sense, a choice, and with that choice corresponds infinite opportunity, not to mention responsibility not only for your own wellbeing but that also indirectly that of your fellow earthlings; human, animal, insect or other, who each play an important role in their own way, in the vast ecosystem of life on this planet. By clinging to something that doesn’t exist you are quite literally wasting your energy, your time, and your life, regurgitating things that don’t exist, that are blocking you from being present in the now, where you would best be suited to efficiently process what is; in the most natural way. With your awareness, you can find the path of least resistance, which is a means to an end and not an end in itself. In our confusion, we perpetuate clinging and attachment to feelings associated with transient things. The natural balance of the pendulum of life that sways between positivity to negativity through the device of our actions would like to swing synchronously in equilibrium of its duality of contrasts. but we selfishly hold on to it too long on the side we want it to remain, so it swings back even harder to the opposite side. Like the great snake Ouroboros that eats his own tail in an attempt to quench his hunger, unbeknownst to the intention of the experiencer, who seeks to control the outcome and avoid a certain result, yet in his folly finds himself condemned to repeat his mistakes again and again, perpetuating the opposite of his intended goal. Yet it is the contrast of the two that naturally co-create each other, and like the underlying message of Ying and Yang, the balance of existence finds itself ‘self-so’ (Wu-wei), without any added stimulus from our imposing egos. What we can take away from this is that the ego is a result-seeking mechanism, and that we may be surprised by the relief experienced by the letting go of expectations connected to that result-seeking.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouroboros

Ideas are symbols of things, but they do not represent the things in a literal sense, anymore than the graph represents the tangible reality it attempts to capture in linear form, or that the photograph represents the individuals it contains. Your name is in this sense an idea, a symbol, a useful one at that, because it allows you to meet certain social needs more easily, and saves a lot of time. But it too is only a representation of your body which is in turn a representation of its constituting cells, molecules, and atoms and so on and so forth. The realization or ‘awakening’ to this fact, the futility of measurement and certainty in a world of constant flux, and the accompanying ‘release’ is so powerful because it is an understanding akin to momentum. A potential responsibility, to become the best version of yourself, through the peeling back of all the non-truth layers you have been identifying with your whole life. It is, from a practical point of view, the absence of bullshit; you can imagine it as a dusty windshield, or foggy vision, that once cleaned or aided by glasses becomes perfectly clear. One of my favorite examples to convey this message, i read in a book by Alan Watts called ‘Become What You Are‘ in which he compares the transient usefulness of ideas and symbols to using a raft to cross a lake; once on the other side you leave the raft at the shore, you don’t cary it on your back. Similarly we must remember that the ego is a raft, that serves a particular purpose. Lest we carry it on our backs and inconvenience ourselves, or worse drift out to the ocean where we would float aimlessly forever.

The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymous Bosch made in around 1500 AD

The Garden of Earthly Delights which comes to mind here from a movie I once saw called ‘before the flood’, is a surrealistic work that i thought was quite fitting to illustrate the lengths the ego can go to satiate its desires. Depicted are three distinct panels, in each of which can be seen captivating but significantly different environments. In the first the garden of Eden, beautiful and plentiful. In the second panel; decadence, avarice and intemperance. In the third panel; hell on earth, something we need to avoid at all costs. So ladies and gents, heres the takeaway; take a break and meditate from time to time to remind yourself of your true self, which is not body or mind but the awareness in which experience is happening. Remember to be true to yourself, listen to your heart and intuition, your guiding voice that represents untold wisdom, millions of years of evolutionary R&D that has birthed the most powerful super computer in the known universe right there in your own head; the human brain, a force to be reckoned with! In so doing we can free ourselves of suffering the everyday challenges that so unnecessarily plague our lives, for our lives need not be difficult, and the difference is nothing more than a state of mind, it is a huge difference indeed. In awareness we can access the unlimited potential of our minds, and more importantly tune in to the wisdom of nature and the lessons, or rather ‘signposts’ and warnings that the universe puts up, so that we may avoid certain disasters and catastrophes, i’m looking at you climate change. We can pivot between worlds that are instantaneously accessed yet all encompassing at the flick of a mental switch. So be reminded when you use your ego as a source of motivation, inspiration or perspiration, of our good friends spider, bat and superman; with great power comes great responsibility.

Stay sustainable my friends,

Dizzy Bee

Below is a link to the interview that inspired me to write this blog post, with two of my favorite inspirational speakers, Tom Bilyeu and Deepak Chopra on Impact Theory in an inspirational and brilliant conversation. Buckle up for some serious enlightenment!

Here are some links to my favorite Deepak Chopra books from Amazon that you can read to dig deeper into his perspective, and gain incredibly useful and mind-opening insight:

IPCC reports: Digested information for practical use

For some strange reason that escapes me there are still climate change deniers out there. They claim ‘Fake News’ and point fingers at the scientists without looking at the science itself, which is and has for a long time been unequivocal. The confusing aspect is, if or not we really understand what we are dealing with, on a fundamental level. When it comes down to it, we actually don’t know what’s going to happen. We have no idea what chaos awaits when sea levels start to rise enough to flood major cities, causing mass migrations. Or when Deforestation and animal agriculture reaches a point where the imbalance of atmospheric chemicals causes ocean acidification, species extinction and extreme weather events. Yes, we are already starting to see such occurrences, but it is only the beginning, because the climate system is a very large machine which takes a long time to digest the actions of its inhabitants down below, leading to a delay in the reaction. This means that all we have emitted between 1900-2000 will probably only start to be felt to the full extent half a century or so later, long enough for the next generation of humans to be old enough to pick up the slack (something we’re not too happy about). In any case, the sheer prospect of planetary deterioration is not a very thought, but regardless, the science is telling the somber reality. Our greatest resource for scientific reports (that i know of) is the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change). They have since their inception in 1988 produces 5 very long comprehensive reports, outlining the scientific data collated from the scientific community, as indeed “The IPCC does not conduct its own research. It identifies where there is agreement in the scientific community, where there are differences of opinion and where further research is needed”. So from a very concrete, matter of fact point of view, there is nothing the climate deniers can dispute when it comes down to the facts. That’s why science exists after all, to boil reality down to numbers and graphs so that we can better understand the representations of empirical data a.k.a the real world.

The IPCC have simplified their reports by creating Summaries for policy makers (SPM) and further creating mechanisms to simplify the understanding of the science with things like RFCs (integrative reasons for concern) which provide a framework for summarizing key impacts and risks across sectors and regions, and were introduced in the IPCC Third Assessment Report. RFCs illustrate the implications of global warming for people, economies and ecosystems. Impacts and/or risks for each RFC are based on assessment of the new literature that has appeared over the years. As in the AR5, this literature was used to make expert judgments to assess the levels of global warming at which levels of impact and/or risk are undetectable, moderate, high or very high.

From the SR15 Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) report by the IPCC

AR6 synthesis report is expected to be finalized in the first half of 2022 in time for the first global stocktake under the Paris Agreement. The writing of AR6 SYR will be based on the content of the three Working Groups Assessment Reports: WG1 – The Physical Science BasisWG2 – Impacts, Adaptation and VulnerabilityWG3 – Mitigation of Climate change, and the three Special Reports: Global Warming of 1.5°CClimate Change and LandThe Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. It might also take into account issues considered in other global assessment (such as Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and UN Environment’s Sixth Global Environment Outlook),  if those issues are also addressed in the above-mentioned reports.

So, when it comes down to it, what is there to know about the current state of climate change? The simpler the better, so i will say this: everything on the planet is connected. It would be great if our emissions were released straight out into infinite space, but unfortunately there is this transparent bubble called the atmosphere that prevents that from happening. It also protects us from dangerous cosmic rays. Therefore, when through our collective effort to ‘improve’ our economic systems by boosting growth through capitalistic government incentives without a carbon tax, well, we get global warming. I see it more of a quid-pro-quo kind of thing, it’s a bit like karma really, you reap what you sow. When you plant an apple seed into the ground, you will eventually get an apple tree, and the fruit will be apples. You may wish for a peach, but you will get an apple (Kung Fu Panda nostalgia). And so, we have planted an orchard of CO2 trees, and we will get global warming as the fruit, pretty simple really.

There are certain geological systems like the Ocean Conveyor belt and key weather events like El Niño and La Niña which play key roles in shifting and distributing energy around our planet, and when it comes to climate change they are the mechanisms by which our anthropogenic (human-caused) emissions are conveyed into global warming. Yes, this has been the case for millenia, and the issue today lies not only in the unnatural and off-scale change in temperature, but in the unparalleled rate of change which is fueled by the fossil fuel burning industries.

By NASA, Robert Simmon – http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalWarming/images/msu_1978-2010.png, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15358883
By Thomas Splettstoesser – US Global Change Research Program image, cropped and relabeled, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3126655

But more importantly, we should be analyzing if this has every happened in the past. Fortunately there are such things as Ice cores and ocean sediment cores which represent the latest in scientific technology in collating climate change data (see below). In the case of ice cores (VOSTOK, EPICA or GIPS2), they are able to analyze air bubbles trapped in the Ice using a method called oxygen isotope analysis that is able to translate the air trapped in the ice into a record of earth surface temperature. In the case of the VOSTOK record, they drilled down from the top of the deepest ice sheet (around 3623 meters) to reach the 400,000+ year old ice. This is to date the most accurate method we have for records older than 12,000 years old (Paleoclimate records are from 12,000 to present). We are situated on the left side of the below graph, and whilst we should be dipping down into the next ice age right about now, as you would logically presume from observing the below graph, humanity has appeared out of nowhere in the blink of a cosmic eye and said ‘NOPE’, and we are instead heating the planet up, leading our previously pleasant voyage on our life ship called Earth into uncharted waters.

Essentially, it is the circular economy framework that is so positive a potential replacement system to the current linear and polluting economic system. This is because it manages to turn the feedback loops from working against us to working for us. This is a massive difference, as it is turning time in our favor, and who wants time as an enemy? By sowing less seeds of ecosystem destabilization and by ‘closing the loop’ on resource-intensive consumer goods through recycling and so on, there are no more loose variables that create uncertain outcomes. Or worse, certain negative outcomes.

By RCraig09 – Own workAlso, successive versions were developed through collaboration with users Efbrazil, Femkemilene, and J. Johnson on en.wikipedia., CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=86068576

” Pour ce qui est de l’avenir, il ne s’agit pas de le prévoir, mais de le rendre possible.
– Antoine de Saint ExupéryCitadelle, 1948

I found this quote on the IPCC website. It means: ‘In regards to the future, it matters not how to predict it, but how to make it possible’. I thought this was a very inspirational quote by the author of ‘The Little Prince’, a thought provoking favorite author of many. For as much as we would like to remain certain of ourselves in our consumeristic ways of today, the future belongs to those who live today for tomorrow, making the conscious decisions to act according to the most sustainable solutions available today. This means reducing animal consumption to a minimum, participating towards circular economy pathways through recycling programmes, lobbying your government for carbon tax, and being aware of the environment and the message it has for us: the planet is here to stay, and if we want to tag along, we need to adapt to it’s boundaries, not take endlessly or push recklessly past the tipping points. True sustainability lies in the willingness to adapt to the needs of the many, not the few.

Peace, Dizzy Bee Sustainability

Starting a movement in times of crisis

How daunting it is to start a movement. I have recently discovered the motivation to launch myself in the direction of entrepreneurial action. My sense of emergency towards the environmental degradation of our planets biosphere is becoming increasingly apparent. However the extent to which, when i mentally contrast the risk of humiliation or failure of starting a company or movement with the already significant present risk of a planet in danger, the ‘risks’ of the latter become insignificant and childish in comparison. The latter is a risk that has already existed for a long (100 years or so) time, and has somehow sunken its way under the fabric of our everyday existence, seemingly forgotten, or worse ignored. Yet it’s destructive progress is not slowed by our ignorance, and it’s potential impact on society grows with every passing year.

My desire to start a movement is rooted in my growing expectancy of results from change that i would like to see in society. How humans interact with nature is fundamentally flawed today, based on the exploitative nature of our interactions with it, and reparations need to be implemented in the sense of restorative projects (reforestation, protective policies, etc). In so articulating such a desire, i feel moved to express the apparent difficulty of the importance of unity at a grass roots level, and the urgency to start the change I envision without waiting for it to happen of it’s own accord, because that would be unwise. I am motivated by the likes of huge names today such as Greta Thunberg that has managed to mobilize students and youths from around the world to march for change, demonstrating in school strikes and forcing governments to listen. I feel the void left by efforts that are too often spent besides the truth of the calling of where they must inevitably end up in order to obtain the changes we need.

There exist rays of hope and technology has yet to fail us for it is the best answer we have in thanks to it’s potential for exponential adaptation. We are innovative creatures and innovation has many a time rid humanity of some problem or another. In the past and throughout history many inconveniences have been overcome by the prospect of human ingenuity, and why should it fail us now? All we must do is make our voices heard, as i am doing now as hopefully someone reads this post. Never underestimate the significance of a voice heard, for in paying attention to the underlying message one can change a mind, and if enough minds are changed, you can change the world. By giving your movement a name and having a simple and resolute objective or vision (the simpler the better), you will attract an audience by the very virtue of the truth people recognize in your cause.

Today we are indeed fortunate to behold the internet and all its applications. Youtube, Google, Amazon, these are all extraordinary tools of potentiality. By joining and sharing your views and beliefs on such platforms with the public, you simultaneously share with the world a valuable point of view and also free yourself of the burden of keeping your opinions locked up in the back of your mind. Because reciprocity is so important in this world, you will be sure to have your time and efforts returned tenfold in the feelings of positive feedback. Even a negative response serves as valuable information, a figurative goldmine of untapped data so to speak. If you are open-minded enough to be able to respond from the vantage point of radical transparency, then no matter what response you get you will be able to progress productively. It is surprisingly easy to start a website today, as the barriers to entry are minute. Today the only real opponent we face is our concept of time, and how it can either work for us or against us. To feel that you ‘don’t have enough time’ is a flawed approach, for in the effort to avoid the effort to improve you have missed the opportunity to have taken the first step. Progress is found in those who persist and apply themselves to a goal or mission, and by so doing in the long term guarantee success. What really matters is how honest you are to yourself about applying yourself to your work and doing the best you can. Often we regret based on information we didn’t have at the time, this is why being openminded is so important as you never know what you will uncover by observing the work of others. Similarly important are mentors, who with the addition of experience can further bolster your efforts with time-tested wisdom and valuable information.

I will try to post about the methods and techniques of content production in the near future, preferably when i have more experience myself! Until then, here are some useful inspirational books for you to read:

The politics of anxiety and overstimulation

Just 80 years ago, to look for information one had to go look into the Encyclopedia Brittanica. Today however, we all have tiny super computers in our pockets, which are taking up more and more of our valuable time with every passing year. Not only are these super machines used more, but they are becoming more powerful, capable, and the opportunities created by these new stimulating inventions are quite simply endless. The effect on the human mind of such potent additions to everyday life as access to high speed internet, search engines like Google, next day delivery on Amazon, is not yet fully understood as it has only been 1 or 2 decades since this has become the norm. However, one trend that has been on the rise is anxiety and depression, especially with the younger generations. Why is this happening? If we have more advanced technology and incredible tools of research and activity, how could mental illness be on the rise? Well, the answer is quite simple in my opinion. We are overwhelmed by the responsibility of the decision making processes of daily life, which are becoming flooded with stimuli, making us confused and in some cases not able to make any decision at all because of the overstimulation. This is the reverse effect that one would have expected before any of this had happened, as growth and development is usually associated with good things like more opportunities. We are constantly wrestling with sensual stimulus from our screens, advertisements (even when we don’t want to see them or without our consent) that are funded by billion dollar campaigns charged with making YOU (the target) buy their product and nothing else. They literally pay billions on psychological tricks, to influence your subconscious mind and get you physically addicted to their products (as in the case with sugar rich foods).

In theory technology would bring on an element of simplicity to our lives. The complexity of the technological design, in other words the quality of the engineering, has a positive correlation with the efficiency of the result. This works well in the case of manual labor jobs which involve repetitive factory work, where human resources related labor costs and human errors can be avoided. However when the decision making processes are passed on to the human, and he is told “you do what ever you want with that”, he becomes suddenly blocked at the ‘if,/then/or what/what if’ and is rendered increasingly anxious due to overthinking the different outcomes of each decision until one is finally taken, and then he can finally move on. This is why GOALS are so important in ones life, goals which are sub-themes of a PURPOSE or MISSION in life. These create a constant in the flow of activity that creates a reassuring confidence and self-awareness that is important when dealing with the ebb and flow of chaos and randomness that pepper our lives. Someone who doesn’t know who he is, or WHY he is doing what he does on a fundamental level, is confused in the very framework of his life and can easily get lost. So asking oneself the question why throughout the day may help to solidify the underlying reasons for doing something and steer the mind and subsequently the actions towards that goal, and more-so the quality of the action can be determined depending on the strength of the why. Someone who is more passionate about his reason, be it self-fulfillment, fighting climate change, or contributing towards the SDG’s, one will find it easier to sacrifice short term rewards in the pursuit of the achievement of the reason he/she is subscribed to in his thoughts. In this way a sort of hierarchy of the mind is created, where in each layer is assimilated varying importance, and true meaningful action should be attributed towards the higher echelons of the hierarchy in relation to the items or concepts of most personal or emotional attachment to the individual. Everyday nuances would be relatively easy to ignore in the eyes of this mental hierarchy, and when the criteria for being considered in the higher value shelf of the mind are met, appropriate time and effort can be allocated accordingly, thus avoiding wasted energy and potential anxiety.

Furthermore the value added from determining your WHY is very influential as it allows you to be motivated and driven in your activities that can become infectious to others and attract them to your cause. Writing it down is something we all can do, and there is good reason for this, as is proven by ‘journaling’, another positive habit that is linked to decreasing anxiety and depression. When we write down our ideas it becomes easier to classify our thoughts, which when left to their own devices can easily become overwhelming. Indeed starting the day by writing down our micro-goals for the day creates as structure or framework which leads to stability and a sense of purpose which guides us along our merry way. Digesting the ongoings of the day before they happen can prepare us mentally for any random occurrences that would otherwise be annoyingly unpleasant or unnecessarily anxiety-inducing. By writing down the minor annoyances or inspirations we have recently been thinking about, we can help to create a tangible release of the mind and ‘smooth the waters’ so to speak. Another helpful habit we can all introduce into our lives, which is free, is meditation. This is initially a daunting task to many people yet when it comes down to it, is simply doing nothing. Which in a literal sense is the easiest thing to do ever. You basically need to close your eyes and try not to move much, with your back straight. It has been called “resetting your brains default mode”, but in essence it’s just a way of calming down the mind and the nervous system so that you can exit the sympathetic nervous system “fight or flight” on a cellular level and release any tention in the body, or attachment related to negative thought patterns. By calming down and focusing on the present moment, with any of the many techniques that exist (focus on the breath, imagine a red light going up the spine, visualize a glowing white light on your third eye, or focusing on emotions like gratitude or love, etc) we enter the parasympathetic nervous system ‘mode’, which is really where we want to be when it comes down to it. It’s the difference between getting ready to run away from a wild tiger and being 2 hours deep into a summer holiday hammock session in the sun chilling out to your favorite music. It’s the rest and digest, the ‘healing’ mode of our body, capable of performing miracles of rejuvenation, if we only just let it! So you see, the relieving aspect of my argument here is that to free yourself from anxiety, you need not ADD more into your life, from the perspective of external influence. Rather by focusing on the present moment and peeling away the layers of thought, you can melt away the anxiety, in so doing REMOVING from your life the causal factors that produced that anxiety in the first place. Simple maths, more stuff leads to more, less leads to less complications. From there you can build your temple of mental fortitude on the foundations that YOU choose, in other words the principles and virtues you associate with the most value, not just for you but those around you. You don’t need to go into an ice cold cave (although i totally dig the Wim Hof Method) and drape yourself with wet blankets to achieve enlightenment, all you need to do is meditate and release yourself from attachment to material things, which you really don’t need to be the best version of yourself, and can easily lead to anxiety from their overuse and dependence to them. Here’s the tricky part, you have to actually do it, and not think about doing it, because they are not the same thing. A lot of people try hard to meditate by using their thoughts, this is a paradox and it is impossibly futile; the only way to meditate is NOT to try, let the body go, let the mind go and the breath flow in and out, like the ebb and flow of the ocean. With practice you will enter a trance-like state that is extremely useful in the knowledge that in stressful situations that you are never far from this state of bliss that is actually quite easily accessible.

Here are some useful books that i think will help you find your why and be free of anxiety:

These are all great books that can bring value to your life if you read them with an open mind and the intention to learn from them. I hope you find them as inspirational as i did! Good luck in your journey to self-discovery my friends.

Dizzy Bee

Principles! Ray Dalio on Impact Theory

Ray Dalio is an amazing human being. The first time that i heard about him was when i was browsing for self-improvement books on amazon a few years ago, when i came across a black and white book cover with the word ‘Principles’ written on it. I immediately thought, wow, is it really possible to write a book about THE principles of life? An instruction manual for life? Something that you can read and compare your life to and work out what you’ve got to what could be missing? Well the answer was thankfully, yes, and I read the book at a time when i was in the middle of an existential crisis at university as many of us are these days. Not just university students, all of us. Why are we here? What should we do to with our lives? These are questions that if left to their own devices can lead to anxiety or even depression. I started to realize the meta game, how certain patterns in life occur repeatedly and not just to ourselves. We don’t have to be trapped in our own reality, and as the book points out, there IS a way out of hard times, out of purposelessness and hopelessness. Some people are lucky enough to find the road to self-actualization by themselves, and develop the archetypal principles of success which apply to us all. But we don’t have to find it ourselves, as luckily, people like Ray Dalio and Tom Bilyeu are out there writing books and making videos so that we can get inspired and start taking the steps towards our own paths to success. I guess what i am trying to say is, we are all human, and though we may be individually different, we all go through similar life experiences and so have the opportunity to learn from each other. A quote I heard recently from one of Tom’s videos which comes to mind is ‘A fool never learns, a smart man learns from his own mistakes, and a wise man learns from others mistakes’. Basically, you don’t need to suffer, just be observant of your surroundings, use your analytical mind to extract lessons from the daily activities around you so that hopefully you don’t have to suffer from the same mistakes yourself. Principles are really just a way to avoid wasting time, which is after all, the most precious commodity. Let me elaborate.

Ray breaks down how we all have 2 versions of ourselves, the Ego-self and the emotional or subconscious self. They both influence each other to varying degrees, but true happiness comes from overcoming the two barriers that we all face: the blind spot barrier and the Ego barrier. If we can do this, we can do anything, says Dalio, and i truly believe this to be true. You can be the orchestrator of your success, don’t let yourself do the things you know will stand in the way of you and your success. These cycles may happen over and over again before you actually start applying the lessons you could have learned the first time around. We all go through phases in life, and in retrospect we can see how certain patterns occur again and again, sometimes to our own detriment. Having the knowledge that at any present moment, you have the power to alter the course of your life, is indeed, a very powerful realization. Oneway to escape detrimental cycles is to practice meditation. During the interview Ray talks about how he practices Trancendental meditation as a tool that helps him dissolve the ego-self which can often stand in the way of constructive self-analysis. By stepping out of the Ego-self, and reconnecting to the subconscious mind through the breath as an anchor, we can train ourselves to relax and step back into the frame of mind of infinite potential, which is only ever a few deep breaths away.

Principles are basically lessons learned from patterns. When things happen you can learn to deal with and categorize them using the principles that you have stored in your principle ‘book’. Throughout life you can adapt these, add some more, or remove them. In practical terms, a principle is just an idea, but once associated with real-life events, one can extract meaningful lessons that can be downloaded into their ‘book of lessons’ a.k.a principles. Is important to understand that this is an ongoing and flexible process, albeit one wherein certain principles are more concrete than others depending on subjective experiences which can be learned, or reinforced by the time-tested principles which are objectively always true, and which books like Ray Dalio’s will point towards. The more you can ‘zoom out’ and understand the objective reality that you are dealing with through your everyday challenges, the more you can forge your own path and be certain of the direction you are heading in. For example, a snake in a bush falls under the principle of a threat, and you can act accordingly depending on your goals, which for most people is staying alive and safe, away from snake bites, ergo action=reaction (run away). However in daily life when we cant always see the snakes and so out of we often end up getting bitten without the knowledge of the action to take to protect from dangers, as we have don’t yet have the basis (principles) from which to know the correct response, which in most cases is instinctive. With our criteria or principles, we can analyze situations which occur in our lives over a period of time and create a recipe book for success. We can LEARN to change our behaviors, based on past events. The more objectively you can do this the better, as this will allow you to be more confident in your decisions based on how correct you think you are, based on your principles which have been time-tested depending on how long you’ve been applying them to your own life or comparing them to others. There is a certain aspect of trust that comes in to play here if you apply principles other people have come up with, but if it comes from a reliable source like Ray Dalio, you can be sure that it is a shortcut to success.

Radical transparency, what an important topic. We are creatures of masks; a person, is derived from the latin word ‘Persona’ referring to the masks people put on during plays. In modern times, we all have a closet full of masks we can put on in different situations. When we remove the masks, we can have much more efficient conversations, create better relationships, and foster an authentic reputation that others will be positively influenced by and be attracted to. After all, the truth always comes out on top! Anyways, back to transparency, it helps and is more efficient. Ray talks about how in his company he always find a way for group decisions to be transparent, either by having meetings available online, but most importantly by establishing ground rules. This is extremely important. We all know how it feels to get lost in an argument with someone because there haven’t been mutually-agreed-upon rules which, had they been in place, would have avoided the clash in the first place. It is important to be able to recognize unnecessary friction in conversations, and be able to say wait a minute, lets press pause, zoom out a bit, identify the structural error, zoom back in and proceed to smoothly make everyone happy by making them feel heard, appreciated and accounted for. Ofcourse this is a two-way street, and all parties must feel heard and respected in order for the best case scenario to take place. We all feel this innate need to have our voice heard, so generally speaking, the old adage ‘treat others the way you would like to be treated’ is a principle we should all apply to our lives. imagine if it were true, nobody would get angry because they haven’t had their voice heard, and everyone would be a whole lot happier. Rather than crash and burn, we should all flow together in order to have successful relationships, which is something we could all benefit from in our own lives. This kind of radical openness creates a positive culture in which people can thrive. This is something we can all work towards to avoid wasted potential, be it in the form of an unheard great idea, or the perspective from an other that we haven’t yet considered.

Life works almost the opposite than the way you believe it works. The things that you think are good, are often bad for you. Take smoking, drinking, any bad habit which ‘feels good’, but damages your health in the long run. This is a trick that we all must face, are we going to face the first order consequences of our actions ‘smoke=short term-pleasure’, or the second order consequences ‘smoke=bad health’ which may not be obvious at first glance. The funny almost comic aspect of this is that the first order consequences create the second order ones which are often the opposite intention we had by doing the action; the food that tastes good/doughnuts, will make you feel bad later. It’s actually an ego trip, we create the opposite results through the conventions we engage in through the lens of our ego. Life shows us this in many ways; pain in the short term will create strength in the long term as in the gym. Pain+reflection = progress. Pain is a teacher, if you eliminate pain you won’t have the teachings that come with it. We need to be willing to sacrifice the pleasures of life for the pains that will teach us how to be better versions of ourselves. Choose your sacrifice, and discover who you are and what you actually like. Ray says self discovery is an eye-opening experience that we can all realize by being aware of our own nature, our savoring of life and the accomplishments we create through the lenses of Love or Fear, that govern each of our decisions. it is important to be able to go above that and get a birds eye view of your current situation, see the trade-offs that you are making on a constant basis, make our choices on the better foundations that we have consciously chosen to create rather than have created FOR us had we not chosen to live by certain principles. The exciting thing is if you learn to do it really well you can exponentially increase the amount of life you get to enjoy in your life.

In conclusion, be present, be honest with yourself about who you are, what you believe in and why you are who you are. Learn to calibrate your feelings with your thoughts, how you conceptualize reactive thinking or rather thoughtful actions. Surround yourself with people who well-intentionally see your faults so that you can improve, be humble about your nature and be willing to think about the things that you might not have thought about so that you can create the protective practices that will defend your mental fortress from the stray bullets of chaos that we are all trying to avoid, sadly often blindfolded which makes it much harder. Create your principles, turn the lights on and take the blindfold off, you are not the victim of time, time is your best friend so learn to live well with it and be who you want to be. Peace and love!

Dizzy Bee

If you would like to buy a copy of the Principles book on Amazon follow this link.

Or check out Ray Dalio’s latest book on the Principles for Success.

Trump’s impeachment, Capitalism and the future

Slavoj Zizek is a prominent philosopher that has been showing up on multiple occasions in interviews and debates about big topics like the nature of capitalism in today’s day and age, with famous people. Most notably he recently showed up in a debate about ‘ Happiness, Capitalism and Communism’ with Dr Jordan Peterson, another big thinker that also has a background in Psychology. Both of these man have man written books about their life views, however Zizek has written a considerable amount of books more than Peterson, making him the more seasoned historian. In their debate they each outlined their views on each other’s represented socio-political stance, the pros and cons and the future prospects for the planet despite political opinions. Zizek made a prominent point about the tendency for capitalism to go above and beyond the call of duty to subjugate all else except for the unquestionable need for growth. I think he makes a fair point here, as where we stand today, with the looming shadow of catastrophic climate change, we have indeed been caught with our hand in the cookie jar, so to speak. Too many cookies we have taken, and now for the consequences. Zizek describes himself as a pessimist in regards to the absence of substantial evidence pointing towards realistic solutions to the problems at hand. Peterson in contrast outlines the moral responsibility for each man to set his own life in order before pretending to be able to contribute towards the world at large, a noble idea, yet in Zizek’s opinion, an unrealistic one. The debate closes with a comment by Zizek with a short story from Lithuania where Zizek describes a scene in which the devil and a farmer are having a conversation, he tells farmer that he will grant him a boon of his choosing, but he will give twice this gift to his neighbour. In response the farmer says, “then take one of my eyes”. Do not underestimate the evils man is capable of, tells the story, and Peterson replies with metaphors along the lines of the greater good is, despite the existence of substantial evils, a greater more powerful counterpart force, which exists in the archetypal duality of good vs evil. And not only is the power of good more than evil, but in facing ones evils, in Petersons words, you make yourself stronger than you could ever have been if you hadn’t faced them.

In other news, Donald Trump got Impeached! Hip Hip, Hoorah! This is great news for the international community as the infamous Trumpster has been leading us on one hell of a ride, dodging fake news, overturning environmental acts, and basically just being the worst president ever. As in the movies, today, justice prevails. Good over evil, Strength before weakness, journey before destination. And yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are indeed about to enter a new era, in which every single excuse we have taken thus far in the name of progress, capitalistic ideals and profit, is about to make a backflip and land on its head into a perfect headstand that even a 100 year old yogi would be proud of. The yoga mat is ready, and we’re definitely warmed up, so brace yourselves for the head rush, as climate change is met by the very best that humanity has to offer, namely geo-engineering, technology, and a deep wealth of knowledge that we can use to recalibrate our global society to one which appreciates every little bit of natural goodness that helps to keep everybody nice and healthy.

So, conclusion? Vote green, think, a lot. About what we can do. Don’t do until you’ve thought it through, as if you do something that won’t work, you might have just wasted your time, and time, my friends is of the essence. The climate doesn’t wait for us, the planet doesn’t care, the universe carries on, with, or without us. This planet floats amongst vast expanses of space, a small spec in existence, the best thing we can do is be the best that we can be. So, be grateful, be kind, be thoughtful, be brave, and above all, believe in the good of man kind, the spark of hope that will keep us alive through this century that will inevitably determine the existential legacy of this planet. Peace, Dizzy Bee.

A Greenvolution

The colour green has always fascinated me. It is the primordial colour of nature, present in many different forms; foliage, vegetation, algae, all seem to gravitate towards the tantalising emerald colour. In the Hindu vedantic system, the 4th or middle chakra  situated in the middle of the chest is represent the power of the heart, and symbolises health prosperity and abundance. In modern theology, ‘Greening’ something corresponds to the act of transitioning towards an environmentally friendly alternative to an otherwise polluting activity. It represents the 3 R’s, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, which have also recently been extended to 5, with the addition of Recalibrate and Repeat. Engineers have created the technologies capable of harnessing the power of the sun, which today have contributed with the help of significant investments to the growth of the ‘Big Solar’ industry. When prices start to rival those of oil and gas, green energy will finally have the chance to prove to the world that producing energy doesn’t have to produce any unwanted side effects. In reality, energy is pervasive and is all around us. Mathematicians and physicists calculate that every 15 minutes or so enough energy hits our planet from the sun to power all the energy needs of humanity for an entire year. If only we were able to capture it, store it, use it as it comes.

Yet when one comes to think deeply about this, one notices that the sun’s energy never was effectively wasted. As plants and trees, through photosynthesis, through millions of years of evolution have developed the biological technology able to transform solar energy into food for themselves, to grow. This evolutionary invention of solar capture has produces the amazon forest, great Boreal forests, Sumatran rainforest, and all the trees in the world today rely on this technology to continue to survive, constantly absorbing this latent energy source that pervades our atmosphere during day time. Photosynthesis converts minerals and vitamins into a green pigmentation called chlorophyl, which when consumed by a human, consists of one of the most nutritious sources of food that could possible be consumed. The enzymes and amino acids contained in dark leafy greens, like Kale or Spinach, have for long been revered for their significant health benefits. In effect,  this system that operates today in a passive way, is a gigantic waste management system. It is constantly recycling energy, so as not to waste it. Our planet is alive and Intelligent; every tree, plant, insect and bacteria is operating as part of a greater system that incorporates a huge matrix of inputs and outputs. By the observation of nature, one could assume that the cyclical patterns that emerge; the seasons, days and nights, all cycles big or small are contributing towards the minimisation of wasted energy in all environments.

As humans we are not immune to these cycle, quite on the contrary, we rather embody them more explicitly than any other animal. Our emotional fluctuations, that vary in different environments, our immune system that regulates countless defence mechanisms, antibodies, white blood cells that deploy strategic solutions in order to intervene when specific threats are detected, all exemplify the type of universal values that pervade our reality. Our modern technologies are magnifications of this intellect, solar cells that absorb sunlight and in turn accelerate the production of energy that we funnel into our daily activities. In the end, gratitude and respect towards these pervasive forces as practiced today in the form of meditation, mindfulness, journaling, create a state of mind that is in alignment with larger energies. This alignment is what we call ‘flow’, it is the razor edge between ability and potential, we have it always yet are constantly in doubt of its existence, creating a glitch, a faulty loop that repeats aimlessly to no avail.

A revolution, a green revolution, no a Greenvolution is what we need! A coalition of communities of all types, scientific, political, economic and biological, to merge as one under a roof built securely on the principles of natural sustainability. We must develop the tools to identify, collect, store and harness the energies that exist all around us in many different forms; solar, wind, tidal. We must understand that these energies exist in permanence, and our best chance of reaching a solution state with our species-specific interests, as well as our planetary interests is by using them. As the use of a finite material (oil and gas) is fundamentally unsustainable, the logical reverse and a sustainable solution is to use infinite resources that will produce exponentially greater returns per unit of investment towards them, inherent to their infinite presence.

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