self improvement

wellness

The Things My Parents Never Taught Me (Pt. I)


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My dad migrated to the United Kingdom in the 60’s, from a large family in Kenya with 5 brothers and a sister. His father (my gramps), was a military man, fought in WWII for the British, and a devout Sikh.  They made the move together to England in hope of a better life. My mum was from a smaller family with only 2 siblings and left India at a young age.

My parents had an arranged marriage, which seems to be relatively unheard of nowadays. Prior to their arranged marriage, they came to England with all sorts of high hopes, pipedreams, wacky ideas and ambitions.

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Dad (Circa 1975)

They lived a humble lifestyle and I’d hear stories of them all piled into a house in England. It reminds me that the struggle was very real. Every day was early rises, late finishes, it was acceptable to have a low standard of living and racism was at a high.

I’m a Millennial, an 80’s baby that came into this world in August 1986. The lastborn of my house, after my brother and then my two sisters.

I have learned numerous things in my life. Some of those skills have been honed and crafted with my own conviction and desire to be good at them. My parents are very open about spirituality and allowed a great deal of free thought in our upbringing and that’s something I will always be grateful for. But, what about social skills, etiquette, and life skills? Well, my parents didn’t teach me any of those important factors for life.

Taking a Compliment

I was never taught how to take a compliment. How exactly does one take a compliment? Do you gracefully say thank you and go about your business? I guess that would be the conventional way to address it.

My parents have always had a defensive reaction to compliments, that stems from a feeling of self-doubt and unworthiness. As a child and teenager, I inherited this disposition, I would naturally feel self-doubt. When people would pay me compliments, I wouldn’t know which way to look or how to respond.

Not being able to take a compliment may seem like a minor issue, however, the root cause of the problem was that I didn’t feel worthy of receiving it. Why wasn’t I good enough to appreciate someone saying nice things to me?

For the last few years, I have been making a transition to accept myself and my traits more. Accept yourself, for everything you’re good at, accept the shadows that lurk inside of you and realign with your belief system.

You’re different from everyone else. Dave Grohl said it best, “No one is you and that is your power”. Everyone on this entire planet is unique, whether we like to believe it or not.

Trust in yourself and you’ll be able to accept and trust others. Compliment everyone. Tell your friends, your family and even strangers about how great they look, tell them about the lovely qualities that they possess. Don’t hold back for the sake of holding it all back.

How to Apologize

My parents really struggle to apologize to anyone. They can’t apologize to one another or to their children. This trait has been passed down a generation to their children who have now adopted the same characteristic.

If we have had an argument or pissed each other off, no one really makes the first move to say sorry. It’s pretty frustrating but this is the system that’s in place.

When someone apologizes they have acknowledged that they’ve done something wrong. Unless of course, you’re English, like me and we tend to apologize for just about anything.

To teach this idea to children, to apologize, if they have genuinely done something wrong is a quality that the majority of parents should teach.

When I see the way my nieces and nephews are raised, they’re taught to apologize to each other, until it has been ingrained into their core beliefs. This raises their level of empathy, emotional intelligence and their ability to introspectively consider the consequences of their actions.

Feeling remorse and apologizing for my actions is something that I’ve had to develop in later life. With every action, there is a consequence, regardless of whether it’s a positive or negative reaction, there is an outcome for my action.

To develop a level of trust, there needs to be communication between both parties. Whether it’s in your relationships, friendships or even between businesses and their customers. The trust has to be there.

Money Management

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Managing money and learning how to budget is an invaluable life skill that should be taught to children from a young age. If parents aren’t able to teach their children this, then schools should have a curriculum focussed on teaching children how to manage their finances.

In a western society, that’s completely riddled with debt, an essential skill for any human to “adult”, is the ability to budget, save and manage their expenses.

My dad has always had an irrational fear of money, which led to him feeling undeserving of it. He has owned a successful construction company since the dawn of time and yet, he didn’t teach me anything about how to run a business or take control of my finances. I have had to slowly develop these skills myself through a substantial amount of trial and error.

The same world sees house prices exponentially increasing, as every year goes by. There was never an urgency to teach me or my siblings about mortgages, unsecured and secured debt, inflation or how to get on the property ladder.

It sounds a bit like “boo-hoo, poor me”, but these are life skills that need to be factored into a child’s upbringing to prepare them for the world. How can someone traverse the world, without knowing the ins and outs of what people consider to be the most valuable commodity on this planet? After all, cash is King.

Conclusion

The cookie cutter mold that baby boomers adopted in their lives doesn’t really apply to Millennials nowadays. The common ideology to be successful in life was to go to school, get a university degree, get a “respectable” job, get married and have children. In that order. We live in a completely different time now and we need to be more creative about getting fulfillment in our lives.

Despite my parents not being able to teach me crucial life skills, I’m able to take an important lesson away from that. I know exactly what to teach my children and the people around me, with what I’ve learned so far.

food, life, Spirituality, wellness

What I Learnt from 6 Months of No Meat


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First of all, I’m not writing this in an attempt to convince you to become a vegetarian, vegan or anything else that you don’t want to be. This probably isn’t going to make you enjoy meat any less and enjoy a plant-based diet more. This is my own personal experience with becoming a Lacto-Ovo vegetarian. I still eat products with eggs in and I still eat cheese (yes, I love pizza). However, my mindset has been tweaked and shifted to appreciate a diet that involves more vegetables, grains, and legumes, that I have found more beneficial.

From a young child to a fully grown, adult man, I had been eating meat and fish in one form or another. Every now and again, I’ve given up red meat, just to see the effects on my body but I’d never taken the plunge to give it up entirely. I grew up in a family that was “spiritual” and always dipped in and out of vegetarianism and I was curious to see if I could ever give it up for a while.

As someone who started to get a little fluffy around the edges in 2011 – 2012, I decided to start a Ketogenic diet. I was eating meat once or twice a day, pairing this with a copious amount of cardio and I was rapidly dropping fat. It actually wasn’t the best health choice for me, my face didn’t look particularly healthy, I rarely smiled and I had wilder mood swings than Ben Stiller’s character in Dodgeball.

In 2017, I started to slowly phase meat out of my diet. I kind of just looked at the animal on my plate and thought, is that really benefiting my health? My taste for meat and fish slowly started to deteriorate and every time I would eat an animal, I would just be like, nope. Nope. Nope.

I ate fish and chips in January 2018 (I’m British, so). This was the last time that I consumed any animals. Even though my meal was delicious, something in me just decided that I really couldn’t condone eating an animal for two reasons:

  • It’s a shitty health choice.
  • Why do animals need to die, so that I can eat?

I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person, so when I have my mind committed to doing something, I’m going to give it my all. So, I just stopped eating it. If you’re considering quitting meat and/or fish, then you’ll hear actionable advice, like, start to cut things out in stages but if you want to do it, then the only thing stopping you from doing it is your own mind and possibly your tastebuds.

Top of the Food Chain

Eating, or not eating meat is a choice, or at least, it should be. Dr. Melanie Joy refers to the psychology of eating meat as “carnism”, a belief system that has conditioned society to consume certain animals. After researching for over a decade, she deduced that eating meat is ingrained in society and we’re unable to distinguish that eating it is not a human necessity. The ideology of carnism invisibly influences the majority of people and perpetuates the idea that animals and animal products are normal, natural and necessary.

Over 56 billion farmed animals are slaughtered every year just so people can eat them. It wasn’t exactly like I had developed a conscience overnight but I did consider to myself, was there any real need for me to sustain my life by consuming an animal that used to have its own life.

  • What made me better than the animals that I was eating?
  • Why did I deserve to live and they didn’t?
  • Why are certain animals given moral privileges over others?
  • Why is it the sole purpose of those animals to be grown, just so they could be killed and fed to me?

The choices that we make stem from our core beliefs. Society believes that household pets deserve more love, respect, and care than chickens, cows, pigs, and lambs. If you break that down and align it with your moral compass, it’s pretty fucked up. I don’t need a cow to survive, I would eat that cow purely out of taste and I wouldn’t throw my dead dog on the barbeque, making sure to brush marinade on him, while he cooks.

I have gained answers to these questions over time and they’ve given me a sense of clarity with my belief system and my diet.

Carb Coma

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One thing that I noticed when first making the transition to a vegetarian diet is that my portion size doubled. I was eating more. I wanted to feel fuller and that went hand-in-hand with eating a shit load more carbohydrates. I was eating pasta, rice, bread and everything else that I could and shovel into my mouth. But it’s cool because no animals were harmed, right? The transition also led me to eat a lot more veggies that I integrated with my carbs and yeah, it often led to a carb coma. Actually, it still leads to carb comas.

Back when I was on a keto diet, I was under the impression that carbs were the root of all evil and I should avoid eating them because they’ll make me fat. Like I previously mentioned, I was eating meat and I wasn’t looking very healthy.

Anyway, I must be boring the absolute shit out of you, so what did I learn after a good 6 months of not eating meat?

I learned that my body is not dependant on eating meat or fish. I wasn’t eating animals as a dietary requirement, I wasn’t eating animals to supplement my body for a lack of protein or nutrients. I was eating meat as an addiction, for the enjoyment of eating it.

Not eating any animals, has taught me to appreciate the vast lifeforms of this planet more. From the small insects in my garden to the cows that populate fields. An animal is a living, breathing user on this planet with its own journey. It’s unfair to take that life for our own pleasure.

This isn’t a sales pitch or a call to action telling you to be more considerate to animals or to stop eating meat, even though you think you need it. I’m not asking you buy my 30-day vegan plan or green powder supplement. I’m simply asking you to introspectively consider:

  • Why do you need meat?
  • What effect does it have on you and the world around you?

Ultimately, life is consistently hurling lessons at us. We’re always moving up in levels and this is how I, personally kicked it up a notch. I feel healthier and stronger in mind, body, and soul. I have more drive to consider what I’m consuming and how I’m consuming it.

life

How to Articulate Your Anger


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“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it as someone else; you are the one who gets burned” – Buddha

Anger is the kind of thing that sits inside of us. It sits there and waits and feeds off of your energy and your emotions. You get so pissed off at things and it just becomes counter-productive and lose your focus on what the real issue is. Whether you’re the kind of person that gets angry easily or the kind of person that allows the anger to build up and fester inside of you.

You can use that anger, it’s a tool. You can focus all of that anger into working for you, instead of you working for it. When you articulate the anger and turn the negative energy into positive energy you have a means of eliminating it altogether. Your anger can be put into a container, whether that’s drawing, painting, singing or dancing. Your energy can be infused into something. Creation can come from the most beautiful destruction and when we break we can also make.

Personally, I love to write and paint (not at the same time tho.) I love to meditate too but I find my mind wanders too much a little when I’m angry or upset and stillness of the mind is something I’m still trying to master. Anyhoo, I like to feel accomplished when I feel anger over something, so when I write, I pour my soul into my words and when I paint, I like to have something beautiful to look at. I like to feel like wow, I did that and I find that all of that pent-up energy that I had been accumulating has been dispersed into something that I have crafted.

I find that there’s a close link between food and spirituality and I love to cook when I’m pissed off. When cooking I always try to think positive thoughts so that the energy of positivity is transferred into the food. Usually, I’m cooking for others, as well as myself, so I’d like to share as much love as I can into other people too. It’s nice to feel a sense of happiness and a huge weight being lifted off of you when you create something that is enjoyed by other people.

Don’t manage your anger, eliminate it by articulating it. This world is filled with people who allow anger to fester inside themselves, causing them more harm than good. Anger doesn’t deserve to be managed, it should be eliminated from the body. Find a container or activity that helps you pour your heart, soul and frustration into and transform it into something positive.

Spirituality

The Link Between Food and Spirituality


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The link between nutrition and spirituality is a thing. Nourishing your body with high vibrational foods and plenty of water will have a positive effect on your soul. The more pollutants you disrupt your chi circuits with, the more blockages you will build up. You want the chi to run smoothly and openly and that will be beneficial to every aspect of your being.– noopface

Food, like everything else in the world or in the entire cosmos, is all living energy. The food you eat has a vibration and that vibration enters your body when you eat it. I eat relatively healthily, I have a green smoothie every day, with kale, spinach, celery and almond milk (sometimes I add avocado and banana.) Greens are considered as high vibrational foods, these foods aid in raising your vibration. We’re all beings on this planet trying to attain a higher consciousness and an elevated level of being.

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Green Smoothie & Lemon Water

Meats are considered as low vibrational foods, an animal endures an enormous amount of suffering when its life is being taken. Then you ingest the animal and along with the animal you ingest all of the pain and agony along with it.

I like to cook, a lot. I often cook for other people and I like to recite a mantra, deep within my consciousness, so that the food that I’m cooking is filled with positive energy. I have a particular word that I recite “Satnam” and this means “true vibration” in Sanskrit. Whether you believe in God or you simply call God something else, like the Universe. Satnam is a word referring to that, a calling to the Universe.

In a busy modern-day setting, we’re thinking about a million things at once while we’re cooking. We’re thinking about our work deadlines, the things we have to do, looking after our children or the girl’s ass that we saw at the gym. When you make food for yourself or others. Try thinking just positive things, positive thoughts. The light that radiates out of you should transmute straight into the food that you’re going to eat. Try to turn your cooking process into a meditation and you’ll notice a huge difference in your mood and your life.

 

Spirituality

What Kind of Meditation Are You Into?


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I was very lucky growing up in a family that was open to their spirituality, my parents and my siblings always had a firm grasp on karma and the law’s of the universe (does anyone have a firm grasp of the law’s of the universe though.)

So as a child, I had a slight understanding of the holistic and mystical. It wasn’t until I was about 15 that I decided to read a couple of books on meditation and broaden my horizons. I read a book called “A Handbook for Light Workers” by David Cousins and I also read another book that was my sister’s called “Barefoot Doctor’s Handbook for the Urban Warrior: Wayward Taoist Survival Technique” Barefoot Doctor’s book kinda shaped my perspective on the universe and how everything is connected. Everything is tied together in a big web of energy. The book showed me different types of exercises and meditations to do that would aid in raising my vibration and would help me to attain a higher level of being. I mean, I was like 15, so I was kinda like what the actual fuck but at the same time I’d been conditioned to stuff like this by my family.

As I got older I started to experiment more with different types of mediations and not just the Taoist meditations that I had read about in books. Taoist meditations were great and I would feel fantastic afterward. I’d feel refreshed, rejuvenated and I’d feel that sense of clarity, that we’re all seeking. All the answers are within and blah blah blah and as time progressed I wanted to experiment more.

Awakening the Third Eye

Third Eye Cat.jpg

At the moment I’m practicing a third-eye meditation (or, I’m trying to.) This involves sitting down in your quiet space and beginning to relax. Enter a state of mind that’s tranquil, peaceful and start to filter out all of the everyday shit that floods your mind (of course this is a difficult task, so please be patient with yourself and every other noisy fucker around you.) From here, focus all of your energy towards your pineal gland (your third eye.) You want to be accurate with the flow and direction of your energy, it shouldn’t just be “somewhere around there” but it should be with pin-point precision, like a laser. Direct all of that lovely chi that you hold so dear to you inside your body towards it and keep it there. Focus your mind and your soul on the sound current of the universe. This is the resonance of the universe that ties everything together. You need to be able to sync your being to the vibration of the cosmos.

Once you start to practice this third-eye meditation, your head will feel heavy at first… I mean, you’re focusing the majority of your internal power towards your pineal gland, so. This was completely normal for me. After practicing it for a while I discovered that the heavy feeling would subside and I could harness my power more without thinking to myself “damn, is someone sitting on my face right now.” If you begin to see things, visions, people then I would consider that to be completely normal (you know because visions aren’t weird at all.)

The Key to Enlightenment

There is no shortcut, no quick route to enlightenment. Mindfulness comes with consistency, you need to keep working at it. Some people like to meditate the conventional way and others like to do moving meditations like yoga, if you can do both then you’re on some next level shit.

Keep at the meditation and keep pushing yourself with yoga. Make sure your energy circuits are as fired up as possible and when you meditate it will help you to clear any energy blockages that you might have in your circuits.

Keep going, growing and glowing and you’ll be doing Yoga Flames and levitating in no time.

disclaimer: yoga flames and levitating aren’t a prerequisite for enlightenment.

 

 

 

life

8 Ways to Simplify Your Existence


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Simplicity is an acquired taste. Mankind, left free, instinctively complicates life.” – Katherine F. Gerould

Life for the average human is wild and chaotic. We get so focused on the day to day commitments in life and really lose perspective that there’s an entire world out there. There are lots of ways to keep your life as simple as possible. Here are 7 ways to combat the myriad of stress that life hurls at you.

 

Identify

Write down the most important things in your life, make a list of all of the essentials and then that will help you filter out what isn’t necessary so that you can strip it away. This process of elimination will help productivity because you’ll have removed the lesser important things from your mind.

 

Meditation

We all need to meditate. I’m a firm believer that meditation comes first, it is the primary point of our existence. Everything else comes secondary. Whether you choose to meditate in solitude or within a group, as long as you are clearing your mind and searching within then it will help to collect your thoughts. Meditation will calm you and soothe you.

 

Routine

Do you strive to be on-time? Do you eat regular meals? Do you wake up and go to sleep at specific times? Get yourself into more of a routine! set your alarm clock, have your meals at regular times and workout at specific times. Pick a routine that works best for you and stick to it. Routine will greatly improve your time management.

 

Throw Out the Shit You Don’t Need

Declutter your space. Do you still have old junk lying around the house? Throw it away and clear your space, this will allow your energy to flow more freely.

 

Disconnect Yourself

In a world full to the brim with distractions; iPhones here, tablets there and social media consistently edging its way into our lives more and more. There’s an unhealthy obsession with social media in this day and age and it consumes a lot of time. Spend some time away from your gadgets, otherwise, life will pass you by and you spent it checking to see how many likes you received.

 

I’ve Had Worse Things in My Mouth

Your body is a well-oiled machine and regular exercise and eating the right foods can drastically improve your day. Fuel yourself with lots of fruits, veggies and drink plenty of water. Did you know drinking water helps fuel your muscles? Gives you younger skin and research even shows that drinking half a litre of water within 30 minutes can boost your metabolism and help you burn calories faster.

 

Remain Positive

Keep your negativity in check, keep the bad thoughts to a minimum and remain positive. This will help raise your morale and keep you striving towards your goals, even when you feel trapped.

 

Adventure More

Try new things, explore more and adventure. See more of the world. Even if you don’t have the money to go to another country, try and find new places to visit and activities to do that are local. You will feel liberated.

 

 

How This Will Help Your Life

I have talked about 8 small changes that you can make in your life to greatly improve it. The bottom line is, less is more. Spend more time reflecting on yourself and working on yourself to drastically improve who you are. Improving yourself will improve your life.