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Meditation Does Not Work

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Meditation does not work if you all you do is read about it, it only works when you begin doing it. So let’s see if I can help you begin your meditation practice, because just reading about it and then making those excuses to yourself, you know the ones; “I don’t have time“, “There are too many distractions“, “I can’t stop my thoughts“, “I’ll do it tomorrow…” just means that you are missing out. For that matter so am I, but I will get to that later.

The reality is that learning to meditate is tough, just like learning to drive, ride a bike, or read. The difference is that most people are motivated by the obvious benefits of skills like driving. Motivated enough that they make the effort, make the effort to learn, to practice.

Portrait of meditating woman relaxing in pose of lotus outdoors
You can begin practising meditation in just a couple of minutes a day.

So how much motivation do you need to learn to meditate? Meditation is FREE and offers so many benefits. Along with benefits to your brain’s ability to function, more and more published studies are showing the benefits of meditation to your emotional and physical health. Studies showing reduction in stress, improved immune response, feeling happier, more connected, it’s all there if you like reading such things.

Perhaps what you really need to know is that meditation can be easier than you think..

What is This Post About

Meditation does not need to be difficult. You did not learn to read by looking at Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings and neither do you need to learn to meditate by sitting in lotus position and contemplating the meaning of life for 30 minutes.

You can begin practising meditation in just a couple of minutes a day.

Why Is This Post Important to Me?

Learning to meditate is an important life skill, because it has huge benefits to your emotional and physical health.

Learning to meditate is important, because you are important. I really believe that. Each and every one one of us has the right to be happy and healthy, and, lets face it, the World would be a better place if we all were… happier and healthier. That’s where I get to gain; imagine a world where more and more people are happy, smiling; calm, that is where I would like to live! Learning to meditate will help create that reality for you, of being happier and healthier.

How do I use the Information in this Post?

Meditation is a spiritual practice, not a religious one and these days the spiritual side of our lives is often the most neglected, the most forgotten, the most overlooked. So this is also an area where there are a lot of gains to be easily made.

One of my favourite methods that you can do almost anywhere is the Heartmath Heart Breathing Meditation. Why not have a go now? Here it is:

  1. Close your eyes and relax into your chair.
  2. Put your hand over your heart and focus your attention into that area, into those deep chambers in the centre of your chest.
  3. Breathe deeply but normally and feel as if your breath is coming in and out of your heart area.
  4. Begin to regulate your breathing to a count of six.
  5. Breathe for a count of six seconds into your heart space. Breathe for a count of six seconds out of your heart space. Keep breathing in for six and breathing out for six.
  6. Focus on your heart area and feel the relaxation.

You may be pleasantly surprised at just how quickly you begin to relax.

Alternatively you could just listen to a guided meditation track for as long as you feel comfortable. You could start with the track I’m sharing with those who sign up for my Newsletter. Just start by listening to first few minutes. Listen a few times and you may be pleased that you notice relaxing more and more, listening to  just the first few minutes. Then gently and slowly you can listen for a little longer. You may be be pleased at just how quickly you can comfortably relax and listen all the way through.

Let me know how your meditation practice goes! :)

Carers Group in Lostwithiel

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Carers Group LostwithielIf you are a carer there is a good chance your daily experiences may involve a cocktail of stressful feelings such as anger, resentment, guilt, fear etc and we all know what that does to us long term.

I’ve witnessed many ‘support’ groups where people get together and share their problems, but then get stuck in that negative energy. I’ve known people who have said they have walked out of support groups feeling worse than when they walked in. A problem shared is not always a problem halved.

So this group will be different, because we will be using techniques in a group setting so that everyone can relax and let go of any unhelpful emotions. Techniques such as Emotional Freedom Technique, that can be really effective in a group setting. My aim will be for people to leave feeling empowered, feeling more able to cope than when they walked in.

The group will be restricted to around five people per meeting at first, so that we can bond and make a connection. It will also be easier to teach EFT in a small group. Ultimately I’m looking to create a group of around 10 people who can come to meetings as they need. You will need to ‘book’ a place, but this will be possible via the private Facebook page as well as phone etc.

This is a new idea and will be up and running once I know who wants to attend.

You can let me know if you are interested by leaving a message on 01579 308232 (Because of the nature of my one-to-one work I rarely pick up, but always return calls and answer messages etc), sending an email, or contacting my via FaceBook

FREE Download: ‘Your Inner Sanctuary’

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Inner SanctuaryYears ago, at the dawn of mankind, well maybe not that long ago, but certainly several years ago, at the dawn of SkyBlueRiver, we (Debbie and I) had a monthly Newsletter.

To be honest, it was not that good. Often it was not monthly. Often it lacked… I was trying to think of the what it lacked, but maybe I had it right with “Often it lacked!”. So we (Debbie still works behind the scenes) decided it was time for a new, better newsletter, one that actually contains something useful. At least useful to ‘some people’, ‘some of the time’.

Starting, as it will continue, there is a free self-hypnosis/guided meditation to help you to access your own ‘Inner Sanctuary’ for you to download and listen to after you signup.

During hypnosis I often use the suggestion that the deeply relaxed calm state my client is experiencing can be thought of as a ‘resource state’, like a sanctuary deep inside, somewhere they can return to, outside of sessions when they want to.

So why do I think this is important? Well, many of my clients have said learning to access their Inner Sanctuary was beneficial for them and I firmly believe that spending a little time each day quietening the mind and body is hugely beneficial.

I think we all have inner voices; sometimes our minds are so full of them it can be hard to know which one to listen to, and, of course, the voice you want to listen to is the one that whispers to you; whispers words of love and wisdom. Quietening your mind and body, creating your Inner Sanctuary gives you a chance to connect to sources of wisdom that are normally drowned out by the often chaotic cacophony of our conscious minds. Some of you will hear words, others may find this voice will come in the form of feelings, either way with practice and time it will be there for you.

Wayne Dyer is  a wonderful spiritual teacher. He believes that by listening to the inner voice of our ‘Highest Self’ we have a divine ability to manifest and attract what we need or desire. In his blog post entitled ‘Manifesting Your Desires -4 Ways to Get What You Really Really Want‘ he says:

Go beyond the restriction of the physical plane. The purpose of the Highest Self is to assist you in this. Create an inner sanctuary that is yours alone. Go to this silent inner retreat as often as you can, and let go of all attachments to the external world of the ego.” – Wayne Dyer

I’m inclined to agree with Wayne and that is why this download is one of the first resources I am sharing with you. So I’d like to invite you to signup to my NEW Newsletter now, download the track, listen for a couple of times over the next few days and then let me know what benefits you notice.




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Sometimes I over-think things; like… how do I sign off my emails/newsletters? I bet most people would hardly give it a thought, “Best wishes”, “Kind regards”, “Love”, “Love and Light” or something similar would flow from their keyboard and they would get on with something else. None of those really say what I want to say though.

When I sit down with a client, I do not see someone who is broken, damaged, needing to be fixed. Rather I see someone about to find new levels of clarity, to become bright and shiny, someone about to let their true essence shine. I’m there only to offer a hand, a re-assuring energetic presence, a smiling face, someone who believes you can do it… .Like a walking guide who may offer you a hand for a tricky step.  I want to sign of with something along the same ethos.

Then I came across ‘Namaste’ which has it’s origins in Sanskrit. I’m not a Hindu, or Buddhist, but when I looked at the meaning of this word I loved it. It’s commonly translated as

“the divine light in me honours the divine light in you”

This closely matches my blossoming understanding that there is more to life than we can touch and more to helping people than a technique from a book.

So decision made…

Namaste :)


Are You Suffering From Emotional Trauma and Upset?

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Are you plagued by thoughts of the past? Is some experience haunting you? Do you feel your thoughts are out of control? Are you scared and you do not even know why? Are you behaving in ways that you do not want and do not understand?

Have you lost hope that things will ever be better?

If you are saying ‘yes’ to any of those questions you are like majority of my clients.

Emotional Freedom Technique, (EFT or Tapping as it is also called) is the most powerful, effective, efficient and kind way of helping you release the ‘stuff’ that is keeping you from being who you really want to be. Have a look at my explanation on Youtube

From Raw Vegan to Omnivore

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From Raw Vegan to Omnivore in the space of a few years and there is a good reason for that. This is probably the most embarrassing story I tell and not because I have done what seems like a 180 degree turn around in my nutritional perspectives. But because it involves a situation that was well… embarrassing and unnecessary in sooo many ways! I seriously wish it involved me running around seeing everything as a juicy steak like Leo the lion in Madagascar, but no….

The story really begins back in 2004 when Debbie was diagnosed with ME/CFS one of the first things we looked at was nutrition. Debbie was already gluten free which many recovery stories supported, but we increased fruit and vegetables and began juicing because I had come across anecdotal accounts of people finding it beneficial.  At the time we also read a lot of books by Patrick Holford too, and I remember buying Essential Omega oils to make sure our omega 3/6 ratios were balanced. It did not result in complete recovery but it all seemed to help so we stuck with it.

‘Following what already had seemed to work’ over the years Debbie became interested being Raw Vegan, and ‘clean’ eating. She was  influenced by people such as Ani Phyo and the ‘Thrive Diet’ by Brendan Brazier. In 2009, in preparation for trying for a baby we spent a year ‘detoxing’ and eating raw vegan diet. I joined in because I had seen a TV program where the quality of men’s sperm improved dramatically with clean diet and I obviously wanted my sperm to be as healthy as possible! ;)  Much of the raw food I liked, but I rarely felt ‘good’ on it and I always held a doubt about a diet that required supplementation (B12) to avoid serious health problems. One of the things I have learned about the ‘World Wide Web’ is that you tend to find support for whatever your current belief is. So there is plenty of expert opinions on the benefits of eating in such a way and a lot of anecdotal reports of people overcoming illness and disease with the approach. So why the change?

Whizzing forward to Sept 2013, I took on a short term contract as a Health Trainer. During my first day there was a sequence of events that meant I did not really get the time to go to the toilet properly and felt embarrassed about asking. By the end of the first day I was in a bad place. Desperate to pee, having spasms but seemingly unable to pass much water. I had a hideous hour and half journey home, stopping every 10 minutes, trying to find somewhere to go, but just never really passing anything. At home, phone calls to NHS direct suggested I may have been dehydrated, so I continued to drink. During this time I managed a brief period of relief while Debbie tapped on my EFT meridians for me. That tells you  how powerful EFT can be for pain relief. But after a completely sleepless night of trying to pee every 10 minutes, I ended up at the Doctors with a diagnosis of bladder spasm and Acute Urine Retention, probably aggravated by a prostate twice the size it should be for a man of my age! That was a shock; my prostate was twice as big as it should be for man my age?  But I exercise, eat right, deal with stress, how comes??? The GP just said it was a fact of life, a man’s prostate keeps growing and that is that! Really?!?

I look after myself, or I thought I did, so this was a real shock and I decided to seek advice. At the time I was working from Arturus Clinic in Totnes on a Saturday, so booked in to see Dr Stephen Hopwood, the man behind Arturus the clinic. Dr Hopwood is an ex-GP who has turned to Chinese medicine because he has seen how much more effect it is. During the consultation I was surprised that he seemed unimpressed with my diet. Indeed his comment was actually “you need to eat some organic chicken livers!”

When I got home I began researching his seemingly bizarre comment but I felt rough and did not look too hard. Indeed over the next five weeks I would go through having the catheter removed, seemingly getting an extreme UTI. That would result in no sleep for two or three nights, antibiotics, antibiotic induced diarrhoea and then gradually slipping back into retention. There were some real low times for me, often I was simply too exhausted with lack of sleep to focus on anything that I knew would help. The only thing I could manage was listening a Loving Kindness Meditation that I had recorded months previously. That did get me through some very tough nights too. I finally ended up in hospital for a couple days which was not fun!

I struggled in hospital. Some of the Doctors barely treat you as human, only seem to answer questions begrudgingly, contradict each other and the food is less nutritious than I give River (our dog). When I finally got home, still with a catheter in place, Debbie had prepared a meal of chicken livers…… God it tasted sooo good!

Now I started researching things properly and what I found surprised me immensely. I’m not sure the exact route I took, but I remember watching a Doctor Terry Wahls explain how she had reversed her MS, by eating a ‘hunter gatherer’ diet and then went on to read ‘Your Personal Paleo Diet: Feel and look great by eating the foods that are ideal for your body by Chris Kresser and then more importantly The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease, Heal Your Body by Sarah Ballantyne and there it was…

Phytic Acid!

Our healthy bean based meals were not as healthy as we thought.

Our healthy beans were not as healthy as we thought. Phytic acid is in seeds, grains, legumes, and nuts in varying quantities.

Phytic acid in your gut binds minerals (zinc, calcium etc) so you pass them in your stools rather than absorb them.

Zinc deficiency is also related to prostate enlargement!!

Men who come from Hunter Gather cultures don’t suffer enlarged prostates as they grow older!!! Could it be because they do not consume large quantities of the foods that contain this ‘anti nutrient’ that robs us of zinc?

My so-say healthy diet would have something containing phytic acid with nearly every meal and it all began to make sense, not just with zinc either. Debbie had been told she had osteopenia years ago and just before our daughter Honey was born my teeth had began just breaking, was this due to phytic acid binding the calcium?

I continued reading and researching; finally coming to Perfect Health Diet: regain health and lose weight by eating the way you were meant to eat by Paul Jaminet and his wife. This book made a huge amount of sense to me and they are not dogmatic, but rather their suggestions are based on study, research and personal experience.

As you can guess I changed the way I was eating. Occasionally, because sometimes it is convenient, we do eat some of these foods, but it is now rare rather than daily or even weekly.  Phytic Acid can also be removed/reduced by soaking so that is also an approach we use for things like nuts.  Although we are now all meat eaters, we are very choosy about the meet we do eat. Making sure the animals are grass fed and treated with respect.

Six months later the Consultant said my prostate seemed a normal size. He just put this down to the first Doctors being a bit rubbish, great that they have so much faith in each other! I’ve not taken medication to reduce the size of my prostate because it is linked with increasing the risk of prostate cancer. I did take Tamsulosin for a few months as it seemed sensible to help break the pattern I was in, but I came off that after a few months too. What I really believe has been effective is the combination of diet change, visualisation, Acupuncture and finally Cranial Osteopathy for a twisted pelvis. Indeed I had the confidence to come off the Tamsulosin after the Cranial Osteopathy.

The irony of the story is that to save myself the embarrassment of saying I needed to pop to the loo at the beginning of a meeting in my new job, I ended up with 6 weeks of far more embarrassing situations! Perhaps with hindsight it did me a favour though?

The Short Story

Phytic acid is in foods like seeds, grains, legumes, and nuts etc and binds minerals like calcium and zinc. Skip the foods or eat in moderation if you would like to avoid problems like osteoporosis and enlarged prostates!

Ever Changed the Way You View Life?

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Open Your Mind Something happened on Thursday the 19th March 2015, that changed my perspective on life in a big way.

It has opened my mind so much that I want to share it, even though I would normally have kept such things very private. So here goes…

A part of me believes my family should always be happy and healthy. After all, I clearly believe that I have the ability to help others become healthier and happier. I have helped enough people, to know that there is some truth in that belief. So a part of me, feels we should always be leading from the front, always full of health and happy. I know that Debbie often thinks the same, as she has also mentioned feeling the same way.

Our Guilty Secret

So one of our guilty secrets is that our 3 year old daughter, Honey, would wake up most mornings crying and distressed. It seemed to me in particular, that every morning started early (around 4 to 6 am) with a crying unhappy child and it was getting to me. I was noticing thoughts I did not want, “it’s always like this”, “here we go again” and I knew thoughts like this would not help.

For over three years I felt a bit powerless to change it. I had a feeling that it all stemmed from the family tragedy that occurred just before Honey was born. At the time, which was just weeks from Honey’s expected delivery, we used hypnosis and emotional freedom technique daily to try and shield our unborn daughter from the flood of emotions that coursing through Debbie’s veins. These emotions, grief at the loss of her younger sister and unborn nephew during childbirth, fear that what had previously seemed safe and natural may now be a life threatening event, had overtaken those of joy and anticipation of the arrival of our baby girl.

Debbie and Pete a month or two before Debbie lost her sister and nephew.
Debbie and Pete just weeks before Debbie lost her sister and nephew in childbirth.

We were both experiencing our versions of the natural feelings of grief, sadness and loss wrapped up with those of fear. I feel that we did the best we could, but it is also my belief that Honey had learned that life was scary and distressing even before she was born and so maybe that was why she woke up each morning sounding distressed.

“That’s Just Too Weird”
Now over the past three years there have been a sequence of events that has pushed me towards believing in our bodies subtle energy systems. Possibly being more open to that concept, I also came across EFT Founder Gwyneth Moss’s talks on surrogate tapping. This is where you use Emotional Freedom Technique or tapping for someone else, by imagining you are them! I’ve discarded this idea in the past without any real thought, but Gwyneth’s background is in science, she graduated from Cambridge in physics and worked worldwide as an oil exploration geophysicist and project management consultant before retraining as a therapist. Her thoughts mirrored mine when she explained her initial reaction to surrogate tapping which was “that’s too weird, that’s for Reiki people, not me”. So if someone with a proven record as both a physicist and a therapist can observe the benefits, would I be able to?  After yet another morning of being woken early to the sound of Honey crying and distressed, I very strongly suggested to Debbie that we should try surrogate tapping for her.

How We Did It
As I said before, surrogate EFT involves tapping on yourself on behalf of someone else, so we decided I would ‘pretend’ to be Honey and Debbie would be the therapist. EFT works best when you are not attached to the outcome though, so we spent some time clearing our own issues and emotional responses over Honey’s behaviour. Then I pretended to be Honey and Debbie acted as practitioner. We ended with the choices method around feeling safe and happy in her room. I just imagined myself as Honey and said what came into my mind, in the kind of words she would use. Our session probably lasted for around an hour and half, with around 1/3rd of it being the surrogate tapping.

The Following Morning
Around eight hours later at about 6:45 I almost cried as I lay in bed listening to Honey chat away to herself contentedly. I finally got up and popped my head around her door to be met with a cheery “Morning Dad”.

This blew me away. It was a like a dream. I had expected a change, committed myself fully to the process and believing in it, but such a profound difference, so quickly, was beyond my expectations.

Friday she woke with a cold and feeling ill, but still wanted to stay in her own room…

To date, each morning (to date around six weeks later), she has woken with a much more contented state of mind.

How Could This Work?
Some of you reading this will believe it a mysterious consequence, or wishful thinking. Personally I believe now more than ever, that we are all energetically linked in some way and this is why it has worked.

For now I’m avidly reading postings and books by those who understand what might be happening better than I do.

But I wonder, have you experienced anything like it?