Walk The Talk

Hello Again! I have made it through the first month of 2015 with very little time spent online and I’m slightly sorry to say that it has been wonderful! I have been on the move on my first trip around India. Adventures in the freezing cold North from Delhi, all around Rajasthan and back again followed by some inspiring downtime living in a treehouse in Goa and practising many different types of yoga in the jungle  from Iyengar to Kundalini, Hatha and Vinyasa flow with some gorgeous inspiring international teachers. Living away from social media and blogging has given me a chance to be fully present and that has given me so much joy that I do not intend to be online much this year. I see myself blogging maybe once a month in response to the inquiries I receive through my website/email and social media. I figure that if one person sends me a question others may be wondering the same things and so could benefit from reading my answers too. I also do not want to put much time and energy into responding to emails and facebook inquiries- thus the public blog intended to answer for one yet also reach many.

I write under this pseudonym to protect my true identity as I travel solo and also to keep some anonymity as I coach clients around the world. In coaching I need to hold a neutral space to support and empower my clients’ dreams and goals, so showing up weighed down with the oversharing that often comes with free-flow blog-writing would not likely support my career as a life coach, this is mainly why I blog under a pseudonym although I am a big authenticity advocate, which is why I also do this blog thing- to express myself authentically overcoming my own block and fears. In a way it’s my therapy and if anything in it triggers or inspires others well, that’s great. I created this “Conscious Hipster” alter ego to capture the zeitgeist, as an archetype to inspire those who appreciate style and trends, who like to innovate and are also interested in personal development or heart-centered mindful living.

Coming from more than a decade working in film, media, music, art and style whilst exploring and learning about alternative healing and wellness in my free time- I felt through my diaries to reach out to the stressed out media types, the superficial fashion types and the well-being, yoga and mindfulness light-working types. It excites me, the possibility to mash it all up so there is no divide between consciousness and cool, so that these two states of being can become one or “the norm”. that’s the world I want to live in, a conscious and cool one, an innovative and mindful one, a heart-centered and chic one… at least I am comitted to doing my bit as a “positive change catalyst” and good vibe farmer, bringing out the best in people, knowing myself, accepting myself even loving myself and planting seeds for the ripple effect of love and acceptance out into popular culture.

I plan to take this blog offline and publish it as a book at some point when I feel there is enough relevant, inspiring or useful content and maybe a “happy ending” to this written blog/story which began more than a year ago. Until that day comes for this blog to become a book… I welcome your questions to prompt and inspire my writings, interviews and inquiries. I also look forward to contributing insights and articles to magazines, websites, communities and forums. This is my free-lance work to support my travels and creative endeavours !

If you want me to write for you or interview people for you – please get in touch. I especially love the challenge and mind-puzzle of responding to an editorial brief or philosophical question.

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Speaking of responding to a brief or question…

Several months ago, a new online magazine contacted me and asked if I would fill out an in-depth questionnaire for them to publish along with my bio, website link and a photo of me. I took the time to answer their questionnaire, it was fun to do and insightful for me to read my answers to their questions. It also felt great to do some promo for others and list a top ten of the most interesting or inspiring people I had met on my travels with links to their websites etc. I took a lot of time to answer their Q&A and I gave them a lot of info and contacts. I did feel momentarily paranoid that they might just be “picking my brain/looking for others to profile/ideas etc” but then their ethos as a magazine seemed cool and positive and they had said they wanted to publish my Q&A so I gave the time to answer it and I gave the insights and info freely to benefit us all- them, me and the people I was writing about. They later contact me asking if I would write an article and gave me a specific brief/theme. I rose to their challenge, also anticipating they were also going to publish the Q&A. I wrote the article to their brief and they got back to me with feedback on my article asking if I could re-write the article from a more inclusive “we” point of view rather than an authoritative “I” point of view. This request threw me, partly as they had never offered to pay me but also partly to be asked to re-write my offering from another point of view…”why hadn’t they asked me to do that in the original brief?”. I had only up until this point published articles for magazines and written blogs in a stream-of-consciousness “I”/me voice. I had to think about that challenge existentially. It made me feel that if I write “we” I have to consider who is/are the “we” that I am addressing and whether trying to be “inclusive” actually becomes “exclusive”. Anyway, without getting too navel-gazey on this subject I actually kind of enjoyed the brain puzzle of understanding why I had only up until that point written articles as “I/me” and ficition/screenplays through the voices of other characters- I had until that point never tried “real journalism” with an authoratative “we”. Maybe this was a sign that it was my time to do just that, so I re-wrote the article from a “we” point of view, assuming that there was a clan of kindred spirits, light seekers and people on a similarily intended path of becoming our best selves in order to better the world. And this is the resulting article (which I am posting here because I was recently kind of saddened to learn that their online magazine endeavour has now folded because they have instead started an online tv channel.

I am publishing it here on my own blog now because frankly I spent much time between answering their Q&A and doing the rewrites from a  different “we point of view” so I would like it up and online somewhere as a sample of a different way of writing for me and also because there might be some good food for thought in this article for you dear reader.

“Walk The Talk”

Artwork by Mark Henson

Artwork by Mark Henson

Today, it seems that a growing number of people are taking an interest in the word consciousness. We know that trends create a zeitgeist and as more people live consciously and mindfully, this can only be a positive evolution in creating a better world. However, is consciousness becoming an easily accessible slew of quotable catchphrases with adopters in danger of becoming too cool for school?

Are we really walking the talk, or just riding the wave?

To me, consciousness means living a life of integrity in thoughts, words and actions. It means an awareness of the impact that thoughts have on the outcome of things and on the reality we are capable of manifesting- as best explained through “the law of attraction”.

Terms like “positive psychology”, “NLP”, “CBT”, “Breathwork” and “Healing” are frequently cropping up in daily conversations as admitting to “having issues” and seeking out therapy are no longer hidden or taboo subjects. More people are waking up to the notion that “the blame game” does not offer desirable results other than the temporary satisfaction of affirming ego or misery.

Our thoughts really do create our reality and when dreams are woven effectively, they can catalyse massive leaps in understanding fulfilment, joyfulness and existence. This also means having an awareness of the impact our words have on creating our reality and also on the energy we exchange with others. It means knowing the knock on effect of actions- often referred to as karma, or the more familiar saying of “what goes around comes around”.

Consciousness is essentially a lifestyle choice requiring active participation, commitment and practise. It is a path that commences once one has begun to scratch beneath the surface and question if there is more to human nature and existence then meets the eye. It is also something that is best learnt through self-observation, reflection and heart-centred sharing.

Whilst training to become a yoga teacher, I remember naively asking my teacher during a satsang (conscious discourse) “How can I possibly be present if I’m also in my head being a mindful observer- wouldn’t that process make me somewhat socially awkward and slow?”. This question got her laughing and she replied “ It takes practise and you quickly get better at making choices from your truth centre not your ego. Then, through the power of choice you are no longer reacting to what is happening around you”. This statement activated an understanding within me that my thoughts, words and actions are all choices that I am free to select, so that I am not merciless in a sea of reactivity and my thoughts no longer control my actions. This is much easier said then done of course, it really does require a shift and an interest in experimenting with new and positive ways of being and living.

Byron Katie’s “The Work” sums up a conscious process with three simple questions very useful to ask when feeling confused or stuck in thinking negatively:

“Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)

Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)

How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

Who would you be without the thought?

Now turn the thought around. Then find at least three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is true for you in this situation.”

This is just one example of the many possible ways of becoming more conscious. It is up to an individual to do their homework or ask around and find methods of relating to the self and to others that feels authentic.

Consciousness is an essential aspect of emotional intelligence that I imagine in the future could be taught as part of a “life skills” course in high schools before graduating out and into the adult world.

For me personally, I find deep knowledge buried in the many “new age”, “spiritual” or “self help” books about Zen, meditation, soul purpose, consciousness or mindfulness. There are so many great books on these matters out there by authors such as Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, The Dalai Lama, Byron Katie, Carolyn Myss, Stephen Covey, Dorien Israel and many other great teachers, seekers and authors.

I mostly want to experiment with things I read about such as “paradigm shifts”, “downloads”, “recognizing my inner child”, “observing patterns”, “triggers”, “recapitulation” and “processing”. Another great thing I have learnt is the power of silence, of being still and observing what is really going on within or outside me, beyond the layers of patterns and conditioning. I am constantly surprised at how often we jump to fill the sacred space of togetherness with small talk and needless words. Reading insightful books and meeting great teachers got me on the road to becoming the change I want to see.

Still now, I have one foot in the realms of pop-culture, film, music and style whilst my other foot is mostly chilling out in the lotus position. This creates an interesting balance and also means I face many opportunities to check in with my integrity and observe triggers, moreso when interacting with ego-driven ambitious inner-city characters then when I am meditating in nature or living a holistic community life surrounded by teachers, healers and truth-seekers such as in Findhorn, Scotland or Ubud, Bali. When engaged in the fast paced international creative life, I have the opportunity to model empowering ways of thinking and being and to ask or answer deep questions in order to empower individuals and interactions. As I evolve in my state of consciousness, personal responsibility and integrity, the people I attract into my life personally and professionally seem to mirror my evolution and vibrate at a higher frequency with more positivity and less negativity.

I think consciousness can only become “too cool” when humor is lost and we take ourselves too seriously, being intolerant or preaching and imposing our views of what is right or wrong. Maybe these particular traits would form my own discernment of uncool behaviour.

I really would like to commend anyone who takes an interest in the meaning of consciousness, looking into it, learning about it and eventually showing a way by simply walking the talk.

Wherever we may be in terms of effortlessly or clumsily observing, understanding and incorporating the essence of the word into daily life; may we all work towards becoming our best selves with compassion, humility and a deep belly laugh along the way.

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