What is the, foundation of happiness? We live in a culture where, happiness, is largely based on external forces. Like, what did we get and what did we achieve? And that’s basically your, foundation of happiness. And when our life conditions don’t match your expectations, we experience pain and fear. We suffer and become unhappy.
But imagine what it would feel like if you could create a constant sense of, inner peace, and freedom and live each day in a beautiful state. Hi, I’m Coach Myrna young and welcome to, Five minute Fridays with Coach Myrna. I want to ask you what’s preventing you from, happiness, and living in a state of, peace and joy?
I remember watching the, happiness movie, once. And this was a documentary that was recorded in India, where people who are living on maybe $100 a year living in huts with just covering over their head, most of them sleeping on rocks on the floor. And they were, happy. And this is why this was so unusual in the documentary.
It looked at the, foundation of happiness, what is happiness, and what causes, happiness. The end result of what that movie was trying to show was that it doesn’t matter how poor you are, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a lot of money. What matters most to the people and the, foundation of happiness, is family, and love.
Happiness, is making sure your children are safe and things like that. Research shows that 85% of our, happiness, comes from our, relationships. It’s not just, relationships, with people, it’s, relationship, with God as well. If you don’t believe in God, then your, relationship, with the planet and the universe becomes important, but that is basically how we find, true happiness.
The, foundation of happiness, is living a life of peace and joy. Now, there’s a time when I believed that your spouse, or your children or your boss, or somebody was responsible for our, happiness, but nobody can be responsible for your, happiness. I remember when Jennifer Gardner told the world that Ben Aflec was not responsible for her, happiness. He was not the foundation of her happiness. of course they broke up because he was cheating on her with the nanny but even though she was hurt her, happiness, did not come from external sources and events.
Definition of happiness
Nobody can be responsible for our, happiness. You think that you’re going to be happy when you get a husband or when you get that new car or that new job. But once you get, what you find is when you get these things, you’re not really happy, because, happiness, only comes from internal sources, and I personally found that the, definition of happiness, is correct.
The, definition of happiness, is working towards a goal or purpose.
And that’s where my, happiness, comes from. My ,happiness, comes from me trying to excel in what I do. I am a host on a radio program, podcast, I’m a lifecoach. Things that I am working towards, in order to better myself. I learn something new every day because, I practice CANI which is constant and never ending improvement. And when I find that I’m growing then I’m happy.
Good, personal relationships, enhances my life, when you’re fighting with your husband you’re not thinking of what you don’t have in your life. When you’re in the lack mode, you really can’t access your, inner peace, and joy that actually brings you, happiness. So I want you to discover what’s holding you back from, happiness.
What’s holding you back from being happy. I would like to encourage you to tap in to, inner peace, with, meditation, and, mindfulness, and start living in the, present moment, because, happiness, can only be found in the present moment. That is the, foundation of happiness, being in the present moment. Not in the past, not in the future.
Take the time to sit with your feelings of unhappiness, or pain, or regret. And maybe you can even try to find a lesson in it. Because there’s a test in every testimony. So try to find what the universe or God was trying to teach you with that circumstances that you said, made you unhappy. And then once you sit with it, and feel the pain and not trying to, self medicate, with drugs or food or sex or whatever you do to try to feel better.
You just sit with the painful feelings. When you sit with it, then you you will find that you can stop the pain and allow life to unfold in the beautiful way that it was meant to be. One of the things I do to stop the minor irritations in my personal life and that are trying to take my joy and peace away is to breathe deeply.
People will always irritate you. My little irritation comes when I call my husband, and he doesn’t pick up the phone, and I’m wondering why he can’t hear the phone, or my kids leave the house and not tell me where they’re going and I think it’s disrespectful. So I’ve learned to do something that’s called R&R which is, relax and release. And what this is, I breathe in deeply and relax and then I breathe out through my mouth and release it out.
If you do this breathing method for a few minutes, then you will find that that irritation is no longer there. And the next time that person does that same thing, then you’re actually not going to get irritated because you caught it. Caught it and you relaxed and you released it.
So that is all for today’s five minutes with Coach Myrna. I hope that I shared a few things on, happiness foundation, and maybe you can start doing some of these things. In order for you to, be happy. Remember, happiness, is not from external sources. It is only from your internal peace or moving towards a goal or desire. What you moving towards it, you’re in alignment with the universe and you will be happy. So until next time, Namaste
Kushal Choksi, 911 survivor, shares his story of surviving the collapse of the, World Trade Center, and then asking the universe why he survived. What was his, purpose, when he stumbled onto, Sky Breath meditation, and, breathwork, as a healing modality from, trauma; he realized that he had found his purpose.
Kushal’s new book “On a Wing and A Prayer” tells his story.
Kushal’s thriving career as an analyst at Goldman Sachs was forever changed on September 11, 2001 as he made a split-moment decision to abandon his office and the co-workers who refused to leave the World Trade Center. Managing to narrowly escape, he witnessed the magnitude of death and destruction up close and was plunged into lengthy depression where he found himself believing life was meaningless.
His search for a renewed, purpose, began with a reluctant trip to a, breathwork, workshop and eventually turned into a decades-long journey of spiritual discovery, mind-blowing metaphysical experiences, and a fierce devotion to the life-altering benefits of mindfulness and meditation.
Today, Kushal and his wife run Elements Truffles, a New York-based artisanal chocolate company built on values of Ayurveda, sustainability, giving back and ethical trade. Kushal is a trainer of personal development, meditation, wellness, and leadership programs for the Art of Living Foundation. He has taught secrets of breathwork and meditation to thousands across the US, Europe, and Asia. And he serves on the US board of the International Association for Human Values (IAHV).
Let’s talk about what is “professional” today. On LinkedIn, important conversations are happening around what it means to be a professional. As the Host of the Transform Your Mind Podcast being professional means to me being respectful of my guests and their time.
Right now, LinkedIn members are talking about things like needing more flexibility around where we work, how we work, and even taking time away from work to focus on family or mental health.
Because those things should not stunt career development and growth. Instead, they should enhance it as we show up on our own terms.
Members are even putting what’s most important to them into their job titles, with things like: Podcast host-slash-activist-slash-mom.
I know I am going to update my job title to say Podcast host-lifecoach-realtor-wife-mom
Professional is ours to define. And our authentic self is our professional self. So, if your LinkedIn doesn’t reflect who you really are, update your job title.
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Myrna: How did surviving, 911, on, September 11, change your life? How did that tragedy make you more receptive to a new spiritual path of, mindfulness, breathwork, and, meditation?
Kushal: Great question. I think, you know, as I recall, the day started as any other day where I was on my way to work. And as I was coming out of the, the subway, in the bowels of the, world trade center, that’s when the pandemonium broke around me and I froze. In that moment, I didn’t know how to process all that. People were just running around, saying things that they understood, or they perceived, someone was saying a bomb had gone off.
Nobody really knew what was happening. Only one thing was evident, there was a fear, there was massive fear in the atmosphere. That’s all I really remember that it was unsafe to be outside. I stepped out and as I was looking at the building, trying to process what had just happened, another plane crashed into the South Tower. Of course, in that moment, it became clear that this was a more deliberate action.
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And what followed after that, people jumping in front of me, just to end it willfully, or the first responders going in, almost walking into their own end, you know, and it was all kind of very unexpected and very difficult to process. It felt like a scene from an apocalypse movie that you can almost imagine, but you never think you would be part of it, or you would be living it. And as I was running away from it, the second tower just collapsed. And by a stroke of luck, I had just jumped on a ferry on the other end of the island that was leaving Manhattan.
I ended up being the last person on the last ferry that left the island that day. At that moment, I realized that I turned into a statistic, that I was now a, 911 survivor. And, you know, that day kind of prepared me and laid a foundation for what was to come in my life. Part of me was feeling very grateful, very happy that I had, I made it out alive, and I survived these horrific attacks.
Finding purpose as a survivor of 911
So, there was an enthusiasm to finish the unfinished business. I used to work on Wall Street now, that American dream that I have come to pursue as an immigrant, I had to go out and create a new dream. An event like this was a wakeup call to find, purpose in life. It was something that shook me up from my reverie and made me ask a bigger question. What is my, purpose in life?
This was a life changing event, I talked to many people and I say maybe, 911, was an event for me, but I feel everyone has their own, 911. Whether they were when their world crashed. It was that day 20 years ago before a pandemic like what we’ve just been through?
Myrna: Yes, we all we all walk away from something. So, you weren’t at work yet when the planes crashed into the, world trade center? You were just coming out of the subway. Obviously, it wasn’t your time. Were you running late for work? Were you supposed to be at work on time?
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Making the decision to Go
Kushal: No, the security person was asking us to go back in the building. Because, if you stepped outside, just on the other side of that glass door, it was raining cement chips, that insulation from the wall that glass splinters, embers from the sky, it was like really unsafe. And so, he was asking people to stay inside, but in that moment, I decided to step out and go. A voice from behind me tap on my shoulder and say, Just go. And so yeah, that was my clothes in the dryer moment, because the building collapsed a few minutes later.
The aftermath of 911
After, September 11, I think I can paint a broad brush and what I had was, depression. I think, depression, follows lack of interest, but for me, it was it was exactly the opposite. I was feeling so grateful that I had a second lease on life. That I felt I had to go after whatever was unfinished with even more gusto. I have tremendous force of life in me. It’s just that I began questioning the, purpose of life, what’s really the point of this life. I was I was doing well in my career. I got married to my soulmate but what was my, purpose in life?
So, I wouldn’t really call it depression, but it was just, sometimes you are on autopilot. You’re on a conveyor belt, and you were just going with the force of life and then something hits you with a club in your head and makes you question is this conveyor belt right for you? That was the first time I questioned my, purpose in life.
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Myrna: All right, you found your, purpose, by going to a, breathwork, workshop and, breathwork, meditation, and that started your decades long journey in spiritual discovery. So why do you feel that proper breathing was so important to healing trauma? I don’t know if you felt that you were traumatized from that, but if we don’t want to use the word, trauma, why do you think that, breathwork, is so important to healing?
Kushal: I must confess that in the spirit of being very open and honest, that I did not go to that, breathwork, meditation, looking for, purpose. I was almost pushed into it against all my reluctance.
And so, the first time I meditated with, breathwork, with this teacher, this spiritual master, I was blown away. I had read all about keeping your mind in the, present moment, not thinking of the past or future just being in the, present moment. It was a fantastic, very well-read intellectual concept, lodged firmly in my head. But the first time did, breathwork, meditation, it became a tangible experience. That what it is to be in the, present moment, or what it is to have a mind without thoughts, or mind without an impulse. And that was the first time I experienced that.
Myrna: That is amazing, because most people take time to get there.
Kushal: I personally had tried it so many times before, and it didn’t go anywhere. I want to come to that, why that was the case. This time, I effortlessly got there. So, then I started looking for scientific validation. That left-brain person that I was, I started looking for all the scientific underpinnings of that practice, or that, breathwork, meditation, that I experienced. And then I realized that it was real deal.
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I think the balance of both, left brain, and, right brain, is important. I think that brain is logic, analysis. Intensity, right brain, is more flow state, you know, calm music, you know, all of that emotion. So, I think a balance of both a judicious balance of both is very important. Either end of the spectrum, you somewhat lead an unbalanced life. And you want to, I think you want to be walking the razor’s edge balances boredom.
Myrna: Why do you think that proper breathing aka, breathwork, heals your, trauma? Does it have to do with being in the, present moment, is that the doorway?
Kushal: There’s a deeper scientific kind of effect that’s happening on our nervous system. You know, any life experience that you go through, whether it’s pleasant or unpleasant, it leaves a lesion or a scuff mark on your nervous system. It leaves like a, an impression in your system somewhere. Let me give you an example of something so simple as wanting to have a coffee in the morning.
First day, somebody offered you a cup of coffee in the morning, oh, you say it is the greatest thing. And next day, when you look at coffee, you remember the experience you had before. And you say, I want coffee. Third day, you are going to go and switch on the coffee pot. And the next day, if you don’t have coffee in your apartment, that’s going to make you feel miserable.
Sky breath meditation
So something as innocent as a coffee has created a pattern, or a conditioning of your mind. Some of the traumatic events, or some of the events of loss or anything of that nature does a very similar thing. Seeing something similar that evokes that emotion, keeps taking you back to that emotion. You know, for the, for the longest time, every time I would remove my shoes at the airport, it would take me back to the morning of, 911.
That was an impression that, 911, had created in my mind, and now, any such related events, were taking them back to past, not letting me be in more in the, present moment.
The practice that I learned, this technique is called, Sky breath meditation. And what, sky breath meditation, does is harnessing the rhythm of your own, breath. It clears your nervous system of this debilitating impression. Impressions that hold you back, impressions that take you back into those moments that you don’t want to go back to.
So, the impressions make us, tied to our pass. So, what I experienced with, sky breath, was without effort.
You said a very beautiful thing earlier that I want to comment on, you said that you required visualization to move from, left brain, thinking to, right brain, thinking. Visualization, is an effort. Yes, not thinking of something or resisting thoughts is an effort. And as you know someone who is focused so much on, transforming the mind. You can’t control your mind from the level of your own mind.
Using breathwork meditation to calm the mind
Myrna: Exactly. You got it. You know, that’s the nature of the, mind. You cannot control it with your thoughts. Mind, does not subscribe, doesn’t listen to effort. Your body listens to effort. If you want to build muscles, you have to put effort, but, sky breath, is complete effortless.
Kushal: So, what this, chi breath, did was without effort, it cleared my impressions and effortlessly took my mind to a place which was meditative. I had I tried so hard to meditate but when I closed my eyes all the profound ideas about what I wanted to have for dinner, all these trivial things which entered my awareness to the point that I cannot meditate. But now, sky breath meditation, changed all that through the simple act of, breathwork breathing.
What is Ayurveda
Myrna: All right, awesome. All right. Now, you also talk about, Ayurveda, what exactly is that?
Kushal: Ayurveda, is just science of life. It’s also colloquially known as the sister science to, yoga. Yoga, focuses on body and mind. Ayurveda, focuses on nutrition, what you put inside your system. So, it focuses on achieving harmony, and balance, through your food, your food is your medicine. But unlike a lot of the trends these days, eg. keto or, paleo where you do certain things, and you definitely don’t do certain things, Ayurveda, is not restrictive.
Myrna: I don’t know why I have not actually investigated, Ayurveda, because Deepak Chopra and Sadhguru teaches about, Ayurveda.
Kushal: Ayurveda, has to do with the planet, it has to do with how we work with the seasons, it has to do with the time of the day. It’s all about bringing that balance, bringing that harmony in your system, through eating right at the right time, in the right amount. I realized that as I went deeper into my practice of, meditation, my nutrition automatically started aligning, aligning with what I recommended.
Okay, and it was very beautiful, it didn’t say, do this, don’t do this, it was never about that. And the minute someone says, don’t do this, I want to do that. So that’s why, Ayurveda, really resonated with me, because it said, do everything, just do it in the right amount at the right time. And mindfulness is about being aware, being mindful of what you do and eat.
Sky breath meditation and mindfulness
If you look at it scientifically, mindfulness, is a frontal cortex activity in your brain. And the research shows those people who practice, mindfulness, their frontal cortex is more developed. It is the thinking side of the brain. Mindfulness, keeps you at the surface level.
You turn off your mind, without effort. Turning off also requires effort. So, meditation, is not an act of doing anything but it’s just being and then you are in that state. You connect with yourself and, meditation, happen.
Use a tool like, Sky breath, or some, breathwork, techniques allows you to connect with yourself and the more you are in touch with yourself, the more resilient you automatically become. The more aware you are at every moment, the more what is important and what is not becomes very clear. So, you may have these memories, like for example, if you like how you asked me earlier, take us to that day, 911, 2011 I can close my eyes and I can see every little detail in crystal clarity, but does it does not have the same emotional garbage or that negative charge that it used to have.
On A Wing and A Prayer
Myrna: Tell us about your book On A Wing and A Prayer where you can they can get your book. Tell us about your website, tell us about your handle on social media, so they can connect with you and, and how they can actually connect with you to learn, sky breath meditation.
Kushal: Sure. The book is available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You can get it from my website, the links on my website, it’s my first name and last name www.KushalChoksi.com.
A lot of times if you believe it and pray about it your, Hollywood movie, will turn out exactly the way that you want it to be. If we use our imagination, we can create our, Hollywood ending. Think of that bad job you are in and create your, Hollywood movie, with your own, Hollywood ending with you in your dream job, in your dream relationship and your dream family. First you must have the baseline of, self-awareness, then you use your imagination to write the script. Where do I want to get to, what’s my goal? You are the Director, Producer and star of your Life Movie.
My guest today is Linda Flanders, Author of “Hollywood Endings and How to Get One”
Years ago, my pastor preached a message that when we’re born there is a blank page. We have a beginning, and we have an ending and in the middle we are supposed to write our story. We are the director of our life movie, producer and the Star in our, Hollywood ending.
Listen to the full interview Here
Writing your Hollywood Ending
Yes, you can create what you want with imagination an intention. The movie themes the world loves are few and simple; they are the themes that have been portrayed over and over since Hollywood began to make movies. These classics have the most wonderful endings: love overcomes all; good defeats evil; the wayward child comes home. Anyone can be a hero, and everyone has a Guardian Angel.
Hollywood Endings – Using Imagination and Intention is about self-awareness, recovery and enlightenment. It’s for anyone who has ever wanted or dreamed of having a “Hollywood ending.” It is for those of us who never had a role model to show us how it’s done. It celebrates the wonder of the movies and urges us to see movies once to be entertained, and then return to see them again to learn from them. We all deserve a Hollywood ending. This book can show you how with life lessons from Dances With Wolves, National Velvet, Die Hard, and The Color Purple, to name a few.
Rewrite your own story and give it a Hollywood ending.
Linda has been a, FeldenKrais, practitioner for 30 years and an independent video producer. Flanders and her sister Dr Dorothy Halla-Poe created the, matrix model, an innovative way to work with children’s atypical behavior and, learning disabilities. They specialized in using the, filmmaking, process as a learning and teaching tool, focusing on projects that are educational and promote social and personal change.
Myrna – I love the idea of using the, Hollywood movie, and, filmmaking, process as a learning tool to help children with, learning disabilities. Can you share how that works.
Linda – I am a, Feldenkrais, practitioner and have been for 30 years and while that particular mode of learning has to do with learning, self-awareness, and learning through options. I started working with young children who needed physical therapy and occupational therapy; but their behavior was such that they were absolutely out of control and scared the, physical therapist, on the, occupational therapist.
I started working with children behavior focusing specifically on self-awareness and self-control. If we have those two things, we can pretty much guide our own, Hollywood ending. If we do not have them, then we are vulnerable to so many awful things that can happen in our life. If we cannot control ourselves and become the, Director, in our own, Hollywood movie, somebody else is going to control us.
I started using making, movies, as a fun activity with children and what I found was that even with multiple, psychiatric labels, attached to them and very bizarre behaviors, they all listened to the, director, if they played a part in a, movie.
When they had a camera in their face and the, director, said do this; they did it without hesitation. No attitude or behavioral issues. The children also loved watching themselves over and over in their, Hollywood movie. Science has shown that kids watching themselves act a certain way reinforces new neural pathways in their brain of new behavior.
The, Feldenkrais method, is an educational way of learning to teach self-awareness.
Myrna – I understand the behavioral piece in making a, Hollywood movie; but I don’t understand how making a, movie, helps children with, learning disabilities.
Linda – In making our, Hollywood movie, I had them freeze for the camera while I ran around with the camera to a different angle, because that’s how a, Hollywood movie, is made.
The children had to be in the, present moment, and they had to control themselves from the inside out. That is the huge piece of, self-control, and if they can gain, self-control, then they’ve got a better opportunity in school to be able to learn the different topics that they needed to learn.
In making a, Hollywood movie, they became much more aware of themselves and what they could do and what they couldn’t do. When they fell apart and got angry or sad or wanted to be the star of the, Hollywood movie, those issued had to be worked out during the filming of the, movie.
Myrna – That’s great and innovative. I hope teachers who are listening will take some cues from you because now we all can make, Hollywood movies, with our cell phones!
The book teaches the science of, mindfulness, of paying attention to the moment, so you are fully present. In the science world this is called, neuroplasticity. Change your brain, change your life.
If we use our imagination, we can create our, Hollywood ending. You think of that bad job you are in and create your, Hollywood movie, with your own, Hollywood ending. First you must have the baseline of, self-awareness, then you use your imagination to write the script. Where do I want to get to, what’s my goal?
Your Hollywood Ending doesn’t have to be romantic
The idea of the, Hollywood ending, is not necessarily a romantic one, it could be any goal you have. If you reach that goal that’s a, Hollywood ending.
Myrna – When you were talking my mind went directly to the, Hollywood movie, Pretty Woman.
The movie started with the words, Hollywood, where dreams were made, anything is possible in, Hollywood! It ended with the same words.
But in the movie specifically Julia Roberts had a dream. She had a dream of her own, Hollywood ending. She actually told Richard Gere in the movie hey “all the time I was dreaming you about my Prince Charming, I would dream I would be locked up into this room in this castle and the prince would climb up and he would rescue me. Nowhere in my, Hollywood ending, did he say I’m going to put you up in a condo as my mistress.
It’s really true, if you’ve got a goal and you’ve got a dream of your movie of life having a, Hollywood ending, it’s very hard for someone to knock you off of it. Which is why she didn’t accept that offer which she said was a good offer for a girl like her.
She had gained, self-awareness, in that whole process of being a highly paid call girl for a week.
Linda – In the book I do explain the three systems of the brain. I’m not a, neuroscientist; but the information’s out there, I simply simplified it.
The Brain Systems
The producer brain, because without a producer you don’t have a, Hollywood movie. The producer brain is the, reptilian brain, and that keeps us breathing. It keeps our heart beating. So, we don’t have a lot of control over that one
The, limbic system, is the home of the emotions and we can live there we can, but we can also get stuck there. You can become a drama queen always reacting to life instead of working in the direction we want to go.
The cerebral cortex, the Director brain. That’s where we plan, where we use our own judgment, where we use our common sense, our reasoning.
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There’s another movie that Julia Roberts was in called “Sleeping with the Enemy” where she is in a very abusive domestic violence situation. I talk about that movie in my book, because if you can’t leave a situation, you can watch that movie and get ideas to leave your situation.
In the, Hollywood movie, she planned her escape. She learnt to swim, she selected her disguises so her husband could not find her, she picked a place that she would live. She imagined her, Hollywood ending. She set all the pieces in order first, then she made her escape and that’s what I’m teaching in the book. We could use, Hollywood movies, and our imagination to write our own, Hollywood ending.
Myrna – So you want readers to walk away with the vision that they can direct their lives. They can plan it out, they can be a director, the producer of their own lives, because their life is like a, Hollywood movie.
Linda – Yes, each chapter there is a list of a few things to do. The first one is go watch a, Hollywood movie, but I want you to watch this movie through this lens, so that you’re watching the movie from a different perspective. You’re gaining awareness from watching that movie. For example in the, Hollywood movie, Die Hard, with Bruce Willis.
In that movie there are places where Bruce Willis is so emotionally distraught, that he’s not thinking. He throws some C4 down an elevator chute without recognizing that it’s gonna explode and where’s that explosion gonna come? It’s gonna come right back up the chute into his face. That’s an example of us doing something without thinking of the consequences which blows up in our face.
Myrna – I don’t know much about movies or directing, but I know as a, Life coach, I always teach that we’re the director of our own lives, because we make the decisions and direct our choices.
What is the FeldenKrais Method
One of the things within, Feldenkrais model, is taught through movement. We teach awareness, options and choice, but these lessons are taught through the avenue of movement. One of the classic lessons in the, Feldenkrais, community is called a pelvic clock. It’s the ability to get your pelvis moving in all the different directions of a clock. It’s better to be able to move a little bit in all these directions than a whole lot just one way, so it’s definitely the opposite of one-way thinking.
In my work with children I teach them how to create a clock from clay. They have to make the clock and they have to make the one, two, three, four all the way to twelve. Then they have to make a little person and put the person in the center of the clock. The idea what if you altered your behavior just a little bit. Just a little bit to move to the next number on the clock. Step by step by step. You don’t have to stop doing something just change it a little bit.
It could be drug use, overeating or alcohol in adults. The idea is its okay if you can’t completely stop drinking but can you cut back a little bit with awareness. If you can’t make a small change, then you become aware that you have a real problem.
It’s this intertwining of movement and thinking with our emotions that get tied up in this knot and through the Feldenkrais method of movement and awareness you can break those up and then make small changes. Transformation comes faster because you’ve incorporated movement as well as thinking and emotions.
FeldenKrais Method uses movement to achieve change
Myrna – Yes that is the mind and body connection as taught in Yoga.
Linda – If we want to become the director in our own, Hollywood movie, then this is simply a way that we can do it. Shakespeare said that “the whole world is a stage and we’re just actors on it”
Myrna – In this day and age everybody’s got a camera, people are making big money just recording on their smart phones. You do not need the big fancy movie camera to record your own, Hollywood movie.
Free Feldenkrais Summit
From May 1st through May 10th there is a free online Feldenkrais summit that you want to invite our listeners and TV audience.
It’s an international summit, so for those whole two weeks you have presentations that come from, Feldenkrais, practitioners around the world who have taken their work and specialized in it. You can learn about using this method to help with trauma. There is trauma from anyone who is victimized and has been traumatized.
Some have taken, Feldenkrais, into working with world-class athletes and top performers.
Some have taken it literally into working with animals. Linda Tellington Jones can do amazing things with animals.
I took it into behavior, so it could be applied in a whole bunch of different ways.
So, the summit has all these different international speakers. It is literally 24 hours of
Feldonkrais, awareness through movement.
It’s all free so it’s an opportunity for people to experience the, Feldenkrais method, and break up those muscular patterns so you can feel better. Because when you move better, you can feel better.
In closing a, Hollywood movie, I am going to suggest everybody go watch the, Hollywood movie, Baby Boom with Diane Keaton because in an instant she a New York executive and literally overnight she becomes a single parent of a toddler who had lost her parents.
She took the circumstances of her life and created her own, Hollywood ending.
It you found this content inspirational, Please remember to subscribe and leave a review on iTunes. You are invited to join my private Facebook Group called “Lifecoach”
There have been thousands of research studies around the benefits of, consciousness, and, mindfulness. That research is ongoing, it’s all about, mindfulness for stress reduction, mindfulness for depression or anxiety.
My guest today is Charlie Hartwell, a Change Agent and Operating Partner at Bridge Builders Collaborative. Today we are going to be speaking on the topic “Funding the Global Movement towards, Consciousness, and Awareness”.
Listen to the Interview
Charlie is a Change Agent who shepherds ideas, resources and talent to drive global sustainable growth. Passionate about transformation and innovation, he is a leader who ignites teams to accomplish remarkable results. Charlie is also a Harvard Business School graduate and has led various roles in 14 different industries over his career.
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Myrna – I know business school teaches you about business. Why did you settle on the, consciousness, and mental awareness, part of business?
Charlie – I have to say my wife got me into it. You’ll probably hear about my wife a lot on this interview. I describe her as the wisdom of our family. My wife has been in the, consciousness, and, spirituality, space for 40 years, in various roles. She was also involved with The Mind and Life Institute. The Mind and life Institute was founded by a Stanford MBA, a Chilean neuro scientist and the Dalai Lama and proves through science the benefits of contemplative practices like, mindfulness, consciousness, mental awareness, etc. The organization’s started 40 years ago and my wife became involved about 14 or 15 years ago. She introduced me to the organization and the investors who started Bridge Builders Collaborative. They wanted to understand the science behind, mindfulness, and mind training. They needed someone to go out and find out whether there were investments for, consciousness, and, mental awareness, so they hired me to do that work for them; that was about nine years ago.
Myrna – Okay that’s great! Okay so 40 years, that’s a long time to be in the, consciousness, space. Do you practice, mindfulness, yourself or are you just involved in the business aspect of it?
Charlie – I would say yes, I practice, mindfulness. I had my own experience, before starting this job. I might even call it my own awakening. It caused a deepening of my own, consciousness, and awareness.
There have been thousands of research studies around the benefits of, consciousness, and, mindfulness. That research is ongoing, it’s all about, mindfulness for stress reduction, mindfulness for depression or anxiety. Mindfulness, has been studied around the world by leading institutions, and that is when it got to a point where we thought there was enough validation, that’s really when entrepreneurs started to ask the question. How can we take this, mindfulness, and conscious awareness and create a company out of it, and help bring it to more people in the world?
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Myrna – Consciousness, and, mindfulness, are experiencing a Global Movement. I was listening to, Sadhguru, on the School of Greatness Podcast and he was discussing his book Inner Engineering. So I went out and purchased, Sadhguru’s, book Inner Engineering and this morning on my morning walk, I started listening to this book. Just the first chapter of Inner Engineering, blew me away. Sadhguru, talked about how he would go into a trance like state with his eyes open and sit there for hours. How he could feel his digestion! It was amazing.
Charlie why do you believe there’s a global movement towards, consciousness, and, spirituality? We talked about the benefits of, mindfulness, do you think that the East is coming to the West?
Charlie – First of all, I just want to say I love, Sadhguru. I owe him and I love the man very deeply. Secondly my own perspective, I don’t claim to be right on this; my own perspective is that there is such a level of stress and suffering in the world, that Eastern practices like Buddhism are filling a need. We have to reduce suffering, we have to reduce stress and anxiety, and, consciousness, and, mindfulness, are tools that are coming to help people in the United States and around the world. These, consciousness, tools help people to get more in touch with themselves. To help them to connect more deeply to themselves and hopefully help them live happier, healthier and more authentic lives.
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Myrna – That’s was the first part of, Sadhguru’s, book. How to find joy. Sadhguru, made the comment that in the olden days, people were stressed because they were hungry and it was all about survival; but once your belly is full, you should be happy because, that’s usually the survival part of life. Sadhguru, went on to say that now that our bellies are full and we are the most privileged people in history, we are more unhappy and stressed than our ancestors!
Charlie – That’s where programs about stress reduction and, mindfulness, come into play. It’s a great endeavor to fund more of these companies, so that a lot more people can have access to these tools. They won’t have to go to India, which is where the majority of these teachings originates, they can access these companies in the United States and that is where your company comes in.
Strategy for Funding Consciousness
Myrna – So, let’s talk about what your strategy is to invest in companies by helping them allow people to go deeper into, consciousness, and mental awareness. Tell us about your company and how you help investors.
Charlie – When we make an investment, we try to add value to those investments in several different ways, The first way is through what I would call counsel. My partners and business leaders, who have led in many different industries, have start-up experience or have invested in many companies; so they have the wisdom to provide the entrepreneur with help that entrepreneur be more successful.
The second thing we do is because we are so connected in the space, we’re the only investors that are solely focused on the, consciousness, and, mindfulness, space; so we know many of the world’s leading spiritual teachers. We also know many of the world’s scientists, we are also connected into the healthcare system. We’re connected to other entrepreneurs and investors, so we add connections that help make introductions that help the entrepreneurs in several different ways.
Thirdly, we’ve developed a really good reputation for being investors that not only care about making money; but we care about making an impact in the world. So, if we invest in someone, it adds to their credibility.
Finally our purpose is to provide capital or cash that helps the entrepreneur to hire people, do marketing campaigns, build platforms etc. but that’s the least important to us.
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Myrna – Well that’s great! So, coaching, counseling, you introduce them to the leading scientists, spiritual leaders like, Sadhguru, and then you provide cash. Nice, so how does someone find you? Or how do you go about selecting the companies that you want to invest in?
Charlie – People tend to find us because we’re known in this space. Our website is BB collaborative and we tend to use as a funnel and our screening process.
Nine Steps to Funding a Consciousness Business
When somebody comes to me with a business idea, it’s normally because they’ve started their business.
They’ve got their first customers.
They’ve got revenue coming in the door and we provide the growth capital. That’s what I look for.
Then we ask the question if our investors were to invest in this company, what is the impact that we can make on a global scale?
Next what’s the science behind the product? We try to do an assessment, if the science is good or where are the holes in the science.
We also look at the entrepreneur. do an assessment if the entrepreneur themselves is conscious, if the entrepreneur is vulnerable and is willing to do their own personal work, is willing to let go of ego.
Are they skilled at running a business and being able to grow that business.
Is the product differentiated? Is there a need for it?
Lastly we look at if we invest in this product, How much potential money can we make from it? How can the company be sustainable? Can it provide returns on our capital? How much of a return can shareholder expect?
Myrna – I like what you said about wanting to know the science behind a project. Can you give me an example of one of your investments that would maybe fit this model?
Companies using Science to promote Global, Consciousness
Charlie – I’ll give you a few different examples. I’m on the board of Muse Guided Meditations. I am passionate about that company. We’ve been investors for seven years. A lot of people have heard of a company called Headspace. We were one of the early investors in Headspace. The company has done a great job of rebranding meditation and making it accessible to the modern world actually. Sadhguru, is on the platform.
It’s a global community of 7,000 spiritual teachers, musicians, scientists that meet on a platform community of sixteen million. About five hundred thousand people use it every day. What I like about this platform is that it’s all free. It’s free content. There are forty five thousand meditations that are available for free. You could subscribe if you want special features; but you never have to pay for the service and you can connect with the world’s leading spiritual teachers and find content that suits either your spiritual tradition or the specific teacher that you want. It’s a very diverse group of teachers, 44 teachers are teaching in 44 different language and it’s global.
I’ll just mention you know another company called ‘Happify’ which is kind of a behavioral health platform for, mindfulness, positive psychology, and cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s an app and they kind of gamified the experience. They’re actually going through the FDA process to become a digital therapeutic program; so that it can be prescribed by doctors and reimbursed by insurance companies. They are hoping to be able to treat actual conditions without taking as many drugs.
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Myrna – So that’s so that’s beautiful! I’m definitely going to try Headspace. I’m thinking that it’s almost the same thing as Muse. No?
Charlie – Muse is a hardware device where you could see your brainwaves. It allows you to basically see whether you’re in a calm or focused state. It connects to your phone. Headspace is more just like a meditation app, it doesn’t have a hardware component to it.
Myrna – As we wrap up the interview I’m curious to hear about how you started a non-profit in the slums or poverty-stricken areas of Nairobi Kenya that has served three to five million patients so far. Can you tell us about that? Is that also part of the Global, consciousness, and, spirituality, movement?
Charlie – So, in 1986 I’d gotten out of college, I was traveling around the world. I was kind of working weird jobs and in remote places and the last place that I landed was in Nairobi, where I worked as a social worker for like three months. I learned that I didn’t like Social Work at all. I wasn’t good at it, and yet I became passionate about the continent of Africa. I wanted to do something to help create change, I knew it wasn’t going to be through social work but, you know the best way I could think of to try to help people was to start a business. I had a co-founder, a Kenyan who I co-founded the organization with and one other guy that I went to college with, and we started this organization called Provide international. It started as a child feeding program then we started a business loan program for women entrepreneurs, not necessarily in the, consciousness, or, mindfulness, space.
Then we discovered that what the community was asking for was a health care organization; so we started a health care organization.
They had the first maternity wards in any poverty-stricken areas of Africa that I know about, we had the first ambulance.
We had one of only two ambulances in the entire country of Kenya.
They had the first eye doctors and dentists in those areas. After 9 years, I decided to turn it over to the Kenyan, so they could run it themselves not have Americans overseeing them.
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I went back you 30 years later for the anniversary and they had seven centers, they treated millions of patients. They’d been very successful at helping to bring health care into the communities. I was proud of what they had accomplished.
Myrna – How can people find you to request funding?
Charlie – People can find me at you know on LinkedIn at Charlie Hartwell. I have a medium blog and I write articles on, mindfulness, and, consciousness.
Myrna – All right so, I don’t have anything more. I just wanted to thank you for coming on the show and expanding our, consciousness, on how we can possibly build our inner engineering with, mindfulness, and have a global impact in the world. We start by changing ourselves first so, once we change ourselves or we change internally, then we can contribute to the global movement towards spirituality.
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