The Age of Self-Promotion

Painters. Writers. Singers. Yoga Teachers. Life Coaches. Philosophers. Sober Mothers. Charismatic Children. Doctors. Teachers. Matchmakers. Psychics. And Many, Many More people with charisma, skill, expertise, knowledge, experience… basically, who have something to Offer to the World. They don’t Need to be Fantastic, but what they Are, Matters.

But is all they are #Enough? Not really, according to the General standard! Because The World Doesn’t KNOW about them! Not unless they learn to Promote themselves on Social Media!!

Today, you’re expected to have the carefully developed ability to gather Your All into an ever-flowing basket of Wow, and then shine the fuck out of it with a bright, almost dazzlingly blinding digital light in order to Get Somewhere or Be Someone.

Just to Be Someone whose worth is Recognised.

Join the Be a STORYTELLER/
BS Your WAy To Fame CHALLENGE Now!

Getting Somewhere and Being Someone is a Desperate Act.

It involves:

a) Not feeling that what you Are & have to Offer is anywhere close to Enough.
b) Obsessively Questioning your Uniqueness and Individuality in the ugliest of ways as you find yourself afloat in a sea of Others Exactly Like You (or so you are eventually made to believe) who are seeking a way to Do Something and Be Someone with their Passion, Dreams and Abilities.
c) Realising through scientifically-staged, contemporary conditioning that you have to follow endless cycles of Disciplined (smiling & healthy-gut) Study, Conversations and Research into how Workshops, Coaching, Seminars, Networking and (cringe,) Challenges can Change Your Life FOR FREE (5 minute Freedom) for the better!!
d) Enrolling in said areas of ‘Betterment-Training’ in the desperate Hope of finally managing to pursue your Passion and Dreams with (double cheesy cringe,) ‘Success’.
e) Realising that after having followed such workshops (and I mean after-after, as in, after the initial high that makes you feel you’ve Got It! and Conquered the World of Doubt or Worthlessness… or Will Do, Very Soon) all you feel is Hopeless, Overwhelmed and Confused.
f) That you have Lost your Intial Verve and Pure Unadulterated Intent because suddenly Expressing Your Soul has become a Complexly Contrived procedure.
gee) Taking on Yet Another Job that Doesn’t Pay in Any Proper Way and has nothing to do with your true Essence. A job, that proves to be an additional part of a Mad Juggling Act you perform like the Cat in the Hat balancing on tip-toes on a ball, and is not one that suits you at all! It has nothing to do with What You Do, and What You Did Do no longer feels True.

La La La, Laaa! Here I Come! (Internal Inferno)

But This is our Reality today. One in which the inherent Perfection of what drives us to be Alive and what Gift we can Truly Offer often goes astray. One in which we are consistently told that we are enough, but actually, we are not, Unless. In which people care about us, but we have to Brand Ourselves like tortured cows and Learn Storytelling (no, not the one you’ve enjoyed all your life, with colours and sounds and shades and textures imbued by the stories you’ve gathered throughout your life, the Regular Paid Version!) in order to Engage in a horrible Lying Process so that you can Create a Community (no, your Actual Community means Nothing. Unless they like Sharing Your Posts). Basically, one in which everything that was once Sacred, Natural and Organic has now become Soulless, Formulaic and Forced.

And dontcha forget it! Bing!

And so, paradoxically we see streams of flaccid-hearted, excruciatingly vain and self-indulgent folks who never had any real Talent, Passion, Skill or Vision learning formulas in order to cash in And feel better about their empty lives, while people who have a vision but don’t know how to – or don’t Want To Know How To Sell it, lie on the curb staring at a patch of stars and wishing they could Return “Home”, as they are increasingly convinced (and very possibly actually are correct in being so) that they’re talking to an alien world where they would probably feel more Welcome and Alive.

From a painfully brilliant, satyrical series by Psychotherapist Johan Deckmann.

Surely, this Perversionof Purposefulness is just a Phase in Humanity‘s (I use the following word with hope rather than conviction) ‘Evolution’? Can we, as in those of us who realise and care about, the ludicrous direction our world has taken, look forward to ANY New Awareness that honours the Spirit of Creation and Doing on any level that’s significant Enough to not expect a website and several well-followed social media accounts to go with it?

You tell me. If you’re Good at Commenting. Or Storytelling.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35mQ29Cj-og

the stoic anxiety cure

Democracy, medicine, philosophy, science, technology, athleticism, gastronomy, art… all these are constructs that people today still strongly connect to ancient Greek culture, where many of these concepts and practices were born and developed in highly sophisticated ways. However, we don’t often relate ancient Greek philosophy with modern psychology; and many of us are not aware that Socrates‘ teachings on Stoicism actually form the basis of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), an effective modern tool used widely today to treat psychological issues. It has proven so effective that in the UK, the National Health System offers it for free.

Visiting Athens for the first time from his home in Canada (although he is Scottish by nationality), Donald Robertson, a CBT Therapist and the author of six books, the latest titled ‘How To Think Like A Roman Emperor’, has dedicated the last 15 years of his career combining CBT with Stoicism. He is the founding member of a non-profit organization called Modern Stoicism, run by a team of philosophers, classicists, and cognitive psychotherapists.  Annually, they offer Stoic Week, a free online course every year that this year had over 8,000 participants from around the world. They also run a one-month intensive course called Stoic Mindfulness and Resilience Training (SMRT).

“CBT is the dominant evidence-based form of psychotherapy today,” Roberston says. “The pioneers of this approach, Albert Ellis and Aaron T. Beck, were both originally inspired by Stoic philosophy. Most importantly, both approaches are based on the shared premise that our ‘cognitions’ or thoughts or beliefs are caused mainly (if not entirely) by our underlying beliefs.”

“Once we can recognize that feelings involve beliefs then we can start questioning what exactly those beliefs are, evaluating whether they’re true or false, helpful or unhelpful, and confirm or disprove them. So the cognitive model of emotion opens up a whole new toolbox for therapists – but the Stoics knew this over two thousand years ago,” he says.  However, he adds, “CBT is mainly a remedy for existing problems, such as anxiety and depression, and it’s designed to be a short-term approach, while Stoicism is a whole philosophy of life. It’s permanent, and it’s designed to be preventative as well as therapeutic – so it’s much broader in scope.”

Robertson’s successful techniques of combining Stoicism and CBT have generated a huge following globally, currently at around 45,000 individuals from all backgrounds reaping rewards from his teachings. Stoicism has been adopted in the modern age by sportspeople, the military, psychologists and academics as well as ordinary people who find it can offer great improvements in their everyday life.

I ask Robertson what the appeal is. “Ordinary anxiety and depression have become a part of human life and even the more severe forms, the actual psychiatric disorders, are becoming increasingly common. Recent research shows that just over 50% of people in the USA now have a history (“lifetime prevalence”) of mental health problems. We used to call psychiatry “abnormal psychology” but psychological disorders have effectively become today’s normal psychology.”

“Nobody knows exactly why that’s happening; it’s probably due to a number of different factors, though. Many people today feel isolated and lack support from friends and family when it comes to coping with stressful situations. Unless they have access to a psychotherapist, individuals are increasingly forced to help themselves get through tough times. Stoicism offers methods of self-improvement and emotional resilience-building. However, it also provides a philosophy of life, which can give people a much-needed sense of meaning and direction.”

Donald Robertson’s top five guidelines for
using Stoicism to improve our everyday life.

1. The dichotomy of control: choices vs accidents.  The opening sentence of the Stoic Handbook of Epictetus says “Some things are up to us and other things are not.” Learn to clearly define your sphere of control: take more responsibility for the things that you do and learn to be more indifferent toward things that merely happen to you.

2. Cognitive distancing: what you see is what you get.  Perhaps the most famous Stoic quote comes a few lines later in the same book: “It’s not things that upset us but our judgements about things.” We should remember that it’s mainly our own value judgements that shape our emotions rather than the external events that befall us.

3. Objective representation: cut the drama.  Stoics were known for speaking concisely (Laconically) and describing things in a matter-of-fact way, without emotive rhetoric or strong value judgements – Epictetus says just stick to the facts without adding an exclamation like “Oh no!

4. Premeditation of adversity: guard yourself cooly. The Stoics were known for picturing setbacks in advance in order to rehearse coping with them, which people sometimes call “negative visualization” today – although you have to be careful to do this patiently and to view the event with indifference rather than as something genuinely negative. 

  1. The View from Above: see the forest not the tree.  Sometimes also described as a “comprehensive representation”, the Stoics encourage us to view upsetting events within the bigger picture. We’re to picture them from high above like the gods looking down from Mount Olympus, or we can go even further and imagine our current predicament as a tiny speck in relation to the whole of space and time.

     

Donal Robertson’s website:

donaldrobertson.name

Modern Stoicism

modernstoicism.com

A video of a talk Robertson gave recently explaining Stoicism briefly:

https://learn.modernstoicism.com/courses/218092/lectures/3811597

 

Greek Australian Author (Palimsest & This Is Not A Love Story) Kathryn Koromilas tried Stoic Week 2018 and writes about her experience here:

   

I completed the questionnaires for Stoic Week 2018. Life satisfaction score: low. Flourishing score: very low. Stoic attitudes and beliefs: none. Still, I was determined to start living like a Stoic.

Thus, I began. Every morning, before sunrise, I walked outside and, under the stars and sky, contemplated how small and insignificant I was. At midday, I strolled through a cemetery, imagined my imminent death and how I would soon be forgotten. At night, I reflected on my day, reminded myself that I have limited time and let that determine what I would do, say, and think the next day; if it came. Stoic practice can seem a little morbid, but you’d be surprised how all this death contemplation instantly helps clarify what I can control and what I ought to be doing.

At the end of the week, my satisfaction and flourishing scores were higher, and I had adopted some serious Stoic attitudes. But this is no miracle cure. I’d studied the Stoics at university and in my 20s, and then promptly forgot all about them years later when I really needed them.

The thing about Stoic philosophy is that you can’t do it all from an armchair. You’ve got to do some hard work. Apart from reading and thinking, you’ve got to meditate, you’ve got to write things down and memorize maxims to help when you face an unexpected crisis, and you’ve got to go out and dialogue with other human beings. And, then, you’ve got to get up and do it all again, every day, throughout the day. You’ve got to live the philosophy.

Kathryn Koromilas is a writer who leads the Stoic Writing Scene and The Stoic Writer, and Vlogged about participating in Stoic Week 2018.

** For reference, the embedded links above are:

Kathryn Koromilas – https://kathrynkoromilas.com

Stoic Writing Scene — https://www.facebook.com/groups/stoicscene

The Stoic Writer — https://thestoicwriter.com/

Vlog — https://www.youtube.com/KathrynKoromilas?sub_confirmation=1


AS FIRST PUBLISHED IN GREEKCITYTIMES.COM 

 

amazing ways to start the day

In Greece people use the saying “how your day will turn out is shown from the morning”; personally I’m not a fan of this saying because it suggests superstitious thinking and if believed, can essentially determine one’s mood for the entire day if the morning proves particularly unpleasant. I prefer to think that any moment of the day, regardless of what has passed before, is a moment when we can hopefully start afresh and change its course for the better. However, the positive habits and rituals that we dedicate ourselves to in the morning can indeed help boost our state of mind, mood, physical resilience and flexibility and overall outlook so that the day ahead flows in a more upbeat, dynamic and enjoyable way. The tips I will write here come from years of research – books, websites, interviews and of course tried and tested techniques to which I’ve added my own touches and wanted to share with you. As the mom of a preschooler I’m well aware that there is often little time to spend doing some of these morning rituals, but if you can slip in even a few minutes of some of them or one on different days, or do some after you’ve dropped your kid/s off to school, a little later in the morning, that will still make a positive difference.

So as Maria said in The Sound of Music, “Let’s start from the very beginning!” at the exact point that you wake up (either because your child has decided to tap you on the shoulder and offer you a handful of slime that he has “cooked” for your breakfast or because your alarm clock just rang so you can get your ass to work or because, oh you lucky blessed one, you have had a full night’s sleep and have woken up naturally).

Give Thanks

Whether you can lie in bed for half an hour meditating on gratitude or just speedily run through a quick list in your mind of the top things you are grateful for – even that your little one thoughtfully “cooked you some slime for breakfast”, that you are still here, that it’s a new start to your life, that you have a bed to sleep in and clothes to wear, hot water to shower in or food to eat, gratitude is the highest vibration to connect with at any time, and especially at the start of your day. “Acknowledging the good you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance,” according to Eckhart Tolle. Even if you wake up feeling particularly miserable and disgruntled with life, go deep to findat least one thing that you are thankful for – maybe simply that you are breathing!

Stretch

Whether you do a full yoga session or just a few Winnie The Pooh stretches up and down, or stretch your body out in bed into a star shape and upon sitting up at the edge of your bed let yourself do some backward twists to flex your spine, a little stretching goes a long way to reawakening your body and gently releasing any stiffness from your sleep. After saying good morning to our dog, who in turn taps her tail enthusiastically onto the wooden floor in response, my son and I greet her in a quick downward dog and she gets up to do her own natural stretch to mirror us. This makes stretching fun and easy.

 

Body Brushing


Body brushing, also known as dry brushing, is a fantastic way to exfoliate your skin and open your pores (that’s why it’s best pre-shower) while also activating your lymphatic drainage system and kickstarting your circulation. For vanity’s sake, it has been shown to firm skin and reduces cellulite, while on a more medicinal level it helps release small aches and pains by causing your energy to flow more freely. Starting at the soles of your feet, brush in firm strokes upward along the inside and then all other sides of your legs, then your bottom, then in a circular direction on your belly area, up your back, up your arms and up from above the breasts in the chest area. 

Tongue scraping
While you sleep, a layer of toxins rises and forms on the surface of your tongue. That can indeed make one cringe at the thought of a morning snog (though it may be well worth it and offer other benefits!). Instead of swallowing them all back into your organism again, the ideal thing to do is to use a tongue scraper or even the back, non-cutting side of a knife or a spoon to gently but firmly scrape the sludge off and rinse it away, several times, before even brushing your teeth (because brushing your teeth before doing this will again involve spreading all the stuff from your tongue all over your mouth). I know it’s icky, and several people I’ve recommended this Ayurvedic practise to have told me they tried it once and felt so disgusted they couldn’t do it again. But. Isn’t it better to remove it? I find it far ickier to swallow it all back down! And I can guarantee that it helps – on mornings after a night out when I’ve had a few glasses of wine, for example, as soon as I do the tongue scraping I feel my mind clear (not completely of course, if I’m particularly foggy-headed, but significantly!).

Enjoy your shower

For me, a complete hydrophile, hydroholic and water baby, showering is a wonderful ritual both morning and night. It cleanses us of stale energy, refreshes our mind and, whether you are using soap or not, offers the chance to massage our body. It’s also a great time to repeat your favourite affirmation for the day, or just sing! Make sure to splash a lot of cold water on your face as well, as this activates the vegus nerve, which lifts your mood, clears your mind and strengthens your immune system.

Colon-cleansing drinks
For 10 days at a time every two or three months, I follow one of these rituals, which help cleanse the intestine, which is the basis of our overall health, by reducing the bad bacteria and detoxifying.

  1. Psyllium husk water: In a tall glass of water add a heaped teaspoon of psyllium husk and stir very very well. Drink it all down at once, and then follow that by drinking yet another glass of plain water. The psyllium swells (like linseed or chia) and becomes gelatinous inside the intestines, absorbing toxins, fats, mucus and harmful bacteria which are then released in your stools. This is a good ritual to do for restoring gut health, especially if you are trying to lose weight, as it also creates a sense of fullness. Only do this in the morning, on an empty stomach, and wait around 15 minutes to half an hour before eating.
  2. Apple cider vinegar water: Add 1 tbsp of organic, unpasteurised (fermented) apple cider vinegar to a glass of tepid water and sip slowly. I just take it around with me and take sips as I’m getting ready. This too detoxifies the intestine, balances your pH, decreases blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol and boosts gut health.

Another common morning drink is warm water with a big squeeze of lemon, and some like to add a teaspoon of organic honey, both of which are packed of nutrients (like vitamin C and antioxidants) and help balance and kickstart the gut.

Power smoothie
There are endless recipes to find online for great breakfast smoothies – from green juices to elaborate fruit and vegetable concoctions, but I’m writing my favourite tried and tested rituals here so these two are the best I’ve tried:

1. For a foggy head and tiredness: a shot of juiced ginger with a big squeeze of lemon and a pinch of cayenne. Fortunately, I don’t need this very often, but it’s definitely a zingy way to start the day.

2. Super-tonic milkshake:
I like my chocolate drinks (chocolate-everything!), but this is the adult, supersonic tonic version, with a few alternate renditions. In a blender add almond, hazelnut or other milk of choice, a heaped tablespoon of raw cacao (high in antioxidants), a heaped tablespoon of adaptogenic powder such as ashwagandha (this is an especially great for women, widely used in Ayurveda as the top health tonic, as it helps reduce stress, balance hormones, offer energy and strengthen immunity – at night it’s great in a warm milk with turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom and honey) or maca powder (energy booster and even a sexual tonic) or astragalus powder (widely used in China as an immune-system booster), a teaspoon of cinammon (blood cleansing, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, boosts digestive health), a pinch of cayenne pepper (if you like heat) for heart health, a tablespoon of crushed linseeds (packed with Omega 3s) and a shot of espresso (wakey wakey!). Blend all the ingredients with a couple of ice cubes and hey presto! Another version is to exclude the cinnamon and cayenne and instead add a few tablespoons of nut butter – peanut, tahini, hazelnut, whatever you like, for extra protein and other nutty benefits. Yet another option is to add half an avocado and a banana as well, both packed with heart-healthy fats, collagen, B6 and other mood-enhancing vitamins and minerals like potassium and magnesium). Mixed frozen red berries are also high in antioxidants and vitamin C and mix well with chocolate.

Prepare your medicinal tea

While pottering around the kitchen preparing breakfast and tidying up, I always make time to boil a full kettle and prepare a large jug of herbal tea that I will refrigerate and sip in an ice-packed glass throughout the day (if you’re living in a cold country you can simply skip the ice and sip at room temperature, or add a bit of boiling water to your cp to heat it up before drinking if you want it hot). The key ingredient is the amazing herb that Greeks have used since ancient times because of its high iron content and mightly antioxidant content, Mountain Tea, called Tsai tou Vounou, which recent global studies have proven is also an amazing preventative herbal medicine for Alzheimer’s and dementia. I usually add fresh or dried mint and lemon verbena in summer or chamomile, linden and a stick of cinnamon in winter.

Another jug you can prepare to refrigerate is with vitamin water – just water (ideally filtered) that has chunks of any well-cleaned, ideally bio fruit and herbs chopped into it. The vitamins and minerals from the fruit and herbs will infuse into the water so when you drink a glass of it you’ll get a healthy, refreshing boost.

Walk your walk

I live in a hilly urban landscape and walk my son to school and honestly, that half hour daily up and down walk makes the world of difference to my day. If I were to start the day by just sitting at my computer I know I would feel completely different (as I mentioned in my introduction, everything I write here is tried and tested!). If you are a parent and your kids take the bus to school, try and find a way to add a half hour walk to your morning – if you are commuting to work get off a few stops earlier, if you work from home push yourself to go around the block a few times or let yourself explore different parts of your neighbourhood. If you have plenty of free time, hop on a bus or metro and get out in a place you’ve never visited and just walk around to discover something new.

Meditate or daydream while you do morning chores

I have around 20 plants on my balcony and as I water them with the hose I stop at each one, really trying to observe its individual beauty with my eyes, and speak my favourite affirmation, which I repeat to each plant as I water it (hopefully the plants don’t get together at night and bitch about me! ;)). This way I’m sharing my wishes and affirming to myself at the same time, by offering the plants their sustenance. I also like to talk with myself (it’s apparently more of a sign of genius than madness, haha) or visualize about my dreams, goals and projects while I’m doing mundane things like washing the dishes, chopping vegetables or sweeping. This is all meditational practice – who said you have to sit in the lotus position and chant Om to meditate? Meditating doesn’t need to have a direct spiritual purpose either – you could be letting yourself zen out while feeling the sudsy lather on your hands under the warm running water while you wash the dishes, and in that moment of sensual awareness your state of tranquility may be the perfect time for a great creative or even hardcore practical solution to pop up.

Try Donna Eden’s Daily Energy Routine
This is an excellent energy medicine sequence that kickstars your organism and clears your mind, while balancing the left and right parts of the brain. Even if you feel too rushed to do it all at once (although it only takes around 6-7 minutes), do parts of it at different parts of the morning. I sometimes do some of the thumps while walking along the street (Ok, first I look around to see there’s no one walking right behind me!). When I was presenting live on the radio I used to do the chest thump and the cross march a few minutes before going on the air. The studio technician started off by pretending not to notice, then asked me one day what the heck I was doing. When I told him he started doing it too!:
Watch Here!

 

 

 

rene mey’s emotional medicine

Master Instructor Anilu Fiz (R) at one of her trainings.

I first heard about Rene Mey through a friend who was diagnosed with a herniated disk which caused acute sciatica. She was in agony for a month before she had her first session with a Rene Mey volunteer. Cortisone pills helped only temporarily, the prescribed swimming only made the pain worse, but from the moment she felt her friend’s healing hands, she was filled with immense love and every day brought improvement. After three weeks of daily sessions, she felt completely renewed and six months later has not had a twinge of back pain or sciatica since, even though the MRI showed chronic long standing damage.

I started to research Rene Mey, a French humanitarian who was offering respite to the wider public and teaching energy healing techniques throughout south and north America, and in recent years eastern and southern Europe, and about whom even a movie has been made. A Jesus-like figure, Mey’s message is one of spreading compassion and love throughout the world, by teaching his techniques, which he is said to have received instruction on from light-beings.

Rene Mey offering healing at a workshop.

The techniques are described as Emotional Medicine, based on Mey’s ideology that our emotions rule 85% of our overall wellbeing. There is extensive scientific research proving that emotional injury registers in our physical body exactly in the same way as a physical pain; if we can clear emotional / mental blocks and create flow, our physical health inevitably improves. When you have a loving intent to help another and you focus on both the physical and emotional pain of another, using techniques that include hands-on energy healing and tapping in places that are blocked, the health-giving effect is powerful and reaps high results. There are indeed countless testimonials from people who have been treated by Rene Mey volunteers for periods of time as short as a few months and like my friend, have experienced complete recovery.

His master instructors teach volunteers around the world, who then are encouraged to go on to offer this healing to anyone in need, free of charge. He has also created health clinics for the poor, and his volunteers supply food, education and assistance to those in need.

Intrigued and excited by this news I attended a workshop when master instructor Anilu Fiz came to Greece several months ago. Based in Mexico, she was in Bulgaria offering trainings and two Greek volunteers organised a three day stop-over here to introduce the Cellular Regeneration, the first of the three techniques, to the Greek public. Around 30 of us present were taught the technique, which we practiced on each other, and which can be done in the standing, sitting or lying down position, and were encouraged to offer it to anyone who needed it.

The real objective, as Anilu Fiz says in the video below, is to go out and offer it to the homeless, refugees, the elderly, the sick – ideally not to keep your abilities only to the confines of your immediate surroundings, because real compassion comes from actually having contact with those we don’t know and understanding them better, caring for them, offering them the kind of help no one usually wants to give. Personally I haven’t done that yet, but I intend to every day, and I know I will start to do so very soon. It takes time to digest such a new way of looking at what we can offer to others on a wide scale.

There are currently three energy healing techniques taught, all described as Emotional Medicine.

The video below was conducted on Skype at the end of December 2017. The sound quality is not ideal, as our connection was bad and our calls were interrupted 10 times! So I did my best with what I had, because Fiz is very busy and time has lately not been a luxury for me either, with the sole intent of getting Rene Mey’s message across. Please help by sharing too if his mission resounds in you.

NEWSFLASH!
Rene Mey will possibly be visiting Athens, Greece at the end of January 2018 and Anilu Fiz will be back for trainings in February of this year.