Closer than you think: Happiness

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Taken in Central Park, NYC

In the middle of eating dinner with my wife and her sister — the most delicious dish of leek, PSB (purple sprouting broccoli), and cauliflower smothered in cheese with garlicky spring greens — we had Brian Buckley’s Band playing in the background. As my wife and her sister chatted away, I was sitting in the lap of happinesses. There is something mystical about the combination of great food, great company and great music. The happiness felt incredibly nostalgic, with a mixture of childhood memories, and continual sensation of the feeling you have when you get goosebumps. Those prolonged moments of bliss were so astonishing my wife and her sister didn’t even notice my joyful tear drops. Some questions arose in my mind as I was experiencing it all: Why can’t I feel like this all the time? I pondered and realised that all the worry, disappointments, anger, negative thoughts were holding up this grey brick wall and preventing me from feeling happy in every moment.

There are endless amounts of articles, websites, youtube videos on the subject of happiness and how you can obtain it. Ten, seven, three essential ways; all encouraging people in to keep reaching out for it. Many people think they need to have a specific job, person or car to experience this seemingly untouchable destination of happiness. The most difficult thing a lot of people will avoid; is face themselves. It’s too painful, too sad, takes too much time— a genuine cop out, excuses practiced so well as children that we now carry with us into adulthood. Happiness is behind all those difficulties, waiting like a treasure to be taken. Cultivating evasive justifications, procrastination and resistance is what’s causing all the misery. To make it more complicated, the thoughts that are associated with discomfort, anger and angst, lead people away from their happiness.

People aren’t stupid. Everyone knows exactly what makes them upset and, at the other end, incredibly joyous. We all think that it’s not alright to feel the bad things we feel — we learn this growing up. However, it’s important to remember that “negative” feelings are still valid feelings and they need just as much time and freedom to express themselves in order for us to access happiness, just as we put the time in work to make money. If we invested the same amount of energy into actually giving ourselves empathy, hugs, words of encouragement; that grey wall would diminish quickly.

Pay attention to your thoughts! When you’re becoming angry or sad, take note as to what you’re saying to yourself. When you’re feeling light in your body, smiling,977A0386F take note to what you’re saying to yourself. Do this often enough and that trusty good ol’ subconscious of yours will take over for you and that happiness you want will shine brightly. Many of you will want “practical” ways of doing it. If that’s the case, then you’ll need a pen and paper and to write those thoughts down — better yet, use your smart phone, get a note taking app and type your thoughts in, write the situation and feelings associated with the thoughts. In the end there really are no steps, you just have to pay close attention to yourself. Don’t be so quick to throw out ideas as to what is creating your emotions; really dig in and find the core of how you’re feeling. Happiness is much closer to you than you think.

Kambô; From Poison to Medicine: Session 1

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Taken the night after the Kambô ceremony

There once was an Amazonian Shaman named Kampu. His people fell ill and he had done everything he could to cure them, using all the medicinal herbs known to him. Kampu journeyed into the forest and, under the effect of Ayahuasca, was visited by God. A large frog was handed to him and Kampu was shown how to take the white secretion from the frog and apply this as a new medicine. Shaman Kampu returned to his people and cured his fellow tribesmen. After he died, Kampu’s spirit lived on in the frogs and his people continued to use the poison to stay active and healthy. From: Kambô, The Spirit of the Shaman.

Kambô works closely with the heart and with the immune system. The frog, Phyllomedusa bicolor, secretes a poison which contains antibiotic properties that have been shown to be very powerful treatments for diseases such as Parkinson, AIDS, cancer and other maladies. In other words, the poison has the potential to reset the body to a much healthier state. And, on an energetic level, this medicine can raise the frequency of body.

My wife and I heard about Kambô through a spiritual teacher we follow, our interests were piqued. We did our research and found a practitioner in the UK. A total of three sessions are sufficient in order to have the full effect of the medicine, so our first session took place in Glastonbury —the heart chakra of the world. My wife was much more nervous about this ceremony than I was, due to the fact that she hadn’t ever tried anything like this. For me, as long as I know it’s safe, I’m willing to try anything at least once.

The frog secretion has a strong effect on the intestines and bowels and results in deep purging, the most common of which being vomiting. My wife and I had to fast leading up to the ceremony, beginning the night before. At the venue, before the application of the poison, we had to drink six pints of spring water —this definitely helps to keep from dry heaving and whatever needs to come out can come out smoothly. Other people attended and we all sat in a half circle and I watched as each person, one by one, would go up to the practitioner and get their poison applied to them.

As you can see from the photo above, a number of dots are burnt into the arm. Usually it’s in a straight line, and typically it’s from the top of the shoulder downward, but since I had my tattoo the practitioner was creative and went around it. Seven dots is the basic start if it’s your first time as a man, five dots for a woman. The practitioner did all seven burns first and then applied one dot of the frog poison. This was to get the body prepared a little for the rest of the application. As the practitioner prepared the rest, I began to feel my heart pounding; almost like how you feel if you have been running for a long time. I could feel the blood flowing and the heat rising in my body; “Oh shit,” I said to myself.

After all seven dots were applied I went to my spot next to my wife and continued to observe how I felt. I look around briefly as I could see the shadow of agony in some people’s faces as they were going through their process. I learned a while back that to fight things, only causes more pain. I closed my eyes and tuned into the sound of my heart beating louder and louder. My body temperature raised rapidly, I could feel the water coming out of my pores on my forehead. A helper sat next to me and spoke with a gentle voice, I couldn’t hear him since my heart beat drowned everything out; as if ascending to a high altitude, things around me became quiet. I couldn’t focus on anything outside myself anymore. At this point I wanted to purge, I wanted this stuff out of my body, whatever it was! Whatever was causing me agony at the moment I wanted it out. It felt like something was digging into my being, drawing up things in my body so I could purge. I begged my body to let it go and nothing. The helper was blowing palo santo incense to help bring up what needed to come out, I leaned to one side of my body, a small bucket between my legs ready to catch what I purged. My body held on as it may have had its own resistance to the poison. Until finally, release.

After a while I started to feel a whole lot better, those five to seven minutes felt so much longer. I could finally hear the helper who was next to me again as I accepted his encouraging words. My body started to cool down, I could feel sweat all over. A deep relaxation settled over me and all I wanted to do was lay down, my wife next to me still going through her process. I curled up under a small blanket we had brought with us and I basked in the peace of mental silence, I almost felt like I was laying in a field of tall grass on a summer evening.

Twenty minutes later my wife and I left and got something to eat. I was in complete zen mode, as every step I took was perfectly placed. Any movements I made were with grace and care; that night we slept very well.

Since my wife and I couldn’t do it three days straight, as it’s done in the USA, we’re left to do our sessions with a month gap between them. In the next Kambô blog I’ll explain what I went through and felt leading up to the second session. Until next time.

A Walk in the Sand Dunes

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Taken near Eastleigh, UK

I was leaving from my weekly college class the other day, the sun shining directly onto me in the direction I needed to walk in; you can see from the photo above. I was in a state of detachment from the world and the people around me. I looked up, the sun rays engulfed me and immediately I felt like I was walking in the middle of a desert. With traditional Japanese music playing in my wireless headphones, my journey to the train station turned into a stroll through a sand dune.

I could see myself dressed in a long brown cloak with white wool clothed material, along with a grey turban to shield me from the suns rays; walking in a vast desolate space filled with gently blowing sand. I hold a long rope that sagged in the middle, three feet in front of my camel, I walk. A clear sky, filled with an unbelievable amount of blue that you can almost touch, the sun was fixed in front of me on the street. I could imagine only seeing my foot prints behind me as I walked in a direction that only had sand as far I could see. The sounds of the music in my ears made me feel like I was a lonely merchant walking to a far new land in search for products for business and trade. As I come to a crossing, a car passes in front of me, I approached the other side walk stepping over a puddle; I blink my eyes and see in my sand dune, the heat waves rising off the ground in the distance. A small pain in the ball of my right foot propelled me to imagine the hot sand going through my sandals, the slight frictionoman-sand-dunes_1124684c between the sand and my barefoot giving me a massaging sensation. The shuffling of what was in my backpack made me think that my camel and I were walking through the hot desert than actually being in our modern city street. I walked by a school where small children were playing outside, the thought of hearing the winds moaning in the distance as I place one foot in front of the other through the sand. Feeling more removed from my current reality, I bask in my imagination that seemed much more fulfilling.

I raised my head up to the sun, letting its warmth fill my face. I imagine being at a small oasis, poring cool water over my hot sweaty head. The soothing feeling of these opposing sensations fill my heart with calmness and tranquility. At the train station I stand in a stairwell, I can hear the wind making a gentle whisper near the hand rail. I move closer and I place my hand out as the wind seeps through my fingers. The sand falling through my fingers at the oasis, the orange light of the dusk sun. The world I’ve created is coming to a close as the train pulls into the station. The music drowns out as reality is back in motion.