How I Lost My Mind & Then Got It Back Again

I recently got to sit down and interview a good friend of mine, Kasper van der Meulen, founder of mindlift.com. An inspiring guy and fellow Wim How Method instructor, he used a few simple tools to pull himself out of a dark place that many people I speak to (including myself at one point) are in. I asked him to share his experience in the article below. If you want to view the full interview. you can find it at the end of the article.

How I Lost My Mind, Took It Back, and Lifted It Up 

Written by: Kasper van Der Meulen

“This is what going crazy must feel like,” I remember thinking as my anxiety slowly turned my stomach upside down and sent a tidal wave of dark thoughts into my consciousness. My mental space used to be clear and orderly, with everything correctly in its place, but now it’s like I’m being terrorized by a rampant monkey that’s opening up the cabinets, tossing around my files, digging up old junk, and placing all of it into the front of my mind, all while screaming, “Look, this is wrong! So is this! Remember this? That’s wrong too!”

A few years ago, flashes of anxiety like this would come upon me regularly, and would seriously make me doubt my sanity. It turns out that this question of sanity is rooted in the wrong mindset, however; sanity had nothing to do with it. You see, it’s easy to feel like we are alone in our struggles, like we are somehow inherently different, inherently not good enough. In my experience, our inherent worth is out of the question, and our daily choices, habits, and behaviours are the things that shape our mental and emotional states.

Interestingly, in that period of mental and physical distress, I had not linked my collection of bad habits, including some popular favourites like smoking, drinking, overeating, binge-watching, and anything else I could use to escape reality, to my eighty pounds of excess weight, heart arrhythmia problem, back and shoulder pains, migraines, low energy, and poor concentration, or to the way that they led to feelings of anxiety and depression.

After some internal struggle, I finally went to visit a therapist, who was really a meditation teacher. He gave me a few mental exercises to get a grip on my thoughts, and I learned to work with the instant gratification-seeking, anxiety-producing monkey in my mind. Instead of trying to suppress and fight the monkey, I started studying it like a wild animal by simply paying careful attention to it and testing how it reacted to certain things.

Training the Monkey

I now had clarity to observe how my mental intention completely changed every physiological state in my body in a split second. That’s when it hit me — maybe my mind, my physiology, and their connection were tools that I could learn to work with. In that moment, a subconscious change of mind made the difference between feeling okay to feeling absolutely miserable. But what if a conscious change of mind could have a similar effect, just in a constructive and positive direction? If the mind is just a tool that I can learn to use, maybe I can decide how to use it, in a similar way that one can use a hammer to build a house or to bash someone’s head in. The hammer doesn’t care — it’s just a tool. The owner of the tool decides its application. That’s when I decided to become the owner of the tool that is my mind and lift myself into a new way of living.

This was not my first attempt at getting a grip on life, but this one was definitely different. There are three stupendously important mindset changes that caused me to finally make it happen:

  1. I used to blame external circumstances. Now I took full responsibility for everything in my life.
  2. Instead of trying to change who I was, my inherent identity, I set out to change what I did, my behaviour.
  3. I started to see my health and happiness not as a fixed state, but as a skill that I could practice.

As a science teacher and an education innovator, I was used to plowing through research papers and studies, so I looked for ways to translate the scientific literature into simple applications that I could use right away. This personal study took me to the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and biohacking, but also to ancient esoteric philosophies such as Zen and different types of breathwork. Science can be great for qualifying and quantifying things, but it can also develop a blindspot for the unquantifiable. Esoteric practices can be great for delving into deeper states of consciousness, but can also be clouded by ‘woo woo’ concepts, mystique, and tradition. I decided to apply a semi-scientific, personalized approach to testing it all, stripping it down to the core and
just keeping what worked for me.

The first game-changers I found were:

  • Meditation: It trains the monkey mind to not react to every single thing.
  • Mindful running: It strengthens the mind to stay focused, keeping the monkey busy.
  • Nutrition: In my case, sugar and dairy feed the monkey, so I took them out.

With every lifestyle change I felt better. My concentration skyrocketed, my heart palpitations and deep anxieties almost disappeared, I lost weight, and cut down substantially on smoking and all-night video game and junk-food binges. I was out of my immediate mental and physical distress and back to a “normal” level of health. Still, I felt the need to continue. If I could move from bad health to normal health this effectively, what else could I gain? I decided to continue to optimize my development, both personally and professionally. I had already climbed out of my hole, so why not keep climbing to the top of the mountain and see what the view is like?

My insight into the role that focused attention and mental fitness plays in our lives inspired me to continue to study, experiment, and apply everything that could improve my mental and physical fitness. In the following years, I lost eighty pounds, quit smoking, fine-tuned my nutrition, and adopted a host of helpful habits and practices. I started to hunt down and challenge any and every limiting belief that I had about myself. Soon enough, all the “impossibles” I had learned to believe melted before my eyes.

The second set of game-changers I found were

  • Breathwork: It taught me how every breath I take influences the state of my physiology.
  • Cold exposure: Extreme environmental stress acts like a mirror of the ego and allows one to deeply train focus, effectively shutting up the monkey.
  • Re-wilding: A daily practice to get in touch with nature, human nature.

Just a few years earlier, I had days when I was bedridden with migraines, back pains, and bad knees. I would spend weeks battling anxiety and stress and was so unfocused that I could hardly finish a sentence. By now, I’ve run multiple marathons on my bare feet, can lift twice my body weight dead off the floor, have climbed freezing mountains in just my shorts, created a successful business, wrote a bestselling book about focus in 30 days, and am travelling the world, teaching others these principles. The main difference between then and now? A series of conscious decisions and the willingness to put in the work.

Why am I telling you all this?

Here are a few things you should know:

You Are Not Alone

You either are or know someone who is dealing with (or has dealt with) burnout, depression, addiction, obesity, anxiety, etc. It seems to be a natural part of life. What’s unnatural is suppressing the truth about it and wearing an armour of fear-based conditioning that’s keeping you from truly living your life. Let’s start standing up, telling our stories, and seeing that we’re all not so different.

I Am Not Special

In this phase of my life — being a bestselling author travelling the world to teach people about these things — it’s easy to think that I have some kind of talent or special ability that allowed me to go from that unhealthy and unhappy past version to this current, more optimal version of me. I don’t. It’s abut doing the hard work day in and day out. That’s something you can do, too.

You Can Do It

The statement “you can do it” has lost a lot of its power due to overuse in the motivation industry. I’m not saying this to motivate you. I’m trying to say that this actually can be done. Once you start disconnecting your behaviour from your self-worth, learning about how your brain works best and what you really need to function optimally, it can be done. But it takes time, discomfort, and a lot of practice.

It Is As Simple As You Make It

The process of taking charge of your life can be very simple — hard, yes, but simple. In my book I have described the process of mental fitness. What is the mental muscle you want to train? What is the minimal amount of training you need to start to strengthen that muscle? If you can boil it down to just five minutes a day, you will be amazed at what you can do in 30 days, let alone a year. Here are some of my favourite five-minute practices for lifting your mind:

  • Start breathing: Box breathing, 4,7,8 breathing, belly breathing, or just sitting down and watching your breath happen can all be super powerful. But if you really want get into it, check out the Wim Hof Method.
  • Cold showers: It’s a little get-out-of-your-comfort-zone practice to start the day. If you do what is hard, life will become easy, and the cold shower is a great way to start (again, check out the Wim Hof Method).
  • Learn to run barefoot: Jogging for just five minutes on your bare feet will strengthen your feet and improve your proprioception (spatial awareness).
  • Sit down and shut up: Step back and watch the monkey mess around without interrupting or judging it. That’s it. Just  5-10 minutes a day. Another word for this is meditation.

Below is the audio and video of a full interview I did with Kasper where he shares more about his personal journey and some of his experiences.

Please feel free to connect with me on Facebook HERE or Instagram (@thewaywithin.me) HERE if you wish to follow my journey. You can also subscribe on YouTube below. If you want to join the Way Within mailing list to stay updated with new episodes, you can do so at our website www.thewaywithin.me, and please join our Facebook community filled with many people sharing their journey.

Man Loses 110 Pounds in Six Months & Overcomes Numerous Health Issues With His “Mucusless Diet”

I was intrigued the first time I heard of the Mucusless Diet Healing System, but not enough to look into it further. The name alone sort of jumps out at you when you hear it the first time. But then it popped up again… and again. I eventually thought to myself, Is the universe trying to tell me something?

It wasn’t until I went on an extended juice fast for 55 days (click here for that story) that I really started taking Arnold Ehret’s work seriously. He created this diet, but what I was really interested in were his views on fasting. After reading his book on rational fasting, I then went on to buy the rest of his works, many of which were annotated by Professor Spira, who I quickly learned is one of the leading authorities on the Mucusless Diet Healing System. The next logical step was to contact him for an interview on our podcast, The Way Within (linked below).

Professor Spira’s Transformation

 

In 2002, Spira was a 300-pound, 19-year-old former high school football player who suffered from multiple ailments such as daily migraine headaches, frequent ear infections, sleep apnea, painful acid reflux, allergies, joint pain, yearly bouts of bronchitis, constant cold and flu-like symptoms, dry itchy skin, chronic constipation, ear infections, and bad body odour. After losing his mother to a terrible string of chronic illnesses when he was in the sixth grade, he grew up under the assumption that he was genetically destined to be sick his whole life. While studying jazz trombone performance at the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music, he met a jazz drummer named Willie Smart (aka Brother Air) who told him about Arnold Ehret’s Mucusless Diet Healing System.

He had no idea that the mucus-forming foods he consumed every day played a huge part in his poor health. All he knew was that if he continued on this path of self-destruction, he would surely die at a young age. Within six months of reading Arnold Ehret’ book, Spira had lost 110 pounds and overcome all of his major ailments. He was able to throw away his CPAP unit (an oxygen mask that treats sleep apnea) and the medications he had taken since childhood.

Since his transformation, Spira has become a world-renowned authority on the Mucusless Diet and inspired thousands of people to use Ehret’s Healing System to overcome their illnesses through his writings, music, and one-on-one consultation and coaching sessions.

The photo on the left was taken September 2003 for Spira’s new Resident Adviser ID. The picture on the right was taken one year later after losing 110 pounds and overcoming numerous health issues.

Arnold Ehret’s Story – The Discovery of the Mucusless Diet Healing System

Arnold Ehret was born July 25, 1866, near Freiburg, in Baden, Germany. His father was a brilliant farmer who was so technologically advanced that he crafted all of his own farming equipment. Like his father, Ehret would be endowed with a passion for studying the causes and effects of the phenomena around him. His interests included physics, chemistry, drawing, and painting. He also had an affinity for linguistics and could speak German, French, Italian, and English.

At the age of 21 he graduated as a professor of drawing and was drafted into the military, only to be discharged because of heart trouble. At the age of 31 he was diagnosed with Bright’s disease (inflammation of the kidneys) and pronounced incurable by 24 of Europe’s most respected doctors. He then explored natural healing and visited sanitariums to learn holistic methods and philosophies. In a desperate attempt to end his misery, Ehret decided to stop eating. To his amazement, he did not die, but instead gained both strength and vitality.

In 1899 he traveled to Berlin to study vegetarianism, followed by a trip to Algiers in northern Africa where he experimented with fasting and a fruit diet. Due to his new lifestyle, Ehret completely cured himself of all of his diseases and could now perform great feats of physiological strength, including an 800 mile bicycle trip from Algiers to Tunis. He had rediscovered that pus- and mucus-forming foods are the cause for all human disease and that “fasting (simply eating less) is Nature’s omnipotent method of cleansing the body from the effects of wrong and too much eating” (Hirsch 1994, 9).

In the early 1900s, Ehret opened a hugely popular sanitarium in Ascona, Switzerland, where he treated and cured thousands of patients considered incurable by the so-called “medical authorities.” During the latter part of the decade, Ehret engaged in a series of fasts monitored by German and Swiss officials. Within a period of 14 months, Ehret completed a fast of 21 days, one of 24 days, one of 32 days, and one of 49 days. He became one of the most in-demand health lecturers, journalists, and educators in Europe, saving the lives of thousands of people. In 1914, Ehret moved his sanitarium to California and championed his Mucusless Diet Healing System in America.

On October 9, 1922, at the age of 56, Arnold Ehret suffered a tragic fall, sustaining a fatal blow to his skull. According to Ehret’s disciple Fred Hirsch, he was walking briskly on a wet, oil-soaked street during foggy conditions when he slipped and fell backward onto his head. Hirsch did not actually see the fall but found Ehret lying on the street. Another one of Ehret’s disciples, Benedict Lust, maintained that Ehret was wearing his first pair of new dress shoes and slipped as a result of his unfamiliarity with the footwear. To this day, the true nature of Ehret’s death raises many suspicions among Ehretists. Ehret’s powerful healing successes along with his influential and revolutionary new lifestyle terribly threatened the medical, meat, and dairy industries. Due to these factors, many believe that foul play was involved in his untimely death.

Arnold Ehret is a cultural icon and was an important protagonist of the emerging back-to-nature renaissance in Germany and Switzerland during the latter part of the 19th century. This renaissance spread to America and influenced many of the countercultural movements including the Beat Generation, the vegetarian driven “hippie” movement, veganism, and fruitarianism. Throughout the 20th century the teachings of Ehret have thrived and developed through the sincere efforts of a small group of dedicated Ehretists. Today Ehret’s teachings are gaining wider acceptance throughout the world as people discover for themselves the undeniable truth of his teachings.

Watch the interview with Professor Spira here:

Listen Here:

To connect with Professor Spira you can visit his website www.mucusfreelife.com. The Way Within is more than just a podcast. We have a Facebook Page (CLICK HERE) and a group community that you can also join to connect with me and many others who are on their own Journey of self discovery in life. The group is used to connect, and share experiences and support others.

You can also connect with me here on Facebook and Instagram.

-Giovanni Bartolomeo

 

Rich, Powerful, and Unhappy: Escaping the American Nightmare through Plant Medicine

A few months ago, the entire Collective Evolution team was invited to spend a week in Costa Rica at a place called Rythmia. I had never heard of it before but was definitely intrigued, as I had always felt a pull to visit the country. I didn’t ask any questions. I just said, “I’m in,” and went on the trip.

I only found out a few weeks before my actual trip that it was the first medically licensed plant medicine center in the world. That’s when I started getting really excited, and still my expectations were far exceeded by the reality of this place: organic food (and no alcohol, which was something I wasn’t really used to on a resort), colonics, massages, classes, workshops, and so much more, all in one place. It was like a slice of heaven.

I participated in two ceremonies while I was there, which were so profound for me. I was able to peek into the future, and now that some time has passed, many of the things I saw have come to fruition.

Aside from the revelations I had through the medicine, I got to meet someone who blew me away. He just had this energy to him that you could tell was special. His name was Gerard Powell (Gerry), and he is one of the co-founders of Rythmia. Down-to-earth and humble, he made sure everything was perfect.

I truly felt at home.

The following day I attending his talk. That’s where I got totally blown away. His story is nothing short of a miracle in my eyes and has so much depth to it on so many levels.  In a nutshell, here is Gerard’s story:

Gerard was born in Scranton.
He was kicked out of school at 17.
He went to jail.
He became a millionaire in his 20s.
He became a multimillionaire in his 30s.
He sold his company for $90 million in his 40s.
After achieving the American dream, he tried to commit suicide, twice.
He just couldn’t get his life together and didn’t know why.
He was addicted to alcohol, injectable Demerol, and cocaine.
In a last ditch effort to turn things around, he tried plant medicine…

His life would never be the same.

Over the years, he opted to try anything available that might help him hide from himself and his “perfect” life. For most of his existence, he suffered from addiction and depression, incessantly trying to fill the hole deep within, with little or no success.

His business history is nothing short of miraculous. He grew up in a very modest home and, unable to focus in school, eventually dropped out. After several unsuccessful business ventures, in 1991 he partnered in a building and development company. His inner guidance directed him to discontinue this line of work, however, but he remained involved long enough to consummate a deal that netted him more than a million dollars — while still in his twenties.

Gerard went on to build multiple companies from the ground up, later selling them for hundreds of millions of dollars. In 1995, Powell started thatlook.com, the first company organized to provide mass-market access to cosmetic surgery procedures. In 1999, Powell took thatlook.com public, and the company achieved a market value of approximately $150 million. Subsequently, he and his management team founded looksforless.com, mimicking and exceeding the same business success with a different business model. He was living the good life — too good, in fact.

“I sold my company for $94 million dollars. I had five houses, 20 plus cars, and two planes. I achieved the American dream but I was hooked on Demerol, was an alcoholic, and was suicidal. I realized something was very wrong because the more I acquired the more I suffered. I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and travelled the world on my journey to heal myself through every self-help and healing modality I could find.

A friend introduced me to plant medicine and in one night I had an experience that transformed my existence and liberated me from a lifetime of suffering.”

The plant medicine took him on a journey to his past, way back to when he was only three or four years old. He was shown things that had been erased from his memory — abuse at the hands of his own grandfather when he was still just a child. In answer to his most pressing question — “Why am I such a bad person?” — the plant medicine showed him this event, the root of all his anger pain and suffering.

In one night he was able to gain closure, and come to terms with so many questions he had asked about himself throughout his life that hundreds of thousands of dollars thrown at them couldn’t answer.

The next day he was a new man. When he returned home, his family and friends could immediately tell this was not the same Gerry they knew, and they were elated.

He rebuilt his relationship with his family and no longer had any addictions.

(I must note that plant medicine is not a miracle cure in all cases. Gerry went on to do many ceremonies afterward and also made many change in his life. The potential for transformation through plant medicine is unlike anything I have ever experienced myself or seen help others to transform, BUT it doesn’t always work like that 100% of the time.)

As a result of his experience, he decided to open a center in Costa Rica (Rythmia) that would offer all of the modalities that had had the greatest impact on his life, enabling him to share them with as many people as possible.

He visited Costa Rica and found the current location of the Rythmia in Guanacaste, one of the five blue zones in the world where people live happiest and longest. He purchased an 81-bed hotel and renovated it, making it the go-to facility for a spiritually awakening vacation experience poised to enable guests to experience healing and life transformation during their stay. He shares the story of how he picked this spot in the interview below, and it will really blow your mind.

Gerard now speaks to audiences and organizations relying on his signature unfiltered style, filled with humour, authenticity, and an inherent ability to inspire.

Rythmia and Gerry’s story are featured in a just-released documentary titled The Reality of Truth, along with thought leaders including Joel Olsteen, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, and more, as well as actors Michelle Rodriguez and Peter Coyote.

It has just been released for free on YouTube and you can watch it here.

If you think this story is incredible, you haven’t heard anything yet. I got to sit down with Gerard at Rythmia and ask him about his actual experience on plant medicine that night. He had flown 11 hours straight from somewhere in Southeast Asia (drinking the entire flight) only to meet an African shaman eating a Big Mac with Mac sauce dripping down the front of his shirt upon his arrival.

He questioned for a minute how this man could offer anything different from what all the money in the world could buy in regards to treating his disease, but he trusted. Gerry asked, “So when do we start?” and the shaman replied, “We start tonight.”

Gerry’s escape from his nightmare came from revelations about his childhood and things he had no recollection of, that he describes in his interview.

After many ceremonies, Gerry learned some amazing things from the plant medicine, like how every single one of us experiences a split from our spirit or true self somewhere in childhood, and how this split is intentional by design. It’s part of the challenge we all face to become who we really are, to come back to our true selves and reach some sort of completion in life. That’s how I interpret it, anyways.

I hope you enjoy the interview!

 

-G

 

Oh, I almost forgot!

Please feel free to connect with me on Facebook here, or on our show page, The Way Within, here. We also have an incredible community that is building with people who are on their own journeys of self discovery, and the community is the perfect place to find and support others and to share your own experiences. You can access that here.

 

I’ll be at Rythmia hosting a Wim Hof Method/WAY experience workshop and would love for you to join us! Here is the link to that event www.rythmia.link/bartolomeoevent.

My Spiritual Re-Connection – Stories From The Inipi (Sweat Lodge)

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

As with most people, I think, I never really took this adage seriously in the past. And then people literally starting popping up in my life who had something to teach me, provided I was ready to listen.

Living in Ontario, North America, I knew that these lands had been occupied by  indigenous peoples for thousands of years, yet I had had absolutely no contact with any of them.

Other than through information gleaned on television and the internet (both questionable sources, I know), I knew very little about their traditions or way of life. But then one day, I just had this curiosity arise out of nowhere. I desperately wanted to learn about them, or rather, had a feeling there was so much knowledge I needed to obtain.

If I could pinpoint it, it was probably just after I had travelled to South America in 2013 to participate in my first Ayahuasca ceremony. Why would I need to travel to South America to learn about Native Culture and ceremonies when there must be something comparable nearby?

I set the intention to connect, and sent out a few Facebook messages to people I thought might help, but nothing really happened.

It wasn’t until about three years later when the message was answered. I guess that was when I was ready.

One day I was up at Luminous (CE’s Consciousness Advancement Center) and a guy (who is now a close friend) named Stew pulled into the driveway. He said,  “Your friend Justin said I should come check this place out.” Little did I know at that time that two of my prayers had been answered. I needed someone to help me build a natural pool (another article will definitely follow about this), and I also needed someone to connect me to the native tradition. I would never have imagined that a fair skinned, blue eyed, bearded and burly Canadian would be that person.

We quickly connected the dots and realized that his coming there was much more than a coincidence. In hardly any time at all, we had a sweat lodge built and the Inipi ceremonies had begun.

Inipi is a purification rite and is necessary in order to help the vision quest seeker enter into a state of humility and to undergo a kind of spiritual rebirth. The sweat lodge is central to Inipi. Prayers offered there draw on all the powers of the universe — Earth, Water, Fire, and Air.

Stew started telling me about his mentor, Sal, and we decided that we should bring Sal up to perform a workshop for the Collective Evolution team and some of our close friends and family.

My first ceremony was a shock. I thought it would just be a relaxing experience, similar to sitting in sauna, but that was far from the truth. Once inside the Inipi, it is like you have entered the womb, ready to be reborn. I have felt so many things move within me during ceremonies — at times I’m on the verge of throwing up and literally crying like a baby as I release what feels like lifetimes of emotions. I’ve seen visions and felt things words would do no justice describing — all without ingesting any substances other than water. As the door opens after the final round I emerge as a new person every time, changed in a way that I am just starting to understand.

I found myself in the ceremony with my face to the ground, gasping for air, begging for mercy, and right then and there learned a serious lesson. If I wanted to lead, and maybe one day teach others about this tradition, first I had to learn humility.

Since this humility experience I immediately set the intention to work more closely with Sal and get further initiated into the tradition. Sal has a similar story regarding how he connected to it.

Here’s a bit about Sal’s story and how he found his teacher:

My journey with the indigenous traditions of the Lakota began almost 30 years ago. As a young teenager, I began a mentoring journey with a traditional healing family of the Oglala Sioux Tribe from Pine Ridge South Dakota.

A few months before my mentoring began, at the age of 15 years old, I wakened to the reality of modern man’s disconnection from nature and the Earth. I was touched by the ancestors who brought a visionary message. They communicated to me the future of humanity and that the Earth would reject modern man’s unsustainable lifestyle. I saw the devastation we would bring upon ourselves. I felt the pain and suffering of the children and of nature in this possible future reality.

In that moment, I made a commitment to do whatever I could to change this potential fate. With all my heart, I begged for guidance and for a teacher to show me the way. Within months I began my mentor ship in the traditions and healing practices of the Lakota.

After years of apprenticeship, I entered my next phase of commitment. I went upon the sacred mountain and offered my life in a 4-day ceremony called a Hanbleciya (Vision Quest). During these 4 days and nights, I sacrificed all that it takes to live; food, water, and sleep. I gave myself to the Powers of Creation and to the Creator. I begged for the ability to help this world and all my loved ones. During this ceremony, I was touched by holiness and a song awoke in my heart. After that experience, I started to take my first independent steps in bringing these teachings to all.

More recently, I was swept up by another huge revelation. I know nothing about my own lineage. I don’t even know my great grandfather, nor do I have any sacred traditions that really mean anything to me. Meanwhile, indigenous peoples here in Canada have held traditions for thousands of years and maintained an intimate relationship with nature. This led me to realize how disconnected we’ve all truly become.

Another friend of mine, Darren Austin Hall, discussed with me the concept of the “white man’s” indigenous roots. Maybe this calling I felt was in some way a reconnection to my roots. How deep do they go? Can I really connect with them, and how long have they been severed? I am seeking answers to all these questions as I continue my spiritual Re-connection.

On this episode of The Way Within show, Sal shares some of the incredible things he has seen and witnessed in his time practicing the Native tradition over the last 30 years. Some of the stories are almost unbelievable, and he even says he rarely shares them because they are that difficult to believe.

Sal will be hosting a week long intensive workshop at The Luminous center this summer (2017). For more information, you can connect with him @ www.manamongthehelpers.com.

I love meeting new people. Feel free to connect with me here:  My Personal Facebook Page   The Way Within Facebook Page    The Way Within Website

Instagram @thewaywithin.me

The Goddess Roots of Easter: Where The Eggs & Bunny Came From

The following article was written by a very inspiring friend of mine that I was fortunate enough to recently meet. Her name is Clarity Bartleet and in the last few years she has gone through some incredible transformations. She has been inspired to get in touch with her divine femininity and also connect with many women through various women’s circles to help them reconnect as well. We were fortunate enough  to sit down and record an Episode of “The Way Within” with her, (www.thewaywithin.me) and discuss the Origins of the Easter Story and much more. You can listen or watch that episode which is linked at the bottom of this article.

Here’s the article Clarity wrote for Collective Evolution:

  The Goddess Roots of the Easter Tale

 What is Easter really about? We all know the story of Jesus resurrecting and exiting a cave after three days of death, but what does this mean? And where did the story originate from?

Like many Christian tales and celebrations, Easter and its symbolism and myths were borrowed from a formerly uncovered universal wisdom. A wisdom that was transmitted from the Earth — from The Goddess Herself — to tribal cultures from all around the world who worshipped her. In fact, we find similar stories and symbols among many different, scattered and once remote cultures all around the globe.

It is difficult to trace the exact roots of the original myth of Easter, for much Wisdom (e.g. teachings through stories and songs) has been lost due to the oppression that tribal cultures suffered, and the loss of their oral mode of transmission of knowledge. However, one of the most obvious connections that we can still trace to Easter comes to us from Ostara, the Germanic Pagan Goddess of Ancient Europe. To be clear, Ostara is connected to other fertility Goddesses found throughout the world and worshiped at a different time in history (e.i. Astarte, Ashtaroth, Eastre, Ishtar, etc.). Ostara in particular represents Spring and the energy of fertility, love, sexuality and growth. Pagans worshiped her to help her bring fertility and growth onto the land.

In relation to Easter and the story of Jesus, Ostara similarly emerges from the Earth and re-awakens after a time of deep sleep (or death) during winter. Both stories then cary the Wisdom of the cycle of life, death and rebirth — an important lesson about dynamics of Nature and life itself that every human being needs to learn. Why? Well, because, for example, our modern Western culture has us valuing constant growth and life over decline and death (that is essential to bring about life). As a result, we perhaps irrationally fear death and do not understand the importance of going inwards, retreating, taking time for ourselves and taking a break from the business of our lives in order to find balance and flourish again when the time is right. The main and important difference, however, between the Christian’s story of Easter and the myth of Ostara is that Jesus’ resurrection is masculine focused (androcentric) and anthropocentric. It ignores the role of nature and our deep connection to her, and it ignores the feminine aspect as the carrier of the potential for the cycle of life, death and rebirth.

The story of Jesus’s resurrection is then a distorted version of some very important lessons and a fundamental wisdom about about the dynamics of nature and of our own Nature that might leave us unsatisfied and confused. Hence, the importance of questioning any religious stories that aim at subliminally explaining the dynamics of the world and our role and potential within it. In fact, we should always question or at least contemplate any story that we are exposed to, especially contemporary ones delivered through the impactful images of modern movies and technologies. And instead of passively exposing ourselves to these stories, we should perhaps more actively research more ancient stories and tales that incorporate the feminine wisdom, the universal wisdom from the Earth. The story of Ostara is one of these stories. It is the story of a not so perfect and not so virgin Goddess worth worshipping nevertheless that teaches us about our human Nature and potential. Here it is:

Ostara is the Goddess responsible for bringing Spring each year. But one year, as she arrived late, the first thing that she saw was a pitiful little bird who lay dying in the snow, his wing frozen by the cold. Ostara felt so guilty! She cradled the shivering creature into her arms and eventually saved his life. Feeling sorry that the poor wingless bird could no longer fly, she turned him into a snow hare called Lepus and gave him the ability to run rapidly so he could evade all hunters. Also. to honor his earlier life as a bird, she gave him the ability to lay eggs in all the colors of the rainbow. Ostara eventually took Lepus as a pet and they became lovers. That’s right! The Goddess and the bunny. Together they galloped about the prairies and made love in the fields as Pagans used to — to spread fertility on the land. But one day, Ostara lost her temper with her passionate lover’s numerous affairs. Filled with anger, she grabbed him by the tail and swung him around and around over her head and threw him into the sky where he would remain for eternity as the constellation Lepus (The Hare) forever positioned under the feet of Orion, The Hunter constellation. Much later, remembering all the good times they had enjoyed together, Ostara softened and allowed Lepus to return to Earth once every year. But only during her own Festival and only to give away his colorful eggs to the children there. And this is how the “Easter Bunny” came about…

In this story, we notice that Ostara is also tightly connected to the Maiden archetype who represents very similar energies to the Goddess: full potential, opportunity for growth and rebirth after the Winter (which is connected to the Crone archetype). The Maiden, one of the most fundamental archetypes of the feminine psyche and development, reminds us to dream big. She is the innocent, yet powerful and sexual being who has not yet been conditioned to believe that her dreams will not come true. So she dreams, she imagines, she visualizes and creates with her beauty and purity. And by doing so, she manifests miracles on Earth!

So let spring time be a time for us to reclaim Easter and our inherent power and beauty as human beings. Ostara comes to us in this season to connect to the Earth, to The Goddess, to the feminine essence of Nature and Her potential for growth and (re-)birth through her fertility and sexuality. Let this season be a time to celebrate our own growth, (re-)birth, fertility and sexuality! Ostara also comes to us to remind us to plant seeds (literally and also) in our psyche and in the cosmos: to dream about the projects that we wish to see manifest as the year unfolds, as the flowers bloom and to benefit from the coming boost of energy (the spring!) that we are getting from nature. All around us, growth is happening. And because we are inherently connected to Nature, it is important to follow her patterns; to learn from her and perhaps reconnect to more ancient ways of grasping wisdom from the Earth: by observing the seasons, the flowers and understand the extent of our potential as human beings to manifest and to blossom.

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Understanding The Language of the Heart: The Original Language

The following article was written by one of my first spiritual teachers. At a time in my life when I needed some direction, I really reached out and set the intention. I was lost and needed guidance, and just as the old saying goes, when the student is ready the teacher will appear. Daniel travels the world teaching meditation techniques and practices (along with a lot of other cool stuff as well). We sat down for an interview and he also shared this important article he wrote:

The Language of the Heart: The Original Language

By Daniel Mitel

I was recently asked to explain the language of the heart. The question was basically:

“Do we have something like that? A language of the heart?” Yes we do.

It is exceedingly difficult to present enlarged concepts and advanced truth in the attempt to expand the consciousness of the heart and enhanced spiritual perception when we are restricted to the use of the circumscribed language of our planet. Sometimes we have to make efforts to convey our meanings of the heart messages using the word symbols of the Earth’ languages. Obviously a long time ago, prior to the fall from unity consciousness into polarities, we used one language: the language of the heart.

What is the language of the heart?

Once we are able to move our spirit inside the heart, then we are able to “speak” with any human (or non-human) using a specific language that is used all over the universe. Of course there is a condition here: That person must also be in the heart when you are in your heart. Although, even if that person is not in the heart, through the language of the heart you can “speak” and connect with the Higher Self of that person. We really believe that this is going to be the communication of the future. The only way to communicate with anybody in the Universe is through the language of the heart. While we are using the language of the heart automatically, the higher concepts of universe personality are expressed within us: identity, self-consciousness, self-will, and possibility for self-revelation.

The language of the heart is related with forgiveness and love. We are born inherently kind and naturally compassionate. The better man understands his neighbour, the easier it will be to forgive him, even to love him. Using the language of the heart we are able to forgive ourselves and all our trespassers.

When we are in love our minds cease to be, they stop functioning. The reason is obvious: When we are deeply in love, the present is the only time that exists; we are completely open, without caring about the past or the future. Our language is different when we are in love.

Normally we aim to prove something — principles and beliefs, opinions, and arguments are at the base of our language. When we are in love our language is concerned with our lovers, and it helps their transformation. It is a communication from heart to heart, not a debate from mind to mind. Author, pioneer, neurocardiologist/researcher and neurologist Dr. J. Andrew Armour, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Montreal in Canada, discovered a sophisticated collection of neurons in the heart organized into a small but complex nervous system. The heart’s nervous system contains around 40,000 neurons called sensory neurites that communicate with the brain.

Dr. Armour called it “the Little Brain in the Heart.”

It has been known for many years that memory is a distributive process. You can’t localize memory to a neuron or a group of neurons in the brain. This is big. Basically, it is scientific confirmation that our hearts can make decisions independent of the brain. It is scientific confirmation that our hearts have memories! A few years ago, an interesting medical case happened: A gentle, soft-spoken woman who never drank alcohol and hated football got a heart transplant from a crashed biker donor and turned into an aggressive beer drinking football fan. The biker was a well-known football fan that liked to drink a lot of beer.

This fact is only one of a few of the many cases reported as evidence of something new and extraordinary happening to heart transplant recipients: They seem to take on the likes and dislikes of their donors!

How is unconditional love communicated between master and student? Through the Heart! The favourite language between the two is silence, quietness, and stillness. When the students meet the Masters, spoken words are almost irrelevant. The silence between words become most important. Their compassion, their love, their gestures are important. Their eyes and their signals, their empathy and tolerance are more important than words.

Referring to love and duality, Osho once said that Krishnamurti and Zen systems are all concerned with how to create more consciousness because we are unconscious. They are concerned with how to be more aware and alert, how to move from unconsciousness toward consciousness. But this is duality — unconscious and conscious.

Basically Osho said that if we move from unconsciousness to consciousness we are moving from one duality to another. Unless we move beyond both we can never reach the ultimate. We need to go beyond both, to be neither the unconscious nor the conscious — just be! Honestly, in our Earthly experiences only love can give us a glimpse into what Osho is talking about. Only love goes beyond duality. When we are in deep love, we transcend the distance between us. Duality dissolves and we arrive at absolute love, absolute oneness!

The Masters tell us that unconditional love is a beautiful journey that helps us, for a moment, touch the absolute love. This is the highest peak; then we will have to come back. We get so dizzy up there, on this peak, that we need to go back to the valley. It is so high up there that it is difficult to stay. So we need to go up constantly again and again until we learn to pass the dizziness, the sensation of spinning around.

We need to learn to live on the peak, to live of absolute love. We might ask ourselves what is the difference. Well, when we are on our way to the peak we feel love, but when we arrive on the peak, we become love.

I got to reconnect with Daniel on his recent trip to Toronto where he visited us at the Collective Evolution Headquarters. We got to speak about his story, of how he almost died when his car broke down in the Himalayas and he was saved by a group of Buddhist Monks. We talk about that and much much more.

Please feel free to connect with me on Facebook HERE or Instagram (@thewaywithin.me) HERE if you wish to follow my journey. You can also subscribe on YouTube below. If you want to join the Way Within mailing list to stay updated with new episodes, you can do so at our website www.thewaywithin.me or follow our Facebook page HERE

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Freezing Myself To LIFE – Why I Started Climbing Mountains In My Undies

I’ll be honest — despite the title of this article, I usually wear shorts, and it’s not always in the mountains. More often than not I’m in the forests near my house. But, “I Walk Around Outside in My Shorts” doesn’t quite have the same pull, and I really want you to read this, because this technique changed my life, and maybe it could change yours, too.

A couple of years ago I was hosting a workshop where I invited a bunch of my friends to come and join me so that I could share some of the things I had learned. I showed some videos and asked some really deep questions, and we explored topics ranging from meditation and manifestation to nutrition, human potential, and spirituality.

Nine people showed up.

After the first presentation, I felt I had to really inspire them during the second one the following week. I needed to find a short video of a guy who could make anyone believe that anything was possible. I didn’t know at the time who I was looking for, but when I found him, I knew right away.

His name is Wim Hof, the Iceman.

He holds 26 world records and has accomplished some pretty incredible superhuman feats.

He climbed to 6.7 kilometers (22,000 ft.) altitude at Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts and shoes, but failed to reach the summit due to a recurring foot injury

He reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in his shorts in two days.

He completed a full marathon (42.195 kilometres [26.219 mi]), above the Arctic Circle in Finland, in temperatures close to ?20 °C (?4 °F). Dressed in nothing but shorts, Hof finished in 5 hours and 25 minutes.

He also broke the ice endurance record twice, in Intel in February and in New York City in November. The Guinness World Record is now set for 1 hour and 52 minutes and 42 seconds by Hof.

Hof also ran a full marathon in the Namib Desert without water. The run was performed under the supervision of Thijs Eijsvogels.

Impressive, right? It gets crazier…

I’m no scientist, but I’ll try to explain to the best of my understanding here. Wim claims he can tap into the autonomous nervous system, which is the system responsible for controlling unconscious bodily functions, such as breathing, heartbeat, and temperature regulation.

To prove it, he did a study where he was injected with an endotoxin that would illicit an intense immunological response. Where most people would get flu-like symptoms  — nausea, vomiting, etc. — he experienced little more than a mild headache, which means he essentially shut off his immune response. We still really don’t know how it works exactly, and more studies need to be done.

If this incredible feat can be replicated, it could have tremendous implications on the current healthcare system.

The good news is that it can, and this has been proven. Check out the study here.

“What I am capable of anyone can learn.”

– Wim Hof

When I first came across this information, there were so many questions racing through my mind, I didn’t even know where to start. I decided to watch his VICE episode where he trains the interviewer and camera crew to climb Mt. Snezka in Poland in less than a week. These were two ordinary people with absolutely NO mountaineering experience whatsoever, and they not only summited a mountain, but did it in nothing but a pair of shorts.

I was sold. I had to try this.

A couple weeks later, I unexpectedly met him. He just showed up to the Bulletproof Conference in Pasadena I was attending. I was in shock and didn’t even get his contact info, but was happy to meet my newfound hero (See video below for the footage of that first meeting). img_6753

I took this as a sign from the universe, so as soon as I returned home, I contacted Wim for an interview, and shortly thereafter I was in L.A. for the new facilitator training workshop. Not long after that, I found myself climbing the Rocky Mountains in Colorado as I completed a weeklong intensive training with Wim and about 30 future American facilitators to become the first certified Wim Hof instructor in Canada.

What shocked me the most was that my initial motivation for learning the whole method was to be able to brag about this macho feat. Something to add to some commendable bucket list of sorts. What I was trying to prove and to whom I still have no idea. (“Mountain climbing in my shorts! Check!”)

(If you listened to Episode 1 of The Way Within, you’ll know this happened well before that humbing experience that caused me to question why I do the things I do in the first place. If you want to watch it, CLICK HERE.)

A LESSON IN AWARENESS

Through the process of really learning the method something changed.

I mean, sure, the breathing exercises get you high off your own supply (air), and the cold gives you a rush of adrenaline that also makes you feel incredible after each cold spurt, but that wasn’t quite it.

Something powerful started shifting in me. With every ice bath and long, cold walk through nature, I started to feel a little different.

A deeper connection and awareness started to develop within me, and the need to climb the mountain diminished. With every round of breathing and extended breath holds, I became more aware. With every cold shower and ice plunge I felt something growing inside me.

Finally, in Colorado, after listening to all the other future facilitators’ stories, it really hit me. This was much more than a physical accomplishment or a test of strength; this was a journey within, a way to reconnect with myself on a deeper level. People were sharing stories of how the method helped them with their battles against PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, Self Confidence, Physcial Ailments and so much more.

In my own case, through the practice my intuition would increase along with my awareness. The ability to get into a state of mind to not only take on the ice but anything else that stood in my path was rapidly increasing. It didn’t make me invincible, but it helped me develop the confidence to do things that I once thought were impossible. And this led me to start questioning almost everything, what is truly possible?

I believe this method led me to my 55 day fast (click here for that article) and so many other incredible benefits I recieved and am still receiving by  allowing my intuition and self awareness to develop.wim_hof-quote-1

The greatest part of this journey for me and by far the most fulfilling is the ability to share it with others. I have helped people to break through their barriers — physical, mental, emotional — and truly witness them find their inner strength, sometimes in a matter of hours.

Once they realize the power lies within, it’s game on.

The method involves three main components: breathing, gradual cold exposure, and mindset/focus.

I’ve heard the saying a million times that “the best things in life are free,” and breathing, cold air, and a focused mindset, once you learn the technique, will cost you nothing to maintain for the rest of your life.

I encourage everyone to visit www.wimhofmethod.com and try the free mini course.

Here is Episode 3 of The Way Within show where I got to ask Wim some more questions about his personal story and how he became the Iceman. I hope you enjoy it! ( I apologize for the quality of the video and sound, as it was very windy and sunny and we didn’t get the shot we wanted.)

Please feel free to connect with me on Facebook HERE or Instagram (@thewaywithin.me) HERE if you wish to follow my journey.

You can also subscribe on YouTube below. If you want to join the Way Within mailing list to stay updated with new episodes, you can do so at our website www.thewaywithin.me or follow our facebook page HERE