Finding Freedom and Manifesting Miracles (Mind Body Spirit Festival article)

I was always fascinated by the subject of creating our reality. Despite being a grounded and scientific person by nature, there was something about those timeless stories such as Aladdin which spoke to me – the clear-minded, innocent archetype, whose wishes come true as if by magic. There’s a part of us all that lights up with these stories, that inner child aspect that never really went away. I don’t feel it was a coincidence that my first ever job was reviewing Aladdin for a newspaper – and now, well, here I am.

Despite so many books written on the subject of creating reality and the Law of Attraction and things like that, the miracles and manifestations that were promised were still quite rare. I mean the big ones, on subjects that actually matter to us; like finding your soulmate, becoming wealthy, spontaneous miracle healing – rather than just finding a 50p coin or feather on the pavement every now and then. Through my work, I’ve met a lot of people trying to follow these varied philosophies and I have also got to know several of the authors writing these books. I wasn’t impressed. Their results haven’t lived up to the hype and I think you know what I’m talking about.

Different approaches have come and gone like fads and people often end up feeling more miserable than before they had discovered these ideas! We all want the miracles instantly which is why the “three easy step” or quick fix approach to spirituality sell so well but rarely work. The human being is prone to procrastination and, dare I say, laziness at times.

So, first of all, we must do the work of clearing the sometimes ferocious storms of the overthinking mind. Lighthouse, my previous book and workshop series, was about the clearing required to make way for the next step.

As much as we’d all love to we can’t always jump to success in an instant. Practice and preparation is always needed. There was work to be done.

This next stage was a whole miracle in itself. I had gone through true emotional turmoil and I had come out the other end. It was a joy to help others navigate through the same “storms of the mind”. Of course, my journey still continues in this area.

First steps

Doing what I loved: I’ve facilitated hundreds of groups and talks, week in week out, demonstrating the effectiveness of my teachings. Along the way I attracted some very well known, house-hold name clients through word of mouth from others that I’ve helped. My work has been known as one of the best-kept success secrets amongst certain circles. I’ve had huge success in helping people to find peace wherever they are by helping them to realise that it is ok to not feel ok. I wrote all about this topic in my last book Lighthouse, but now there is more for me to do.

For the first time in a workshop setting I will be sharing my newest and most powerful process at the Mind Body Spirit Festival in my workshop – “Success with personal development approaches for a life that works”.

Authors like Neville Goddard appealed to me. There was something magical about his teachings and yet I couldn’t get his visualisation to work in the grand way that it had worked for him. Great teachers that I had met had predicted that I would – but as yet, it wasn’t happening. I had met very few people who it was working for. Something was up and I was determined to find out what that was.

…Then the miracles.

First, the process appeared. There is was in right front of me written on paper. I can hardly remember writing it down but there it was, written after returning from a retreat in Glastonbury that I was facilitating which had been particularly full of insights.

A few weeks after that a significant manifestation happened. In fact it was one of those huge manifestations that you read about and wonder if it’s really possible. But here it was, right in front of me, and in my life – hot-on-the-heels of the process I’d just developed and practiced daily. This was the evidence I was looking for.

So here I am, eager to share this process with you and I am so excited about the incredible peace of mind you’ll fine and that improvements that will occur in all areas of your life.

This “secret” process is what I will be sharing with you in my workshop. I’m still working on it and don’t plan to share it in its full form until the workshop later this year. I’ll see you there.

Michael presents this workshop at the BIRMINGHAM MIND BODY SPIRIT FESTIVAL on Friday November 2nd . To book your place click here.

Finding self-confidence

0-weu-d2-fe98c7939fd0bfd242be70d8ffa743abI first discovered I was going to be taking the stage to talk about Finding Self-Love (at last month’s Mind Body Spirit Festival in London- pictured here), just when I was coming through a storm of self-criticism. I’ve been teaching this stuff long enough to know better – but here I was, being tested. Rather than laugh at the irony (though I did that, too) – I immediately paid attention. In fact, the invitation itself snapped me out of whatever was bothering me. After all, Life clearly believed in me to be the best person to talk about self-love – and in a split second, I did too. I was “back”, so to speak.

And this is the thing: self-love or self-confidence is not a permanent state we get to and then stay there, but a state like a radio channel, which always exists, and we can tune in and out of. Nothing has gone wrong if we find ourselves temporarily “tuned out”, as I did. In fact, it is these deviations from connection which evolve us much like the tension of lifting weights at the gym evolves our body. I was the best person to take the stage and talk about self-love because of this moment of disconnection, not in spite of it; and also because I understand that it is in the less-that-self-confident moments that the most powerful states of self-confidence are created.

Practice, not perfection

I’m way past the point of condemning myself for “being human”. Even the great mystics of the past were allowed to mess up, and were open about this in their brilliant writings, so surely I’m allowed to. They understood what so much of the new age movement doesn’t – that the human journey is about stumbling, learning, evolving, and getting up again stronger. The mystic Teresa of Avila, for example, made it clear that the spiritual journey is about practice, not perfection – it’s not this “happy all the time” nonsense that the contemporary spirituality often professes. And trust me, I’ve seen a lot of fellow teachers off stage and let’s just say anyone can appear perfect for a brief talk or a 2-hour workshop, if that’s your intention.

Now there are some great teachers out there, don’t get me wrong – but you get my point. And here’s the thing (and they’d agree with me): changing your thoughts and changing your life is not like changing your socks – the human mind just doesn’t work like that. Those “Don’t worry be happy” quotes are fine when you’re happy – and downright infuriating and useless when you’re not. They didn’t work for me, and in the early days, I thought there was something wrong with me because this kind of bumper sticker spirituality wasn’t working. But then, several years ago, I began teaching groups and realised it was the same for almost everyone I met. Life – and humans – are not as simple as these “five easy steps”. It’s much more interesting than this, with way more depth.

Finding Love within

We are never looking for anything out there- we think we are but we’re not. What we are looking for is an internal shift – from the static of overthinking to the power of our Real Self. The answers really are within.  It may look like you need something out there, but that is part of the world’s training, to make you think you are not enough and you “need” something out there to complete you. The good news is, once you give yourself the quality you are looking for “out there” – then you attract that likeminded quality to you,  because you don’t get what you want, but what you are. When you find self-love, life will mirror back this self-confidence – which occurs as all your dreams coming true.

Confidence is everything

We all know that confidence is everything, right?  Talent is always good – but far more important than talent is how talented you feel you are. Everyone agrees with how important self-confidence or self-love is, but people often stop at that point, not doing what it takes to embody it and move this theory into practical change.  Who you really are is always in the state of self-confidence, so it’s less about building it up and more about revealing it.

We are all God’s gift- but do we know it?

People who feel they are “it” usually are, in some way or other. I’m not talking about delusion – like those guys you see on the X-Factor who are clearly not very good singers but seemingly think they are. In truth, they know they can’t sing. And that is why we are perceiving them as such.

Confidence and it’s counterpart: Insecurity 

When you begin to train yourself into feeling more self-confidence or self-love, you’re probably going to experience it’s opposite, as your lower self mind rears up for a challenge. Keep going anyway. If you fall, get up as quickly as you can (though it’s fine and perfect ok if you ‘stay down’ for a bit).

When you start something new – firstly, well done. And secondly, you’re going to get some obstacles, for two reasons:

  1. Think of riding a bike. If you didn’t begin, you would have no risk of falling off, which is kind of inevitable – so having some resistance to leaving your comfort zone is bound to happen
  2. You actually need these trials to strengthen the muscle.

Welcome the obstacles in – they are going to happen, don’t be surprised when they do. Just as you are not surprised when your muscles tense at a weight at the gym.

You may want to collapse on the ground when you face an obstacle, but think about it. A toddler falls of his bike and gets back up as quickly as possible. If he didn’t get back on pretty quick – he’d probably never back back on again. So you’ve got to be quick – stand up tall and walk in, even if you don’t feel like it. And guess what- you almost definitely won’t feel like it.

This is what I was talking about at the beginning of the article, my drop into self-criticism didn’t phase me, as I knew it was a “hardcore workout” to prepare me for life – and the making of the very talk on self-love I presented (which I was told was a great success). There is nothing wrong with going into self attack, it’s not “negative” – it’s what evolves us.

Once the neediness is burned off, all that is left is the most attractive state of all: self-confidence. The irony is that in this state of self-confidence, you need nothing to complete you because you already feel whole, complete and fulfilled. And that’s when you get everything.

New You- New Focus

IMG_8082In the beginnings of a new year, symbolically and historically, it’s a time many people make an intention to change. And yet every day is a new beginning, every moment. And so whenever you are reading this: Now is the time for change.

Change requires a certain kind of effort

When you are beginning a new habit, you may experience strong resistance to doing it. And that’s normal, as your old habits start trying to pull you back. In many ways, starting is the hardest part. Like a shuttle breaking out of the Earth’s atmosphere, a huge thrust is needed at the beginning to ‘break through’ into the new. Then it becomes easier, as you find the rhythm of the new habit.

Many people quit at this point and go back to their old ways. That’s why it’s notorious that the gyms are packed full in January and empty in February. Sure, people intended to continue but that intention wasn’t enough. Effort is needed in the beginning stages, particularly.

When as babies we learn to walk, we stumble and then we get back up stronger. So there’s nothing wrong with a few false starts. However, just as starting to dig a mineshaft for gold- and then stopping and starting somewhere else five minutes later- will take forever to get to the gold, we want to allow ourselves our humanity and yet also be consistent. With commitment, or discipline, the path is much shorter than we will have thought. Commitment or discipline is the secret.

No going back

The Vikings burned their boats at the shore of a new land they were about to conquer. There was no going back to their old ways. And this is how we want to be with our intentions or resolutions. No excuses, 100%, All or nothing. Wishful thinking will get you nowhere- follow through will get you what you want, and faster than you think.

Focus

The teacher Seth said that “you get what you concentrate on, there is no other rule”.

What Seth is saying here: focus: requires a disciplined mind. To do this requires a lot of practice. Because when most people first hear this line in all its many forms, they get panicky. Reading positive thinking books isn’t enough. To an undisciplined mind, this wisdom can become counterproductive; the moment most people hear it they automatically start fighting their fears until they get lost in a fearful cloud of overthinking, desperately trying to focus on what they want whilst inadvertently becoming obsessed about what they don’t want:

I remember someone telling me that she bought a popular ‘Law of Attraction’ DVD for a friend who was depressed. After a few weeks, she asked how her friend was doing with it. The friend answered, sarcastically, “Well before you bought me the film I was depressed. Now I’m depressed and frightened.” This person was lost in depression- and now was being told that these depressing thoughts were going to ‘do bad things’. Or that’s how she understood it.

And so, a disciplined and clear mind is essential before we learn to focus. Discipline and commitment again- the secret to working with the Law of Attraction as I said.

Once you use discipline to clear your mind, you drop into your Real Self that automatically moves into focus on what you want. By using your effort in this way, to break through into your Real Self perspective, focus becomes effortless.

So what to do?

Firstly, we want to meditate.

Then, we want to practice dwelling, again and again, on all the good in our lives.

And

Third step: Now you can focus and concentrate on what you want- this becomes an effortless and natural thing to do.

Good luck with your changes: Keep on going- and come along to one of my events to learn more.

Integrity is personal power

characterIntegrity makes the man (or woman)

All those we admire and want to be or be with have integrity. Someone who has loyalty, honour, commitment and honesty has the most attractive qualities- yet they are not always the easiest to live by and need developing.

Every ‘blockbuster’ movie has a hero with integrity. He’s the guy everyone in the audience wants to be or be with. Integrity is putting the Golden rule of ‘treating others how you want to be treated’ into action.

Integrity to me doesn’t mean following a set of guidelines ‘out there’; set by somebody else. It means following your own inner values and being open about who you are, being who you say you are. Having integrity means you are someone others know where they stand with.

I read this definition which makes sense to me:

“Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the quality of having an intuitive sense of honesty and truthfulness in regard to the motivations for one’s actions.  Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy, in that it regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.

The word “integrity” stems from the Latin adjective integer (whole, complete). In this context, integrity is the inner sense of “wholeness” deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character.   As such, one may judge that others “have integrity” to the extent that one judges whether they behave according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.”

From Wikipedia

Integrity is a gift to yourself

What’s all this got to do with the Law of Attraction? Everything- because you don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are. Be a clear, straightforward person and you will experience a clear, straightforward life. 

Life goes a lot easier for yourself when you have integrity. There’s no wasted energy having to remember what lies you told- and it’s a lot easier to love yourself when you trust yourself with others.

Another truth is we tend to think everyone else is like us. So if we are trustworthy, we can more easily trust others- and even attract others into our lives who are, like us, people with integrity. Because we’ve all heard the phrase ‘birds of a feather flock together’. There is no getting away from the truth that we are all connected; there is no escaping the fact that as we treat others, we treat ourselves. So being kind and honest is actually a very self-loving thing to do. You may be able to trick another for so long but you can’t trick your own heart; you can’t trick Life.

Integrity in relationships

Having integrity in romantic relationships doesn’t mean you’re forced into choosing one type of relationship. Integrity isn’t about following a strict rule someone else has suggested- and that’s what people sometimes don’t always understand. There are many kinds of relationship agreements in all cultures- committed or dating several partners; married to more than one person even. Having integrity simply means you are clear with your partner of what kind of relationship you are in with them; you don’t ‘sneak around’ and pretend to be something you’re not, which can disconnect you. Lying also plays havoc with the other person’s intuitive ‘guidance system’ and faith in themselves- it’s a very destructive and unloving to do.

It’s about honesty, which gives you honour. ‘Cheating’ on the other hand has less to do with what someone is doing with their body and more about the deception; it’s about lying and lack of integrity; it’s about ‘cheating’ on a contract you have agreed to with another person.

Again the Golden rule, ask yourself: ‘Would I like to be treated how I am treating this person?’ Easy. How much more simple can it get?

To the ‘lower level’ (ego) mind being upfront and honest may seem like a lack of freedom- but this isn’t true. Giving (and therefore gaining) this kind of trust in intimate relationships is the ‘scaffold’ that allows a sense of freedom to flourish. Once both partners feel relaxed, safe and trusting within an agreed commitment of integrity- passion is safe to be expressed; sexual intimacy becomes better; everything becomes better. What little sacrifice there appears to be is no sacrifice at all.

Integrity is the winning formula

Like all good things in life, living a life of integrity requires commitment. ‘Nice guys finish last’ but those with integrity triumph every time. ‘Nice’ can imply being a people-pleaser or a doormat- whereas having nothing to hide makes someone the opposite of this; empowered and respected by all.

Oh, it may look like the person with integrity is not winning initially;  that the person who has integrity is ‘just a fool’ being walked on by others- but Life has a way of balancing out. Lacking integrity has a high price to pay- it always comes back to the person in some way or another.

Being an honest person who ‘says what he means and means and he says’ takes a decision and then a follow-though. Nothing has gone wrong if we are not living this way right now- we are all doing the best we can, and none of us are perfect. Sometimes we make mistakes- and that’s ok. It’s more than ok, it’s how we evolve- and a life experience of a lack of integrity evolves us to perhaps make another, more honest choice when we are ready. But remember being clear and open is not so much about being a ‘good person’ who others admire- although it will make you that. Integrity is a gift to yourself- and a vital ingredient to a happy life.

Feel like you’re missing out?

lightsThe grass is not greener: Why you’re not missing out in life

There’s this idea that we’re always “missing out” in life. That we always want to be somewhere else with someone else or even be someone else. I know I was like that- I ruined countless moments of a perfectly good life by wishing things could be different, totally oblivious to the fact that my life was more than good enough already, if only I’d taken the time to notice.

This is especially true nowadays – where certain social media sites offer us ways of trying to convince the world that we are good enough by posting well-lit and well-angled photos of us looking happy and attractive in the hope that everyone will see us as “perfect”. It can be competitive-  and it contributes more to stress than happiness.

Even when you are into the Law of Attraction or modern-day spirituality, you can continue this quest to be better, always looking for something else to “manifest” so that you can be happy one day. But that day never comes. If you can’t find happiness from right where you are, why do you think you will be able to do it in the future?

I learnt this in my own life:

In my early twenties when I worked in television, I freelanced on a particular job that got me into all the “in” events in London. Private celebrity parties with expensive champagne, VIP areas and private penthouses. I worked in high profile areas of news, politics and entertainment, mixing with a lot of well-known people. Was it good? Not really, because I wasn’t a happy person. I was “living the dream” but nothing had changed except I had even more things to worry about, including picking up some new addictions. Socialising in places where everyone was craving pleasure on the outside was not a pleasant place to be and even in my brief period in this lifestyle, I found myself seeking solace in drugs and alcohol. I had “manifested” my ideal life- except it wasn’t my ideal life. And I never met anyone whose ideal life it actually was.

I would see them across the pages of the tabloids. Their lives would look amazing, exciting, fantastic. They would look happy in the snapshots. It all looked so aspirational and what dreams are made of. Except I had been out on these nights and they were nothing like the newspapers had hyped them up to be. The club scene I found was repetitive and more about war than love; more about people winning and using other people-  though I continued going along, why? Because it was what everyone was doing.

I would say most of the celebrities I met who lived this kind of partying lifestyle were miserable, neurotic, stressed out and desperate to find connection. I became like that myself. And many of them used addiction to try to fill the gap and find inner peace. Of course that didn’t work. I was fortunate due to past experiences of addiction to not get too deep into it, but I saw a lot of people totally lost to it all.

I have nothing against anything people choose to do- and we find our own path, at the perfect time for us. I am certainly not trying to suggest there are ‘wrong’ choices, but even working within the media it was too easy to fall under the media’s illusions that your life is not enough and all the fun is happening elsewhere to everyone else. It’s depressing to be reading some of these stories, feeling not good enough. It’s also depressing when you “get there” and realise there’s nothing there either. It was a trick all along, like the Wizard of Oz.

What you want is right here

What everyone really wants is to feel connected; to feel great about themselves and life. That is why everyone has goals, in the hope that the new car or house or achievements will bring them this feeling. There are so many things that promise to give us that – be it drugs, celebrity, another job or a change of relationships. But it is just illusion; like tin foil to our magpie-like lower mind. Once you get it you realise it’s not enough. It’s never enough. Without a happy and clear minded mindset all the stuff in the world will not fill the void.

What you want is as likely to happen now as ever: It’s a shift in perception.What you want; how you want to feel, is playing on another channel and all the waiting in the world will not flick the channel. A shift of focus is what changes the channel.

Happiness is about giving not getting

Looking for something outside of yourself to give you happiness isn’t the way to get connected; it’s never enough. There is nothing wrong with this quest- and sometimes we have to make this detour to realise for ourselves the truth of life- perhaps it’s even a necessary research period for many of us. But ultimately we all realise that the outer world cannot satisfy us; it is in the appreciating the life we have, appreciating the people already in our lives and ourselves; giving to others and loving others that’s the key to happiness and the answer everyone’s looking for. Happiness is about what you are giving out rather than what’s coming back to you. And no matter where we are or what’s going on in our lives right now- we are in the perfect place to do this right here and now. There is no better place to be.

Trusting in romantic relationships (part 1)

relationshipsPeople look to finding love to solve their problems – but romantic relationships can challenge you like almost nothing else. If that wasn’t true, why would so many songs be written about the pain of relationships? When you realise that romantic relationships are mirroring back parts of yourself and therefore always bring you an opportunity for to practice focusing your mind. And because all problems are caused by an unfocused mind, this is a very good thing.

Crime solving vs Looking for the good

A common way to conduct a relationship is to be on the lookout for problems to see if the other person is right for us. But looking for problems never helps – we think it does, and that is why we do it, but it doesn’t. So you meet someone and at first it feels wonderful. Then doubts and suspicions come over you. Where are they? What are they doing? And you start searching for faults; something they are hiding. Once you find a piece of incriminating evidence, it doesn’t satisfy the negative mind- this fear-based mindset insatiably wants to keep looking for evidence as you feel more and more powerless and the downward spiral begins. And if you don’t find anything in your search, your suspicions don’t stop there either. Your mind tells you you just need to try harder: Check the emails. Check the phone messages. Ask better questions in order to catch this person out. Again, with this approach we get more pain and little solutions.

Choosing another way

But there is another way, and that’s to put your focus on appreciating the person you are with or at least find some way to change the subject. This sounds ridiculous to the rational mind – What if I miss vital clues letting me know that this person is lying to me? But intuition works when you are feeling good. When you are confused or frightened – you simply can’t tell the difference between gut feeling and false, fearful information. You are either “crime-solving” or you are looking for the best – you can’t do both at once. And how do you tell which approach is going to lead to happiness in all ways? Simple – the one that feels good to you.

Appreciation always feels good, even if it goes against all logic. Our logic tells us we need to find the truth and fully understand the other person and the situation before we open our hearts and trust them. Yet until we love them we can’t really understand them. Love and trust has to come first. Waiting to audition someone to see if they are worthy of our love or our trust means we never get to see the real them; we never get to give the relationship a chance. This sounds like a risk- but it is not trusting that is the real risk – we feel immediate pain and nothing works. We cannot hear our guidance, so if the other person actually is hiding something important we don’t see it. Appreciation is win-win – it makes us feel good and it leads us to what we want. Period. That “ego” or “lower self” voice in our mind may relentlessly want to catch them out but it is the Pollyanna approach of overlooking problems and loving no matter what which leads to our good. We are not doing this for them- but for us. As we put our focus on feeling good – all problems sort themselves, things we need to know get revealed to us. If this person is not for us, the Universe will take them away in a relatively pain-free manner, replacing them with someone who is for us. And if they are for us, we will simply have a wonderful time with less worries.

Of course I am not saying to endure any kind of unpleasant behaviour; after all, if you were in the middle of a swarm of bees, moving away would be the best approach rather than remaining there and looking for the good. You can leave – and then appreciate. But ultimately, all roads lead to appreciation. Appreciation is a gift for yourself and the simple truth is this: Appreciation will sort out everything in relationships, without you having to do a thing.