Forged in the Storm
I was born into an environment of male inadequacy. It had existed before I was born and by the time I arrived the atmosphere was thick with a rage and hate that was to permeate everyone that came into contact with it. The tortured faces of the men in the family signified a deep self-loathing who scattered their volcanic fury upon those that had no defense against it. I grew up with plenty of fear. It instilled itself into the deepest recesses of my mind and as a result, my thoughts made me view the world as a dark distrustful and unhappy place. I viewed myself as a coward, unable to protect my abused sister from her torment. But I had arrived in this environment for a reason and it was my responsibility to create what I could with it including all of the dark shadows that accompanied the experience. What I was to discover is that we are not our experiences. Whilst experience is our real source of knowledge; if we become and identify ourselves with an experience, we can never be fully present, at peace or leave the past behind. So I set out on a quest of self-discovery, to dis-identify myself from my experience and discover exactly who I was. The quest finally led to the course On the Warriors Path and is the result of that search. It has been forged in the experience of emotional turmoil, tough physical tests and a philosophy of action.
On the Warriors Path is what is commonly termed as a personal development course, but outside of the USA this can still be a relatively unknown area and be inconsistent in the description of what personal development actually is.
Personal development as we now know it, has had an incredible journey throughout history. Its origins stem back possibly thousands of years and the best examples come from ancient China, India and other parts of the far East. Originally it meant to discover and experience our true nature and our connection to the surrounding environment including everything within it seen and unseen. This deep understanding of internal/external oneness would be expressed in every action and every idea. It is accurate to say that this was the foundation of an education and was placed at the forefront as a basis of intelligence.
Nowadays personal development means different things to different people. It could mean mindfulness to some, healthy eating and wellbeing for others, pushing ourselves to the limit in sport or becoming a productive corporate machine, never switching off and achieving as much as one possibly can in life.
For me, none of those interpretations are the answer; I believe we have lost our way in the personal development world. My dream is to re-set the status quo and I now see my life’s mission as passing on this message to so many people on our crowded planet that have lost their way, are unfulfilled or suffer from low self-esteem, severe depression and simply want inner peace and a sense of meaning in their life.
Instead of using drugs, gimmicks and ‘tool kits’ we need to chip away at the exterior of oneself to reveal the real person inside which is often referred to as our authentic self. It is this inner wisdom which we all have that holds our innate state of peace, courage, wellbeing and clarity. We desire what we already have, but pre-conditioned thoughts and beliefs have effectively clouded our connection to this natural condition of peace and stillness. The access to this authentic self is mistakenly often attempted to be tapped into by external sources via gurus, possessions, finance, prestige and other outside influences, only to discover that these are a short lived fix that end up serving personal egotistical desires above everything else.
The Inside out Approach to Wellbeing
We currently have a fragmented approach to health and wellbeing where we often choose one answer for our problems. I’ve personally seen a highly nutritious diet totally negated by emotional turmoil, I’ve also seen regular yoga and meditation practitioner’s permanently struggle with stress levels and jump from craze to craze at the local gym to find something that works for them. Many others, as incorrectly advised by the fitness magazines, have tried to access courage and confidence through a physical look, often leaving them with a lower self esteem than before due to a reliance on a body image. Despite the huge choices and information currently available, real personal change and more importantly peace and clarity remain a rarity. Why is this?
I believe we have the wrong mindset that then produces the wrong thoughts to achieve what we desire. In short, we are using an outside in approach to personal change rather than the Eastern idea of cultivating and understanding our inner states so we can expand our awareness and understanding of the world around us directly via inner change. The outside in approach leans heavily towards enhancing the ego, which has a desire for attention and adulation from others in order to feel better about ourselves. This will determine how we behave, who we spend our time with and even what exercise we choose to pursue.
We view the world according to how we are and the thoughts we choose to believe. If we can question this and dissolve that which we believe to be true, we can literally see the world anew and ourselves along with it.
On The Warriors Path
On The Warriors Path is not only the culmination of my own past 35+ years experience and journey in personal development, it is also a journey back to the origins of personal development that brings every aspect of mind, body and spirit into a beautiful synchronized awareness. It is the first personal development course to teach Eastern philosophy, physical movement in all its passive and dynamic expressions and nutrition at the same time within one course.
The seven courages that form the basis of the course demonstrate how our emotions are the bridge between mind and body and how understanding and releasing our thought patterns can free their hold over us. It is the first two stages that form the foundation of the course. This is the stage where I introduce the idea that we create the lives we live and the possibility of recreation through mindful enquiry into our thoughts. This first stage is aptly named the courage of responsibility and although some attendees find this courage difficult due to their strong attachment to self protective but often destructive beliefs, it is the first step in facilitating change. Its purpose is to reflect the truth towards the person who is suffering from their own thoughts.
We use this towards the drug addict that insists they took drugs because their Mother took them or the alcoholic that states they had no choice because their Father drank. Or perhaps the person whose life didn’t turn out the way they expected and so create an exaggerated traumatic past as an excuse for underachieving in theirs or societies eyes. Once these excuses are broken and personal responsibility is established they can then take action. The seed of change via thought is then manifested through the solid foundations of the courage of self-discipline. The real meaning of self-discipline is to learn about ourselves and its ability to set us free. Although it is often considered a form of suffering, abstinence, conformity and other negative connotations, it is actually a path to self-empowerment by taking control of our lives. It is here we look at physical movement and how and why it can leave a psychological imprint that can be used in any endeavour or area of our lives. Exercise is taught as a reinforcement of transformation and to become something by it. I discovered many years ago that no one is really exercising to develop a six pack or wide shoulders but to access courage and confidence on a deeper level, so I steer them to a physical discipline that will deliver this. I also demonstrate different breathing and movement speeds that can release short and long term trauma from the mind and body. Finally nutrition is introduced as a source of fuel, energy, recovery and for health so our lives can be expressed and experienced fully.
The course has successfully treated conditions such as depression, anxiety, addiction, low self-esteem, mental health issues and fear. In addition it has been used to instill courage and confidence in high performers and help create inner clarity and calm despite existing external events.