Thursday, August 29, 2013


"The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude."

Friedrich Nietzsche  

Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director, and producer whose notable career spans more than three decades providing breathtaking imagery for feature films, television shows, documentaries and commercials.

As a visual artist, Louie has created some of the most iconic and memorable film moments of our time. He is an innovator in the world of time-lapse, nature, aerial and "slice-of-life" photography - the only cinematographer in the world who has literally been shooting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week continuously for more than 30 years.

Take a look at this TEDx talk he did about the films he created and the images he has captured and fill your heart with Gratitude for the wonderful and beautiful world we live in! It truly is uplifting to your heart and incredibly life enhancing to be re-mind-ed about the beauty all around us. As Louie says, "It connects to something deep within your soul".

And if you'd like to see something even more inspiring and incredible, something that makes you realise just how much we have to be grateful for in being alive at this amazing time, on this amazing planet, as it spins through a space that is filled with beauty and mind-blowing complexity, then watch this relatively short video about what scientists saw when they pointed the Hubble Space Telescope at a miniscule patch of space that they thought contained 'nothing':

life enhancing wishes and smiles

Friday, August 23, 2013

Eating with joy in your heart

 "Eat each meal with joy in your heart!"

"The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can influence your life..."

Dr. Deepak Chopra

Many years ago I heard about some fascinating and intriguing research during a presentation by Dr Deepak Chopra, and after studying the original research it lead me to develop a life enhancing strategy I've called 'joyful eating' that I continue to use to this day and that I highly recommend...

Back around 1980, Dr. Robert M. Nerem and his colleagues at the University of Ohio set out to study the effects of diet on the development of coronary artery disease. To do this they fed rabbits a toxic diet of high-cholesterol, artery-clogging rabbit food. However when they analyzed the results, surprisingly they found that one group of rabbits did not have their arteries clogged with plaque, even though all the rabbits had been fed the same diet. Unable to explain why some rabbits showed less evidence of the beginning stages of heart disease, the researchers decided to retrace each step of the study and found that when the research assistant fed the rabbits, she would take out those rabbits in the lower cages so she could cuddle and pet them as she fed them, whereas for the rabbits in the higher cages she could only reach to place the food in their feeding trays and could not pet them.

Finding it difficult to believe that loving contact from the research assistant could make such a difference in the condition of the rabbits’ arteries, the researchers replicated the study in a formal and controlled fashion, making sure the only difference between the groups was loving touch. Again, the results were the same. In all, the research study was repeated three times with the same results and was eventually reported in the prestigious journal Science (Nerem et al, 1980, Science 208:1475). The findings indicated there was more than 60% less blockage and significantly less arterial damage in the rabbits that were touched and cuddled compared to those that were not. The researchers hypothesized that the effects of touch produced a change in immune function and hormone levels and therefore in how the toxic diet was metabolized.

We now know from a huge number of studies in the field of Psycho-Neuro-Immunology (PNI) that emotions and thoughts influence immune function (and are influenced in return by immune function), so it is not surprising that eating a toxic diet while experiencing loving kindness could influence how the gut and immune system processes what has been eaten. Realizing the power and importance of this, and knowing about the roles of the heart and gut brains, I created a process of joyful eating to ensure that I optimize how my body processes what I eat. Now, every time I sit down to eat a meal, I fill my heart with joy for the food I'm about to enjoy and send powerful messages from my heart down to my gut to really 'in-joy' my meal.

From the new field of mBIT (multiple Brain Integration Techniques), (described in my book mBraining) we know that the role of the gut brain is about identity, self preservation and mobilization of our resources and that up to approx. 80% of immune function is controlled and guided by the gut intelligence, so there are deep connections between how we eat, how we feel about ourselves and how our body handles what we've ingested and is attempting to digest. We also know that the heart brain is involved in the process of valuing and in guiding and leading the other brains (head and gut). So by holding love and joy in our heart as we eat, we are setting up strong signals and directions to our bodymind to really make the best response we can in how we are processing what we have just put into our system.

It's a simple strategy yet a powerful and delightful one. In a lot of ways it echoes the wisdom of spiritual traditions that for thousands of years have taught us to 'give thanks for our food' and to say grace and bless our food before eating. In a sense the joyful eating strategy is a secular version of this. It's also an easy form of guided meditation and mindfulness that sends clear signals and messages through our multiple brains to ensure we are eating from highest expression. 

And I can tell you it feels wonderful to really fill each meal with joy. Give it a go and make every meal a life enhancing experience. Start doing this today and your health and life will echo ongoingly from your new way of thinking, behaving and eating each meal with joy in your heart.

"Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It’s a way to live."

Jackie Windspear

Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It’s a way to live. – Jackie Windspear - See more at:
Life enhancing thoughts and wishesGrant

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Your body knows...

 "Human Cells Respond in Healthy and Unhealthy Ways to Different Kinds of Happiness"
 Prof. Barbara L. Fredrickson

I came across a fascinating piece of research recently on the effects of various positive emotions on the body. It's from studies done by Prof. Barbara L. Fredrickson and her colleagues. Her work shows that human bodies recognize at the molecular level that not all happiness is created equal, responding in ways that can help or hinder physical health. I figured this was sufficiently important and life enhancing that I needed to share it with you in this blog.

In essence, the reseachers found that the sense of well-being derived from "a noble purpose" may provide cellular health benefits, whereas "simple self-gratification" may have negative effects, despite an overall perceived sense of happiness. Now this is interesting, because in my work on mBIT (multiple Brain Integration Techniques), and as described in my book mBraining, our multiple brains (head, heart, gut) have what we call their 'Highest Expressions'.

For the Heart it is Compassion, for the Head it is Creativity and for the Gut it is Courage. What we found is that each brain has a set of core competencies and prime functions they are involved in expressing, controlling and representing and that these competencies are influenced by the state of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) that innervates all of the brains. The most adaptive and generative ANS mode is one in which the two arms of the ANS (the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic) are in coherence or balance. For the heart, this balanced mode is where competencies such as love, joy, compassion etc. are able to be expressed.

Now from our behavioral modeling work, and backed up by numerous avenues of scientific evidence, we found that Compassion is the most generative of all the competencies of the Heart intelligence. And fascinatingly, the research by Barbara Fredrickson supports this notion. In her studies, she compared heart-based emotions of hedonic happiness with eudaimonic states (striving toward meaning and a noble purpose beyond simple self-gratification) such as loving-kindness and compassion and looked at the biological influence of these in the pattern of gene expression within people's immune cells. While participants reported overall feelings of well-being when experiencing hedonic states such as joy and happiness, these states did not produce the same gene expression of decreased stress related cellular inflammatory response as that of eudaimonic states.

As Dr. Fredrickson indicates, people who experience more hedonic than eudaimonic well-being consume the emotional equivalent of empty calories. "Their daily activities provide short-term happiness yet result in negative physical consequences long-term," she suggested. And this is important. Highest Expressions such as Compassion in the heart are generative, integrative and adaptive. They produce greater and wiser benefits in your life than the 'empty calories' of just experiencing happy (but potentially selfish) feelings in your heart.

So fill your life and every day with life enhancing thoughts and feelings of noble purpose, of loving kindness, of compassion, connection and caring for those around you. Make a difference both in your own life and the lives of others by truly caring, deep in your heart. Your body really does know the difference!

life enhancing wishes