Scott Buchan lives to tell the tale of regular Conscious Connected Breathwork, commitment and deserved results! Worked it.

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November 2010 in Brighton is where I first met David Parker, when he was speaking at a Convention I was attending. The Convention and his topic had nothing to do with breathwork but as time has passed, the link between then and now has become more obvious.

Our paths crossed a number of times in the next couple of years randomly bumping into each other here and there and we connected on social media. It was then I started to read David’s story and what he did/does regarding breathwork. I was nosey rather than curious and didn’t look too much further into it. In the autumn of 2013, my wife and I went to Malta where I had been asked to speak at one of them Conventions where I first met David and lo and behold, David was there. One of those ‘coincidences’.

We spent a lot of time in each other’s company in that week and I started to ask a few more questions about this thing he did. My interest had moved on from curiosity to intrigue and I started to think I wanted to know more and perhaps experience what it was this breathwork was all about.

emoji-56-512I had my own ‘issues’. I’ve been in recovery from active addiction since June 2009 with which I had been battling with for 30 years and I had a lot of consequences none more so than my physical state. I’ve been in a coma twice, I’d had a stroke, I’d had the Last Rites read over me, I’d had pancreatitis on a number of occasions, I’d broken near enough every bone in my body, my right lung had collapsed twice and this was before I got into recovery.

emoji-56-512Since getting clean of all drugs, including alcohol, I then had testicular cancer, I’d had a shoulder reconstruction and in 2014, I underwent 4 surgeries on my knees culminating in a full left knee replacement AND to add to the fun, I’d suffered a burst appendix in the summer of 2014 which I was lucky to survive.

emoji-56-512I had also put on a lot of weight as I had been unhappily comfort-eating and although I’m 6ft 5, I was within touch of 20 stone on the scales. I was also in and out of employment and hadn’t held down a regular job for years.

The experiences of 2014 were enough for me to want to change a few things. I needed a different way of seeing myself. My physical health (or lack of it) had become my identity. The first thing people would say to me was, “…and how’s the health, Scott?”

18581901_10155136311290498_8333475731833275017_n-1images-1I spoke to David once or twice around this time and he said about coming along to one of the seminars he was getting up and running in Victoria. I went along open-minded and with no expectation on what was going to happen.

It ended up being one of the most extraordinary moments in my life.

I still can’t explain exactly what happened but I had an ‘out of body’ experience during my first ever breathe. I cried like I hadn’t cried since I was a baby. I felt all this physical pain fill up inside me, overwhelm me and somehow drain from me. I curled up in a foetal ball, I shook, I sobbed, I made a hell of a noise and I was looked after tenderly by David and the team and I felt, without being too dramatic, reborn afterwards.

I left the seminar, got a train from Victoria to Clapham Junction then another train to Basingstoke and then a taxi home and it was only when I put the key in my front door I suddenly realised I was home! I’d done the whole journey in a trance and couldn’t recall a thing about it.

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My thinking DID change from that minute on. I decided my health was NOT going to be my identity. I looked at my diet. I looked at my exercise (or lack of it). I looked at my attitude. I looked at certain people, certain places and certain behaviours and I did a full-on spring clean. I didn’t fall out with people as much as I stopped falling in with them to begin with. I began to keep my counsel smaller and closer and started to look at what was important to me and what I wanted to achieve from my life.

images-1I became a regular ‘breather’ and I’ve been attending groups and seminars with David more or less monthly ever since that first experience. I travel all the way from Basingstoke Hampshire to London Camden and back for every session. It’s a 3 hour round trip on public transport, it’s the best part of £40 in fares and that doesn’t phase me in the slightest. Nor does the fact I get home at midnight and I’m up at 5.30 the following day for work.

The breathwork and the coaching sessions prior to breathing have become an integral part of my continuing recovery. I’ve learnt a lot about me, what makes me tick, what fires me up and acquired great techniques to deal with life and what can crop up for me on a regular basis.

3½ years on from that first breathwork experience, I am now in the best physical shape I’ve been in since I was at school. I’m down to a manageable 16½ stone, my diet is unrecognisable from a few years ago, I walk 30-40 miles a week, I’m all clear on every physical front and had a Well Man check a couple of months back and was told I had the physical attributes of someone 10 years younger than myself.

I’ve been in full time work since the summer of 2015 and this is the longest tenure I’ve had with one employer ever.

29356476_10156025644040498_8672189542205227008_nHowever, life comes along unexpectantly and I had a major accident last year when I was hit by a bus and I broke my pelvis and sacrum and was off work for almost 5 months. Albeit, I was in a lot of pain, I didn’t take any medication.

I stuck to the principles of my recovery programme and I used what I’d learned from David to work through not only the physical condition but through the emotional and mental effect this accident had on me. It would have been very easy to revert to self-pity and wallow in it all but none of that behaviour serves me anymore.

There has been further pro’s to the breathwork. Pro’s that are completely unexpected and quite random. I have to undergo regular gastroscopy due to my various conditions over the years and this used to be time of extreme anxiety event whereupon I had to be sedated and it was quite traumatic for a few days afterwards. I now find this procedure, although still very intrusive, nowhere like that today be and I can breathe right through it even when I get a gagging reflex. Given this is something I have to undergo regularly, the fact I can manage it with breathing techniques is an amazing turnaround.

images-1I’m also a good swimmer. I always have been BUT I’ve always struggled with snorkelling and the like as I could never get my head around breathing while underwater. I can swim underwater but not to observe and enjoy marine life.

During a boat trip in Thailand in 2016, I thought I’d put on a snorkel and found I actually could now breathe and without panicking. I could see the life beneath the waves and love this new-found thrill. Since then I’ve become more and more adept and snorkelling is something I enjoy on our regular jaunts overseas.

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I’m now back at work, I’ve recently been upgraded with a view to a promotion and I like my job. I like my life and I owe a substantial debt of gratitude to what David has taught me, shown me and helped me with over the past few years. 

Today, I’m very much more the me I always could be.

I’m a good husband, son, brother, friend, employee. I like me and that’s something I never thought I’d hear myself say. Thank you, David, for your continued help, support, encouragement and “…breeeeathe, Scott, breeeeathe!”

CHAOS THEORY: A Review of ‘ORGANIZING FOR CREATIVE PEOPLE’ by Sheila Chandra

REVIEW by Robert Beck 

51yPU7t7VxL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_I’ve been working my way through Sheila Chandra’s book Organizing for Creative People: How to Channel the Chaos of Creativity into Career Success. The book is a veritable bible of helpful tips and ideas to turn someone from a walking disaster zone into a streamlined and employable creative powerhouse.

The best thing about this book is that Chandra knows what she’s talking about. After many years as a well-known and respected singer and song writer, she is now turning her hand to helping others achieve the success that she has enjoyed. And what does she put her success down to? Organisation. 

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There are a lot of very talented artists out there who make fantastic work but who never get the recognition they deserve. Often, this is because their work space resembles a war zone and they can no more knock together a press release or impactive marketing campaign than fly! This is where Chandra’s book is so helpful.

What’s even better is that this is not a long book, nor is it particularly dense. The author doesn’t waste much time pussy-footing around the issues and gets right to it: if you want recognition for your work and you’re looking for success then you should ditch the idea right away that chaos results in creativity. It doesn’t!

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Whether you’re a painter, a singer, or an actor, it’s vital to maintain a tidy working space and to treat yourself like a business which needs to be constantly managed. It’s the total opposite to the oft-touted stereotype of the “lazy creative” – the kind of person who lies around all day, smoking, drinking, and just waiting for that one idea to strike them which will make them rich and famous. In this scenario, all that usually happens is the “creative” slides deeper into the mess they’ve made and even if that idea does come – eventually – they have no idea how to produce it, market it, or sell it.

Chandra’s opening section – “Physical Space” – starts with ways that you can organise the places you work in. Some tips may seem blindingly simple like clearing room on your desk so that you can actually work on it, or throwing away that pile of magazines you’ve been keeping on the off-chance you’ll actually read them one day.

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Others may take a little more effort such as laying your studio/room out as a series of work-stations – one for each of the creative tasks you do on a daily basis – based around factors such as where is the best light, proximity to certain tools you might be using, or even just proximity to the kitchen so you don’t waste time walking back and forth to grab coffee. Each idea is carefully designed to systemise your working environment and create a clutter-free space to create in.

Only once you have a tidy space, where you can access the implements you need to create the work and where you’re not spending half the day searching for that one A4 page that’s got lost amongst the rubbish, can you begin to think about some of the more complex tasks that go hand-in-hand with being a self-employed creative. It boils down to that old adage – “tidy space, tidy mind”.

Chandra’s argument is that you can’t possibly have the brain space to deal with creating a PR campaign or doing a tax return if your physical space isn’t organised. So while the first half of her book might not seem particularly ground-breaking, it’s a vital step for any creative person to take to ensure that both your physical and mental spaces are efficiently ordered.

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With your working environment now organised, the second half of her book – entitled “Head Space” – is where it gets interesting. Drawing for her own experiences as a creative professional, as well as from being on the other side of the table and working with creatives like the street artist STIK (who incidentally wrote the foreword for the book), Chandra lays down some of the dos and don’ts when it comes to launching a creative career.

These involve managing yourself and your brand effectively, learning how to make social media work for you, and surrounding yourself with the right people who can help you with tasks such as accountancy and publicity.

Again, the concepts are far from revolutionary and are largely just common sense, but the style of writing is open and honest and the advice is sound and easy to follow. In a world where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to break into the creative industries, Chandra is determined to give as many people a leg-up as she can. One of the book’s charms is how orderly and methodical it is (for a book about being organised, this isn’t a huge surprise).

It’s recommended that you treat the book as a guide and read it from cover to cover. While there may be sections that you don’t need to read in quite as much depth as others, it’s a process and one that is best absorbed whole, rather than in bits.

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The only way to truly judge the book’s success is to read it and try the ideas out for yourself. However, take it from me as a creative person, one who is on his own journey to achieve recognition and career success, this book was a great little companion that has genuinely given me some practical tips that I can use to ensure both my physical workspace and mental headspace are running as efficiently as they can. Ultimately, the book isn’t going to teach you how to be a better artist – that comes from you – but if you are struggling to be creative then maybe it’s because you’re still stuck in a chaotic pattern.

What Sheila Chandra has done is show us how to use that chaotic creativity and to channel it into career success. They’re simple tricks but all highly effective – give them a go and find out for yourself.

‘Organizing for Creative People: How to Channel the Chaos of Creativity into Career Success’ by Sheila Chandra is published by Watkins.

14908327_10210355251256100_1014946024230999709_nRobert Beck is a theatrical director and performer living in London. He also works as PA and admin assistant for urban LIFECLASS. Follow him on Twitter @robertjamesbeck

Valentine’s Day

A few Reminders : They say you can’t give away what you haven’t got.

Expecting LOVE from others when you can’t give it to yourself, is like driving a car without lessons – straight to A&E with codependent concussion.

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WAKE UP! Don’t short change yourself. Learn to LOVE YOURSELF FIRST.

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TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS NEVER WORK. Change YOURSELF – Not OTHERS. 

 

Facebook Suicide

SOCIAL MEDIA COMMENT by David Parker

2899416335_d7c7b29712In the 1950’s when colour came back in vogue after the darkness of World War 2, women fashioned themselves on movie heroines including home perms and colouring. The image makeover had begun.

Radio Luxembourg, a European short wave radio station playing pop music, followed the American radio tradition of product sponsorship and jingles, which explains why Friday Night was always ‘AMARMI Night’. Amarmi was the L’Oreal of the day, a hair dye you could use at home rather than use the expertise of expensive hair salons. But you could always tell a home job and it was noted with glee by some women in particular, eager to pounce and point the finger that that woman was a ‘suicide blonde’. Dyed by her own hand.

In the Internet Age we can easily makeover our identity on dating and social networking sites like facebook and perform *facebook suicide* by simply deleting or deactivating our virtual reality. It’s a modern version of walking into the sea, pile of clothes on the beach and starting again somewhere else.
Various theories abound the net as to why people do this to themselves with the most popular one being *overwhelm*. Too many friends, messages, event invites, chat buddies, pokes and promotional spam being the cliff they jumped over. Very different indeed from the *suicide scarers* who share their emotional despairing plight online and ask for help or role play assistance.

facebook-death2With security scares, hackers fears and serious stalkers most people using facebook provide fake information somewhere to protect themselves, so lying about age, birthdate or even work details are commonplace. Most of us don’t really care if someone calls themselves Tumbleweed De Bior, is 96 and has a *complicated relationship*. We would be surprised if they hadn’t.

It’s all part of the performance, the alter-ego of amusement. But god help the fake who fails to amuse, who reports what petrol station they have just visited or has 5000 friends but only 5 ever reply to posts. Unforgivable. Then you get serial relationship addicts who perform a service to us all, reminding us that posting *IN A RELATIONSHIP* two weeks after that first date is also the first step toward Codependency Anonymous. Like bystanders at the Colosseum, we watch and stare as the lion of temporary love snarls at the brave illusion of longevity. Then the inevitable happens – it ends in tears and the facebook friends/rescuers rush in with kisses on a stretcher, identifying the pain of rejection, offering hearty soundbites to cover the wounds of failure and unfairness of it all. But two weeks later, they return with another trophy in hand on FB, another victim, another David to fight the Goliath of approval addiction. Now that’s what I call real facebook suicide.

No boundaries, limited emotional intelligence, no time to waste. It’s called ‘love’. The addiction to be approved of. Codependents are inclined to be a bit all or nothing, hard on the outside, soft centred toward the rim, waiting, searching for solution but often living in the world of the *unavailable*. They can have high goals, even higher ideals and an extreme sense of perfectionism wrapped around a core of procrastination. Like Lord ‘Mandy’ Mandleson they are “Fighters not Quitters*, often *coping* with life instead of living it for higher purpose. Many people with long term illness fit this type, I certainly did, but like others, with help and experienced functional support learn to live again, despite circumstance, without blame or inner revenge of the world around them. We discovered a level of acceptance leading to spiritual growth, gratitude and self respect.

Facebook-suicide.jpgWithin the urban dictionary *facebook suicide* refers to deleting and disappearing identity from cyberspace, via overwhelm, information overload, a serious stalking presence or an act of attention like a teenager sulking in his room. Until we learn to face the world on it’s terms, we will always attract rejection.
I focus on three words in my seminars : REJECTION, RIVALRY & REBIRTH. By playing with and accepting rejection as normal and healthy, we grow into adults. By releasing the need to be number one all the time, and solving sibling rivalry, the requirement for competition and winning withers. You have already WON, why the need to WIN again? . . and again?

images-3When someone wins around you – bathe in their glory, honour the aliveness not the death of losing. Jealousy can be the kiss of death. Never compare and despair. Don’t be tempted to destroy your creative outputs and your ideas – put them away – for the drawer can be pulled out another day for review and refreshment. When you take this approach to life, the law of attraction delivers peace.

Facebook suicide, or the un-intentional duvet day, procrastination and separation from human contact are all elements to watch in order to heartily belong to the world of living, not existing, coping or suicidal thinking. Deleting yourself from life, risk, rejection and experimentation is simply a slow death of spiritual energy. So take a deep breath – and savour your life adventure –

or join us for our MONTHLY BREATHE and come back into your body.

http://rebirthyourlife.me/urban-lifeclass-monthly-breathwork/