The whole world was watching the 2016 US presidential election. What a crazy time to be alive! A lot of fear, political divide and uncertainty. Don’t worry this is not a political post. In the few weeks leading up to that fateful election night I was travelling all over the US with James Colquhoun and Tess Lewis from FMTV on a very different campaign. We were interviewing some of the worlds greatest thought leaders for the new Food Matters documentary. These people have pushed the boundaries of mind and body in a positive way and all had one thing in common – they wanted to spread love and eradicate fear. These are the people I want to be listening to and am now so grateful that I have had the opportunity to do so. Ladies and Gentleman I present to you the new leaders of the free world!
Our first stop was in warm and sunny Phoenix, Arizona. We were attending Genius network an event where hundreds of successful entrepreneurs and speakers gather to network and share their thoughts to learn and inspire. What better place to find some incredible people for a documentary?? We were lucky enough to film the legend that is the “Three Foot Giant”, Sean Stephenson. Thirty-seven years ago, Sean’s parents were told that he wouldn’t live past 24 hours after birth. Not only has Sean proven the doctors wrong (he jokingly says he has now outlived all those doctors!) he has gone on against the odds to inspire others to live a full life without any fear or insecurity. This man’s appreciation for his life and the importance of quality within life is paramount. Sean works as a therapist and motivational speaker that strives to help people all over the world overcome insecurities. Be sure to check him out online. I guarantee he will make you giggle!
Back on the road again, we headed west to San Diego, California. Here is where I met Dr. Mike Hyman. You all know who Tom Brady is right? NFL superstar and husband to Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen. In recent times, Tom has been in the media for labeling Coca-Cola “poison for kids”. You’re all probably thinking, what has Tom Brady got to do with anything? Well, Dr. Mike Hyman is Tom’s doctor. Dr. Hyman’s approach to medical treatment differs from the majority, as he is dedicated to tackling chronic disease by using functional medicine. Dr. Hyman is a ten time #1 New York Times best selling author and an internationally recognized physician, speaker and educator so you can see why he is the MAN when it comes to health and wellness.
We mixed up the pace a little bit and met up with four-time world free diving champion Stig Severinsen. He was destined to be a diver after beginning his training as a young child where he used to experiment with holding his breath at the bottom of his parent’s pool. I think we all have memories of attempting it in the backyard swimming pool at some stage in our lives, challenging out cousins and siblings on Christmas Day. I think I may have reached a minute once. Stig can hold his breath under water for an impressive 22 minutes. 22!! In 2010, Stig founded Breathology- a online platform teaching optimal health and performance via breathing, breath holding and mental training techniques. Stig believes that breathing is what generates energy- the better you breathe, the stronger and healthier you become! Another health and life hack I can take away with me from my time with Stig Severinsen. After sitting in our LA air bnb chatting with Stig, feeling like I was in a breathing master class we headed to San Francisco to meet up with Wim Hof.
If you haven’t heard of Wim Hof (The Iceman) before you need to google that name right now and check out a couple of interviews/videos of him in action. Labelled a ‘daredevil’ for his extreme temperature feats (Wim holds 21 Guinness World Records including the Ice Endurance world record – 1hr, 52 minutes and 42 seconds submerged in an ice bath.) Wim is much more interested in helping the human race push forward with immunity and mental strength. He has proven that we can control our auto-immune systems. Yes you read correctly. Through breathing techniques, cold water therapy and meditation Wim has helped many people take back control of their health. I thought he was crazy… and you wouldn’t be the only one to think so upon meeting him. The eccentric 57yr old randomly drops into full splits on stage, sings songs and is constantly blurting out his catch phrase to the hundreds of people watching his workshops – “BREATHE MOTHER F*CKER”!
Then I gave it a go. I followed his breathing techniques along with everyone in the audience – incredibly simple by the way – basically just rounds of deep breathing broken up with breath holds – I started to feel light headed, tingles all throughout my body and then finally once the oxygen in my body had settled. Euphoric.
I felt happy. Alive. More energized than I can ever remember.
I was in shock! I thought to myself – “What if every one was doing this? Happier, healthier people – free of charge and every one on this planet right now can breathe!”
But it wasn’t over. During one of the workshop breaks I catch Wim outside filling up several inflatable pools with cold water. And Ice. Lots and lots of Ice.
Without much explanation Wim shouts “EVERYBODY IN!”
I stripped down to my board shorts, practiced some crazy breathing techniques that Wim taught me then I jumped in. I must admit on my first try I wasn’t mentally prepared. You can see on the video that I was trying to hold it together but my mind was wandering and there is the problem – he was teaching us that it is totally and utterly a mind game. If you can still the mind you can talk to your body and those innate human reactions – like panic and gasping for air when you go into cold water!
Once I got out my body went into that automatic out of control shivering we’ve all experienced – one of the staff noticed, she came over to me and taught me a few more little techniques kind of like Tai Chi to help relax. It worked. The shivering stopped and my mind was completely still and relaxed. I noticed an empty Ice bath and knew I had to give it another try. I walked straight up closed my eyes and slowly submerged into the freezing bath. This time I had a completely different experience. I went straight into a deep meditative state, felt relaxed and totally calm. It was amazing. Knowing that I could control those urges of panic and had influence over my physical self felt incredibly empowering.
As we were coming to the end of our journey I was becoming very aware that we are much more than our physical selves. When I met Anita Moorjiani, this sealed the deal. Fifteen years ago Anita was diagnosed with Lymphoma. After battling the debilitating disease for almost four years, in 2006, Anita went into a coma. The doctors had said to Anita’s family that this was time to say their final goodbyes. Despite being in a coma Anita states that she was fully aware of her surroundings and beyond. Anita entered another dimension where she experienced clarity and understanding of her purpose of life. Whilst in this other dimension, Anita was given a choice of whether to return to life or not. Anita chose to return and awake from her coma. Now I know that many people reading this will write these types of experiences off – I completely understand. This type of experience is something totally beyond our consciousness and science. Upon returning back to life she told all the doctors with absolute certainty that the cancer had gone and she would be ok to leave. Within five days her tumors (the size of lemons) had shrunk 70%. Within five weeks Anita was released from hospital and was cancer free. Anita continues to freely share all that she learnt about illness, healing, fears, love and encourages all to see the magnificence within ourselves.
Back in Australia I’ve re-told these stories to friends and family and now know that it’s time to put it into action in my own life. One of the statements from Brendon Burchard that has stuck with me and may be a good way to finish are a set of 3 questions to ask yourself each night.
Did I live today? Did I love today? Did I matter?
And although it may not be a resounding YES every night it’s something to strive for.
Lots of love,