Thursday, 26 March 2020

Mindfulness & Imagination pt 1


It may feel to many that the world is burning and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. 
                       It is at times like this when we all need to be each others light, and to guide one another through this time of turmoil, anxiety and concern.

If your brain was the universe, and within that universe you have planets and star systems, then your thoughts would be represented as a black hole. The bigger the black hole, the larger your thoughts; if those thoughts are negative, which it is very likely to be at the moment, that can lead to ill health, depression, a reduced immune system and greater risk of not getting through this.

Mindfulness could be your answer.

Formed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, basic Mindfulness Based Intervention can be done by anyone, anywhere, at any time of the day. Unlike traditional meditation, which is usually depicted in a quiet space, chanting or humming, mindfulness meditation can be done at any time of your day in any environment.

Most of us are home working now, and there may be children around, or partners, pets and distractions. Giving yourself ten minutes of your time to mindfulness can aid you in ways you may not have realised.

Practicing mindfulness regularly has proved to reduce stress; lessen anxiety; ease depressive symptoms and boost your immune system. There are many Apps to help you, and for the most part it requires just ten minutes. But you could do it in five, three or one.

A simple technique that I would like to share with you is this. If you are sitting at your laptop or PC you can do this easily. 


Stop what you are doing
Put your headphones into your ears and choose a piece of music that makes you feel good
Close your eyes
Play the track
Listen to the rhythm of your heart, the rhythm of the music and your breathing
Do the whole song

You have just meditated mindfully for approx 3 minutes.

When you are finished, say thank you to yourself, take a deep breath and smile. 

Being mindful in your daily life can change everything. In time I will share my journey but at this time in the world, it is important to share the message and benefits of mindfulness rather than my own personal history. 
As well as boosting your immune system, which is so important, it can also help to ignite your imagination. 

The world is changing; some believe that this virus is Mother Earth cleansing itself, and images of clear waters in Venice could be proof of that. We should all come out of this with more love, kindness and respect for each other and our planet. If this world is changing we need to change with it; to do that, and to help you move forwards, use mindfulness to access your imagination and realise those ideas that you have floating in your head. See them become real and make positive steps to reach your goals. You can change your life to fit this new Earth. Believe in yourself and those around you.

Zac Thraves is a Mindfulness Practitioner; performer and writer.




Tuesday, 17 March 2020

It Is Time to be Free

Freedom is something that you have to work for; regardless of what you are told, it is not a right, it is a fight.

Freedom is fighting against the status quo.
Freedom is removing judgment of others and of you.
Freedom is not conforming to society standards.
Freedom is following your own path.
Freedom is letting you be you.

There is one small problem that society has given us which is a real deterrent against actual, true freedom...

MONEY

Sadly, in the current world, we are ruled by the need for money. Even if we feel we don't want it, crave it, like it or wish to swallowed up by it, we need it to put a roof over our head and food in our mouth. It has become a dark necessity controlled by the unseen forces who dictate how much we have and how much we can use. 

Freedom is not financial, but you can play the game to financial freedom.

You need to earn money, everyone needs to have some form of income but that does not mean that you cannot do it with freedom at the fore of your mind. Here's the formula you don't want:

sit at desk + work 8 hrs per day = cheque

Ways to freedom...

Break the fear and trust yourself, follow your passions and believe that you can do it. Earn money on the side and get into a habit of wanting to receive. 

ALERT!

The onslaught of Coronavirus (Covid-19) is putting everyone in a place of fear, called home. We are being advised to stay home, home...a place of safety. So fuck the fear, stay home and be safe and do something that you have always wanted to do. 
For artists who have to pay their way through life doing a shit job they hate, this is a wonderful opportunity to channel your creativity and make something wonderful, be it a story, a painting, poem or film, you now have TIME; the one thing a lot of artists don't have because we have to pay bills!

We can learn new things; we can pick up that guitar that gathers dust in the corner of the room; we can start an online business; we can rehearse that workshop; we can read books; we can catch up with those old films you have always wanted to see...we can be creative.

I hope that this virus can do wonderful things for our society. It should show us and our leaders that this world is one, we are all in this and we can all work together. We need to respect and cherish each other, we need to look after each other and care for each other. If anything good should come out of this situation, it must be that we share this planet with fellow humans and we are all as vulnerable as the next person. No one person is special, but in that, we could say that we are all special.

END OF ALERT!

If you're stuck at home and need something to do, then you could do worse than read some of my books. I have a series called SPIKED IMAGINATION, currently 3 books old. The second of which is a rather apt story of a virus dished out by a pharmaceutical company to control the world. I'm not saying that this is the case in reality, but...

Anyway, the series is inspired by my love of the Twilight Zone and Amazing Stories, each story is individual, and a fourth is on the way, entitled Basic-8.

Here sit the links you need:






 Be safe out there. Be kind. Be good to yourself.




Thursday, 27 February 2020

Being Mindful Is Not Materialistic

There is a bright future ahead of us...



Mindfulness and Capitalism are not the best of bed-fellows.
 When it comes to learning and understanding the power of being mindful, it leans you away from the idea that love, success and purpose is conditional on wealth. Practicing mindfulness on a regular basis is a wonderful way to discover who YOU really are, and to maintain a happy and healthy relationship with your emotions and moods.

 Yet, companies are using mindfulness to boost profits and increase productivity, which seems to be a Western ideal on an Eastern philosophy.

The question is, is it right for the Western world to take an ancient and powerful source and then to bastardise it for its own benefit? Or, should it leave well alone?

 The Western world is beginning to me to appear like an old wheezing man running out of ideas and trying to hold on to what it once had. The capitalist model is cracking and more and more people are wising up to other ideologies. This will only increase the richer those at the top of the tree get, and the gap between the rich and the not-so rich is getting wider by the hour.

 As more people turn to mindful techniques it becomes fashionable, and once it starts to hit the magazines and those sharks see profits rising it becomes a watchword; once it enters the psyche of business then it becomes a technique which can be adapted and utilised to boost the companies profile, meaning more profits and happier shareholders.

The trick is in the marketing, and those clever people lay back on the tried and trusted model of telling you that this is what you want, and how much it will help you. It's all about you, while behind the curtain those execs are watching the share prices rise.

 Of course, this is the same for anything; for diet pills, or organic foods or new shoes.



 I question their motives, and I do feel that this is an old world way and a new world is on the horizon. But we are stuck with these dinosaurs for the time being, those same people who voted for the UK to leave the EU or who turn a blind eye to racism and discrimination because, well, they've never seen anything! 

Yet while mindfulness is all about you; it is not about companies profits and it is certainly not about lining the pockets of people who earn a fortune with self-help books and the like. Mindfulness and meditation is not about material reward, it is simply about your own happiness and health.

Now I know that we need to earn money in order to survive in this world, and everyone wants to be comfortable. What I don't understand is people practicing mindfulness and then acting like Gordon Gekko, buying up properties and living a lavish lifestyle.

The true reward is inside you, and anything the universe provides for you is a bonus. It is when that lifestyle becomes harmful to people connected to you that it moves away from the spiritual and back into the ego. That brings fear, and that leads to greed. Mindfulness does not deal with fear and greed, but it can help you overcome and deal with your ego.

 Things do change and ideas move on. That is part of a healthy and adaptable world and society.


Thursday, 13 February 2020

Plastic Wars - Episode 1

Let's Talk About Plastic,



We are fast becoming plastic in the Western world. I think that Westworld, that dystopian future of theme parks, is becoming a reality. The more we cover ourselves in plastic, the more we insert plastic into our bodies, the more plastic we produce and the more blasé we get about it.

So why are we doing this to ourselves? Let's delve into the past, even though I hate that saying of things were better in the old days, when it comes to the use of plastic things were far better for us and for the environment, in terms of plastic use anyway.

Ok, let's get the old days out of the way; we produced a lot of fossil fuels and sent a lot of toxic fumes into the atmosphere. That's true, and that is on the way out, we have learnt and moved on with the help of science and technology. Yet, we are not stopping the use of plastic, how do I know, because I see it every day in every shop that I go into.

Here's some of the things that I have bought in the last week.

Cauliflower - plastic bag.
Broccoli - wrapped in cellophane
Blu-Ray - in a plastic case and then wrapped in cellophane
Carrots - plastic bag

I remember back in the early 80's having paper bags for vegetables. I remember when things like videos and cd's came in a case that was not wrapped in cellophane. I do not remember there being any public outcry about this or any concern that the product would be contaminated.

This idea of having everything in plastic has been created solely by industry and forced onto the consumer, therefore this idea that it cannot be undone is entirely false.

Every type of goods are getting in on the act. If you go into a charity shop there are little items in plastic bags; if you go to buy an boiled egg (a type of food already in a protective case), it comes in a plastic box; if you want a sandwich, it comes in a cardboard box with a plastic sleeve. It seems that everywhere you go you are invited to buy plastic.

What's wrong with a paper bag? Actually, what's wrong with buying an apple and letting it hang like an apple with its own protective skin, you know, let it be an apple? 


A Way Out

There is only one way out of this mess that has been entirely fashioned by industry and that is to stop accepting that this is ok. You can do things to send a clear message that this behaviour is not good enough. You can stop buying those products, which is an extreme measure but then sometimes you need to be harsh to get the point across; otherwise you choose something better, why not send the excess packaging that you feel is not appropriate back to the seller or manufacturer. In the case of cellophane wrapped dvd's, cd's or blu-ray's, send it back, drop it in to HMV, do something to send a clear signal that we did not ask for this crap, we don't need this crap, and you need to stop sending us this crap.

If we unite and do this as one, the message will filter through. If we pause to think about the damage all of this plastic is doing to our health, the health of other animals, and the health of this planet that we call home, then the only answer is to choose another way.

There are other ways to clean your ears. There are other ways to clean your teeth. There are ways to recycle goods that once lasted 20 or so years and now amaze you by lasting 5. Think of all the waste generated by new tv's, new laptops, new phones, where does all of that go, and what happens to the plastic?


We need to be wiser and think better. We can have all the luxuries and technology and still be environmentally aware. We don't need to go back to a simpler life, we just need industry to take responsibility and finally do something about it. It is their creation, therefore it is their problem to solve.

Please take a moment to see what you can do. The adage that is being fed to us that one person does not make a difference is a pile of crap to stop a movement asking for something to be done.

ASK FOR SOMETHING TO BE DONE. DEMAND CHANGE. KNOW THAT YOU HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE SOMETHING BETTER.

You can find me on Twitter  - @28thraves. Let's go...






Thursday, 30 January 2020

Find the Love Through the Looking Trees

If there is one word more powerful than any other...

it is love.

If there is one force more important and that we need the most...

it is love.

If we can find it so easy to hate in this world, then we can equally find it easy to let go...

and love.




Our world has been home to some amazing people. For me, those people have, for the most part, been involved in the arts; but have made important contributions to lives and to entertainment. 

The important factor to take into consideration to becoming successful is to LOVE the thing that you are creating. This is so vital because an audience, a customer, if they don't feel that love, will not want to receive your creation. Love is a central component towards success.

LOVE + IMAGINATION X PASSION = SUCCESS

There is a false idea across the Western world that in order to succeed you need to be nasty, greedy, bullish or violent. Well, just look at how that attitude has shaped Western politics and foreign policy. We are in a new decade and now is the time to change our way of thinking. Hating foreigners to you, strangers to you, is not working. Fearing something that you don't understand is not working. Try learning to understand instead; try loving first and see how far it gets you. Our egos do not need the fuel of hatred and anger.

Think back to when you were a child and how it felt when you found out someone didn't like  you. Now you are an adult and it has been drummed into us to look at people with suspicion first. Both those emotions make you feel horrible, so why choose that.

If you want to choose love then you must remember that you have that choice. Your emotions are yours and yours alone. No-one has made you feel a certain way, you have made a choice to feel that way. You can choose something other than fear, hate, anger, frustration. You can choose forgiveness and love and be all the stronger for it. 



In the story of The Great Dictator a small town barber is brutalised by fascist soldiers because his face does not fit. He fights back and suffers further brutality. 

Toward the end of the story he is mistaken for the vile, childish and obnoxious dictator and is ushered on stage, greeted by an audience of thousands waiting with bated breath to hear his words. Yet what the dictator speaks are not words of war and hate, or division and fear; instead the little barber delivers a sermon of love.

'In the 17th Chapter of St. Like it is written: "The Kingdom of God is within man" - not in one man nor a group of men, but in all men!' 

Love, he is saying, is inside all of us and always has been. We have the power should we choose to see it, reach for it, and believe it. 

He also says, 'The misery that has come upon is but the passing of greed - the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress.'

How many leaders throughout our world can you see that this applies to? 

If we can set aside what we have chosen to seperate us, we can move on as a society and as inhabitants of the planet Earth. We chose to see black and white as different, just as we chose to call darkness night and light day. We chose to be ruled by time and we chose to be ruled by money, these are not ideas born from the universe. So it stands to reason that we can choose to think of love when making decisions. 

I understand that there are threats in the world, primarily we are our own worst enemy; but we have the power and the understanding to choose our actions and reactions. We need to understand that we have control over our emotions; we need to accept that our reactions are because of us, not because of someone or something else. 

I choose a better world; a successful world built on an understanding of love and freedom.

As Ben Kenobi once said, "You can't win, but there are alternatives to losing." 

Zac Thraves is a writer, performer, and mindfulness practitioner, based in Kent, UK. 


Thursday, 16 January 2020

One Small Step for Man

The power that drives one to harm is also the power that drives one to do something with a life; change the outcome, not the power.


Here is me and my hat. I love that hat, it has style, elegance, character and tradition...unlike the person beneath it. What it reminds me is that we are all individual. I don't think everyone should wear a hat, but I do think that everyone should have the opportunity to appear exactly as they want to, regardless of latest trends, weather or opinion. We are our own personalities and our clothes should reflect that. So feel free to be who you want to be.


A Brand-New Fun & Imaginative Show
Dive into your Mindfulness & Imagination

No Other Show Like This - UNIQUE
Learn easily how to cope with daily anxiety and trust your varied imagination
Using song – stories – interactive fun – games –
IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU!

Anxiety and stress have become a serious issue over the last couple of years, for both adults and children. We are not designed to be a one size fits all life, because we all have emotions.
My new show aims to break the taboo of talking about anxiety, by showing mindful techniques that will not only help us to understand our emotions, but by also accessing our imaginations we can make a success of our lives.
Why Imagination? Because that is the most powerful tool that we possess and yet the one tool we use less.
Why mindfulness? Because we all need to take a break and breathe and give our brains time to think.
Think outside the box. Understand Emotions. Boost confidence. Problem Solve. Reach your Potential.

When I start to perform my new one-man show I hope to change people's lives by showing them how to achieve the dreams that lie inside them. It is so important to dream, and with that it is vital to exercise your imagination. Let's say you wanted to be a doctor when you were a child, it might seem an almighty task to get there but if you think it, dream it, imagine it and see it, you can start to follow the process of realising it. Transcendental meditation says that the subconscious does not know the difference between what is real and what is in your mind, therefore by thinking about a dream and outcome, you are effectively making it a reality. Everything has a pathway, you trust your imagination to find it and then take that first small step.

Trust your imagination. The most logical thing to do is to think logically and follow a set route. But in essence all you are doing is treading a path taken by someone else. Take your own path, it might not be the standard formula, but it is your formula. Trust that you know what you are doing, your subconscious has more power than we give it credit for. It's also called your instinct; it's like catching a ball without looking. Our imaginations can unlock any problem and solve any issue. Just look at politics at the moment, the same thought process and pathway taken by each new leader is the one trodden by the past, and that leads to the same outcomes as the past. We want new and we want change. 

Logic is taught in schools though, so we have all been indoctrinated into thinking that logic is how to solve a problem. But take Einstein for instance, using logic would not have led to the great discoveries he made. Logic has its place and its use, but we over-use it. It's time to give imagination a bit more love.


My 30 minute one-man shows are available in the UK, and currently in Kent. I speak about mindfulness and imagination. Give it a go!

LOVE + IMAGINATION X PASSION = SUCCESS



Spiked Imagination Series is now 3 books old. The latest is about quantum travel called QUANTUM LEMONS SQUEEZED. Each chapter is a Prince song, as it was originally going to be called Lemon Crush. My Spiked series is based on my love of The Twilight Zone and Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories, which I have been trying to find on dvd having only ever had VHS versions way back in the dark days of the 80s. I love small stories with big ideas, and with each story limited to 10,000 words, it allows me to explore ideas that have been roaming around in my head without the fear of not being able to deliver a huge manuscript. 

All my Spiked series are available on Amazon as Kindle books or paperbacks. 




Thursday, 2 January 2020

Introducing the End

It pays to be normal. 

Giants always bow; ants do not stop, perhaps they never sleep. Yet colour is always an outstanding factor in life. 

Just ask the traveller who guides you at the end of the rainbow.

Introducing Blake. A young man brought up on failure, fed on a diet of reprimand and authority; scared to follow his instinct and dreams. Until he is shown another way, another universe, that he can create in his mind. 

Trust your instinct and grab your ideas to make them real. You can make them real, the illusion is the reality placed in front of us by a controlling and misshapen society, the majority of which is ruled through fear. 

Love is in your imagination. Choose.



The Search for Representation. Writing is performing without actually performing...

I dunno...

Writing is performing with words....

yeah...

whatevs, you need an audience. Every artiste needs an audience, even if it is only the cat. Therefore, swear on allegiance that an audience is what is being sought and pursued. The larger the audience, the larger the larder. Right?

Correct. Happy New Plan Month, and with great plans comes great responsibility. Get yourself a diary and get yourself out there. 

FLANEURS OF THE WORLD UNITE. Not like bad-spellers, they generally untie. 

Here's a little something I found in Maidstone one sunny Septembre afternoon.
A crumpled bicycle. (c) Zac Thraves 2019 A dismal reminder of the last decade? Perhaps. The last ten years have been transitional for the most part. Now I find myself ready and bursting with energy to move forward, in writing and performing. My novel, currently titled The Book of Blake, is written and on its 3rd draft. Help is now needed to take it the next level. I want to get it out there to the masses because I think it has a strong message, is fun, is exciting and I want to bring our world together. I think this story can offer us a different perspective to each other. 

The message I choose for this 2020 decade is love. Spreading love in place of the hatred that spills from current affairs would be very welcome, and I wish that media outlets across the globe would channel into it. Ultimately we need to get along in order to survive on this planet, why do we make it so difficult for ourselves? 

I'm looking to turn the spoon. Create the spark. Bend the reality and open up new doorways. New paths, much like the character in my latest E-Book, Quantum Lemons Squeezed. He falls into a light-pond of quantum travel, repeating his life over and over again. He knows not why. Picture Quantum Leap with the lit-pavements of Billie Jean. 



Quantum Lemons Squeezed is available at Amazon, 99p UK. A novella of 10,000 words and it's fun.
https://amzn.to/34UyGJb







Imagination is everything. It gets you out of situations and it builds your life from your dreams. Imaginations are better accessed through love and light. As a race, humans tend to repeat the same formulas and patterns because it has always worked like that. Well, I say, use your imagination to change the formula, you should change the outcome and make things better. 


Do you remember...dah! Are we allowed to talk  about Michael Jackson anymore or is he persona non grata? I get confused. Yet, you cannot deny his skill and his imagination. Almost child-like, which is a wonderful way to stay young. I know you can't tolerate or forgive weird or creepy behaviour, but a great way to empower your imagination is to look at situations through your inner child's eyes. Adults, let's be honest, regularly get it wrong.

Look at current flavour of the month in Hollywood, Taika Waititi. Revered for his brilliant and quirky take on Marvel with THOR: RAGNAROK. He currently has the oddity that is JOJO RABBIT at cinemas and will soon be lensing Thor: Love & Thunder. We need people who see the world differently, sadly, we need those types of people in positions of power and influence away from the arts. 

Just imagine working for someone like WILLY WONKA at a factory. I think that would be great, and a slap in the face to old farts who think that being nasty and aggressive is the way to success. It's not, but we are 'stuck' in that philosophy - repeating the same old crap because it worked 35 years ago. 

Do you remember...Tim Burton? He was considered a kooky, wayward, eccentric genius, because he made movies that were interesting with characters who were singled out as odd. But, we're all odd in our own ways aren't we?

BATMAN

Society creates that divide. Be free to be who you want to. Society created Batman as much as it did The Joker. 

That's it for now. Stay in your own imaginations and see how it goes. Coming Soon, I shall be exploring imaginations further by taking a little show of mine to local schools. I hope it works, and I hope to convince as many as possible that trusting in YOU is a marvellous step forward. 

Zac Thraves is a Writer and Performer from the UK. Find him @28thraves. 

Mindfulness & Imagination pt 1

It may feel to many that the world is burning and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.                         It is at times ...