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Loneliness: A Health Problem that Could be Deadlier than Obesity

Loneliness can reliably be linked to a significant increase in the risk of early mortality, according to a study at Brigham Young University. Head author, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, notes that “substantial evidence now indicates that individuals lacking social connections (both objective and subjective social isolation) are at risk for premature mortality.”

Holt-Lunstad believes the risks associated with loneliness are already greater than such established dangers as obesity:

Several decades ago scientists who observed widespread dietary and behavior changes raised warnings about obesity and related health problems. The present obesity epidemic had been predicted. Obesity now receives constant coverage in the media and in public health policy. The current status of research on the risks of loneliness and social isolation is similar to that of research on obesity 3 decades ago… Current evidence indicates that heightened risk for mortality from a lack of social relationships is greater than that from obesity.

Furthermore, she warns that “researchers have predicted that loneliness will reach epidemic proportions by 2030 unless action is taken.”

Why Are We So Isolated From Each Other?

From the long view, it can be said that Western civilization as a whole has fostered a gradual disintegration of our physical and social ties. With an emphasis on individual goals and an almost fanatical regard for personal achievement, the traditional institutions of family and community and their capacity to provide their members with a sense of belonging and shared purpose have become significantly fragmented.

The family unit has gone from large generations-linked mutual support systems to small and immediate units, sometimes involving single parents whose necessities make it very difficult to create a stable home environment for their children. Add to that the fact that more and more people are not even building families, and our society has more people living alone than at any other time in history. This includes the elderly, who are less likely to find a ‘fit’ living within their children’s families than ever before.

The decline of the ‘community’ is perhaps as significant as the disintegration of the family unit. In Western-style communities, people work as a collection of individual units interacting by specific functions rather than as an interrelated whole with a significant shared identity. Naturally, attempts are made today to join or build ‘communities’ all the time, but like the Meetup model, they are founded on the gathering of select people with similar interests and purposes, rather than a shared embrace of all people within a certain geographical area.

The Rise of Social Media

I believe the rise in prominence of social media has in part been fuelled by the sense of alienation we have long felt within our modern society. I don’t believe social media is the root cause of our loneliness, as some speculate, but rather a symptom of this much longer-standing social problem. Connecting via chats and web pages is just something that we have gotten into the habit of reaching for since it is so immediately accessible. But like any quick fix, it does not end up fulfilling our deeper needs, either individually or as a society.

If we see that our society has been slowly disintegrating over hundreds of years, then it becomes incumbent upon us as a society (if we can still even identify ourselves with our ‘society’) to take measures to remedy this situation. What those measures might be, though, given how things seem to be trending, is a matter of great conjecture.

On Being Alone

One approach is to first acknowledge that Western society’s emphasis on the individual is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I believe that the development of personal integrity, creativity, and autonomy is a critical step in the evolution of human consciousness. Learning how to be alone with oneself is a part of that process. In his work entitled Pensées, French philosopher Blaise Pascal observed that “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

As evidenced by Eastern gurus and mystics, one can be perfectly content in isolation. This can be greatly facilitated by the practice of meditation and other such methods that give us a direct perception of our energetic connectedness not only with other people, but with all things. In this higher state, the damaging emotional impact of loneliness and social isolation are not experienced.

Our Next Step

Still, the life of the yogi remains for the few. The rest of us, it seems, have come to this planet to interact, share, and love. And we have not incarnated into this dense physical world to get better at virtual relationships. At this stage, we have perhaps gotten a bit too accustomed to social isolation for our own good.

Holt-Lunstad notes that “although living alone can offer conveniences and advantages for an individual, this meta-analysis indicates that physical health is not among them.” She also cites another study that “has demonstrated higher survival rates for those who are more socially connected.” And then there is the seminal 75-Year Harvard University study, where “it was universally clear that without loving and supportive relationships, men in the study were not happy.” The message is becoming clear: we need to come together.

We are perhaps at a larger turning point in our development than most of us realize. It seems that we have reached the extreme edge of the exploration of individualism, and we are readying to move into greater balance with a collective identity. This is not a return to traditional ways, but rather a synthesis of our growth as individuals with the shared experience we are now hungering for. This synthesis signifies the next stage of our evolution.

RICHARD ENOS 

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Can Ancient Plant Medicine and Modern Science Raise Your Emotional IQ?

Technology is evolving at an unprecedented rate, and each day new advances within the digital space expand the potential for human knowledge and development. However, despite all of the technological advances we are making, it seems that with this same speed of connection, there is simultaneously a disconnection, as we are struggling with maintaining our emotional wellness more than ever before.

 Over the last 15 years, from Facebook, to iPhones, to Genome editing, to robotics, we have experienced a momentum in development and discovery never seen before in history. Yet, in spite of all of this “evolution”, and according to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. And, more than 260 million people are living with anxiety disorders – and many live with both.

How can we be so far advanced in our technology and have access to endless amounts of knowledge but at the same time, are struggling to understand our innermost feelings? Why has it become so difficult to maintain a sense of peace and happiness? Why do so many people report feelings of loneliness and disconnection when social media allows us to constantly be in touch?

As science has proven that our day to day existence – including our physical and mental health – is absolutely impacted by the way we feel, the importance of our emotional wellness, and our ability to manage it, is more and more obvious. This lack of ‘emotional intelligence’ can have devastating consequences to our overall experience of life.

Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer coined the term ’emotional intelligence’ in 1990 describing it as “a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action”.

Emotional intelligence is a popular point of discussion in the corporate world. If you’ve ever taken a personality quiz when interviewing for a job, you would be very familiar with how many employers use tests like the Myers-Briggs or the DiSC to determine not only how a new employee will fit within the culture, but how best they can be managed to ensure maximum productivity and output.

But how much can these tests really tell us when it comes to the feelings we experience, and the emotions we have to live with each day. Plus, if someone is suffering from depression, how much does their DiSC score really matter? Turns out that it does. According to an article in Canada’s Globe and Mail, people with low emotional intelligence are twice as likely to experience anxiety, depression, substance abuse and even thoughts of suicide.

Since the 1800s when HP Blavatsky released The Secret Doctrine, and into the 1920s, when Paramahansa Yogananda brought meditation and the yogic to the states, Americans have been looking to ancient spiritual practices to improve their understanding of themselves and the world around them. According to a Pew Research study from 2017, 27% of adults in the United States say they think of themselves as spiritual but not religious, up 8 percentage points in five years. And many of these people are traveling outside of their country of birth to experience an awakening that they cannot find at home.

This awakening is more important than most of us realize; many people look for an awakening in response to a lack of fulfillment, a feeling of disconnection, and an experience of hopelessness – all hallmarks of depression. Depression has been linked to a 67% increased risk of death from heart disease and 50% increased risk of death from cancer. Depression, and other mental health disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity each year. But why aren’t people just taking antidepressants and calling it a day?

According to a recent article in the New York Times, antidepressants are only modestly effective when it comes to dealing with depression; they show strong positive result in the first two months of treatment but may not be effective for anything that falls short of a major depressive episode. And what this means is that those wanting to improve their well-being must look for other ways to improve their suffering. And this is where treatment for depression, emotional intelligence, and spiritual enlightenment meet.

According to Stephen Ilardi, the Author of “The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression Without Drugs”, depression is a ‘disease of civilization’. Thanks to lifestyle factors, including smoking, alcohol, and a lack of exercise, depression is epidemic in the industrialized, modern world while largely non-existent among modern day aboriginal groups.

We were never designed for the sedentary, indoor, sleep-deprived, socially-isolated, fast-food-laden, frenetic pace of modern life.
– Stephen Ilardi, PhD

So, what did our ancestors do to change the neurochemistry in their brains to prevent depression and anxiety? In ancient and indigenous cultures, plant medicine was practiced to help those struggling to remember their sense of oneness. When we think of plant medicine, many people automatically think of Ayahuasca, and while studies show that Ayahuasca has a positive effect on depression, grief, and anxiety – the world of plant medicine extends far beyond this particular medium. It’s not necessary to travel to the jungles of Peru and go through a deeply challenging shamanic-style journey. There are also other naturally occurring medicines that are easily and readily available, and can support emotional healing and wellness –  and have an extraordinary effect on emotional intelligence.

In the South Pacific, kava (Latin name Piper Methysticum) has been used for thousands of years as a ritual and celebratory beverage. When they arrived in the 1700’s, Christian missionaries worked tirelessly to stop the use of kava, likening it’s mind and heart-expanding properties to the abuse of alcohol. But they couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Kava was and is used by indigenous peoples to reach a higher state of consciousness – and it was this effect that most likely drew the criticism of the Christian missionaries. Kava played – and still plays – a significant role in social gatherings in the South Pacific. It is consumed at events such as weddings, funerals, naming, and healing ceremonies with the express purpose of bringing people together. Once a group of people drink kava, it is accepted that they are one.

Unlike alcohol, kava is non-addictive, non-inflammatory, and does not affect blood sugar levels. And, contrary to the experience of indigenous peoples who have used kava for centuries, there are modern-day claims that kava is harmful to the liver – but this has not been proven and is thought to be a myth perpetuated by the pharmaceutical industry.

One of the original studies on kava’s effect on the liver, done by Merck, conveniently overlooked that that the study’s participants were also consuming alcohol and prescription drugs that are metabolized by the liver, possibly – and actually – causing the damage. There was also evidence that the kava extracts used in the study had been made with leaves, stems, and bark peelings of the plant. These contain toxic alkaloids and would never have been used in traditional kava preparations because it was known they could result in poisoning.

In fact, a Duke University study – and it’s not the only one – shows that kava is an effective therapy for anxiety while causing little or no side effects. Both Ohio State University and the South Dakota State University College of Pharmacy conducted animal studies and found that not only was kava non-toxic to the liver, but may even protect the liver. And, those who use kava don’t experience an effect on blood pressure, heart rate or sexual function – one of the major issues with the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) routinely prescribed for depression and anxiety.

A recent article in Rolling Stone reveals that kava bars are growing in popularity all over North America. Although kava is being ‘sold’ as an alternative to alcohol, it’s effects go much deeper than relaxation after work or getting a ‘buzz’.

Beyond a feeling of relaxation, kava users report experiencing enhanced visual acuity, seeing brighter colors, and more ease in conversation. Anecdotally, kava has a reputation of being able to open blocked ‘chakras’, supporting the healing of emotional wounding. Unlike prescription drugs that manipulate neurotransmitters, dulling out undesirable feelings (and can have devastating effects on said neurotransmitters with long-term use), kava’s kavalactones create a mild state of euphoria, relax the body, and act as a mild sedative without causing drowsiness. And, because kava isn’t technically a hallucinogen, the euphoric state doesn’t cause a feeling of separation from reality. This creates an ideal situation in which to see aspects of our lives – and the people around us – through a softer lens. Compassion and empathy for ourselves and others is fundamental to our ongoing development and evolution. Through compassion and empathy, we can increase our awareness, our openness, and our connection – and our emotional intelligence can’t help but be positively impacted.

Kava can be consumed in a tea or as a supplement – taking it in capsule form may be more desirable for those who wish to avoid its ‘earthy’ flavor. Your kava should be organic and pesticide free and must contain only the root. A company called Limitless Life makes the kava-based, emotional support supplement AVA, using only sustainably grown, organic kava. AVA’s plant-based formula naturally supports emotional wellness allowing you to safely, conveniently, and effectively experience all the benefits of plant medicine. AVA causes no harmful side effects, damage to neurotransmitters, or tolerance build up. And it can be combined with a movement practice, including yoga, to enhance physical and mental benefits.

The path to greater emotional intelligence and healing is a life-long journey. There are problems that can’t – and won’t – be solved by technology. But if we are willing to unplug so we can hear the wisdom of our ancestors, we can find nuggets of wisdom that will bring us back to the wellness inherent in all of us. If we are willing to slow down, be still, and listen, all that we need to live rich, fulfilling lives, is available to us from mother earth.

JENNIFER SODINI 


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Why You Never Achieve Your Goals… And How to Change That!

Setting goals is easy. We’ve all set hundreds, if not thousands of them, over the course of our life. But why is it that so few of the goals that we set ever become a reality?

One of the most commonly credited reasons is the sheer busyness of our daily life. We claim that if we had more free time, we’d undoubtedly spend that time actualizing our dreams. But when life provides us with some of that seemingly precious resource, which I’m a firm believer happens to all of us far more often than we are willing to admit, we instead opt to use it otherwise.

Another commonly recognized reason, that many prominent personal development figures have made a fair living off of correcting, is the type of goals that we set. Terms like “actionable steps” and “reward-based models” are thrown around as essential to pretty well anything we’re serious about accomplishing. But I’ve seen far too many properly concocted goals still wither away for me to believe that to be the true underlying issue.

Here is my take on the real reason why so many of the goals we set in the modern world struggle to become a reality in both video (1:22 runtime) and written (2-3 minute read) form:

Plain and simple, to me, the main problem lies not in the goals that we set, but instead in the mindset we have towards how quickly or easily they are supposed to become a reality.

We live in a world that not only expects, but DEMANDS things instantaneously. Don’t believe me? Take a second to honestly rate on a scale from 1-10 how quick you are to get frustrated or impatient with the following things:

  • A slow internet connection
  • Someone who cuts you off in traffic
  • The time between when your plane lands and when you can exit the plane
  • Ads before or during a YouTube video
  • Slow service at a restaurant

When you take a step back, all of the above mentioned experiences truly are first world problems, yet we complain about them as if they carry the capacity to end our lives if not corrected.

Need further proof? Think of the way that you typically consume social media. Do you not realize that things such as snaps and stories are as short as they are not because of technological limitations but instead because that’s how small our attention span has become. We need things to captivate or provide us with something of value within seconds or they’ve lost us in favour of the next available thing a simple tap or scroll unlocks.

It’s this mentality that more and more of us are subconsciously adopting into our goals and work ethic.

You see, we’re setting goals like we always have, but rather than valuing and putting into practice traits like patience, persistence, hard work, and belief -all of which the greatest achievers in this world embodied relentlessly -we’re expecting success in 15 seconds or less.

So if you really want that “killer” body, that successful business, or to spend that entire year abroad, stop expecting it to happen as easily as it may have for that one stupid kid you see all over YouTube, or for that one lucky woman on the news, and instead FOR ONCE give your goal the chance it was hoping for when you first set it.


For more brutally honest content designed for those who actually want to change, LIKE and SUBSCRIBE.

And if you’re ready to take that next step in your personal development SIGN UP to be one of the first to find out about my upcoming online course: ‘The Brutally Honest Guide To Getting Your Life Together.’

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Join The HELM Initiative!

We are all Leaders!

In every aspect of our work and lives we are leading those around us to the Light, and here we acknowledge and embrace that role.

As the Event approaches, we are feeling the pressure mount, our friends and families feel stress and anxiety they do not understand. Concentration on daily tasks seems more difficult than ever before. You can’t identify exactly what it is, things seem normal but the nagging feeling that something is about to happen will not go away.

A tightness between your shoulder blades tells you of the stress in your life, and others have it as well. You want to help yourself and others, but with what and how.

Optimism is our best medicine for this, it turns the anxiety into a positive moment filled with promise, and it is only an idea away. Knowing everything you can about the positive changes we are about to embrace gives you the ability to share your positive, optimistic point of view with everyone you know. It is a great gift, perhaps the nicest one you can have.

For us, this is what Leadership is about, realizing we have a positive direction to lead everyone toward. Leadership is within each of us. Optimism, enthusiasm and positive attitude are infectious, and those who lead give it to everyone around them.

Leadership within the HELM Initiative is about leading those we love and care about toward the New Society. Positive messages now, no longer are we telling them what is wrong, how bad the Cabal is and what they have done or want to do. The details no longer matter to us because at this stage our most powerful tool to end their rule is being positive and optimistic, so we lead with enthusiasm and a positive attitude.

The rising frequencies bring a new state of mind, a transparency of motive, of all our actions and desires. We are here to heal, educate, lead and meditate with our friends, family and communities. Together we are the New Society.

Our Action Plan

The core of our effort is regular Leadership Forums using Zoom and Streaming YouTube. The Forums will be hosted and a guest will present on a topic  with a discussion after the presentation which combined will take two hours. The meeting will be recorded and published on YouTube.  After the presentation everyone who was invited will receive a newsletter  with a copy of the minutes, and links to the slideshow and the video. On the web page created for that presentation we will have a form for feedback on it, plus a comments section, so we can continually improve our efforts.

This information will enable Leaders to share it at meetings of their local groups and assist the growth of their area’s programs.

New Society Programs being supported with Leadership Forums will focus on health, education, leadership and regular meditations. Everything we are doing has a leadership and education components and most will work with technology and media as well, so these will be embedded in the program and those members with specific skill related to these will have separate opportunities to learn and share regarding those skills.

We have an ongoing Meditation Program that is the same as Cobra’s announced on his blog, and others that are integrated with global efforts by many other groups, and our own programs seek to harmonize with them as much as possible. We will announce these meditations in our Newsletter. 

The programs being planned at this time include:

  • Personal Practices for Health and Life Extension (Healing)
  • Technological Resources for Health, Education, Food, Energy and local production of Necessities for Living. (Healing, Leadership)
  • Strategies for Social Action to enable the New Society (Leadership, Education)
  • Spiritual Action to facilitate Global Peace and Cooperation. (Meditation)
  • Local organizing tools and programs (Leadership)
  • Internet Technology and Media  to coordinate and support change. (Leadership, Education)

Each of these is an umbrella for related topics addressed by the Leadership Forums.

Some of these programs are about life extension and other healing modalities that are life changing. Education is about to receive a number of advanced technologies as well, for our ability to absorb information will increase greatly after the Event, so learning will be everyones new pastime.

Our local groups will need to organize to receive what they want and need. Each participant will spend time defining their needs and prioritizing them. Technology to heal, provide energy, communicate and even produce food will need to be introduced to all the people on the planet, and this introduction will require Leaders to organize it, and share the benefits of the changes.

So if you would like to gather those around you, in your area to prepare for change, the change that lifts everyones spirits, heals and solves the everyday problems of living, please join us. We are Prepare for Change Leadership, the next phase of preparing for change!

Complete the HELM Group Organizing Form

Prepare for Change Leadership’s HELM Initiative has four main programs and you are invited to participate in all of them, but each needs special attention to be as successful, so we would like you to focus on one as primary and the others as secondary.  The form below asks you for a limited amount of information, but has fields to enable you to connect with others who are participating from your area. Each area is a gathering of like minded members, whose intention is to establish a connecting point to serve your area. It is designed to help by creating local groups to organize around connecting with these programs to fully understand them and facilitate adoption if that is your groups choice.

Volunteers for HELM are needed at all levels to build the New Society. If you can spare three hours a week to help your community, please complete the form and indicate on it what you can do to help.

PFC Leadership Volunteers

PFC Leadership is forming a new organization to meet the needs of the global populations adopting newly released technologies and methods being released after the Event. Our Global HELM Initiatives have numerous new functions and programs that will need an hour a week or more from talented and skilled members to move forward. If you can help, PLEASE VOLUNTEER! The form below explains each field, so choose the ones that reflect your intentions.
  • Please put your name here. We do not sell or share this list so put the name you want us to use when we contact you.
  • Here are 8 choices of a primary role to participate with the HELM Initiative. This choice will be used to connect with others with the same intention, but does not limit your participation with other aspects of the Initiative. The HELM Initiative seeks to connect consumers, producers and funders together so that the New Society can grow quickly to meet the needs of the our planet's people. Participate at the level that suits your interests and will enable you to contribute in a way that is fulfilling.
  • Choose the HELM group that is your primary interest, Healing, Education, Leadership or Meditation. The questions below offer a variety of Volunteer work needed to make a difference in our worldwide effort. It is extensive, because we are seeking to do many Forums and organize thousands of Local HELM Groups worldwide. It is a big job and will need a lot of help.
  • This should be your regular email account that you check everyday and use for normal communications.
  • This email is for use with your volunteer work with PFC Leadership. It can be a new email or your regular email.
  • PFC Leadership is standardized on WhatsApp because it is global and works really well. It has voice and text and you can edit and post photos and videos to send. It is free and can be downloaded at WhatsApp.com.
  • This information is used to help connect you with others who are also volunteering with PFC Leadership.
  • Choose Yes or No that you want to participate in the Discussion Groups regarding proposed technologies and methods for implementation. You will be invited to the main Introduction List, and from there more focused lists will emerge.
  • Choose the type of assistance you can provide to help manage the regular Leadership Forums hosted on Zoom with Youtube live streaming. The choices are divided by preproduction, production and postproduction
  • Local HELM Groups are needed everywhere. Every region, nation, state, city and the neighborhood of those cities will need access and connectivity to the worldwide advance we will experience, The HELM Leadership Volunteer Role is asking you to assist at a level between the Local HELM Groups and the Global Forums. The Forum Level is the primary information distribution source and produces teaching materials to be used by all the levels down to Local HELM Groups. Since the website communicates in English, the Forums and the Regional Presenters will use English and supervise the production of Presentation Materials in local languages and support the Local HELM Groups with their implementation efforts
  • Because of Internet-style communications Local HELM Groups will be able to access the central information resources and be aware of what is available, but will need direct assistance to implement new methods and technologies. This role defaults to the City level, where every one interested can travel to a central point as a day trip. From these meetings Local Groups can learn and help each other with the many issues that will need to resolved. The HELM roles are the primary division of tasks, and guidance will be localized for these tasks. As we move into the higher densities, the role of Meditation will be pivotal since learning to implement conscious control required by some of the newer technologies will require practice and coaching.
  • Use this field to add any details about what you can do to help the HELM Initiative, make suggestions or ask for clarifications regarding the content of this form.