Why Avoidance is the Cause of All Your Pain

The topic of ‘avoidance’ has been popping up in my life over the last 2 weeks and I thought it would be worthwhile sharing some insights and perspectives I’ve had along the way.

Over the 10 years I’ve been working with clients, I have observed one common theme that exists for every single one of them. In fact, I don’t think there is one person I’ve ever worked with who doesn’t experience this for themselves – the desire to avoid anything and everything that’s challenging or confronting. The question is, why do people choose to play the avoidance game?

I am comfortable to admit that I play this game myself, more often than I would like to. It is something that has become so hardwired, that even if we tried to stop it, the brain would just hijack us all over again and the pattern would repeat itself.

For most of us, if not all of us, the idea of dealing with a challenge, conflict or pain is not something we want to embrace. In all honesty, who would really choose those options if they felt like they could avoid them somehow? The truth though, is that when we embrace the parts of our lives that push our boundaries and test every part of who we are, we are able to grow fully and maximise our potential in life. Despite that, we’d rather pop a pill, take some drugs, drink alcohol, have coffee or do whatever we can to mask our pain instead of feeling it and breaking through it.

For the better part of my last relationship, I avoided taking action in my life and following my heart. I very much loved my partner and was scared of losing her so I chose to minimise my dreams and the direction I wanted to go in, in my life in order to avoid dealing with the pain of possibly losing her and even being on my own. The outcome of those decisions was far more painful, in my perception, than it would have been if I’d just honoured myself when I wanted to. I did however learn the most valuable lesson of my life and that is, when you choose to sacrifice who you are or what you want instead of standing in ownership of that, you experience lots of pain that you didn’t consciously choose. This pain then acts as a reminder not to consider taking those same actions again in the future.

In all honesty, the pain wasn’t greater than it would have been if I’d honoured myself. It just felt greater because I didn’t consciously choose that version of pain so it seemed a lot more challenging to manage and overcome.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve come to the same turning point in my life and realised that it’s time to take some serious action but I’d been avoiding it. As a result, I experienced my first ever migraine – which freaked me out. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for me to figure out what my body was trying to tell me and I have recently made a decision to take the action I’ve been putting off. Now I know it will be uncomfortable and unsettling but, as I say to my clients, it’s better to experience short term pain and create long term gain instead of experiencing short term gain and creating long term pain.

As one of my mentors, Dr John Demartini often teaches, any time you avoid challenge in life you will experience the ABCD’s of negativity, which are: anger and aggression, blame and betrayal, criticism and challenge and despondency, depression and despair. It’s wise to tackle whatever pain is right in front of you and look for the blessing or opportunity in it. The more you avoid it, the more you will create it, attract it to you or become it yourself. Pain is one of the greatest teachers in life and it helps us grow. Without the hurdles and obstacles we are faced with in life, we wouldn’t really achieve anything or go anywhere. Learn to embrace what causes you discomfort so you can keep making the leaps, jumps and bounds that will get you to your end goals and your dreams.

Jess Ainscough – My Insights and My Response

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the death of Jess Ainscough, affectionately known as The Wellness Warrior. People are questioning whether natural alternatives are still worth exploring. Over the last 48 hours, I have been in the crosshairs of several people on social media, who are sharing their opinions and beliefs about an article I wrote 3.5 years ago for Jess’ blog. I felt it would be important to set the record straight about alternative medicine and share my insights and experience relating to health and disease, which I have gained over 14 years of learning about, working with and researching the human mind and body.

I have been surrounded by traditional medical doctors my entire life. My grandfather and three uncles are all medical practitioners. I have been exposed to that model since I was a child. My choice to go towards the natural approach to health and disease was purely as a result of learning and discovering that the human body is far more capable of working for us, instead of against us, than we realise. That intrigued and fascinated me, which is why the holistic approach was very appealing. As a result, I’ve spent the last 14 years learning everything I can about the body and the mind. There tends to be a lot of speculation about what other health practitioners and myself know or don’t know so I’d like to give you a better idea of the education we have. Bare in mind, I can only speak on behalf of myself as chiropractor. As a chiropractor, I have trained for 6 years in a bachelors and masters degree, both of which are heavily grounded in science. I have studied anatomy, physiology, neurology, biochemistry, neurophysiology, embryology, pharmacology and a range of chiropractic-specific subjects. Since leaving university, I joined a multi-modal practice and broadened my knowledge with nutrition, basic homeopathy, basic Acupuncture, kinesiology and human behavioural studies. My studies have continued since then and I am constantly learning about the safest and most natural ways in which I can help people heal and fulfil their potential.

Over the years, I’ve seen natural therapies be effective towards helping people heal and live a fuller life as well as be ineffective in helping people achieve the results they want. I have also seen the exact same pattern occurring in the traditional medical model. I have worked together with medical professionals to help people get well and I have also seen people full of despair with the medical model because it hasn’t worked for them. I have helped, been exposed to and worked with people who have had various health challenges which include musculoskeletal issues, Type-O (organ related) challenges, cancer, allergies and mental health problems, to name a few. I have also been rejected by people in favour of medicine, both in my professional and personal life.

What I’ve learnt from all of my experience is something very simple. People are going to make their own choices about their body and their life, whether we like it or not. All we are as health professionals, are guides. We are not gods. Some of what we do is brilliant and can help huge amounts of people and some of what we do doesn’t work at all. There is no such thing as a one size fits all approach and it would be arrogant for any one of us to believe or think that our way is the only way or the best way. We can all throw research at each other about what works and what the best approach is but who is that really serving? All that does is create less collaboration and more division when it comes to helping someone who is dealing with something they don’t understand. Bridging that gap is an essential part of the healing process for anyone who is in crisis. At the end of the day, we all made a choice to serve human beings through the healing arts, whichever type that may be. Those people are our top priority, as practitioners and their ability to choose what resonates with them is theirs. Just because the research says what it says, does not make it the best option and that goes for both traditional and natural medicine. There is ample research in both fields.

It is easy to fear what we don’t understand and I see this fear permeating through our culture whenever it comes to health and wellness. Fear is not the wisest approach when it comes to serving someone and helping them heal their body or mind. How about we teach people what’s actually going on with their body or their mind and empower them to change their approach to themselves and their external reality? I believe that may solve more problems than it creates.

As for Jess, she chose a path for her that she believed and felt was in her best interest. She went against the advice, criticism and judgement of others because she chose to listen to herself. Too often, we pay attention to the various authorities in our lives and forget to see that we have the power to change our situation. We can be our own authority too. No doctor or health practitioner knows us better than we know ourselves. They have knowledge and experience and that could be of great use but they don’t know us because they aren’t us and it’s egotistic to assume that we know better than she did.

What some people are also failing to see, with regards to Jess’ situation, was the amount of challenge she’s faced, within the last year, with the loss of her mom. We know that the stress of losing someone we love can have a huge impact on how the body functions and heals. The more challenge we perceive we have to deal with, the more our fight/flight/freeze response will activate in the body to manage that. Depending on how we perceive the challenge will very much depend on how the body reacts. If we can’t manage the challenge smoothly, the adrenal glands start to dump huge amounts of adrenalin and cortisol into the blood to try help the body cope. All the excess has to be broken down and the by-product of that is usually acidic in nature. Anaerobic cells, which are cells that survive off waste material instead of oxygen, thrive in an acidic environment. Cancerous cells, due to their lack of oxygen supply, thrive in similar environments in the body where there tends to be a lack or decrease in oxygen supply. I won’t bore you with all the complicated science behind how cancerous cells work but it is safe to say that stress has a huge impact on how cancerous cells can develop and grow. This is what Jess may have been dealing with in this last year and her body, despite all the excellent work she was doing, couldn’t cope.
It’s only natural for human beings to judge each other but it’s important to know the full story before we leap to conclusions. Not only that, there is so much more than we know about how the body works and why we land up in extremely challenging situations. Be mindful of other people’s choices. We are not here to dictate what is wrong or right because, what may be right for some could be wrong for others and vice versa. All we can do is what’s in the best interest of the people we serve and that is their choice and their decision.

To the naysayers out there, thank you for inspiring me to write this blog post and to do my part to educate the general public instead of instilling fear in them. Natural therapies serve as much as they don’t and the same goes for medical ones too. Your challenge, criticism and judgement of who I am, what I do and what Jess did for herself will only provide the space for people to see the bigger picture when it comes to understanding who they are and how their bodies and minds work.

Is there such a thing as too much pressure?

Over the last few weeks I have been exploring, not because I consciously wanted to, the concept of pressure and how it can impact my life. Some of my clients have been dealing with a similar challenge and I thought it would be a great idea to post something about this today, to leave you to think about.

For some time now, I have believed that the harder I work, the better the result. Even though that hasn’t been true for me in the way I’ve gone about it, that didn’t deter me. Being an entrepreneur and health professional, I fell into the trap of ‘all entrepreneurs work crazy hours and don’t switch off because that’s just the way’. I started to realise pretty quickly that this concept doesn’t apply to all of us out there. We all have different approaches to life, business and how we manage ourselves.

What made this idea stand out even more in my mind that it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ way of looking at life was when I had a personal training session about 2 weeks ago. For the last 4 years, when I have trained at the gym, I have a specific way I like to work out. The movement is slow and continuous. The weights aren’t super heavy and the sessions are short and sweet. I decided to try a different approach with my person trainer. I pushed heavier weights, worked harder and a bit faster. As a result, I came very close to passing out after I was done and to add to that, I was out of action for 5 days. It took too much of a toll on my body. It became very obvious to me that working out in that way and also applying that same mindset to the way I do business, is not for me.

Then I asked myself, is there such a thing as too much pressure? Well that all depends on who you are. We all have different ways of handling life and this is determined by the way our body and mind operate. Some of us love being quick and on the go, pushing hard and achieving massive goals in a short amount of time. Some of us love to move slower and take our time, pacing ourselves and seeing a bigger picture before we take action and achieve our goals. Every one is different and that’s what makes life so interesting.

So before you take your next action step towards achieving your goals, ask yourself – is this the best set forward for me or am I trying to be like someone else? The answer to that question could help you save time, energy, money and most importantly, prevent you from getting sick or feeling emotionally stuck.

How 2014 has helped me learn how to be more vulnerable

16 months ago, I arrived back in Australia from living in Canada for one year and separating from the person I thought I would be spending my life with. I was broken, depressed and totally unsure how my life would turn around after what I’d been through. It was unexpected and not something I would have consciously chosen at the time.

Now, as 2014 is coming to a close and as I reflect back, I can definitely say that these last 16 months have been some of the most profound, nurturing, empowering and self-fulfilling in my life. For those of you who have experienced a separation, divorce or break-up that impacted almost every area of your life, this post is for you.

You would think that after what I went through, my desire to open myself up and connect with people would be something I’d prefer to steer away from. That may be true for a lot of other people but I made a decision that I wasn’t going to allow my past to dictate my future. I have worked hard at it this year and even though bits and pieces sneak in when I least expect them to, for the most part, my past is where I’ve left it – behind me.

With all the lessons I have learnt over this past year, there is one that stands out and continues to teach me more as I move forward into 2015. One of the challenges I’ve faced in my life, as a result of being bullied a lot growing up, left me feeling like I needed to protect myself and guard myself from pain, hurt and discomfort. As a result, I pushed people away and also tried so hard to change others in the hope that I could avoid feeling any of the confronting situations I might find myself in. The universe or nature has a way of making sure everything is balanced and my life was no exception. I was scared to drop my guard and be vulnerable and allow myself to experience hurt. Unfortunately and fortunately, I experienced everything I was desperately seeking to run from.

The pain of doing whatever I could, to run from what I perceived could hurt me was enough for me to say to myself – “It’s enough Greg! You need to make some changes.” And that’s exactly what I did and am continuing to do. The more I opened up and allowed myself to be more vulnerable, the bigger the opportunities that started coming into my life. I met someone who I love, who constantly and continuously encourages me, challenges me and inspires me to grow into more of who I am. I stepped out of hiding within my own business to give people a chance to connect with me, work with me and see what I can do to be of service to them. I even took a giant leap in my career towards to securing my financial future as well as the future of my vision and mission within my business and I started the journey of speaking and teaching which is something I love doing more than anything.

I am still a work in progress and there is still more soul searching to do but I am grateful for what I’ve done this year and where I am today. Last year, the idea of this all happening for me was a foreign concept but I couldn’t let all of that stop me from what I know I’m meant to do with my life and that’s to help people transform their challenges into opportunities, open their hearts and minds, empower themselves to be bigger and greater than they ever thought possible and to be inspired from within to go and share their magnificence with as many people as possible.

I’ve learnt that being vulnerable doesn’t mean I’m weak or that I’m necessarily going to be hurt by other people. That’s what I used to think. What I now know is that being vulnerable takes courage and strength because it means I’m putting myself out there, letting people in and even inviting challenge, pain and conflict to be a part of how I live my life.


Stop allowing fear to control your life

How much of your life is governed by the fears you have? Do you stop yourself from doing certain things that you would love to do because you are scared of failure, getting rejected or maybe not being good enough? What about any of the fears you have about certain social or health challenges you face or could be confronted with in your life? Do those scare the crap out of you to the point that if you had to deal with any of them, you’d want to eliminate them, delete them from your life or find a way to create an ‘anti’-dote for them?

The majority of us deal with fears on a daily basis ranging from fears around failing to be a success in business to being in financial crisis to worrying about whether or not the guy or girl we like is going to reject us or keep us around. Without us even realising it, we make decisions and take certain actions in our lives that have fear as the major driving force. We stop ourselves from saying how we feel, from pushing boundaries, taking risks in business, choosing to be who want to be and the list goes on.

We have been taught that confronting situations that challenge us are something we need to avoid, run from or eliminate somehow. As a society, we fear things that we don’t understand fully, like cancer or the current bullying issues that are affecting children and adults worldwide. Our lack of education around these big issues or illnesses pushes us towards making choices that actually lead to even bigger challenges. We want to make laws to criminalise bullying. We want a world with peace and no war. We even think that we can bypass nature somehow and eliminate bacteria from the planet. In doing so, this has lead to an increase in childhood allergies. We try to play g-d at every turn, wanting to live in an illusionary world with no challenges, with no illness and no conflict. When did human beings become so fearful of living? When did we choose to believe that we somehow have control over the laws of nature? At what point did we lose respect for the flow of life and the order of things?

I recently had a conversation with someone about all of these fears people have around some of the biggest issues that the world is dealing with today. Bullying and cancer were the two topics that came up, which I’ve blogged about before and spoken about at length. I suggested that the reason why human beings may have an aversion to dealing those issues and confronting them is because they’re scared of what they could mean and how their lives might dramatically change as a result. I mentioned that they are so scared of getting connected to who they are, uncovering the power that they have inside of them and doing something meaningful in their lives.

It was at this point that I offered an idea that I know challenges a lot of people, to such a degree that the very notion of going down a different road that could create change in their lives scares them even more than the situations they might be in. When human beings are faced with significant road blocks in their lives like cancer or bullying or even changes in their relationships, it appears that the easiest option is to run from the pain, avoid the problem altogether, cut it out, reject it or push it aside. My advice, based on personal experience as well as observing powerful changes in my patients and clients lives, is to step towards the pain that hurts the most and find out why you created that pain for yourself. Only when you can truly understand the pain and struggle you’re confronted with, can you change it. What most of us don’t realise is that we have the power to change our lives, to alter our trajectory and heal whatever ails us. We have it all inside of us but if choose to avoid what hurts us or could even kill us, we miss out on some of the most valuable lessons, points of feedback and inspired ideas that we could ever receive.

How The Be Who You Wanna Be Youth Summit Changed My Life

About 4.5 weeks ago, I hosted an online youth summit, featuring 25 speakers from different parts of the world. I had the idea for this event in 2012, when I was living in Canada. Originally, I wanted to put on a live event and stream it across the globe but due to the expense of such a production, I delayed it.

In March of 2014, I collaborated with Suli Breaks and 2 other speakers in a live event in Sydney, Australia. For the first time in over 14 years, I had the opportunity again to perform on stage – this time a little differently to when I was younger. I can’t even describe to you how fulfilling it felt to be doing something that I love so much. The next day, I decided I wanted to finally put on this summit but instead of doing it live, I chose to deliver it online.

The pre-launch period began at the end of April, for people to start signing up. It was moving quite well and considering it was my first event, the turn out was actually looking quite promising. After 6 weeks of registrations, the summit officially began and it was in that first week and through the experience of various other moments after that, that my life took a dramatic and unexpected turn.

Not for a moment, did I think that the youth summit would prepare me for the incredible journey I’ve now embarked on. In fact, I had very different expectations for where I thought it would take me or how it would impact my life. None of my initial expectations were met but what I did uncover was far greater than I could have ever imagined.

For most my life, or at least 25 years of my life, I have been hiding who I am, in varying degrees, from the world around me. I have been trying to be someone that I’m not and trying desperately to live a life that is centred more around what I perceived I should have or be instead of what was and has been right in front me. For those of you who know me, I was bullied quite significantly when I was growing up. Those challenges definitely impacted the way in which I managed and dealt with my life, from how to manage money, my social interactions, relationships with women and even my health.

After spending 2.5 weeks facilitating and hosting this summit, I realised all of this to be true. I couldn’t deny it any longer. I wasn’t being myself. I was hiding behind all the speakers, my branding, my logo and everything that I had created. Although the message has always been my own, I wasn’t taking ownership of it. I was denying my self and potentially, my ability to actually thrive in several areas of my life. So, I made a decision which has challenged me to the core of who I am. In all honesty, I was left with an internal conflict and wasn’t quite sure how I was going to resolve it. Thankfully, after a discussion with a wise friend of mine, I chose to follow through with my decision. The website that you’re on, right now, is as a result of that decision.

I sit here, before you the person reading this, sharing who I am with you. Everything you see on this website is a reflection me. I have come to understand that my vulnerability is far more powerful than I would have ever thought it to be and hiding that part of myself away has only attracted one challenge after the other until I learnt to let go and open up myself and my heart to others. It is an opening for those of you who would love to connect and one where I can be of greater service to those that need what I am able and would love to offer.

Since I made that decision to expose myself and launch this website, my life has changed and it was all thanks to the youth summit. I have chosen to re-integrate chiropractic into how I provide my services. I went back to my roots. The kinesiology technique that I developed just over 3 years ago, is now available as a healing tool. I have met and connected with several people who I will be collaborating with on several projects, in the next 6-12 months and I’m incredibly grateful to have met someone new and very special to me who, with her deep appreciation of me, is showing and reflecting who I have become, how I’ve grown and who I am growing into. All these blessings bring tears to my eyes and are clear indications that when you choose to go after what inspires you, what energises you and what fulfils you, you can master your own life. One year ago, I don’t think I ever would have thought my life would take the turn that it has but I will say this – I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Not only has this summit made room for new and exciting adventures in my life but I now have a very clear path towards creating the Be Who You Wanna Be Institute™. My end goal is help the kids out there be everything that they can be in life and embrace one another for who the they are. I am starting from the ground and building my way there, sharing my message, my story and everything I can that will give future generations of children a chance to live empowered and fulfilling lives, collaborating and working together to create change for human beings on the planet.

Finally, if there’s one lesson you can take from this post, it’s this – be who you are, embrace your differences, think in a way that challenges the status quo and do whatever it takes to live a life that inspires you and fulfils you with a purpose that burns deep within your heart. When you take that action step and make the choice to do so, the universe or whatever it is you call it, will deliver and it will blow your mind.

Self-Sacrifice Is Not The Answer

Have you ever had a moment in your life when you just realise how thankful you are for what you have? Has that ever occurred for you? Today, I had one of those moments. In fact, it was more than just a moment for me. It lasted for most of the day.

A few days ago I was doing a bit of self-reflection and uncovered something so profound, that it changed my whole view that I’ve had of my life. It was such a powerful moment in time and it is because of what I experienced, that today unfolded. I’d like to share that with you because it seriously made such a huge impact on me.

The year I turned 8 years old, I moved from a public school to a private Jewish day school. At the time, I would say that my family were more of a lower to middle class family and the new school was mostly occupied by middle to upper class families. I think that it was the first time I was exposed to a different level of wealth compared against what I’d grown up with. I made friends with kids who had all the best toys and sports equipment – everything that I wanted, that my parents couldn’t afford at the time. I was envious of them and felt like I wanted what they had. What child wouldn’t?

Over the years, as I grew up, this desire to have what others had consumed me. In fact, when I started working at 16 years old, the feeling of having my own money to buy everything I could ever want, was an incredible thrill. Money became a friend to me all of a sudden and for the next 15 years, it helped me travel, learn, do incredible things and enabled me to live the life I envied at 8 years old. There was a problem, however. I wasn’t being myself – not even in the slightest. In all honesty, I was masquerading around as someone else, pretending that I was living an incredible life but I was heavily in debt.

About 1.5 years ago, I managed to change that situation and transformed my debt into a service I could provide to help others. That was one of my defining moments and the start of an incredibly tough, yet rewarding journey to where I am right now. For so many years, I sacrificed who I was in order to be someone that I’m not. I was ungrateful for what I had and wanted everything I thought would fulfil me and make me feel more complete. All that did was help me disconnect further away from who I am. A quest for superficial ‘things’ was destroying me and stopping me from being connected.

Two days ago, I uncovered this very interesting and somewhat disturbing revelation, that for 25 years I haven’t been me – even when I thought I was. Can you imagine the sadness of that but also the gratitude for seeing it? For a very long time, I have dealt with the challenges, pains and struggles that come with self-sacrifice. I have also been equally rewarded as this path has taught me so much about what it takes to live the most authentic life possible. All I will say to you is this: your life and who you are so important. If you choose to compromise your magic and put yourself last, you will most probably endure the same ups and downs as you move forward with your life. If you choose to uphold your worth, value and uniqueness, you will be rewarded with the deepest appreciation, connection and unconditional love that you have ever experienced. Stay true to who you are and be you, even if it’s different from what you see around you. It is by being yourself that you will uncover your greatest contribution and where you will uncover your deepest joy.