Richie, founder of LiveYourNow is a mindfulness teacher/practitioner and NLP Master Practitioner. Having battled with anxiety, unknowingly, for many years, he is now dedicating his future to understanding how Mindfulness, NLP and sound/music can potentially heal & reconnect us to our deeper self & fulfil our purpose. Having been a musician for many years, and music journalist featuring in print & radio, as well as being around & learning from experts in thought leadership & self development, he’s now turned his sights firmly to sharing everything he’s come to understand. From empowering people in their lives & communication through his NLP studies & more, to also enabling peace through practical, everyday, mindfulness that can be used in real world settings…. and he’ll never ask you to pretend you’re a tree.
How would you explain mindfulness?
Mindfulness as I teach it, is about freedom from thoughts & emotions – what I call
“practical mindfulness”. Whilst many I know have visions of pretending to be a tree and sitting in uncomfortable positions for many hours (and I’ve read reports of it being taught this way in a modern western setting…), a lot of people essentially nowadays need a self-care coping mechanism that is simply effective. The way I teach mindfulness is as a way of life & being, not just a tool – and one that will connect you to your true-self, rather than living constantly as simply a sum of thoughts/experiences that other people have given you – even if you don’t realise it.
The freedom from this can bring much more peace, emotional intelligence, help you cope with stress/anxiety far better, and understand and change thought processes (yes, they are changeable!)
What do you believe are the key benefits of Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is an experiential practice of non-judgment, self compassion and understanding. It’s been around for a long long time, obviously it has its roots in Buddhism, but it is not a religious practice – although you will also find it practiced in Christianity etc as contemplative silence (see Richard Rohr for an example) – so it’s really quite a wonderful technique in that, if you so choose, you can use it as a spiritual practice, and if not, you can use it as a general calming practice. I am perfectly at ease teaching it as either. This is what, for me, makes mindfulness so beneficial – it is a practice that can transcend any cultural/political/religious beliefs/hypnosis, and bring people together in the spirit of compassion and understanding.
What inspired you to become a Mindfulness practitioner?
In short, having tried most other things to help me deal with chronic levels of anxiety, seeing the hate and suffering in the world, and becoming enveloped in a near total level of internal despair. My mind was not a pleasant place to be. And of course, brain chemistry being what it is, it then produces corresponding stress hormones etc to make me feel even worse.
I could not deal with any kind of conflicts at all well, little things would stress me out, I had virtually no real confidence just a “get on with it” stubborn attitude, but I could find myself unable to move forward even tiny steps at times due to also having really bad OCD – so then of course I had two conflicting mindsets “Just get on with it you fool” and “But what if, what if, what if – and what will xyz think” and many other “disaster” thoughts. Which I still get, I just don’t live IN them now, which I did.
I found myself in a constant “fight/flight” scenario, either wanting to run away from everything, or fight it – but the conflict resulted in me becoming basically a hermit. Locking myself into work and functional things, with literally no feeling of joy whatsoever. I used to ride roller-coasters near obsessively, whilst I did enjoy them and still do, I believe at the time it was to just enable me to feel something emotionally positive! A rush, actually feeling alive, some kind of sensation other than despair and/or panic.
I didn’t choose mindfulness (though I had researched it), eventually it just happened. My external map of reality was beginning to fall away and I began to see things clearer. It had built up over 4 decades almost from scratch and it was a complicated, messy, painful, debilitating map.
It sounds strange maybe, but it is almost like life pushed me into the most absurd circumstances, had me make horrendous decisions, go through things that defy belief sometimes, experience the pain, anxiety, total denial, destruction and goodness knows what else – because I am not afraid to admit I was a messed up cookie, not living anything like my “true” self. That lead me down paths of CBT, becoming an NLP master practitioner and such like so that I can get an understanding of the thought processes themselves, but from a position outside of the thoughts themselves.
You can too. I know it can be strange, especially if you’ve identified with the thoughts as being “you” all your life, and perhaps a bit frightening, disconcerting, or difficult to admit – if you’re not your thoughts, who are you? Wanting to share this, and realising others will be experiencing pain and will be able to use it, is what inspired me to do this.
What is your broad goal?
Essentially, to bring mahoooosive (a lot) amounts of peace to our world, to people’s relationships, to themselves. I have also learned, to try and teach this to those who’ve not reached a stage in their lives they feel ready to let go of their false identity, is folly – and damaging, so don’t try. I put it out there for those who want it, who are at the right points in their life paths to accept it, and empower themselves in an authentic way. Eventually we will tip the balance and the world will become a more peaceful place.
I learned NLP/hypnosis etc as well so that I can understand how people are influenced by their surroundings/upbringings. I refer to it as “cultural hypnosis”. How many of your thought patterns are you own choice? Religion? Political leaning? Or are you simply influenced? Do you want to live as a subtotal of other people’s opinions/beliefs, and are you ready to accept there may be something different?
After all, if it’s there, it’s truth, right? I don’t give it to people, I teach them self discovery. Self empowerment. With tools they already have inside. Positive tools. So it’s this broad goal that as each becomes more empowered, our world will become a happier, more peaceful, and prosperous place for all.
I don’t believe in setting small goals. That is mine, and it’s my choice of belief 😉