How did you come to host this? This is one of the most common questions I get asked by my interviewees after we stop recording their contribution for the Mindful World Parenting Summit, a free, 7-day online event that has brought together leading experts on parenting, mental health, brain science, nutrition, education, and mindfulness in service of creating a more mindful world. The subtext I hear is, “why you?”. It’s a fair question. I do not have much of a following. I am not a best-selling author. I have not been on a podcast nor have I done a TED Talk. I am an unknown; a virtual nobody in our virtual world.
My answer to the question is quite simple: I just committed to doing something to make a difference. With no following, I just decided to do it – to try to expand my reach beyond the four walls of my office. I sincerely did not feel I had a choice to do otherwise.
The process started 2 years ago, when I was shaken to my core with the turmoil I witnessed happening in the world. As upsetting as it all was, once I got quiet through my own practice of meditation and expressive writing, there were two things that soon became crystal clear: 1) that within the darkness and the chaos, there would be a natural attraction of the masses to anything and anyone that inspired the light and 2) I needed to do more to democratize mental health and make evidence-based mental wellness tools more accessible.
The latter was something I felt deeply called to do. This was not about me. It was about doing what I could to have a positive impact because there were clearly too many who needed to be supported to do the inner work necessary for the world to change.
And so I just started. I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I was committed to doing what I could and waited for inspiration. A year later, the how I was looking for began to take shape in the form of a guided journal. A year after that, after having self published the Growing Forward Journal, and bearing witness to the impact and massive shifts people made almost instantly as they accessed, and shared the truth that came through on the page as they got quiet, and allowed the pen to express what they needed to hear, I knew that I was on the right track.
Along the way, I happened to share The Growing Forward Journal with Stephen Huszar, a friend and one of the founders of Mindful World. Mindful World produced Milton’s Secret, a gem of a movie starring Donald Sutherland, based on the Ekhart Tolle book of the same name. I had gifted my time as a consultant to help with the development of the learning materials based on Ekhart’s response to the film. Interestingly, my involvement happened soon after my awakening two years ago.
Stephen loved the journal and encouraged me with much needed advice about how to launch it to a wider audience. As part of the launch and the community I wanted to build around it, I had always envisioned inviting other experts and seekers, known and unknown, to offer their wisdom about growing forward through life’s challenges.
This vision is what I had in mind during The New Moon Ceremony I hosted this past summer along with Roseline Mouana. It was a truly magical night on the roof at 321 Carlaw where my office is located. After having let go of all that did not serve us, getting grounded through yoga, and coming together in celebration of all that we were inviting into our lives, I found myself setting this intention:
About a month later, the opportunity of a lifetime came my way, courtesy of Stephen: I was invited to host The Mindful World Parenting Summit. I was indeed going to be sharing my Big Voice with other Big Voices for Big Impact in a way I had never thought possible.
The Summit, has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional life. This psychologist, who can barely figure out how to post on Facebook, was suddenly given access to professionals and thought leaders I have long admired, who themselves are also dedicated to having a positive impact on the world. The opportunity to engage with them and share their teachings has touched me so much. It has impacted the way I parent and has affirmed a truth that I know without question: We humans are at a turning point in our evolution.
It is an exciting time. Our best science undeniably confirms the power of mindful practices for building the parts of the brain that allow us to respond vs. react and to feel deeply connected with ourselves and others. We can now literally see how the mind, i.e. our thoughts, impacts the physical structure of our brains. And we have irrefutable evidence that as creatures of attachment, it is through the ability to connect that we are able to realize our highest potential.
Yes, there is indeed a science to happiness and it is high time that everyone learns about it and understands how to practically apply this knowledge so we can all start living from the inside out, build true resilience and thrive. This is how we can change a generation. This is how we can change the world.
So if you are on my mailing list, or follow me on social media, you can expect that I will be talking a lot about this event for the next several weeks. This event is far too important for me to be shy about promoting it.
My hope is that you will help me with this mission. Click the link and register. And once you are done registering, share it with everyone you know.
The summit runs from January 21-27, 2019. But as soon as you sign up, you will get access to a bunch of free gifts, including two interviews included in the summit, one of them being with Dr. Shefali Tsabary one of my favourite conscious parenting experts of all time. You will also get access to The Growing Forward Journal by your truly, as well as other books and programs from the event producers and some of our more prolific experts in the summit.
As for my journey…the lesson I hope you take from it is to commit and act. You know that idea that has been rattling around in your brain for months, maybe even years? It is there for a reason. That reason is bigger than you. You owe it to yourself to discover that gift you have to offer to the world that only you can give in the way that you can. And know that if you commit to making it happen, even if you don’t know how to do it, the universe will help you. It has your back. My story is proof of it.
With Deep Respect & Gratitude for joining me in helping to create a more mindful world.
Let’s do this, together!
I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to see this project finally come to fruition. Milton’s Secret, the movie is finally out in theaters and is a must see.
Based on the children’s book of the same name by Ekhart Tolle and Robert Friedman, Milton’s Secret the movie brings Tolle’s teachings to a wide audience with a story to which most children and families can relate. Milton is a pre-teen with loving parents who is overwhelmed not only by the bully at school, but also the stresses to which he is exposed in the family as a result of hard economic times. As each member of the family copes in their own way, we see that the disconnection between them adds to Milton’s state of anxiety. Then grandpa comes to visit. It is through grandpa, played with amazing finesse by Donald Sutherland, that we see Tolle’s teachings of mindful presence and compassion in action. The result is a shift that appears to naturally occur in others as they learn from his example and awaken to living more consciously.
As you can tell by this brief description, this is not your typical Hollywood Movie. In fact, the producers of the film knew that if they took this script to Hollywood it would have never been made. The only reason this film is here today is because of the kick start it received by conscious people around the world. Crowd funding helped bring this film to life. I was one of those contributors and this story, which was so lovingly crafted and directed by Mr. Barnet Bain, has far more value than the money I contributed to the cause.
The movie is just the beginning. The really exciting part is what’s coming next: materials that will help people learn how to put Ekhart’s teachings into practice to benefit their ability to navigate life’s challenges, relate better with each other, and get more out of life.
Go to miltonssecret.com to find out how you can see the film and for updates about accompanying learning materials as they are released. I encourage you to share the film with friends, family, classmates, schools, coworkers…and get talking. And please send me your thoughts and comments about the movie. They might just inspire some of the content of teachings that are to come 😉 .