Monthly Archives: July 2016

Modern Bodhisattvas

‘…literally a living being (sattva) who aspires to enlightenment (bodhi) and carries out altruistic practices’

That’s the definition of a bodhisattva according to the Soka Gakkai International website. It’s a word I came across years ago, which has stuck with me. I remember reading how there are many bodhisattva – traditionally individuals who sacrificed passing on to nirvana (bliss) in order to help others.

Well it’s struck me recently that there are several modern bodhisattvas, reaching out to inspire and educate us. They aim to improve not just our own lives, but society in general.

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This list could be far longer than it is, if I included everyone I have ever read a book by. I could also include more obvious people like Oprah Winfrey or Deepak Chopra; people who have been doing this for a lot longer.

Instead I have narrowed my list down to two guys whose regular podcasts I listen to often, whose feeds I’m subscribed to on my iPhone for the walk to work, plus two individuals whose YouTube videos and Instagram posts render me all aglow with positivity.

lewis howes

Taken from Lewis Howes Instagram feed

Lewis Howes

Lewis Howes’ The School of Greatness podcast series was one of the first two I ever subscribed to. It’s a treasure trove of advice, promise and life lessons, helping to answer the question what is greatness for you? (No easy task!)

Lewis himself has struggled through a lot: watching the effects of bad choices on his brother; occasionally suffering that anti-climactic sensation after a shot of success; and finding his long-nurtured dreams were suddenly out of reach (to name just three).

These trials and tribulations ultimately have led to Lewis’ own form of greatness. He is great at bringing together a wealth and variety of successful people. He chats with men and women of different ages and backgrounds. Some had tough childhoods, others faced adversity as they reached for their goals.

Lewis’ academy allows us all entry as its students. Its teachers change from week to week, but its Principal ensures all lessons are accessible and hit their mark. Classes can be theoretical, challenging the mind, and practical, leading us to action; and they can often be a satisfying combination of the two.

Be sure to subscribe to The School of Greatness podcast for thrice weekly programmes, and also head over to Amazon to get a copy of his same-titled book (itself a great read).

Courtesy of

Taken from

Marie Forleo

Marie Forleo came to my attention through her YouTube show Marie TV, a lively mix of motivational monologues and interviews with other thought leaders.

However, Marie has had a colourful background before the launch of this, proving to us all that it is never too late and it is always possible to take a new path and try something different. She worked in the corporate world, was one of the first ever Nike Elite Dance Athletes and has authored the bestselling Make Every Man Want You.

Marie now describes herself as a “multi-passionate entrepreneur”, a term perhaps more of us should be employing in a world that demands ever more from us and where we regularly switch roles.

Questions and quandaries are welcomed by Marie and her team, and she aims to answer some of them on Marie TV, delving into her own experiences and the wisdom of others. She also works to answer questions we might not yet have encountered by bringing on a range of guests, recently including Marianne Williamson (on bereavement), Chris Guillebeau (choosing the right path for you) and Tony Robbins (on mastering your money).

Marie has strong ethics in her life as well as her work, including “enforced” breaks for her team and time away from technology to rest the mind. What a role model!

Simply type in Marie TV or Marie Forleo to YouTube to find her videos.

Taken from

Taken from

Jeff Sanders

The 5AM Miracle podcast by Jeff Sanders is the show I have been following the least amount of time, but I am already an avid listener.

The whole premise of this podcast hooked me from the start. I am without a doubt most productive in a morning. I do much better through early to bed, early to rise. This series backs up that philosophy through science and practical applications.

Once a week Jeff shares discussions with other prescribers of this way of life alongside his own thoughts and practices. Some of these practices and the ideology behind them could be called “common sense”, but it’s amazing how few of us bring them into play. For example, check out his podcast on 7 Productive Habits to Complete Before 7:00 AM and you’ll see what I mean (as well as alter your own thinking).

Jeff’s book The 5AM Miracle is on my Amazon wishlist for reading in the not-so-distant future, but in the meantime I’m staying tuned in to his podcast (all previous episodes can be found on his website too).

Taken from

Taken from

Jordan Bach

Jordan Bach, keeper of The Bach Book and his own YouTube channel chock full of optimistic videos, is another “modern bodhisattva” who has only just come onto my radar. Or so I thought…

Delving back through my liked videos on YouTube, I discovered I clicked the thumbs up on his first video God Loves Gays years ago. At the time I was reconciling distinct and contradictory perspectives on homosexuality in religion and spirituality. While I may not remember the exact details of that video, I can recall how deeply Jordan’s argument resonated with me. It was a source of comfort.

And this is what I would say about all of Jordan’s videos. They console. They warm the heart and soul. They shine a light into your life, even if only for the three or four minutes you’re watching. He speaks from a rich, personal place, whether reflecting on his own life or world events.

I would also say that Jordan is fervent promoter of others. He might not do the one-to-one chats on podcast like Lewis Howes or Jeff Sanders, or the in-depth video discussions like Marie Forleo. What you get instead is a mirrored surface, showing us all the messages of other greats past and present. In this way you see a reflection of your own spirit as well.

You only have to check out Jordan’s Instagram account to feel this.

What do all these modern bodhisattvas have in common? Well, as with the definition given at the opening of this post, they all carry out altruistic practices. They have a serious calling to improve their own and others’ lives, and they do this well.

They not only inspire us through social media and big events, but through their philanthropy and ethical business ventures.

Furthermore, they connect with other motivational figures, acting as springboards for our own interconnectivity and aspirations in life.

Lewis Howes, Marie Forleo, Jeff Sanders and Jordan Bach are my top four beacons of hope and exemplars of right living right now.

Have I missed anyone off this list who you feel should be included? I’m totally hooked on these inspirational podcasts, videos and books right now, and would love to hear any other suggestions (I’ll even accept more ancient teachers).

What I’ve learned from Brexit

Well. What a time we’ve had here in Blighty.

It’s been almost a month since we had the EU referendum, when the nation unquestionably voted LEAVE.

united kingdom exit from europe relative image

I say unquestionably, but the fact of the matter is that even now, weeks on, Remain voters are very vocally arguing their cause. A cause which must be let go of, if democracy is not to be utterly undermined by those supposedly supporting it.

The nature of the beast is that when votes are cast, at least one group will not win.

In my eyes, no side has won this time, however. And I’m going to tell you why I think that.

Arrogance, greed and fear of change now reign supreme in the UK.

I was most upset on the morning of Friday 24 June 2016 to see the way a lot of Britons were responding. The way they have continued to respond.

There is a mardiness, a toddler-ish tantrum characteristic running right through the middle of many in our country. It’s a sense of if-I-don’t-have-it-my-way-I’ll-scream-and-scream-until-it-goes-my-way. The days after the referendum were, to be honest, a shameful bout of maliciousness and moodiness unbecoming of adults. Self-proclaimed intelligent adults at that.

On top of this, the referendum result highlighted a dearth among us. No longer do we seem to courageously face a situation head on and deal with it. No longer do we strive to make the most of what we’ve been handed. Only last Saturday did I listen to a podcast where someone reiterated that we rarely control what happens in life – it’s how we react to the happenings that’s important.

We might not be happy with the outcome. But Brexit happened. It’s done. None of us knows what the future holds, any more or less now in fact than before this decision was made. If tougher times come, are the British people capable of buckling down, sticking together and tightening belts? That’s my worry. Already Scotland and London have had their paddies and called out a desire for selfish independence from a united country they both normally seem to want to exploit, one way or another.

I’ve also witnessed intense hatred, and not from a source you might expect. Yes, there has been racial hate crime since the referendum. But I’ve also seen hatred of our fellow countrymen. There was a foul, unexpected tirade online and in person of Remain voters calling Leave voters “stupid”, “ignorant”, “racist” and “selfish”. Tarring all with the same brush. Are these arrogant individuals really any better than those they claim to protest against?

Lastly, but not so surprising in nature, is the fact that we remain, intrinsically, a reactionary nation nowadays. Not just in the government, but right down to grass-roots level, in our homes. This has been coming for over a year, whoever stood victorious. Why weren’t all options considered and measures put in place before then?

This reactionary and knee-jerk methodology seems to me to be the main reason the rest of the world was thrown into uncertainty from that fateful Friday morning. Let’s hope this methodology stops soon so we can be a shining light, not a dismal failure – through our own personal failings.


In the words of our new PM Theresa May: ‘Brexit means Brexit’. So now let’s get on with things. Worse things have happened at sea.

The House Move Checklist

It’s amazing how much information there is out there on the ‘net about moving home.

Even more amazing is how I never found a sort of checklist of what to do in the moving process. All Google came up with was checklists of what to look for when viewing properties.

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Without further ado, here’s my roadmap for this exciting (albeit stressful) journey…

(1) Gather documents

There are a lot of documents you might probably need when moving house. Firstly, there’s those for the mortgage advice sessions you’re likely to attend.

Then there’s the stuff you’ll have to pass on when selling on your own property, if you have one, such as an insurance certificate for your new build if it’s still under the developer’s warranty.

(2) Value your property

If you have a property to sell, you should get an idea of its value early on in the process. It’s one essential part of understanding how much you can afford for your new home.

(3) Mortgage advice

Briefly mentioned in step 1 above, get a mortgage advice session with a bank, building society or mortgage advisor as early in the process as possible.

Alex and I used an independent financial advisor linked to an estate agency. The reason: they can search through the best mortgages for you when you need it. That way you don’t get one establishment’s offers shoved down your throat when they might not be the most affordable or appropriate for you.

(4) Draw up budgets

Connected to step 2 and how much your current property will bring you, is drawing up monthly budgets for anyone who will be paying the mortgage. This is essential! I believe we should all have budgets anyway, to be fair…

Don’t just do one budget per person. Mix things up.

Do first your “ideal” budget, i.e. your top monthly income, your lowest outgoings and cut out any unnecessary expenses you can halt in future (like subscriptions). I even dropped things like a TV licence and Netflix and NowTV subscriptions.

Next, do a worst-case scenario budget. Use the lowest possibly monthly income (if yours is variable at all), increase expenses realistically and keep in extra spending. For example, I looked at the wage I was on when a typist/assistant a couple of years ago and included costs for a new car loan which might one day happen.

In the first budget you can keep the mortgage at its lowest (we could currently lock into a £250 each a month repayment for what we want), whereas in the second you can hike this up in relation to an increase in interest rates (e.g. £500 a month each).

(5) Research potential areas to live

Once you have an idea of your budget and mortgage opportunities, get looking at where you may like to live. Do your research. Spend time there.

Are that area and the type of house you’d like doable on your money?

(6) What if your home sells soon?

If you are going to sell a current home and it sells before you’ve settled on a new place, what will you do?

Do you have relatives or friends you can move in with temporarily?

Will you rent while you continue your house hunt, and is this the best option monetarily?

It is said to be best to work around the new buyers of your current property. Don’t jeopardise your sale and waste time and money by being unable to move out when convenient to them.

(7) Get your property on the market

As soon as you know your options and plans for where you’ll move to, get your existing home for sale.

The earlier you get it on the market, the longer you have to look and the more time there is to get the deposit you need for your next home.

Please do remember, too, to keep your home clean, tidy and presentable at a moment’s notice. Just like in step 6 and having to move out to suit your buyers, you should be ready for potential buyers wanting to view your property within hours of now.

(8) Keep in contact with your agent

If you go through an estate agent, as we have, touch base with them regularly.

Remember – they are working for you. Don’t feel guilty or irritating. You’ll be paying them for their services, ultimately/hopefully!

Ask them for feedback from viewings. Ask them for figures and ratings from online advertising. Ask them about the market locally and in general, and how other properties overall are doing.


There you have it – these are the steps we’ve followed in our house hunt journey so far. Perhaps I’ll be updating this post soon with any extras, but for now, these are the things I’d recommend doing from day one.

Bear in mind circumstances change regularly (income, the property market, interest rates), so it’s important to remain fluid and check back on these points often.