How To Die Happy show

How To Die Happy

Summary: If you found out you had five minutes left to live, what ten things would be on your list of regrets? In How To Die Happy, Martin O'Toole, Julia Malcolmson, and select co-hosts and guests explore humankind's pursuit of happiness, our irrational fear of death, and everything in between. This (mostly) biweekly podcast welcomes folks from all walks of life to share stories and practical utilities to inspire and help you along life's rambling journey. Thanks for listening. Make sure you rate or review us everywhere you listen.

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  • Artist: Martin O'Toole, Julia Malcolmson, and the How To Die Happy Collective
  • Copyright: Martin O'Toole, Julia Malcolmson, and the How To Die Happy Collective

Podcasts:

 Chinwag 14 What is Love? With Chris Siracuse | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 02:02:52

Elizabeth Gilbert's acclaimed Eat, Pray Love became an international bestseller, followed by a hit movie starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem. The story follows a journalist's journey of self-discovery, where she eats in Italy, learns to pray in India, and finds love in Bali despite being entirely disinterested in doing so. Westerners on a journey to 'find themselves' have flocked to Bali for many years, but are they looking for internal or external love? Or does one follow the other? In this How To Die Happy Chinwag, Chris Siracuse, a single American man living in Bali, supposes to Martin that Eat, Pray, Love still profoundly influences solo female visitors to the island, finding themselves and apparently love simultaneously. When one is not looking for love, is one more attractive to others? Or do we find self-realisation attractive in others since such awareness demonstrates consciousness? Where love is hard to attain, how often do we open our hearts and minds to the idea that perhaps we have personal work to do? And what of our extreme apathy around conflicts and our mistreatment of loved ones being all too normal? This podcast dives into love, casual sex, and relationships. Martin and Chris discuss conscious relationships, growing together, and mindful management of the dating process. Self-love is a crucial point of the discussion since Martin asks whether inner work should be mandatory before seeking love and risking the possibility of looking to others to make us feel whole. The pair also discuss Chris's dating experiences in Bali. While he suggests that casual interactions suit him, Martin digs deeper into whether this behaviour is more likely a deliberate distraction from inner work. It's a genuine and vulnerable discussion that breaks down boundaries. Can casual sex ever be genuinely healthy? What are the costs, and what of the energetic exchange and sanctity of sexual union? How has the prolific use of technology affected the formation of healthy relationships? Has technology created unhealthy hacks in the relationship process, enabling sexual intimacy too soon? Or is this just the way we learn to love? Einstein once said, "The only mistake in life is the lesson not learned." He also said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." So perhaps the more fundamental question is, are we learning how to love healthily or merely bouncing unconsciously from one relationship to another? What is love? This chat meanders over this colossal question as best anyone could in a podcast interview, but we'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this show's topic. Feel free to participate in the Spotify Q&A or comment on our IG page: @howtodiehappy_podcast. Credit to bestselling author Ryan Holiday, whose excellent book about Stoicism (The Obstacle is the Way) was mentioned during this discussion. Special shoutout to Haddaway, whose 1993 dance hit, What is Love, inspired the title of this podcast. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message

 Chinwag 13 How Not to Suffer, with Chris Siracuse | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:50:11

Trigger warning: During this discussion, Martin and Chris touch on the mental illness of Pedophilia, using this sickness as an extreme example of the worst thing a human can do to another. Neither Martin, Chris, nor anyone from this show advocates humans' mistreatment of another in any shape or form. Don't listen to this episode if such discussions easily trigger you. That said, if others' truths trigger you, then perhaps do listen because Martin's point in tackling such a delicate subject proposes that to better understand the "wrongs" in this world, we must attempt to comprehend what leads others to cause suffering in the first place. Sufferance, suffering, why we suffer, and how not to suffer are the subject of this week's Chinwag between Martin and an old friend of the show, Chris Siracuse. You may remember Chris from earlier episodes, including Last Night a Beagle Saved my Life, The German Professor, and The Illuminati Recruitment Process. If you haven't heard these conversations, we recommend you check them out. As the pair attempted to pack the story of human suffering into one podcast episode, their reunion cracked this particular nut of human traits open with their usual balance of earnestness, compassion, and levity. So how does the chat flow? As with most How To Die Happy podcast discussions, it meanders like the Missippi, touching on the reasons we might suffer, and our addiction to suffering while offering practical utilities of how not to suffer. Martin introduces the Buddhist concepts of Dukkha (suffering) and Anicca (impermanence) and talks about how these ancient teachings may well hold key-shaped utilities for unlocking our suffering or the suffering we cause to others. "Do no harm," says Martin, as he strips this down to the bare basics. We hope you enjoy this reunion with Martin and Chris. As always, please do let us know your thoughts on the episode. Feedback is the breakfast of champions! Special thanks to the beautiful souls at the excellent Chela restaurant in Bingin for allowing us to record this episode in the space. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message

 Ep 27 Mala Beads, Mantras, and Meditation, with Aum Rudraksha's Soma Temple | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:16:12

Amidst her travels some years ago, Soma Temple visited India, where she met the sage and guru, Papaji. From her first meeting with the spiritual leader, she knew there was something extraordinary about this man. She travelled between the US, Bali, and India for some time to visit with him. On one such visit, Papaji asked to meet with Soma, and at that meeting, he tasked her with a profoundly life-changing mission - to share Rudraksha beads with the world. Rudraksha is a fruit, the dried stones of which are used as prayer beads (mala beads) by Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs. The stones are commonly worn for protection and use when chanting mantras. Rudraksha seeds can be found all over the world, but the most powerful (containing the most prana (lifeforce energy)) come from Java, right here in Indonesia. And so, tasked with the dharma outlined by Papaji, Soma returned to her home in Indonesia and created what would later become Aum Rudraksha, a global brand designing and distributing mala beads worldwide. Soma's been in Bali for 38 years now and, as you might expect, has some incredible stories and a unique understanding of Balinese culture. Having attended a Rudraksha bead mala workshop hosted by Aum Rudraksha, Martin and Jules visited Soma at her home in central Bali to learn more about this incredible woman, Rudraksha beads and their importance in spiritual practice. This conversation covers the magic surrounding malas, the spellcasting power of mantras, how to incorporate Rudraksha mala beads into meditation, and Bali's fascinating and richly spiritual Hindu culture. Some people have a special kind of energy, immediately putting you at ease, allowing you to feel centred even if they're a total stranger to you. Soma Temple's one such being - a beautiful soul to whom we are grateful for inviting us into her home and taking the time to sit and talk to us about her passion and dharma - to introduce Rudraksha beads to the world, just as Papaji requested. CONTACT US Love or hate what we're doing? Got a topic you'd like us to cover? A guest you'd like to introduce to the show or a question for an upcoming guest? Whatever's on your mind, feel free to send us a voice message here: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message

 Chinwag 12 Why Do We Lie? With Terae De Cou | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:08:26

In this episode, Martin speaks to his brutally forthright sister from another mister, Terae De Cou. The last time Martin and Terae got together (Chinwag 10), they discussed whether aliens exist. This week's episode, however, tackles an altogether more human question: why do we lie? And since one of the common deathbed regrets is, "I wish I'd dared to live more truthfully," it's an entirely appropriate question. Lies come in all shapes and sizes—from wee fibs to huge whoppers. We tell a lie to avoid punishment or to conceal a reward or something that benefits us. We lie to protect ourselves or others from harm, prevent embarrassment or maintain privacy. We lie out of politeness or simply because we can—just for the sheer hell of it. According to research, the most common motive for telling lies is to avoid punishment. While that may sound more like a child's motivation, the same goes for adults. In such cases, are we really all that different? Lies hurt, lies protect, and countless lies slide right on by without even a whiff of detection. So is the typical human trait of lying a good thing? If so, why does dishonesty so often lead to grave regrets? Are there, as Martin suggests, "50 shades of lies," and if so, what might we put into practice to get better at expressing the truth to ourselves and others? Find out the answers to these questions (and more) by listening to this latest How To Die Happy podcast episode, surfing the waves of serious stories, practical utilities, and a healthy dose of light-hearted laughter. CONTACT US Love or hate what we're doing? Got a topic you'd like us to cover? A guest you'd like to introduce to the show or a question for an upcoming guest? Whatever's on your mind, feel free to send us a voice message here: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message

 Episode 26 Plant Medicine, Psychedelic-Channeled Music, and Healing the World, with Wise Circle | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:56:07

The symbiotic relationship between psychedelics and creativity is not a new phenomenon. Since the dawn of time, indigenous shamans, mystics, and prophets have integrated their work with teacher plants like Ayahuasca, Huachuma (San Pedro), Psilocybin, and many more, with the creation of music, writing, and painting. In this mind-rolling podcast episode, Martin and Jules talk to Chilean shaman Andres Espinoza, Ukrainian technologist, sound designer, and producer Roma Nebo, and Chilean artist and musician Tiano Bless. This incredible trio has come together to create a global psychedelic music project called Wise Circle. The nature of the chat? The combined healing power of plant medicine and music. We packed a lot into this podcast, including the secrets of the pyramids, channelling music-making (and more) by collaborating with psychedelics. Frequency, quantum physics, Nassim Haramein (unfortunately mispronounced by Martin as "Hussein" (sorry, Nassim)), and clean (abundant and free) energy. That's not all! The group also ping-ponged around the topics of psychedelic visions and using altered states of perception to self-heal and understand the nature of existence more profoundly. In addition, they explore sound engineering and the effect of frequencies to unlock and activate the body's energy centres and brainwave states. "Music is medicine," says Andres. Hence, it was appropriate that this discussion also covered the ancient and global roots of sound healing since shamans (medicine men) from all tribes and cultures use music as an integral part of their healing ceremonies. Integrating organic sounds of nature with traditional instruments and tech-engineered frequencies, Wise Circle's Out of Matrix album is just the first step towards more mind-blowing psychedelic and technological fusion projects. They left us hanging by hinting at their exciting upcoming NFT art project connected to the music they've been recording around the globe. If you're interested in self-healing, shamanism, psychedelics, sound healing, music, spiritual enlightenment, truth, peace and love, then this podcast episode was recorded and gift-wrapped especially for you. CONTACT US  Love or hate what we're doing? Got a topic you'd like us to cover? A guest you'd like to introduce to the show or a question for an upcoming guest? Whatever's on your mind, feel free to send us a voice message here: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message

 Ep 25 Addiction & The Abstinence Myth, with Dr Adi Jaffe PhD | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:55:52

While the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Steps program has been around since the mid-1930s, other new and developing concepts aim to tackle the increasing and exponential problems associated with addiction and how we view and treat it. Dr Adi Jaffe is a recovered meth addict and drug dealer who, after being arrested and imprisoned, turned his life around by returning to school, retraining as a psychologist, and eventually obtaining a PhD. A Ted-Talker, author, podcaster, and high-profile spokesperson in the field of addiction treatment, Adi Jaffe runs IGNTD, a customised, personalised, virtual recovery program designed to help addicts find lifelong freedom from addiction. While many academics have vilified Dr Jaffe, one thing we cannot ignore is the ongoing pandemic of addiction that is simply not going away. His controversial book The Abstinence Myth proposes that the abstinence model for addiction treatment is outdated and inflexible. Adi asks why would our medical, industrial complex, and society at large refuse to help those who cannot promise to abstain from the very substance to which they are addicted. Moreover, is there an alternative way to treat addiction that does not focus on consumption and sobriety but instead tackles the deep roots of trauma? So is Adi Jaffe onto something? Is there a 12 Steps alternative to addiction treatment? You can find out the answer to this and much more in this incredible interview. For those new to the show, it's worth pointing out that our host and show creator, Martin, is himself a recovered alcoholic and cocaine addict, and his mother before him. Now four and a half years sober, Martin's journey to recovery was also a break from the norm. Having been introduced to the powerful and transformative psychedelic plant medicine, Ayahuasca, his healing path took him to far-off lands to learn ancient and Eastern modalities. And so, like Adi Jaffe, Martin is keen to shine a light on alternative approaches to addiction treatment that exclude the application of pharmaceuticals, instead focussing on ancient mindfulness practices and plant medicine. This podcast episode is a big conversation between two recovered addicts and a yogi (Julia) who's dedicated years to helping people through the practice of yoga and meditation. We dive into the definition of addiction; society's labelling, stigmatisation, and identification of addicts; the power we have to heal ourselves; the 12 Steps and the program's limitations, and much more. It's worth pointing out that neither the show, its hosts, nor its guest, Dr Jaffe, overtly criticises AA and the 12 Steps. The organisation has helped millions and continues to do so to this day. The point of this conversation is to hear alternative truths about addiction treatment. And in a world where traditional rehabs have an average relapse rate of 50%, no one can deny that such conversations deserve to be heard. Whether you're an addict, alcoholic, or in some way affected by these illnesses, this episode is an absolute belter, packed with practical utilities, stories, and the usual balance of lighthearted fun you get with a How To Die Happy conversation. You can learn more about Dr Adi Jaffe by visiting https://www.adijaffe.com or the IGNTD treatment program here at https://www.igntd.com. If you enjoy this episode, then please share it far and wide so that it might help others afflicted by addiction and alcoholism. CONTACT US  Love or hate what we're doing? Got a topic you'd like us to cover? A guest you'd like to introduce to the show or a question for an upcoming guest? Whatever's on your mind, feel free to send us a voice message here: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message

 Ep24 Breast Cancer, Death, Rebirth, and Gratitude, with Tatiana Gottschalk | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:19:56

We welcome the taboo conversations surrounding life and death on the How To Die Happy Podcast. So when Tatiana Gottschalk reached out to us wanting to discuss how she survived breast cancer and her work with the dying, we were only too happy to make it happen. According to Cancer.org, in 2022, about 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed in women in the US. That's almost 30% of all new female cancers each year. According to the World Health Organisation, in 2020, 2.3 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer; there were 685,000 deaths globally. When gripped by this terrible disease in her early 30s, Tatiana had a choice to make: she could play victim to her suffering or see the life-changing event as a gift, which she would use. "I decided I would make this a success story," she says. "This was going to be the best thing that happened to me. And I decided that I wouldn't just survive; I would thrive. I would change my life." This conversation is a genuinely inspiring episode, where we discuss death and the dying and the game-changing energy of gratitude. We also talk about how, when staring mortality in the face, one still has the choice to adapt. We have the free will to take on new modalities for the art of living. Doing so can change our experience and perspectives forever—no matter how much time we might have left on this Earth. CONTACT US Love or hate what we're doing? Got a topic you'd like us to cover? A guest you'd like to introduce to the show or a question for an upcoming guest? Whatever's on your mind, feel free to send us a voice message here: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message

 Ep23 Devotion, love, relationships, Kirtan, and Bhakti Yoga, with Audrey & Chris Sarquilla | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:55:01

On the How To Die Happy Podcast, we cover a wide range of subjects designed to open hearts & minds to the myriad possibilities available to learn how to master better this crazy world in which we live. Why? Because in a world that's doubling down on a perverse addiction to suffering, we've never had so many incredible opportunities for change as we do today. All we need is the information and stimulus to change the direction of our lives. This week, we talked to Audrey & Chris Sarquilla, an extraordinary couple who work, play, and create together on the Bukit Peninsula of Bali. What do they do? They practice and share the worlds of Bhakti Yoga and the beautiful group singing practice of Kirtan, which involves a call & response interplay between leaders and group, all of whom chant and sign mantras alongside instruments, including the harmonium. And when they're not involved in these mystical practices, they surf. Bhakti yoga (Bhakti marga) is a Hindu spiritual path or practice that focuses specifically on loving devotion. Bhakti is one of the three classical paths in Hinduism that leads to Moksha (the transcendental state attained from being released from the cycle of rebirth). The other paths are Jnana Yoga and Karma Yoga. The Sanskrit word bhakti (भक्ति) comes from the root bhaj, translated as "to adore or worship God." Bhakti Yoga has been called "love for love's sake" and "union through love and devotion." Like any other form of Yoga, Bhakti is a path to self-realisation, towards experiencing oneness with everything. How does that sound on a scale of one to happy?! One does not need to be interested in Yoga to follow this episode, as the conversation's interweaving threads are about love and devotion. I wonder: what inspires us to the levels of devotion these days? Is it work? Our family? Our partners? And in this age where time, attention, and energy are such highly sought-after commodities, how many of us practice devotion toward ourselves? Audrey said of devotion, "Devotion strikes a place deep in my heart. It can start with a thought and then become a feeling. Most of the time, it comes from a sense of awe in my daily life. Devotion is also a practice - of sitting in love and gratitude for all that I have in my life." Jules first introduced me to Kirtan at the Yoga Barn in Bali's central town of Ubud. It's safe to say that I was hooked from the very first session. Since then, we've attended many sessions hosted by Audrey & Chris. The sense of freedom, connection, and joy we experience as a group does take some beating. It's like a high vibrational musical meditation, where families and individuals come together to sing, dance, and just be—free from judgment. After listening to the interview, find out more about Bhakti and Kirtan. We were also blessed to have Audrey & Chris play a couple of songs. You can find some of their music on Spotify. Enjoy. CONTACT US Love or hate what we're doing? Got a topic you'd like us to cover? A guest you'd like to introduce to the show or a question for an upcoming guest? Whatever's on your mind, feel free to send us a voice message here: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message

 Chinwag 11 The Meaning of Happiness, with Jake Mackenzie | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:18:17

What does it mean to be happy? What is unhappiness? Can we learn how to 'switch' our happiness on & off, or is our happiness entirely out of our control? In the end, is it even possible to achieve true happiness? In this How To Die Happy Chinwag, Martin O'Toole has a conversation with Uluwatu's very own cosmic wizard and surf mecca proprietor, Jake Mackenzie, about the meaning of happiness. As the intro suggests, there are many ways to approach the subject of happiness. Perhaps, the most obvious way to start is to discuss what happiness is and its many facets. For example, owning a big house, car, and healthy bank balance is happiness for some. In contrast, others are happy owning nothing, feeling free of energetic ties through this minimalistic and straightforward approach to living. Does happiness thus derive from the concept of ownership and attachment? Considering the discussion from another angle: why do we become unhappy? What makes us so? Perhaps it results from events in our lives that force us to feel unhappiness. After all, it's natural for humans to ask, "Why is this happening to me?!" But how many of these events occur without our involvement versus those that came out of the blue? Moreover, is there another way to view such events—regardless of how tragic or life-changing they may be? Perhaps, as with everything in this realm of duality, we can apply and embrace one or more contrasting truths. So instead of asking, "Why is this happening to me?" some ask, "What is this teaching me?" Which are you? And can you see the connection between these perspectives and happiness? For anyone who's followed the How to Die Happy Podcast from the beginning, you'll know we view the relationship between life & death as paramount to understanding the secrets of finding true happiness. It is in the territory of learning the arts of living that we can also perfect the art of dying. And if we can get to the end of our lives (assuming we're lucky to have a planned or expected death), then being able to say—hand on heart—"I've lived a good life; I have no regrets," then surely we can say that we are happy, can we not? Alan Watts wrote a book called The Meaning of Happiness. His original title for this work was The Anatomy of Acceptance. So it's here, discussing the subject of acceptance, where Martin & Jake kick off this charming & insightful discussion. And so, the two embark on the journey of answering one of life's greatest mysteries in an hour. We hope you enjoy the conversation. Join them now. CONTACT US Love or hate what we're doing? Got a topic you'd like us to cover? A guest you'd like to introduce to the show or a question for an upcoming guest? Whatever's on your mind, feel free to send us a voice message here: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message

 Episode 22 Death, Happiness, Meditation, and Everything in Between, with John Butler | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:22:35

What does it mean to be "in service to others"? To many, it's obvious—the act of mindfully and intentionally behaving in a way that positively impacts the lives of our wider collective. Do we all do this every day? Should we all do this every day? I, for one, spent a great deal of my life in service to self, so lost was I in my story of self-sabotage and suffering that I barely had the time nor energy to consider anyone else's feelings. So perhaps it's not quite as obvious as one might think. There are many ways to dedicate our time and energy to help others—being the change we want to see in the world—some of which are less than obvious. John Butler is an 84-year-old retired organic farming pioneer living in Bakewell in the United Kingdom. An author, explorer, and theosophist, John has also found himself (somewhat reluctantly, I might add) in service of others as a most unlikely YouTube sensation. And with 206k followers and millions of views of his Spiritual Unfoldment channel, John shares his ideas on life, meditation, peace, love, and spirituality. The emergence of 'influencers,' those enthused and inspired beings dedicated to sharing their knowledge or opinions with the world, has been a fascinating development in our society. Thanks to the internet and affordable pro-quality technology, we no longer look solely to a handful of speakers and teachers. Anyone can project themselves and their ideas into the world, which is a thing of beauty if you think about it. Naturally, the quality of these people's advice varies, and some are more at home in front of the camera than others. However, never before have I come across one so reluctant to assume (and therefore perfect for) such a role. Because here's the thing: when John Butler speaks, his presence and words are full of love while being entirely devoid of ego. Not only does he share some beautiful perspectives, but the way he shares really does make him incredibly special. In 2016, John was discovered by the online Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) community. For those who do not know, ASMR is the unique tingling feeling we often experience when hearing certain sounds like whispering or softly spoken voices. ASMR is calming, pleasurable, and very relaxing. And it turns out that John Butler's voice is all of those things, creating a profound sense of calm and peace in those who hear him speak. So you can imagine how thrilled we were to have John join How To Die Happy for his first-ever podcast interview. I have to say that recording this interview was an absolute pleasure. Hearing John's smoothly delivered wisdom through a set of headphones for just under an hour and a half left me feeling almost transcendental as if I had been touched by grace. Our discussion cruised from happiness to death, forgiveness, silence, duality, meditation, ego, attachment, and more. Both guest questions in this episode relate to meditation, both of which John answered with charming and practical advice. "How to die happy? Well, dear, you've chosen the wrong man to talk about happiness because I've never considered myself a happy man!" - John Butler This is an episode not to be missed. It is a rare thing indeed to meet a westerner from John's generation who's embraced mindful living, practicing meditation for around 60 years. We hope you enjoy the interview. If that's the case, please do share it. And if you ever find yourself in Bakewell, watch out for John Butler, who's often spotted riding his three-wheeled bicycle around the Derbyshire Dales town. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message

 Ep 21 Addiction and the Healing Power of Kundalini Yoga, with Chiara De Lucia | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:34:57

This week's guest is Kundalini alchemist and spiritual mentor Chiara De Lucia. Chiara talks in detail about Kundalini yoga and how yoga helped win her battle with cocaine addiction. Who knew that yoga was a viable treatment for addiction? Do we often overlook ancient healing therapies in favour of modern medicine? Addiction's not going away. According to America's National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 11.7% of Americans 12+ use illegal drugs. 53 million (19.4%) people 12+ have used illicit drugs or misused prescription drugs within the last year. The US Federal budget for drug control in 2020 was $35bn. Over in Europe, the UK spends £36 billion each year on drug and alcohol abuse treatment and is, according to the Centre for Social Justice, the "addiction capital of Europe." So, where does Kundalini yoga fit into addiction treatment? Speaking more generally, all forms of yoga have a transformative effect. In fact, American Addiction Centers confirm yoga to be beneficial when used in tandem with other traditional substance abuse treatment methods. Meanwhile, in a study carried out by The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the results showed that practising yoga creates an increase in gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) produced by the brain. This helps manage anxiety and stress response. Regular and prolonged substance abuse results in physical changes to the brain, negatively altering neural pathways associated with emotional regulation, impulse control, pleasure, and decision making. Due to mass over-stimulation, addiction also affects homeostatic balance. In addition to physiological changes, any addict attempting to quit will experience psychological side effects, including fatigue, insomnia, emotional withdrawal, anxiety, stress, and depression. It's here that yoga assists by way of modulating stress response. Find out more about yoga therapy and addiction here. Masters and practitioners all over the planet acknowledge the existence of lifeforce energy which has many names, but the Hindus call it 'Kundalini' - divine feminine energy. As Chiara explains during the interview, Kundalini is one of many forms of yoga dealing with the movement of lifeforce energy around the body. In many of us, this powerful energy lies dormant within our root chakra (the lowest energy centre, located at the base of our spine). A resting snake lies coiled; hence 'Kundalini' literally means 'coiled' (like a snake). We all have this incredible power locked inside us, yet it remains blocked or inert for many. A series of practices are available to help unlock this sacred lifeforce energy. So how do we keep ourselves open? Our chakras are the gates—energy centres throughout our bodies. Each gate has the potential to cultivate or block the flow of our lifeforce energy. Learning how to keep our chakras clear, balanced, and open keeps this from happening. This way, our energy is in a constant flow state, providing a long list of transformational benefits. In 2017, a study investigated Kundalini as a therapy for age-related cognitive decline. After 12 weeks, those who practised Kundalini yoga "showed short & long-term improvements in executive functioning," plus positive improvements were seen in depressed mood and resilience. An additional 8-week study of the benefits of Kundalini yoga for PTSD sufferers showed that participants had significantly improved symptoms, including better sleep, less perceived stress, more positive mood, more resilience, and less anxiety than did the Control group. Find out more about Kundalini yoga by listening now. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message

 Ep 20 Why Relationships Fail, with Kartika Alexandra | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:20:31

According to the Life Project, a leading British law firm logged a 122% increase in divorce enquiries between July and October 2020. Diving into the detail surrounding marital failure, it would appear that divorce rates are very much on the rise, with relationships failing around the world. Some stats: 50% of marriages in the US end in divorce. 42% in the UK. 87% in Luxembourg. 65% in Spain. 18% in Malaysia. So the burning question we had in this week's How To Die Happy podcast is Why so many divorces? Why so many failed relationships? And what causes relationships to fail? This week's guest is Kartika Alexandra, integrative hypnotherapist and founder of Bali's Maja Healing. Kartika appeared on episode 05 of our mental health and well-being podcast, during which she and Martin deep dove into the world of hypnotherapy. They also discussed Martin's transformative hypnotherapy session with Kartika, which had somewhat surprising results. As a precis to understanding what we can do to remedy how we relate to one another, we must first understand why relationships fail. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, the top five reasons relationships break down are as follows: Withdrawing during arguments. Not on the same page with life decisions. Holding one's partner to unrealistic standards. Afraid of being alone - staying despite relationship issues. Relying on body language to convey feelings. The long list also includes issues like lack of compromise, comparison, lack of balance, holding on to the past, taking out anger on one another, etc.  During this week's interview, Martin, Jules and Kartika cracked open these issues, offering anecdotes and, indeed, professional observations and utilities as to how we might attempt to avoid these relationship pitfalls going forward.  Anyone who listens to How To Die Happy regularly will know that the podcast was inspired by the top ten common death bed regrets as follows: I wish I had taken better care of my body. I wish I'd dared to live more truthfully. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings. I should've said "I love you" more. I wish I'd let go of grudges. I wish I'd left work at work and made more time for family. I wish I had stayed in touch with friends. I wish I'd been the better person in conflicts. I wish I'd realised that happiness was a choice much sooner. I wish I'd pursued my dreams. Many death bed regrets relate directly to relationships. Sadly, these woeful regrets of the dying illustrate that many of us reach our last moments filled with regret for the way we handled our relationships with lovers, family, and friends. It's a depressing fact that so many can get to the end of their lives without the ability to address their shortcomings in emotional maturity. However, it really comes as no surprise, since where are we to discover these skills? From whom should we learn how to self-regulate, love, forgive, be present, courageous and truthful?  The sad reality is that relationship skills are not innate knowledge—far from it. And it stands to reason that if parents carry unhealed trauma throughout their lives, their children will develop and recycle the same traits. And so on.  Thus, the question this episode also raises is what practical utilities can we adopt to better relate to one another and to ourselves? How can we break the cycle? --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message

 Ep 19 Narcissism, Gaslighting, Toxic Masculinity, and Conscious Dating, with Josh Campbell | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:36:30

As we tumble through our life stories, doing our best to survive, love, be loved, and achieve our versions of success, we inevitably make a mess here and there. You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, right? But what happens when some of us make a mess time and time again, hurting those close to us? What if we're apparently oblivious to the trail of destruction in our wake? A relatively new term, 'Gaslighting', is as old as relationship dysfunction. Named after a 1944 movie where the male protagonist convinced his wife she was losing her mind, it is a genuine relationship issue. Perhaps more so, with the advent of paranoia, mistrust, and low-esteem ever-present in our younger generations. Narcissistic gaslighting, communications, toxic masculinity, vulnerability and authenticity were just a few of the topics served up, aired and thrashed in this week's episode, with conscious dating coach Josh Campbell. Josh works with a whole host of women keen to understand better how to navigate the wild chicanery of relationships and dating in the modern world. With digital interactions and personas playing such a vital part in today's dating scene, it's no wonder that folks like Josh are in high demand. It is especially so when they (or at least, he) make a point of openly expressing their ability to "lean into the feminine," placing consciousness and awareness front & centre of their advice. Since 'swiping' has become the new romantic communication tool, what effect does this less-than-delicate selection process have on its participants? And with smartphones now the main interface in the dating process, is it possible that daters are less diligent when researching, meeting, and indeed developing relationships? Furthermore, as new generations cling to image consciousness, honing skills in creating highly optimised digital personas, are we moving further away from our true selves? Rather than listening to intuition, are we now searching for what the internet tells us women, men (and anyone in-between) want? For sure, we are at a crossroads where Narcissism, gaslighting, and toxic masculinity are all commonly discussed areas of concern in relationships. Furthermore, understanding gaslighting and the various tactics used by gaslighters appear to be significant areas of online search. In fact, May 2021 saw an all-time high in online search volumes for the query "how to expose a gaslighter." But it's not only romantic relationships affected by narcissism and gaslighting. Family members and so-called friends can cause just as much (if not more) long-lasting harm to the unwitting and open-hearted victims in their wake.  All that said, as Martin points out during this discussion, all 'persecutors' have more than likely also been 'victims.' Narcissistic personality disorder, for example, is a mental disorder born of neglect and or trauma. Abusive behaviour and emotional underdevelopment are usually the product of previous trauma, taking many shapes and sizes (not necessarily abusive). With this in mind, while it's natural for us to suffer due to someone's actions, we might help ourselves by understanding the root cause of others' behaviour. Not to accept it, but as a reminder that we are not losing our minds despite perhaps being regularly told as much. This week's How To Die Happy podcast is a whistle-stop tour of some of these issues. Since Josh is a podcaster, he also turned the tables on Martin, throwing a few poignant questions his way, resulting in some incredibly vulnerable shares about Martin's past as an addict and narcissistic gaslighter. As always, there weren't enough hours in the day to do this subject justice. So if you haven't already, please hit the 'follow' or 'subscribe' button. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message

 Ep 18 Spiritually Empowering Communities, and Plastic Exchange for Rice, with Made Janur Yasa | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:11:36

One of the many crises plaguing our planet is that which is caused by waste—and in particular, plastic. The Indonesian island of Bali is famous for its beautiful beaches and 50 shades of lush green tropical countryside. However, the island is also in the throes of a monumental plastic emergency created by a perfect storm of factors. Poor education, inconsiderate tourists, mass sales of single-use plastic, and a gravely lacking waste management infrastructure have all led to this rising problem. Experts say that beaches like Kuta, Seminyak, and Legian are plagued by up to 60 tonnes of plastic rubbish each day. The trash is a combination of foreign waste brought to the island by the Indian Ocean's Java Sea waves and plastic from the island itself, brought to the sea by the many rivers and tributaries. Another rather depressing example of the plastic waste problem is a dead sperm whale that washed up at an Indonesian nature reserve. An autopsy of this sentient creature's stomach contents discovered 6kg of plastic waste, including 115 single-use Danone Aqua plastic cups.  And then came the pandemic. With 80% of its GDP deriving from tourism revenue, Bali has experienced a crushing economic crisis, leaving tens of thousands of Balinese families desperate and starving. In early 2020, Made Janur Yasa recognised the unique opportunity presented by these two issues and knew something had to be done. So he created Bali Plastic Exchange—a sustainability movement that empowers communities to change their waste behaviour through dignity-based exchange systems. Plastic Exchange invites Balinese communities to collect all types of plastic rubbish from their local area and trade it for rice. The idea is profound and simple in equal measure since Janur believes that giving people rice does not benefit the community, as it is rescuing rather than enabling. This model, however, empowers the people of Bali to help themselves and clean up their island as a united collective. Janur's uncomplicated concept has taken flight. Just two years later, Plastic Exchange has connected with over 200 villages, collected over 700,000kg of plastic, and distributed over 170,000kg of rice to families in dire need of this staple food to survive. Since its inception, Plastic Exchange has fed over 30,000 families, and while naturally in need of ongoing awareness and support, the NGO continues to grow as the word is spread. "Within every crisis lies an opportunity" — Made Janur Yasa When we interview people, we never know what will come of the discussion; that's the beauty of having a podcast with guests. We were welcomed into Janur's home and were delighted to speak to this warmhearted, spiritual and pragmatic thinker who has dedicated his energy to the service of others. Janur received a CNN Hero Award in 2021 as recognition for his work. Such an accolade might well inflate an ego, but not this man. He speaks with humility, of community, and always of "we" (never "I"). Above all, Janur speaks of "action," as he believes "edu-action" trumps charity or straightforward education every day of the week. Having heard the man speak of this with such passion, we are inclined to agree. The How To Die Happy podcast exists to share stories and practical utilities for living and dying well. There is a solid argument that serving others through generosity and compassionate help is the epitome of what it means to live well. Whether you agree is your truth, of course. Perhaps listen to this interview, and hear for yourself. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message

 Ep 17 Substance-Assisted Psychotherapy, Psychedelics, and Ayahuasca in Your Seventies, with Keith Hagenbach | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 02:05:39

In this episode of the How To Die Happy podcast, we spoke to 77-year-old psychotherapist Keith Hagenbach about his recent introduction to Ayahuasca plant medicine and how it's completely reshaped his perspective on psychotherapy and the bright future of substance-assisted therapy. While we're still in the early stages, Ketamine, psilocybin, MDMA, DMT are all being trialled in various parts of the world for clinical use in substance-assisted therapy. The US is making progressive moves in this area, with 13 cities now decriminalising psychedelics. The hope is that, as the research continues, psychedelics will eventually create a tsunami of change in the world of psychotherapy. Keith is a huge advocate of substance-assisted therapy, but it remains illegal to include plant medicine in his UK practice. However, in October 2021, Boris Johnson promised to examine all the evidence pointing towards the positive healing benefits of plant medicines. The likely eventual mass-production and adoption of psychedelics carry promise and danger in the shape of a subsequent synthetic psychedelic black market. The concern lies explicitly with the idea of people using synthetic psychedelics in the wrong setting and without trained and experienced guides. Due to a technical issue, we lost a section where Keith refers to the Ayahuasca as "The Mother." Indigenous people and those working with the medicine often refer to it as "Mother" or "Grandmother" due to the repeated experience of being visited by a feminine entity who guides people through their medicine journey. This is a whopping episode, but it's 100% authentic, informative, and vulnerable. It's not just a discussion about Ayahausca; it's a deep dive with an experienced psychotherapist who's lived and long and fascinating journey. Now, aged 77, he has had a new lease of life and received a great gift, namely the ability to let go of his fear. He credits Ayahuasca for this gift. An apology Martin mentioned the documentary DMT: The Spirit Molecule and incorrectly credited Rick Strauss instead of Dr. Rick Strassman, the author of the original book and co-creator of the documentary. Keith has kindly shared a list of books and documentaries that he hopes you might find of interest should you choose to explore the world of Ayahuasca, psychedelics, and substance-assist psychotherapy. Recommended Books How To Change Your Mind - Michael Pollan Deservedly a best-seller. Well written and informative. Entangled Life - Merlin Sheldrake How fungi make our worlds, change our minds, and shape our futures. This is Your Mind on Plants - Michael Pollan (follow up to the above). Sacred Knowledge - William A Richards Particularly good for anyone interested in the spiritual aspects of psychedelic experiences. It includes a list of music used during research into such experiences at Johns Hopkins University in the USA. When The Impossible Happens - Stan Grof An informative and entertaining account of his explorations into the world of psychedelic research over five decades. Drug Use for Grownups - Dr. Carl C Hart TED Talks They abound. Strongly recommend trying those by: Michael Pollan, Robin Carhart-Harris Graham Hancock David Nutt Rick Doblin Movies/Documentaries The Psychedelic Drug Trial (BBC doc on UK trial for depression) Magic Medicine - Netflix (another perspective on same UK trial) The Last Shaman (drama doc - young American seeks ayahuasca healing in Peru) Fantastic Fungi (good intro to mushrooms) The Way of the Psychonaut Have A Good Trip --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/howtodiehappy/message

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