Whats to Come

In this episode I will speak briefly about whats to come in the near future over the next few months. A series of guided meditations and a course on mindfulness.

Link to YouTube

I have collaborated with a good friend of mine who has many years of meditation practice, and some experience of teaching meditation and the mechanics behind it. He has put together 3 guided meditations which can be used by themselves, or together building one upon another to help to still the mind, relax and detach from the stresses of life. We will start with a general introduction to the topic for those that are unfamiliar, and discuss some general points.

To compliment this series of guided meditations, I will be sharing a series of Vlogs regarding mindfulness practice. They will be stand alone episodes, but if you follow the 3 of them in order, it will give you some beneficial skills in becoming more mindful throughout the day. They will cover:

  1. Are we the same person from moment to moment?
  2. Using your mind productively.
  3. Waking up, living consciously.

Please subscribe to the YouTube channel and like the video. I would very much like to be more engaged with my viewers so please comment if any of these topics interest you, or if you have had any experience with mindfulness or meditation. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Live Your Best Life

Very pleased with this new Vlog. In this episode I speak about living your best life, and what is required to have the best year to date. I also experiment with some new skills I have learnt in the editing process which includes images to better emphasise my points.

YouTube Link

Happy New Year : A summary of the Vlogs content.

This Vlog will focus on some ideas for how you can become the best version of you. The dream image you have of what you can become.

We must know what is required to achieve our goals, but also be able to foresee any obstacles that are likely to get in our way.

At the beginning of every New Year we have a choice to make, but this choice exists on the macro level each and every day. Do you want to keep on indulging in old habits, or to change your life for the better?

The step by step, or upwards ascent to success.

Vision – Goals – Strategy – Action – Success

The obstacles we are likely to encounter.

Discipline. Making the right choices.

How much do you want it?

Make today so awesome, that yesterday gets jealous.

Like and share if you found it helpful or think it could benefit others.

Where to follow & socials:

Fragments blog – fragmentsofragments.wordpress.com

Fragments on Facebook – Facebook Page

Instagram – lewis_kirk123

Twitter – LewisKirk198

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Gaining Control

If you want something you will find a way, if you don’t, you will find an excuse. In overcoming any habit there is one important question for us to consider. This is the factor of how much we want to change our lives?

Link to YouTube

Hello and welcome to Fragments of Fragments with me, Lewis Kirk.

This is a follow up to the last Vlog I did about Whos in Control? regarding our relationships to our smartphones. If you have not seen this, I would recommend that you go and watch that first, as it will give you better context when watching this episode.

Many of you have contacted me regarding habits that you would like to change. And specifically regarding the last Vlog some of you commented on how our relationships to our smart phones can be out of our control. This episode will be about re-gaining control over this relationship in particular, but will generally cover any habit that we wish to overcome.

In overcoming any habit there is one important question for us to consider. This is the factor of how much we want to change our lives? Do you desire a change in your behavior more than what you get in benefit from that behavior?  Why are you doing this?

We need to ask ourselves what is important to us. What do you we want in life? In the near and distant future. We might want to spend less time on our smartphones, to eat a more balanced and healthy diet, to overcome some unwanted habit. If this is really important to us, then we will overcome it with ease, but if not, then we are in for a struggle. By paying attention to our actions during the day, it will become very clear what is important for us. If we want to spend less time on our smart phones but still find ourselves regularly checking our social media feed, then it is clearly not that important to us. If we want to get into shape, but cant resist the offer of a cake or doughnut, then getting into shape cant be important to us.

If the desire for change is strong and powerful within us, nothing can get in our way. Compare this to a weak or unclear intention, and we will have a much harder time making progress. If you want something you will find a way, if you don’t, you will find an excuse.

We need to make conscious choices. What I mean by this is to know the reason behind the things we do. Regarding our phones. Wanting to research something on Wikipedia and making some notes is a very beneficial way of using this technology. Learning a language on the Duolingo app is a good use of a few spare minutes. But procrastinating over a project that we need to finish by scrolling through our Facebook news feed is not a good use of our time. We need to take control of our decisions and choices, and not just open our social media apps for the sake of it. Have control over how you spend your time. And if it is difficult, then work towards gaining control.

Set a time during the day for checking social media, be strict with that choice, there is no need to check in every hour hoping for a dopamine high. If that’s what your looking for take up skydiving or some other extreme sport.

To elaborate on this, speaking specifically about overcoming the time wasted on our phones here is an exercise you can try. You can put your phone down and not check it for 10 minutes right? At least I hope you can! How about 30 minutes? How about an hour? Can’t do an hour, OK then, try and build up to an hour, all the time remembering the reason you are doing this. This is very important as I mentioned earlier. If the reason is not clear and strong, it will be easy to fall back in to the old habit. If you know why you are doing this, then it will be easier to control yourself around your smartphone.

If you have any further questions that I did not cover here, don’t hesitate to get in touch and ask. I might not do another Vlog to answer, but I can answer in the comments or via a message if that’s better for you.

Please like and subscribe to the channel, and if you found this helpful then please share it with others who might also benefit. Thanks for watching.

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Who’s in Control?

In this new episode I discuss how we can be more productive with our time in the midst of our smartphones and social media. I also talk about Nomophobia, which is the fear of being away from our smartphones, and the dopamine and serotonin hit we receive from our social media through our smart phones.

YouTube Link

Who is in control? You or your phone? Do you control your activity on your social media, or do your social media accounts control you?

A survey found that 3 out of 5 of us cant go more than an hour without checking our phones. Smart phone addiction is a real thing, Nomophobia, which literally means the fear of being away from your phone.

Who wears the trousers in your relationship? What I mean by this, is whether there is a space, a gap, between you receiving a notification on your smart phone, and the checking of that notification. Deeper than this. Do you control or limit your time spent on social media? Or have you, like most of us, been getting ready to go to bed when a WhatsApp group or Facebook thread gets really interesting and you keep telling yourself I should really go to sleep now, but it is several hours before that actually happens

We have all seen a scene like the featured image of the blog. Whether it be on a packed tube carriage where everyone is staring at their phones, or that table at a restaurant where there is no conversation as all present are engaged in whatever is happening on their smartphone screen.

Every minute spent unproductively on our phones is time spent missing out on real life experiences and interactions. When we are active in the world, we should be fully in the world. This is not possible if we have our device taking all of our attention away from what surrounds us.

What caused me to think about this in more depth is the grasp social media can have on a person. Since beginning this Vlog I have had more likes and comments to look at, as well as the YouTube and Blog analytics that show you how many views you have had, what has been viewed, where in the world the viewer was. etc etc. Now, it didn’t take me long to realise that this interest in all of this data could very well have a detrimental impact on my life, and so I needed to come up with a method of staying on top of the comments and analytics, without letting them get on top of me. Just like any drug, in the beginning it feels nice and can give you a little high, then before you know it, your addicted to that high and need it to feel balanced.

Feed-back that others like, admire and love us are central to our well being, and I know this all too clearly by starting this Vlog and needing the feedback and reassurance to indicate that I was doing OK. There have been several scientific studies that suggest our brains require the positive evaluation of others. The brain gets a hit of dopamine and serotonin everytime we recieve a like or comment on our social media. These are the chemicals linked to happiness. When our phones beep, this activates the same chemicals the give drug users their high.

Why do you think people are more comfortable on Facebook whilst on the tube, rather than looking around the carriage and trying to make friends? Because there is the element of rejection when trying to form relationships out in the real world. Someone could blank us, or give us that look, or tell us to go away. Its much safer on Facebook.

Evolution has built us to desire and work to secure positive social regard. Millions of people post to Facebook and Twitter every day, in the hopes that something of interest to them will be of interest to others as well. This is the very reason I am creating content for this Vlog, hoping that we might share a common interest and that it could be valuable for both of us.

Here are a few signs that your spending too much time on your smart phone:

  1. You look at your phone while your talking to someone.
  2. The first thing you do when you get somewhere is charge your phone.
  3. You fall asleep holding onto your phone.
  4. The first thing you do in the morning is check your phone.
  5. You feel anxious when your phone is not with you.

From everything said, I am doing my best to limit my time spent on my social media and checking the Vlogs analytical data. This is not to say I am succeeding, that hit of dopamine and serotonin can be very powerful. But the airplane mode on the phone is very helpful if you want to get productive, and I try and maintain the rule of not having my phone with me while I am with my children.

Please share on the various platforms anything that helps you to be in the world rather than lost in your iPhone screen, and if you think someone needs to hear this, pass it along to them, so they can benefit.

Like, subscribe and share. Thanks for watching. See you next time.

 

 

 

 

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Giving Thanks

This in an impromptu episode so that I can give thanks to everyone who has helped and supported me in my first week as a Vlogger. No script. Just a few points in mind that I wanted to cover. Thanks again!!

Link to YouTube

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Fragments of Fragments

In this Vlog I will share how Fragments of Fragments came to be, how I came to the name, and where I intend to go with it in its new video format.

Link to YouTube

Hello again and welcome to Fragments of Fragments with me Lewis Kirk. Firstly, thank you to everyone who got in contact about the first video with your feedback, ideas, encouragement and criticism, it really means a lot to me. And a special thanks to those of you who felt moved to share it with your social network. This gives others the chance to see this who otherwise would not. The one main criticism that I got from a few of you was that the video was a bit long. I will take this on board and ‘try’ to keep this one to a more manageable 10 mins or so. No promises.

So, how did Fragments of Fragments begin? Between around 2010 and the start of this blog in 2012 I became very interested in reading. This had progressed from an interest in golf and reading biographies of the worlds greatest golfers, until one day I found a reference to Deepak Chopras ‘Seven Spiritual Laws of Success’ In Nick Faldo’s autobiography ‘Life Swings’. This was the first of many connections I would make in my reading life that were akin to synchronicity or serendipity. Reading autobiographies is a great way to gain life experience sitting in your arm chair. I learnt many life lessons just by reading lots of biographical works.

From Deepak Chopra I read ‘The Secret’, and after that, Joseph Murphy’s ‘The Power of Your Subconscious Mind’. From these books alone, and I’m pretty sure I’m missing some out, I became aware of a different way of thinking to anything I had ever heard before. No one in my life to that point had ever told me about the power of positive thoughts and affirmations. No one had told me that I can gain control of my emotional responses and the way I react to people and the world around me. Why not? Why had no one ever given me this valuable advice and told me I could change my life for the better!? Because very few people knew about it or were interested in this sort of thing. It is more available today, what with the growing popularity of mindfulness, but when I first contacted these ideas it was a great mystery for me why no one was using these techniques to benefit themselves.

This was the entrance to the proverbial rabbit hole, which I fell into like Alice and was down for a good few years. The thing that pushed me in fully was when a good friend of mine recommended two authors, one named George Gurdjieff, and the other Peter Ouspensky. There are several posts about Gurdjieff and you can find them all in the category section down the right hand side of the website. Now, I thought Chopra, Murphy and The Secret were thought provoking and inspirational, but Gurdjieff and Ouspensky had a different flavor altogether, one that moved beyond positive thinking and inspiration and reflected a mirror directly into my being and caused me to see who I really am, behind all the roles I have to play in life, and all the desires and aversions that I have become accustomed to. These two men stripped all that away, and left me open without anything to hide behind. These men and their works was the beginning of a new life for me.

It had never occurred to me standing at the entrance of the rabbit hole what was waiting for me when I would come out. No one warned me, and it was never something I thought about, the consequences of shutting myself away and reading books of this nature for hours a day, for days at a time. I was so curious and interested in these two characters Gurdjieff and Ouspenky that I immediately brought their most famous works and read them. From there I read everything they had ever written, and after that read all the books their students and followers had written about them. For around two years I would digest all these books never reflecting on what was happening to me. Someone with more sense might have taken a moment at the entrance of that rabbit hole and asked: ‘Whats down there?’, ‘what will the experience do to me?’, ‘is it safe?’. But not me. I knew I wanted what was in there and so in I went.

This is a good segway into why I called the blog Fragments of Fragments. Even in trying to tell you about a few books that I read early on, and the impact they had on my life, words are insufficient to describe to you what I experienced. How can I tell you about Gurdjieffs Work and philosophy in a short video? How can I tell you about the power of positive thought and the effect affirmation can have in your life in 10 minutes? I cant. I cant even share a Fragment of these philosophies. But I can share Fragments of Fragments.

During this time of study and introspection I became passionate about ideas, concepts and philosophies, specifically the way they can have a positive impact on life, to the point where I created a blog to be able to share them more widely. This was always my aim, that I might be able to make people aware of something they did not know of, and for them to be interested enough to look into it, and by this process improve their life.

Some of the headings you will find in the category section running down the right hand side of the home page are as follows. In alphabetical order as they appear in the list:

  • Astrology
  • Buddhism
  • Gurdjieff
  • Harmonious Development
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Mulla Nasrudin
  • Mythology
  • Ouspensky
  • Positivity
  • Philosophy
  • Pythagoras
  • Symbolism
  • Tae Te Ching
  • The Mind
  • Universe
  • Yogananda
  • Zen

To give a good you example of a whole being made up of fragments, or parts, lets take Mythology. Mythology would be the whole field of knowledge. The fragments of it being the different cultures of mythology: Greek mythology, Norse mythology, Roman mythology, Celtic mythology, Aztec & Mayan mythology. And a fragment of a fragment would be a specific god within a specific mythology. Say Zeus in Greek mythology, Odin in Norse mythology, or Mercury in Roman mythology. I would find a Fragment of a Fragment of some larger body of knowledge and share it hoping people might find it as interesting as I did.

That was how the blog began, and how I came up with the name for it. Now to finish I will speak a little about where I am in my life now, and what is important to me after all this reading and practice. It is clear that there are many fields of knowledge and information that we can choose from and pursue. From flower arranging to baking. From banking to politics. Different languages to learn. The list is endless. But it is my opinion that the most important knowledge that is available to us and of the most interest to me is that which removes suffering and produces happiness. This aspiration of the end of suffering can be a current within anyone’s life, and it wont impact in the slightest if you are a baker or a florist or a banker, apart from make you a more kind, compassionate and mindful one.

The clearest example of this can be found within Buddhism. They have the teaching of the four noble truths. They are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.  I would consider this teaching a fragment of the school of Buddhist thought. A quick google search will help you to learn more about the four noble truths.

I am not claiming that by watching one Vlog your suffering will be removed and you will live in a transcendental happiness forever. What I am hoping to share can be considered tools for life. Ill give you a blunt knife, but it is your responsibility to sharpen it, to learn how to use it and to keep it safe.

I will end with a thought experiment. You have two choices, like the red and blue pill in the matrix, but not whether you stay happily plugged in to the matrix, or wake up and come out of the simulation. My choices are a little different. One pill will give you entertainment and excitement for 5 hours but will increase your suffering once the effects ware off. The other pill will produce silence and boredom for 5 hours but will reduce the suffering you experience in your life moving forward. Which pill would you take? And why?

Thanks for watching. Don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to the channel. And if you haven’t already like the Fragments page on Facebook you could do that to. See you next time.

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Welcome – I’m Here, with the Fear

Here it is. My first Vlog-Podcast. The link to the YouTube clip is below, and below that is the script I was working through. With this there is a choice to read or watch. You will see that I am quite tense in the beginning, but thankfully I loosened up a bit towards the end. enjoy. Would really like to hear your feedback.

Link to YouTube

Hello and welcome to Fragments of Fragments in its new format with me Lewis Kirk. I started the blog in April 2012 and have been posting intermittently since then. There are hundreds of articles that you can find and there is plenty to read if you want to have a browse.

To begin I would like to thank those of you who have already subscribed to the YouTube channel and everyone who liked the Fragments of Fragments Facebook page. It means a lot to me when people show that they might be interested in something that I enjoy doing.

Now, you might be thinking that I look a little uneasy, and that’s because I am, and you have probably noticed that I am reading from a paper. I am. I tried to film this video yesterday without a script, with only a few bullet points as a guide and it was an epic failure. I had grand intentions of becoming the Dalai Lama and delivering an inspired lecture. Instead I devolved back into a neanderthal when the camera was on me.

I was unable to film the video as I had planned yesterday. Why? Was there an emergency? No. Did I get distracted or was I procrastinating? No. So then what happened? I just couldn’t do it! I was nervous, self-conscious and had way too high expectations about what I would be able to create. I probably had 6-7 attempts to get going, but I couldn’t, until I was just looking at my image on the phone wondering what the hell had happened. This was a difficult experience and it cause me to ask myself some questions about why I am doing this? It caused me to do some intense introspection as to if I really want to do this, to start this Vlog, when it seemed impossible to be able to talk to the camera. These thoughts consumed the rest of my afternoon and much of the evening and although I haven’t come to any clear answers, I have found a way to film and deliver this video. This magic paper. I’m like dumbo with his magic feather that helps him to fly. I will take on the role of news anchor. I’m Anchorman. Ron Burgendy, Reading the transcript of my blog post!

Yesterday, my expectations were too high. They were ridiculous! I expected to deliver a perfect performance right out of the gate, without any mistakes, no umms and arrrs. Perfect poise and eloquence was what I was hoping for, and instead I got caveman Lew.

So please forgive me for reading from a script, I need someones hand to hold, and this is it at the minute. I can fall back on it, or I can rely on it completely, but it is necessary to complete this video. I will try to explain why it is important for me to try again and overcome this setback. And here we go into the first tangent of the podcast. I will speak for a moment on failure and the fear of failure, as I know all about it after yesterdays performance. This next part will be very similar to the type of videos I plan to share.

I’ve been putting off starting this project for a good while. I’d get excited about it and hyped up, raring to go but then doubts rain in and tell me I can’t do it, no one would watch it, you’d make a fool of yourself. But the universe kept giving me signs that I must start. Advice from a guest or host of a podcast, a song on the radio, they all brought to mind this first video, here, now, and that I needed to start.  In life you can fail and what you don’t love, so you may as well fail at what you love. We have to ask ourselves what is that thing? So imagine the state I’m in yesterday. Finally plucked up the courage to conquer YouTube and I couldn’t perform. I had the equivalent of writers block.

But now I’m back, reading from my magic paper. Working my way through the words, sentences and paragraphs until I get to the end, and can say goodbye. Not as charismatic as I had envisioned, but there you go.

Now lets get to the fear itself. Many of us have something that were afraid of, that brings on anxiety and panic, something that we cant do, or cant be near, or cant look at. I have an example from my own life. When I was practicing hypnotherapy and counselling a few years ago a woman came to me who had severe fear and anxiety towards London Underground. She couldn’t go on the underground, couldn’t bare to be trapped underground, and of course, this proved troublesome if she ever wanted to get into central London. As we all know, the tube is much more direct than a bus.

I had learnt all about stress, fear and anxiety while I was studying Hypnotherapy and was aware of a technique called Gradual Exposure Therapy or as it is sometimes called Systematic desensitisation. This is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy developed by South African psychiatrist, Joseph Wolpe. The process of gradual exposure therapy consists of three parts. The first step is identifying the fear or trigger of anxienty. In my clients case it was the tube, and for me it is speaking into a camera. The second step is the learning of relaxation or coping techniques. Which I will get to in more detail shortly. Once these techniques have been learnt and internalized, the individual must use them to overcome the situations in which their anxiety manifests itself. The ultimate goal being that the fear response or anxiety become so slight, that it would not impact the persons choices and options.

Here is the process me and my client went through to overcome her fear of the London Underground. Now remember we are using gradual exposure therapy only. No hypnosis. Just the systematic desensitiation of her fear of being closed in. In session one we went out for a walk to a place where there was a tube station. We didn’t go near it, just in the vicinity of it. As you can imagine, this was relatively stress free. The next session she needed to push herself and go and stand outside the station, directly in front of it. Session three was a real struggle for her and took us a few attempts to get past. We needed to go into the station, down the steps and to the ticket booth. The two final sessions before she was able to go on a tube were to go all the way down to the platform, and finally, the step before last, was to step into the train, and then step out.

Once all of these steps has been taken, her level of anxiety had gradually reduced, and her fear of being in an underground carriage had been removed through gradual exposure therapy, she was ready to rid herself of her fear all together. To travel one stop on the tube. As soon as we accomplished this final milestone, her fears and anxiety was gone, and ever since then she has been able to use the tube freely and easily.

How do I intend to use this technique to overcome my own fear and anxiety about talking into the camera? Well, I have already started by assessing what would be necessary for me to be able to talk in front of a camera, and I realized is that it was if I was reading from a script. And so far I have managed to do this. The next step in the process would be to write a script and then memorize it. Performing it as an actor would deliver his lines in a film. Next would be to try what I tried yesterday, have several talking points and just let it flow, touching each of them in turn. My final goal is to be able to have the talking points in mind, no visual stimulus, and be able to progress through them and deliver a intelligible speech.

Even if you don’t like the content of the blog, you may as well come along for the ride and see if I make an arse of myself trying to talk to my iphone…. I havent really said anything about myself have I? Apart from that I’m a giant pussy!! Or anything about the blog. I will focus on that in the next Vlog/podcast.

On that note, I wanted to speak a bit about whats coming up in the next few episodes as I have them in mind. I’ll get round to speaking about the blog in the next one I think, and then speech making, oratory, and TedTalks the one aftert that. As I said at the beginning I have written many posts since 2012, and they are all on the blog, Have a browse through, you might find something that grabs your interest, and thats a good thing. I have a plan to go back to the beginning of my blogging career at some stage and convert all of them into video. With that being said, if you have one that you have read and enjoyed, comment on YouTube, Fragments of Fragments wordpress site, or the Fragments facebook page and I will get to yours first.

One final announcement before I go. There is the possibility of me introducing a guest speaker onto the podcast in the coming months, I will tell you more when I know more.

Well, I managed to get through a video without fainting…..

Thanks for watching. Please like the video and subscribe. Any feedback would be great, as is it clear that I am a novice and could use all the constructive criticism. Or praise, you can tell me what I am doing well too. I would welcome any feedback, comments or questions and I will get to them in turn. Finally, If you found what I said about systematic desensitisation valuable, and you feel better equipped to tackle you fears now that you are aware of the techniques, and if not, might there be someone else who has a fear of phobia. If someone comes to mind, share the link with them. And if your really felling the Christmas spirit, share it on you social media.

Be Good. See you next time!

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