Episode 027: Understanding A Holistic Approach To Self-Improvement – with Harry Sherwood

The term holistic health comes with a wealth of misconceptions and misunderstanding. In this episode, Harry Sherwood sets the record straight and gives us real-world, actionable techniques to understand it's power and build it into our every day lives.



The Show Notes

Mr. Harry Sherwood. Welcome to the success Kickstart podcast. How's it going?

  • I'm doing fantastic. Thank you so much for having me on and excited to be here today.

Q: It's a pleasure to have you here sharing at your message with the success Kickstart listeners. Now for those who haven't come across you and your work yet start by taking a few minutes take us behind the scenes and give us your story because I'd really love our listeners to know where you are in your life right now where you've come from and how you got here.

  • About a little over 10 years ago. I just felt suffocated. I was living in California at the time and I just I felt suffocated in life like something was missing and I had recently gotten into spirituality and meditation but it really wasn't catching. My meditation routine really wasn’t bringing any measurable results and I just I continuously felt like I was floundering in life.
  • I wound up moving to China to study Tai Chi and Qigong which is, a martial art. That's pretty much meditation and I did that for about four months and it was wild and fantastic and amazing but also different than what I thought.
  • It was when I first realized that I went somewhere else to seek some answer to my own fulfilment and I realized that that was the beginning of me realizing it might not come from outside of me.
  • Nonetheless I continued on that kind of jump off into the deep end and I moved back to the States and then I moved into a nostrum which is a community dwelling, specifically a yogic monastery. So, I lived with monks and yogis and spent the next six months there meditating hours every day in silence, in contemplation.
  • All in silence and six hour meditation sits and it was then I went somewhere else to be able to sit with myself and I looked within and I learned about my inner workings and it would be these meditation techniques where I really learnt to introspect on a deeper level than I ever had before – that completely changed my world. It changed my trajectory in life.
  • I had been a sports performance coach ahead of time. And so I wound up transferring because I was in college at the time at the University of Michigan, got a degree in religious studies with an emphasis in consciousness studies and travelled to Indonesia,  to Ghana and studied some amazing things in college all under the guise of something called self-realization or a lot of people might know it as Enlightenment. Just kind of down that path.
  • What is what is that word? And what does that mean? And how can I bring that into my life. So, I graduated, went to work for a little while and then I went back to the ashram for five months and I wanted to decide. Hey, am I going to do this for my life? Am I going to stay and live here as a yogi? I wouldn't be talking you today if that had happened, but it was a powerful five months artfully, continuously diving deep, learning amazing life lessons.
  • After 5 months, I met my partner in life Melanie McDaniel and she had been on her own road to personal development and to bring about healing in her world. She come from a very dramatic background. So, we met and we helped each other continue on and I realized I'm going to be in the world. So, it's time to really start embracing the world. I started teaching meditation, got back into sports performance coaching, nutrition coaching.
  • Melanie started doing emotional release sessions and a lot of the therapy that has worked for her, all alternative approaches in the holistic health world and as time went on and we learn more and we kept diving down, we went to attend a retreat and that was all meditation 10 hours a day and then it was all in silence and just continuously dabbled in various modalities that continue to open up our world and continue to help the people that we were helping.
  • Then a couple years ago, we found a consciously.org is our website and we now we help people wherever they are in life to take the next step whether that's physically, it's your nutrition. whether its mentally to life coaching or all the above through meditation whether that's releasing emotions and getting rid of emotional baggage that we've had for a really long time via emotional release sessions.
  • We like to approach health from a lot of different angles and that just kind of naturally came based off of the life that we live. It's an extension of ourselves and it's something that we're incredibly passionate about doing and so we've been doing that for a few years and now and truly enjoy the journey.

Q: I am somebody who I consider myself to be addicted to personal development on the idea of understanding how we grow as people, but actually that's like the next level isn't it like moving to a community like that and really immersing yourself in everything. Now along that path, along your life, from day one if you had to identify or describe your kind of lowest moment the thing that you found most difficult, what would that be? What did you do to overcome that thing? And because we don't want to dwell on the negative. What was the big lesson that you took away from that?

  • There's been a few road bumps or roadblocks along the way. I would say that the earliest one, the one that had a great impact on me because it was before I had ever really ventured into the personal development world where anything is I have a brother who is an addict and he's what's known as a chronic relapsing or so since he was 14 or 15 years old. He's been in and out, started boarding school, then rehabs, then halfway houses and all those things and I was 11 the first time he went away and we had had a great relationship and then a rocky relationship and then it kind of turned into something where I struggled not to create part of my identity around not being, a good enough brother to help him quit, not being enough to him to help him quit, not being enough myself to help him quit, so I wound up going to some therapy earlier on in life and it was , a chiropractor who had done holistic approaches another entry that I kind of learned early on and the biggest lesson that I really had to accept in step into is that everyone makes their own choices in life and no matter how much we stick out our hand to help no matter how much you know, the proverbial we lead a horse to water. They have to make the change no one will ever change unless they're ready to and that's something I was kind of forced to learn early on in life, and I'm extremely grateful that I did.

Q: It's a difficult story but it's a really important lesson to take out of that and I guess on the flip side of that what's the biggest and most exciting epiphany you've ever had in your life and what impact did that have for you and your general philosophy of personal growth?

  • If you take the snapshot of the story that I just told you about my brother, starting there but then eventually leading to traveling the world and sitting in thousands of hours of meditation and essentially seeking this enlightenment, trying to fill this puzzle piece that I felt was missing in my life for a decade and just really just going and trying to find it from so many different modalities even just from within and people told me you’re only ever going to find that within but it only ever stayed concept and then I started to experience it a little bit so long story short, the greatest epiphany I've ever had is that I am the one and I am the thing that I was searching for and that's you know, it's the concept is great but on a deep experiential, the self-realization, I mean the true essence of that is your real self – you're realizing yourself on a deep universally connected level, it’s the puzzle piece that so many people feel like is missing in life and I was fortunate enough to come across modalities that helped me realize that and philosophy systems and people and all these different things to help me finally realize I am whole, I am complete already and the idea that I'm not, is just that, it's only an idea. It's only a blockage that I have and belief is consciously that I have that I needed to let go of and so realizing that I am all I will ever need was probably the most profound epiphany shift. An aha moment.

Q: It's definitely a realization that a lot of people need to take. Now. I want to talk to you today the primary reason for having you on the podcast is to chat about this idea of holistic health. So, can you start by kind of telling us what that actually means why it's so important and what's the difference between that and the approach that most people have in their day-to-day lives?

  • Yes, holistic health essentially is recognizing that we as human beings are a whole of different moving pieces, but they fit together like our two legs, our two arms, our torso, our head. They're different parts, but they're all a part of the body.
  • We have a physical aspect to our lives that can play a role in our health that can come through fitness or nutrition or various means. It means that our mental health very much plays a role in our health as well. That comes through mindset, that comes through chemical balances, that comes through inflammation and can be physical that plays a role in the mental.
  • It's recognizing that we have emotions and that these emotions at least in the US. – there's been a huge stigma around feeling and if you're sad that that's not okay, if your angry, that's not okay and kind of destigmatizing that and then taking it to obviously my story around the spiritual and recognizing that health plays a role in all of these areas of life.
  • So, when someone comes to us and says, you know, I don't sleep very well, we have to ask them an entire slew of questions before we can really say, okay this is how we're going to approach this. It's not just oh you need to eat better because maybe it's not the fact they don't need to eat better, perhaps it’s some stress coming from work or from family life. Maybe it's an emotion they haven't let go of, maybe it is this one thing that needs changing in nutrition.
  • But we also need to get them walking or running or doing some exercise a little bit more. Maybe they're taking a bunch of over-the-counter prescriptions and that's causing, some ulcers in their stomach or some negative side effect. And so, we got to get them transitioned off that. So, we really want to know what the root causes and the modalities that we utilize are all-natural, all extremely natural to body into Earth. Most of them. In fact, really none of them have side effects in the way we think of side effects, the negative side effects.
  • We tell people – truly good nutrition, the side effect is feeling great and most people don't necessarily go about this because it's not as widely commonly practiced in the western world today, but it is very natural and has been around for as long as humans have in one way or another.
  • It's kind of like the old medicine person who just used a couple of plants and actually used talking to someone as a modality for health.

Q: Now, we definitely have live in a world where this is sort of becoming a little bit more accepted this kind of way of thinking but we still have a lot of people who say well, you know, I'll do what the doctor tells me to do and I'll take the tablets the doctor tells me to take and I'll follow those medical instructions, but then you know, none of this new age mumbo jumbo, so it probably does still have a bit of a stigma to it. What would you say to people who think it all sounds like nonsense and they just do what the doctor tells them and if they're really, they're poorly and that's how it works? How does somebody dip their toe in the water with this kind of stuff?

  • I would say the first thing is think of it like preventative care. If my nutrition is really on point, I’m exercising, I'm getting good sleep, I'm meditating so I’m keeping my stress levels and my mental activity much lower. I'm not lost in the restlessness. I've learned perspective as I work my way through life. So, when things happen, they don't rattle me as much. If I do get a little cold, I'm using a natural plant remedy to just go about getting rid of that.
  • have a deeply connected relationship or relationship to myself and I've connected to something spiritually for myself and all those things is just a natural healthy lifestyle. It's preventative. Now, if something comes up where all of these modalities just aren't working for you that's when in my perspective Western medicine, modern medicine can come in handy.
  • We call it preventative versus acute. If someone gets in a car accident breaks their leg in multiple places, it's probably best to go to the hospital. We're not some of those people who are like no never go to Western medicine. It has its place and it's developed for a reason and it has very profound practices.
  • The challenge that we see is that it's been used for everything preventative, lifestyle all these things instead of just acute care which is why we see such a high amount of prescription pills with a high amount of negative side effects happening all over the place.
  • In the US alone in 2018, there was 16,000 deaths and 100,000 emergency room visits from over-the-counter prescriptions and painkillers alone. So, side effects, the negative side effects are real they're there.
  • So, the question is would you rather have a lifestyle that prevents most of that and then when you need it need it or just go to that directly and possibly actually be doing something a little bit worse for yourself.
  • That's person by person. You know, I'm not going to tell someone the way they should live their lives. That's not my place, but it's there if someone feels called to it and just maybe wants to create a healthier lifestyle before needing something else.

Q: One of the things that you touched on is there's a lot of noise in this world. Lots of people claiming they've got the cure for everything. How do we know where the limits are apart from you guys obviously, who should we listen to? What's the limits of what this can achieve?

  • That's always going to be person by person. I'm a believer that you know, give it your best effort and truly believe in whatever you choose to do.
  • If that's holistic health, whatever your choice is, give it a 100% because if you do that, there's also the placebo effect that's going to come in and help as well.
  • You're doing something and if you're thinking this isn't going to work, you're shooting yourself in the foot. So, whatever you choose give it the 100%, but then at the end of the day, once you've given it that really good go and effort, be realistic and do I still need a little bit of extra help. Do I still need to maybe continuously look for one or two other things to supplement or to help that out?
  • If someone said, my son's not sleeping, we will help change nutrition, but we're also going to help change some lifestyle things and other we're not going to leave it to just that one modality and so for someone who believes, so wildly that whatever they're doing is going to work, that belief is going to help.
  • I love that but be open to the possibility that there might be something else out there you might need to explore as well.

Can we talk about some of the most effective or powerful areas of sort of holistic health that you've come across recently some treatments or ideas or preventative measures because you mentioned lots of different things here – meditation mindset, you know nutrition. Let's talk about some of the most kind of important fundamental things and the part that they play just so that if somebody is thinking well, you know, I currently live on fast food and I drink too much and I do this and I do that and I want to start fixing these things. What are the most important elements to get the perfect mix?

  • That's person by person. Every single person we work with, we do something slightly different with because of lifestyle, of mentality of so many different factors. So, I would say generally nutrition plays a very big role in health across the board because just physical health and then mental health as well because a lot of people at least in the US paradigm for the last 20-30-ish years has been chemical imbalances the brain can possibly cause e.g. moods, depression, sadness, anxiety all those things.
  • There's more studies coming out saying that actually it might be inflammation that's causing these things specifically in the brain, but regardless, both of those can be helped by an anti-inflammatory diet, plant-based nutrition and just nutrition in general.
  • So, nutrition is key. It is absolutely key. It plays a very big role in your physical health your mental health, which you know will also affect your emotional health. So, someone who's eating the fast foods and drinking a lot I would just say the biggest and best thing you can do is become what we call an intuitive eater. After you eat, pay attention. It's just being conscious, pay attention to how you feel directly after, a few hours after, the next day. How is your stool, you know pay attention.
  • You’re having all these things naturally you might as well just keep an eye on those things. And if you feel sluggish, if you feel like your energy has been drained after you're eating, you're eating something your body is not okay with. You’re probably
  • inflaming your stomach lining or something's happening chemically in your body that your body's rejecting it. So, it has to go into overdrive mode to try to get it out, to try to digest it. So little tricks like that can help a lot
  • A really powerful modality obviously that I've come across is meditation. Meditation across the board can be beneficial physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. It is truly profound. You don't need any money to be able to do it or to learn how to do it. It’s something that you just sit down, you breathe and you relax your body and you get into it, a very centred state that can bring about peace, serenity, bring about perspective on life and on yourself that can help change your orientation to your emotions and your thoughts to the world.
  • So, meditation is you know, if it was one that's my favourite and it's it can definitely lead people to profound pastures.
  • It's one of those things where if you're someone who eats really healthy, changes nutrition is probably not going to be the first conversation that we have – meditation might be. If you're someone who had trauma when you were a kid, maybe it was capital T huge trauma or just someone said something to you and you just have never been able to drop it – that we might go to emotional release for because letting go of that letting putting that down can be life changing. It can be the one thing that helps you transform the way you look at yourself and your own self-perception to then start orienting and working in this world in a completely different way
  • There are various very powerful modalities, but different things work for different people.

Q: This makes a lot of sense, you know, people can easily listen to this and then say, okay great. Well, do you know what I've been eating really healthily for a really long time, but I'm happy with that. But you know what, I really struggle with this area of mindset and motivation to do other things and it really helps to pull everything together in this respect and to see us as an all rounded person. Are there any kind of dangers to somebody getting too involved in this, you know, what warnings would you give people –  we've already said don't ignore doctors and Western medicine has its place when you broke your leg and stuff but are there any other dangers that you've seen or heard of where people get too involved in this or is it really just a case of you go as far as you want to go?

  • I don't think that dangers initially come up for me. I would say that if you're so into something that you're not willing to hear anything else, any other perspective, any other advice maybe something that might help I believe that that's that person's journey.
  • I truly believe that if that's the way they are, unless that person is willing to change no one's going to make them change, so I would just say no matter what you do, no matter how you're doing it, always be open to at least hear another way because you might just pick up one little sentence from that other way that you can implement in your lifestyle. But if you're not willing to do that, then you could be boxing yourself into something that eventually not healthy for you.

Q: And you know what they sell is really going to break a lot of misconceptions or preconceptions or you know mis ideas about what people think and it's going to really put people in the right direction with this stuff. So, as we start to approach the end of this episode, what are the top three things that you would encourage our listeners to do right now, today to start making changes in their life based on what you've shared with us.

  • Take inventory. Like I said being an intuitive person, check in with how you eat, check in with how you're sleeping, check in with your emotions, check in with when you talk to people who in your life are causing you stress, is causing you joy, is causing these things.
  • Take inventory of your life pay attention, write down the things that bring you joy, write down the things that bring you anxiety and from that step then you might be able to start to pinpoint. Hey, where is it that I can take a next step in life?
  • We have our clients fill out an 80+ question questionnaire when first started working with them so we can get clarity so we can get the mental cogs spinning and start to have people recognize, I never thought about that but it's a huge part of their life.
  • So first and foremost, self-inquiry, I'm just taking the next step would be okay if I do think if it's obvious and it's nutrition, I need help with, then it's meditation or whatever. It may be the next step is look to do, you know how to do it already or do you need to ask for help? And obviously I'm here if anyone needs to ask for help or there's a lot of places that people can go and ask for help.
  • If you already know how to do it then the next step after that is what's an action plan that you can take. You know, what is the next step once you know who can help you or you can do it yourself the action plan might be, what's the smallest first step I can take. Literally to look up someone's number if it's okay, I want to contact Harry. What is his number? How can I find his number, going on his website – that small step and then one step starts the next step and all steps are started with that first little step?
  • So, it’s not overwhelming yourself with I need to do all the stuff. It's take inventory and find out what at the very first step is towards making a shift.

The Quickfire Round

Q: Well now it's time to jump over into the quick-fire round. So, question number one, what's the best self-development advice you've ever received from somebody else and who was that person?

  • It's not about the huge life-changing moments. It's about where are you now? How are you now? Are you centered or are you lost are you healthy or are you unhealthy? Where are you now? It's not about the big things that have happened, it's about the little moments.

Q: Who was that?

  • That was one of the monks in the ashram and there's a big story behind it, which is why it took me a couple seconds because I usually explain the story. Long story short is he was like it's not about these wild amazing meditative experiences, it's about where you're sitting now, you know, are you connected right now or are you lost in your thoughts?

Q: Can you give us a personal habit or personality trait that you think contributes to your success?

  • I believe that anything is possible. I'm truly a believer in the magic of life, in the possibility that we can change our life in any single moment, that we can connect deeply in any single moment, that we have the power to lead extraordinary existences

Q: What does success mean to you?

  • Success is an internal thing to me. If someone has found the truth, which is you're already whole you're already complete, you are already fulfilled and you are already successful just by being a human being, then you will be able to act and to achieve and to do from a place that isn't from a need to be fulfilled to be seen, to be recognized, to be to feel a different way because you already feel what you're searching for and from that place you can truly create art and expression and find your passion and purpose from such a different place and that's what I truly identify as success.

Q: And finally, where can people go to find out more about you and your work?

Consciously.org and if you want to contact us, we have a contact page, the email goes to us the 1-800 numbers textable. If you're someone who doesn't want to necessarily hop on the phone right away, you can text us but we are very through that website, we are very easy to get hold up.

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