The aim of the game is to get to work; rain, hail or shine.  

I had come up with the title This is Philanthropy and I knew where I was going.  The only thing I was missing was the mentality of a pro artist.  I had been creating art my whole life by this point.  From a 10 year old kid obsessed with world flags to a 27 year old who just moved to Cambodia, partly to pursue an artistic endeavor.  

Before leaving Siem Reap to go live rural, I recall learning some invaluable lessons from some of the great writers and academics today.  As far as setting up the context and setting, I had that down pad.  I was moving out to rural Cambodia where I was going to experience a certain level of isolation and loneliness.  

These conditions are necessary, despite the fact that they can be detrimental to your health if overdone.  However, I knew this was the number one opportunity to double down on my learning and some deep, grinding work.  

Its not all pretty, however.  Some of the most gut wrenching moments are had when you come across obstacles that stand in the way of you putting work out.  There is a level of embarrassment that comes, as well.  I often cringe at old videos and pieces of writing.

I am still overcoming many obstacles, like perfectionism and many of the others obstacles that come like chronic procrastination. These things can be extremely painful, emotionally and mentally. I have experienced chronic amounts of procrastination without even realising what I am doing. It took me reading a book on art to recognise the fact that some of the problems I had surrounding anxiety and stress levels had to do with my lack of creating and my fears around putting work out there.

Now days, things seem a little easier in terms of writing. It feels more natural and I have more confidence in what I am saying because now I have lived more of this experience and I have put in a lot of hours, even when that was the last thing I wanted to do. Its been tough and the challenge will never end. That’s the whole aim of the game, however.

This isn’t about playing in finite terms. There is no destination in this journey, rather it is a trajectory that can go as far as you want to take it.

Battambang City_ក្រុងបាត់ដំបង

I’ve been practicing mindfulness meditation for a few years now, on and off. It’s only been in the last year where I’ve began a consistent, daily practice on average about 20 minutes daily.

I picked up mindfulness meditation after the first long term phase of my battle with anxiety and depression. If it weren’t for the epiphany I had just a month after meditating daily, I’m not sure whether I would have continued or not. It’s hard to explain it, but it was as if this layer of awareness had been completely lifted back and ever since then, things have never been the same.

My meditation spot in my apartment

So far, I believe this experience has served in both positive and negative ways. On the positive side, this was the experience that got me hooked for life. But on the negative, it caused me a lot of frustration at one stage. I’ve turned my back on meditation for months and months at a time, only to some how let it back in again further down the track.

It’s a relationship that has to be cultivated over time. Everyone’s story is different and that’s exactly how it should be.

We are beginning to see great things happen in the world of meditation, as these techniques are seeing a cross over with modern neuroscience and entrepreneurs in these fields are capitalising on the wealth of opportunity as we learn how to combine wisdom from ancient human technologies like meditation and yoga with a new style of explanation, backed by science.

Where am I in all of this? Well, I’m slowly learning about the tools we have and how these tools create different dimensions in our lives. We live in our heads and our emotions. We identify with these things so heavily, most of us don’t even have a clue.

The view from my apartment window

Connecting with the different dimensions of our lives can help with removing this attachment to who we identify ourselves with. It’s the ego, with all of its stories that run our lives. It’s like a computer program. Because we are so caught up in it, we just let it run the show and we lose control of everything else. We lose control of our body’s and our thoughts and emotions just run rampant. This is exhausting, so your energy levels suffer as a result. However, the mind and emotion continue to be your reality.

I had a really rough few days last week and it was an opportunity to watch how being too caught up in your head and emotions can actually damage your whole experience.

I have always assumed that I have a very busy mind, but now I’m starting to wonder whether the mind is busy, or perhaps I am easily distracted by it, so it seems busy but it’s really not. It’s just that I tend to put all my focus on it. You put your focus on one place and that tends to be the area that uses up the most energy.

My next steps are to gain more receptivity in the body. By gaining more awareness in the body, I can use that deeper level of awareness to distract the mind from wandering off into unnecessary thought. I do this with a bit of hatha style yoga. It’s not intense at all, but more about balance, breathing and stretching. 

I heard a story of a guy who once worked for Apple throughout his 20s. He said, he was young and ambitious with no life and they were working hard to create a device that was seductive as possible. As a result, we created things like the iPhone and iPad.

This guy now has kids and regrets ever working to create something as potentially dangerous as this piece of technology.

Just like a chemical addiction, this one creates its own concoctions of addictive chemical reactions in the body. The like button is intended to release dopamine in the brain. We now use different emojis that induce different emotional states.

This is something that needs close attention. But I feel like there is a line we can walk along. It is a line right in the middle where fighting off the emergence of technology is not part of the agenda, but rather living harmoniously with it in a way that benefits us more than what it does harm.

How does one go about this?

I’ve been experimenting with my own experience. I have a bad habit of running away from disturbing thoughts and emotions.

As a result, I reach for the screen, sometimes even writing posts to attract likes and attention. I can be a junky for dopamine, irrespective of how I have to get it. It was cigarettes for almost a decade, but you get rid of one evil and another 10 arise.

I don’t want to face those difficult thoughts and emotions. I don’t want to face my true self – who does? That’s why we all become addicted to our screens.

I’ve noticed a recent trend with technology. We went from text to images then to videos and now there is an increase in popularity for voice. We have things like Alexa that answers our questions and even podcasts that draw our attention.

From where I see it, the emergence of voice is somewhat healthier. You put a podcast on and you sit and listen, rather than have a your eyes stuck to a screen where it’s easy to drift away by the seductive dangers that digital social acceptance and approval has created.

Either way, we have come so far and there is no way to stop this rapid and sometimes hostile take over of technology. This is still a problem that I am trying to come to grips with, as I feel as though it can sometimes be a problem in my own life.

I tend to believe that I have many addictions, technology definitely being one that isn’t so much out of control at the moment, but has had a ripple effect on to other areas of my life, making me more susceptible to being seduced into tipping too far into the realm of chaos.

Balance means walking along that line between chaos and order. Wherever there is chaos in your life, equal order must be brought in order to restore a healthy sense of balance.

Developing rigorous systems in your life where you schedule in time specifically intended for you to inquire about the mind and body is something that I have had to adopt as part of my everyday life. Things like yoga and meditation are not just for the left field, alternates.

Neuroplasticity is not only a result of training the mind through meditation. Your mind is being moulded and shaped, constantly. This can be dangerous depending on how bad your addiction to technology is.

Training the mind through yoga and meditation is something that has been practiced for many years. These things seem like methods that have been developed only in the East, however that is proving to be incorrect.

Spiritual practitioners from all over the globe have been practising these methods of meditation that train the mind for many years. These methods were lost in Western philosophy, but remain still part of Eastern philosophy, although most Buddhists I have met do not practice mindfulness or any meditation for that matter.

Although technology seems to be using us as a side walk at times, it is also giving us the opportunity to take ancient technologies like meditation, test them in the labs and then spread the word.

It’s a matter of happiness, not your spiritual orientation. This is a matter of health, not how many likes or love hearts your updated relationship status attracts.

Let’s get serious about this.

One of the most beautiful realisations that I have come to and continue to learn more about is that I don’t know a thing about anything.

I look at a tree for instance, and usually you draw your conclusions. “It’s just a tree”, you might say. But coming to the realisation that it is more than just a tree is profound.

It may look like a tree from where you sit, but there is so much more to it than meets your eye. That tree is a whole system of trillions of cells working together to create a singular tree which is then just another piece of a larger system and it can go on and on and on.

Pannasastra High School – Battambang, Cambodia

So, what you see may just be a tree from where you sit, but there are millions of other pieces to that tree that you are yet to know anything about. That makes you forever a student of life.

The Buddhist say that “life is suffering”. That is the number 1 noble truth in Buddhism. That might sound as though we are doomed to suffer in life, because that is what life is on a fundamental basis – it’s all about suffering.

So, do we just live to suffer and suffer to live, or is there another way around this for us human beings?

There are many ways to reduce our suffering so that life does not have to weigh us down as much as what it is capable of doing. But before we get to that, isn’t it necessary to look inside ourselves and see how our minds are working against us? Our minds are just a fraction of what life is for us, yet it tends to dictate how we experience most things.

We become attached and identified to our intellect, not realising that the stories we have told ourselves about who we are and what this life is about is nothing but a series of memories and imaginations that come and go with time.

I’ve noticed that there is a very distinct difference between pain and suffering. These two are not the same and should not be confused. Pain is a sensation. It is neither good or bad, yet the judgements we pass up about pain is negative and this creates friction. We tense up over the pain and we begin to wish that it was no longer there. This is what we refer to as suffering – the resistance to pain.

What if we just felt the pain without suffering it? We would save so much energy, wouldn’t we?

A few screenshots taken off the app – Chineasy by ShaoLan Hsueh.

Through my quest to learn Mandarin, I stumbled across a brilliant system for learning the language.  The creator of this system is, ShaoLan – Chinese born but raised children in England and found herself having to teach Chinese to two native English speakers.  

The result of this is the great system she created, by integrating artwork with the characters.  I found this method for teaching so innovative and creative.  

This integration of art while forming new synaptic connections as you learn more and more about a certain topic is something that I have been particularly attracted to for a few months now.  

There is something about art that helps with memorisation and understanding.  The brain tends to remember in images a lot, as so using visual art to strengthen those  new forming synaptic connections in the brain proves to be an effective method for understanding and retaining new information.   

Well Then…Write Away.

សៀម រាប Siem Reap, Cambodia.

There is a lot of utility that comes with writing every day. Your intentions for writing can change, depending on the day and the context – sometimes I want to vent with my thoughts and emotions and I will write myself to the bones. This can be very therapeutic.

There are other days when I don’t feel like getting in touch with my emotions. Instead, I rather use my writing as a method for reason and logic. I will write and visualise and plan things for my future. Other days, I may need to engage the logical mind if I have an every day problem that needs solving, such as financials and career.

I have used writing to dig into my past, recollecting memories from when I was a child and then putting them all together in order to make sense of what I am today.

One of the most uses for writing that I am recognising now is, writing to an audience online gives me an opportunity to teach others what I am learning, and they say the best way to learn stuff is to teach it. Teaching a topic through writing is effective for me personally, as writing was already a habit of mine to begin with.

🙏 Thank you to all those who follow me and support me with their feedback. I will continue to deliver as much value as I possibly can.

A diagram copied from the book ‘Evolve Your Brain’, by American neuroscientist and author, Dr. Joe Dispenza.


This diagram displays what happens on the cellular level, when you experience thoughts of anger or shame. The thoughts occur in the neocortex, or outer region of the brain. The nerve cells in the neocortex send electrochemical signals to the middle region – the brains emotion making factory.


Its in the pituitary gland releases peptides into the bloodstream. These peptides that are released as a result of thoughts of anger and shame then get released into the organs of the body. On a cellular level, these peptides related to anger and shame link up to receptor sites on each cell and these nerve cells get passed back and forth between the brain and the body.
Thoughts of anger and shame create negative, uncomfortable feelings of anger and shame in the body. An emotion is a chemical reaction which triggers feelings in the body. These feelings cause us to act. You might notice that when you are thinking thoughts of anger or shame, your body feels that anger and shame. Due to discomfort in your body, that then leads to more thoughts of anger or shame; this can apply to many different thoughts and emotions.


If you are thinking happy thoughts, then your body is usually experiencing states of bliss and pleasure. These feelings of bliss and peace feed back to your mind, leading to more positive thoughts – that would be considered a “good mood”. If you are like most people, then you experience a whole range of negative thoughts and emotions throughout each day of your life; anger, guilt, shame, anxiety, envy and frustration. The issue is, the human being is a habit making machine.


The mind and the body get stuck in their compulsive patterns. So, you can imagine that after a while, all of the cells in your organs start to become conditioned into taking some of these more toxic emotions, like anger or shame. Like our minds, our cells become addicted to certain chemicals that are a result of negative emotions.

The last few mornings have seen my mind rise at around 530 am. I am usually asleep by 10.30 pm each night, and while there is nothing to attend to this early in the morning, I put the mind to use.

I prefer to meditate during the time, as it is the time I am less likely to fall asleep. There are certain times of night when my mind is fully wired, active with thought and energy. This is perfect for meditation, as I am required to use the frontal lobe to focus my attention on specific objects, like the breath or the sound of the fan as it ticks, loudly.

During the early mornings, I have been staying in bed and using this time to study. Although laying in bed isn’t ideal for when learning, this time of the morning happens to be great. It is said that the frequency of brain waves during this time of day is great for study, so that’s what I do.

I find that I jump from topic to topic, a lot. I have many interests; tech, neuroscience, business, personal development, philosophy and art, just to name a few.

I have been spending my mornings diving into topics in neuroscience, psychology and biology. Below is a diagram from the book, ‘Emotional Intelligence’, by Daniel Goleman.

What I like most about this book so far is, before getting into the practical aspects that the author offers through his studies, he also helps you gain a profound understanding of the topic with his eloquent explanations – relating them to research and real life case studies.

The book is a study of emotional intelligence and its application in every day work and life. The diagram below is an attempt to explain how sometimes stimuli from the external world triggers an emotional response before our conscious mind can even make sense of what happened.

Usually, stimulus will enter our retinas as information, sending signals directly to the visual cortices in the back of the brain. Due to our biological make up and the the role emotions play in order to help us survive and thrive, sometimes when stimulus is strong enough, it gets processed emotionally, before it even becomes conscious in your awareness.

Diagram from the book ‘Emotional Intelligence’, by Daniel Goleman

Information travels through the retina and instead of being processed in the visual cortex, this stimulus gets passed straight to the thalamus where it triggers the amygdala into fight or flight response. This is why sometimes when you are in a heated situation, you can sometimes forget what happened. This is when emotions took over your experience and you were responding to your experience in more primal ways.

No longer do we require this response for our survival; to escape our predators. This biological feature now manifests itself in different ways, and sometimes these can be dangerous and detrimental.

For example, the primitive amygdala is triggered into fight or flight mode in a person who is walking around the streets with a loaded weapon in their hand – These outcomes could be quite fatal.

The Buddhist say that “life is suffering”. That is the number 1 noble truth in Buddhism. That might sound as though we are doomed to suffer in life, because that is what life is on a fundamental basis – it’s all about suffering.

So, do we just live to suffer and suffer to live, or is there another way around this for us human beings?

There are many ways to reduce our suffering so that life does not have to weigh us down as much as what it is capable of doing. But before we get to that, isn’t it necessary to look inside ourselves and see how our minds are working against us? Our minds are just a fraction of what life is for us, yet it tends to dictate how we experience most things.

We become attached and identified to our intellect, not realising that the stories we have told ourselves about who we are and what this life is about is nothing but a series of memories and imaginations that come and go with time.

I’ve noticed that there is a very distinct difference between pain and suffering. These two are not the same and should not be confused. Pain is a sensation. It is neither good or bad, yet the judgements we pass up about pain is negative and this creates friction. We tense up over the pain and we begin to wish that it was no longer there. This is what we refer to as suffering – the resistance to pain.

What if we just felt the pain without suffering it? We would save so much energy, wouldn’t we?