Monique Russell — Short Advice, Experiences, and Wisdom From The Best In The World

Monique Russell is an executive coach, leadership guru, communication expert, and the founder of Clear Communication Solutions. She comes from a long line of educators in her family. Keeping in line with her desire to be on the big stage, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism.  She went back for two Masters of Science, one in Public Relations and the other in Advertising.

She’s an excellent communication consultant and coach, that’s why she’s ready to guide you with her gifts so you too can be a confident and clear communicator. This is how Clear Communication Solutions was born.

Organizations like CDC, Google, Salesforce, Verizon, Equifax, OSHA, FEMA, Chambers of Commerce, business owners, and faith-based organizations trust her to help them foster courage, creativity, and leadership. You can too.

Connect with Monique: Website | LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Please enjoy this conversation with Monique!

Nishant Garg: What books—or even movies and documentaries—would you recommend to someone who want to live a meaningful life? What books have you gifted the most, and why?

Monique Russell: The Success Principles by Jack Canfield is a book I highly recommend to anyone who wants to live a meaningful life. I have gifted this book many times, and I remember when I first started reading it years ago — my mother and I actually read it together. I’d read out loud each chapter and when a concept was so deep we would simply start talking about it right away. It was so invigorating for both of us because as we read we were able to discuss the principles together. This book helps you to realize how much in control of your decisions and life you are. You are left feeling inspired and empowered to take responsibility for your life. Since then, my mother has become a certified Jack Canfield trainer and teaches the principles often. 

Nishant Garg: What does your first 60 to 90 minutes in the morning look like? What are your specific rituals on a regular basis?

Monique Russell: The morning is most important for me to prime my mind. Before I get out of bed I begin a practice of gratitude, thinking and saying all the things I am grateful for out loud. I start with my bed, my pillow, the good night’s sleep I had, my family, my health, and so on. Then, I execute my affirmations playlist that consists of 3 to 4 regular different sets of affirmations I listen to regularly. Sometimes I will repeat them or I will listen to it silently with my eyes closed. Then, I get up, make my bed, and take a shower. I drink 8 oz of water and take a multi-vitamin. Then, I make myself the first cup of tea. It used to be coffee, but I successfully transitioned to tea four years ago. I take my tea with me to my desk and pray. Then, I get out my journal and begin to free write. Once I am done with those steps, I am ready to start my work day. I look at the list of tasks from the night before if I wrote them out, and begin working whether I am coaching, training, being interviewed, or developing strategies for my clients. 

People often ask me how I can be so positive so early in the morning and this is why. By the time I meet with the first person in the day, I am literally on cloud 9. This morning routine is so important to me because if I jump into my day without prepping and priming my mind, I find that my frustration level heightens more easily. 

Nishant Garg: You have interacted with many successful people over the years — what have you found are the most beneficial exercises that people really feel have changed their lives for the better?

Monique Russell: The people I consider to be successful are those that have been able to work in their strength zones, build great relationships, and have time to enjoy life while being in a good financial position. When I assess and speak with some of these persons, I have observed 4 exercises that help them change their lives for the better:

  • An ability to implement daily discipline no matter how small the task is. They make their practice of discipline almost second nature like breathing.
  • Actively and intentionally nurture relationships. Nurturing their relationships is considered a critical business task and they treat it as such. This means proactively scheduling time to spend time with, connect and celebrate those that fill their cup, and vice versa.
  • Consistently engage in exercise or some form of physical activity. This could be walking, running, lifting weights, hiking, dancing, rock climbing etc.
  • Invest in their mind with therapy and/or coaching. Every one of these individuals had the realization that they were their biggest asset and as such, they invested in maximizing their mental capacity and faculties with facilitated thinking.
Continue reading “Monique Russell — Short Advice, Experiences, and Wisdom From The Best In The World”

Book Recommendations — New Possibilities, Healing, Love, Connection, and More

In this post, I briefly describe a handful of books that has made so much impact in my life in 2020 and 2021. I consider these books for life to revisit many times.

The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life: I don’t exactly remember how I got introduced to this book. But it’s a gem. I couldn’t connect to this book when I first picked up, I think it was in 2019. You know, sometimes you get to be patient with the book and with yourself. I keep coming back to this book even when I didn’t grasp some stories and ideas — perhaps, I wasn’t ready. Eventually, it turned out to be very useful during the first few months in the podcasting. There are some areas it was very helpful and still is — “How to handle rejections? How to enroll people in your vision? How to live life from a place of contribution? How to take things less personally? How to create possibilities in every situation?”, and much more.

I’ve read this book many a times and flooded with underlines and asterisks(*) as a reminder. I am sure you will learn a lot from this Goldie and Oldie. Be patient with this book.

Excerpt from this book:

“I settled on a game called “I am a contribution”. Unlike success and failure, contribution has no other side. It’s not arrived at by comparison. All at once I found out that the fearful question, “Is it enough”, and the even more fearful question, “Am I loved for who I am, or what I have accomplished?” could both be replaced by the joyful question, “How will be a contribution today?”

“If we were to take a “no” less personally, and ourselves less seriously, we might hear something else. We might hear someone saying,”I don’t see any new possibility here, so I think I’ll stick with my usual way of doing things”

Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes: We all are transitioning from thing to another, one phase in life to another, from singlehood to being committed, from one job to another job, and including many other transitions. This book explains in detail how to navigate different transitions with ease. It actually explains a 3 part framework. I have got many breakthroughs from this book —such as saying yes to go to Sun Valley, Idaho after interviewing this amazing human Denise Shull, yes to hiring a career coach, and yes to join an esteemed mastermind group. How do you “end” things and “start” new things in life? This book explains that there is a “Neutral” zone we get to embrace after something ends and before something new starts. A must read.

Also, I recently gifted this book to a friend and recommended to others on many occasions. If you’re interested in learning more about Decision Making process using emotions and feelings, then Listen to my interview with Denise Shull on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsYouTube, Stitcheror on your favorite platform.

Excerpt from this book:

“Think of what would be unlived in your life if it ended today”. You might actually write the obituary  – it’s a revealing exercises – but if you don’t want to do that , at least pause for a few moments and jot down notes on a piece of paper.”

Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing: Honestly, It took me a couple of months to entirely read this book. It’s such a simple read and you can literally finish it off in a week. Why it took me that long to complete this book? My goal of reading is to really “study” and “embody” the learnings. I was reading in random bits and pieces. My initial thought was “who’s interested in someone’s story growing up in Hong Kong in an Indian family”. This book really becomes a healing power as you keep going.

I got to know about this book from one of the Wayne Dyer’s audio The Secret & The Law of Attraction. He’s been my #1 spiritual mentor and wrote a foreword in this book. Of course, I got to get this book, right? The truth is that I was window shopping in a book store(my favorite time pass) and suddenly my eyes gazed on this book. The name seemed familiar as I had already listened to The Secret & The Law of Attraction many times in which he mentions about this book and bought this powerful healing manifesto.

There is one specific chapter on “Allowing, letting go and surrendering” (paraphrasing) which I have read dozens of times. I only carried this book with me while spending two weeks in the mountains of Idaho in the August/September 2021, and and reread it over and over to just “let it go” and practice living from a place of surrender.

Continue reading “Book Recommendations — New Possibilities, Healing, Love, Connection, and More”

How I Approach Busy Powerful People and Influencers

The podcast “The Nishant Garg Show” started without knowing anyone in the mental health and mindfulness industry. Why am I specific to only mental health and mindfulness industry? When I reached out to people, usually their first question was “what’s this podcast about?” Therefore, I had to pick a topic that I cared for and had been personally practicing for some time. If I had chosen a topic I wasn’t passionate about, I’d have given very early on. So, the key is to focus on the topics you care and passionate about. Fast forward, I’ve covered many other topics such as trauma healing, relationships, leadership, and more, as my interest level grows and I evolve with time. Growth is never a linear process – not sure who said this.

I had to start from somewhere. Some of the kindest friends said yes to be on the show in the beginning to boost my confidence and courage. You will need more courage than confidence when you literally know nothing about the podcasting or any new venture. Remember – courage over confidence.

I knew that if I want to go further, I can’t just rely on a few friends. I had to try something else. To begin with, I started connecting with people on LinkedIn and start pitching my little heart. I had zero experience in cold messaging. As they say, you just start, keep refining your approach with time, and observe what’s working and what’s not.

As of writing this, I must have done thousands of cold-pitches. I had a lofty goal since beginning although I didn’t know where exactly I want this podcast to go. My only intention was “building skills and developing connections” in this process even if I stop doing this so-called podcasting. I, personally, am not a fan of the “networking” as I am a person who likes to create deeper connections with a few souls only. I don’t believe in creating superficial connections with many-many bodies.

Cold pitching is not an easy thing. Know that, busy people and influencers won’t have time to respond to you even when you’ve a perfect pitch. When I was approaching someone busy (almost everyone was busier than me ;)), I always made sure to keep it short, sweet, and clear, and tried to make it easy enough for them to respond with either YES or NO. Did this approach work? Yes, it did to get me to this stage, but not all the time. Most of the time, I didn’t get any response. It was a practice ground for me to become comfortable with NOs and No Responses, and still is.

Your patience is going to be tested. When you don’t have a credibility, it’s really difficult to get people to say YES. However, it’s possible though. It’s a numbers game. When you’re just starting, don’t start with reaching out to people with a huge following – I did that mistake so many times early on. Your message will be lost in the overwhelming requests they receive or you will get a NO by their assistants. Here is the thing, be nicer to the assistants – they are the gatekeeper and they can let you in. So, be nice even when they say NO. You never know when the equation changes.

I realized that if I approach 100 people, at least 10 would say YES. That’s it. That’s all you need. It’s a numbers game. Now, after launching 167+ episodes, I very rarely cold-pitch people and I purely rely on referrals and connections.

Cold pitching is very time consuming and I strongly believe that it’s the best option for anyone starting afresh. In this process, you will learn to take NOs and rejections less personally. Busy people already have a lot on their plate, hence, the timing and luck definitely matters.

I was lucky enough to get some big influencers (Guy Kawasaki) early on. May be, they read my emails when they were in happy mood or less busy, who knows.

The first step is to test with different email templates. Be precise and clear with your message why you’re reaching them. Don’t write pages of emails – no one has time for that.

Don’t be pushy and salesy. Follow up 2-3 times over the weeks/months. It’s ok if you don’t get a response. The world is full of amazing people. If one says no, there is always another amazing person who will say yes. NO isn’t a rejection if we look at it from different. It simply is that they are not enrolled in your mission.

In my messages/emails, I showed empathy at the end by giving them the clear exit if they don’t have time to respond or uninterested in my pursuit. Ex: I understand that you get such an inbound request all the time, and If you have read my email this far, it means a lot to me. I am not in a rush to do this. Thanks in advance.

Two books, which really helped in understanding the purpose and mission, and being comfortable with rejections, are The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life and The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact.

I started capturing each cold pitch that worked for me in my go-to Evernote. To inspire you that it’s possible to make this happen from zero level, I’ve copied some pitches below. Nobody wants to be enrolled in a podcast; therefore, I had to create a mission and purpose around it, because we all human beings want to be part of a bigger purpose. I am glad to share that this little show is helping some people live a fulfilled and abundant life and they are the source of ripple effects.

Template 1:

“Hello X, I hope you are well and I will be brief here.

My name is Nishant. I’m originally from India and now live in Austin, Texas, USA. I am an Engineer and the Podcast host of the show “The Nishant Garg Show” where I invite world-class experts including Researchers, Psychologists, Business Tycoons, Mindfulness Experts, etc,  to share tools and practices to improve the quality of life. I am on a mission to help people live a fulfilled life and live more mindfully.

You have been on my mind for a while and have heard about you many times on Tim Ferriss and The Trauma Therapist Podcast. Thank you for making a difference in society.
My intention from this email is to invite you to my podcast as a guest, and I’d be honored to have you join me in this mission and share your wisdom with the listeners. As of writing this email, I have published 112 episodes in just 10 months. I understand that you get such an inbound request all the time, and If you have read my email this far, it means a lot to me. I am not in a rush to do this. Thanks in advance.

Much Love to you and Gratitude.”

Continue reading “How I Approach Busy Powerful People and Influencers”

Justin Brady — Lessons Learned and Short Advice

I crafted a list of 10 life’s philosophical questions that I wanted to answers for myself. I could easily answer the questions based on my thinking. I thought—what would it look like if I ask the same set of questions to the best in the world from the different domain—so that I can learn from them—what they do, how they think on the same questions, and much more!

I’ve the honor of introducing my guest Justin Brady. I learned about him from my friend’s(Kathy Caprino) podcast and Justin is very kind enough to answer my questions.

Justin Brady amplifies the best ideas, entrepreneurs, and companies on earth. He achieves this with his podcast, writing, and PR/comms consulting for emerging tech. Cultivate Strategies utilizes PR, comms, and sneaky content strategies to reach millions of people. Nothing drives Brady more batty than seeing great ideas and great minds discarded—it happens every day.

Justin’s writing on communication, tech, creativity, and work culture have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, 99U and Quartz. His podcast has featured A-list business leaders and hit iHeart’s top 1% most downloaded podcast.

Connect with Justin Website | LinkedIn | Twitter

Please enjoy this conversation with Justin!

Nishant Garg: What books—or even movies and documentaries—would you recommend to someone who want to live a meaningful life? What books have you gifted the most, and why?

Justin Brady:

  • In Pursuit of Elegance, by Matthew May. He addresses why people overcomplicate new ideas. And how the best ideas are elegant, simple and focused.
  • A Whole New Mind, by Daniel Pink. It addresses future work styles and why creative arts gives creators a huge advantage.
  • Retire Inspired, by Chris Hogan. He talks about why becoming a millionaire isn’t rocket science, and how keeping up with the Jonses destroys your financial future.
  • Entreleadership, by Dave Ramsey. He discusses concrete entrepreneur strategies that helped him build Ramsey Solutions into a multi-million dollar company.

Nishant Garg: What does your first 60 to 90 minutes in the morning look like? What are your specific rituals on a regular basis?

Justin Brady: Outside of drinking coffee and getting ready for the day, I usually have morning calls with clients to touch base, and provide guidance. I also take about 10 minutes to respond to communications like email.

Nishant Garg: You have interacted with many successful people over the years – what have you found are the most beneficial exercises that people really feel have changed their lives for the better?

Justin Brady:

  • Truly successful people seem to be focused on a problem, and naturally curious, asking a lot of questions. They don’t seem concerned about how silly they will look for asking “stupid” questions.
  • They also set goals for themselves on a specific timeline.
  • They also have coaches and mentors that surround them to keep them focused and accountable.

Nishant Garg: In the last 3 years, how have you handled work/life challenges? If so, what questions do you ask yourself during tough times? What does your support system look like(any go-to-person)?

Justin Brady:

  • I have a tight relationship with family and friends and make sure I’m connecting with them often, outside of work. This keeps me focused on what really matters. I also have a coach that I pay monthly to keep me focused.
  • The exercise I do during the hard times is to write down my fears or everything bothering me. Getting something written down seems to help me focus on my problems objectively, and problems aren’t as mysterious or elusive once they’re written down.
  • I also embrace my own personal experience that failure is an extremely normal thing. I’ve failed hard, but I’ve learned incredible things from failure has led to incredible experiences. So, even if my current business dies some day, I know that the experience will be an incredible teacher, leading to something better.

Nishant Garg: What advice people should ignore when suffering with depression, anxiety, or any other negative emotions? Do you have a particular message you would like to give to the people?

Justin Brady:

  • I’m not sure what advice anyone should ignore, I’m not an expert in this area. In my own experience, I’d suggest folks struggling with anxiety or depression force themselves to connect with others and expand their relationships. In the dark times, you will not feel like socializing, but you must. Find people you can be 100% open and honest with. You’ll discover you aren’t as lonely as you think you are.
  • I’d also strongly recommend someone find a qualified therapist ASAP. Don’t ever walk the depression/anxiety road alone. Even hardened military buddies of mine, see therapists. We use health coaches for our body, we also need health coaches for our minds.

Nishant Garg: What practices do you have in your life to calm your mind and body during overwhelming moments? Any recommendation to someone who constantly feels stressed out?

Justin Brady:

  • I connect with friends and family. I also read Scripture and pray, and combine it with daily meditation. I’ve found the Calm app has great resources to teach meditation from an neutral/non-spiritual standpoint. It’s a very grounded, scientific approach which I appreciate.
  • If someone is constantly stressed out, I’d examine your life goals. Personally, I was living in a prison of my own creation, because I had linked my identity to my former business. I hated it business, but it was my identity so I kept going. And my life kept eroding. I should have quit sooner and found something more fulfilling.

Nishant Garg: How do you cultivate joy in your life? Whom do you consider the most happy and fulfilled to you personally, and why? Could you share any instance(s) that caused you unhappiness and how you dealt with it?

Justin Brady:

  • I surround myself with positive, uplifting, and success-minded people. I also meet regularly with a Bible study group I can be honest with. I manage or distance myself from negativity.
  • I also read positive books, listen to positive podcasts, and watch positive shows. Especially as I get older, I find that violent movies, or crass films, really dampen my mood. So I favor positive/uplifting content.
  • Who you hang out with and what you consume changes you. So make that change a positive one.

Nishant Garg: How do you find the balance between being appreciative of what you already have and striving to achieve more? 

Justin Brady: I constantly struggle with wanting to achieve more and being unsatisfied with my accomplishments. It never ends. Therefore, I integrate thankfulness into my daily prayer routine. I constantly remind myself of my blessings and I have a wife who encourages me and reminds me of the blessings as well.

Nishant Garg: What are some of the things you have changed your mind about in the last few years? Do you have any other favorite quote(s) or life philosophy you live your life by? 

Justin Brady:

  • I’ve changed my mind about so much. I used to think you had to drop everything to start a business. Not true. I used to think creative cultures couldn’t be made. Not true. I usd to think people are incapable of change. Not true. I use to believe in fail fast, pivot quickly. Turns out that’s stupid. It’s really more strategic. I used to believe you should never give up. Now I think giving up is good when moving to something better.
  • I suppose it’s important to know that goals, dreams, and minds change. Expect that something you’re focused on and excited about right now, may change in 5-10 years. Maybe sooner. And that’s ok.
  • If you’re not changing your mind or making changes in life, you’re not truly learning anything.

Nishant Garg: Could you share any conversation from your life, or maybe more than one conversation that has made the most impact in your life? What is the biggest lesson you took away?

Justin Brady: A buddy of mine once told me the biggest limitations we face are those we place on ourselves. It’s truly amazing to me how many goals we can achieve once we write the goal down, and find someone to hold us accountable. A focused person is a powerful force.

Please enjoy!


If you’d like to learn more about what I am reading, new documentaries, what I am learning new, recent podcast updates, things I am experimenting with, or anything —which I share extensively in my weekly short and sweet “Friday Newsletter”. No spam ever! I hate that too!

The Nishant Garg Show is listened to in 24 countries and is about extracting information on Mindfulness, Personal Development, Spirituality. I am on a mission to spread Mindfulness and I’d love for you to join me in this movement. For any question, please contact me. If you have enjoyed listening to my podcasts, please subscribe to the new podcast updates on Itunes. Please provide your reviews on Itunes which will really help me. Subscribe to the Newsletter. You won’t be spammed! I hate spams too! You will receive only one email every Friday on the latest published podcasts.

End-of-life Psychedelic Psychotherapy and Psychedelics Awareness

Why am I writing a post on Psychedelics? A good friend Michael Ostrolenk asked me a few months ago — if I wanted to interview William A. Richards (Bill), and my response was hell yeah.

Why am I writing a post on Psychedelics? Let’s rewind and do a quick backstory— my elder brother died in 2014 due to blood cancer when he was 33 years old. In my family, back then, nobody knew about any healing modalities and we were relying only on the medicine. In just 2 months from the diagnosis, my brother died. I have seen tremendous amount of suffering in my family since his death and I take a stand to spread the word about any healing modalities to heal ourselves and support others to heal. We can’t change what we are not aware of.

This is my first attempt to share something on Psychedelics and therefore, keeping it simple and short.

A good friend Michael Ostrolenk asked me a few months ago — if I wanted to interview William A. Richards (Bill), and my response was hell yeah. I literally jumped off of my chair when Bill(he likes to be called by name Bill) said yes to be a guest. We spoke for about 90mins and went into the details of the Psychedelics world, different substances, and Psychedelics assisted therapy, and much more to heal the trauma, anxiety, depression, dying cancer patients and many other ways and areas to incorporate Psychedelics. The podcast episode will be launched very soon.

Updates by 6/28/2021: I sent this post to Bill to review and get the feedback if I misstated anything. Bill is kind enough to review and therefore I’m adding a few more things to help people better understand and attempt to remove any confusion from this post. At some places, you will see a strikethrough text I made after hearing from Bill. Here is a note from Bill’s desk(in italics):


Be careful not to imply that psychedelics “heal dying cancer patients”.  Though it is not impossible that some persons may live longer due to better self-care and more effective immune systems once depression fades, our research to date is focused on quality of life, not quantity.  The goal is to help people “live until they die”.  Also more is needed than “safe environment and container”; those who choose to take psychedelics (legally or illegally) need to be well prepared/educated and attend to both medical and psychological/spiritual considerations.  Some incur a greater degree of risk than others, for example anyone with severe psychological problems/history of psychosis, either personally or in terms of genetics/family history, or people with brain tumors, poorly functioning kidneys, cardiac issues, other medications in one’s system, etc.  There’s a lot we don’t know at this point.

The CBS “60 Minutes” segment isn’t from “when psychedelics were legal”.  They always have been legal in research contexts for investigators with an IND—an Investigational New Drug Permit—from the FDA, which of course we had at the time (1976).  Back when I got involved in Germany in 1963, psychedelics were legal (and relatively unknown)—sent through the mail to interested physicians by Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland.  This changed in the late 1960’s when Nixon’s “drug war” was launched, scheduling of drugs was established, and UN treaties were signed.


First thing first — How I got started in Psychedelics? For quite some time, I thought psychedelics isn’t for me. There are so many myths around it and I was trapped in it.

A friend invited me over dinner who is a celebrated person in the space of Human Optimization. He offered me MDMA and my questions were — what do I do with this and what are the benefits? He mentioned — MDMA is a heart opener, develops deep empathy and love for others, and suggested I take it the next morning and go in nature. The next morning, I had no idea what I was getting into. I took the pill with confidence and after about 20 mins, I started seeing my vision bright and I felt deep love for animals and human beings. It was a beautiful different experience. Usually, the MDMA experience (or trip) lasts for about 6 hours(in my experience). Make sure to do your own research before consuming it.

After a few months later, I had another Psychedelic experience using DMT with a trusted friend in a safe setting. Intention setting is important here. My intentions were to visit my childhood trauma and adult romantic relationships.

After my first exposure to MDMA and DMT , I started to realize the healing benefits of Psychedelics. I am an amateur in this space and look up to people who have broad exposure. You get to start with something, right? Please don’t misuse these substances. They are not for everyone. Please make sure that you are in the “safe environment and container”.

Fast forward—In my interview preparation of Bill, I came across this very old video The CBS “60 Minutes” segment (when psychedelics used to be legal) of him administering DPT to the dying cancer patient or you can say end-of-life psychedelic psychotherapy. This video brought me to tears and I couldn’t wait to ask Bill for his permission to publish this video. This is my small attempt to spread the awareness around psychedelics considering its powerful healing nature.

This video depicts Bill assisting a cancer patient.

Here is a short bio of Bill Richards:

William A. Richards (Bill) is a psychologist in the Psychiatry Department of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Bayview Medical Center, a consultant/trainer at sites of psychedelic research internationally, a teacher in the Program of Psychedelic Therapy and Research at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and also a clinician in private practice in Baltimore. His graduate degrees include M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, S.T.M. from Andover-Newton Theological School and Ph.D. from Catholic University, as well as studies with Abraham Maslow at Brandeis University and with Hanscarl Leuner at Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany, where his involvement with psilocybin research originated in 1963.

From 1967 to 1977, he pursued psychotherapy research with LSD, DPT, MDA and  psilocybin at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, including protocols designed to investigate the promise of psychedelic substances in the treatment of alcoholism, depression, narcotic addiction and the psychological distress associated with terminal cancer, and also their use in the training of religious and mental-health professionals. From 1977-1981, he was a member of the psychology faculty of Antioch University in Maryland. In 1999 at Johns Hopkins, he and Roland Griffiths launched the rebirth of psilocybin research after a 22 year period of dormancy in the United States. His publications began in 1966 with “Implications of LSD and Experimental Mysticism,” coauthored with Walter Pahnke. His book, Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences was released in English by Columbia University Press in 2015 and has since been translated into 6 additional languages—hopefully more coming.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: These plants and compounds are illegal in many countries, and even possession can carry severe criminal penalties. None of this post constitutes medical advice or should be construed as a recommendation to use psychedelics. There are serious legal, psychological, and physical risks. Psychedelics are not for everyone—they can exacerbate certain emotional problems, and there have been, in very rare cases, fatalities.


The Nishant Garg Show:

This show is about extracting information on Mindfulness, Personal Development, Spirituality. I am on a mission to spread Mindfulness and I’d love for you to join me in this movement. For any question, please contact me. If you have enjoyed listening to my podcasts, please subscribe to the new podcast updates on Itunes please provide your reviews on Itunes which will really help me. S

This podcast is brought to you by Friday Newsletter. If you’d like to learn more about what I am reading, new documentaries, what I am learning new, recent podcast updates, things I am experimenting with, or anything —which I share extensively in my weekly short and sweet “Friday Newsletter”. No spam ever! I hate that too!

Esther Perel — Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence

The real questions are these: Can we have love and desire in the same relationship over time? How? What exactly would that kind of relationship be?

The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives. 

– Esther Perel

I’m a huge fan of Esther Perel ‘s work. Her book Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence is a must read for anyone single, already in relationship, or anyone in between. This book clearly explains how to create different levels of “Intimacy” and “Desire”. Desire is different from “Wanting”. You can’t desire what you already have. This book has been the revelation for me to understand the significance of separateness to create desire. Too much closeness can dissipate the desire. I think “too much” of anything isn’t good in any area of life. Too much of closeness in a relationship can cause temporary boredom. We get to learn to dance between separateness and closeness.

I contacted Esther’s team to get the permission to publish 300 words from the book Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence so that I can spread the word and help people build a deep meaningful relationships and desire for more. We need to learn the fundamentals and philosophy to enter into relationships or enhance our existing relationships. As Esther says — “The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives.

For folks who don’t know Esther, she is a Psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author. Recognized as one of today’s most insightful and original voices on modern relationships. Fluent in nine languages, she helms a therapy practice in New York City and serves as an organizational consultant for Fortune 500 companies around the world. Her celebrated TED talks have garnered more than 20 million views and her international bestseller Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence became a global phenomenon translated into 25 languages. Her newest book is the New York Times bestseller The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity (HarperCollins). Esther is also an executive producer and host of the popular podcast Where Should We Begin

Here is a short summary from the book:

“As a couple’s therapist, I have inverted the usual therapeutic priorities. In my field, we are taught to inquire about the state of the union first and then ask how this is manifested in the bedroom. Seen this way, the sexual relationship is a metaphor for the overall relationship. The underlying assumption is that if we can improve the relationship, the sex will follow. But in my experience, this is often not the case.

The real questions are these: Can we have love and desire in the same relationship over time? How? What exactly would that kind of relationship be?

The challenge for modern couples lies in reconciling the need for what is safe and predictable with the wish to pursue what is exciting, mysterious, and awe-inspiring.

Seeking excitement in the same relationship in which we establish permanence is a tall order. Unfortunately, too many love stories develop in such a way that we sacrifice passion as to achieve stability.

Modern life has deprived us of our traditional resources, and has created a situation in which we turn to one person for the protection and emotional connections that as multitude of social networks used to provide. Adult intimacy has become overburdened with expectations.

If we are to maintain desire with one person over time, we must be able to bring a sense of unknown into a familiar space. In the words of Proust, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes”.

I had long assumed about the correlation between intimacy and sexuality. Rather than looking at sex as an exclusive outgrowth of the emotional relationship, I have come to see it as a separate entity. Sexuality is more than a metaphor for the relationship – it stands on its own as a parallel narrative.”

If you’re intrigued by this reading, get the book Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, or at least check her blogs and resource here.

Also, check out her Intimacy Inventory to journal: https://thestateofaffairs.estherperel.com/intimacy-inventory/


The Nishant Garg Show:

This show is about extracting information on Mindfulness, Personal Development, Spirituality. I am on a mission to spread Mindfulness and I’d love for you to join me in this movement. For any question, please contact me. If you have enjoyed listening to my podcasts, please subscribe to the new podcast updates on Itunes please provide your reviews on Itunes which will really help me. S

This podcast is brought to you by Friday Newsletter. If you’d like to learn more about what I am reading, new documentaries, what I am learning new, recent podcast updates, things I am experimenting with, or anything —which I share extensively in my weekly short and sweet “Friday Newsletter”. No spam ever! I hate that too!

Dr. Gabor Maté — Compassionate Inquiry, Healing the Wounds of Trauma, Authenticity and Attachment, and More

“Trauma isn’t what happens to you, it’s what happens inside you.”

Gabor Maté

The very first thing I do in the morning right after waking up—I listen to Gabor Mate.

Healing isn’t a linear process.

The word “healing” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for wholeness and the essential nature of trauma is that it’s a loss of wholeness. It’s the impact of what happened and how that’s manifesting as a disconnect right now in our lives, and how we can reconnect. A proper understanding of trauma actually says, ‘This happened inside me, it’s with me in the present, and because it’s with me in the present, I can do something about it.’ – Gabor Mate

This post highlights some of the resources by Dr. Gabor Maté I listened to and read, which I enjoyed immensely and helped me in gaining a better understanding of myself, my own trauma, coping mechanisms, and much more. I will keep on sharing my other learnings on healing, addiction, trauma, and recovery.

A renowned speaker, and bestselling author, Dr. Gabor Maté is highly sought after for his expertise on a range of topics including addiction, stress and childhood development. Rather than offering quick-fix solutions to these complex issues, Dr. Gabor Maté weaves together scientific research, case histories, and his own insights and experience to present a broad perspective that enlightens and empowers people to promote their own healing and that of those around them.

The bestselling author of four books published in over twenty-five languages, Gabor is an internationally renowned speaker highly sought after for his expertise on addiction, trauma, childhood development, and the relationship of stress and illness.  His books include In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With AddictionWhen the Body Says No; The Cost of Hidden StressScattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder; and (with Dr. Gordon Neufeld) Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers.

Please be sure to see the important disclaimer at the bottom of this post. Now, please enjoy!

YouTube talks:

  • Dr. Gabor Maté – Compassionate Inquiry : Dr. Gabor Maté, renowned addiction expert and international speaker, discusses Compassionate Inquiry, a psycho-therapeutic method for facilitating physical, mental and emotional healing. Born out of necessity and rooted in the inseparability of mind and body, Dr. Maté highlights the importance of processing unresolved pain within ourselves as the foundation of helping others free themselves from the past, release trauma, and connect to a healing power within.
  • Dr. Gabor Maté: Consequences of Stressed Parenting: Dr. Gabor Maté talks about the link between stressed parenting and the preponderance of childhood disorders like ADHD, autism and oppositional defiant disorder, at the KMT Child Development & Community Conference.
  • Dr. Gabor Maté: How stress can cause disease: Dr. Gabor Maté talks about how hidden stress from childhood and beyond can impact overall health and even evoke diseases like cancer and multiple sclerosis.
  • Dr Gabor Maté Attachment and Brain Development
  • Authenticity: At this workshop on November 15, 2012, Dr. Gabor Maté presented an in-depth analysis of vicarious trauma – including definitions, myths, and realities of trauma and vicarious trauma, as well as the sources and triggers for stress, its physiology, and how to release it. Dr. Maté integrated meditation, music, and excerpts from two of his books, into lively and interactive sessions, with all participants engaged in learning from each other and Dr. Maté.
  • Dr. Gabor Maté ~ Who We Are When We Are Not Addicted: The Possible Human : Dr. Gabor Maté gives us clues as to who we are when we are not addicted. Filmed January 9th, 2012 in Vancouver, B.C. as part of a launch for Beyond Addiction: The Yogic Path to Recovery. For more information about the Beyond Addiction program created by Sat Dharam Kaur N.D. and featuring Dr. Gabor Maté. Dr. Maté also teaches an online course on his approach to therapy called Compassionate Inquiry
  • Gabor Mate: Implicit Memory :Key points to consider: What happened to you? What’s the emotional feeling? What’s your interpretation? This talk helped me in recognizing my emotional feeling of helplessness from childhood.

Blog I read: Healing The Wounds Of Trauma (Therapy Today, September, 2020)

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Please note that Information shared in this post is for educational purposes only, and is not intended in any way as psychological treatment, advice or consultation of any kind. “if you are struggling with trauma and other mental health issues, please seek the treatment of a licensed mental health professional.

The Nishant Garg Show:

This show is about extracting information on Mindfulness, Personal Development, Spirituality. I am on a mission to spread Mindfulness and I’d love for you to join me in this movement. For any question, please contact me. If you have enjoyed listening to my podcasts, please subscribe to the new podcast updates on Itunes please provide your reviews on Itunes which will really help me. S

This podcast is brought to you by Friday Newsletter. If you’d like to learn more about what I am reading, new documentaries, what I am learning new, recent podcast updates, things I am experimenting with, or anything —which I share extensively in my weekly short and sweet “Friday Newsletter”. No spam ever! I hate that too!

The Creative Process, Be fascinated, Work hard, and Taking Things to the Next Level

Instead of being crushed by the gap, I became fascinated. I wanted to know more.

– Scott Shute

While preparing for the interview preparation of Scott Shute, I found this LinkedIn article that he had written a few years. I felt a strong desire to share it with others with the permission of Scott himself and he was kind enough to give me a green light. Scott shares his creative process in Photography. What he shares is can be applied in any creative process. I feel inclined to what he says because I have used similar principles unknowingly in my podcasting. Just know that you will suck badly at anything new. As my favorite Tony Robbins says – “Have a strong desire, Take massive action, Keep changing your strategy.”

Scott Shute sits at the intersection of ancient wisdom traditions and the business world. He currently leads Mindfulness and Compassion programs at LinkedIn. After twenty five years of customer-oriented leadership roles, he found his dream job, where he gets to utilize his entire skill set and embrace his passions. In this work he explores the possibility of human potential, helping employees become the very best version of themselves.

Scott’s new book “Full Body Yes” is coming out on May 11th, 2021. Check the details here

Quick summary:

  • Instead of being crushed by the gap, I became fascinated. I wanted to know more.
  • Instead of just taking my camera on trips, I started taking trips to use my camera.
  • In the creative process, there is both an inflow and outflow required to get to the Next Level.
  • There’s something special about a quest to a perfect that’s completely unattainable.  So here’s my goal – one that pushes me to keep expanding my creations. 
  • There’s always a Next Level.

Now, let’s get into the details and here is Scott:

It’s our nature to create. We do it every day. Sometimes we’re even excited about it. If you ask people what they’re passionate about, you’ll get incredible variety. Their new assignment at work that will increase revenue. Their new relationship. Competing to make the Lacrosse team. Learning to fly a drone. Each of these stretch us beyond yesterday’s normal, pulling us forward in a never ending learning curve. Life finds a way to continually shape us into better versions of ourselves, even when we’re not trying.

To be really great at something requires two basic things.  

  1. Be fascinated
  2. Work hard

That’s pretty much the story of every single successful person in history. This is the story of my latest creative obsession and my quest to be amazing at it.

I’ve always loved photography, but something changed over the past couple of years. With my son going to college I found that I had a little more free time and I needed a creative outlet. It was time to take it to the Next Level. I bought a new camera (Sony A7II) and committed to shooting in RAW format – that’s the uncompressed version that the professionals use. The upside is that the files can be edited much more than “normal” JPEG, extracting every drop of color and precision. The downside is that straight out of the camera they don’t look as good, so you’re committing to editing nearly every single photo. The next step was learning in depth how to edit – the post processing magic that turns ordinary into special. I’d played around with simple tools like Google’s free Picasa, but to go Next Level, I needed to learn Lightroom and Photoshop.

Using a combination of LinkedIn Learning and other content I found on the web, and *lots* of practice, I started to hone my craft. Photos that were ok turned into good. Photos that were good turned into great (at least I thought so).  I had a couple that I was really proud of. The best I’d ever taken.

I started sharing and posting on photo sites like 500px. I quickly realized that my “amazing” shot of the Golden Gate Bridge was fairly pedestrian compared to what was already out there. I was falling in love with the creative process and wanted to push to see what was possible. My work wasn’t as good as the other photographers I was following, but I was starting to figure out how they were doing it. Instead of being crushed by the gap, I became fascinated. I wanted to know more.

I started seeking out photo opportunities. Instead of just taking my camera on trips, I started taking trips to use my camera.  It’s not about being at the right place, now it’s about being at the right place at the right time with the right idea. I starting planning shots days or weeks in advance, driving an hour or two to sit in one spot at sunset, taking 200 shots in hopes of getting just one I would be proud of. Each time I’d come back with a haul, excited to start the editing process. I’ve come to find editing photos to be strangely therapeutic. Instead of watching TV, I’ll pull up shots I took two years ago and see if there’s anything new I can make happen. This is where the art comes alive. This is where the “flow” happens.

For photography (like most things), the quest for new and better is endless – there’s always a new exotic place to visit, or changing skies that make the bridge light up in a way I’ve never seen before, or a flower in my neighborhood while I walk the dog that opens up in just a certain way after it rains. I look at light and detail in a different way than ever before.

I also play music – acoustic guitar and sing. I’ve realized over the years that I can practice in my home office for months, but if I never play in front of other people, eventually my interest and energy wanes. If I play a small gig, or a backyard concert for friends, then I get fired up again. It makes me want to go learn new material or sharpen up the old stuff, refining my technique. It makes me want to keep moving down that never ending path to “better”. I get fascinated again.  Simple as it sounds, this was a huge realization – In the creative process, there is both an inflow and outflow required to get to the Next Level.

With these hard-earned realizations, I’ve tried to structure my photography obsession in a different way, to ensure the fuse stays lit. I’ll find time during business travel to dedicate to photography. (Yep, I’m keeping my day job, along with its endless opportunities for creation). And while it’s been fun to share my latest captures with friends at work, or share with everyone on Instagram (@scottshutephotos), it wasn’t quite enough motivation to keep me driving forward. There’s something special about a quest to a perfect that’s completely unattainable.  So here’s my goal – one that pushes me to keep expanding my creations. I want to keep improving my art to the point where others want to buy it – where it moves them so much that they just have to have it hanging on their wall. For a landscape photographer that’s pretty much as good as it gets. 

There’s always a Next Level.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Please note that Information shared in this post is for educational purposes only, and is not intended in any way as psychological treatment, advice or consultation of any kind. “if you are struggling with trauma and other mental health issues, please seek the treatment of a licensed mental health professional.

The Nishant Garg Show:

This show is about extracting information on Mindfulness, Personal Development, Spirituality. I am on a mission to spread Mindfulness and I’d love for you to join me in this movement. For any question, please contact me. If you have enjoyed listening to my podcasts, please subscribe to the new podcast updates on Itunes please provide your reviews on Itunes which will really help me. S

This podcast is brought to you by Friday Newsletter. If you’d like to learn more about what I am reading, new documentaries, what I am learning new, recent podcast updates, things I am experimenting with, or anything —which I share extensively in my weekly short and sweet “Friday Newsletter”. No spam ever! I hate that too!