Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
I am the author of Mind-Spirit Detox, and a fully accredited Awakening Coach. I am a meditation leader and a fully certified Holy Fire Reiki practitioner. My background is in economics, accountancy (PWC), and senior management in the public sector. I have managed up to 2,000 staff with a budget of some £80 million. I combine my coaching with a continuing career in health and social care management.
What really motivates me in my coaching practice is transforming lives by helping people to find their genius, their true purpose in life, their longest reach. I often apply this to work-related stress, including people who are unhappy or feel somehow trapped in their career.
I live in Devon with my wife and three daughters who are 5, 13 and 15. We have family in Paraguay and we are blessed to own some land there known as ‘Selva Madre’, which we are reforesting. It’s part of the endangered Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil and Paraguay, so it is such a privilege to own some of it. We’re planting it up with native hardwoods, palms and fruit trees. The birds love our forest, and we have eagles, owls, nightjars and humming birds.
What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?
My book had been formulating somewhere in my subconscious for quite some time. It contains practices which enable your highest ‘self’ to flourish, by enabling you to come into connection with your inner genius, your future self, those around you and with Spirit.
I have been making up and practising many of these exercises for years myself. One day I had this realisation that I had built up a library of brilliant techniques to liberate ourselves from the everyday and to become the best version of ourselves that’s possible.
Leonardo da Vinci said, ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’. I love simplicity. Life is actually so simple. It’s about love. Then compassion. Then knowing your gifts, your genius. Then get rid of the muck in your mind and heart and belief system. Then let your genius flourish in your walk here on planet earth. Bingo! You can find your path and your relationship with Spirit in a long, complicated process using difficult, convoluted tools. Or you can make it simple. It’s simple because everything is already here for you. That’s what this book give the reader. A fabulously simple way to detox the mind-spirit system and thus open up a path to abundance.
How was the book written?
My wife was away for a few weeks and once the children were in bed, I’d sit on the sofa every night, listen to my wonderful hi-fi and just let the universe flow through me. I wrote one practice a night for 40 nights. Just like that. It simply poured through me. Quite the most thrilling experience. Then I began the process of tidying it all up, which took about three months. Then I let it rest and revised the entire book again, basically like my own proof-reader. I did this a couple more times. I didn’t use an editor. Maybe I’m being arrogant, but Mickey Marshall my English teacher at school, loved my work. I got an A Grade in English O Level sat a year early, then went on to do A Level, then a degree and a Masters degree, all involving writing. So I figure I’m quite good at it. Also, I learnt to touch type, so my ideas come flooding out and onto the page. I find I can redact my own writing quite well if I give it a few weeks between reviews. That way I forget it a little, so I come to it fresh again.
I struggled to find a publisher. It’s not easy being a first-time writer. I came close a few times, but then gave up for about a year.
Then one day I was driving in Devon coming back from a meeting and I had a really powerful message from Spirit, kind of like a download from heaven! So I followed the instructions exactly. Took me four hours to complete. I got home, changed the title of the book, edited various parts, then went directly to the publisher I was given in the ‘download’. The publisher had a panel of readers who all fed-back that they loved the book and that resulted in the book deal!
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
Curiosity. I’m always telling my children, if there’s something that above all will help them flourish in this world, it’s curiosity. So I’m always reading, always exploring. I’m looking to see if things are practical and helpful for me and for those around me. I think it’s important for many writers to remain grounded. I currently manage several hundred people which is a genuine blessing. They are a very happy team of health and social care professionals. You don’t get more grounded than working in this area! Blessings genuinely flow through my wonderful team and the ripples of love and of brilliance continually inspire me. The whole team in fact operates like a giant neuro-network. Ideas flourish because we have such a creative culture. I can see day to day how the principles in my book can play out both in individual lives and in the corporate world.
How do you deal with creative block?
I’ve actually posted a video about this, which you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SQt3BUSv-E
In a nutshell, stop pushing so hard. You need to understand how the brain works. Go from Beta brain waves (concentration – where creativity is almost impossible) to Alfa brain waves. Day dream, go for a walk. Relax. Have a shower, mow the lawn, drive with the radio off. Here lies the area of contemplation, which is half way between concentration and meditation. That’s where creativity lies.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Being boring, ha! People have a very short attention span nowadays. You need to make immediate impact. That’s why my book is split up into 40 short chapters. You can dip in and out; also you don’t have to read it in a linear fashion. That way, I’m replicating to a degree the way people zip around the internet.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
The way I get the perfect answer to tricky questions nowadays is to ask the question out loud or in my head, and send it up to the Universe. Nearly every time I get the answer back within two weeks. Bang, straight into my consciousness. Sometimes it can be a question of strategy, and it’s a lengthy, complex answer, but it comes back to me like a little explosion, a package of information. It never feels like it’s me answering it. It can take a while to unpack all of the information, but it’s always perfect. And that’s how I got the title for the book.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I kind of think, ‘each to their own’. I’m a big David Bowie fan. When he wrote what he thought audiences would want to hear in the mid 1980s, his genius was lost. So he returned to just writing for himself. His philosophy was that if he himself liked it then somebody somewhere is bound to like it. Not everybody, but he didn’t care less about that. I’ve had atheists comment on my book – they really do not like it. Fair enough, the book isn’t for those people right now; they’re not ready for it. Maybe one day they will be, maybe never. That’s not my concern. I felt God telling me to write. I meditated one day and had a very very clear, simple message…WRITE. WRITE NOW! So I did. The book was born. It flowed through me. It’s not a book for everybody but those that it resonates with absolutely love it.
How has your creation process improved over time?
It’s got infinitely better, in fact, it resides in a different dimension now. That’s since I learnt the lessons I talk about above. My background is as an economist, so believe me, this was a difficult lesson to learn. Every week I do a Skype call with a circle of spiritual brothers from around the world. I helped facilitate at the famous ‘No Mind’ Festival in Sweden a few years ago with my Dutch friend from this circle. The Dutch are very direct, and he challenged me one day to complete the journey from my head to my heart. I’ve never forgotten that. It’s helped my creative process no end.
Beer also has a part to play. My father is an engineer and scientist by background but is the most incredible mystical philosopher. Our discussions down the pub are nothing if not creative.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
The worst when I struggled in my own strength. Another one of my spiritual brothers who lives in Miami had a message for me recently, he said, ‘Richard, the Universe is saying, ‘just get out of the way and let me flow through you’’. Whenever I do this, magic happens.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
It’s not about me and my personal satisfaction. Sure, I get bucket loads of that, but it’s merely a by-product. It’s actually all about flow. When creativity flows through you from the Universe, that will always serve the readership.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
Whenever I’m in the zone, I can feel the flow. This is extremely invigorating. It’s a real high, like a performance.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
Listen to podcasts on long drives.
Go somewhere inspiring. I do a writing week in the Canary Islands most years. Nothing better. It’s my annual retreat. Not on my own, rather, ‘with myself’.
I also get inspired by people. An example is my friend, Rev. Paul John Roach, who has a fabulous podcast and show on UnityFM Radio, called, ‘World Spirituality’. Paul is such an inspiration to me, both when we meet in person, and when I listen to his shows. There are other incredible people in my life – my father, my cousin in Australia, my wife, my children, my teacher, Arjuna Ardagh. Listen to the people you have in your life – God has put them in your life for a reason.
What are your plans for future books?
When you write a book or start a business, you’ve always got to do it based on something that you know about, part of your portfolio of gifts and experience that combines to create your genius. So I’m currently writing the next book based on what I do day to day – leadership. I’m taking it up to the next level, far beyond your average management handbook or PowerPoint seminar.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I have an eclectic range of interests. Here’s a random list:
I’m married to a Paraguayan who is an identical triplet.
I’m fluent in Spanish.
I’ve travelled to 56 countries on all continents except for Antarctica (although I was only about 500 miles away in the southernmost town on earth, Ushuaia).
I once lived in a South American dance academy for a year (long story!). Also lived in Malaga teaching English.
We live by the sea in Devon and love driving around to go on walks of visit National Trust properties at the weekend.
I love Formula 1 (Mercedes fan) and football (Arsenal).
I have a planted aquarium, using piped CO2 to keep the plants healthy.
I am a Hi-Fi geek and have a fabulous turntable plus digital system in my living room.
I play the French Horn and used to play the baritone saxophone.
I studied Economics and Politics at University, so I’m way too interested in current affairs and politics.
I’m a qualified scuba diver.
I used to go swimming in Eric Morecombe’s pool (my Aunt lived next door).
I am a qualified Reiki practitioner.
I once got the national record of Dominica for the most basketball penalties scored in a row.
In 1984, I was the 4th best bugle player in Kent (out of a field of 4!)