Thursday, 26 March 2015

Jeremy Clarkson Sacked: Top Gear Fiasco
May Reveal the Tragedy of Chronic Stress

Collage by PeapodLife: Top Gear with Chronic Stress vs. EcoSystems
"I've always been a fan of his work on Top Gear…"It is with regret we will not be renewing Jeremy's contract."
~ Tony Hall, the Director General of the BBC
With these words, Director General of the BBC, Tony Hall, nailed the lid in the coffin of Jeremy Clarkson’s future hosting the wildly successful Top Gear. The dismissal relates to an alleged altercation between Clarkson and one of the show’s producers, involving a 30-second tirade and physical assault.

An investigation revealed, according to the official statement by the BBC, that the much loved presenter had “crossed a line.” Here is the official statement most fans of the show and casual onlookers alike have likely seen by now:


Video: 'Why sack your biggest global star?' Clarkson row:

All in all, it is safe to say that the entire incident and its predictable outcome have left all concerned with a bitter taste in their mouth.

Image: Jeremy Clarkson Meme – That’s not gone well 

Feelings of bitterness and regret were immediately expressed by fans of the show; not just online—as one might expect—but in person, via a 1-million signature petition, delivered to BBC headquarters in a dramatic fashion in keeping with the spirit and substance of the show itself.

Video: ‘The Stig’ delivers Jeremy Clarkson petition – BBC News 

Cynics and critics of Clarkson’s blokeish antics might argue that the stunt by fans is exactly the kind of aggressive over-reaction which caused the incident in the first place—and not the first time Clarkson got himself into hot water with BBC brass, either.

But we at PeapodLife couldn’t shake the feeling that there’s more going on here this time ‘round. And by all means while this is just speculation on our part, given the nature of this incident versus others the embattled host has been involved in, there was almost certainly something more insidious at work.

And, in the typical way society and the media avoid the topic due to the social stigma around mental health, no one seems to really be asking an important question…

Was Chronic Stress at least Partly to Blame for now Infamous Top Gear Fiasco?

Certainly, while on the surface this seems to be a case of a much beloved television presenter “losing it” in a fit of rage with a co-worker, a little research seems to suggest there’s more to the story than that.

According to fellow TV host Piers Morgan, “just like pretty much every other 50-something in life; angst-ridden from damaged relationships, grieving loved ones, irritated by work-related issues, and battling inner demons.” Source: https://reputationrefinery.com/jeremy_clarkson

Now certainly, this is no excuse for bad behaviour—especially violent behaviour—but there seem to be more mitigating circumstances coming to light.

BBC’s Creative Director Ala Yentob said BBC’s decision to extend the series to 12 shows may have been a mistake. "Whether it would have led to these events is speculative. It's very difficult to say why this happened. Clearly, workload is one thing, the stress of the year, all the rest of it." Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/alan-yentob-refuses-to-rule-out-jeremy-clarkson-return-to-bbc-10134860.html

It turns out Clarkson had been dealing with a plethora of personal problems for some time, including a death in the family and a failing marriage. In other words, whatever triggered Clarkson to “cross the line” in professional conduct instead of on the track, was maybe just the straw that broke the camel’s back. Maybe he had been dealing with chronic stress, a condition which among the obvious rage and depression, can lead to all kinds of very real physical problems:

Image: Chronic Stress symptoms

Now, you can probably tell where we’re heading with this. The fact remains that the soothing, stress-reducing, and healing power of nature—especially ecosystems—can be a powerful “ecotherapy” tool in preventative mental and physical healthcare, including the management of chronic stress.

In many ways, then, we head right back into the discussion from Tuesday March 2015: Nature ‘Significantly’ Helps overcoming Disease: PhD Study.

The highlight?

Image: Clinical Studies prove nature sounds reduce stress and activate healing – Dr. Joe Dispenza
Image Credit: Rawforbeauty.com 

Are we saying an ecosystem in Jeremy Clarkson’s home, the Top Gear studio, and/or the pub where the altercation took place could have prevented the incident? Not directly, no.

What we are saying is that if chronic stress and pent up frustration and looming rage were indeed significant factors in Clarkson’s tragic fall, then absolutely: we believe the soothing, calming, relaxing and healing properties of ecosystems could have played a role in preventing this incident from ever occurring

Image: Hugs: Everybody needs one now and then.

Forget “Captain Slow,” think MOTHER NATURE! Because there are few hugs more potent than a constant, enduring, balancing and revitalizing hug of a high-order rainforest ecosystem. 

P.S. To Top Gear Fans in Tanks: Life Goes On…

Of course, we must add a post script to all those lamenting the loss of their beloved presenter, now left in limbo wondering what the future has in store.

If all of you had an ecosystem in your home, business and/or school, you would have a deep appreciation for the nature of life and that all things come to an end. And, you’d be completely okay with that. You too would be relaxed, at ease, and ready to accept what could be an even more exciting and promising future.

I mean let’s be honest, Jeremy Clarkson isn’t going to be around forever…sooner or later change is inevitable. Here’s an article which may give you some hope: Clarkson's departure gives Top Gear the chance to reinvent itself.

And whether you’re a fan of Jezza (Clarkson’s nickname) or not, here’s a take on what he represents—at least to some—which might help put things into some much needed 21st Century perspective (or not): Jeremy Clarkson represents the worst of boorish Eighties materialism. You'd hate him if you met him.

As for Jezza? Well, love him or hate him, we have a feeling that all this is just of a setback at the end of the day…a flat tire at the side of the road or an exploding Fiat…just a tumble in a ridiculously rollie-pollie Reliant Robin. We’re pretty sure he’s going to find himself shifting into a whole new gear sometime in the not-too-distant future. After all, it’s what Jeremy Clarkson does best.

Image: Clarkson Top Gear Meme – Fast 

We just hope he also knows (and takes) good advice when he hears it. Our advice to him (and everyone) is this:

If there is chronic stress in your life, ask us about making the shift from the rat race and living la vita loca to the relax lane and living the PeapodLife. After all, we want what’s best for you; for everyone!


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Nature ‘Significantly’ Helps overcoming Disease: PhD Study

"In clinical studies, we have proven that 2 hours of nature sounds a day significantly reduce stress hormones up to 800% and activates 500-600 DNA segments known to be responsible for healing and repairing the body."
~ Dr. Joe Dispenza
Image by PeapodLife: Nature Sounds reduce stress hormones and help heal the body – Dr. Joe Dispenza

Until now, most of the studies around the healing power of nature focused on people being outside. More recently, work has been done looking into the positive effects of nature (or at least, “natural elements”) indoors.

And of course, when we refer to the healing power of nature, it follows that we also mean the preventative health and wellness benefits of nature. In other words, you don’t have to be sick to reap the benefits of nature.

In fact, a study by Health Promotional International suggests, “contact with nature may provide an effective population-wide strategy in prevention of mental ill health, with potential application for sub-populations, communities and individuals at higher risk of ill health.” Source: http://heapro.oxfordjournals.org/content/21/1/45.full.

Coming back to the question of nature indoors, our friends at Conscious Life News recently posted an article describing a study by Roger Ulrich, Ph.D. about the importance of building in natural elements into architectural design, including:
  • Appropriate art
  • Soothing music
  • Natural elements
  • Plants

The study, which looked specifically at hospitals, found that natural elements significantly boost the healing outcomes for patients. And the study was mostly considering picture windows which looked out onto pleasing natural scenes, like a garden, or ocean (though not many hospitals are built on seaside real estate).

It’s not just the sight of nature which is soothing and boosts healing, however. Sounds have a huge impact on our psychological well being. According to Dr. Joe Dispenza, his studies have concluded that two hours of nature sounds daily can decrease stress hormones by up to 800% and activates DNA responsible for healing and repairing the body.

Now, if just the sight and sounds of nature indoors have such healing properties, imagine what effect an actual high-order rainforest ecosystem will have.

Not only do PeapodLife’s indoor ecosystems feature absolutely beautiful flora and fauna—orchids, bromeliads, moss, African violets, tropical fish, snails, shrimp and so much more—the gentle gurgling of water in constant motion fills your ears with pure natural sounds. On top of this, the ecosystem produces fresh oxygen, cleans the air of VOC’s and other contaminants, and fills the space with an overwhelmingly positive ambiance of freshness and life.

We cannot wait for the day when PeapodLife EcoSystems are brought into hospitals and measurements taken on how much more benefit is conferred by complete high-order rainforest ecosystem, in stress reduction, healing, bodily repair, mental health, et al.


Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Earth is an Amazing Place
Invite it back into your Life

The earth is an amazing place…invite it back into your life PeapodLife
Image by PeapodLife: The earth is an amazing place…invite it back into your life
Credit: Earth Nature Vector House & Ecology Graphic 

As a little change of pace, we thought we would offer you a little meditative break from your busy day to just stop and remind yourself that earth is an amazing place.

We begin with this montage featuring the music of Vangelis.

Video: Vangelis - Beautiful Planet Earth [HD] 

Next, we offer up this video simply called Planet Earth:

Video: Planet Earth: Amazing nature scenery (1080p HD) 

Some of the amazing places on our planet are almost too beautiful to believe:

Video: Planet Earth Most Amazing Beautiful Places HD 

And then there’s this compilation by our friends at The Rainforest Site:




I think we can all agree watching videos on YouTube is not the same as being there. Sadly, we have lives, responsibilities, and realities to face surrounding the practicalities of life. Fortunately, there is a way we can invite the earth, in all its magnificence, Mother Nature in her essence, back into our lives in a very practical and meaningful way. We can live the PeapodLife.

Video by PeapodLife: Living Wall Ecosystem up-close and personal - Bodystream Health & Wellness Center



Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Apple Watch: Just another Gadget, or
has Einstein’s Fear Finally Come True?

“I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”


Image Collage by PeapodLife: Einstein’s Fear Come True?

Yesterday Apple began taking orders for the Apple Watch. Today we ask the question: has the day finally arrived that Einstein feared—that technology has surpassed human interaction? Have we become a generation of idiots?

What are we talking about? On some level you probably already know—at least, you do when it hits home in your everyday life. But for the sake brevity, here’s a popular YouTube video as a little reminder…

Video: A generation of idiots, smartphones & dumb people.

Now don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing inherently wrong with technology. There is a very strong case to be made for technology and how it has made humanity’s life easier on a number of levels and in a number of ways throughout our history.

But it’s undeniable that human nature is such that we take things too far. Anything in moderation may be okay, but we tend to indulge; getting “too much of a good thing” seems to be our modus operandi.

So let’s take a look at one of the consequences of this over-abundance, technology:

Video: Humans Need Not Apply

Are we taking technology too far? In the above video, the answer is likely no, not yet. If anything, we (the wealthy west, anyway) are on the cusp of The Leisure Economy. Let’s face it, humans will always busy themselves with something. And many look forward to the day when we don’t have to work to survive anymore; but rather, work on what we are passionate about: art, music, acting, playing, nature…whatever.

The problem arises when we start losing our humanity to technology. There is nothing inherently natural about going to work and making money to make a living. These constructs may as well be replaced by technology. But there is something natural and fundamental to human mind, consciousness, contemplation, comprehension and awareness—of our immediate surroundings and our inner psychology.

Cybernetics challenges this fundamental natural state. And believe it or not, the Apple Watch is a significant step in the wrong direction. Technological augmentation of human beings is the next major step in technology—bridging the gap (the “bottleneck”) between the human-machine interface. In other words, putting on an Apple Watch—and other “wearables” against our skin is getting us one step closer to the day the computers will literally be under our skin.

No longer will you need to be aware of how you feel, your Apple Watch will tell you: your heartrate, blood sugar, and who knows what else? Eventually EEG’s? But these are just numbers. They say very little to your intellect, let alone connect you to how you actually feel. An increasing or decreasing number on a screen doesn’t tell you whether or not your exertion or rest is beneficial for you or not.  And your intellect cannot know this based on a number measured against some arbitrary “statistically significant mean.”

Technology of this kind shifts our consciousness to our head and out of our hearts and bodies. Our attention is shifted away from the moment, the people, places, events and phenomena in the here and now, and we focus instead on what the little mechanical device can show/tell us about that moment…in other words, technology is a hyper-extended version of what our “crazy minds” already do.

Having a photography and video studio / publishing / distribution mechanism in our pocket at all times has robbed countless millions of precious magical moments they will never get back. So what if they have “a record” of it? A photo / video can capture some—but not all—of a precious moment…but trying to capture the moment on photo/video can rob YEARS from your life…a life that you’ve recorded but haven’t actually lived.

This message is made very clear in the snow leopard scene in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, who has lived his whole life in a dream world most of the time, and must go on an actual adventure to track down a missing negative for the final cover of LIFE Magazine.

Video: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty EXTENDED 6 Minutes Trailer

When he finally catches up to Sean Penn’s character, a globetrotting freelance professional photographer who is there to capture a snow leopard on film, he finds him watching the animal at a safe distance…and is baffled when he doesn’t take the picture. He tells Ben Stiller that sometimes if a moment is perfect, he just enjoys it. Taking the picture is secondary. He shoots on film, by the way…not digital.

So this is how Walter Mitty comes to realize what’s important…and how much more rewarding being here and now is than being in our heads all the time. The Apple Watch is a mechanical externalized version of what Walter Mitty does inside his head—and what we all do to a degree. It can only take us further away from the beauty and the wonder and the magic of the moment…the people, places, animals, plants, rocks, and events around us in the here and now. And having these experiences, digesting them fully and completely heart, mind and body, is what it means to be truly human, to be truly alive. And Einstein, I’m afraid, knew this, too…   

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”

Image Collage by PeapodLife: Einstein’s Appallingly Obvious Observation: Technology has exceeded Humanity.

The slow steady march of technology in our lives is inevitable. But we can resist it in areas where too much of a good thing crosses lines which should not be crossed, where it impedes our birthright to pure unfiltered experience of life using fully developed natural human capacities and faculties of consciousness.

Where some technologies want to exceed our humanity, and make us more machine-like than we already are, others strive to deepen our experience of what it means to be human. Building EcoSystems and Technologies, for instance.

PeapodLife ecosystems are a balm, an antidote for the machinations of the digital age. To experience the energy, vitality, colours, sounds, scents, harmony and symbiosis of an indoor ecosystem is to reawaken faculties of conscious awareness and natural capabilities of conscious experience. To simply sit in the company of a high-order rainforest ecosystem is an exercise in rejuvenation and renewal of what it truly means to be human…and relaxation, inspiration, imagination, meditation and comprehension are among the benefits.

Living the PeapodLife is about getting out of our heads and back to what matters in life: to be here, now: with ourselves, our surroundings, and the people we love. It’s about establishing and maintaining REAL connections, not some networking definition of “connectivity.” It’s about enjoying REAL experiences, not virtual ones. It’s about how deep we LOVE life…not how many “LIKES” we get.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Happy World Wildlife Day

Image Collage by PeapodLife "Happy World Wildlife Day 2015" 
"When I hear of the destruction of a species, I feel just as if all the works of some great writer have perished."
~ Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt
Source: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=features/children-06032014
March 3rd is World Wildlife Day, an opportunity for us to appreciate biodiversity in all its forms. It is a chance for us to reflect on the benefits of healthy ecosystems filled with enduring populations of flora and fauna, and how we are better as a species for being good caretakers of the natural world and its fragile ecological balance—as opposed to efficient and ruthless masters of exploitation.  

World Wildlife Day is likewise an occasion for us to take a long, hard look at the international trade in endangered wildlife products. This means taking a long, hard look at ourselves—an exercise which is often times easier said than done. The fact is many of us may be consumers of such products without being aware of it. Or perhaps we simply choose to look the other way. And yet, if we value the continued presence of these creatures in the wild, we cannot afford to be complacent.

"Getting serious about wildlife crime means enrolling the support of all sections of society involved in the production and consumption of wildlife products, which are widely used as medicines, food, building materials, furniture, cosmetics, clothing and accessories."
~ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Source: http://www.un.org/en/events/wildlifeday/

As the above quote by Ban Ki-moon suggests, we have a role to play in the preservation of endangered species; as do governments and the private sector. But it is not enough to “get tough” on wildlife crime. In parts of the world where economic opportunities are limited, we will always find individuals turning to whatever means of survival is at hand—including harvest and trade in illegal goods.

So long as there is a demand for products containing wildlife parts, there will be a supply…until, that is, demand outstrips supply and the wild population and/or ecosystem collapses. The cascading effects of species loss can be disastrous on ecosystems.

True, ecosystems are self-balancing and constantly adapting to change, but it is na├»ve to think that that they will “recover” to their pre-existing state after the loss of a major species. Instead, a new ecosystem will evolve, one in which a number of other species may likewise disappear.

For as difficult as it may be for us to comprehend, nature itself has no attachments to species. Sacrifice is a fundamental aspect of life. Working with ecosystems day in and day out, we at PeapodLife witness how ecosystems sacrifice individuals for the sake of the whole.

Nature has been responsible for several major extinction events on the planet, and countless minor ones. Nature moves on: new species emerge; new harmonic and symbiotic relationships develop. Negative chaos gives way to positive chaos.

The real question to ask ourselves on World Wildlife Day may be this: are we a part of the negative chaos or the positive chaos? Are we contributing to harmonious and symbiotic relationships or exploitative, conflict-based ones? How does our relationship with our immediate micro environment translate into our relationship with the macro environment?

Image: Endangered Species 

If it is a question of sensitivity—of feeling the plight of endangered species and the loss of species on a deep, almost personal level—then wouldn’t a personal relationship with an ecosystem in our micro environment increase our sensitivity to ecosystems and their endangered residents on the macro level?

PeapodLife doesn’t believe this to be so—we know it. We have witnessed it, time and again. By inviting ecosystems into their lives in a meaningful way, individuals develop a deeper sensitivity to the profound purpose and meaning of nature in their lives. It’s almost inevitable. We, like all creatures, are not separate from our environment. If we immerse ourselves in the embrace of nature’s nurturing embrace, we will have a greater tendency to “pay it forward;” to repay and embrace nature in kind.

When you bring a PeapodLife ecosystem into your life, every day is a Happy World Wildlife Day.