Gooday! I have been on an amazing journey. On 9th June, 1982, I died in a truck smash and was brought back. I believed there was a reason and wanted answers. Despite extensive study into World History, Cultures and Religions, all I got was depression and addictions.
My life fell apart, not so much because of physical injuries, but because of the fifteen years of ups and downs and mental suffering that followed. I was ashamed that I had a mental disorder and refused to talk about it or get help.
That is the motivation behind my desire to help people go from meds to mindfulness. It is also the reason I am so passionate about raising awareness of both the healing and the transformational powers of mindfulness in all aspects of life.
In 1986, I completed my first course in counselling with the Smith Family. I had found my calling and completed Front Wheel Counselling in 1990 and Youth Counselling in 1996. However, I was still struggling with my thoughts and feelings. Relationships with my loved ones were also adversely affected. By 1997, I was at rock bottom. Authorities told me that my condition was incurable and I would have to take medications for the rest of my life.
That was when I got my miracle. On October 10th, 1997, a friend knocked on my door, told me his story and pointed me in the right direction. Two days later I had a Spiritual Awakening and my life slowly began to change. No more depression!
I started working again and my childhood dreams came true when my wife and I opened a Cue Sport Centre in 2003. I travelled with the Australian 8-Ball Team to Las Vegas in 2005 and performed exceptionally well. In the 2007 Australian Junior 9-Ball Championships, four of my junior players filled the semi-finals and I was dubbed Super Coach. I have no doubt this was due to the mind skills that I taught those young champions.
I still had occasional mental attacks but they were easily defeated. I was living my dream and life was good! In 2008, I lost a close friend to an asthma attack. My wife was using the same sort of breathing machine for her asthma, so we made the decision to move north to a warmer climate.
I decided to go back to counselling and began surfing the net to find out the latest and most successful therapies in the world for anxiety and depression etc. What I found was a book called 'The Happiness Trap' by Dr Russ Harris. I was sold on mindfulness and began my personal mindful practice. I have been studying the many aspects of mindfulness unceasingly ever since.
In 2009, I trained as an ACT Therapist (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy) with Dr Russ, closed the 'pool hall' in Wagga Wagga and moved to Grafton NSW. I am happy to report that my wife is pretty much free of asthma!
I accepted part-time work as a Youth Mentor with Juvenile Justice and also began coaching. I made the decision to be a Coach, because to my way of thinking, counselling infers that something is wrong with people. The truth is...people are just 'Stuck!'
Today, I am at peace with the world and live in spiritual bliss. The practice of being mindful is what got me there. My hope is for your journey to arrive at the same destination. The purpose of writing Mindful Actions is to help you along the way.
I encourage you to dream, discover your purpose and live a mindful life. You too, will experience the necessary mind shift that allows a deep connection with yourself and everyone around you. Life doesn't get better by chance...it gets better by change!
What is Mindfulness?
I was truly inspired by Dr Russ Harris! This is his definition of mindfulness...I have found none better! "Mindfulness can be defined in a variety of different ways, but they all basically come down to this: Mindfulness is a transformative mental state of awareness which involves focusing your attention with flexibility, openness, and curiosity. This simple definition tells us three important things. First, mindfulness is a process of awareness, not thinking. It involves paying attention to your experience in that moment as opposed to being caught up in thoughts.
In a mindful state, you can let difficult thoughts and feelings freely flow through you, without getting caught up in them or pushed around by them, and without getting into a struggle with them. Second, mindfulness involves a particular attitude: one of openness and curiosity. Even if our experience in the moment is difficult, painful or unpleasant, we can be open to and curious about it instead of running from, fighting with or trying to avoid it. Third, mindfulness involves flexibility of attention: the ability to consciously direct, broaden or focus attention on different aspects of experience. We can use mindfulness to 'wake up,' connect with ourselves and appreciate the fullness of each moment of life. We can use it to improve our self-knowledge - to learn more about how we feel, think and react. We can use it to connect deeply and intimately with the people we care about, including ourselves. And we can use it to consciously influence our own behaviour and increase our range of responses to the world we inhabit. It is the actions of living consciously - a profound way to enhance psychological resilience and increase life satisfaction." Thank you Dr Russ Harris.
What Are the Benefits?
A good friend is hard to find, hard to lose and impossible to forget! The best way to have a friend - is to be a friend. Give your friend a copy of Mindful Actions, spend time together, and talk about the benefits of practicing mindfulness
Mindfulness can help you to:
- develop self-acceptance and self-compassion
- rise above fear, doubt and insecurity
- build genuine confidence
- reduce stress and worry
- handle painful thoughts and feelings effectively
- break self-defeating habits
- develop a resilient mindset
- improve performance in music and sport
- build good memory function for study
- find fulfilment in your work
- build deeper and more satisfying relationships
- create a rich, full and meaningful life
Stay in touch with your friend and encourage each other to practice being mindful. It is my hope that your friend happens to be your best friend or life partner. I have witnessed couples going in different directions when only one has chosen the road to enlightenment. This is very understandable when you consider the life-changing effects of such a journey.
Of course, you may choose to embark on this journey alone. I have created this "coaching manual" to be a guide on that journey. I recommend that you read one mindful action every three to seven days and then practise that action. It will take three to six months of mindful practice to be well and truly on your way to living a mindful life - a life full of love, peace and happiness.
Having a mindful practice makes happiness an automatic choice. Happiness is a bi-product of mindfulness. Happiness isn't a destination, it's the journey! This mindful action is to wake up every day with a determination to be happy. Don't let anything or anybody steal your happiness.
Do you remember the last really good belly laugh you had, and how good it felt? Clearly, the antidote for a fast and serious lifestyle is to have a good laugh. Did you know that you can fake a good laugh? Those lucky enough to be with you will start laughing as
well. Try it! Happiness is a choice! Here is a collection of my favourite happiness quotes to help put it into perspective:
-"Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It solely relies on what you think." [Buddha]
-"Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it eludes you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it comes and sits softly on your shoulder." [Henry David Thoreau]
-"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony" [Mahatma Gandhi]
-"It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about." [Dale Carnegie]
-"The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well being." [Dalai Lama]
-"I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it." [Groucho Marx]
-"The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it." ~ Eckhart Tolle
-"Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be." [Abraham Lincoln]
-"For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness." [Ralph Waldo Emerson]
-"There is no way to happiness - happiness is the way." [Dr Wayne W Dyer]
About John Shearer
John Shearer was born in 1952 in Glenelg, South Australia, raised a family in Wagga Wagga and now lives in Grafton, New South Wales. In 1982, John died in a truck smash and was revived. He believed there was a reason but despite extensive study of world history, cultures and religions; all he got was fifteen years of severe mental disorder. Authorities told him that he would never be cured and would have to take medication for the rest of his life.
In 1997, John got his miracle and stepped from the darkness into the light! No more depression! That is what provided the motivation and passion to find and fulfill his purpose.
In 2009, he found mindfulness and knew that he had also found his purpose; to help people with mental suffering. He began a personal mindful practice as well as an intensive five year study into the many facets of being mindful. In 2011, he started a facebook page called 'Mindfulness Coach' which now has over 700,000 'likers'.
Today, John is a visionary, public speaker and evolving writer. John's first book or 'manual', takes you on a transformational journey; learning, exploring and practicing the many aspects of mindfulness... without meditation.
Mindful Actions is designed to take 3-6 months to read; five minutes at a time every 3-7 days. It is a roadmap for practising mindful awareness and will help guide you through the process of self discovery, waking up and connecting fully with your authentic self and those around you!
John pulls no punches when he says "Mindfulness is a very simple concept; but don't waste your money buying my book unless you are prepared to put in the effort with regular practice. The reward is a life truly worth living!"