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Alexander Inchbald: How Art And Silence Can Help Reconnect Yourself With Mother Nature

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With so much happening in the world today and everyone having easy access to mobile devices on a whim, humanity is becoming more and more disconnected from Mother Nature. Climate artist Alexander Inchbald joins Corinna Bellizzi to share how painting in the most unusual setting taught him that quieting the mind is the best way to commune with nature. He explains how rediscovering connection with the world requires letting your emotions loose and realigning the mind with the flow of nature. Alexander also talks about unlocking your masterpiece by getting in sync with Mother Nature, turning yourself into an active architect of your destiny.

About Alexander Inchbald

Alexander, a Climate Artist and the visionary behind the #Masterpiece Movement, is on a profound journey to inspire creation in sync with Mother Nature. His experiences, painting in some of the world’s most breathtaking locales, have led him to a revelation: we’re not mere spectators in an uncontrollable universe but active architects of our own destinies.

Alexander’s retreats, spanning from the ethereal landscapes of Wadi Rum, Jordan to the serene beauty of Kyoto, Japan, are more than just events. They’re transformative experiences where pioneers, misfits, and visionaries converge to explore the flow of money, health, creativity, and love.

His work with leadership teams, aiding them in articulating and breathing life into their Purpose, has transformed countless corporate landscapes. Having guided over 2,000 leaders to discover their Purpose, Alexander’s impact is undeniable. His art, a reflection of his soul, has graced the walls of giants like Tesla and Google.

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Show Notes: – Raw Video

00:00 – Introduction

06:12 – Changing careers

09:50 – Painting mountains

19:14 – Departing from scientific ideas

22:35 – Power of art

27:04 – Letting emotions loose

31:57 – Focusing on the ‘we’

36:47 – Alexander’s retreats

41:17 – Identifying your masterpiece

50:23 – Storming the brain

58:45 – Alexander’s offers

01:02:18 – Closing Words

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Alexander Inchbald: How Art And Silence Can Help Reconnect Yourself With Mother Nature

As I alluded to in the last interview with George Paxinos about his work of eco-fiction, the new book titled A River Divided, we are diving into 2024 with a focus on the power of literature, art, and human connection. This discussion is a continuation of that thread. I’m thrilled to introduce you to an eco-artist, Alexander Inchbald. Alexander is the visionary behind the #Masterpiece Movement, a profound journey to inspire creation and sync with Mother Nature. His experiences, painting, and some of the world’s most breathtaking locales have led him to a revelation of sorts. 

He believes that we’re not mere spectators and an uncontrollable universe, but rather active architects of our own destinies. His retreat spans some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes and the world from Kyoto to Wadi Rum from Jordan to a retreat in Belize. He hosts these transformational experiences with pioneers, misfits, and visionaries who explore the flow of wealth, health, creativity, and love. What better way to welcome 2024 than to dive into this topic of transformation and purpose together in part through the power of art with Alexander Inchbald? Welcome to the show, my friend. 

Thank you so much. It is a genuine pleasure to be here.

For those of you who are reading this, you get to see this breathtaking expense behind Alexander as he’s painting these mountains. Tell us where you are in this. 

This is the longest glacier in Europe. It’s called the Aletsch Glacier. It’s 22 kilometers long, which in miles is probably around 15 to 16 miles long. It goes all the way from up here. In the painting, you can see there are three small mountains up there. One’s called the Eiger, and we know the Eiger because of the North Face of the Eiger, this row of rock, which is legendary and is a place where many climates go. The next one is the Jungfrau. We know the Jungfrau because it’s the top of Europe. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the Bond film was shot there. 

The third one is the Mönch, which sounds a little bit like the monk, which we know a little bit less about. This glacier goes all the way down from these three mountains all the way to the bottom. The place I’m standing is quite famous if you live in this region. I went up there. It’s about two and a half hours drive from where I’m sitting now. You go up there. You take a cable car up and then you end up standing here looking out over. They call it the Aletsch Arena because it really is an arena. Even though this photo was taken by an incredible Serbian artist, it looks incredible, but it doesn’t fully do justice to the awesomeness because you only see what you can see in the photo, but it goes all the way up this way, and all the way down this way. 

For me, what’s really interesting about this is that this glacier is melting like all the glaciers in the Alps. The Alps are one of the places where glaciers are melting the fastest. It’s something like a mile of glacier has disappeared. They predict by the end of the century that the entire 15 to 16 miles of this glacier will have gone. If that happens, Europe’s in a bit of trouble because this is the water tank of Europe. This is where all the water is sold. We don’t fully understand the correlation between water held in frozen glaciers and the climate, but we know there’s a correlation. The prediction is that the whole of Europe will turn to desert. That’s the worst-case scenario. 

I’m sure that you know of Jacques Cousteau. He has actually said about the glaciers of the world. In this particular case, he was speaking of Antarctica. He said, “Why would you destroy the refrigerator of Earth?” In a way, that is a helpful way to look at it because this is part of what keeps Earth habitable. It is this cool. It reflects the light, which means we don’t get as hot. Not only do you have the water issues of this freshwater then ending up in our waters and reducing the salinity of our ocean waters. Meaning that we also change how it supports life. 

Also, it floods more water, circulation, and more severe storms, which we’ve seen here in California. We say these century storms are coming once a decade and potentially even coming to a space where they are annual seasons. This is something that we all need to be concerned about. I understand that you have done work specifically in SDGs, for the EU, and things along those lines. This has also been a professional workload for you to defend the environment and to educate about these things. Can you talk about your experience in that arena? I’d then like to dive into your art more.

Before I moved into what I’m doing now, my background was in Marketing and Communications with the big agencies in the UK and then I moved to Switzerland. To me, the highlight of my career in marketing communications was working on sustainable development goals. I got to work with some pretty amazing individuals and pretty amazing big organizations like the World Health Organization, United Nations, Red Cross, UNICEF, and then some smaller innovative ones like Bill Gates & Melinda Foundation funded organizations. I got to work on some big campaigns and loved it. I then started to see the impact and the influence. Sadly, the influence was not what I hoped. 

I realized that it is two things. One is I was using the wrong tool because communications are run out of the communications department and it’s the CEO or the director general who’s running the ship. The first one was the tool I was using was not the solution. The second realization was that the real problem was the climate or the culture inside the organization. As I dive deeper into that, what I began to realize is it was the mindset within these organizations initially at the bureaucratic structure. We have to remember that these organizations were created, at least the big ones were created after the Second World War, which is a reaction to what had happened. It’s not the fault of the organizations, but the organizations were designed for specific purposes. 

That purpose was to create peace, not to solve the climate crisis. You then look at some of these new innovative organizations. Even though they were new and their design and business model were incredibly innovative, what they started to do was attract the same people to them. Even if you have an innovative product and an innovative vision, what they ended up saying was that the culture ended up reverting to type. It’s not saying that these organizations are wrong. 

Everything that people are doing is contributing in their own way to something. What I realize is that until we actually start to change the climate inside the organization and therefore the mindset inside each of us, we will not actually have the influence that we really want to have in the world outside. I moved away from that world because I realized that I could contribute something more. What I realized that I could contribute was what I was seeing while I was painting in the mountains. 

What you paint in the mountains is simply beautiful. I will now call that some of my favorite works are landscape art. Frankly, I’ve never seen something quite like what you do, especially when you paint in monochrome as with the white paintings that you created where you rely on these very minimal shifts and tone, but you reveal the texture and and the mood that you might be seeing in that particular day with the particular weather that you’re experiencing out there in the wilds. I want to first hear as we talk about your art about this revelation that is described in your bio. What exactly happened? What did you learn from painting in these beautiful mountains? 

It took me a long time to be able to share this because I didn’t know how to explain it in a way that would make sense. Two quotes come to mind. One is Carl Jung, the Swiss psychologist who lived in Zurich, which is a couple of hours from here. He said, “What we resist persists and grows.” The other is something that Gandhi said. Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Don’t talk or think about the change. Act on the change. Be the change you want to see in the world.

I’m going to try and link these two quotes by telling a little story. I’m going to take you up to the mountains. For those of you reading, you’ve got the Aletsch Glacier, but I’m actually going to take you to the other side of the valley in Switzerland. I’m going to take you into France and then across the board into Italy. Here I am now standing above 3,000 meters, which is around about 10,000 feet. It’s pretty high and it’s the second of August. It’s about a few years ago. 

I’m standing at a place called Pointe Helbronner. Right in front of me is Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Western Europe. Here I am. I’m standing on this mountain. These clouds are all around me and it’s blowing a storm. When I say it’s blowing a storm, a storm from 10,000 feet is a pretty big storm. It’s blowing snow horizontally into my face and I’ve got sunglasses on to protect my eyes, but what I realized is that the snow is so moist and humid that the lenses of the glasses are steaming up, so I have to take the glasses off. Now I’m getting stung by this thing flying. It takes me an hour literally just to tie the canvas to the railing. You might think, “What on earth is this guy doing on a mountain trying to paint this landscape when he can’t see it?” It was the end of a three-day painting expedition that I got on with a friend. 

We painted the two previous days in other places, but the clouds were low. The first day, I got a painting out. The second day, it got frozen out. Literally, the painting froze and it snowed. We couldn’t see the mountain and had to give up. Here we are on the third day, the final day, and we’re like, “We are painting today.” This is the highlight. I said, “What do I do? I can’t see the painting. I can’t see anything to paint.” I can’t see anything. It’s white-out.

My friend says to me, “Paint the wind.” How do you paint the wind? She said, “Really, paint the wind.” I got the canvas and I grabbed a palette. I covered it in different shades of white paint, as you just described. I grab the side of the canvas. I kneeled down and I felt into the wind. Something strange happens. It’s like I hear the voice of the wind. The wind goes, “Nobody likes me. Nobody sees me. I’m all alone. I’m cold, but I’m more powerful than that mountain you can see.

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Mother Nature: I heard the voice of the wind. “Nobody likes me. Nobody sees me. I’m all alone. I’m cold. But I’m more powerful than that mountain you can’t see.

I’m more powerful than the clouds you can see because I can blow the clouds away and reveal the mountain to you.” What is this? I start painting. As I started to paint, this was the first time this happened in three days, the clouds started to lift. First on one side of the mountain then on the other side. I paint for five hours. 

During those five hours, I’m darting around the canvas in order to paint it because different parts of the mountain reveal themselves. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle. I’m trying to connect all these parts of the jigsaw puzzle together. Right at the end, I stop and I’m like, “It’s done.” You can see it like it’s a windblown canvas. Right at the end, I stop, and ten minutes later, the wind stops. The clouds lifted entirely. How does this happen? It’s taken me years to be able to tell the story and years to try and really understand what I think is happening from a scientific perspective but also from a metaphysical perspective. 

It sounds to me like you’re communing with nature in a way that you’ve never been able to before. 

Exactly that. It led me to conclude that we’re not separate from it. That’s just a delusion of the mind. The Mayan thinks that somehow we’re separate from this thing outside of us. If we go about 40,000 years, we don’t have a prefrontal cortex. We were consciously aware that we were separate from nature. We were more consciously aware that a mountain is a mountain, a tree is a tree, or a lion is a lion. 

We have a term for this in archeology. I studied Archeology and did digs in France and Central California. The term is you had behaviorally modern humans coming out around 30,000 to 40,000 years ago. Before that, anatomically modern humans because there’s no physical difference in humanity from about 100,000 years ago to about 40,000 years ago. There’s no difference to present. However, there was a behavioral shift. What you speak of is that this sense of self-awareness and putting us at the center of everything doesn’t appear to have happened before and how that occurred is a complete mystery. 

One of the things that we’ve talked about a few times in the show is alluding to the same moment that you experienced. Anne Therese Gennari commented in her interview. She’s known as the Climate Optimist. When she goes out onto a grassy meadow, into nature, or the forest and she just sits down in it, it’s like she’s getting downloads from somewhere else. Not from within but from external. These are when she has her most profound realizations about the way the world, life, and her experience situates within the whole thing. 

We touch on this when we talk about meditation. There’s this need to quiet the mind. We have a really hard time doing that. There are people who develop entire courses on Transcendental Meditation and what it takes. For me, what it takes is probably a moment like yours being thrust into a moment of uncomfortability because you were incredibly uncomfortable. In my case, it started with trail running. I didn’t have a love of running, but it was when I got out there in the woods that I could focus on one footfall after the other, and get this rhythm with it and maybe some pain. You’re climbing the mountain and no device is connected to me. 

I’m not sitting there on my iPod or anything like that. I’m not listening to music. I’m just listening to nature. I’m hearing the birds and I get into this space almost like others. I’m not in the self anymore. I’m a speck on the planet. Suddenly, I will feel that power and that connection almost as if I can hear a voice like you describe like what the wind was telling you. For me, it’s not quite like that. It’s like a message being whispered into my ear and my being. It’s just an awareness. Many of us seek to find that in our daily lives in a variety of ways, either by sitting quietly for half an hour here or there, by painting a picture, or by going on a walk into the woods. 

So much of the time, we remain connected now to our devices and our headphones. We got to listen to music while we were doing something. We have the headphones when we’re doing that. We have a difficult time getting to a space where we can be part of it. This conversation is the one that we should be having as we talk about the power of art as it can connect us to things and one another. Something that came out in our pre-interview call when you talked about how this realization made you take a departure from what is Newtonian physics of cause and effect, up and down, and all that to explain reality differently from this realization, which I think comes into your retreats and everything else you do. Talk for a moment about that. 

I’m no scientist. I’m an artist, but when I read science, they say that 99.99999% of everything is energy. It’s only the quarks and photons inside the atoms spinning at very very high velocity that creates the illusion of matter. For those of you reading and holding a pen, to hold pen, there is a force moving against my fingers in order for me to be able to hold this, but 99.9999% of what is inside the pen is energy and 99.9999% of what is inside my finger is energy and the same in the air around it. If that’s true, then from a metaphysical perspective, everything is energy. 

We are putting energy and receiving energy. I was listening to one of your interviews with Paul Hawken in the introduction to it. You were talking about the science and you’re saying, “We don’t fully understand the connection between a forest and the climate.” I would say we don’t fully understand the connection between a human and nature. What we do know because we’ve experienced it is when we align ourselves, it’s who was talking about in that same interview in regeneration when we align ourselves with our true nature. We have to be in connection with Mother Nature because our true nature is a part of Mother Nature. 

That, to me, has to be the starting point. It has to be about how we actually disconnect from our devices and connect to our true nature, which is an aspect of Mother Nature and the journey into that. I go and stand on a mountaintop, and not everyone has to do that. We don’t necessarily take people at the top of mountains, put a canvas in front of them, and get a wind blowing it for 60, 70, or miles an hour in order for them to have the experience. We do it in a different way. Sometimes we do paint brushes, but we tend to do it in a slightly different way in order for them to connect to their true nature. 

When we first connected, that was my assumption. I assumed that you put the canvas at the center somehow of what you would work to do with those who would attend these retreats. It makes sense to me given your experience and what you’ve had to share with us as far as that that wouldn’t be the central piece. When you do use art as a part of these powerful connections, how do you use it? What do you find the people gain from it? 

We do use art. We did a retreat in the Swiss Alps, not a million miles from here. The first piece I got people to do was just to paint something that they saw with watercolors and just to feel what they saw and paint as beautifully as they could. In other words, go more into the soft or the delicate side of things, the connection with Mother Nature, which can be powerful but can also be incredibly soft and more feminine perhaps in nature. We also use it in a very different way. There is an aspect of ourselves that most of us have neglected. 

When we talk about connecting to Mother Nature, it feels very soft, warm, lovely, delicate, very feminine, and being held by something. There’s also another aspect of us, and that’s the masculine side, the warrior, the samurai, the sorcerer, the alchemist, and very different energy. Most of us have rejected that A lot of us have gone on this journey and gone on the journey of reconnecting to who we are. We meditate mindfulness. We go on retreats. 

We do all of those things and then we come up with an idea. We’re like, “I have to bring this idea into the world.” What we’ve done in the process of doing that is we’ve often rejected the one thing that we need in order to bring it out into the world. We also use art in a very different way to tap into that part of ourselves, which is the real power within us, which is connected to Mother Nature. If you look above me in this picture, you’ll see there are some dark storm clouds here. These dark storm clouds preceded a massive storm. 

There’s a video of this. It’s called The Love Economy. You can google Love Economy in my name. Literally, this whole storm comes in and there’s a point at which the whole image shifts, the storm comes in, and the whole thing changes. There is a part of us, which is the storm. When we can channel that storm in a way that is conscious rather than unconscious, we start to see that we are now being the change in the world as opposed to just willing the change. 

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Mother Nature: There is a part of us which is the storm. When we can channel that storm to be conscious rather than unconscious, we can be the change in the world as opposed to just being willing to change.

It’s not enough for me just to sit on a mountaintop and say umm. We’ve gone beyond that. It’s actually how we take action in the world outside. What do we do? We put a stick in somebody’s hand and then I’ll stick. It’s like a pen, but it’s quite fat. Therefore, you can you can grab it in multiple different ways. You see that I’m grabbing it with my fist and I’m now using a movement downward as you would use a hammer or an ax. What you’re doing is you’re expressing an emotion. If you go back to some of the master artists, Vincent van Gogh was probably the first person to do this in his Post-Impressionism paintings. 

He said it wasn’t about what you saw. It was about what you felt. In that sense, everything is a self-portrait. What we have is we have emotions attached to experiences. If those experiences are traumatic experiences where we’ve rejected part of the world and reacted to that, then we’re in resistance to it. If we’re in resistance to anything, it grows. As Carl Jung said in that quote, whatever we resist persists and grows. 

What we’re doing is we’re tapping into the emotion in order to reclaim an aspect of ourselves and carry on it. In order to acclaim part of ourselves, we may have rejected and therefore become more whole, and because we’re becoming more whole, we’re then more in alignment with our true nature and therefore in line with Mother Nature. Nature is not just nice and soft. It also has storms. It also has thunderclouds and all of these other things.

As you talk about this and your work, I’m reminded of a couple of things that we need to talk about and invite in. One of which is this perspective that it’s almost like people aren’t allowed to express anger. Often, you’ll see women who come from minority groups saying, “It’s not okay for a Black woman to be mad,” as an example. 

When you’re talking about these retreats, there is a moment where people are allowed to be in whatever emotion, pain, and expression that they need to be and there’s a space for that. I feel the sense that we need that as a species. We need to be able to sing and dance around a fire with a drum or scream into the void or whatever to express the feeling that we’ve been trapped in or, as you’ve said with Carl Jung’s quote, which I’ll paraphrase, it’s like it gets stuck inside and fester. You say it grows, but it’s almost like it becomes the defining trait of negativity. 

It’s always that. It’s like cancer. It just grows. If I came into this conversation and received some bad news, you would feel that. You would pick that up. You would intuitively feel, “Alexander’s slightly off.” In other words, you can’t be truly happy if you’re trying to avoid sadness. You can’t be truly in creation if you can’t destroy. You can’t be truly peaceful unless you can also be angry. The distinction here is to be consciously angry rather than unconsciously angry because so much of the time, we’re reacting to something. 

We’re reacting unconsciously to something that’s happened. I could react to the wind. I’ve done it. The first painting where I had this experience was down in Provost. I was angry with the wind. I was shouting at the wind for three hours because the canvas was banging into the paintbrush, but I was in no control. I was so angry that I didn’t have control and I gave up. I had to come back the following day. This was when I had the realization. I sat down and was connecting to the landscape. As I stood up, I realized that the only thing that was resisting the wind was this dumb Englishman standing in front of a lavender field. 

There is nothing else, Corinna. The tree was blowing with the wind. The lavender was blowing with the wind. Even the canvas was blowing with the wind, but the only thing that was not blowing with the wind was this rigid Englishman trying to create a painting in nature. At that point, I grabbed the side of the canvas and used these sponges you get. I loaded up the palette with paint. I had never done this before and I started blowing with the wind, and in ten minutes, the whole painting transformed. The wind was blowing onto the canvas, if that makes sense. It is a very different way of creating. 

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Mother Nature: The only thing that was not blowing with the wind was this rigid Englishman trying to create a painting in nature. I started blowing with the wind, and the whole painting transformed.

The wind became part of the process. You mentioned this in our initial conversation. We’re in the picture that’s depicted behind you. There are rocks tethering the canvas down because you have to wait for it or a gust of wind will just blow the canvas onto you or off into the void itself. It’s like you have these collaborators as a part of your art that comes from nature that is part of nature. The fact that the wind may have an effect on how quickly the oil dries or on how your brush takes the canvas also becomes part of the art too. I don’t know if that’s something you could define by just looking at the brush strokes. 

The experience that the person who reviews it or is sitting there admiring your art, I would imagine, touches on that as well. This is all coming into this conversation about the power of our connection with nature being greater than ourselves as a standalone because we aren’t ever truly alone. We have this idea that has essentially been pushed on us by society and in years of upbringing and generations that we are individuals that are separate. There are still these remnants of cultures of the past where they didn’t have a word for I, only we so. If we know that, if we know that this isn’t how it has to be, then how do we get back to this space where there is no such thing as alone and therefore there’s no such thing as lonely where we can be satisfied with our lives? 

I think you’re right. I often ask myself, “Who is creating the painting?” I used to say I was partnering with Mother Nature near the blizzard where the wind would infuse itself into the painting, but who’s really creating? If you look at every single master since the beginning of time, who is creating? Is it the ego? Is it something greater in us whatever we call that? I’m not interested in the label. That, in my experience, is connected to all of it whatever we call it, Mother Nature, Universe, or energy. Frankly, it doesn’t matter. It’s not a label. Why do we do that? My research led me to conclude. There’s only one thing in nature that is not always in harmony with nature. That’s the human mind.

It’s something that I’ve observed more than everything else. Look at this landscape behind me. There’s harmony with nature. Even the canvas is moving in harmony with nature. Even if it’s tied down, it’s still in harmony. The rocks may be there, but it’s still moving very slightly. The only thing that can move us out of harmony with who we are and who we were born to be is the human mind. The question then is, “What do we do? Do we destroy the human mind?”

No. Without the mind, we wouldn’t be able to position ourselves in time and space. We wouldn’t be able to know that we are supposed to be here on this call at this moment. Nothing would happen. We’d never meet up. We never do all of these things. The human mind has a purpose. Albert Einstein said, “If the intellect is a faithful servant and the intuition is the sacred gift, what we’ve ended up doing is we’ve started making the servant the master.” 

If the mind becomes the master, then we’re suppressing our connection to what I call the artist inside us, which is in connection with all of it. Paradoxically, how do we actually change that? This comes into Carl Jung’s work around the shadows. He talked about the shadow, the aspect of ourselves that we’ve suppressed or rejected. A lot of great coaches out there work on affirmations, which is going into the positive. What we do actually is going into the shadow. It is going to the negative because, “If we’re connected to all of it and we’ve suppressed part of it, then that’s the part we need to reclaim,” in his words. 

One of my partners pioneered a process that he calls reclamation work, which is actually taking people’s work a bit further and saying, “How do you reclaim that aspect of yourself?” While he developed it in relationship to money, it can be used for everything. Not only do we affirm something in the positive, but we also reclaim something in the negative. We are reclaiming an aspect of ourselves that we may have suppressed. 

Whatever we’re reclaiming is something which we’re in resistance to. We go back to that story of me standing in front of a lavender field. If everything in nature is in flow, the only thing is this dumb Englishman standing there not in flow. He’s got to be the one in resistance to it. What is he resisting in nature? We then reclaim whatever that is. That’s the work that we end up doing. It’s very deep. It’s very profound. It sounds simple, and it is, actually, on the face of it, but it goes pretty deep pretty quickly. 

I think people, if they’ve been following along, might be getting a taste of what they would experience from one of your retreats. I love for you to talk about the takeaways that they might expect if they were blessed enough to be able to go to Belize with you, Switzerland, or wherever your next retreat happens to be. What is that experience like?

Let’s take Belize. We went there with one of my partners, Jack. He’d come through a masterpiece and his masterpiece was something called Deep Dive. He’s a diving instructor and scuba diving instructor. We went to Belize so we could dive. We took a group there and we spent the first couple of days diving. I didn’t dive. I arrived with COVID. 

What a bummer. You did not get to experience the depth of the Blue Hole or the tropical diving that they enjoy there. 

Yes, so they get diving and I’m in bed. They come back and I run a session with him. On the following day, they went spearfishing to be in harmony with nature. It’s the end of a tropical storm. That was supposed to be a tropical storm. There are some of the boats and the boats are all over the place and I’m lying in bed. To answer your question, what do they end up with? People came there with some pretty deep stuff. One man’s son had committed suicide and another, that morning, his mother died. He knew she was sick, but he didn’t expect that to happen. We dived straight into that. 

That’s probably as deep as we go because that is beyond all fears. That’s the greatest resistance. Why? Because we’re afraid we haven’t fulfilled our potential in life. We go all the way down to things like that, but we can also look at relationships, like relationships to money, time, power, love, vitality, intimacy, and things like that. What do people leave with? These guys left totally transformed. This guy whose son is no longer here realizes the gift in that, which sounds strange. He somehow realized that his son wanted him to live, not stop living. 

The time that this other man took, and taking in the fact that his mother was no longer present, gave him the space to be able to go back differently because he was having resistance in his relationship with his family. Those are pretty big changes. What most people leave with is a sense of peace. It is when you go on a retreat and you come back, it changes after two weeks. What’s going on here is deeper than that. It’s happening at a genetic level. I’m not a geneticist, but we know, thanks to epigenetics, that what happens in the world outside changes what goes on inside. 

If we change our relationships with the world outside, then something will happen inside. It’s a chemical shape that’s going on in the body. It’s releasing the toxins. It’s changing the DNA. Therefore, you go back as a different person, lighter, happier, joyful, peaceful, more you, in touch, and clear about what you’re here to do in the world. You know what you’re called to do, what your masterpiece is, what your mission is, what the next steps are, and why you’re here. 

This is a perfect opportunity for us to talk about your podcast. I would like for you to share how you conduct that show because people here are tuning in to a show about social impact, sustainability, and regeneration. We’re touching on all of these things at once. If you were to have the greatest impact on creating your masterpiece life or creating the masterpiece artwork that you might seek to create, what you’re talking about is having that greater impact. You seem to share the stories of people you’ve deeply connected with on this particular show. What is the intention there? What are you working to do with that? 

For me, it’s interviews with people at any stage of their journey from before the idea all the way through to creating their masterpieces. The intention is to inspire people that there’s a masterpiece inside every single one of us. The word masterpiece is interesting. It comes from the Dutch word meesterwerk, which means to attain the level of mastery. Someone else might question, “What is mastery?” Mastery is being able to perform something with excellence. 

What is a piece? It is something in harmony with the whole. What is a masterpiece? It is creating something through active mastery in harmony with the whole. There are masterpieces in every single facet of human society, everything from cars, and books, to innovative regenerative ecosystems, new foundations, platforms, and initiatives. For me, anything that is created in harmony with the universe is regenerative and is created from that inner space, not from, “I have to,” or “I must,” but actually from an inner space of, “I’d love to do this,” and become a masterpiece. 

That naturally leads to what would be one of my final questions. How do you help people identify what that masterpiece is if they don’t even know yet? How do they capture that? Part of what leads us to dissatisfaction, especially if people are in middle life, questioning their past, and they may have had some trauma that they’re working through, or they may have, like me, been blindsided by something like your best friend from college being murdered randomly out of nowhere. Each of us carries with us some of these experiences that can be negative. That can overshadow us and cause us to question everything about our lives without having a direction with which to really feel confident. How do you help people on that part of the journey? 

I go back to earlier about disconnecting. There we are connecting to our headphones and devices all the time. It’s not just the devices we’re connecting to. We’re connecting to our thoughts all the time. Our thoughts are then leading to our actions and our actions are then creating a reality out there of all these things we ought to do and must do.

If you take somebody out of that location, you take them out of there doing what they ought to do, and you take them into that inner space, and you help them to then understand why they’re experiencing resistance out there, whether it’s marriage not quite working out, conflict at work, or whatever it is, you can help them to understand is causing that resistance. It’s not outside. Normally, we point the finger outside. We can understand what that is and then we can shift our relationship to that. We can then start to hear truly. The mind then, at that point, goes silent. When the mind goes silent, we truly hear things.

Most of us can’t hear because we’re out there dealing with that resistance. When we break that relationship for long enough, we start to hear. What we’ve observed is that there are four things that stop us, our relationship to power, hierarchies, people above us, or below us, our relationship to love, the thinking that love comes from outside us rather than inside us, and our relationship to money. It is thinking that, “When I get enough money, I’ll be able to do it.” Also, our relationship to time, “I have to do this now,” rather than time is something that flows through us, kairos rather than chronos. Chronos is watching and Kairos is experienced time. 

When we get into that stage of experienced time, which is a natural state of time, we are stepping outside of Chronos. We are stepping outside of space and time and then we hear. It’s inevitable that we hear because there is a design, which we’re here to bring through the world. That is our masterpiece. That’s our level of mastery. When we quiet in ourselves enough, we will hear it. We go through a more structured process than that. It’s not as simple as just quieting the mind. We focus on each of those areas. 

What we do is help people to work out their mission. Once they work out what their mountain top is, then we can work out the pathway up the mountain, which is the masterpiece. The pathway may not be completely clear. It looks like you could go straight out, but you might take a run as most of us do in order to reach our mountain top.

Once we’ve got that, then we know what the person is called to do. They’ll then refine that as they go up the mountain because the pathway will take them in a certain way up the mountain. The masterpiece itself is interesting. It is both the outcome but also the journey. It’s the journey that’s the most important. It’s not actually what you achieve with it. It’s about becoming more in harmony with who we are, our true nature, which is in harmony with Mother Nature. 

As I’m processing all of this, I find myself connecting to a lot of thought leaders who say, “You have to have clarity of vision.” The peace that they might get to is, “Clearly define it. Build your vision board. Do all of these things.” They’re very tactical. There’s a process. There’s physical like preps writing, pasting, and cutting your ideas together and being in this brainstorming state potentially with a coach or someone helping you through it, but I don’t know that they necessarily work to get you to a space of that equanimity with all things of how you create that clarity and that vision without first doing that. 

That may be getting in the way of people achieving what they want to in their lives, either personally, professionally, or a mixture of both. It’s something that they’re working to achieve by putting more good into the world as I do with this show or by trying to sell something that they believe in, whatever it really is. They may have gone through the motions of following what the key business leaders might tell them to do to create the success of Steve Jobs or the Elon Musks of the world but without ever understanding the basics behind it. 

What you’re talking about is helping people to get that clarity and be sure of their purpose. They might be on the wrong track and not even know it. At least that’s what I’m gleaning. It makes me want to come to one of your retreats not only because I want to enjoy the spectacle and the beauty of being somewhere like the Swiss Alps or in Belize diving with your partner. I’m a scuba diver too. That would be amazing. It is because I think it’s sometimes so hard to see the force for the trees. These are common sayings that we have because it’s a reality for so many.

I would totally endorse everything you said there. The secret is in that word brainstorm. Who wants to storm their brain? When you really deconstruct their idea and think about where ideas come from, they don’t come from the brain. There’s a piece of research done a few years ago. They were looking at which side of the brain lights up when you’re creating versus repeating. The rep is really interesting. You can put him into an MRI scanner and he can repeat and create a song. It’s from scratch. They wanted to look at the comparison and see which side of the brain lights up. 

They demonstrated the myth of the idea that right is creative and left is logical. Neurologists have known apparently for decades that the media picked up on this idea. It’s not true. Different sides of the brain lit up like light up with each one. What was interesting about this research that they didn’t expect and what they discovered is that when he was creating, they noticed there was a pause between the words coming out of the mouth and the brain lighting up. It is a fraction of a second, but they were able to distinguish this. The question they ask themselves is, “Where was the idea coming from?” 

The conclusion they came with is in a scientific paper. There was some, “outside agency.” Where does true creativity come from if it doesn’t come from the brain? That means innovation and that’s where brainstorming comes in. You storm or put pressure on the brain in order to come up with 5% to 10% change. That’s where true creation comes from. True creation is linked to our intuition and our intuition works when we go silent. If you ask yourself this question, you’ll discover and go, “When do your best ideas come to you?” I’ve asked this question to hundreds of people. When do your best ideas come to you, Corinna? 

Mihaly wrote this book called Flow about this meditative state that we get to when we’re in the midst of something that doesn’t require a lot of brain power. This is why people say things like, “My best ideas come to me when I’m washing my hair or something like that in the shower.” For me, it’s when I’m doing something repetitive like washing my horse or going for a jog. You have that kind of rhythm when the footfalls or even just doing something mundane. When I couldn’t sleep as a teenager, I had this giant jar of pennies. I had dumped the whole jar of pennies on the floor. I decided to sort them by year and then pick my favorite one from each year. It was not requiring a lot of brain power. 

It was something to tactically do with my hands while I was processing the fact that I couldn’t sleep and trying not to dwell on it. I started to get these ideas of things I wanted to do with my life. I’m sitting here as a sixteen-year-old. The things that were important to me crystallized and were made clear. This was what caused me to wake up in the middle of the night. It was this unease with what the future holds. That’s probably also why I really enjoy art. I’m not an artist. I am nowhere near the abilities that you have in the creation of these beautiful landscapes. 

I was, even as a young child, someone that my mother could sit down in front of a blank piece of paper with some watercolors and I would spend three hours creating my little masterpiece. It would be flooded with color by the end with no spare space and all color but with a black streak swimming through it. I would say that that’s the minnow in the ocean or something. That was the thing I was painting out of everything else that was just background. For me, it’s tactile. I need to be doing something with my body to get quiet and get into a place of flow. Sitting still does not and has not ever been able to do that for me. 

I hear you, Corinna. I’ve asked that question to hundreds of people all over the world, and nobody has ever said, “Sitting at my desk.” Nobody has ever said, “In the office.” Nobody has ever said, “In the brainstorming meeting.” Nobody has ever said, “When I’m supposed to be coming up with ideas.” Our best ideas don’t come to us when we’re doing. Our best ideas come to us when we’re being.

If you were to put an MRI scanner on a brain, what you would discover is the brainwave shift from the Beta stage of doing into Alpha or Theta, even Delta, which is deep meditation or deep sleep. That’s the state we were born in. For the first years of our lives, we go to Theta for the next 5 years until the age of 7, Alpha to the age of 12, and then Beta from the age of 12 onwards. We talk about the idea of getting into a state of flow. We have understood from his work that we get into the state of flow. My work has led me to include we are in a state of a flow and we get out of it. 

Our natural state is the state of flow, which would go all the way back to what you said about the archaeologists. We are in a state of flow. That’s a natural state in the majority of human history. For 160,000 years, let’s say 80% of human existence, we were in that state of flow, and then the prefrontal cortex came in. The mind started to develop. Ten thousand years ago, we started to settle down, create crops, and put ourselves very slightly above Mother Nature. 

In other words, we can sow crops, we can control things, and we can domesticate animals. We created cities 5,000 years ago. 90% to 95% of human history, even more than that, were in a state of flow. We’re born in a state of flow. This idea that we have to get into it somehow, we have to stop the things that we’re doing that stop our natural state of flow. That natural state is automatically in harmony with the universe. If you then create anything from that state, it’s going to be in harmony. It’s not going to be in a resistance. 

CMBB 170 | Alexander Inchbald | Mother Nature
Mother Nature: We have to get into the state of flow by stopping everything we are doing. You can then create anything, be in harmony with nature, and stop being in resistance.

I could talk to you for hours. I feel like we’ve covered so much territory here. My audience is going to want to learn more about you. I’ve had the opportunity to review your art at I believe you also have links to how to connect with you about retreats there as well. Where else might people go to learn more? They can go to your podcast and your website. 

There’s a book called Masterpiece in all booksellers. Google Masterpiece and you’ll find it on Amazon, but you’ll also find it in local bookstores. That became the best seller a few years ago. It talks you through the process. You can find out a little bit more there. Twice a month, we run complementary sessions, One is purpose. Purpose, for me, is the key to unlocking the inner. Purpose, for me, is not what you do. That’s a masterpiece. Purpose is why you do. We run a complementary session on purpose every month. We also want a session on money prosperity every month because, as Peter Koenig says, that tends to be the one that stops most, our relationship with money. 

Money, in most conversations, comes up in the first 2 to 3 minutes and our relationship with money is embedded within us in the first 2 to 3 years of our life. That’s pretty early. Therefore, it’s an unconscious projection onto money. We run sessions around money. If you want to come out, experience, and discover your purpose, come to that. What we see is two types of people, one who has got lots of money in this kind of stuff because they got lots of money and they don’t want to create a masterpiece because they’re like, “I like my lifestyle,” and the other is not having money. 

We get both of those audiences in. That’s another way of going a little bit beyond, observing it, and starting to embody it. That’s all the work is about. It is not being interested in somebody understanding theoretically what I do. That, to me, doesn’t serve the world and best serves the whole. What best serves the whole is experiencing it all the time and then creating from that. 

I love that. I’d love to join you on one of these purpose sessions because I always find I learned something new and gained more clarity when I participate and something like that. Even if you think you know what your purpose is, a little bit more clarity and getting a little bit more crystallized on your ideas is always helpful.

Sometimes, you find that you didn’t write your mission statement or your true purpose the way you should have. It can send you on a new and more productive path. I very much appreciate your time, your work, and everything you’re doing to bring awareness to the need for people to unite specifically around the protection of our natural world and the climate peril that we’re all under. Thank you so much for all of that. Is there a closing thought that you’d like to leave our audience with? 

Thank you, Corinna, for this conversation. It’s amazing facilitation. I love the work you’re doing. The one thing I would say is you are nature. You are an aspect of nature. The more that we get that, not just at a mental level, but the more that we experience that on a daily basis, we do end up regenerating. We are nature. There is no separation between us and it. It is that separation that is causing everything we see around us, including the climate challenge. The good news and the optimistic piece that I want to leave you with is that, for me, that is the pressure that we need to operate. 

If the brain upgraded 40,000 years ago and we got a prefrontal cortex, what if this pressure from all of these challenges outside of us was the pressure that we need for us to upgrade again? What if that was really what it was? Therefore, we don’t resist the change. We embrace the change. In the process of embracing it, we don’t just part with nature. We become part of Mother Nature again. Therefore, everything we create from that place, as Zack Bush says, naturally is in flow and is naturally regenerative. 

That’s a beautiful note on which to close. It is its own way of helping everyone to awaken to this kind of next level that we can achieve. I appreciate all of your work. Thank you so much for joining me. I’ve enjoyed this conversation. 

Same. Thank you so much for hosting it with you, Corinna. 

I invite you to visit While you’re there, I hope that you’ll subscribe to our newsletter. Within its pages, you can find a link to sign up for our newsletter. With that newsletter, I send out one email a week detailing that week’s episode as well as providing you with an action-guided tool. It’s called Five Steps to Unleash Your Inner Activist.

More than anything, it’s a project management guide. It happens to have focused links on climate science and how you can learn more as well but really operates as something that you could use for almost any project you’re looking to undertake in your life. If you enjoyed this discussion, I hope that you will please subscribe and write us a review or give us a five-star rating on whatever platform you happen to be finding us. 

On YouTube, that could be a Subscribe. Click that bell and give us a thumbs up, write a comment, and all of that. It helps more people reach this content. I want to say one final thing. I appreciate every single one of you in the audience. I know sometimes these discussions can open your mind to new ideas. That’s everything that this show is about.

We invite you to care more about a specific issue, about yourself, and your environment so that we can create a better world together. This is a community effort. We can care more. We can be better. We can dream of a better and brighter future. We can get to a space where we evolve into a higher self. With the support of people like Alexander Inchbald, we’ll all get there sooner. Thank you. 

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  • Alexander Inchbald

    Alexander, a Climate Artist and the visionary behind the #Masterpiece Movement, is on a profound journey to inspire creation in sync with Mother Nature. His experiences, painting in some of the world's most breathtaking locales, have led him to a revelation: we're not mere spectators in an uncontrollable universe but active architects of our own destinies. Alexander's retreats, spanning from the ethereal landscapes of Wadi Rum, Jordan to the serene beauty of Kyoto, Japan, are more than just events. They're transformative experiences where pioneers, misfits, and visionaries converge to explore the flow of money, health, creativity, and love. His work with leadership teams, aiding them in articulating and breathing life into their Purpose, has transformed countless corporate landscapes. Having guided over 2,000 leaders to discover their Purpose, Alexander's impact is undeniable. His art, a reflection of his soul, has graced the walls of giants like Tesla and Google.

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