When we think about somebody in particular and suddenly, they call. When we sense we will bump into a particular person and, lo and behold, there they are. The way we can feel a profound sense of familiarity or kinship with a perfect stranger. The way we can walk into a room and gravitate towards certain people, as if magnetised. The way we can fall in true love at first sight, or experience moments of deja vu. How we could have premonitions about future events, or visions of the past. Indeed, the insights offered to us by quantum physics make it possible for us to better understand the life of our spirits on earth, to understand how we can connect with ourselves, each other and all life in profoundly enchanting, meaningful and energising ways. You will recall that I said that to expire was to experience a little death as far as the etymology of the word is concerned. You will experience little deaths of letting go of the things you perceive to have had value or have a sentimental connection to. Some people have this forced upon them (like the tragedy of a house fire). Others choose to live a life of freedom. The romance of gypsy or Bedouin life. Few possessions, which allows freedom of movement. Nomads. We need to be candid about what is at stake. Living in this world with assigned roles, rather than an authentic self, drains you of the critical life energy you need for the constructive pursuit of things that you truly value. By contrast, once you start living your life with an authentic sense of self, then all of that diverted energy, all of that otherwise wasted life energy starts speeding you down the highway of your life. You gain speed, efficiency, and smoothness. You become so much more successful in your life by being who you want and need to be. To understand the energy it takes just to suppress your authentic self, think back to happy childhood memories of going swimming in the summer.

If you were lucky enough to have a beach ball, it was always great fun to try to hold the ball underwater. (In fact, if you were like me, you got hours of pleasure from this intellectually stimulating pursuit.) Remember how that beach ball used to constantly fight to break through the surface of the water, then pop up into the sunshine? Remember how much effort and energy it took to hold it under you as it squeaked and wriggled from side to side, trying to avoid your suppressing hands and claim its natural buoyancy? Think about how tired you became as the seconds wore on. Isn't this exactly what happens when you deny your authentic self its natural expression? Just imagine the exhaustion you have accumulated, fighting that same fight every minute of every hour of every day of your life. You may have many healthy coping skills in your skill set. But if you identify with perfectly hidden depression, some of what you consider a skill or solution may actually have morphed into a problem. Yet you don't want to make the mistake of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, as the saying goes. Counting your blessings and being grateful is positive. Working hard toward a goal or striving to do your best is far from pathological. Thinking ahead, predicting what concerns or dangers there could be--a close cousin of worry--has a definite place in problem solving. As I've stressed before, the characteristics of perfectly hidden depression, in moderation, can be helpful. But when they begin to govern every aspect of your being, they can become a huge problem. It becomes self-destructive when your perfectionistic critical voice is screaming at you nonstop in the background. When obsessive worry takes over and pressures you into working feverishly for control, that worry is no longer constructive in any way. Somewhere in you, there's a gut understanding of what's happening. Whatever has been positive and helpful about the behaviors and beliefs you've used for years to cope has now crossed the line to unhealthy. And you can begin secretly feeling a loneliness and lack of true connection that's intolerable. The fact is that most of us will never get down to a size 4--let alone the model-thin sizes of 0 or the more absurd 00, the size below size 0--no matter how much we work out or how healthfully we eat.

Very few people are genetically wired to maintain that weight or size, and many models who do reach this size rely on dangerous diet or exercise tactics, or even drugs, to get and stay there. Yet we still hold ourselves up to these ideals and feel disappointed when we fail to reach them. You might feel as though something is wrong with you or that you don't measure up, and are ashamed and self-conscious about your shape and weight. Perhaps you become angry with your body for "falling short," and engage in those aforementioned risky dieting and exercise regimes. Instead of appreciating everything your body has been through and continues to do for you, you hate it, put it down, ignore its signals and cues, and become increasingly disconnected from it. If this sounds familiar, then you'll have to work on changing your perspective, because you'll never be successful with weight loss until you can move from anger and shame (a state of disconnection ) to empathy (a state of connection ). Our thoughts, emotions, words and beliefs affect us at a cellular level, shaping our wellness, radiance and vitality in profound and intriguing ways. Our minds, bodies and spirits are responsive to the environments, people, light, sound, air and other influences surrounding us moment to moment: stimuli that can either nourish or diminish our sparkles. Unsurprisingly, this energetic reality is not exclusive to human beings. All creatures naturally sense and feel it, from our beloved household pets to animals roaming free in the wild. In recent times the emotional intelligence of plant life has also been studied in greater depth, shedding light on the phenomenally interconnected, feeling potential of all creation. Japanese scientist Dr Masaru Emoto was recognised for his many compelling studies concerning water's response to contrasting influences. microscopic investigation, water that Dr Emoto had exposed to kind words, beautiful music and tenderness presented itself, once frozen, as stunningly beautiful crystal formations. Conversely, water that he had bullied, berated and bombarded with unpleasant influences crystallised into amorphous shapes. Dr Emoto captured and documented these curious findings with a series of mesmerising photographs. In further studies he noted comparisons between the crystalline water molecules of polluted water versus fresh spring water, and the spectacular transformation of crystalline water molecules blessed by a monk. Do you breathe, or does the Earth breathe you? The answer most definitely is an anatomical one. You expire. That is literally `a little death'.

It is where the word originates from in meaning. You expel all of the air from your lungs. To do that, you create a vacuum in your lungs. The air pressure inside of you becomes lower than that outside of you. A simple law of physics follows. Because the air outside (the Earth atmosphere) is now of higher pressure than that inside of your lungs, the air rushes in. You don't so much breathe in as receive in. This really is an important point. To live, you receive air by creating the space inside of you to let it in. The Earth breathes us. Now let's think for a minute about how much energy it takes to live that fictional life I have been talking about. I'm talking about a life that has you ignoring your true gifts and talents, and has you instead performing in those assigned or inherited roles that are just not who you are. Imagine pushing a huge boulder up a long, steep hill. Feel the weight and bulk of that boulder, fighting you all the way as you struggle and sweat to get the job done. Now picture yourself at the top of the hill, giving that boulder one last shove. It slips easily away from you and tumbles down the other side. Compare the two different tasks. At the end of a long, exhausting day, you might get one boulder up the hill, whereas you could roll a thousand boulders down that same hill in the same amount of time and still feel like you were just getting started. That's because rolling them downhill would be consistent with the principle of gravity, an example of the natural order of the universe. In order to begin to let go of something, you have to understand its worth to you.

Does giving it up or changing it involve too much loss? Or is it balanced by the gain made? In this reflection, refer back to the ten characteristics of PHD listed in Chapter 1. Then rate them from 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest to consider changing or the one you've relied on the most. Then list them in order in your journal. If you feel ready, you can write about how they've protected you as well and what you fear might happen if you alter them in any substantial way. You can also consider which characteristics you've taken over the top and which you've kept in moderation. Staring at uberskinny starlets is only part of the problem. This thin-is-in thinking permeates our society, so the further you are from the ideal, the less accepted you may feel or actually be. Whether you've been overweight since childhood or your struggles with weight began during adulthood, you've probably experienced fat prejudice. You may have been teased, harassed, or bullied as a child because of your weight. You may have been put down by your parents or other authority figures, or experienced size discrimination as an adult. Over time, it's natural to internalize weight bias and buy into weight-based stereotypes--for instance, that obese people are lazier than thin people-- which increases your vulnerability to depression, anxiety, poor body image, and lower self-esteem. Regardless of your weight or shape, you deserve to be treated with respect. Dr Emoto's wonderful studies have since inspired many similar experiments in which two healthy pot-plants with identical exposure to water and sunlight have been subject to opposing messages of love and loathing. Studies I have sighted invariably document plants that receive positive reinforcement flourishing, and their disdained counterparts withering. I find Dr Emoto's work provides delightful and life-affirming energetic studies celebrating the tremendous power of our love, attention and intention. It draws focus to the miraculous interconnectedness of life energy in any shape or form, encouraging us to see the sacredness of all living things and how worthy all living things are of our love. While human beings are often ready to see themselves with a great degree of self-importance, we are not superior to nature. Rather, we are interdependent, interwoven parts of her laws, rhythms and feelings of magic.