An overlooked essential for health and happiness


There is a trait I see often among those following a conscious, alternative lifestyle – one that has been especially clear to me lately, and that I believe is troubling.

And that is that many on this path have (if you’ll pardon the pun) “no fire in their belly”.

One way in which this shows up is that they are, to quote one of my sources, “lost on this really soft, undisciplined kind of love. ‘It’s all good, it’s all love’. We need to be about a more fierce, exacting kind of love.”

Hell yeah we do!

I used to be lost in this way, too, and it took me a lot of difficult lessons before I learned that it is not spiritual to look the other way and stay silent when others violate our or others’ rights.

We don’t have to judge those doing the violating. But if we look the other way and stay silent, we enable them.

It’s my personal belief that this is not a healthy reaction, but far from it, and the situations it allows are also very far from healthy.

So the overlooked essential of health and happiness is having appropriate boundaries and not being afraid to clearly communicate them.

Repeat after me: There is nothing unspiritual about having clear boundaries about what is and isn’t acceptable, and communicating them. There is nothing unspiritual about getting angry at dishonest or otherwise unethical practices, and expressing that anger. There is nothing unspiritual about standing up for yourself, and your rights.

In the words of a whistleblower in an online report about alleged unethical behaviour by a prominent figure in the raw health community (said report will soon be featured in an article I will be linking to by someone I highly respect):

“We are a conscious caring community and that’s the ONLY reason why [name deleted] has even lasted this long. If this was ANY other business or ANY other organization, she would be held responsible for her actions. But because this is a conscious and compassionate business, we allow her to walk over everybody as we try to ‘hold space’ for her. But enough is enough.”

I don’t know the details of this particular case, but I include this quote because I do know that I have sadly also witnessed situations that have made me say the above almost word for word.

To give two more examples, as I wrote on here recently I have discovered that the practice of labelling foods as raw when they are no such thing, and charging up to five times a much for them, is rife.

I have also been investigating how it is that a group of around 30 trusting people who followed their dream to live as part of a conscious raw vegan community that never materialised are still waiting – over three years later in some cases – for sums ranging from $10,000 to $170,000 to be returned to them. Yes – shocking but true.

There is no guarantee they will ever get their money back, and for some this was their entire life’s savings. Those who lost their money will soon be telling their stories, in their words, so you will be able to make your own mind what you think.

What many of them have told me is that they never believed anything like this could happen in the alternative health community, at the hands of two people who were/are big names in that community, so their trust was implicit and their guards down when they handed over their money.

Some have paid a huge price for this trust, and the stories are nothing short of tragic. Some have not only lost their financial security but have also suffered considerable stress and emotional damage.

One of the things that has been most disturbing to me about this situation is how little action some of those who lost money have taken in standing up for themselves, and the state of fear many are in.

It’s so extreme in some cases that they have shared with me that they are afraid to speak out against those who have their money, as they believe if they “upset” them that might eliminate any remaining chance of getting their money back.

My heart goes out to all those caught up in this.

And it affects all of us.

As a close friend of mine said this weekend, “If we in this enlightened, conscious little marketplace can’t work together to ensure it operates with integrity, fairness, honesty and transparency, what hope do we have of doing anything about the massive deceit and corruption in the wider world?”


  • I like the last paragraph. I agree Sarah. It is time for transparency on all levels, I am and have been experiencing this in the healing community for some time.
    It’s for this reason I have always questioned the “Raw Food Movement” there is something deeply emotionally rooted within some people attracted to this, that is not balanced at all and they do not practise what they preach.
    Again the same in the spiritual world I have seen and experienced in many years…………Everyone is doing their best and we all need to be non judgemental but people who do know the difference, well there are really no excuses now….

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    • Thanks, Jacqui. That’s what it’s all about. For many years this went on over my head, but I now see very clearly that because the raw movement attracts so many gentle, good, genuine, trusting people – many (though by no means all) of whom are also quite damaged and vulnerable and very ‘easy targets’ – it has also attracted those who are pursuing a selfish agenda – often money-related – and need ‘gullible’ people to take advantage of in order to do that.

      As you allude to, I imagine this is true of any movement that attracts the gentle, sensitive souls this one does. And I don’t say the word ‘gullible’ in a derogatory way, and by the way also include myself in that for the first years I was on this path.

      Answering you has made me realise I need to add this to my article (can’t do it now, but soon): I have actually seen disturbing instances in this movement where adults are being BULLIED by other adults and extremely twisted situations have arisen. The bullies have honed in on sensitive souls and appear to be controlling them with fear.

      It’s highly disturbing and I find it unspeakably sad that some on this health/consciousness path are so lost they are doing this to others – and that those others are lost enough they are allowing it. MOST of us on this path believe in truth, honesty and integrity. MOST of us see the importance of living in a way that supports the greater good rather than just our own – it’s time for us to all unite and support each other in this.

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    • Cool yes we need to look within, not the other way, not seeking brownie points from others. trust our own wisdom. What I witness a lot in the so called raw food movement and all so called movements. .. is the level of marketing that makes people (paying customers) feel good, approved of, and super cool IF THEY PURCHASE this or that or rave about this or that… It’s very common. It seems to reflect the neediness of people to feel as though they belong, or are part of some group identity – I personally dont even like the word raw food movement!!!! Any time peeps start talking of a ‘movement’ I feel I want to run a mile in the other direction. WE ARE all our own leaders and followers..
      What I like about the Mother magazine is that there has never ever been a whisper of this hype or sense of movement or sense of rah rah rah.. A mag and family with deep integrity and passion and love… and its THAT that creates the popularity and success of this publication. We all could be supporting and networking businesses like the Mother mag, its REAL and it’s one of those huge huge gifts to society, humanity and our systers of the future.. 🙂 x

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  • This is a brave and good (in all senses of the word 🙂 ) article, Sarah. Thank you so much for speaking up for people who feel vulnerable, bullied and controlled, and for the truth. With dodgy ethics, some raw salespeople are in danger of becoming the (un)worthy heirs to the snake oil salesmen of yore. I don’t mean to take away from all the amazingly wonderful, genuine people out there but the concept of non-judgement does not mean non-discerning 🙂 RM x

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    • Thanks so much for those kind words about my article, RM, and I agree 100% with all you wrote in addition.

      One person wrote to me today – not as a public comment – who was under the misapprehension I had written an article “against” the raw food movement. This is just another example of the confusion. As so many I’ve interviewed have pointed out, those being dishonest in their claims or the way they do business make things worse for all of us in small and big ways. As I explained to this person, I am FOR truth, honesty and integrity – as I know you are too, and as are most of us!


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  • I really admire you Sarah for being pretty much the only person brave enough to be working on exposing the dodgy things that are going on. Many will be threatened but they are the ones with things to hide. The rest of us give thanks you are willing to do this!

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    • Thanks SO much Anna. And thank you for your own bravery and for all you are doing.

      I would much rather write about positive things. And I’m well aware of the concept that we should just focus on the positive. There’s a lot of truth in that but it can be taken to extremes and sadly used to allow people who, as one person put it, “speak our language but are not one of us” to come into the raw community and run roughshod over others – all the while talking about love and light.

      I just want to clarify again that I am talking about *a minority* here – I would not want anyone to think otherwise.

      Thanks again for all YOU do! x

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  • Thankyou Sarah for YOUR integrity in highlighting these issues. Yes, the coming new age will require honesty, openness, fairness as well as love. We can be loving and forgiving but we have to love ourselves too and not let others abuse or take advantage of us.

    Unfortunately, being raw or vegan does not necessarily mean someone has sorted themselves out on other levels. Having been involved in the “raw community” a number of years now, I have come across numerous individuals who have stolen, lied, deceived, been abusive or exploitative.

    However, there are also very many earnest, dedicated, selfless, caring and truthful individuals involved too who genuinely wish to help their fellows (like yourself).

    I have run my own business with integrity and fairness and been very (almost too) successful. If one wishes to succeed in life, one must treat others as one would wish be treated – the golden rule.

    When dealing with anyone, raw or otherwise, discernment is always needed. Trust is gained and whilst it would be nice to assume everyone is trustworthy, this is alas not presently the case. We much use caution in any financial dealings and in regards to buying products and health advice.

    People need to learn to tune into their own intuition and not blindly follow others whether they are respected raw gurus or spiritual leaders. Others can only be guides. The Truth is within us all…

    Meanwhile, until we are more enlightened, it is good to have people with guts and a sense of justice to speak up against exploitation, abuse, deceit etc.

    None of us is perfect. But it is usually in having our failings highlighted that we can learn to repent and amend our ways. And this applies to everyone however prominent or humble they are.

    With the increasing frequencies affecting the planet as we align with the galactic central sun (2012), darkness and wrongdoing will more and more be exposed not just in the raw world but in politics, industry, business etc. Corruption must cease – and about time too! – as it destroys life and lives.

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  • Thank you so much for your latest article, Sarah.

    I read about the ‘raw food community’ situation a while ago. It sent chills down my spine. Some of the victims were trying to accept what had happened to them by ‘going into non-judgement’. Sad and scary. But I understand their fear of being seen to judge by ‘non-judgemental’ people (ha!) and their fear of not getting their savings back unless they keep schtum.

    I have been a customer of raw businesses for years, both food-related and learning-related.
    In general, I have found the raw marketplace alright but I have been shocked at times by pettiness and unethical behaviour (such one raw ‘guru’ adding 10 years onto his age when I asked him, no doubt to impress us with how ‘young’ he looked. His only saving grace is that 10 years on, he looks much the same…!).

    I have not experienced much bad behaviour on a personal level from raw foodies (only one or two things) but I have seen lots of over-pricing of ‘raw’ goods. These are often concoctions made with cacao, cashews, etc. (is *any* of it actually raw?) or dehydrated crap. I once paid roughly 6 Euro for a packet of raw dehydrated ‘pita bread’, only to discover there were precisely two-and-a-half small slices in the box.

    I know from bitter experience, however, how easy it is to trust people who are on your wavelength – or who run an ‘ethical’ business’ – and how devastating it is to be shafted by arrant ruthlessness coated in cane sugar.

    I am one of those who finds it hard to stand up for myself in such situations – which, by extension, makes it harder for me to speak up for others when I desperately want to – so I just wanted to say thank you for your courageous beacon of light.

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  • Thanks for writing this article Sarah!

    I agree with every part of it. I know that many times we try to escape from our responsibilities and avoid seeing things for what they are.

    I’ve heard quite often people saying “the universe will take care of this” or things like that… But what are we if not the universe in itself? WE are those who can make a difference. WE have the power to make a change and become an example for others… WE as individuals can decide to be active or passive.

    I choose to follow your path Sarah. Thank you.

    Please keep writing!

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  • Setting boundaries is a great idea. May I suggest a great book called Don’t Get Mad, Get Wise by Mike George. Anger expressed or supressed is unhealthy, it needs to be transformed.

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  • Good post. You know what I like about this blog? Well. I’ll tell you. Other raw related blogs may get more comments on each post, but on this blog, the author CAN ACTUALLY BE BOTHERED AND TAKE THE TIME TO REPLY (use of caps deliberate 🙂 Sarah, I always look forward to your new postings, and await with interest your follow up on this topic. Take it easy, but keep takin’ it…

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    • Thanks, David. I can’t claim to be “perfect” in this regard either but I know I always appreciate it, too, when I comment on an article and the author replies, so it’s on the list of new year’s resolutions 🙂

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