095. Howard 'Cosmo' Palmer: Mindfulness, intention, and cosmonauts

Episode summary

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Howard ‘Cosmo’ Palmer

Against all odds, Howard ‘Cosmo’ Palmer survived serious heart problems in his childhood to become a healthy, active athlete into his 40s. He describes his childhood health journey and its effects on his life. Cosmo discusses his thoughts on changing your habits, and his personal intentions in the world. He unpacks the meaning behind his nickname and connection to cosmonauts, and shares his heroes and inspirations.

Howard ‘Cosmo’ Palmer is a self-care, meditation, and wellness advocate. Born in Jamaica, and currently living in Colorado, Cosmo uses his mindfulness and meditation practices to balance his other responsibilities: engineering, parkour, and yoga. He is passionate about helping others improve their lives through intentional, peaceful daily actions.

Highlight [0:00]

Cosmo (00:04):
So yes, you can change. But the you that exists is always evolving. There is no set you that is not another you. It’s almost like a lotus. You’re constantly opening, but it’s still that oneness of you or that wholeness of you there. And you’re going to learn from yourself, and you’re going to grow, and you’re going to take some good and you’re going to take some bad. The best thing to always try to remember, and I guess that’s what I learned, it’s always best to remember that it’s for your betterment, whatever that might mean to you. But it’s for your betterment, because it’s going to be fun, and it’s not going to be fun. And so, yes, I do think you can change for the good and for the not so good.

Introduction [0:47]

Childhood role of movement [2:20]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Diagnosed with heart problems shortly after being born; 2 open heart surgeries, 5 years in the hospital
  • Later had a stroke, lost function on the left side of the body — not expected to live, let alone move normally, freely *After hospital, grew up on a farm, outdoors, movement was part of life
  • Movement was showing freedom from sickness, pain; but needed balance between movement and rest, body awareness
  • Vivid and image specific memories of life in the hospital
  • Trauma has been a large part of life, but allowing it to help him get better
“ I can't be super athletic, and I can't be a overweight person. I have to find a space. So honestly in that way, even consciousness became an important aspect of my life, early. I had to know ... I was already feeling my body. So the awareness of it was there, but was I aware of it? Did I become, did I recognize it? And I did in many spaces, and as I grew into who I believe I am now, that's ... movement is everything to me. And it's different types of movement. It's an expression. I look at it like art. And it's a lot of physical representation. But it comes from inside. It's like emotion ... energy, emotion. So it's very important to me, very important. ”

Howard 'Cosmo' Palmer

Changing your default [10:39]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • You are what you perceive; changing habits can change who you are
  • ‘You’ are always evolving; it’s not just two different ‘you’s’
  • Change is possible, both good and bad; learning and growing, taking from both
  • Is your intention for your betterment?

Personal intentions [13:11]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Example to the world of what’s possible; his legacy is always evolving, goal of giving back
  • Intention of authenticity and honesty for himself; what is safe for him, learning his own space
  • Movement with mindfulness; strong, useful, conscious and aware
  • His ‘deathwalk;’ leading to inevitability, enjoying looking back on his life; being present
  • Accepting the journey, riding the wave, ‘when preparation meets opportunity’
  • We are here for our purpose
“ I've died twice, I've gone through some traumatic things. I still have a major disconnect with my parents. I used ... there's still a lot developing there for me. But I'm also 40 years old. So I'm also looking at life like this is my, and I came up with this term the other day, it's a personal term. And I know the word has a negative association, but it's my death walk. It is my walk to the path that I know is coming. It's inevitability. And the best thing to do is be able to say, "How much can I look back and enjoy what I see?" ”

Howard 'Cosmo' Palmer

Craig (13:13):
You mentioned intention as you were talking just there. And I’m wondering what your intentions are for yourself these days? What are the kinds of things that, when you’re really thinking about what you want to do, what are your intentions for yourself?

Cosmo (13:31):
For myself is to be an example to the world that you can learn to love yourself, through what we have as life, and be whatever that means to you, and then give back. I like the word legacy, but I don’t like what I feel is associated with it, where it’s this given thing you have to do, more than it’s a breath that you live every day of your life. And that becomes like your legacy. Like something you’re walking through, not like a stamp.

Continue reading…

Cosmo (13:59):
So my intention is always to, no matter what I’m doing, to be authentic, and just to be honest with myself. And sometimes that honesty looks like, you know what? I don’t care what anybody thinks. And I’m not even entertaining any conversations about it. And that’s my honesty. And now it might come off aggressive, because people like to share opinions. But at the end of the day, I feel safer in that space. And that’s what goes back to what I’m saying earlier about my authenticity and just going at it in joy. It’s very difficult to change your mind, much less to even convince yourself into things. We kind of do that through the idea of patterns, or things around us, or environment. We use the environment to help us choose. But there are times when it becomes the opposite, where the environment is allowing you to choose other. You can’t assimilate. You have to de-assimilate. You have to go into another [crosstalk 00:14:54] yeah, yeah.

Cosmo (14:55):
And so my intention is that. To learn my space. I go by Cosmo, and I’m wearing the suit because I’m so exited for this interview and this opportunity. You have some great, great people on this platform. Like when I was introduced to Movers Mindset, and you brought in people, I’ll drop a name, like Ryan Ford-

Craig (15:14):
That was a fun one.

Cosmo (15:14):
… people like him are … yeah, yes it was. And even the recent one I see, and I don’t know if it is the recent one, but the lady … the woman, lady, that does tantra, as well as … You have so many examples of people that use movement, or the concept of the body expressing itself through the mind, that it frees them. It’s a way to move. And we know through parkour and Belle and be strong, be useful, I add a piece on the end of that, is to be conscious. Because through it all he was conscious. This is how he was able to develop these forms of movement, and teach himself how to land softly. And then his son became conscious. There is a be strong, be useful, but outside of the human representation, we all learn through those connective senses. And it’s my intention to be an example of that.

Cosmonaut [19:41]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Interest came from learning more about himself, various signs
  • Cosmic astrology, balancing masculine and feminine
  • Keeping view of the larger picture, different energies, to help balance daily life
  • Cosmonauts, orbital space, the space within yourself
  • Being able to protect himself inwardly and outwardly
  • Finding racism in America as a child, painful, not understanding it
  • Cosmonaut as a character, focusing on the inward, everyone should be able to see themselves as cosmonauts
  • Being open to opportunity, creating spaces, thankful for it
  • Cosmonaut simply about being the better version of yourself, and your cosmic self as a body

Craig (19:41):
Non sequitur. I’m going to … this is going to seem random to anybody listening, but I don’t ever get a chance to talk to people about astronomy. Let’s talk, let’s go into this space thing. So why, what is it about Cosmo, which I’m assuming comes from the idea of cosmonaut, what is it about, I’m going to guess, space exploration, NASA, and cosmonauts, and what is it about that that drew you to it? And maybe you want to dive in by, what was the spark? What was … I have a lot of great stories related to stuff like that. What was the spark that made you really turn on to astronomy, NASA, space exploration?

Cosmo (20:17):
Hmm. If it was one path, it was back to our earlier conversation about learning more about myself, learning what my astrological sign was, my rising sign, my sun sign, and my moon sign, and then what that means to me as a universal body. So I didn’t really follow daily astrology, more than I dug deep in the concept of astrology. And I found a teaching called cosmic astrology. And what it speaks on is that if you think of astrology and the signs of sitting on a clock, you want to go reverse on the clock. Right now we are going as an energy body, all right, clockwise, in a way that’s very masculine in energy, given the result of the reality we perceive. So through the knowledge, it’s to go the opposite way to introduce the feminine. And now, when you look at concepts like when you flush the toilet or when water goes down in Australia versus the U.S. or the U.K., it turns a certain way, and we know that it’s something going on the earth. So the earth is in space, and it’s moving. Okay. There’s also other energy bodies within that that makes that move. We’re in a galaxy. So I’ve always think that it’s important to keep that representation as much as I am here on earth, because it was easier for me to accept when I got bad things in life, that people aren’t who they always perceive themselves to be.

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Cosmo (21:41):
Like this racist thing that just happened to me is not because this person is that racist, it’s maybe because they’re hurt. And it’s okay, and maybe I can move past it. And maybe I can’t, and next time I need to look out for it and be careful, because it hurts me when that happens. So to me that was always my higher way of thinking. I didn’t have my father in life, I mentioned that, and he was very emotionally unavailable due to his past. Unfortunately his father killed himself when he found out that his mother was pregnant with him. Because he had some psychological thing, as being a law officer in Jamaica, that if he can’t provide, then he doesn’t … and he was sick. Lots of reality in space is happening there.

Cosmo (22:28):
So for me, the cosmonaut wasn’t a … So the Russians were the first in orbital space. So that knowledge to me means, if anything, they were also the first to be the space within themselves, get internal, because if you think about it, we have so much gravity, and when we jump there’s … It’s scary, whether you want to jump off of something or jump onto something, there’s still a level of fear. To conceptualize orbital space, where there is no gravity, and balance, because it’s also psychological. They talk about people can’t stand space too long because you’ll get space madness. It also happens here on earth. The space when you’re not in your space, if you’re not within your mind. So cosmonaut is more of a play on, to have a cosmic knot, to have a cosmic mind.

Cosmo (23:19):
To always have a reference or a betterment of self and people. Easier said than done, not Mother Teresa or this guy or that guy. It’s more, again, to save yourself. As a black man it’s very important to me to know how to save myself here and here and here. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is, but it’s … in America, I’ll speak there. That’s where I live. So it’s very important to understand that.

Heroes and inspiration [28:32]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Bruce Lee, both philosopher and physicality
  • Teachers in school: Miss Evans, learning from mistakes, moving forward
  • 5th grade teacher, “if you don’t learn who you are, you’ll always be uncomfortable”
  • One family who took him in when he needed family, recognizing his need without him expressing it
  • His partner his opposite, but couldn’t have asked for it
  • Overall, teachers as a huge inspiration for the support and growth they facilitate.

Encouraging engaging [33:44]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Learned skill of engaging; Find the things that bring you joy, those are easy to talk about
  • The right space to express things is also important, that energy will be helpful
  • Finding a healthy way and space to express yourself
  • Reading other people’s energy

Recommendations and further contact

The Mindful Athlete by George Mumford, a good book to read. To learn more about Cosmo, you can follow him on instagram (@blackstranaut).