Mindfulness

Sitting here on a Saturday evening, my mind wanders over the last week. And the last months. Does it ever seem to you as if time flies by, that a week is like a day, a month like a week, and my goodness! It is almost Christmas again. And what do we have to show for it?

If you feel like this, then I am reasonably certain that the cause is not the mere fact of getting older, but is inextricably linked to the fact that life is being lived aimlessly. We like to float through life, taking each day as it comes, perhaps aspiring to new horizons, but never actually doing the work needed to get to where we want to be.

Really? Of course we are working hard. In fact, it is exhausting. And we are tired, hence there is not enough time or energy left to plan for the next brave steps forward. I am sad to say, this way of thinking is wrong.

Wrong!

We need to realise that our true nature is one of a spiritual being. We are not bodies with a soul, we are souls which have a body. I forget who said that, but it is well worth plagiarising. (CS Lewis is one source, Paul Coelho another, but it appears to have been mentioned in the early 19th Century as well)

Our first work must be not physical – we know from bitter experience that we can work hard, to the point of exhaustion, but somehow, at the end of the month, nothing much has changed. Our first work is within the mind. Focus on changing thoughts, and our perception of reality changes, and then reality itself transforms. Books have been written on this, I will not paraphrase. But if you want to discover more, I cannot but highly recommend the book by Esther and Jerry Hicks from Hay House: “Ask and it is Given”

With that recommendation in mind, and looking at short term actions, I will recommend the practice of meditation. Before I hear shouts of anguish, that such is the way to perdition for following eastern religious practices – and I would strongly disagree with that whole mindset! – I remind the reader of the mention of prayer AND meditation within ALL religious practices. Perhaps we should give it a go?

Cancer Book

If anyone is wondering what I am doing – and why would you? – I am busy working on the first draft of my book about managing cancer.

I do not know how many books about cancer are out there. Mine is a little bit different. Are you surprised? No, I thought not. You can look at such books in two different categories: medical and lay. The medical books are of course more for the professional, either for a GP or a specialist of some category. The language may be dense, and sometime you wonder if the writer is a bit dense as well. The books written for a lay audience are of a huge spectrum. What is different about my book?

It is written for a non-medical audience in general, but more specifically for a group of people who are content to travel their own path. I specifically encourage the reader to demand sovereignty over their own health, and not to allow themselves to be rail-roaded down the path of doing what they are told.

That attitude is hated by some doctors. I strongly recommend that if you feel you are being pushed, bullied, coerced, or otherwise forced to conform to someone else’s preferred behaviour, you calmly restate your demand for control over your own health. Be prepared to walk away and find another specialist who will work with you as you journey towards improved health.

Radical, I know!

My first draft should be near complete by mid-July. I have promised my accountability partner this, and so I am making a public statement. Hold me to it as well!

Interview With Anita

I was going to write a lot about this interview, but on consideration I would rather let the interview speak for itself. Here is the link to our meeting in Charlottesville earlier in May of this year.

Please do have a careful listen. Be prepared to be amazed at this wonderful woman – and also take note that behind her is a wonderful husband, my friend and brother, Danny. I love them both.

Back from USA

Well, here we are again, back at work. I had taken some time off to visit the USA – for the first time ever, I might add! – to take part in an excellent Masters learning seminar with Lurn Inc, listening to Anik Singal and Jeremy Bellotti.

The highlight of my visit was, however, reconnecting with Anita Moorjani. Here is a video I have taken that begins to discuss some of my thoughts. I will be doing a lot of thinking on this topic, and if you bear with me, you can go on this journey with me.

I have just returned to Kununoppin, ready for a new week. But this is actually the start of a new journey in my life. So much to think about, and so much to discuss. When I have recovered some strength, I will write again.

Be happy, stay well!

Spiritual Vampires

Be afraid, be very afraid!

No, not really. You do not need garlic (although I highly recommend garlic for general health) nor is a crucifix of much use. Blood is not sucked.

It is much worse.

You know how it is when you walk into a party, and there is someone to whom you feel an instant affinity, someone that you just feel drawn to, and usually you will get decent conversation and interesting thoughts as a reward. Equally there are some people for whom you instantly feel an antipathy, as if you are being repelled. No words are needed in either case, this is all felt at a deep emotional level.

You all will have experienced this. That person for whom you feel affinity leaves you feeling enriched. In some strange chemistry you know your energy levels are up, and the encounter made your world a better place.

But what if you find yourself next to the other unknown person. You, being polite, strike up a conversation. You instantly regret it. How or why, you later cannot remember, but every minute seems an eternity. Drained, exhausted, depleted, once you break away you need more than a rest and a stiff drink. Your day has become grayer, dull and tedious.

You have met a spiritual vampire, and your energy has been relentlessly drained.

This is serious stuff. Remember that episode I mentioned earlier about the young woman who felt awful but had no diagnosable disease? I first met her when she was about 12 years old. She presented to our hospital with acute asthma. As per policy, she was admitted, but I found no sign of asthma whatsoever. Neither did my consultant on the post-take ward round. As luck would have it, her mother came to visit during our ward round, and we were explaining to her that there was nothing to be found.

Bear in mind, this was a loving mother, but in my whole life I have never encountered ] a more skilled spiritual vampire. She began to speak to her daughter, we were listening, and observed in real time as the poor girl went into clinically increasingly severe asthmatic distress requiring emergency medication. From a standing start she went from a clear chest to major asthmatic airway narrowing.

I settled in that area as a GP and treated the family. Vivid memories surface of my utter exhaustion after every encounter in the clinic, and how much more devastating was that exhaustion after every visit to the home.

That might seem laughable but pay attention. Some years later that same girl, now 19 years old, presented with a diagnosable disease. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma stage 1A – eminently treatable. She passed away on the third relapse.

There was another patient of mine at that same time, a man with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma stage 4B and very poor chances of survival. He refused to attend hospital as he was terrified of needles, and I was the only one who would be allowed to draw blood. He insisted that I give him his chemotherapy at his own home, as he adamantly refused to go to hospital. But survive he did. But I also remember that I came away from home visits with him feeling much brighter.

When it comes to regaining wellness, if you find that your moods are low, your thoughts troubled, if mediocre is a good description of your mental well-being, take it very seriously. This is as important for your health as any pill you are taking. We will speak of this again.

Cancer and the Power of the Mind

I am writing an eBook about cancer just now. About time too, I say. Perhaps just because I am now actively writing, it always seems that I am engaged in discussions which always seem to have a link to cancer. That might also be because there is such a lot of cancer throughout our society. Sobering thought, that!

One thing is abundantly clear to me. The presence or absence of a diagnoseable disease is not particularly relevant. After all, there is not a one of us who will come out of this alive. The relevant matter is the extent to which we are truly living. Being alive is one thing, but am I living well?

One vivid recollection comes to me of a day when I saw a young lady in the clinic, who felt completely unwell. There was not a thing wrong that I or anyone else could find. Much had been investigated, but apart from the fact that she came from a family that was devastated by a spiritual vampire, there was nothing wrong with her physical health.

(I realise I need to explain a bit more about spiritual vampires – stay tuned.)

Later that day I visited a gentleman who had untreatable cancer of the prostate. Not quite terminal, but that was the direction. He was digging in his garden, it was a beautiful and balmy spring day. He wiped the sweat away from his 65 year old brow and replied to my question, “I’m fine doc! How are you?”

Of these two, I ask, which one was ill?

It is not just a passing question. Observation has shown time and again that outcomes for illness, and here I focus on cancer, are materially improved with a positive mindset. Yes, death is inevitable, but how are you living?

 

If we are able to tap into the massive reserves of our mental wellness, we are able to significantly alter outcomes. Again, more on that later!

 

Never Give Up!

I was writing an email to a group of people today, following on from a promotion I was recommending, as part of the phase of “Mental Health” that I am working through. I thought it might interest others. Here it is:

Good morning,

How did you like the information you received yesterday? Personally speaking, I found I needed all the time in the world to get to grips with the concept that I am in control of my environment.

I stopped feeling like a victim, and began to live my life, not the life that fate had decreed, or someone had told me I should live.

Many years ago, moving country and moving school, I found myself confronted with a dilemma. I knew I wanted to be a doctor, but to get university entrance I needed to have biology as a subject. But this new school placed me in history and geography.

So I went to the principal to ask if I could enter the biology stream. This was an important year, an exam year, and it marked my future path.

“Entrance into medicine is very difficult,” he said, “and you really don’t have a chance.” So there I stood, condemned and denied my career.

Fight back! There is abundance for everybody, and you need to live your own life! Stand fast to your dreams and let no-one rob you of them.

I did. You can too

Be happy, stay well

I think there are several lessons in that small example. One is that you must never accept the opinion of anyone else, no matter how much authority they may possess, unless you have satisfied yourself as to the correctness. Another is that anyone can stand up for themselves, whether young or old. Be unafraid and claim your ground. I wonder how much mental unwellness is caused by vulnerable persons being subjected to the whims and opinions of others? Perhaps we ought to teach children from the age of 4 how to express themselves clearly but gently, and – perhaps more importantly – how to listen with an open mind. Communication is one of the most important skills we can master, and that demands not only that we make ourselves understood, but also that we seek to understand.

If 87% of marriages that break up are due to poor communication, perhaps we ought to make communication skills an essential part of the education system? Is it too much to extend that to the hope that we may make wars obsolete?

Talk to me! I am listening 🙂

Brain power

It stunned me to read this story about the transformation of a man. The story is available on the BBC news site (Link here – http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190411-the-violent-attack-that-turned-a-man-into-a-maths-genius )

Short story? A hit on the head (not a recommended therapeutic approach) transformed an ordinary underachieving man into a mathematical savant.

 

Why do I find this interesting? Well, who wouldn’t? We hear the stories of wonderful things happening, some might call them miracles. People awaken from a coma and find they have suddenly developed a skill. Speaking a foreign language, for example, or stunningly, a man who recovered from a major brain injury, and needed to play the piano, an urge that had to be satisfied, even though prior to the stroke he could not play the piano.

What is this thing we call the brain?

And what are we doing to prevent the brain from achieving the almost limitless wonders we are seeing from these cases?

I will collect my thoughts (aka getting my brain into gear) and continue this at a later date. Meanwhile, if you have any thoughts, let me know!

 

 

 

Gratitude

“Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity.” (Baha’u’llah)

This teaching, a part of the Baha’i faith, initially puzzled me, but did not intrigue me at the time. Over the years I have pondered this, and matched the meaning with a variety of sources. It ranked there with “turn the other cheek” and other truisms throughout sacred teachings. What does this have to do with regaining wellness, you might ask?

I am glad you asked me that!

I was fascinated to read an article on the power of gratitude to actually change the human heart and molecular structure of the brain.

The whole article is available at this link. Do, please, have a look, take a good bit of time to read and digest this information.

We are living in a time of anger, hatred, an atmosphere of deprivation and isolationism. It is a time which, if you accept the premise, MUST lead to decreased wellness. Can I advise you, from the bottom of my heart – do not go down that path.

Seek wellness. Gratitude is a vital part of that seeking after wellness. True gratitude, for there is so much to be grateful for. Manifest that truth in our personal lives, in our minds and in our bodies.

Here’s to wellness!

Regaining Wellness?

It is all very well talking about wellness, but how do you regain wellness?

The inevitable fact is that we all die. The real question must be – “how am I living?” And that leads to question what action we need to be taking RIGHT NOW that leads us into a better state of wellness than we currently enjoy.

There is a second question, and that is to ask which of the available actions will give us the most wellness “bang” for the least effort/money/time “buck”?

In actual fact, for physical health alone, there is one simple, cheap and effective approach to improving wellness.  The answer? Stop putting stuff into your body that does the body harm.

If you smoke – stop. If you eat junk food – stop. If you don’t exercise – start. If you drink alcohol – consider the amount consumed. And stop.

Monetary cost for the above? About zero. Effort cost – yes, time cost – yes.

All of the other approaches, all of them, will be enhanced if these above measures are implemented.

 

(This is a post from the FaceBook site of Regaining Wellness – check it out!)

Unreal

What is it all about? What is the meaning of life?

That is probably a good place to start to consider basic questions of wellness. I mean to say, who are we, really? Are we just a repository of organs, brought to sentient life by the power of a nervous system, evolved over aeons from the primordial soup, all stemming from a Big Bang? Or are we – let us get religious here – created in the likeness of God some 6,000 years ago, so be proven worthy of eternal life or eternal damnation?

Personally speaking, I think neither of these. All I do know – truly KNOW – is that we are not who we think we are.

You may disagree, but let us look scientifically at who we are. Carbon-based organisms. But each of our carbon atoms originated in a star somewhere, and probably two neighbouring carbon atoms arose in different stars.

 

As if that fact alone were not mesmerising, of those carbon atom nuclei, the protons and neutrons can be broken down to smaller particles, and each of those can be broken down to the fundamental basic units, which are … wave forms. So technically we are distortions of the space-time equation, and energetic beings which, according to the laws of physics, cannot be created or destroyed, merely altered.

I will let that sink in before writing some more. Or deleting the post. Whatever!

Being Alive

Just imagine for a moment. Take a luxurious moment to just sit and feel. Imagine you are experiencing a day on holiday. Relaxed, free, you can do whatever you like whenever you like because this is your time.

Look in your minds eye over an expanse of grass leading down to deep-blue, calm water of a small lake, and imagine the cool water on a hot day. Smell the mown grass, and take a deep imaginary breath of fertile soil under blooming roses off to one side, and the scent of pine trees warming in the sun. Feel soft grass under your feet and between your toes. Sitting at a late breakfast, you sip coffee – can you smell it? Bite a croissant and feel the crispy texture, taste butter. You know that you will walk down to that water, and rest your body in the shallows, feeling cool in the late morning warmth.

If you like, you can make that image just as real as if you were there right now. How powerful is the human brain. You can wander in your memories and recreate beautiful events from yesterday or 10 years ago. If you choose to, you can instantly recreate a scene of delight just by scenting an aroma which whisks you in an instant back to the event.

I am always saddened when I meet people who, even if they are technically speaking alive, nevertheless are as if dead. Wracked with fears, unable to take action because of worries a mistake might have happened. They see the ocean, but do not jump in because there may be sharks. A beautiful park to roam in, but there may be snakes. An illness is present, but the remedy might cause a side effect.  A lovely person at a party, but unable to approach because they might reject us.

There are so many areas in life where we create the issues that hinder us, but then we blame the issues for limiting our lives. Always an excuse, but never a solution.

The problem lies not in the issues, not in the current state of our lives, but rather in letting the brain create images which run counter to our desires. Our emotions then rule us, depression and fear rule. But think back to the opening lines. Could you feel that grass? Taste that coffee?

This leads us to look at how we might begin to recapture our true lives, how we might break free of the self-imposed shackles. I think I will mention this often, so let me stop here and tease you with the acronym – NLP.  Neurolinguistic Programming.

There is a wealth of information on managing our perceptions and emotions. And yes, these same emotions can control how we nourish ourselves, manage our exercise needs, and arrange our mental harmony. Are you bored yet?

 

Diets Don’t Work

Well, actually, they all do. But at the same time, none of them work. I have a free report that might give some information for you.

 

Why would you listen to me?

Let me tell you a story. As a thirteen year old boy, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. Well, I wanted to be a brain surgeon actually, but then again, who doesn’t? I was pretty much bottom of the class though. It is not easy to be schooled if you are at the upper end of ability, because you find yourself so bored. Also, I was smitten with the lure of being a surf lifesaver – and that was really a lot of fun.

Then I grew up a bit, and realised I had to work, and so I did. My dream to be a doctor burned.

And when I entered medical school I thought all my dreams had come true. I truly believed that medical knowledge was so advanced, there was nothing left to discover. I graduated realising that this was wrong, but still certain that I had entered a profession that valued healing and scientific knowledge above all else.

Then two things happened. First, coming back from a very busy day at work, I broke down in teary frustration. For not one single diagnosis I had made that day or treated, for not one single diagnosis could I find a cause.

The second thing, about the same time, was when a dear friend challenged me to refute his claim of having a food allergy. At that time I did not believe there were food allergies, and we certainly had not been taught about such things. My faith in the purity of medical knowledge had been challenged, and found wanting.

Then the dangerous event happened. I began to think for myself and – here comes the dangerous bit – ask the question “Why?”

And with that simple question I began to track down every belief I had nurtured in medicine and, to my horror, I recognised that much of my learning was either wrong, or limited. A whole new world of healing lay at my door, and I had but to open that door, step through, and discover the mysteries of wellness. That, my friends, is the beginning of my medical heresy. Ah yes, 1982 was a good year!


Near Life Experience

Well, actually, this was a near death experience. Many years ago, a friend came to me and asked me to look after his wife. After she died, and we might call that a “near death experience” but she was certainly not with us, she wrote a book, and is now living in the USA, and travelling the world. I think it sheds a remarkable light on the topic of cancer, and death – really, on the topic of “what is life?”. It took me 5 years before I had the strength to read her book, but here it is:

It may well happen that I can meet up with Anita and Danny again. That will be such a great pleasure. She is truly a remarkable woman, and Danny, as an incredibly loving and supportive husband, who stood by her through terrible times, is no less remarkable. I love them both.

Just imagine recovering from a devastating disease, and then translating that into life-enhancing experiences for thousands of people all around the globe? And also consider this: if her disease was non-survivable, and yet she survived, what is that disease we call cancer? Go on, read the book, you know you want to.

And no. I do not have the answer.

Regaining Wellness – Opening up to the world

In almost 40 years of medical practice I can confirm, based on a lot of experience, that most illness and unhappiness with health arises from things which are directly under our own personal control. So it makes sense, to me at least, that wellness can be regained by taking different actions, either in the physical or mental realm.

So why, I often asked myself, is it so very hard to make changes for the better? Because if I know anything at all, it is that change of habits is difficult. Surely if we know we want to get an improvement, we would do all we could to achieve that change?

But no.

So here we are. Rather than sitting in front of many different people and saying the same thing over and over again, I am reaching out to everybody – most especially to people who are actively, positively seeking change – with information, support and tools that enable those small, but repeated, steps that lead to improved wellness.

A word of warning though. I am a medical heretic. I do not ascribe to the usual dogmatic thinking that clouds the medical profession. You might think that is a good thing. I certainly do. But if you do not like to be challenged, if orthodoxy is the only approach that speaks to your heart, and there is nothing wrong with that, but then I would suggest that this website and this information will make you uncomfortable.

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