Plan to succeed

4th May 2015: Sydney, Australia

I have come to realise a saying taught many years ago within a professional context is easily transferable to other areas, including your personal development. The intentions of applying the rule ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ was to highlight the responsibility l had in ensuring thorough groundwork was completed prior to meeting with a family or individual to complete a therapeutic session. As noted, I see benefits of applying the rule into our lives, and my writing, if used effectively can provide the platform to hopefully build success, opposed to failure.

Yesterday was a clear example of my writing acting as the very means to plan ahead in preparation to approach a situation to the best of my capacity. It was actually ironic in some ways to consider I had put together an entry about the very topic on the day before the question was asked. It was not something major, simply a conversation within a social environment relating to my lifestyle choices. On reflection, if I had not taken the time to sit down and write about my thoughts, then the execution of my answer would not have accurately captured my feelings towards the situation. In summary, my writing can be useful when I am able to avoid becoming stuck in a hole of despair, and at such times, many similarities exist with the preparation undertaken for a job interview whereby you have had the time and space to gain clarity in your thoughts before needing to share with others. To conclude, I must acknowledge my fluctuating feelings on the matter, however, overall, a journal would be encouraged for all people experiencing Cancer to ensure any difficult circumstances or encounters can be hopefully prepared for in advance.

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Pure happiness…

26th January 2015: Sydney, Australia

It was the first time in as long as I can remember that for no apparent reason a feeling of complete elation swept throughout my body. What a joy to think all the those ever increasing wrinkles on my face creased in unison whilst I smiled. Of course, I have felt excellent on numerous occasions over the past months, however, today was most definitely different. The preceding moments featured no physical exercise, interaction with surrounding company or the experience of bearing witness to a particular phenomena or event. Instead, the occasion simply consisting of me sitting alone at the table to eat some food whilst listening to some music. One could say, as typical and mundane a daily event can be. When reflecting, I believe it seems this very fact is the reason that has caused such emotions to arise. There are not many words to further describe the feeling. It basically comes down to a moment previously mentioned whereby a stream of happiness is flowing inside my body, and importantly the circumstances didn’t involve the seeking of happiness or a direct trigger from an external source or being.

The short incident has made me consider some wise words by a friend when recently discussing the meaning between the terms isolation and solitude. The response from my friend was to consider application of the term isolation. His point, and I agree is that isolation has an associated negative connotation attached. Some may say it is only a matter of semantics, however, I believe in the power and influence of language. Therefore, I have now reconstructed my future view of briefly residing in a room or hut in a hopefully peaceful part of the world as a testing of my resolve in managing solitude rather than isolation. Circumstances viewed in terms of being in solitude opposed to isolation has also made me consider my overall experiences throughout the past year. Namely, Was I isolated from my normal life or did I opt for solitude as a necessary means of shifting direction to internal growth?

Exhausation…

19th December 2014: Sydney. Australia

I had a meeting with an Associate Professor from Sydney University today in the hope of making progress with the planning of my Sunflower Framework. Overall, the outcomes seemed positive with details of other researches provided, feedback on the proposal provided and an arrangement to meet again in January to further discuss the matter. I am hopeful a positive result awaits, and need my motivation to continue, especially with the road ahead still seeming a long way till confirmation is obtained stating research and or operation of framework can commence.

Just to note, there was a considerable amount of difficulty experienced in preparing for the meeting. Yesterday, fleeting thoughts passed through my mind surrounding doubts in attending the meeting plus my overall mental and physical state seemed to complicate all the tasks involved in appropriately equipping myself. It is hard to define my actual state, it’s not a feeling of nausea or exhaustion from the cold over the past two weeks. Rather, an overall subdued feeling, making daily tasks seem almost overwhelming. The effort needed to continue currently write an entry definitely meets this criteria. I feel some change is required, and consequently I am inclined to review the daily logs from the past year to compare the foods consumed around the period of April/June compared to now. The goal is to assess whether a degree of complacency has crept itself into my daily life, possibly having a correlation with this prolonged feeling. I guess May/June will provide a good bearing as it was at the time when I was extensively reading and listening to information about food and nutrition. Another area of my life missing will be the difference in undertaking yoga on a daily basis at a centre compared to completing my poses at home. I had information from my doctor today advising me I had climbed into the therapeutic window for my treatment, meaning the amount of chemotherapy circulating throughout my body has increased rather significantly prior to the period of April/June. Therefore, an explanation of these changes could simply derive from this increase, a very likely possibility, however, it will still be useful to see how else I combat the feelings I have to return to a better stage of health within my mind and body.

Can I find the secret to healing myself from the flu???

4th December 2014: Sydney

I had a feeling of coming down with an overwhelming feeling of fatigue, and now it appears with the feelings continuing that a flu is approaching. It seems strange to be coming down with a flu at this time of year, especially with the recent weather ravishing the city. Due to such feelings, heightened by an absolute loathing of the flu, I tried to shape my day in a way, enabling my body to recover in the fastest amount of time. Regardless of whether it is just today, continues tomorrow or even spans over a period of time, it will be useful to track my day in the attempt to discover a formula to assist my body recover in the future. Undoubtedly, there will never be any certainty to discover if any of the points help my body to heal, however, if successful, then it may be used as a guide to hopefully limit future periods when not feeling well.

Is equal attention placed on stress compared to other areas in my life?

2nd December 2014: Sydney

The first point registered when sitting down to write was a reflection about a comment from the last week regarding the tone of entries seemingly overly negative. I have to question what was previously stated, adding the negativity is likely to derive from the extra motivation to write when not feeling the best, partly due to the process of writing relieving some of those feelings. In addition, it allows me to pour out the thoughts associated with my experiences. Therefore, thinking that I am always negative may be a misrepresentation of how as a whole I am actually feeling. Furthermore, my decision to write must be considered as I wish to avoid feeling like a constant burden on others or worse, the stem of their pain.

A point I find interesting, coming from a position without any medical knowledge is how completing similar tasks throughout a day can lead me to polar opposite places. For instance, my nutrition, level of rest or movement hasn’t changed today, and I know there are various other factors to be considered, including the sunshine, the happiness in my relationship and the satisfaction felt in completing my project. In addition, the reality of just periodically feeling unwell must not be overlooked. Finally, the elimination of stress is a point widely seen in literature relating to the necessary points in overcoming Cancer. I do need to measure whether sufficient or equal attention is placed on this area compared with what I deem to be my other core principles (or petals in my framework).

My moods can be tidal whereby I wake up with a feeling of uncertainty about when the tide will turn, sliding me back to normality

25th November 2014: Sydney, Australia

Two close friends have seen separate entires since starting to write approximately three months ago. One such friend has repeatedly expressed his curiosity about the reason for not revisiting the past entries written. I know the curiosity is coming from a good place, possibly attempting to challenge me in a way that will lead to growth, however, I remain reluctant to act upon this indirect and subtle challenge. The very reasoning behind my actions would be the stark reality of how often the entries are saturated in negativity, and from the opening passage, one can imagine the theme to follow. If this hypothesis is correct, I wonder what impact it will have by being reminded of how often I can actually be down about my circumstances? Undoubtedly, to be in some ways classified as ‘suffering’ would be expected right? Or is my vision and experiences completely different to others? Do people truly live the life I attempt to act in front of others, taking the experience as a positive, without having down days? I am not indicating I deliberately pretend to act a certain way in front of others, more I choose my moments when I will spend time others, i.e, when feeling good. At other times, I will isolate myself, in both a physical and digital sense, i.e. limited contact with friends on phone and social media sites.

Maybe I am being too critical of myself, and the very nature of the journal is to write about all the range of factors causing me to be in such a negative mind-state? Actually a more accurate account would be to not make reference to a hypothetical array of factors, it simply comes down to a feeling of sickness that overtakes me, sending me spiralling into a gloomy mood. A mood with a tidal motion, gently sneaking upon me as the day passes, and on some days, I wake up with the feelings of uncertainty about when the tide will turn, sliding me back to normality. Surprisingly, the very process of writing, even though it may seem there isn’t a great deal of information contained within these passages, still seems to be able alleviate some of the feelings experienced only 40 minutes before writing? It feels so strange, it is like I need to pour out all this internal garbage into a space where no response is received before I am even able to smile. Over the course of writing the music will shift, the headache seems to fade away and my thoughts redirect from a blurred existence of time watching to constructively thinking about what awaits in the day ahead. It is actually ridiculous how significant the shift is!

Accountability

15th 2014: Sydney Australia

Accountability had been an area addressed in previous entries, and is seen as key to remaining focused on executing whatever tasks are planned. Obviously the fact of having no manager or coach to oversee my progress, results in a dependency on my own motivation and drive. The very existence of these daily entries are a source of keeping me accountable, leading me to follow through with points covered. One example was the the idea of having a two day fast/cleanse, and currently the idea is yet to progress from a pre-planning stage. Therefore, I am setting myself a deadline of having the fast/cleanse completed by next Friday.

It will be interesting to track the two day period whilst also highlighting the usefulness in completing the journal as a source of keeping me accountable over the coming week. In regards to accountability, I am still going to seek the support of a friend or past colleague to keep track of my progress in some areas of my life, namely the group programme I wish to run, however, in terms of personal goals, the process of journalling can prove to be a very effective method of ensuring I follow through with ideas worthy of pursuing. In addition, it is such an individualised tool for expressing myself without a filter of others influencing my headspace.

I mentioned the idea was in what I consider a pre-planning stage. Therefore, the task ahead is to take the steps necessary in making preparations to follow through with the idea. Firstly, I need to decide on the method for conducting the two day fast/cleanse. Next step will be to ensure my family are notified of my plans to obtain their support, especially when the evident changes are noted, i.e. not eating breakfast or joining dinner at the table of an evening. Finally, a creation of a weekly routine is necessary to arrange exercise for days outside of the period plus the avoidance of any other events/tasks requiring more effort than required.

I have no idea whether I will complete the fast, and consideration needs to be directed to the purpose and benefits of such a task, especially bearing in mind the recent bouts of nausea experienced. Regardless of whether I complete the fast, I will be able to comment on the matter from an informed position. An area of importance, particularly should my plans to support the journey of others with their Cancer experience come to fruition.