Saltwater is the ultimate cure

21st August 2015: Sydney, Australia

Today, I once again had the feeling of my bare feet walking upon the heated gravel whilst the sun spread its warmth and glory upon my wet hair. It was a familiar walk, one completed for over twenty years, however, one aspect separating the walk from many other occasions was the pure joy experienced in knowing I had just completed my first swim in the saltwater since my operation. Honestly, on reflection, I believe the smile beaming from my face could have competed with anyone in the world.

The walk appears to have reinforced the reality of the circumstances unfolding around me, especially the progress made in six weeks. Limited restrictions were felt throughout the entirety of the swim, with a close only resulting from an intention of not wanting to push myself. In conclusion, I feel extremely fortunate to be back utilising the natural environment in the hot sun, and am filled with excitement of what awaits over the summer months.

How best to heal

7th August 2015: Sydney, Australia

The idea of weening myself off pain-medication seems like an achievable goal, however, leave the thought with me for a little longer, and my intentions become skewed. Consequently, the wound starts to throb, and I end up taking pills.

One intriguing point regarding the pain-relief medication occurred at the farm yesterday, adding weight to my position of the place being seen as a retreat. For instance, bearing in mind I have taken three tablets today, the amount consumed yesterday only totalled one. Many factors could contribute to the drop in usage, including the fresh country air, tranquil surroundings, reduced bodily output due to continual support from friends or simply a case of my mind being distracted from the pain due to constant company or the captivating natural environment. The disparity in usage could be categorised as a normal fluctuating phenomenon associated with pain. Alternatively, attention can be directed to the supposed health and healing benefits found in nature, and this very concept has further aroused my interest in spending the period of October and November basked in the far northern NSW sunlight whilst encapsulated by the neighbouring mountain range and ocean. I am unable to think of a better plan conducive to my recovery and healing.

My own retreat!

6th August 2015: Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia

Yesterday, I made reference to my current dwellings resembling a retreat, and on reflection, an avoidance of initially labelling the place a retreat resulted from a modern interpretation of the meaning associated with the term. Namely, an exclusive and expensive place whereby your health is promoted via a range of differing options. Now, if we were to make a comparison from my current dwellings to anywhere else, I do not feel any more benefits could be obtained. In reality, my friends and I are on very our own retreat, and fortunately, the typically exorbitant costs associated with a retreat have been eliminated. We are secluded from the wider community; engrossed within a natural landscape; eating hand picked fruit and vegetables, and living a life operating on a pace whereby there is ample opportunity to safely explore the concept of “self”. In addition, the company of close friends has considerable advantages, especially bearing in mind my current need to have people supporting me.

The significance of having close friends should not be underestimated or categorised simply as a selfish need due to my limited mobility. Of course, it is extremely helpful to have support to ensure I do not over exert myself, however, the company of my friends play a vital role in assuring my family members that I am safe whilst importantly establishing a joyful and positive atmosphere for the entirety of the group. Furthermore, the complete independence and freedom allows the creation of an atmosphere where no time regulations or stress are placed upon us. I completely recognise the biased stance put forth, however, I honestly feel this place is the ultimate environment conducive for my current circumstances, and would most definitely opt for this place above and beyond any alternate available options.

Time for a retreat

5th August 2015: Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia

I am writing a brief entry from a farm approximately two hours north of Sydney. The 10 acreages is more reflective of a health retreat rather than a basic farm I imagine you first conjured in your mind. The main residence is beautifully designed, with each piece eclectically made by hand over the span of two decades. I feel very fortunate to have a friend who has allowed me and two others into the treasured jewel, the place his family call their home away from home. It seems it has been an ever evolving project whilst maintaining a degree of tranquility seemingly imprinted into the DNA of the structure. At present, there is no other placeĀ I would rather be. Constantly, my eyes alternate between discovering a unique design of the house and simply taking in the sprawling views of the property. It is actually unbelievable to be sitting adjacent to a fire, totally immobilised by the pain and restriction of the surgery whilst feelingcompletely disconnected from the stressors associated with life. In all honestly, I must say a hope is felt in the paradox existing between the distance felt with my experiences over the past month and how my circumstnaces will unfold over the coming years.

Why I travel…

19th June 2015: Bali, Indonesia

Yesterday, a moment occurred that will be forever remembered. The location of the moment was at a surfspot I have recently being surfing. The waves at the place break over shallow, sharp reef, and yesterday the size of surf significantly increased. A complexity is associated with the place due to the fear associated with falling into the sharp reef. I should note at this point a pivotal factor coming to surface on reflection. I have had the mentality throughout the trip of solely wanting things from the ocean. The entry will hopefully portray the understanding learned from the experience whilst also showing an overwhelming respect to the ocean.

So, a friend and I were intending on surfing together. Upon arriving at the place we saw the actual size of the larger waves running down the reef. It was an extremely low tide so we had to walk approximately 100 meters on the reef before attempting to challenge the ocean. My fried successfully managed to make his way out to the waves whilst I remained stuck on the reef throwing my board into the sky attempting to litigate the potential risks of the oncoming balls of fury breaking directly in front of me. Three consecutive waves rolled me along the reef, resulting in my sensing a message was being delivered about an imminent dangers should I continue. There definitely would have been a time when I would have reflected on this experience as a moment of weakness, however, my acceptance and submission lead me to respect the ocean whilst also allowing other opportunities to surface.

The outcomes of being rolled along the reef by three waves resulted in me drifting approximately 150 around the cliff. I noticed a patch of sand was exposed by the low tide forming a little bay, and I felt an overwhelming connection with the world around me. It seemed my fate was to submit to the ocean. Therefore, I decided to turn around to commence the journey back to the shore. Whilst paddling, I felt drawn to the exposed bay, and again felt I needed to follow my instincts. Once standing on the bay, I rested my board in some shade, and completed a powerful and emotive yoga session. I was surprised at how deep into the practice I became, and felt the three waves served the purpose of getting me to find strength in accepting my defeat. I fully acknowledge the criticism by some at the content, however, I can honestly say it is an accurate account of what I was experiencing at the time, and still believe the events are to hold some meaning in my life.

Even the pests of the sky can maintain a relationship..

23rd November 2014: Sydney, Australia

It is intriguing how the natural occurrences within daily life can appear to truly reflect one’s state of being. I am curious as to whether this relates to being more open and aware of the natural phenomena surrounding you when sent into a subdued mindset by the challenges faced at that moment in life? The sequence of events to be explained followed another argument with my girlfriend. In brief, the argument started as an extremely minor exchange before quickly escalating into a phone conversation where I was swearing, had a raised voice and hung up the phone, A rather embarrassing situation to reflect upon, and possibly helpful to amend future behaviours. Easily, ownership of the argument could be externalised by making reference to the possible changes in my mood and behaviours resulting from the significant shifts over the past year. I think such a stance could draw on the profound impact of the social, emotional and biological factors evolving around me. Take for example, the brakes that have been applied in my life in regards to future career opportunities, the joy I see in many of my friends in forming life partners with someone else or the internal changes resulting from my medication. I am in no way bitter about any of the points, however, the examples could be used as possible reasons to explain a persons behaviours and actions. As noted, no reasons or in this cases excuses will be applied. Rather, complete ownership of the argument needs to be taken on board. Furthermore, if the argument did not occur would all the signs have come to my attention today?

The events mentioned were located within a Chinese restaurant of all places, and I imagine a certain mood had been detected by my family during the meal. Typical for a Chinese restaurant, the fortune cookies arrived. All versions were shared, with mine stating that happiness was found when two minds connect. Just what I needed to hear! As if thoughts about my relationship hadn’t been running through my mind already. I felt absolutely shattered upon returning returning home and feel asleep for a few hours. My mind was needing to be cleared so I went for a surf. It was very small with not many options available, however, it was just what I desired. There was no one else in the water, simply allowing my mind the time and freedom to wonder whilst also hoping to catch a few small waves for fun. I was aware of the light dimming due to the time of day and the looming clouds appearing to pour open at any moment, then my gaze drifted out to the horizon with two seagulls immediately coming into focus. I noticed the two of them playfully swooping together. I thought ‘wow, even the pests of the sky can maintain a relationship’.

So, the looming clouds were quickly covering the skyline, and I was wishing for the clouds to pour rain all over me. It was almost like a feeling of the clouds shedding the tears for me. I was wanting to embrace the rain, with my arms completely spread open, enabling me to fully accept the tears. It wasn’t to be, and in some way, the wish for rain would not have been consistent with the theme of day. Instead, I came to realise the symbolism of the clouds appearing in the sky was to bring out my feelings whilst not allowing an easy option of allowing my tears to fall from someone other than me. The question I am pondering is whether I would I have smiled or cried if the clouds opened up? They still hover over the skyline, mirroring my dour facial expressions and body language.

How the events we encounter shape our perceptions of life

27th October 2014: Sydney Australia

How often do certain phrases attempt to corrupt your mindset into believing the world we live in is static rather than dynamic. “What’s been happening, oh not much” is a modern aged typical use of language exchanged to deny the existence of an ever changing process of life. Are both examples a true reflection of the beliefs held by people or does it result from an inherent laziness that is seemingly developing stronger over time within the population of the modern world?

Ultimately change is subjective, and the meaning we as a population place on change is also subjective. Take for instance the blooming of flowers on a plant discussed yesterday. It would be absurd to assume that everyone walking past the flower on a daily basis would notice the slow growth throughout the weeks. In contrast, others would have observed the change, and some even would have made the slightest observations in more detail. Such observations could include the increase in visibility of varying insects or the morning calling of certain birds being heard earlier than previous weeks. Another variant to consider would be whether the concept of time needs to be factored into the discussion. Instead of walking past a plant on a daily basis, take for example the likelihood of someone noticing the change who walked past the empty flower prior to his/her departure from the airport during a month in winter and returning in summer to see the flower showing all it’s grandeur and beauty.

The point of the entry relates to how we both notice and measure change? An experience this morning resulted in thoughts about whether I have changed over the course of the year, or should I say whether I have changed because of having had Cancer. It may appear to be fairly straight forward, and I’m curious as to the perception of those around me if they were to read this. Admittedly, adjustments have been made in my lifestyle and the ways I spend my time, the most striking difference is the inclusion of yoga within my daily routine, and the fact I am currently incapable of working. In regards to the external perception of me, I imagine a look at my medical records alone would be sufficient for many to think change is inevitable. In addition, lifestyle changes may be a noticeable indicator for labelling a change has occurred. For me, a difference in lifestyle choices in no way equates to what I deem real change. Instead, as noted previously, I feel my thinking and outlook on life has grown, possibly at an accelerated pace due to the circumstances encountered. Therefore, I agree some changes may have resulted from the experience of Cancer, however, I wish to highlight the fact of changes were made in a linear fashion, stemming from a pre-existing plan for how to approach life, consistent with the stage I am within my lifecycle.

The topic came to the forefront of my thinking whilst sitting alone in the ocean on a very small day with little to no opportunity for waves to be caught. Regardless of what the ocean was offering, I felt like time in the water was needed, even if it was briefly, and it would be a bonus should the occasion present itself for a wave to be caught. The events unfolded with me taking to the water directly in front of two girls sunbaking on the beach and a fisherman casting his line in the water. Twenty minutes had passed when I realised the pulse of waves on offer at the beginning of the session were no longer available. When looking to the shore, I noticed the girls and the fisherman had both seemed to move about 50 meters down the beach. Now, anyone with a knowledge of the water would know that they didn’t move, and the change in my position was due to the inconspicuous movement of the water drifting me down the beach.

The circumstances made me reflect on the nature of change, and how it is observed, especially when one is experiencing Cancer. Now, externally a perception of the experience of Cancer may consist wholly of a correlation with sorrow, tragedy and a completely unjust predicament, however, personally, the words associated with Cancer would be life, opportunity and happiness. The purpose of the entry is to outline the importance of recognising how circumstances are viewed, and how greatly they can vary between people. I must note, I am extremely aware that my views would not be shared be all people who have experienced Cancer, again, this is an example of a situation of varying people viewing a situation through a different lens. In conclusion, I agreed a sudden event caused a great deal of stress and worry, however, it set me upon this direction in life, and internally it almost feels like an excuse to actually implement the intended changes planned for many years.