Blindfold yoga

25th November 2015: Sydney, Australia

The recent decision to trial varying yoga teaches and styles has resulted in the sense of needing to share a specific experience with others. Last night, I arrived as usual to the studio, prepared with some brief stretches before being informed the class would proceed without use of our predominant sense. Obviously, there was an option to discard the blindfold, however, I was not going to pass on this moment. Immediately, an excitement, intrigue and overall enthusiasm was felt at this foreign prospect. Honestly, no hesitations were present within my thinking. Instead, a receptive, curious and awaiting mind was centred upon the next hour.

At the most basic level, eliminating our sight could link to thoughts about an unsteadiness, and of course, I imagine differences would have been evident if the many times I had my vision were compared with yesterday. However, solely focusing on a physical unsteadiness overlooks the deeper awareness allowed to open when a shift occurs in the way we reliance on our senses. Honestly, the class facilitated a deeper connection in regards to the relationship between my body and the space around me whilst also making me feel attuned to what was happening inside my mind. Furthermore, the act of temporarily taking away the sight from everyone in the room allowed a true freedom to exist. A freedom whereby everyone could move without a worry about how they looked.

Bellingen and the ‘Promised Lands’

21st October 2015: Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia

Today, a moment occurred today whereby a thought came upon me, and has since stayed with me till the time of writing. I was at the ‘Promised Lands’, a place known for freshwater swimming pools existing in the area. My intention was to complete yoga on the banks before cooling off in the majestic natural baths. So, a secluded place was located, and in a typical manner I commenced preparing for some yoga, however, a feeling swept across me. A feeling only described as a sense in my body of a reluctance to proceed with the range of planned poses. On other occasions, I usually push through, and always reap the benefits of the practice, however, an overwhelming sense that my intentions were incorrect could not pass from my consciousness. Thankfully, I listened to my body, and ultimately stopped any further attempts. Instead, I simply sat and looked at the scenery. Honestly, it was a moment whereby the natural surroundings evoked total appreciation for my life, and the next two hours were spent interchanging between swimming in the freshwater and sitting on the rocks eating fresh fruit. On reflection, it was a necessary reminder of not always needing to rush or adhere to plans. Rather, the need to be connected with my body to at times have the capacity to just stop. Consequently, I passed on a yoga session on the banks of the water, but experienced complete and utter joy in my surrounding environment whilst returning to a childlike version of myself exploring the water and rocks.

How to balance self-improvement with a social identity

9th September 2015: Sydney, Australia

The yoga classes attended yesterday and today made me reflect on the time spent since my operation, particularly in regards to questions about whether I used the time effectively. I definitely allowed time for my body and soul to heal, however, I am uncertain if a degree of complacency was able to creep into my life throughout the latter weeks. I believe a feeling of simply being content in life was apparent, and ironically, it seems I have an enhanced ability at juggling multiple tasks when a greater number of activities feature in my day. Moreover, virtually all the tasks I wish to be completing when I make a return to my usual level functioning are undertaken on an individual basis. Consequently, sacrifices to the social component of my life are necessary should the life I thought I wish to strive for be implemented. It seems my previous planning centred upon the concept of self-improvement, and the planning resulted in a loss to my social connections. Therefore, it is essential to ensure I learn from my past, and still partake in all the actives I wish to complete, however, prioritise the space to regularly connect with friends and family in social situations.

The countdown is on…

6th July 2015: Sydney, Australia

The time till my hospital admission is rapidly approaching, and I must state that a very surreal feeling in relation to the connection with myself is being experienced. The positive attitude, bursts of energy, and an overwhelming sense of freedom seems ever present, yet, I can feel a creeping sensation that is extremely difficult to define. If an attempt was made to explain the sensation, I would say a slight degree of anxiety only felt at night in the sanctuary of my bed is slowly building in momentum. I understand this is obviously normal, and am confident of managing the impact of the anxiety, namely, a fear associated with what could eventuate over the coming days.

The reasoning behind my confidence is rooted in the belief held about my future. A future made possible by:
1. Family members who continue to amaze me with a level of understanding consistently on display. I actually find it ridiculous how much ease has been added to this whole process from the support provided by my family.
2. Wide group of friends spanning the world that seems to be best described as a combination between a vacuum and trampoline. I feel the support in my life sucks away any concerns through an array of means whilst conversely having the capacity to bounce me back to normality with constant laughter and joy.
3. Yoga and surfing, two activities enjoyed on a daily basis whereby my body is moving to alleviate stressors and allow blood to circulate around my body.
4. Rocky Balboa for providing a strong, vivid and emotive catchphrase that ensures an anchor exists within my life. When my thinking can switch into a destructive mode, all I need to remember is the opening phrase whereby he states, “life isn’t all about sunshine and rainbows”. Those few select words have a powerful effect in helping me realise the reality of the hardships to be encountered in life, and it is these moments that will define my strength.
5. Confidence in the medical team working towards the best possible outcome.
6. Miscellaneous factors also need a mention, they would be grouped as music I have been exposed to, memories of past times and the dreams of a happy and successful future awaiting me.
7. Total belief in my existence!

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.

Am I known as just that Cancer guy?

27th May 2015: Sydney Australia

I still leave for my trip tomorrow, however, it is now a shorted version, and I have hope that my ex-girlfriend will meet me for a week. Till yesterday, it had been a number of months since talking on the phone. Oddly, with everything happening, it felt so normal, elicited such happy emotions, and has intensified a want and need for her to be with me. I am unsure whether it will actually happen, and one of my major concerns is how fair the situation is for her, so will need to wait to see how it unfolds.

The reestablishment of communication had only added to the surreal feelings had in regards to everything happening around me. It was only last week, I was talking about a confidence in knowing the scan was to be ok whilst looking at the prospect of two months away surfing, completing my yoga and continuing my progression. Now, my mind is constantly drifting, knowing I will soon be cut open followed by a round of Radiotherapy. To put it simply, I just want to live a normal life, and not return to this story of me being the Cancer guy.

Yoga

23rd May 2015: Sydney, Australia

I attended a yoga class for the first time in many months last night. The class, was more of an event to raise money for the people of Nepal impacted by the recent earthquakes. I must admit, I have throughly enjoyed completing yoga in my own house since heading to London last year, however, the class environment seems to take me to a much deeper level whilst also acting as a mechanism to release loads of endorphins throughout my king and body once completed. The class definitely reinforced the benefits of attending a class, and there is certain to be a greater focus on completing yoga within a group whilst in Indonesia.

My ever active mind was benched, witnessing the wonders of the body on display

11th December 2014: Sydney

In the morning, I was completing a yoga routine with supposed benefits for people experiencing cold/flu symptoms. It consists of seven restorative floor based poses, and it has actually been successful over the past few days in relieving some of the sinus. A sequence unfolded throughout the routine resulting in a completely varied series of movements unconsciously becoming integrated into the routine. I must note, there was no thinking or planning behind the actions of my body to bend into varying poses, it just seemed my body was enhancing the routine with additional poses. The experience appeared to be a case whereby my body rather than my mind was in control. Almost like my body was making decisions based on a knowledge of an improved state of health whilst armoured with an understanding of how much it was able diverge from the planned routine.

I believe the events from this morning demonstrate a time where my body was in complete control, with my ever active mind being relegated to the superiority of the wonders of the body. In summary, the experience reinforced the need to create an environment that allows another unanswered agreement between my mind and body to occur. One final point would be to make reference to the mental components associated with the experience because upon concluding the full routine, my mind felt so fresh and alter. Thus, leading me to believe that a return to full health has occurred, and the odd yet extremely powerful connection between my mind and body became evident.

Is change coming…

10th December 2014: Sydney Australia

The road may be changing, well at least it feels like it is, and I am hoping upon waking up tomorrow morning signals further changes from how I currently feel. It simply can be labelled another day of rest, I did manage a surf and added some extra movement into my gentle relaxing yoga routine, however, overall it was a very quiet and uneventful day. It seems the idea of attempting to discover a somewhat miracle cure to future illnesses was a little unrealistic, in reality, nature has taken it’s course, and now I am starting to feel better. There would be inconclusive evidence to prove any of my actions has helped my circumstances and were a better choice than opting for either no changes in my life or opting for use of medicine. I guess, the attention placed on recovering faster can reinforce a belief about the capacity of my body to heal. Alternatively, as was showed yesterday, my mood can become deflated.

Another matter brought to my awareness over the past few days is the aroused curiosity on the reasoning for two colds striking within three months, bearing in mind no ill-health was experienced since the operation. The last blood results revealed no striking abnormality in regards to my white blood cells, dismissing the potential of the chemotherapy causing a weakened immunity. Again, I may be reporting very flawed information due to my lack of medical knowledge, and am basing this on my seemingly limited understanding of the body, however, it interesting, and hopefully is just a case of having sequential colds opposed to a matter much more severe.

Bliss!

17th October 2014: Sydney Australia

A couple of pacts have been made over the past two days. Firstly, the goal to complete a fast by next Friday and secondly, the need to only be positive for the next seven entries. In regards to the first point, I have found a preferred programme set to complete next Tuesday and Wednesday. Secondly, positivity. Well, I did feel the best I have in a number of weeks, the main question is whether a relationship really exists between thinking positively and how my body responds? To discover if there is a scope for further attention on the matter, examination over a significant period of time is necessary to avoid a degree of stupidity in assuming a period of one or two days is significant information to prove the accuracy of the hypothesis.

In regards to my day, I feel a chain of events should be shared. Noticeable changes were seen in my energy levels as the afternoon approached. Most notably, a lack of mental capacity and an overall feeling of my body slowing down. I had plans to complete for the day, however, opted against pushing through the lethargy to utilise the joy of having no-one around to complete some meditation. I used an app called mindfulness to complete a 20 minute scanning exercise of my body before setting into my own state whereby an hour ended up passing, leaving me feeling refreshed and pleased in not falling asleep (as I have been doing of late). A reasonably well paced and challenging yoga session then followed before I started cooking dinner. Maybe over descriptive I know, I’m just trying to provide a snapshot of how I went from a state of tiredness to one whereby I realised for the first time in a number of weeks I was singing with a smile on my face, accompanied by a feeling of happiness circulating throughout my body. One of those magical moments you wish could be bottled and stored. A completely natural occurring physiological process of pure bliss, costing absolutely nothing and not in the form of an artificial drug with possible side-effects or a period when coming down from the drug. As noted, pure natural bliss. Surely, the very point of existence right there! I am now tapping away before I sleep, feeling a lot less nauseous, pleased with the response my doctor yesterday and excited to continue this feeling into the weekend.