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.

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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.

Is love the answer?

15th June 2015: Bali, Indonesia

A complete reversal from the previous day was experienced upon rising. I instinctively knew from the very moment of opening my eyes that a happy and enjoyable was approaching. Admittedly, the dancing undertaken in the bathroom after leaving my bed further reinforced this belief. It is interesting how the entry is the polar opposite to the last time I opted to write.

It is now 7pm, and the morning feeling has thus far provided accurate. In summary, a really fun time in the water was had in the morning, some delicious lunch, a sleep, and have just returned from competing yoga down on the forefront of the beach as the sun drifted off behind the ocean. To close, I must say it extremely hard to describe how I can feel such happiness, considering everything happening around me. The question begging me relates to the power of love, namely, whether outcomes may differ for some people experiencing hardship should sustained, accepted and reciprocated true love be present in the lives? Maybe I am a hopeless romantic, and it is likely I am, because I am holding onto as a truth.

Hello Asia!

29th May 2015: Bali, Indonesia

The first day has come to a close, and to say I am pleased with the decision to proceed with the trip is an understatement. I am so content, happy and relaxed it actually astounds me to consider I have a Cancerous tumour residing within my body. I am writing this now in the surrounds of a peaceful backdrop, with sounds of the ocean playing joyfully with the black sand as it flows with the pace of the tide. Interestingly, I went out dancing last night, stayed up late, and although it goes against everything I said yesterday, I had such a fun time with a good friend from London that only feelings of happiness are experienced.

At one period in the day, I found myself surfing with no other people in the water. I felt completely isolated from the world, and as usual my mind started ticking over. Interestingly, it wasn’t a destructive chatter. Rather, positive feelings seemed to be flowing throughout my mind, and I see this resulting from the decision made to compartmentalise certain periods in my day to only think about my future. I see it as more beneficial than constantly blocking out thoughts about my Cancer. The moment of solitude in the water was also heightened by the actual contents of my thoughts. I recognise the disapproval of some may follow, however, the platform is designed to share, so I feel it is a point to be discussed. The idea stems from the entry yesterday about the percentage of my body that is healthy compared to the tumour growing inside of me. For some reason, I have felt the need to draw on sensations from the environment to support my strength and well-being. I achieved this today by taking a moment to simply breathe whilst attempting to seek power from the ocean, sun and trees to heal my body. It is agreed that maybe the levels of desperation are showing, however, I am seeing the attempt as another tool that will possibly result in my survival. Therefore, it may sound naive and laughable, but if I survival, then anything attempted definitely outweighs my death.

Will Cancer always be like a fin in the ocean, and I need to wait to discover whether a shark or dolphin is in my prescence?

17th December 2014: Sydney, Australia

I seem to have developed the capacity to constantly draw meaning from the surrounding environment to my personal circumstances. The event leading to these chain of thoughts was again located within the ocean whilst surfing, and has acted as a reminder of how important it is to connect with nature, especially the ocean. The difficulty immediately coming to mind is the upcoming future decision to be made in regards to my long distance relationship. It may be argued whether a connection with the ocean is a necessity in my life, however, I must not overlook the appeal the ocean has on me, particularly how calming it can be; it’s natural beauty; the occurrences that seem to bring certain thinking to surface, and importantly the enjoyment and overall feeling of joy associated with the times spent either swimming, surfing or gazing into the horizon. In addition, my life has virtually revolved around the ocean since birth, eliciting an emptiness at the thought of this not featuring in my future life. I do acknowledge all the wonders brought to my life by my relationship, and therefore lies the very complex problem of what decision is to be made.

The circumstances today were experienced alone, a somewhat rare occasion, especially when in the summer months of Australia. To place content in the event, it should be noted that I was in a slightly elevated state of anxiety due to recent shark sightings over consecutive weekends. So, when my eyesight saw a pair of dolphins jumping through the water, thoughts of what were accompanying the dolphins initially blocked my ability to completely bask in the majestic beauty of the playfulness occurring directly in front of me. A few moments later, a fin was seen cruising approximately 50 meters from where I saw the dolphins. Instinctively, I knew it was just the dolphins, however, the thought was reinforced of whether a shark was trailing the dolphins. A break in this chain of thought resulted from a number of similar fins accompanying this lone fin, reassuring me of the fact that I was surrounded by a group of dolphins gently playing in the surrounding water.

The question thought at a later stage centred upon the significance of knowing it was dolphins. If there was no knowledge about dolphins, then it is highly likely I would have been extremely scared of the prospect of what damage a shark could inflict upon me, and whether I would have gone in the water at the same time again. Therefore, I need to ask, what if the Cancer inside of me was the fin? If so, can the feeling ever be replicated whereby I sigh at a relief of knowing I am not in any sort of danger, or alternatively, will I forever initially feel a degree of anxiety and fear in varying situations throughout my life?

Day of perfection

14th November 2014: Sydney, Australia

The weather soared to 34 degrees today! I find it incredible how ordinary and familiar moments are able to bring such happiness into my life. For instance, an afternoon surf elicited an overwhelming joy when recapping the days events. There was nothing spectacular about the day, however, I just felt an appreciation of life, accompanied by a feeling of not seeking or searching for anything, simply living and basking in a state of happiness. The waves were not great, I think it was just the realisation of finishing an excellent day with my favourite pastime featured most days of my adolescence and early twenties.

There was a moment whereby I was so caught up in the days events that I switched into a mode of projecting into the future. Ultimately, I was blocking myself off from what was actually happening around me, and come to to think about it, reminiscing on the days events would have also limited my capacity to fully appreciate the very moments that made my evening surf during my adolescence such a memorable experience. I was able to recognise the thought process of switching between thinking about accounts of my day and how I would be share this with others. Consequently, attention was then directed back to my natural surroundings and the very reasoning for the feeling of elation. A quick summary of my day in a sequence shows:
– Wake up, water garden, breakfast in the sun, surf, exercise in the park, lunch, swim, read, sleep, yoga, water garden, surf, cook then settled into to watch a movie!

A very simple day, and could definitely have been heightened by the company of my girlfriend, however, was feeling content with what I had. Ironically, I am now going to bed with a slight feeling of nausea! A reminder of contradictions and imperfections in my life.