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?

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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).

Rest and Motivation…. How do both relate??????

29th November 2014: Sydney, Australia

The decision to rest yesterday has proved beneficial with all pain associated with my chest region passing, consequently, leading to a complete reduction in worry and concern. The decision to rest is not always easy as I’m continually focusing on improving my strength and willpower. I must note, my acknowledgment of both factors not being specific to physical capabilities, however, the lasting effect of the surgery has placed me into a position whereby I wish to surpass all previous levels of health and well-being, inclusive of my physical strength. The tracking of all my daily movement is greatly supporting my ability to schedule rest into the week, and I feel the shoulder injury sustained prior to leaving London definitely acts as a reinforcement to ensure rest features within my week. ┬áTherefore, it would be extremely naive to overlook the frequency of days within the week when I fail to rest.

The feelings today were enhanced by other positive news in regards to the Sunflower Framework. There is no certainty of the framework progressing from an ongoing piece of work stored in my inbox, however, both a representative from Sydney University and Chris O’Reily’s Lifehouse have contacted me with out the outlook of further discussing the idea. It is rather encouraging, especially when recently my focus surrounded all the barriers involved in making the idea a reality. I am hopeful there will be some momentum over the coming weeks/months, but, am very realistic about the challenges ahead and the difficult to be faced. The contact with both parties has provided the necessary motivation to continue working towards producing a finalised quality product. I could simply say it will just be a case of wait and see, however, that would already in some way symbolise a mediocre outlook to the whole project, and an acceptance of the project not progressing at all. In summary, it leads me back to the need of being focused whilst eliciting a sense of accountability. The project will not advance without my drive, hardwork, and importantly the essential support from my close friends and family. I also need to recognise the input of Dr Lawrence Tahm and Marcus Pearce from a podcast called ‘The Champions Mind’ in really helping my mind-state get in a position required to write this journal, work on the project and take the steps necessary towards making the idea into a success.

Positive vs Negative

27th November 2014: Sydney, Australia

If talking truly about my attitude and outlook, I would say I am positive, however, the journal may not be a true reflection of this as often it seems I am negative in my thinking. I believe the fragility existing in my life what shines through in my writing. If true, I wonder if this then correlates with my communication with those close to me?

Journalling and accountability

11th November 2014: Sydney, Australia

It appears the effectiveness of journalling is once again showing it’s value. Imagine how frequent ideas are created, attracting your full attention for a period of time before they become just a memory at best. The journal, especially when setting myself targets ensures I remain focused, opposed to allowing an idea to drift into a past of what if! The journal also plays a key role in personal accountability. For instance, my monthly shot was taken yesterday, making it now 10 consecutive months whereby my physical recovery has been tracked. A rather simple task, and something that should be adhered to with no excuses, however, I doubt the capacity of remaining on task before writing a journal. Secondly, my Sunflower Framework! As mentioned, I am currently awaiting feedback, and have recognised a change in my ability to dedicate space and energy towards the project. Again, previously would this have been possible? Yes, the fact of having Cancer can assist the motivation, however, the journal keeps me motivated, stimulated and accountable to make the project a reality.

On reflection, a level of gratification could already be obtained by sharing the project with others, however, what meaning does that hold, or importantly what benefit is it to others with Cancer if it just a project of vanity? I am fortunate to have qualified people who can provide the constructive feedback needed to support me in reaching a certain standard with the project whereby it is able to operate in the community. I must note my acknowledgment of the project being a dream at this stage, however, how pleasing and satisfying would it be to start making dreams a reality.

Can this journal actually intensify my symptoms?

16th October 2014: Sydney Australia

Today is the perfect portrayal depicting the winding journey of Cancer whilst also questioning whether this journal actually captures my true feelings. It feels like the changes occurring in a day need to be tracked in the morning, at lunch, and now nearing time for rest. For instance, I woke up so nauseated that all I thought about was contacting my doctor for some advice and recommendations on putting an end to this ongoing feeling of illness. Images of me at the time would show a broken man lying horizontally in the sun, having lost the ability to verbally communicate. Then later, doubling my cortisol (artificially needed due to the chemo blocking its production) seemed to have a positive effect with me able to make breakfast, go for a surf, ride my bike and enjoy a lunch. Now, I am back to feeling that my face is ageing by the minute due to the scorn now seemingly a permanent feature on my face.

Some notes were jotted during the peak in energy levels. In reality though, those points seem so decent, and the ongoing churning, aches and overall flatness further make the activity of writing so positive appear so fake. I have thought about my journaling, and a negativity underlies the majority of my entries. I preach the positive life, however, only use this journal as a platform to moan and whine about varying circumstances. I am curious of the results should I make an effort to only write about aspects deemed positive and then measure the correlation if any with my actual feelings. Could it be a case that speaking so negatively within this domain then allows a negativity to manifest in my life?

I feel this hypothesis needs to be tested and also links to the matter of accountability. Therefore, over the coming week, only positive factors will be discussed or mentioned, and an evaluation of my feelings will be completed. I am intrigued by the findings and inclined to review all my past entires. So, for the next week it will all be joy and sunshine ­čÖé

Decision to commence journalling

27th August 2014: London, United Kingdom

The date of the entry is fairy self-explanatory, marking today as the starting point for sharing the thoughts and feelings collected over the past eight months. My reason bending sharing these entries mirror the feelings for embarking on a mission to track the experiences of haing Cancer (a point to be later revealed). With that short introduction finished, the below content and future entries all follow a chronoligical order recorded on the date provided at the beginning of each entry.

Prior to commencing a number of points need to be established. Firstly. I’m not going to have rules governing the entries in this process, i.e. everyday an entry needs to be made, the content needs to relate to my situation or a sequential pattern needs to be followed. A prime example of not adhering to a sequential order will be demonstrted by not following immediately with a second or third point, and instead look more closely at indirect reference made above. ‘My situation’ is otherwise known as the Cancer that was inside my body at the start of the year. By not labelling it as Cancer questions whether I have accepted the reality of the situation or if the terminology is used as a strategy to undermine it’s influence whilst enhancing my own control. From this very initial paragraph it is evident that this and many other topics require continuous revisiting and also establishes a theme about the somewhat subtle and more direct attempts I make at finding a stratergy to manage my health and overall life.

Second point, and being brutally honest is about the audience and purpose of these entries. Yes, the use of ‘these entries’ indicates a commitment to continuing this process, which then leads me to wonder whether my ego is largely at play here, screaming “it’s showtime, lets put this together to write a book or use a guide when running the groups that I have envisioned”. The group is a seperate idea whereby focusing on supporting individuals with Cancer and ideas for how individuals & carers both understand, process and prepare for their upcoming or present situations arising from their Cancer diagnosis. I am fully aware that the idea requires timescales and deadlines to actually see the idea become a reality. Otherwise, it will is just be like the market stall in London, the creation of an app or numerous other ideas that have gained my full attention than faded quickly into a past of thinking ‘what if’.
So back to the journal, the purpose/audience and the need for honesty. I would like to think that it may be useful to collect some of my thoughts and then someday, who knows, why not dream big and think that groups will be running and a selfhelp book can be published. Already, a degree of fear is noticed whilst writing this first entry. Consciously I will write, ‘how I will use the material’ opposed to ‘how the material will be used’. I feel this terminology places me in a position that creates a future for me, a future of life and to hijack words by others, a future of survival. All sounding very dramatic, however, it is the features of my stratergy to work towards achieving long-term health and well-being. Furthermore, in a more pragmatic view, it can be used to track my thoughts, reactions, celebrations and challenges to equip me for future scenarios.

Third point, the timing of the journal. Why didn’t I start writing once ‘my situaiton’ started? Well, it seems rather simple, and is clearly demonstrated by two key words, motivation and meaning! Many direct/subtle remarks about writing a journal were made from the very beginning. Plus, the message was reinforced in a book read from Dr Ian Gawler (how to cure cancer), however, there was a lack of any motivation in undertaking the activity. Furthermore, it had no meaning in my life. Interestingly, I have tracked the physical exercises completed, symptoms and my eating/drinking habits prior to the escalation of hearing the news that I had Caner, yet, I didn’t have the need or could not find purpose in writing a journal. The logical question surely then must be, why now? I think as noted before, it is whether I use this for personal reflection to track how I was thinking and what I have applied throughout the process or if this in someway takes shape to help others. Already, a sense is felt whereby both examples outline the main obstacle requiring attention. The obstacle is whether I am going to survive. The response must entail a level of normality in these thoughts, however, recognising that I cannot entertain them. Instead, I need to create, dream and focus on that loving, happy, wholesome and healthy life awaiting me.

A shift off topic occurred again. Maybe the prior passage speaks for itself, i.e. that my motivation wasn’t focused on writing a journal. Rather, my belief and energy was directed completely to getting through it all. The reason for writing now, well, is it optimistic to think further entries will follow symbolising a future and the realisation of my dreams. Also, the thought came to me and like many aspects of our lives, there needs to be a number of elements in place to the formation of a tangible item, whatever that may be. So why now, eight months after surgery did I start writing? It followed a discussion with a manager at work. Before we got onto the speaking about cases, we were having one of those engaging conversaitons where you can bounce all the accummulated informaition onto someone and also listen to what they are saying. Mind you, he has also had a close personal encounter with Cancer. Therefore, a degree of comfort is found, and he simply asked whether I am writing any or all of this down, to which I replied no. When leaving, the thought came to my mind and seemed like a completely necessary task to start working on.