Faded desires

I wake from my afternoon nap in a panic. The late golden sun melting below the palm trees, the wind creating dancing shadows of jagged palm fronds across my turquoise bed sheet. The scent of smoke from a nearby fire drifts through the cracked window, reminding me of the many remote and tropical islands of which my younger self ventured through.

Suddenly, all of my surf trips flashed before my eyes. That was it. No more of those wild days. But then slowly, panic gives way to acceptance. A giving way that has been weaving its way throughout my mind for the past couple of years. A feeling that was certainly not always easy to grasp. 

In the very moment of exploration, I know I made the absolute most of it. I couldn’t have lapped up any more of it had I tried. Though, coming out of the other side of filling everybikini body spare moment immersed in the ocean, it’s a relief to not be 100% engrossed in it anymore. It’s a making way for something even greater. 

My cup has well and truly overflowed with fullness for all the waves I’ve been privileged enough to ride. As I write, I sit with my mug of liquorice tea, while the first of the winter swells grace the shores. My rusted bicycle recklessly leans against a tree trunk from my early morning surf check. One where many hungry surfers lined the carpark, frantically getting into their wetsuits, eager to steal even one great ride. And yet, I felt a great calmness as I cycle away, no longer having that burning desperation to be out there. 

It was only a few years ago that I would punish myself for missing even one morning surf. The times when I did surf early, I’d then need to be out there in my lunch break and again after work. A complete and utter obsession. 

Now, a mysterious anticipation lingers in my mind. An anticipation for the next chapter to come. Curiosity tends to hijack many moments throughout my day; how great it must be on the other side. It must be something pretty incredible if it’s going to be any greater than my love of surfing.

Of course, this passion for surfing is never going to vanish and it will always remain a key foundation. 

Rather, there’s some kind of interlude playing out. 

A slow burn. 

There’s no longer a fearful clutching at something that feels like it’s slipping away. In recognising the need for that interlude, alluring visions flash through my mind. A tiny hand in mine, small and clumsy steps, wide and sparkling eyes as we slowly make our way around the edge of a remote island.

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The power of the period

As a surfer, it took a while for me to realise the importance of a backup sport or hobby to indulge in while the surf was unfavourable. I learnt over time, that to 100% obsess over surfing only caused frustration when nature wasn’t playing along. That’s where strength training came in. Oh and an incredibly inspirational boyfriend. The thing was, every time it got to that time of the month, I felt I had to sit out for almost a week because I was taught through yoga to be gentle with my body around moon cycle. It wasn’t until I looked into research that the week of strawberry fields was one of the most powerful weeks, in terms of strength goals in the gym. This might be a time for males to tune out… 

When you get your period, sometimes all you want to do is pass out on the couch in and around coping with your already busy lifestyle. Some women get hit harder than others, lower back pain, bloating and heavy bleeding, being the joyous symptoms that come around all too soon every month. No matter how many inspirational workout clips you watch on your Instagram feed, it really isn’t enough to motivate you to get your butt off the couch and to the gym. But that’s all about to change. 

Being on your period is the only time you’re not concerned with getting pregnant 

Bold statement yes. But biologically and evolutionarily it’s true. Testosterone levels are atsmall bikini their highest when you’re menstruating, given there is more biologically active testosterone available during exercise. So pretty much during this period (no pun intended) you are closer to being a man than ever before!

I think that in itself is pretty amazing, given guys go about buying testosterone supplements, yet as women we have free flowing hormones given to us naturally every month! I see this as a huge advantage for females! That’s right, bleeding can be a gift! 

Muscular strength increases 

I found a study out of Sweden that showed that by training within the first half of your menstrual cycle, had the biggest effect in terms of muscular strength, power and muscle mass. This is so important if you’re into heavy lifting and can be a time when you break previous records in how much weight you push or pull! This adds an extra level of confidence for your next session. 

Personally, when I discovered those studies, it was enough motivation just to hold that thought in my head to drag myself into the gym on my period! The placebo effect alone truly plays wonders on the mind. Throughout a heavy weighted set, I’d be telling myself “oh wow I really do have more strength!”

So it’s time to let go of the thought that you cannot train on your period, or that your period is some kind of curse! Take your power back. Training large muscle groups, such as quads, buttocks and hamstrings requires at least one heavy training session a week to truly see results. So now you have every reason not to sit out one of those important sessions every month! 

 

Pave the path to your dreams

As I drove the same road to the office yet again, by the time I parked my car at work I had realised that I may as well have placed a blindfold across my eyes. I’ve become so accustomed to driving that same route for two years, that I felt I didn’t even appreciate the beauty of the ocean along the way. To me there’s nothing worse than feeling as though your life is stagnating and you’re living the same chapter day in, day out. So exactly how do you break that pattern and add colour and depth to your life again? It all begins with mindset, because you’re the one in control here.

So often you might put yourself in a holding pattern without even realising it. Being held to that job you hate, that dissatisfied relationship and a town you really never wanted to live in. We are so programmed to only notice all the ‘what is’ in our lives, and from those observations believe sometimes that ‘this is the way it will always be’. This restricts us so much in the way we dream about how we want our future to look, although we were all too good at dreaming as a child, and I think it’s kind of sad that we lose that natural abraham hicksability as we grow all old and responsible.

I want to win the lotto then I can travel the world and retire early’. This kind of thought probably feels pretty good to you, but almost immediately you might contradict that thought with ‘oh but that will never happen, the odds are always against me’. The thing is, the law of attraction doesn’t care about your words, only your vibration that you’re offering. It’s only ever going to bring you more of the vibration that you put out there. ‘I’ll never have enough money’ means you’ll always attract more of not enough.

Believe it as just how you want it

Recently I got a job in Byron which allows me to move in with my man after 2 years of commuting, and living a little like passing ships in the night. In hindsight, I can now see that I got so caught up in how my life has been, that it took so much longer to manifest this new job than what I was hoping.

Even though I’ve learnt so much about law of attraction over the years, I was tripping on my own conditioned mind. Like a broken record I kept repeating in my own mind ‘I hate this lifestyle, I spend so little time with him, this job is so boring’ along with bucket loads of beach girlsimpatience and frustration. Of course I only got more of that which I disliked, which held me to the same old conditions, which left no room to allow any new conditions or opportunities to come my way.

The real trick is in playing an entirely new record in your mind. Whatever it is that you see in your dream lifestyle, write down all those aspects. For me it would be something along the lines of ‘I love waking up to you every morning, I’m so glad that all that commuting is behind us, I love living here again, it’s so great to be in a small community’.

Talk about your current lifestyle that you dislike as something of the past. Humans so often need to see a physical manifestation before they can believe something. The above trick gets you ahead energetically, which allows you to rapidly reach your dreams much faster than waiting for the physical manifestation.

I guess you can kind of picture it as brainwashing yourself! Don’t be afraid to get specific, it doesn’t matter how small the detail is, as long as it feels good and you can believe it to be real. There’s no point in saying ‘I can’t wait to live together, it’s going to feel so good when…’ as that will only remind you of the way it is now, you’ve got to speak it as though it’s happening right now, not in your future.

Catch your thoughts early on

Once you’ve put all that good energy into your new life thoughts, you have to be very mindful of negative thoughts that creep into your mind. In the beginning you might havesurf girl dreaming so much pent up resistance that you have to focus incredibly hard to wipe out these painful or negative thoughts.

I’m so tired of working with my colleagues, we have nothing in common and I’m sick of all the office gossip’, becomes ‘I love this new job, it’s such a positive atmosphere and in a strange way I look forward to coming into work every day’. You can see how this matches your vibration so much more closely to that which you want in your life.

If you’re unsure of the progress you’re making, just try to tune in to how you’re feeling. When you play with a puppy, you feel like a little kid again, and also feel so much joy. Tap into the joy that comes with your new mindset thoughts about your dream life. If you feel rundown and flat, then your focus is likely in the wrong place and you’ve got some work to do.

Look for the evidence

The law of attraction states that your own vibration will always match up with the vibration of another. Much like a tuning fork. What you attract externally is also another great measure of where you’re at with your mind thoughts. Just take the topic of road rage. A perfect example of the law of attraction at play.

The other day I was looking to hire a steam cleaning machine to bond clean my studio. I was getting increasingly frustrated at the high costs or lack of availability in my local stores. I recall driving out of the shopping complex all fired up that I couldn’t find what I was looking for, and had concluded that I never will.

As I approached a give way sign (with perhaps a little more speed than usual), I had to spiritualwait for a passing car at the t-section. Suddenly the car slammed its brakes on in front of me, with the female driver throwing her arms up in the air, before erratically flipping the bird in my direction. She must have thought I was going to T-bone her already beat up Holden Commodore!

This couldn’t be any more perfect proof, a suburb full of rich well-to-do’s and I attract the only one feral women who wanted to unleash her anger on me. Instead of taking on that anger myself, and getting even further fired up by retaliating I just started laughing at the irony of the situation. Those that are not tuned into law of attraction, likely would’ve flipped the bird right back at her, then continued passing that anger along to other people on the road!

So don’t be one of those people that state ‘I’ll be happy when…’ You are the one in control of your life and the thoughts that are churning in your head. It only takes around 16 seconds for one thought to attract another thought of the same nature, so why not make it a positive, good feeling thought?

 

 

 

Why I’ve switched to vegan protein

When I switched to brown rice/pea protein I nearly vomited at the taste. And to think that some vegan advocates can describe such a taste as earthy, as if to make it sound somewhat inviting. While it takes preparation time to make my new pre-gym vegan shake, I’ve found it all to be worth it and I’m sticking to it. So why did I even bother with the switch? Trust me, it’s not because I’ve turned into a ranting vegan.

I do kind of miss the convenience of my dairy protein (WPI). Before I used to head to the gym, I simply measured out a spoonful into a protein shaker, added some water, threw in the ball whisk and away I went. These days it takes only a few more minutes to prepare my shake, but that’s a lot for a busy girl itching to get into the gym!

So it all began when I was researching for a client’s health article on hormonal issues cacaorecently. I stumbled across a pretty disturbing study. I get the whole thing about how humans are the only ones drinking milk from another species, and how it’s a pretty crappy life to be continually milked, and to have your offspring continually snatched from you. However, with my other non-meat eating habits, I feel not too bad about continuing to consume dairy. Until I found that study.

Dairy and milk products contain 70% of animal estrogen.  That is the figure that made me stop in my tracks and think, do I really want that high level of weird hormones floating around in my system? Some other concerns from that same study include:

  • Increasing body of evidence indicating possible effect of dairy food’s estrogens in tumour provoking or initiation and such evidence being a great concern
  • Intensive veterinary drugs, especially growth promoting hormones utilized in veterinary medicine results in an increase of the residues in milk and other dairy foods.

Basically, steroid hormones are incredibly potent in dairy and leaves profound biological effects in humans, even at low doses. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my cheese and dairy products. Mostly my cheese though. But over the last month I’ve found myself veering away from most dairy products simply for health reasons, which drives my decision to pick up a dairy-free option instead.

Hormones affect so many processes in your body

You’ve probably heard of mood as being most closely linked to hormones, especially withswitch to vegan protein all the jokes about “oh she’s just being hormonal” around a women’s time of the month. But did you know that your hormones also affect multiple other processes in the body including:

  • Metabolism
  • Fertility
  • Development of brain tissue
  • Immunity
  • Body temperate
  • Digestion

Therefore, any interruption in your levels of hormones at even subtle levels, may have profound effects on how any of the above processes are carried out. Hormones are after all, our chemical messengers, so I wonder what they would be sending out when animal estrogens are thrown into the mix?

To me it’s no surprise that hormonal issues are becoming increasingly common in both men and women. I can think of a handful of friends that are battling with infertility or thyroid complications.

Dairy industry giants

You might wonder why you don’t hear about these kind of studies too often? Unless you’re working directly in a role where you’re exposed to medical research, you probably will never hear word of the negative implications of dairy. That’s because the global net worth of the dairy industry was recorded at 335.8 billion USD in 2014.

Why I chose brown rice/pea combo protein

In avoiding my use of a WPI protein, I wanted to make sure I was going to find a non-dairy substitute that was fairly fast absorbing, and also provided a strong nutritional content and amino acid profile. After reading an article on Bodybuilding.com here I was convinced to give brown rice/pea protein a go.

In reading the article, you’ll note that while one of the proteins on its own might lack in a particular amino acid, the other protein will have its back and make up for that shortfall. While it’s not digested as fast as WPI, the author points out that it falls between the absorption levels of WPI (fast absorbing) and casein (super slow absorbing) and I’m pretty happy with that.

Getting past that earthy taste

You’ll never find me describing the rice/pea combo protein as earthy. It is simply revolting and you’ll likely struggle to down a glass, unless you have some major issues with your taste buds! I experimented with a few different recipes and found this one to be pretty damn delicious.

Recipe

  • One 30g scoop of pure rice/pea protein (24g protein)
  • Half banana
  • One TBS natural peanut butter
  • 1 heaped tsp of raw cacao
  • One squirt of honey
  • Half cup of coconut milk or other nut milk
  • Half cup of water

Blend together in a blender until combined.

Last of all, make sure you’re purchasing a 100% pure protein. Your body doesn’t need all that synthetic crap in it, and there’s simply no need for artificial sweeteners when you’re making a tasty recipe out of the protein powder anyway.

How to master your flow state and score more waves

Karma and energy. Could these two dominating aspects of existence have anything to do with being in the right place, at the right time, for that one perfect wave that stays in your memory for a lifetime? Of course there’s such thing as fluking, but I think that there’s something bigger at play.

I mention the point because I’ve noticed that when I sacrifice time to give back to others, I’m always rewarded with an unmistakeable magic session. I’m not saying immediately after time spent giving back, but at any near time in the future.

When I find myself scoring that session, my instinct tells me it’s because I’ve carried out surf paddlegood deeds. Of course that’s not the motivating factor behind any type of volunteering, or labours of love, to expect something in return. But it’s nice to know that someone is watching over me, and sending gifts relevant to my greatest passion. I have a feeling that Huey and other universal figures are responsible.

And what about energy? I’m sure you’ve noticed that one guy in the water that lets out an aggressive grunt, when he can’t paddle onto a wave. He’s likely carried negative energy from his day into the water, and placed high expectations of washing that frustration away. He’s also the one that hands out disposable death stares, to all the guys scoring the best waves. If you’ve tried to surf when you’re angry, you’ll know the impossibility of the task.

Of course a much more rewarding state of mind to harness, when in the line-up, is when you find yourself in the flow. On land, you’ll recognize this state by a series of events or situations, sometimes even the occurrence of miracles. You’ve probably noticed a flow state as:

  • Doors keep opening for you.
  • The multiple occurrence of events that send shivers up your spine (described as the touch of spirit).
  • Vibrant people seem to keep coming into your life- even a stranger crossing your path that captivates you with their high energy.
  • That feeling of déjà vu is rampant. I’ve heard that’s a little sign from the universe that you’re exactly where you need to be in life. That feeling that you’ve been there before shouldn’t be written off as cliché.
  • All those little coincidences that are actually meaningful synchronicities or signs (a term first coined by the great Carl Jung) and better described in “Catching the bug of synchronicity”.

Basically you attract all the best that life has to offer.ocean beauty

Just with events on land, there’s no forcing things to happen, as it starts to become unnatural. And it’s exactly the same in the water. You have to bring a special kind of mindset with you.

This is where you really start to enjoy any conditions you paddle out into.

If you’re reminding yourself how much you love to be caressed by the warm waters of a vast ocean, watching pods of dolphins frolic in the deep waters, that feeling of a moving wave under your feet, and just being there without any expectations, then you’re going to withhold a high energy through gratitude.

Comparatively if the conditions are terrible, and you haven’t managed to catch any waves at all, you might ask yourself why you even bothered to paddle out in the first place.

Instead, look through a different lens. Know that your surfing improves with every paddle stroke. Master those junky waves, so you can truly appreciate the flawless ones. womens surfingMany of the world’s top aerial surfers crave onshore conditions to improve their airs.

Even if you’re just sitting there, you might be surrounded by one of the best sunsets or a passing thunderstorm. These moments from nature can even be missed, when you’re so caught up in needing waves, or tactically keeping on the inside of another surfer.

When you drop the neediness, and the high expectations, or any expectations at all, then you’ll feel that flow state that you’re after. You’ll be rewarded in the surf when you dedicate time to others on land. Keep in mind that Huey always watches your efforts. If you drove for three hours and didn’t score. He’s watching. If you paddled out every day of the month just because your passion is that high, he sees that too. So where’s your karma and energy sitting at?

 

 

What’s your likeability?

More and more I find that I’m trying to re-create a positive view in my mind of social media. But it’s a challenge because for me it’s always been a love, hate relationship. I mean how many of us critically judge our likeability based on our amount of likes? We return to our screens every ten minutes after we make a post, curious to see how many of our friends have responded with a thumbs up. If we don’t get enough blue thumbs, we start to question whether we’re attractive enough, interesting enough or whether people even care anymore. Explain to me the positive points of this destructive behaviour so many of us are caught up in? That I’m caught up in.

I cringe every time I see a selfie stick. You know, those people that parade around the earth like they’re lost in some kind of virtual bubble, completely disconnected from the world around them. I’ve had a passion for photography ever since primary school, and simply loved to document life and find some way to freeze a memory. I want to hear more stories for this same desire.

And I can see that for others (the selfie stick others) that there is that little element that lives inside of them. But the art has well and truly become lost in a meandering course ofselfie-stick-827879_640.jpg attention seeking behaviour. Have you ever watched a bus load of tourists pull up at your local beach? These days, so very few actually take in the beauty of their surroundings. Rather, it’s straight to winding up the selfie stick to capture their overly joyful smiles in front of a scenic background.

I was sitting in a café in Timor recently, where fifteen or so Indonesian tourists came in, each clutching a selfie stick or the latest oversize iPhone. There was no acknowledgment at all for the wait staff, instead they pushed their way straight to the back of the restaurant, pulled out chairs and started snapping up photos of them pouting in front of a well presented selection of art work. There was no intention for purchase of food. Once enough photos were taken, they then proceeded straight out the door, much like the coming and going of a destructive tornado.

And then there’s friend requests. Unless that is what they are, a friend who you know through and through. Perhaps you’ve met someone on your travels whom you formed a spiritualdeep connection with, and wished to stay in touch. I’m not talking about these genuine ones, I’m talking about a person you may have once met at a party, or spoken to on a bus, or even seen from across the room.

If you do decide to accept the request, then you could go months, or even years without a single exchanged word, but you still allow them to sit there, because the number of friends you have somehow gives you comfort. I’m sure by now you’ve realized a lot of these people are more concerned about the attention they can get from their incredibly intriguing posts than to care what you’re doing with your life.

We have become so fluid as to expose our entire lives to strangers. With more than one billion people around the world being active on Facebook, I wonder how many of them are living a life of illusion, forgetting the true meaning of authenticity and connection. Just don’t forget to live your life as it presents off the screen.

 

 

 

The complexity of nutrition

Nutrition is complex. I’ve now been writing health articles for over two years. Sure, a relatively short time, but one that’s involved a wide array of compelling projects from many different clients, proposing assignments from every corner of the globe. All striving to influence others’ lives in a positive way. Each helping to fuel my burning desire to create change.  What stands out to me most, is that nutrition is simply not black and white for everyday people. If the health world was a chess game, some of those claiming to be experts, seem to sit pretty as Kings and Queens, fear-mongering those who make poor food choices, while the laymen remain squirming little pawns, preferring to tune into TV advertisements promising quick health fixes, than to focus on their game plan.

Some days it can be easy to blame. To blame those that choose to eat all the upsized burgers, greasy fries and chocolate. But there’s a big element of lack of education and hidden truths.  I also find a lot of challenge in a predominately flawed Western medical system. A system that only deals with health at surface level. Where it aims to mask symptoms through magic little pills. And they do work. Almost too well. At least until thewestern medicine problem re-emerges and another layer of paint is needed to hide the cracks- by way of second, third, fourth prescription handout.

It creates a mammoth challenge in the changing of behaviour. A challenge big enough to engulf the entire health world. However, bit by bit, the walls of understanding are being broken down. Habits can be engrained for a lifetime and they can be very difficult to turn around, usually without a major life event, such as disease or sickness; to truly be shaken at heart level.

Slowly but surely, more and more Eastern approaches are being carefully intertwined into Western medicine, where the body is treated holistically, not as fragments of a whole.

I don’t hold any qualifications in nutrition, nor do I claim to be any fraction of an expert. Rather, I focus on bridging the gap between latest scientific findings around nutrition, surf lifestyleand the average Joe reading my articles.

I guess you could say that I “speak to experts”. Often health studies don’t make it into the public eye, rather they sit in the vault of medical journals. But these studies can be vital in putting your habits into perspective. I often find myself wading through multiple complex pages written in another language, a language of science, before reaching into my toolbox of words and finding ways to present jargon into bite-size pieces.

I’m deeply motivated to make changes in the way people go about their day in terms of their health and eating habits. I know first-hand how much energy can be obtained from beach girlsparticular food groups, and I want to spread that knowledge far and wide. Life’s too short to be dragging your feet around, viewing your days as hum-drum experiences full of must-do’s. Have you ever noticed someone on a sugar-high or caffeineed up to their eye balls on espresso shots? It’s a manic type of energy that usually has me walking a large circle around them.

One good place to start is in learning about a pH diet..Positive Health Wellness has a great chart here

I’ve seen health content making a difference. I mean the type where readers are inspired to make changes, no matter how small. Where they can paint a clear picture through captivating word form, of what a healthier lifestyle looks like. I can only hope that my work continues to feed that vision.

 

 

 

 

The Progression of Gratitude

Spiritual junkies will tell you that gratitude is one of the key foundations to ultimate enlightenment.  And I’m not judging them because I’m a junkie too. But what happens on those days where everything just seems to fall apart, and all of what your life is made of is seemingly crumbling before your eyes? Well you’ve simply found yourself out of alignment from where you’re supposed to be. Practicing gratitude by starting in a place that feels good, will provide a little bit of fuel to break out of your bad energy, and back into alignment with that best version of yourself.  

I don’t see any point in practicing fake gratitude. Sometimes you’re not even conscious that you’re doing it, but when you realise you are, you find it as counterproductive as no 65169_10151137360180168_400812489_ngratitude at all. “I love my job, I love my guy, I love my dog”, won’t get you anywhere if your boss keeps throwing overtime at you, your partner is finding all your triggers to frustration and your dog just pooped on the lounge room floor. The universe will simply align you with more of your dominant vibration, when your words don’t match how you feel at heart. In other words, you’ll get more of the same stuff that’s got you stuck in that point of frustration in the first place.

The universe does not care for the words you mutter; they will simply fall on deaf ears as it only cares for the energy that you vibrate.  

You want to perhaps imagine a life without your job or guy or dog. What would that picture look like? Sure you had to clean up that smelly poop from the floor, but what about when she gives you the saddest puppy dog eyes you ever saw, as you leave the house for work. Where you can see nothing but love in her eyes, and happiness in her wagging tail, when you return home from a long day in the office. Nobody said that gratitude can’t be broken down into smaller bite-size pieces. Just as many jigsaw pieces make up a finished puzzle, so too are many elements involved with each person, object or situation. It all comes down to your point of focus.

As long as you keep the bigger picture in mind. I always understood gratitude to be the cheekythought of blowing the gifts, the love, the connections, the positive circumstances and the miracles in life, so far out of proportion that it ignites an incredible wave of new energy that just overrides life’s nuances. Gratitude has a magical way of pushing away negative aspects of life from your mind. Because you know all too well how easy it is to make a mountain out of a molehill. You just have to choose what hill you want to build higher.

Practicing gratitude takes time and practice to truly nail it. To allow your vibration to match your inner muttered words about how incredible your life is, and everyone and everything that’s in it. As soon as the words and vibrations match- that’s when the magic starts to unfold.

Eastern v Western Medicine

The human body forever captivates me in all of its beauty to carry out its millions of functions, each and every day that you venture around this earth. It baffles me the commitment that the body has to keep someone ticking over, even when they completely abandon their health, poisoning themselves with cigarettes, alcohol and food that doesn’t deserve to even be called food. But the body can also hold a lot of darkness when it comes to disease.  When the body has had enough, it clearly lets you know. I felt this in what some might consider to be subtle, but nonetheless has opened my eyes more to my commitment to health and nutrition.  

One CT of my esophagus, a handful of blood tests, more radiation by way of a procedure in hospital, called a barium swallow, and a whole lot of worry, drew doctors to the diagnosis of acid reflux. Here I was thinking I was dying a slow death, when a sensation of something being stuck in my throat, sporadically occurred over the course of this year.throat.JPG While it ended up being a minor diagnosis, that’s very easily treatable with lifestyle changes, it still woke me up to take more care of my health. I imagine that other diseases on people have the same effect, although I know of many that still choose to ignore the warning signs.

East v West treatment

I very rarely go to visit a GP, perhaps once a year, at least when I’m not head butting reefs in the Philippines. I’ve been very fortunate to find a doctor that practices a blend of Eastern and Western Medicine. His name is Dr Ali and he loves Ayurvedic approaches, one of the most ancient medical systems in the world. It pre-dates Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine combined.

Dr Ali is happy to print me a script of antibiotics, but he’ll forewarn me that it’s a last resort approach, running through the various side effects, such as the destruction of good bacteria in my gut and increase in free-radicals. He will even go so far as handwriting traditional Chinese remedies, or supplements to take if I choose to be prescribed with the antibiotics, in a bid to counteract their damaging effects. The Eastern and Western divide can be described in the following extract from National Institutes of Health:

“Western medicine, while excelling at acute care and surgery, puts great emphasis on the chronic use of drugs to suppress the symptoms of illnesses. What is forgotten is that our bodies have a natural wisdom and intelligence; they have an intrinsic knowledge of how to grow, heal, maintain balance, restore homeostasis, and regenerate. Our bodies have evolved over aeons with these capabilities, but when they are suppressed, for example, when nutrition, exercise, and diet are not given adequate attention, or people ingest toxins, then “lifestyle-related” diseases including obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease are much more likely to arise”.

Unfortunately, the divide between East and West has become all too much for Dr Ali and as he was helping me in my plan to tackle reflux, he told me he was taking off to Colorado in two weeks to study genetics as he’d had enough of the practice.

The Western Approach

I had requested blood tests of my own will, to rule out any issue with my thyroid and of course I was itching for the results. On the day of my appointment with Dr Ali, he had called in sick last minute, so I had to re-book with another unknown doctor.

Let me tell you, he was one of the coldest humans I had ever met. Even his white skinwestern medicine looked cold, as he pressed the dispenser of the antibacterial gel, that sat atop of his desk, lathering his hands in eliminate-all-bacteria, while his eyes glanced over my breasts and legs.

He remained expressionless, as he asked me why I had requested blood results for an issue with my throat. Before I could even answer, he found ways to talk over top of me. Scrolling through the results, he uninterestedly told me all my vitamin levels were fine and he couldn’t see anything worth concern. With a CT of my esophagus and blood tests showing nothing, I knew I had to book into the procedure in hospital.

The Eastern approach

After my results came back from hospital and I returned to the welcoming rooms of Dr Ali, the diagnosis of reflux was noted, but he also told me my blood tests were not great. My vitamin B and folic acid levels in particular, he described in his words as “ratsh*t”! On a running scale of worst to best, I had just made over the worst rating, which apparently was enough for the cold doctor to clear me of any concern. Something he had been taught in medical school Dr Ali mentioned.

The thing that shocked me most, was that the doctor had a discussion with Dr Ali asking chinese medicineif he had followed some particular code of practice, that again. had been taught in medical school in Australia. Dr Ali carrying over 30 years’ experience, in his unique blended approach and  practicing all over the world, mocked his colleague in his chest-puffing capabilities.

Dr Ali went back in the system and read the clinical notes of that doctor, from my visit to receive the blood test results. They were utterly appalling.  Any of the words that I managed to get out that day, throughout being cut, were recorded in the notes in quotation marks as if I was mad, and his final recommendation was to prescribe me psychotropics! Dr Ali laughed and said “well I won’t be doing that anytime soon”. My only guess is that as reflux can be triggered by stress and anxiety, this doctor’s approach was to prescribe me some anti-depressants! That shall fix the problem! I think I’ll stick to my yoga and meditation.

Holistic treatment

Of course a giant wave of relief washed over me as I found out that I was in fact, not dying. Relief turned into excitement in finding ways to better improve my already pretty good diet. The most uncanny aspect about the whole event, is that I’ve been writing health articles for a client on acid reflux for the past three months. I also had a gut instinct long before diagnosis to increase my vitamin B’s (being vegetarian) and had ordered PH test stripsnatural medicin for saliva months before.

Dr Ali handwrote his prescription of various supplements and Chinese Medicine that I could order to best treat my reflux. He also wittingly drew a map to the nearest fresh food market with the best raw treats in town.

It’s only been one week since I got my results, but I feel so full of life and energy, from mindfully increasing my intake of fresh fruit, vegetables from my garden, and Chinese teas containing a mixture of various healing plants and flowers. I’m yet to receive my supplements from an online order, but I think life will become even richer when I do.  I’m so proud of everything that I’ve learnt on holistic approaches to health over the years and everyone that has influenced that. Even though Dr Ali will be off overseas, on another journey and no longer there to guide me, I’m forever inspired to seek out alternative practitioners for any future health issues, and avoid prescription medications at all cost.

The joys of giving

I always find this intrinsic urge to help others realise the greatness of life when my own cup is full. The funny thing is that the urge to volunteer at a local nursing home, actually came when my cup was completely empty. I guess when I felt I had nothing left to give, I discovered that in fact I still did.

I often sit down for cups of tea and listen to the many joys and struggles of those nearing the end of their lives. In the struggles, the gold always seems to be in the ability to keep picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and never losing sight of your true essence. The ones that speak more of their joys over their struggles, are also the ones that never missgiving to others a bingo class, dance class or yoga for over 90’s. They have found a way to maintain a solid outlook on life. Even when their mind starts to fade against their own will or knowledge.

I still see that spark in their eyes and cheeky smiles as they play pranks in the dining room with the other residents. They make the most of what they have and are entirely satisfied with their daily rituals they have created, within the physical limitations of their fading bodies.

I listen on as they ecstatically describe in great detail the type of toast and brand of butter they have for breakfast, what time the daily paper arrives and when the nursing home bus is due for their supermarket outing. I ask whether they butter the toast right to the very edges. Their excitement builds as I fabricate my interest for gains of their happiness. I love to play this little game the most.

It’s selfless because many people would rather be out surfing, catching up with friends orvolunteering enjoying the sunshine. A lot of the time that’s me and I really have to push myself to go in there.

But it’s when those I visit are lying on their beds rugged up watching daytime TV and I knock on their doors to see their faces light up.

When the old men in dance class fight over who’s dancing with me next, while the only two elderly women in the home watch on with daggers, as if I’m cutting their grass.

When I distract them from a topic that upsets them and start talking about how beautiful the last sunset was and watch their smile return once more.

But it’s when I leave that I feel it the most.

Not only does it put everything into perspective. The true shortness of life and what is to be held dearest to the heart. But I know that when they put their heads down at night, they will be recalling all the events that made up their day. They will be content in knowing that someone cares for them enough to spend time over a cup of tea. One women I have regularly spent time with over the years, believes that my being there must be the angels watching her and karma returning to her, for all the good deeds she carried out over her lifetime.

That’s what continues to make my heart sing. “I think about you a lot, come and visit again soon won’t you?” she said upon my departure, as I received a warm hug and kiss on the cheek.