04 February 2019

Reversing atrial fibrillation naturally

A dear old friend, Jean Fraser, had inoperable, untreatable pancreatic cancer diagnosed in 1985 and recently died in her 90’s. She had no medical treatment but used the principles and techniques in You Can Conquer Cancer. I did document Jean’s story in the book of survivors Inspiring People (out of print; but there is Surviving Cancer) yet despite her brother being a senior doctor it was never recorded in a medical journal.

So while Jean remained an “anecdote” it would be hard to estimate how many people her story inspired. And as they say “better to be a live anecdote than a dead statistic”.

Anyway, reflecting on Jean’s life and inspiration has prompted telling a personal story of using Mind-Body Medicine to reverse atrial fibrillation. Sure it is another anecdote, but maybe it will provide a clue for something you or someone you know is working on recovering from. Also, Ruth will be presenting a meditation retreat pre-Easter (link here; more details below) where these and other meditation principles and techniques will be taught and practised, but first

 

      Thought for the day


           The world of reality has its limits.

           The world of imagination is boundless


                            Jean-Jacques Rousseau






Went into atrial fibrillation for the third time while on retreat in January. 

The previous 2 times were around 10 years ago, seemed exacerbated by stress and resolved with some deep relaxation naturally and within about 24 hours.

While an ECG and blood tests confirmed no heart damage, this one was going on and heading into its 3rd day. Deep relaxation made me feel better, but the arrhythmia persisted. So decided to use some imagery…

Did a bit of mild exercise first then lay down, relaxed and imagined being back in the old athletic training days. One of the hardest things we did was 8 repeat 400m metres in under 60 seconds with either a walked or jogged 400m in between. The jogged version, especially if it was hot weather would push things considerably!


So I spent some time - 5 minutes or so - imagining doing that once again, feeling the extreme exertion and figuring that for a heart to perform at that level it needs to be functioning at its best and not fibrillating. Did not measure the heart rate to see where it was at - in retrospect that would have been interesting - but did remind my heart that it was a good heart, strong and reliable. It has been through quite a lot over the years and in general has stood up very well.

Then after this 5 minutes I imagined running smoothly but at an easy tempo for another 5 - 10
minutes.

Then checked my heart.


Now any serious advocate of evidence based medicine will tell you this is just an anecdote, but the heart was back in normal rhythm.

For me the coincidence will do.

And the heart remains in good rhythm and has survived a couple of heavy days in the garden since.

The message? 
In my experience imagery can be remarkably powerful. It works best when we are deeply relaxed in body and mind; and the more we can focus our mind the better. If focus is an issue, then make up for that with repetition. Also, with imagery, it can pay to be innovative.

No idea whether what I did for my flutters would help anyone else, but the example and the principles may.

If you are interested to learn more about guided imagery, my book The Mind that Changes Everything may be useful.

A final thought
Back in 1985 Jean was told there was nothing medically that could be done for her or her pancreatic cancer. Her life expectancy was put at just a few months. She then had the extraordinary experience of learning how to use her own resources and effect a remarkable recovery; surviving over 30 years without any medical treatment. What an empowering experience! And by the way, her diagnosis and recovery were both confirmed by biopsy.

Why are people with “anecdotal” stories like Jean not being recorded in the medical literature and studied more closely???


RUTH'S NEXT MEDITATION RETREAT

RECLAIMING JOY - April 12 - 18 2019, Yarra Valley Living Centre.

Details - call the Foundation - 03 5967 1730 or link here for DETAILS



The legend of Meditation in the Forest lives on!

This classic 7 day meditation retreat is on again for yet another pre-Easter.

In 2019 it will be lead by Ruth Gawler and Melissa Borich.


Some will have had the good fortune to have shared time with Melissa in some of our previous retreats. Melissa is a highly accomplished yoga teacher with a wonderful capacity to tailor yoga for beginners or the advanced. Melissa has also trained with me as a meditation teacher and is one of the people I highly value and recommend.



These two women will present a wonderful retreat - lucky you if you get to be there :)



07 January 2019

Is an easy life the best option?


Ever wondered what it would have been like if your life had been easier?

I sometimes do…

January the 8th is the anniversary of the day my right leg was amputated. This year - 44 years ago. Changed my life radically. Yet so much good came out of it.

So here we are at the start of another new year, and what to wish for ???

And at the start of a new year, maybe time to plan for a retreat, but first

       Thought for the day

When I was a novice, I could not understand why, 
If the world is filled with suffering, 
The Buddha has such a beautiful smile. 
Why isn’t he disturbed by all the suffering? 

Later I discovered that the Buddha has enough 
Understanding, calmness, and strength; 
That is why the suffering does not overwhelm him.
He is able to smile to suffering because he knows 
How to take care of it and to help transform it. 

We need to be aware of the suffering, 
But retain our clarity, calmness, and strength 
So we can help transform the situation. 

                      Thich Nhat Hahn

Speaking personally it is hard to imagine I could have learnt all I have in this life and accomplished all I have without having my leg amputated. And yes, there is so much that has been missed out on due to the amputation.

Clearly that operation back in 1975 changed my life irrevocably. Much good has flowed into my life as a result of all the learning the change provoked. And hopefully this life has contributed somewhat to that of others as a consequence.

So would I have wished for this huge change to visit my life?

Certainly not before it happened! But in retrospect? That is a harder question.

The sense is my life actually tried many times before the surgery to steer me in the direction the surgery demanded. This is speaking personally; for others it may well be very different. However, for me I know I was too young, too pig-headed to listen. I kept on the track I was going until my life, courtesy of the surgery, demanded that I change direction. You can guess by observation what that direction was…

Cancer is an uncompromising illness and it brought the best out of me. One of the delightful things about cancer if is you do approach it with awareness, it demands you attend to your body, your emotions, your mind and your spirit.

So what to wish for? An easy life, or something else???

At the start of a new year, we commonly wish each other good health. Maybe if that is not associated with clear awareness and some resolve, something else may be preferable.

Now there is a radical thought…

In fact, my wish for you IS for a year of good health and that you use the blessing of this good health to best advantage - for self and for as many others as possible. Also, the wish is for prosperity so you have the capacity to do what is best for self and others, and that in the process of living a serviceful life you find contentment, meaning and fulfilment.

With love to you all…



RUTH'S NEXT MEDITATION RETREAT

RECLAIMING JOY - April 12 - 18 2019, Yarra Valley Living Centre.

Details - call the Foundation - 03 5967 1730 or link here for DETAILS



The legend of Meditation in the Forest lives on!

This classic 7 day meditation retreat is on again for yet another pre-Easter.

In 2019 it will be lead by Ruth Gawler and Melissa Borich.


Some will have had the good fortune to have shared time with Melissa in some of our previous retreats. Melissa is a highly accomplished yoga teacher with a wonderful capacity to tailor yoga for beginners or the advanced. Melissa has also trained with me as a meditation teacher and is one of the people I highly value and recommend.

These two women will present a wonderful retreat - lucky you if you get to be there :)





17 December 2018

The-best-love-quotes

Christmas. The birth of Christ. What does He represent? What does He embody? Unconditional love. So whether we be Christian by faith, come from another religion or none, we can all celebrate the true meaning of Christmas by aspiring to love a little more unconditionally.

This week, a gathering of the best love quotes plus news of a download sale via our webstore as our Christmas gift to you with the suggestion you might like to give these as meaningful presents. Also, you may consider booking into Ruth's next meditation retreat - pre-Easter April 2019, but first cannot go past this one…



      Thought for the day

   I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure.
   I make mistakes, I am out of control
   And at times hard to handle.
   But if you can’t handle me at my worst,
   Then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.

                              Marilyn Monroe








During Ruth’s recent meditation retreat where I filled in, she asked me to present on love - the different types of love we experience, how we might aspire to be more loving, and to be more open to receiving love. It was a wonderful, interactive session and one couple said that after 30 years of marriage and having been at a somewhat stagnant point in their relationship, they now felt like newly weds again!

Anyway, as part of the presentation this collection of great love quote gathered over some time was shared…

Enjoy


You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
love like you’ll never be hurt,
sing like there’s nobody listening,
and live like it’s heaven on earth.
William W. Purkey

If you don’t love yourself who will?
Naval Ravikant

Just be you and wait for the people who want that.
Naval Ravikant

We can only learn to love by loving.
Iris Murdoch


You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; and just so, you learn to love by loving. All those who think to learn in any other way deceive themselves.
Saint Francis de Sales

This is the kind of Friend
 You are
-
Without making me realize

My soul's anguished history,

You slip into my house at night,

And while I am sleeping,

You silently carry off

All my suffering and sordid past

In Your beautiful

Hands.
Hafiz


Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
I Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is simply the name for the desire and the pursuit of the whole.
Aristophanes

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.
Buddha











Love is a gift of one’s inner-most soul to another so both can be whole.
Buddha

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.
Martin Luther King Jr.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Francis of Assisi


The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.
The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.
HH the Dalai Lama

All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness.
The important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.
HH the Dalai Lama


True love is both loving
And letting oneself be loved.
It is harder to let ourselves be loved
Than it is to love.
Pope Francis






DOWNLOAD SALE
Downloads of the recordings Ruth and I have made are only available via our webstore.

There are 3 “bundles” - collections based on the following themes, and these bundles are being offered as suggestions for meaningful Christmas presents at a good reduction…

• Meditation has 7 releases,regular cost is $59.95.  Offer price: $29.95
• Healing has 5 releases,   regular cost is $39.95.  Offer price: $19.95
• Wellbeing has 4 releases, regular cost is $29.95.  Offer price: $14.95

DETAILS AND LINKS

Meditation (Digital Audio MP3 Bundle)

Regular Price: $59.95 - Special Christmas Offer: $19.90

Contains:

'Meditation - A Complete Guide'
    Running Time: Three tracks for approximately one hour.

'Relaxation for Everyone - Calming the Body'
    Running Time: Four tracks for approximately 72 mins.

'Deepening Your Meditation'
    Running Time: Three tracks for approximately 68 mins.

'Meditation: Pure & Simple - Calming the Mind'
    Running Time: Nine tracks for approximately 52 mins.

'Mind Body Medicine - Healing Imagery Meditations'
    Running Time: Three tracks for approximately 62 mins.

'A Woman's Voice - Mindfulness Meditations'
    Running Time: Three tracks for approximately 52 mins.

'Meditation for Children - Practical Tools for Bright Kids'
    Running Time: Three tracks for approximately 52 mins.

Order Link - click here



Healing (Digital Audio MP3 Bundle)

Regular Price: $39.95 - Special Christmas Offer: $19.95

'The Gawler Cancer Program - How to Use the Principles and Techniques that Offer Real Hope for Healing Cancer'
    Running Time: One track for approximately one hour.

'What to Do When Someone You Love Has Cancer - Heart Advice from Ian Gawler'
    Running Time: One track for approximately one hour.

'Effective Pain Management - Mindfulness Based Pain Relief'
    Running Time: Three tracks for approximately one hour.

'Eating For Recovery - How to Use your Food as a Part of a Healing Program.'
    Running Time: One track for approximately one hour and ten mins.

'Understanding Death, Helping the Dying'
    Running Time: One track for approximately one hour.

Order Link -click here



Wellbeing (Digital Audio MP3 Bundle)

Regular Price: $29.95 - Special Christmas Offer: $14.95

'Mind Training - Using the Power of Your Mind'
    Running Time: Two tracks for approximately two hours & twenty mins.

'Emotional Health - A Path to Enduring Happiness'
    Running Time: Two tracks for approximately two hours & twenty mins.

'Inner Peace, Inner Wisdom - Contemplation and the Inner Guide'
    Running Time: One track for approximately one hour & ten mins.

'Eating Well, Being Well - The Gawler Diet for Good Health'
    Running Time: One track for approximately one hour and ten minutes.

Order Link - Click here


RUTH'S NEXT MEDITATION RETREAT

RECLAIMING JOY - April 12 - 18 2019, Yarra Valley Living Centre.

Details - call the Foundation - 03 5967 1730 or link here for DETAILS

The legend of Meditation in the Forest lives on!

This classic 7 day meditation retreat is on again for yet another pre-Easter.

In 2019 it will be lead by Ruth Gawler and Melissa Borich.

Some will have had the good fortune to have shared time with Melissa in some of our previous retreats. Melissa is a highly accomplished yoga teacher with a wonderful capacity to tailor yoga for beginners or the advanced. Melissa has also trained with me as a meditation teacher and is one of the people I highly value and recommend.


These two women will present a wonderful retreat - lucky you if you get to be there :)

03 December 2018

Why is it so hard to do what is good for us? And 3 top tips to change that…

These days, most of us know what is good for our health and our wellbeing.
Yet why does it often seem easier to do things that are bad for us compared to those that do us good?

This week a guest blog from Ruth with 3 ways to rectify all this, plus a dose of inspiration - all as we embark on leading another meditation retreat together in the Yarra Valley at the start of December, but first

              Thought for the day

         Hope is the thing with feathers
         That perches in the soul,
         And sings the tune without the words,
         And never stops at all.  
           
                          Emily Dickinson




We are the most highly-educated population that has ever walked the planet.
And courtesy of the net we can look up anything and everything in a few moments. Of course there are different opinions that have different levels of authority and conviction but we all know what we eat, how we exercise, and our state of mind all have a considerable impact on our health and wellbeing. Yet often enough we seem to have trouble sticking to doing it!

So what is missing? I believe that rather more than information, what we need is help with implementation. Doctors call it compliance. I call it “Making a Plan” and finding a way to get supported in that plan.

Ask yourself the following questions…

Do I lack clarity and uncertainty about what really works?
Am I unsure about who to trust?
Do I lack confidence?
Do I have a fear of failure?
Am I habitually destructive with my thinking?
Am I unable to let go of old habits or preferences?
Do I find it difficult to open my mind to embrace new ideas?
Am I lazy or forgetful?
Am I in denial? Do I know what being in denial is?
Do I lack willpower?
Do I feel under pressure to conform from family, friends
or professionals to maintain a status quo, to keep up an image?
Do I ever succumb to some deeper, darker self-sabotage?
Am I frightened about old age?                

Most of us will answer yes to several if not many of the above.

So what to do?
How to cut through all this? Why does it often seem so difficult to do what is in our own best health and wellbeing interests? Why is it so many of us get complacent and lazy and have habits we find difficult to change?

Maybe part of the problem is the modern version of laziness. This current Western Civilisation version of laziness is actually about being endlessly busy. Working, family, shopping, socializing, housekeeping… the days are one long run around! No time for attention to self. No time to attend to what is really good for us.

1. Fear
In my experience, what often breaks through all this first and foremost is a good dose of fear!
Maybe this is not the answer you had hoped to hear, but what I observe is the people who generally do “Make a Plan” for their health and carry it through are those who start when facing extreme difficulties and are afraid of dying or of becoming disabled - like many of those who come to our cancer programs and multiple sclerosis programs.

Fact is we can benefit from being afraid of not recovering, of being afraid of an unhealthy old age, of being a burden on our families or communities, of being in pain and of suffering physical disability. Fear can be a great initial motivator. It can be very helpful to observe what is happening to so many older people we know and to fear for our own future. Of course, overwhelming fear is stifling, even paralyzing; so that level of fear needs to be balanced with hope - the hope of being able to doing something about it.

2.Inspiration
And for hope we need to be inspired - by people, magazines, books, podcasts, programs and films. Our present culture is too tough to just expect we will automatically become inspired. We need to be prepared to be different and change the culture of our family.

3. Making a plan for our health 
This is the third essential. There are so many choices, so many options these days, we need to make time to consult, to read, to ask questions and contemplate. A good plan does not occur by accident; it can take time and focus, but then it establishes our direction. And then, informed by a good plan, we need to choose like-minded friends - people who also want to have a go at being healthy - to support us in our lifestyle.


And how is this for inspiration?


Some years back now, Ian and I attended the marriage of our dear friends and colleagues, George Jelinek and Sandy Neate, both Emergency Medicine Physicians.

George is well known now for his invaluable contribution to Multiple Sclerosis.

George, being a rigorous academic and Professor of Emergency Medicine, was diagnosed with MS in 1999.

This led him to undertake extensive research related to the illness and enabled him to arrive at his own conclusions.

He changed his diet, exercise routine, Vitamin D levels and way of life.

Overcoming MS is a great book.

As for George - many years on he remains diligent with his lifestyle and he remains very well!

But back in 1999, speaking at the reception, Sandy recollected first meeting George. Sandy become aware of what she thought in those days was his rather restrictive diet.

So, she asked “Do you ever cheat on the diet George?”

Sandy said he responded with a somewhat puzzled look, as if not to understand the question, so she repeated “Do you ever cheat?”

This time George did reply. “Why would I cheat on the diet when there is so much at stake?”

Simple really.

Men like George are an inspiration. His clarity made it easy. George is fully aware that when it comes to the chronic, degenerative, medical conditions - cancer, depression, anxiety, heart disease, autoimmune diseases (including MS), Alzheimer’s, arthritis - what you eat, how you exercise, what your state of mind is  - all have a major impact on the course of these illnesses. And if you have not got an illness, these factors play a major role in whether or not you develop them.


So why wait? 

Medical evidence is now very clear - an unhealthy lifestyle is linked to just about every health issue you would rather avoid.

Also, a healthy lifestyle is linked to more than "just" prevention, it is linked to recovery from just about every health issue you would rather not experience.

So why wait? 

Draw on any fear you can muster.

Draw on inspiration wherever you can.

Make a plan and expect to experience the side effects of a healthy lifestyle - chronic good health and an active, engaging old age.


RUTH'S NEXT MEDITATION RETREAT

RECLAIMING JOY - April 12 - 18 2019, Yarra Valley Living Centre.

Details - call the Foundation - 03 5967 1730 or www.gawler.org

The legend of Meditation in the Forest lives on!

This classic 7 day meditation retreat is on again for yet another pre-Easter.

In 2019 it will be lead by Ruth Gawler and Melissa Borich.

Some will have had the good fortune to have shared time with Melissa in some of our previous retreats. Melissa is a highly accomplished yoga teacher with a wonderful capacity to tailor yoga for beginners or the advanced. Melissa has also trained with me as a meditation teacher and is one of the people I highly value and recommend.


Together with Ruth, these two women will present a wonderful retreat
- lucky you if you get to be there :)



21 November 2018

How to grow avocados in cold weather

Since first moving to the Yarra Valley in 1980, avocados have been a feature of our gardens. People are often surprised. Can you really grow avocados in cold weather? Well yes you can and the fruit tastes terrific, however, there are a few tricks. So this week we go right Out on a Limb with tips and pictures that will help avocado growers anywhere - terrific backyard trees - but first




       Thought for the day

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, 
You must first invent the universe.

                 Carl Sagan





So starting an avocado from scratch…



Three tooth picks, one great avocado seed and a glass of water.

Arrange as shown, with the bottom of the seed kept in the water for the weeks, even months it may take to produce roots then a shoot.


Alternatively, buy a plant ready to go. 

Avocado trees come in different sizes and produce fruit at different times of the year. They also come in 2 main varieties - called Type A and B - and if you plant one of each type they cross pollinate and the fruit set is better, although in my experience one tree on its own still does OK. In suburban settings you may be lucky and have a neighbor with a cross pollinator; or if you can talk a neighbor into growing their own, choose wisely!

Hass and Fuerte are the 2 most common commercial varieties but both grow to become big trees - 8x10m approx. Bacon - Type B - is excellent in colder weather, the quickest to produce fruit from planting (our latest produced a few in 3 years, around 50 the fourth) - and is small - around 4m so is good for a back yard.

Three excellent small type As that would pair with a Bacon are Pinkerton, Reed and Rincon. These all produce fruit at different times of the year, although avocados have this wonderful property of lasting on the tree. We have picked fruit from our Bacon over at least 6 months - just finishing now, and if planting another would probably go with the Reed given it produces over summer from November to March - Christmas avocados off the tree!!!

More details on varieties? - excellent site : CLICK HERE

If you have started with a pip - and this is not so highly recommended as maturation reputedly takes longer (we are currently testing this theory with out latest planting) - next is to pot into a premium potting mix and keep warm while developing. We have a glasshouse, but indoors would be Ok in a sunny area. Keep moist but do not overwater and young plants do not like cold, especially frosts.

Once big enough, or if you buy a plant, wait until frosts have passed and plant mid/late spring.

But - you do need to think ahead. Avocados hate wet feet and they have real trouble with clay. In our Upper Yarra area, there is a thin layer of topsoil then really tough clay. In the eighties I actually attempted a commercial orchard by mounding up the topsoil with a big machine and planting into that. All went well for a few years, then all the trees died.

About 15 years ago I made mounds by hand and planted 5 varieties that gave year round fruit. For 2 seasons this was fantastic, then the trees progressively died. One still hangs on, but looks miserable. We keep it going to see what will happen.

A commercial grower told me recently the clay is the problem. In the experience of our conditions we get 2 -3 years of good fruiting, then 1 or 2 ordinary ones, then time to replant. So currently what we do is plant a new one every 2-3 years. We are fortunate to have the space to do this, and we build the dirt up, add sand and heaps of compost to improve drainage and we remain hopeful the new ones will live long, happy lives, yet it is the clay that may bring them all undone eventually. Many Melbourne backyards are on great sandy loam areas and will not have this problem.

However, soil preparation is still always important.
Add lots of compost, something like Dynamic Lifter
and maybe some dolomite
and do consider making a mound to plant into.

With the Bacon we planted 5 years ago we used around 2 metres of soil for the mound and this has worked really well - so far!

Once the time is right to plant, avocados like protection from wind, frost and even sun - they can suffer from sunburn! In a backyard this may all be OK, but in our large, open garden we need to provide protection. Tomato stakes, hessian and wire does the job. Here is how to do it...



Set out the frame for a "lid' that will be attached once the 4 stakes are in place.


These need to be aligned roughly North, South and in a manner that when the hessian is attached, it will protect from the prevailing winds.

In our area these come primarily from the North.





           
            Then hammer in the stakes.














        Use the wire to attach
        the wooden frame at the top.








Use more wire to attach the hessian,
leaving the face to the East open
so some sun does touch the plant directly.


When ready to plant, know avocados are touchy in the root department.

Be careful to avoid disturbing the roots as much as possible.

We cut the pots off - bottom first - and gently place the plant in the soil, fill in, add pea straw mulch and water gently.




We once had a rabbit eat the base of a young tree so now we add protective wire, and this does support the young one a little without tying it.

After this last one we planted - as shown - we had a day of huge winds.

Without the protection of the hessian the baby tree would have been shredded; as it was, it is completely unscathed and already growing happily.


Watering is tricky. Avocados seem to hate being over-watered, and under-watered. The best way we can do it is to watch the new growth. When happy, avocados grow rapidly and constantly. So we keep the water up while the growth is happening, and watch for the first signs of the growth tips flagging. We have found this to be the best sign for the next watering time as we need to be very careful to avoid over-watering. Maybe someone has a better trick, but this has been working well for us.

With any luck this is what you get... Well worth the effort...

This one is a Bacon and now into its 5th year.

Enjoy!