17 December 2012

Ian Gawler blog: Something I would not recommend

Some things in mind-body medicine may be just too wild to talk about in public. But with one year about to end and another about to begin, lets go way “Out on a Limb” and talk about something really interesting.

Usually I talk about things I recommend and do myself. It is one of the delights of working in what is best described as Lifestyle Medicine. Whether it be about food, the mind, meditation etc,etc, these are things I have done, mostly continue to do, and generally recommend wholeheartedly through having my own personal experience of them.

However, something happened recently that highlighted something I do that I was not at all sure I should speak about, let alone recommend; until my wife offered her own insight that I imagine you might find really helpful. But first

Thought for the day:
There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as if nothing is a miracle;
The other is as if everything is a miracle
                                     Albert Einstein

So here is the thing. The other day I developed a sore back. Really sore. I could hardly move. Totally unusual for me as despite so many years on one leg, my back is remarkably trouble free.

No idea how this happened. Maybe the golf with my older sister a few days earlier. Maybe something from gardening ? Or sitting too long at the computer?? No idea. But really sore. Hard to stand up. Really painful to sit down. Nothing like it since the darkest days of my cancer when I had a lower vertebrae almost destroyed by the cancer.

So what to do? What would conventional wisdom say? Lie down and rest? Go to the doctor? Get X Rays? Go to an osteopath? Well no, what I actually did was a strenuous days work in the garden; after which it was quite a deal better.

Understand why I am not recommending this? At the time, I just did what seemed to be needed; in retrospect, maybe there was some method in the madness. So before offering Ruth’s insight, here are my own thoughts as to why I did something that in retrospect, may have seemed a little odd.

1. Structure follows function. Way back from my days as a veterinarian, I have held the view that structure follows function. Get injured, do nothing and everything seems to wind down. Yet the body is incredibly well engineered to do what is required of it. Get injured, exercise as much as possible, keep the functions going, and the body has an impetus to heal and return to its healthy structure.

2. Nature is a great healer. Whenever I become ill, which is very rarely, my first reaction is to do nothing. Well not nothing exactly, I give nature the first crack at the healing process. So I do not interfere. I trust and I wait.

Maybe it is like this. Get sick, become inactive, expect the worst, become depressed, and everything shuts down. Get sick, judiciously increase the activity, cultivate all the positive emotions and states of mind, expect to recover, do what is needed, and all the cells in our bodies rejoice and flourish.

So what I do is to deeply trust the healing power of nature, especially when it is provided with the right conditions – good food, exercise, positive state of mind, meditation etc, etc. And because I have been quietly attending to these things for many years, I have good grounds for confidence.

3. If at first you do not succeed, try something more. Usually for me, things get better quite quickly. If not, I have a scale of intervention – from the least to the most. So trusting in time and nature and a healthy lifestyle is where I start; having my left lung removed in 2004 courtesy of major surgery (with a lot of gratitude to the surgeon for solving a long-standing, complex problem), is where I am prepared to go to if necessary. But the surgery came after 25 years of trying just about everything else to fix the damage caused to my lung by TB.

I debated whether to share anything of this via the blog, but then, when consulted for advice, Ruth added her insight. Firstly, she pointed out that often enough I do rest; but then the key point. She suggested the real reason in this particular incidence I worked in the garden rather than do the seemingly sensible thing and do anything but that, was through being a regular meditator there comes this clarity of mind that simply knows what is needed to be done.

Thinking of this, there is no logic in working hard in the garden with an acutely sore back. If anyone asked me what to do in those circumstances, I can almost guarantee I would suggest they take it easy. Yet I had no hesitation. Did not even really think about it.

Had to prop myself up to dig. Had trouble moving all morning; then after lunch a dramatic improvement. Hot bath at the end of the day. Meditated lying down. Good nights sleep and next day almost completely well again. As I write, a small twinge if I really think of it, but basically 100% OK again.

The point is there is seemingly no logic in this; but it worked. Just lucky? Maybe. But maybe there is something in this meditation that can guide us to make good decisions when we most need them.

So do be clear, there is nothing here I am recommending, except that maybe you think about it!


The completely new You Can Conquer Cancer

Slow down, and go faster


365 marathons in 365 days by two 60 year old vegans, one a cancer thriver.
Far out!!!  Like to support them?
In 2013, to inspire and motivate conscious lifestyle choices, to promote kindness and compassion for all living beings, to raise environmental awareness for a sustainable future and to raise money for a number of charities including the Gawler Foundation,  Veteran Raw Vegan Athletes Janette and Alan are Running around Australia, 15,500km (approximately), 365 marathons in 365 days beyond 60 years of age! 
Who ever said vegans were wimps! They begin New Year's day from Fed square.

Please consider supporting RunRAW2013. You can donate to this unique and unprecedented visionary cause by clicking here.


1. The new, fully rewritten version of You Can Conquer Cancer is now available as an ebook via Amazon and Kindle. I will post details of all my books that are available as ebooks soon. Meanwhile, the book itself should be in most bookshops by now or you can order it via the Foundation: Click here

2. I am really enjoying the publicity around the new book. It is reaffirming to hear all the enthusiasm and depth of understanding of the work coming from the interviewers.

3. If you are interested in why I was very reluctant to do veterinary work with cattle and sheep in my earlier days, have a look at this documentary (or just the trailer) www.peaceablekingdomfilm.org/

4. Pt Stephens workshop coming soon - Health Healing and Wellbeing
My next full day workshop will be at Pt. Stephens on January 15th 2013.
Ruth and I will be happy to meet up once again with people we know in the area, as well as make new friends.
Organised by the local Port Stephens
 Complementary Health Services Association, I will be speaking on the latest research in mind-body medicine and self-healing, coupled with my 30 years of experience in this field. These days are always very interactive, with a gentle blend of theory and practise. There will be good time for questions and discussion.
Venue: Tomaree High School, Salamander Bay
Date: Tuesday, January 15th from 10am (arrive 9.30 am) to 4pm
Cost $110.00;  Seniors, Concessions $95.00
More details and Bookings www.healthportstephens.com.au
Email: info@healthportstephens.com.au
Phone: 02 49 846 400

5. I will take a break over Christmas and post a new blog soon.

Enjoy the festive season. Happy meditating!

1 comment:

  1. Happy Christmas to both you and Ruth. Thankyou so much for all that you share with us. I've been meditating for only a few years and already I feel a little wiser , I've obviously much wisdom still to look forward to .
    See you in March!
    Warmest wishes Linda .