26 May 2014

Ian Gawler Blog: Health, Healing and Wellbeing – The 2014 Tour!

This week, an amazing cancer survival story, news of one of the best new books I have read in a long time, and details of the speaking tour up the East Coast Ruth and I head off for in July.

Hope to see many of you along the way – a good opportunity to share what we do with family, friends and colleagues. There will be the chance for a refresher, to help get back on track if needed; but also exciting new information and the opportunity to meditate together and to deepen the experience of what meditation really is.

But there is nothing like running a cancer residential program (as we have just done in Auckland – see the News section below) to be reminded of why Ruth and I are so committed to the work we do. Sure it is wonderful to be able to help people recover from cancer, but it would be even better if people do not even get cancer! Clearly cancer is mainly a highly preventable illness, and the best prevention is living well!

So this week an inspiring story from someone who turned his life around and is alive many years later - way longer than his doctors imagined, and a reminder that most of us need a reminder to keep on track and to resist the pressures from society that would have us eating badly, getting stressed, living mindlessly and so on. I hope this is a blog you will share, but first

Thought for the Day

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

Ross Latham is convinced he manufactured his own cancer.

“Its not that I did it consciously, but the way I was eating, the stress of my job, my whole lifestyle brought my body to a state of collapse, and cancer was the result.”

In despair, with a diagnosis of Stage 4 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and having been told rather emphatically by his doctors that his particular condition was incurable, Ross was given You Can Conquer Cancer.

While visiting with Ross in Auckland (he and his wife Jen are incredibly helpful to us – even lent us a car to get around in!), Ross told me

“Knowing what had caused my cancer gave me real hope. I thought that if I could just turn my life around, maybe I could turn the cancer around. What the book made clear was that if I did take the best of what the doctors had to offer, I could add to that with all the therapeutic benefits of a good diet, exercise, using the power of the mind and meditation.”

Ross’ doctors had only expected him to survive for around 2 years. But that was 18 years ago.

Happily, as we know, Ross is not alone in his good outcome. Dr Kelly Turner has just published Radical Remission – Surviving Cancer Against All Odds. In this fabulous groundbreaking book, Dr Turner reports on her investigation, through her PhD, of over 1,000 people with extraordinary and well documented cases of unexpected cancer recovery – the so-called “spontaneous remissions”.

PLEASE NOTE Dr Kelly's book has just been brought into Australia and we hope to have it available via our webstore in a couple of weeks - and will advise when it is there.

Ten years ago, Dr Turner, a psychotherapist and researcher, had been shocked to realise that no one was studying how people like Ross and myself managed to survive.

“I was fascinated by these stories” says Dr Turner. “There were so many of them. What made these people the exceptions? Were they just “lucky”, or could we learn from them?”

Dr Turner soon grasped that these people were quite deliberate; they had not recovered “spontaneously”.

“In fact, they worked very hard to heal,” says Dr Turner “and I discovered that they did indeed have nine healing factors in common. Seven of these nine were mental/emotional in nature; the other two being making major dietary change and using herbs and supplements.

“This tells me that the mind is much more powerful than we think. The radical remission survivors I studied very much believed in the power of their mind to heal the body and they took an active (as opposed to passive) role in their healing process.”

Speaking personally, we love being able to help people to recover from cancer and I have seen this happen many times. However, like Ross and so many other people I have known afflicted by this tough disease; we all say the best way to treat cancer is to prevent it. Best not to get it!

Clearly, all the authorities these days agree cancer is a highly preventable illness.

A healthy lifestyle, eating well, exercising, and using the power of the mind – all these things are well proven to prevent all the chronic degenerative diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, as well as cancer. However, while in my experience many people know the basics of this these days, they still struggle to do the right thing by themselves and their families.

So many I meet are looking for help to eat well consistently, to exercise, to manage their stress, to relax and to meditate regularly.

Now clearly, this is where the mind comes in again, for it is the mind of course, that decides what we do - what we eat and drink and how much of it. Whether we exercise or smoke. How we manage our relationships, our stress levels and whether or not we use techniques like meditation. Manage our mind, train our mind - manage our life.

Truly it is as the title of another of my books suggests, it is The Mind that Changes Everything.

During the talks that I will present over the next few months you will get to deepen your experience of the techniques like mindfulness and meditation, learn more of exciting new research that validates and informs this approach, helps to build good health and a deep sense of inner contentment and peace, as well as assists in profound healing for those who are in need.

It is a delight to be travelling and speaking in this way with Ruth. We look forward to being able to share the experiences and the knowledge gathered over so many years working with people like Ross, to catch up with those we know from previous events, and to meet new people. So please do share the details with those you care for. The talks will also be well suited to health professionals and teachers as well.

This year we are travelling slowly, taking time between events to see some more of our great country and to spend time with family and friends. And a feature is we will be in Alice Springs end of August for Meditation in the Desert – a real highlight of the year. Then on to Adelaide and home. See you there somewhere?

Cancer survivors? Cancer thrivers!

For full details of the speaking tour or to download a flier for your local area, CLICK HERE

Maybe you can forward details or even print a few fliers, put them on noticeboards, share them around.

These days, personal contact seems to be the best way people find out about events like this. Maybe you can help someone else to prevent illness, be really well or to recover if they are in need.


Meditation in the Desert  : August 29 – September 7 – FILLING FAST

Come, join Ruth and myself along with like-minded people for 7 days of meditation in the extraordinary atmosphere of the Central Australian desert, followed by several days of close contact with senior local indigenous leaders.

Secure your place with a deposit. For details CLICK HERE

The 8 day cancer residential just presented in Auckland was very well received. There was a great deal of organizing required to make it all happen and we were very ably helped by Stew Burt from the NZ cancer charity CanLive. Stew and another excellent Kiwi therapist, Liz Maluschnig combined with us to help lead and support the program.

Speaking personally again, it was the first time since retiring from the Foundation at the end of 2009 that I had led a residential cancer program specifically for “beginners” (we regularly continue to provide the follow-up programs, but this was for those who had not attended a previous, similar program), so I made time for plenty of preparation.

It was actually very satisfying to have the continuity of presenting all the material for the first 5 days – covering all the Mind-Body material, relaxation, mindfulness, meditation and positive thinking and imagery, then the therapeutic nutrition and issues around life and death.

Liz then led the sessions on healthy emotions, Ruth pain management and medical matters.

For us it seemed very worthwhile and we are considering doing it again next year.

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