25 May 2015

Cancer self-help residential program – a photographic essay

What happens when a major dairy farmer begins to grapple with the connection between their cancer and consuming dairy products?

What happens when a senior surgeon is exposed to Mind-Body Medicine?

How about when a palliative care nurse begins to consider that cancer may not be as “terminal” as first thought?

There is a joy in realising that cancer is a potentially reversible, degenerative disease that is fuelled by inflammation.

There is an even greater joy in realising that Lifestyle Medicine potentially offers everyone the personal means to reverse any chronic, inflammatory, degenerative disease with a highly anti-inflammatory, highly regenerative process.

But then there is a challenge that comes with Lifestyle Medicine when one realises that to change a chronic, inflammatory, degenerative disease process into a highly anti-inflammatory, highly regenerative process, one needs to change one's lifestyle; one's habits.

And so this week we ask for your help. Your help to help more people with cancer know what is possible. It is remarkable how many people newly diagnosed with cancer still do not know how much they can do to help themselves, and how much they are missing out on if they do not.

It seems there are two big barriers that stop people from helping themselves. Firstly knowing what is possible; secondly getting over the awkwardness, the uncertainties, the hesitancy, to actually begin, to join in with a self-help, educational program.

You can help by informing people and inspiring them to make a start. 

One of the reasons Ruth and I love presenting these types of programs is that we get to travel along with a group of people with cancer as they go through a residential program designed to help them to learn in detail how lifestyle impacts on cancer, and how by changing their habits, they can change the momentum of the disease.

And what stands out? People of all ages, from all walks of life say “why didn’t I do this earlier? Why didn’t I know about this earlier? Why didn’t someone tell me about this? Why isn’t everyone doing a program like this?”

So this week, a photographic essay of the cancer self-help residential programs, compiled from our recent 8 day program Cancer, Healing and Wellbeing presented in  Wanaka, New Zealand, with a few shots from follow-up programs presented in the Yarra Valley and New Zealand.

The request is that you share this post with anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer and may be thinking of coming to one of our programs, or one presented at the Gawler Foundation itself, or one of the affiliated “Gawler” programs. Hopefully it will help them to get a better idea of what they might come to, and help them to feel more comfortable coming for the first time.

So a big thank you to all who gave approval to appear below, but first

Thought for the day

The patterns of our lives reveal us.
Our habits measure us.
In the shapeliness of a life, habit plays its sovereign role...

Most people take action by habit in small things
More often than in important things,
For it’s the simple matters that get done readily,
While the more somber and interesting,
Taking more effort and being more complex,
Often must wait for another day.

Thus, we could improve ourselves quite well by habit,
By its judicious assistance,
But it’s more likely that habits rule us.

                   Mary Oliver

    A new group gathers 

Excitement. Anticipation.

A little trepidation – what are we in for?                
So many possibilities.

     There are presentations

New things to learn.
Notes to take.

Learning of a Lifestyle
That is highly anti-inflammatory,
Highly regenerative.

What we as individuals
And we as a collective of family and friends can do
To bring about healing.
Radical healing.
And long-lasting inner peace.

        So lots of practise

        We meditate together.

                    We share the food.

                    Lots of great food.

Mostly organic. Always fresh.

Always consistent with the theory.

A chance to experience it all.



                                     Prepared with love.

         Maddy, herself with a story of recovery
               - a fabulous, gourmet, natural food chef.

      People loosen up

- and speak more directly.

The women meet together

- and the men, and the partners.

And speak amongst like-minded people
going through similar situations.

Then the occasion treat thrown in by the locals.

This time courtesy of Lake Wanaka Cruises.

Where amazing scenery

And the clarity that comes with stillness

Lends itself to informal,
but meaningful conversation.

Here, we do not show the full range of emotion so directly.
And yes there are some tears
And an amazing amount of laughter.
Lots of laughter.
Amidst a gentle intensity.

For this is the work of transformation.
Learning and transformation.

Maybe one day someone will make a documentary
And more will become apparent.

But for now, another group goes home
Filled with hope.
Aware of their choices.
Experiencing a new level of inner peace that often surprises them.

Going home to begin the next phase of their lives.

A life renewed.

Finally then, two big thank yous

Firstly to the team in New Zealand.
Special mention to Stew Burt who came to the Gawler Foundation with his first wife,
gained so much and was driven to start the charity Canlive that has brought the programs to New Zealand.
What commitment. What an organiser!

And Liz Maluschnig, one time an oncology nurse, motivated to help in a fresh way.
Now with years of training and experience
as a counselor and group facilitator.

Secondly to all the staff and volunteers at the Gawler Foundation.
Especially Siegfried Gutbrod who has my old job of Therapeutic Director - and does it so well.
And Julia Broome, a physiotherapist who extended her training to become a Feldenkrais authority.

What incredible, wonderful, authentic people we get to work with – and for!!!

And well you might wonder what happened to the initial trio???

The dairy couple have currently taken up on a 10 day mono-diet while they plan for becoming vegans.

The surgeon is one of the more committed adherents to the Lifestyle program.

And the palliative care nurse knows that people survive against the odds and is working out how understanding death in a new light brings new meaning and relevance to palliative care.

So please spread the word. 

I dream of the day when everyone diagnosed with cancer is told by their doctor right at first diagnosis to start their plan for recovery by learning and implementing what they can do for themselves.

I dream of the day when everyone has access to these programs and is keen to benefit.

Many people will benefit from surgery, many from chemotherapy, radiotherapy and complimentary therapies. But everyone will benefit from applying themselves and gaining the therapeutic benefits of Lifestyle Medicine.

People need help to fully realize what is possible, and to implement it.
Maybe you can help someone else to help themselves.

Please share…..

And with the program ended,
Ruth gets to hang out for a while
With her favourite mutt
- Dougall, Stew Burt’s Brittany Spaniel

Radical Remission – The 9 key factors that long-term cancer survivors have in common.

Programs that Ian and Ruth present personally

Ian and Ruth’s books, CDs. DVDs

The Gawler Foundation’s Programs

Canlive’s programs



Meditation and the Inner Journey        8th  – 12th  June     Yarra Valley
This retreat brings together 2 powerful experiences - the deep natural peace of meditation, and a gentle process of introspection that will help you reconnect with your own inner wisdom.

FULL DETAILS  -  Click here

– Coming soon
Brisbane day workshop - Sunday, June 14th, 2015

A Relaxing, Regenerative Meditation Intensive

Designed for experienced meditators, but definitely open to those newer to meditation 

Date        Sunday, June 14th, 2015 from 10am (arrive 9.30) to 5pm
Venue     The Relaxation Centre, 15 South Pine Rd, Alderley, Brisbane
Enquiries and Bookings    The Relaxation Centre        Telephone: 07 3856 3733

Cairns weekend meditation intensive 

June 20 and 21 – Non-residential

Meditation is the greatest gift you can give to yourself, or someone you care for

Date              Saturday, Sunday 20th and 21st June. Starts 10am (arrive 9.30) to 5pm
Venue           Khacho Yulo Ling Buddhist Centre, 348 Severin Street, Cairns
Enquiries      Call  07 4041 5556    or email   info@yuloling.com
Bookings      Online, go to :  www.yuloling.com     or call Rinchen    07 4041 5556

Medicine of the Mind – Cairns Evening Public Lecture 

Tuesday June 23  7pm

For everyone interested in the power within 

Date                Tuesday 23rd June, 2015      Starts 7pm (arrive 6.30) to 10pm
Venue             Khacho Yulo Ling Buddhist Centre, 348 Severin St
Enquiries        Call  07 4041 5556    or email   info@yuloling.com
Bookings        Online, go to :  www.yuloling.com     or call Rinchen    07 4041 5556


  1. i would have loved to come to the one day meditation on the 14 of June. But i am going to uluru, where the dala lama is speaking. both on the same day! I well not mend to be.
    good luck . Ina

  2. Just wanted to say that you have a lovely webpage and beautiful and great stuff... With thanks!

    Thesis Writing Service

  3. Ahh thank you Ian and beautiful team, a wonderful walk down memory lane. We attended both retreats in NZ a year ago and each day we walk this journey of yummy wholefoods, juicing, qigong, yoga and walks all apart of weekly healthy habits, and daily sitting for meditation. So instead of being a distant memory, you are a part of our lifestyle and we thankyou! In a world that can rock and roll you, there is a stillness where peacefulness is found, I call it the Gawler way....I am thankful to Ian , Ruth, Liz and Stew for all you do,

    megan xo

    oh yeah check out Maddys recipes via www.Nourishfull yum!

  4. Thankyou Ian I enjoy reading your newsletters. I would like to ask you something. My friend has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma and is having stem cell treatment soon. What could I suggest for her at this stage.

    1. Best place to recommend starting is my book You Can Conquer Cancer. Then if your friend resonates with that, she can look into attending a program or a group.
      wish your friend all the best,
      be well