26 February 2018


In celebration of presenting meditation retreats for 35 years, let us take a look at what actually does happen on a meditation retreat.

Next month, I will conduct my last meditation retreat with Ruth, and then she will continue on, working with Julia Broome and Emma Houston. They will be a fabulous team and their retreats promise to be a blend of great experience, personal insight, maturity and youthfulness!!!

Ruth's first retreat will be from 10th - 14th September - a new era and not to be missed!

For myself, it will be quite a change. It has been a delight joining with so many participants over the years as we took time out to practice together, to contemplate the nature of our own minds, and to reflect more deeply upon what this life is all about and what we are to do with it.

So wish Ruth and her new team well; here now are some photos and stories from our recently completed Deepening Your Meditation retreat at the Foundation’s meditation heaven in the Yarra Valley… , but first

                Thought for the day

                      By all means, marry. 
                      If you get a good wife, 
                      You will become happy;
                      If you get a bad one, 
                     You will become a philosopher.


Not being much of a philosopher, Deepening Your Meditation was arranged at rather short notice to accommodate people after the last 7 day meditation retreat Ruth and I are to present together in March booked out.

So another full house gathered for just 4 days in February; and entered into a shorter but still immersive experience.

There were teachings each day.
We covered meditation techniques, the nature of our minds, what creates the obstacles many of us have to regular practice and how to breakthrough that, the difference between our ego-based character and our spiritually-based essence and how that affects our experience of life, how we might let go of destructive emotions and unhelpful habits; and of course a good deal on stillness - what it is like and how to experience it more reliably.
Quite a rich program!

        Ruth guided meditations


                As did Emma, Julia and myself

Then for a change of pace,
Emma led yoga sessions


        Julia guided others through Feldenkrais

While still others went on mindfulness walks with Ruth

         There was plenty of input from Kookaburras

 It seems may some come just for the   kangaroos!!!

So many... and so close to Melbourne...

                And the occasional guest Koala

The catering team led by Susanna
- and here supported by Sandy and Sarah
 did their usual fabulous job

At this time of year, a good deal of the food
does come from the Foundation’s own extensive organic gardens

And the quality, taste and nutritional value is exceptional!

Many will have first contact with the Foundation

 - and be helped to arrange coming to a retreat -

through talking to those on the phones like Dianne

And behind the scenes there is heaps going on via the inputs of an exceptional team.

Here are two of them - Lisa and Sue

And of course, the buck stops with the CEO

- the very accessible Wayne Nicholls

Many slept in shared rooms with ensuites,

  while others were in the two dorm rooms.

There was some free time as well.

Time to flow with the river

- Little Yarra River that is...


Or simply take in the majesty of the trees

                              It seems a good time was had by all

                                                   Gonna miss this …   But life moves on …


           with Dr Ruth Gawler    Julia Broome and Emma Houston

                         Meditation - Pure and Simple

Experience being more at ease with yourself and your feelings, 
the connectedness and clarity of mindfulness, 
and profound relaxation into stillness.

Ruth teaches with an openness and authenticity that has endeared her to many.
The content will be accessible to beginners as well as more experienced meditators.

Dates                                 September 2018      Monday 10th to Friday 14th
Venue                                The Yarra Valley Living Centre, 55 Rayner Court, Yarra Junction, Victoria Bookings and Inquiries   The Gawler Foundation         ClientServices@gawler.org
                                                                                          and 1300 651 211 - Call Mon-Fri 9-5pm
To download the brochure, click here
To learn more about Ruth, click here

12 February 2018


For our brain to be fully functional, it takes a good deal of blood. For a bloke to get an erection, it takes a good deal of blood.

Ever wondered how Alzheimer’s and male impotence may be connected?

Well, for our brain to be fully functional, it requires a good deal of blood all of the time - around 750ml every minute. For a bloke to get an erection, it takes a good deal of blood some of the time… in fact, around 130ml each time.

However, what if the blood vessels were impaired? Clogged up? Suffering from atherosclerosis? Became worse with simple old age? If so, then blood could not get to the brain or the penis so easily. For the brain - multiple small strokes and brain atrophy - Alzheimer’s. For the penis - not enough blood flowing quickly enough to produce and sustain an erection - impotence!

So this week we investigate and explore how to prevent and even possibly reverse two of the most feared conditions going around, but first

          Thought for the day

              At some point
              We all sit down
              To a banquet of consequences.

                         Robert Louis Stevenson 

Let us begin with the brain. 

Apparently we normally lose around .5% of our blood flow per year. So at 65 the blood flow to our brains may be down 15 - 20%. Sounds a lot, but we are well designed and have built in reserves, so at this point, no obvious problems.

However, we are not designed for a high fat, high protein diet. This contributes to atherosclerosis; other risk factors being smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and genetics. All but the last are lifestyle factors; factors over which we have some control.

Atherosclerosis in the brain is found to be significantly more frequent and severe in those with Alzheimer’s disease. One recent study even examined specific arteries in the brains of healthy, non-demented controls and compared them to those with Alzheimer’s. They looked at the specific arteries critical to memory and the learning centers of the brain and found major differences - way more plaque in those with Alzheimer’s.

In another study, 400 people with cognitive impairment for were tracked for 4 years using CAT scan angiography.

The cognition of those with the least atherosclerosis in their heads remained pretty stable over the years, but those with more cholesterol plaques became worse and those with the most blockages rapidly declined.

The ability to carry on the activities of daily living was also affected, and the progression to Alzheimer’s disease was doubled.

An inefficient blood supply to the brain has very grave consequences on brain function. Based upon these and many other studies, more and more Alzheimer’s is being described as a vascular disorder.

Good news! Atherosclerosis is preventable and reversible - like all lifestyle related diseases.

But does treatment of vascular risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol actually make a difference? Well, a recent ground-breaking study did focus upon treating  vascular risk factors. Happily, those treated showed significantly less decline and slowed progression of their disease, compared with those who went untreated.

This is one of the first positive outcome studies for Alzheimer’s - and it is based upon Lifestyle Medicine.

So what about male impotence? 

Same risk factors. Same problem. Atherosclerosis affects blood vessels to the penis just like it affects blood vessels to the heart. It impairs blood flow making an erection much more difficult.

More good news! Prevent atherosclerosis, prevent male impotence. Treat atherosclerosis, treat male impotence. Pretty simple formula really.

And sure, there are other issues when it comes to impotence, but this is a big one and one not well recognised and frequently left untreated.

There is hope for both Alzheimer’s and impotence.

As for the old saying…

“Feed the man meat”?

Maybe not ....

Happy days

Want longer lasting sex?

How to improve memory through nutrition and exercises