October Newsletter

I thought I’d share my October newsletter on my blog. This is a new initiative and if you’d like to join the mailing list please sign up on my website.

I’m spending the weekend hunkered down in my house because the island has been invaded by thousands of people for the motorcycle Grand prix. Like many locals I did my shopping early and will try not to venture on the roads too much. It’s good timing because I have my Chinese medicine exams coming up in a week or so and I really need to study.

I had already written this newsletter earlier in the week but mysteriously it had disappeared from my computer, which has been prone to gremlins recently. I’ve lost a couple of documents I’ve been working on and had sent off some work only to find I had sent an empty file. All that work had disappeared into the ether. I got very frustrated and angry with my computer.

The original newsletter was about Qi and energy flow. Qi is the Chinese concept of the energy that animates all life and connects all our parts and all the parts of the universe. It is a hard thing to define in western terms. The newsletter had been about how to better manage our Qi so that we stayed healthy. It discussed things that probably everyone has read many times before – everything in moderation, meditate, do tai chi, walk barefoot on the earth (beach!), surround ourselves with positive people and energies. All great things to do to calm and ground ourselves and to connect ourselves with people and nature.

Such things are easiest to do when our lives are flowing well. What do we do when things go wrong? How do we manage our Qi and our energy then? Sure my computer glitches aren’t major problems but my rising levels of frustration could have disturbed my Qi even more than it did if I hadn’t remembered to step away from the problem and pay more attention to my feelings. I’ve written at length about this in my book but basically too often we get enmeshed in our problems and fail to step back and look at the bigger picture. We also don’t pay attention to our feelings; we ignore them, or deny we feel them, or use drugs or alcohol to numb them. Feelings and emotions are stirred up energy or Qi. They indicate something isn’t right and we should pay them attention. We can do this by feeling them rather than avoiding them. I took a step back from the problem and went out to the garden to weed and plant some seeds to help process the frustration. I let myself feel frustrated and gradually I became aware of other feelings that I had been bottling up. Once we feel the emotions we often become aware of other issues we have been ignoring. For me it was that I had been working and studying too hard and that I needed to do more positive things – like meditate, tai chi, walk on the beach. And that everything in moderation is a good Chinese habit to aim for; less study and more play.

Now when I am stuck in some way and don’t know what to do and even gardening and planting seeds doesn’t completely get me unstuck I know it is time to write. Writing it out may not be for everyone but most of us have some form of creative expression that helps us restore us to ourselves. It might be singing or dancing or painting or knitting but it sure is good to make space in our lives to do it. Of course I could make time for writing without having computer gremlins bring the lack of writing space to my attention. But like many of us I ignore my energy imbalance until it erupts in some way. Once again I came to the realization that taking time out to do my writing is important for my inner self. I realized that Qi doesn’t just need calming and grounding and connection but also inspiration and passion and creativity.

We can meditate and do tai chi and walk on the beach to calm and ground ourselves. We can nurture our connections to people and nature. But if we don’t also make time to be creative and follow our passions our lives can lack a certain spark. So remember to spark up your Qi with some creativity and passion on a regular basis.

 

 

If you would like to buy a copy of my book – Holistic Medicine, Beyond the Physical – copies are available on my website for $30 including postage in Australia or you can pick a copy up at Safflower Clinic for $20.

 

I acknowledge and pay respect to the Elders and Traditional Owners of the land on which I work and live.

 

Disclaimer. This newsletter is for research and entertainment purposes only. The information given in this site is not intended to replace a therapeutic practitioner relationship.

2018

A New Year.

2018

A time for new beginnings and resolutions.

A time for visions and grand plans for the year ahead.

With all our resolutions to exercise more, eat less, stop smoking, spend more time with family and friends and many other variations we sometimes forget to take a moment and be thankful for all that we already are and all that we already have. Instead of making resolutions we probably will never uphold it is useful to examine our current strengths, gifts and opportunities and celebrate these.

Rather than focus on those areas of our life that we think need fixing maybe we can focus on those areas that are already good. Be thankful for what we already have instead of always pushing for bigger and better.

Remember most importantly that we already have the gift of the earth and nature. The New Year, and the summer solstice, reminds us that we are part of a great cycle. The seasons pass. The old year makes way for a new one. We gradually get older and one day will die. The cycle of birth, growth and death is the cycle of the earth.

Sometimes the real magic in our lives lies hidden because we see the earth and her gifts as ordinary and everyday. Inner or spiritual work helps us to recognize the magic in the ordinary pleasures of the earth and stop searching for happiness in consumerism and gathering more stuff. In particular having just passed the summer solstice here in Australia it is time to start looking inward as the days begin to shorten again.

Inner work helps us to look at who we really are and whether we are living the life that we are meant to be living. Changing the externals through resolutions that we don’t follow is one way to avoid looking deeper. So at the start of 2018 I encourage you to take a look inside at your authentic self and its offerings; to take a look at the earth and her abundant gifts and to start living a life that does justice to both.

Listening to the calling of our heart

Listening to the calling of our heart.

Our hearts are always calling to us. They try to get us to pay attention to longings that we often bury beneath our everyday existence. We bury such longings and ignore the callings because to listen would be to go against all we have learnt about fitting into society. For society does not pay heed to the callings of the heart. Society pays heed to the callings of the ego and the mind; to mortgages and secure jobs, to school work and university degrees; to being a good child, a good spouse, a good parent.

I listened to an interview with John Mayer the other day and he spoke about knowing that he was a musician and writer from a young age and following that calling knowing it was what he was here to do. Sometimes I wish I’d had that clarity of calling at a young age. But for most of us life gets in the way and our hearts get burdened with expectations. We expect we will follow a certain path only to find that it is not what we thought; that we do not arrive at a place where our hearts are filled with joy, love and abundance. We glimpse such places along our path – maybe when we fall in love, or have a child or begin a job that we love. Yet somehow we can’t hold onto that place within us that is trying to show us how to live.

The heart callings have a strange pull on us and sometimes if we pay attention that pull will be an irresistible force that draws us towards our life’s work. The calling changes over time but some impulses are always with us urging us to leave secure jobs and do things that society may frown upon.

Your heart may be calling you to fall in love with someone, or change your job, or have a baby, or buy a puppy. It may be calling you to stop the busyness of your life and spend time listening to its longings. Sometimes we are so busy that we don’t pay the heart and its desires any attention. Maybe it is because we don’t want to hear what the heart has to say about our current life? Or maybe it is just that we have forgotten how to live in touch with our heart centre but rather pay all our attention to the ego mind.

The ego does not want us to listen to our heart simply because to do so might put us against society’s expectations. But even the ego may fall in line eventually. When that part of us sees that the way of the heart leads to joy and fulfillment and wealth of a type not measured by money. We may struggle with listening to the calling of our heart but once we cease the struggle we can just accept that what we need is to pay our heart more attention. Maybe then we can accept that to follow our heart’s desires is not selfish but the way we can be of greatest service to the world.

Endings

About ten days ago I retired from conventional general practice. It has been a long time coming but finally I had made the decision to pursue other interests. I am still doing some work in youth mental health at headspace but my focus will be on writing.

Writing is something I feel drawn towards in a way I once felt drawn towards medicine. Being a doctor is an absolute privilege and I have learnt so much from my interactions with all my patients. I have learnt all about holistic medicine from listening to people talk about their lives, their illnesses and the myriad ways in which healing occurs.

I would like to thank all the patients and staff who have supported me over the years and with whom I have forged relationships. Many patients have shared their inner most secrets with me and I feel fortunate to have been able to listen to them and hopefully help them towards their own healing. Healing is after all a natural process and as doctors much of what we do is try to provide the right conditions for the body to heal itself. Unfortunately conventional medicine is not so good at helping soul and spirit heal. Nor is it good at nurturing the patient’s connection with their soul and spirit.

While I hope I have helped some patients gain a better understanding of the importance of listening to their inner self, conventional general practice does not encourage this type of therapy. So I am glad to be leaving the system and striking out in a new direction.

I hope to continue to do one on one work in mental health but I don’t plan to return to general practice. I will allow life to unfold and see where my clinical work takes me. For now I feel called to spend much more time writing about healing and transformation and mental health issues. So this is a thank you to all those patients who have shared their lives with me over the years. It has been a privilege to be given your trust and to be a part of your journey.