Is Suffering Necessary?

A. Yes it is. But it need not be permanent.

I’m not the first one to work this out, but I will be the first one to describe it in these exact words, and well, the world has always needed teachers to pass down knowledge, so here we are. It is the way of things in the world of mammals. We are born, we learn, and then we teach. We traverse our own experience of life as best we can, and then once we have learnt enough, we pass that wisdom on.

Suffering is one of my favourite subjects to speak on these days, and thus that probably makes me a rare breed. One might assume that a proclivity towards what is perceived as a darker element of life would mean I’m also shrouded in darkness, but au contraire my friends. Suffering was a constant in my life for a long, long time, and I swam away it as hard as I could, until I ran out of energy and sank.

You see, what I am going to try to teach you here in this short blog post, is that suffering is in fact one of the most wonderful delights that the human experience has to offer. Sinking was the best thing that happened to me. Hitting rock bottom is what many call it. Suffering, when framed correctly is the most humbling, illuminating, and ultimately freeing teacher. A teacher that can, if framed correctly, bring us to a deeper place of gratitude, contentment and ultimately, joy. Suffering can create a beautiful bridge to understanding what it is we are truly experiencing whilst we are down here, in these bodies.

We are clinging to the good in our lives, whilst being desperately fearful of losing it. That fear of losing what we love ensures we can’t truly enjoy what we love, and will often eventually result in us losing it.

Lost you with that? Hang tight, try to think of it this way. We humans, for the most part, seek pleasure, and seek to avoid pain and suffering. We seek thrills, and spills, and laughs, and love, and sugar and spice and all things nice. We grasp at what feels good, and then we run like mad, like startled deer from what feels ‘bad’. Now, I understand why we do this, it’s because what feels good, FEELS GOOOOD. It just seems obvious that we should run towards what feels good, but here’s the rub: life is a blend, a steady mix of yin and yang. As night follows day; darkness, pain, suffering and things that feel bad are an inevitable part of life too. By running away from what feels bad, and relentlessly towards what feels good, we ensure one thing… Fear will control us. By running from the discomfort we cling to the pleasurable like our boat has capsized and we are holding on to a buoyancy aid for dear life. We are clinging to the good in our lives, whilst being desperately fearful of losing it. I’ve highlighted that sentence in bold because I think it’s the most important sentence in this entire piece. That fear of losing what we love ensures we can’t truly enjoy what we love, and will often eventually result in us losing it (should probably bold that one too). This is the tragedy of the human experience. By turning a blind eye to the inevitable darkness of our world we in fact lose our ability to embrace the copious amounts of heavenly joy that is also on offer. Bliss, or ‘Samadhi’ as the yogis call it, is available to all, but only to those who are willing to dance with the Devil as well as sing with the angels.

So that’s it. It’s that simple. Accept that life has darkness, and acquaint yourself with that darkness so closely that it no longer feels so scary. Find the courage to befriend the stuff that scares you. Suffering comes along as a gift to make us uncomfortable, to prevent us from being able to avoid the darkness within us any longer. Unfortunate events, tragedies, and heartbreak will be presented to us, on a individual and collective level (2020 anyone) to make us so uncomfortable and unhappy that we have no option but to cease our clinging to our hedonistic pleasures and embrace the pain. And when we do, often the pain ceases and we start to blink our eyes wide open to the ultimate truth.

How do you do it? Well just sit it with it all, sit with the entirety of your experience, allow yourself to feel it all. Feel the pain, the hurt, the betrayal, the guilt, the grief, the anger and the sadness. Meditation is key to this, we need to go quiet, and go inwards on our own experience.

Of course, easier said than done. It really helps to have someone guide you into your subconscious with a deep trance state and then sit with you as you face the trauma and supressed emotions, and that’s exactly what I do. If you would like to work with me because you’re suffering or stuck in a rut and can’t see a way out, then head over to my business page at www.mindbodyquantumhealing.com for details on what I do and how to contact me.

Realising the Error of my Ways

I had a conversation with a client during a coaching call this morning that brought something big up for me, something which has been coming up repeatedly for some time. During the call I’d set him a writing task, and upon reflection I decided to set myself one too. It’s been a while since I wrote anything for this blog, it’s time.

My journey since the inception of this blog is exactly that, a journey, and what is commonly referred to in popular culture as ‘the hero’s journey’. We all have a hero’s journey in us if we accept the challenge. I’m not a hero, I’m just a man who went looking for some answers, found a bunch of them, and then came back to share some of that wisdom with the rest of the mankind. It is a journey has taken many twists and unexpected turns, it has been unpredictable and messy, and deeply challenging at times, and yet without doubt, it has also been the most rewarding two and half years of my life. People reach out to me for guidance now, some are weary travellers looking for a boost to their enthusiasm for walking the path, and some are new explorers, taking their first tentative steps towards whatever it is they’re seeking. I could tell them what they’re seeking, and I will touch on it in this post, but it doesn’t work like that, it’s too much to comprehend, and it’s too confronting. What the hero is seeking must be found by the seeker in order to understand what it is they have found.

And there in lies the reason for this post – a seeker cannot be given what he or she is seeking. Like Harry Potter on the broomstick, the ‘Seeker’ in Gryffindor’s Quidditch team, the seeker must go looking for the golden snitch and catch it with their own bare hands. The golden ball cannot be placed in our hands, nor can we sit and wait for it to fall into our laps. The seeker must go looking, they must open their eyes wide, and accept the guidance from the messengers and teachers who will appear on their path to help them. Eventually it will appear right in front of our noses as if it was there all along (maybe it was) and we’ll find it.

So, if I come back to the title of this post – the error of my ways. I went seeking two and a half years ago after the universe made my life so incredibly uncomfortable that I had no other option. I was sick, sad, lonely and depressed. My life just fell apart from 2016 to 2018 after I got bitten by that spider in my sleep, I ceased living and was gradually, and then quite rapidly dying. Honestly, I had so many moments where I simply could not see any future for myself. I was beyond salvation, it felt like the end was nigh, and I started to frequently contemplate on the fact that perhaps it would be a good thing if I departed this earthly plane of existence. This is how it works, most of us have to hit rock bottom before we find the motivation to say “enough is enough, it’s time to leave the comfort zone and try something different”. And in one moment, one beautiful transcendental moment of clarity I became a seeker.

The first blog post I ever wrote was two days after that moment. That moment took to me to place of such peace, freedom and joy, that it completely transformed my orientation in life. I became a seeker. By the way – if you wish to read about that experience the link is here. What followed that moment is captured in this blog, warts and all. I have many other stories from that period of my life to tell, and I sense that some day I may write them all down into a book, but essentially that moment led to the seeking, which led to some weird and wonderful adventures, the gradual uncovering of answers, and eventually I found what all seekers hope to find; peace, love, and grace.

And in finding those things, let me tell you, dear reader, it blew my bloody doors off. My soul is always groovy, but my mind has taken a year to settle down, and really, only now is my body starting to truly integrate with what my mind discovered. So where are the errors of my ways? Well, I’m an open and expressive chap. Not many people openly publish such personal journeys for anyone to read, it was a huge dive into vulnerability and I don’t why I did it, I just did, and it helped. Many people read the blog, I’ve published over 115,000 words and it’s had something like 20,000 views. Readers enjoyed the voyeuristic opportunity to witness my journey, what they have not enjoyed so much was what came after.

What came after was my unbridled excitement. I came rushing back to shout “OMG, guys, guys, look over here, I found something incredible and I want to show it to you”. Of course the response that came back was for the most part, not particularly warm. This is what our society does, we label such people as crazy. The late and wonderful Bill Hicks famously talked about it in his most iconic of comedic routines ‘It’s just a ride’ (link here). Overnight I became an annoying preacher, I ‘woke up’ just in time for the world to go into a Covid-shaped melt down, and took it upon myself to commence lecturing on morality and the right path, the sins of humanity, and how we all needed to look at what I’d found and if we did the earth and all of souls would be saved. And of course, the correct response of nearly everyone (except the frustrated seekers) was “F**k off, you lunatic”. So sure I was of my message that my response to this rejection was to double down on my methods, despite the obvious evidence to suggest they weren’t working.

And there, my friends, there are the errors of my ways. It’s something I have to now sit with and learn to be okay with. The nature of who I am; extroverted, a bit eccentric, a sharer, a carer, a giver, a lover; all these things meant I immediately went public with my discovery and because I hadn’t really taken the time to let it settle down and integrate into my being, I pushed away a lot of people and alienated myself from even more. Of course if I was a client I would advise myself not to have any regrets about that, but it’s a hard one to not to have twinge of regret for, because it meant people I love gravitated away from me, and people whom I could have helped, instead ran as far away as they possibly could.

The reality of course is that I have to accept that and be grateful for what those experiences taught me, let go of any regret and resentment towards the past. By doing so I enable myself to enjoy the present, and look to the great work I can do in the future to shift humanity towards a brighter future. The very act of penning this piece feels like a form of repentance for the mistakes I made, I can feel myself shedding some of that sadness and regret, tears are welling up in my eyes for the third time since I started. To some that may sound pathetic, but this is the nature of opening up one’s heart fully to the world, it expands the spectrum. In the same way that I permit myself to fully experience the negative emotions such as sadness and fear, I also experience happiness and joy to the extent of them transforming into bliss. And that, my friends is what we’re all seeking really, whether you identify as a seeker or not.

The gift I uncovered last year was a means to expose people to the incredible transcendental moment of peace, love and possibly even bliss that I experienced at that tiny sober dance back in June 2018, and because I believe so fully in the importance of those moments I decided to give up everything else and make it my life’s mission to guide as many people I possibly can into finding the same freedom I have found. To alleviate as much pain and suffering in this world as possible. In the past year I have pissed off and pushed away so many, but I have also helped a substantial number of trauma sufferers; grievers; sexual abuse victims; alcoholics; divorcees; smokers; heartbroken, frustrated and beaten singles; chronically sick; perennially depressed, and more. Never in a thousand years would I have dreamt that a mouldy apartment, a spider bite, a blog, a Tony Robbins weekend, a Thai yoga retreat and something called ‘unconditional love healing’ could lead me to this reality I now face. There’s a lesson there for all of us, especially in these unpredictable times. By all means seek answers, but learn to surrender to the way, the way of nature, the way of life. The true gifts lie in surrendering to something that is just a lot smarter, a lot wiser and a lot more loving than we could ever imagine.

Love is the true currency of this universe, the seekers will eventually learn this, and then they cease to be seekers, they transform and become lovers. And love will guide the way, if we let it.

So as much I realise the error of my ways, in reality, has it been such a bad thing? I’m already very good at what I do, I guess I’m a natural. It’s only been a year since I started working in this space and really I’m just getting started. I repented my sins. I ask for forgiveness from those whom I upset, but it’s time for me to let go of that regret, move on, and do what I do best, serve in the present moment. To facilitate joy.

Come talk to me if you’re ready. Ready to find what it is that you’re looking for. I can help you find your way. Feel free to check out my other website for more details www.mindbodyquantumhealing.com

That Girl On The Beach

Two or three years ago whilst I was living near Bondi Beach, on some mornings I would get up early before work and go for a jog on the sand, which is roughly a kilometre in length. Every morning I would jog down to the sand in my trainers, take them off and then run barefoot back and forth across the yellow grains. I would take in the sunrise whilst I ran, and if I was up early enough I could catch it appear for the first time over the horizon, beyond the Tasman sea. I never tired of seeing that sight. The same could not be said of my knees as my bare feet pounded the hard sand near the water’s edge.

What a gift it has been to call this city home for the past five years, I am truly blessed, though it has never felt ‘easy’ here. I moved in with a woman when I arrived and was not ready for the relationship, we were not right for each other, and in retrospect I realise I was awful to her. I have long longed to apologise. I was homesick and lonely. I made new friends, but I wasn’t happy enough in myself to show them my best self. I lost my enthusiasm for my work. I lived in a mouldy apartment that made me sick, and then I moved into a new apartment and got bitten by something in my sleep, which made me even sicker. The four years since have been a hazy blur of faking being ok and working out how to get better. Fighting to heal. The past two or so of which have been documented in this blog. Whilst the symptoms were largely physical, I realise now how much of the underlying cause was mental, and dare I say it, spiritual.

But what a blessing this city has been. I cannot really do it justice. People typically move away from home to find an adventure or to run away from something. I look back and realise that I ran away only to find more suffering, to be less comfortable, and subsequently extended my suffering to the point of not being able to go on living as I was. To wake myself up from the nightmarish dream in which I slumbered. Sydney is undeniably a beautiful city, one of the best, one of the shiniest and sunniest, a land of opportunity, full of beautiful people, excellent coffee, excellent food and some of the dreamiest beaches in the world. It captures the heart of nearly everyone who comes here. It captured mine, and then proceeded to lock it into a pit of darkness.

Two or three years ago, I think three, perhaps late summer, it was before this blog commenced in June 2018, I digress. Let’s just say it was ‘a while back’. I was running on Bondi beach one morning before heading to work. It was early, the sun was just coming up, I was barefoot and listening to some music, probably trance, probably an Above & Beyond podcast or album, it usually is if I’m running. Anyway, I was running, not much else going on, ‘one foot in front of the other and repeat’ kind of deal. Knowing my brain, I was probably riddled with rumination and over-thinking. Running usually went like this for me, I’d run harder and harder, faster and faster, as if trying to outrun the evil demon in my mind that was rarely nice to me. I’d run as hard as I could, until I was so exhausted that I would collapse on to the sand and find a moment of brief respite in that silent exhaustion. The way I attacked a run was a metaphor for how I attacked life. Distracted. Exhausted. Without style. Without grace.

How many people exercise in pain like this? Looking around I reckon it’s like Donald Trump supporters – a large silent majority. I watch people when they run these days, they usually have this scrunched up face of pain or stern concentration. I can see them in the same battle I used to spend my runs locked in. It’s the same thing in yoga classes, and spin classes, and bodypump exercises. Some people seem to go to yoga with the intention of sweating themselves into such a state of exhaustion that they’ll fall into a much-needed sleepy peace in the shavasana at the end. Nearly everyone looks so damn serious. Knowing what I know about yoga now, it’s tragic to behold. It’s meant to be fun, like a dance, but tt’s like their faces say:

“I’m concentrating so damn hard here on finding peace that I have no time for fun. This is not meant to be fun. Finding peace is serious business, I have to sweat or I fail.”

I look at these faces, either stressed, miserable or distant like a zombie’s, as they race past me in the park, or hold a Warrior 2 on the mat, and I feel for them, I really do. I remember what that used to feel like. Occasionally I slip back into that state, but I’m much better at noticing when it happens and then finding my way back out. Much better. It used to feel like I was working damn hard to feel something, but I felt nothing. To prove something, but I proved nothing. To find something that was missing, but I only found more nothing. What was I missing? What are so many of us missing?

That morning on the sand, lost deep in my world of own crap, as my run neared the Southern end of the beach, I approached a girl dancing. As I methodically planted one foot in front of another and panted with misplaced exertion, I ran towards what appeared to be an angel. She twirled, and swirled, and leapt, and swept her hands and feet in circles and lines with a beauty and a grace that to be honest, dear reader, I had no idea what to do with. She glowed in that early morning light. I could see she had her earphones in and was clearly dancing to music whilst bringing her joyous expression of life to that cold hard sand down by the waters edge. We made eye contact for a moment as I ran past and she smiled a smile I will never forget. It was so pure, so beautiful, so full of joy, so happy and loving that I simply could not handle it. My mind went blank. I stopped running shortly after as I had run out of sand, I looked back and watched her for a moment, mesmerised, as she continued to dance.

I realise now, looking back, that it was a pivotal moment for me. She sparked something inside of me, that girl on the beach. She had something I didn’t know I was longing for. Freedom. Love. And I didn’t recognise it in the moment, in fact I don’t think I really fully recognised it until I sat down and started to type this today. Grace.

That girl on the beach was grace appearing in my life at the exact moment that she needed to appear. Grace has continued to appear in my life since, with increasing frequency as time progresses. Katie dragging me to Sydney was grace. The spider biting me in my sleep was grace. The former flatmate, Mathilde, who introduced me to the ecstatic dance that led to this blog was grace. The four days spent with Tony Robbins was grace. The two decades of romantic disappointment was grace. Finding myself in Thailand at that yoga retreat, studying under David, was grace. The woman I have been relentlessly pulled towards for the past year, but whom has always kept me at arm’s length, is grace. My campervan, Vinnie, breaking down and thus forcing me back to Australia was grace, I needed to come back here to find what I was looking for. All along. It was grace. All of it. That was what I was missing, and yet it was there right in front of me the whole time.

My entire life has happened exactly as it was meant to. How incredibly freeing. And my response? Gratitude. Gratitude for all the shit; the sadness; the anger; the fear; the confusion; the suffering; the pain. And all the good stuff of course; the family; the friends; the laughs; the shared experiences; the love; the challenges; the smiles; and the physical touches, and wonderment. And Awe. Look around. Be awed by the world around you. It is terrible, and yet it is awesome. Yin and Yang.

Gratitude. Gratitude for all of it.

A week ago I danced on my own in the park near to where I live, beautiful spiritual music filling my ears, looking every bit the lunatic. I span around and around as I became the music. I twirled, and swirled, and leapt, and swept my arms in circles and lines. My entire being was filled with feelings of love and freedom and connection. I channeled that girl on the beach. With grace.

I smile a lot these days, I smile for no reason other than to be alive. I don’t need anything special to be happy. I have nothing to prove. Nothing to fear. My body demands I take care of it with basic whole foods, plenty of water, sleep and exercise and time and space (yoga/meditation). It’s taken me a long time to get here, and I know the path is never ending, but that death is simply a return home. I smile because I am grateful. Grateful for it all. Grateful for this experience of life, for the grace that I feel within my being, and shows up in my life. It has been so hard, so long, so lonely, so awfully confusing, and yet so magical, mysterious and wonderful in equal measure.

I recognise the look on the faces as I walk past people and smile at them now. People in cities are weirded out by strangers who smile at them. They look back confused, or perturbed, they avert their gaze, turn their heads to their friends, or their phones. They react as I once did to that girl on the beach, it is too much for them to make sense of so they turn from it. I have often longed to leave the darkness of the cities this year and retreat to the light of nature’s sanctuary, but something has kept me where I am, and now I know why.

I no longer despair when people turn from my smile, for I know a smile is all it takes. The seed is sown with that smile. A smile lights up the world. It is part of why those damn masks are so insidious and you won’t catch me wearing one. Like that girl on the beach I am going to do my part in healing this world, one smile, one twirl, one swirl, one blog, or Instagram post at a time. The anger and sadness within me grows weaker with each passing day, the darkness of the world affects me less, and with each spurt of growth I become more assured of my purpose here. It is the same purpose we all have. To light it up. To take each other’s hands and guide each other home, together, with love, to Graceland.

I’m going to Graceland
For reasons I cannot explain
There’s some part of me wants to see Graceland
And I may be obliged to defend
Every love, every ending
Or maybe there’s no obligations now
Maybe I’ve a reason to believe
We all will be received
In Graceland

Paul Simon, Graceland

This truly is the most incredible life, the most incredible experience. The world we inhabit may be currently filled with darkness, but where there is darkness there must also be light. The darkness is no match for the light. It never was, and it never will be. The pain is here to guide us towards the light, and I will shine my torch of love into every dark place I can find.

Together, we shall walk each other home, with style, with grace.

Amazing grace. That saved a wretch like me.

Love,

Christopher

How does this happen? I sit down to write and an hour later out pops 2000 words. Are these words even mine? What is ‘mine’? Nothing. It is all ours.

If you would like to work with me because you’re suffering or stuck in a rut and can’t see a way out, then head over to my business page at www.mindbodyquantumhealing.com for details on what I do and how to contact me.

How Can I Help You?

People often ask me what is I do, I figured it’s about time I created a page to send them to in order to explain it. You can read on, or you can head over to services site: www.mindbodyquantumhealing.com

When I first started working with clients it was mostly friends, generously offering themselves up as guinea pigs in my grand experiment. But then others, strangers, started appearing as if from nowhere, seekers looking for answers, looking for peace – answers and peace they had not been able to find elsewhere. It was a strange and unplanned development, it’s not like I had set out with an intention to become a meditation guide / healer / trauma therapist / transformation coach… it just sort of happened. You may not believe in a higher power, but to me it has felt very much like I was chosen to do what I now do. Very “woo woo” indeed, but here I am, this is what I do, and at some point I accepted that I’m really bloody good at it.

So what is it that I do? I will attempt to summarise it in one sentence: I bring clients into a state of meditation, a trance if you were, and from that place I work with the client to release negative vibrations held within them (suppressed emotions – often from childhood), and then move into re-programming subconscious messaging with new beliefs which are more positive and beneficial for the client. Simple! Typically it takes somewhere between 3 to 8 sessions for a client to get to a place they are happy with.

Many, if not most of us, are carrying old emotional wounds, often without knowledge of what it is that we carry. Sometimes these wounds can be decades old, dating back to early childhood, the memories may be vague, or even gone, but the wound remains. By bringing what is dysfunctional within our subconscious to the surface and then releasing it, often has profound, lasting and hugely beneficial impacts for the person involved. A number of my clients have had huge shifts after just one session with me.

These negative vibrations that we may suppress within us can hold us back dramatically; mentally and physically. They are often the root cause of addiction issues, anger and violence problems, self doubt, self hate, self harm, eating disorders, dysfunctional relationship patterns and so on. They can in many cases also be the root cause of physical ailments, aches, pains and diseases. The tragedy is that they can be released quickly and easily with the help of an empathetic healer like myself, but there aren’t that many of us about, and we are often looked down upon as quacks, regardless of what success we may have had. It is a real shame, but the tide does appear to be turning on this, the world of alternative medicine is gradually becoming more accepted despite the propaganda war that is waged against it.

So that, in a nutshell, is what I can offer. I cannot really explain how I came to have this ability, some may call it a gift although it does not always feel as so. It is however, undeniably a force for good, and I know I have no option but to share it with those who need help, need answers, need peace. Whatever their circumstance, whoever they are, wherever they may be. I have no judgement for my clients, I was a big fuck up at one time too, I have only a burning desire to help them achieve a more positive state. I see the world at large in the same way.

If you’re intrigued to know more I recommend looking at some of the testimonials from some of my past clients – see navigation bar at the top of this page, and/or watch the video I posted on the ‘What is Finding our Form?’ page. If you know someone who is stuck in negative patterns of behaviour, who isn’t very nice to themselves in their head, who is chronically sick, in chronic pain, or even has a disease, who drinks too much, smokes or takes drugs, if you know someone who is ready to make a change, then a call to me might just be what is required. Maybe that someone is your partner? Your parent? Your child? Or maybe it is you? I offer a free ‘no obligation’ consult on the phone, the onus is on you to pick it up and dial.

There is no need to sign up straight away, I like to have a 20-30 minute chat with a prospective new client before we start to work together. There is no obligation at that stage. There is no issue that we cannot work with, whether it be day-to-day stress, general life worries, childhood abuse, adult trauma, chronic illness such as autoimmune disease or cancer. I cannot promise a cure, but I can promise that every single client I have worked with has reported feeling happier and lighter, and that those benefits have lasted far longer than any massage.

When I left Thailand, having spent three months in relentless yoga and meditation practice I knew there had been some fairly fundamental shifts in who I was, and what I was. I turned up on that small tropical island with no idea of what laid in store. I didn’t harbour any dreams of becoming a yoga teacher, I didn’t realise so much of the course would be meditative, I didn’t have a clue, I just kind of ended up there. Looking back it’s wonderful to contemplate on that, because I know now that I was exactly where I needed to be, when I needed to be there.

And so I ask you: Where is it that you need to be?

I found a new level of peace and understanding on that small island, understanding of myself, but also of all of us. I developed this ability, this gift, and now it is my duty to share it so that others may also find more peace, and more understanding in their own lives.

Because really, at the heart of it, that’s what this life is all about isn’t it?

I Wasn’t Meant To Live

Foreword: Please don’t start this unless you have 15 mins to read it to completion.  Come back to it later.  If you read only half way it will leave you depressed.  Don’t do that to yourself.  Comeback later.  There’s no rush.

I read a story recently about a dog who gave birth to a litter of six pups.  To the humans who cared for the mother, all six seemed happy and healthy, however after a short while the momma pooch gently lifted one of the pups up, carried it from the dog bed to the other side, where she nuzzled and then left the poor little bugger.  She returned to the ‘nest’ to tend to the remaining five pups.  The little pup who had been outcast cried and whimpered, the mother looked at it sadly, but did not go to it.

The humans, alarmed, scooped the pup up and placed it back in the bed with the others, but it was to no avail.  After a short while, the mother merely picked it up and removed it again.  The humans tried this repeatedly over the next few days.  They made it their mission to save this unwanted pup from its apparent fate.  And they succeeded, the mother eventually gave up on her mission to orphan her apparently-healthy offspring, but at what cost?

That puppy went on to live for thirteen years, but according to the owners was constantly sick, regularly at the vets, racking up huge bills, needing operation after operation, medication after medication, just to stay alive.  Moral of the story:  Momma pooch knew something the humans, though trying to be ‘humane’, did not.

As my own mother was in labour, her body and my own unborn foetus conspired to turn me upside down in the womb and wrap the umbilical cord around my neck.  The hospital staff, seeing my vitals instantly shift, rushed my Mum into the operating theatre to perform an emergency caesarean to save my life.  Western medical intervention ensured I survived, and here I am, thirty six years later writing about it.  But should I be?  Should I be here?  Should I be writing about it?

Nature is life.  Humans are an expression of life.  Life knew that I was a flawed copy, and took action at the last moment to prevent that flaw coming into existence.  This isn’t about right or wrong, good or bad.  The medical staff overrode nature, and so here I am.  But was I meant to live?

Perhaps you think I’m being ridiculous in asking such a question.  Perhaps you think you know better than I do.  Perhaps you think I’m over thinking it.  Perhaps you think I’m being morbid.  Perhaps you are right.  Perhaps you are wrong.  It doesn’t matter.  I express my experience truthfully on this page.  That is all that is certain here.  The rest of it is just opinions, as proved by the use of the word ‘think’.  Right or Wrong.  Good or Bad. Beauty or ugliness -it’s all just opinion.  Conditioning.  Programming.  Fluff.

I woke up at 4am this morning and started to meditate, as I do most mornings these days, but rather than finding peace and calm, I descended almost immediately into mental anguish, and eventually, hell.  I have no choice in the matter, I cannot control it any more, and nor do I want to.  If a downward spiral begins I have to ride it to the bottom, and it’s best to get there as quickly as possible.  This spiral spiralled rapidly, and within minutes I had my face buried in the pillow and was blasting muffled screams into the material of the pillow case.  This was the third morning on the trot that this has occurred.

I’m in a strange period.  I have found this love, a strange love, for everything.  I walk around and feel powerful fondness for all the creatures that I see, from insects to birds to humans.  I feel connected to the world like never before.  It’s like I’ve just upgraded my satellite TV package from Basic to Premium Deluxe.  I understand myself, and the world around me, and all the people in it like never before.  But at the same time my life has lost meaning, all the stuff that used to give my life purpose has ceased to fulfill or drive me, and so the joy has departed.  I’m full of love and patience, but in a deep malaise at the same time.  How do you make sense of that?  It’s something I’m working through.

I made some sense of it this morning as I furiously screamed my final bout of rage into the poor pillow.  When I enter one of these spirals, obviously it’s not a particularly pleasant experience, but at the very bottom I fall out and into a void of wonderful nothingness.  It is there where the true revelations seem to occur, the clarity of my existence becomes clear.  When my third eye bursts open and I intuit what I need to intuit.  The spirals aren’t always downwards into hell, sometimes they cycle up into heaven and when I hit the void at the top of that I find pure love.  It seems that pain and anger bring wisdom and knowledge.  Ecstasy and bliss bring love and joy.  I welcome both directions.  You should know that, because I’m fully aware that a vision of me screaming into a pillow int he darkness of my bedroom is probably not a nice one for you.  For me, it’s just part of the process.  I’ve learnt to feel things on an enormous spectrum.  So yes, there is terrible anger and sadness, but there is also mind-blowing, better than any drug, bliss and love.  I’ve wondered if that’s bipolar, but I always feel in control.  Maybe.  Who knows.  Who cares.  It’s life.

You have not lived my experience, so you cannot know my experience, as much as I cannot claim to know yours. I have whole-heartedly and honestly attempted to describe my experience through the words on this blog over the past two years, however it is but a tiny window into my soul.  I have written extensively on the subject of my health.  The sad fact is that I have felt as though something was not quite right, physically, with my body since my mid-teens.  I remember struggling to stay awake in class sometimes at school.  The digestive problems started around that time too, 16 or 17.  Debilitating stomach aches.  When I was 19 I started having issues with my bladder that led to an operation. I almost dropped out of uni in my third year as I was struggling to cope.  In my mid-20s I went from doctor to doctor being tested for all sorts of ailments.  I suffered from terrible arthritis in my knees and feet, my hands were often numb and cold, my digestive system got worse and worse, my hormone system was malfunctioning and I started to suffer mood swings and sexual dysfunction.  There was near constant back pain that no amount of osteopathy or physio could cure.  And fatigue. The fatigue that started to appear occasionally in class at school plagued me regularly in the workplace.  I would often doze off through afternoon meetings.  I became an expert at putting fake meetings in my diary and finding secret places to nap.

Doctors tested for lupus, thyroid dysfunction, rheumatoid arthritis, IBS, crohns, diabetes, and on and on.  They never tested for Coeliac disease.  Why??? I saw at least three gastroenterologists.  Not one thought to test for it.  Looking back now it seems madness. Nothing came back conclusive except that I did have early-onset arthritis.  The medical system is whack.  I’m sorry to all the doctors out there, most of whom just want to help people, but I have very little respect for the profession.  They know how to treat a broken leg, but for chronic diseases they just don’t have an answer.  If you have a chronic disease, come talk to me.  Doctors will likely give you a medication to mask your symptoms whilst you slowly deteriorate.  Doctor after doctor washed their hands of me when they couldn’t find the problem.  Eventually I took matters into my own hands and started to tweak my diet, becoming an early champion of the paleo way of eating.  The digestive issues started to improve, the arthritis went away, my thyroid seemed to perk up.  Life became a lot more enjoyable.  However hangovers became the bane of my existence.  They would often last for three days, but I was oblivious to why, so I drank, because that was the only time I felt free.  I started passing out, having panic attacks and scary things happened with my heart that led me to A&E, twice.  Like gluten, alcohol was removed from my life.  Life became really quite dull.  So I moved to Australia.

I spent my first year Down Under living in mouldy apartments.  High temperatures, next to a large body of water, massive humidity and poorly built buildings.  Mould is everywhere here, and it’s a silent killer.  Just look at the tragic tale of Britney Murphy and her husband.  I’m tuned into it, my local supermarket has a mouldy aroma near where the bottled water is, I hold my breath whilst walking through that section.  The coffee shop with the wonderful-looking pastries that I can’t eat has a mouldy cover out front that makes me woozy if I stand there too long.  There is a theatre in Newtown that I simply cannot go in.  Like a canary in a coal mine, if mould is there, I’ll be able to tell you.  The fatigue I’d largely eliminated with the gluten and alcohol bans came back with a vengeance.  And then I got bitten by that spider, and all hell let loose.  That insect bite put some sort of toxin in my body which was the final straw for my long suffering immune system.  That was almost four years ago.  I’ve written about it extensively on here before, I don’t need to go back over it.  I’ve made peace with it.  I’m bringing it up here for context.

Here I am today, with two decades of research into trying to find ‘health’.  Whilst many of you have been off finding love, starting families, buying houses, focusing on your careers, I’ve been distracted with trying to find ways to feel well.  I’ve covered it all off.  I eat organic and grassfed, no sugar, nothing processed.  I eat according to the body ecology diet, water in the morning, protein at lunch, carbs at night, I do regular fasts, I don’t drink, I’ve learnt how to de-stress, I practice yoga, I meditate at least twice a day, I walk a minimum of 10k steps a day, when I’m not fatigued I can run a 24 minute 5k, I do strength training, but not too much, I take my shoes off and ground, I take epsom salt baths on the reg.  I learnt to do all this, because if I don’t, I can’t function, I get really ill.  In the past year I also developed a spiritual practice, found unconditional love and the truth of life. and resolved the gigantic rift I had with my own past.  I healed my traumas, I found the joy, the gratitude, the clarity, the oneness.  Prana now runs through me and into others like lightning passing jumping from one metal rod to another.  It’s so powerful that it scares me sometimes.  I’m learning how to use it to heal others.  Which is amazing, and ridiculous.  Energy healing wasn’t even on my radar a year ago.  That may be a bit too ‘woo woo’ for you, and that’s fine, but for me it is the diamond in the rough.  The thing that enables me to find gratitude.  Enables me to feel it was worth all the hassle.

And yet, AND YET, despite all this, I am still not in good health.

I have scoliosis.  I was 27 when I found out that my back is slightly twisted.  My left shoulder slopes down lower than the right.  My neck carries my head slightly forward to balance it out.  One of my pupils is larger than the other.  My jaw hangs slightly more to one side.  My nose points slightly to the other direction.  My right hip is looser than the left.  Subtle imbalances are displayed externally throughout my body, but I’m not vain enough to care.  The real flaw lays inside my back.  The spine is the support system for the muscular skeletal system, but it is also the home of the spinal cord.  The nerves shoot out from the gaps between each vertebrae, regulating the function of the organs, the nervous, circulatory and endocrine systems.  When scoliosis causes the spine to curve laterally and unnaturally it pinches those nerves and negatively affects the functioning of those systems.  A prominent scoliosis support website says:

Accumulated stress. In milder cases, most scoliosis symptoms aren’t severe enough to impair the patient’s ability to function, but over time they can add up to a lot of strain on the body. On top of the emotional stress caused by the spine’s deformity, patients may endure chronic pain and fatigue, headaches, difficulty sleeping and digestive problems — all of which can sap vitality over time.

Amazing really, how reading a story about a runt in the litter, could lead to an insight so profound during a 4am meditation (I don’t sleep well).

This is important knowledge for me.  It’s a massive part of the puzzle.  It explains why I have not been able to find good health for the past 20 years despite trying so damn hard to find it. It explains why my body rejects foods which are mild stressors, like gluten, dairy, tomatoes, white potatoes or anything artifical or processed.  It explains why I struggle to build muscle, and lose it quickly.  It (partially) explains why my stress tolerance became low, why fatigue has been a problem.  Why my body can’t clear mould toxins, or why that spider bite wrecked me.  More than one doctor has told me that my physical ailments are all in my head, and to some extent I believe that was true.  Undoubtedly childhood trauma and my parent’s divorce affected me in a profound way, but I realised this morning, in that meditation, that it was always destined to be this way.  I wasn’t meant to live.  Nature reminds me so every day.  The intention was for me to die in my Mother’s womb.

What this realisation gives me is something beyond measure.  I know now that I can give up my exhausting search for optimal health.  It simply ain’t gonna happen.  The thirty six and a half years I’ve had to date have been an unintended bonus.  Any further days, weeks, months or years I’m gifted are a blessing.  How incredibly freeing to realise that I don’t need to try so hard any more, or question why I don’t feel so great most of the time.  Pain and suffering is my status quo.  It’s time to accept it, manage it and move on.

There is a quote that says something like:

“A man with his health will have a thousand desires, a man who has not, has only one”

This is true for me.  Everything in my life, especially in the last decade, has been of secondary importance to finding good health.  It has dominated my existence.  It is no surprise, although of course, of utmost disappointment, that I am single and without children.  I am not the bachelor who revels in his single status.  I have no interest in one night stands and casual flings.  Ever since I can remember I’ve been craving a loving, fulfilling relationship, I just haven’t been able to find it, because I’ve been a little distracted, a little lost.  The sexy, confident women I’ve been attracted to have no interest in man who is lost.

But what about if I accept my limitations?  Stop fighting the pain?  Stop trying to make a conventional life work for me?  What then?  Stephen Hawking only really flourished after his disease took away his physical body.  What’s become really apparent to me is that I feel good when I’m moving my body a lot.  When I’m out in nature, walking through the bush, swinging from trees, diving in the ocean, dedicated to my yoga practice.  Away from the pollution and craziness of cities.  I simply cannot spend forty hours a week at a desk bathing in man-made EMFs, artificial light and air conditioning anymore and expect to be ok.  My body needs to be outside and it needs to be moving.  If I want to live a long and happy life I need to cut the cord with the old life.  To commit myself to Mother Earth.  To Gaia.  I don’t know how that will work, but it will.

The microbiome, normally inherited from our mothers as we pass through the birth canal, and so in my case disrupted upon birth by C-section, needs me to be outdoors.  Caesarian babies are 10 times more likely to have asthma, 4 times more likely to have coeliac disease.  Babies who do not pass through the birth canal suffer a blow to the development of a well functioning immune system.  Is it any wonder that so many more kids have autism, behavioural issues and food allergies when elective C-sections are borderline fashionable?  From my experience you simply cannot heal a damaged gut or rescue a failing immune system with sedentary lives, indoor gyms, offices, and 40-degree yoga studios.  My body needs dedication to the practice.  It needs space.  It needs clean air, and food, and water.  I need to go live out there.  My gut has known this for some time, I’ve been thinking about it for a while.  It’s time.

I’ve seen people holding on to nothing
Broken dreams and broken cords
Running on empty, losing sleep, oh
It’s true I’ve earned these cracks upon my feet
Walk away from all that you know
Walk away and hold your own
Walk away and hold your own
And I’ve seen people holding on to something
Smiling with no place to call home
In you I see something so familiar, uh
My dear friend, so nice to have you home
Xavier Rudd, Walk Away

That last verse gives me real hope, and you know what else gives me hope.  That puppy.  That puppy who wasn’t meant to live, but did, thanks to human intervention, and went on to live a long life.  It was a life of pain and suffering, but you know what his owners said about that dog?  They said he had more love in him than he knew what to do with.  He gave that love freely to those blessed to be around him.  He was a survivor.  It seems to me I could learn a lot from that pup.

Maybe I was meant to live after all, but it’s a redundant question, it’s not worth pondering, because I am here, alive, and grateful to be here; grateful for the past; grateful for the present; grateful for the future, whatever it may bring.

And a grateful heart is a magnet for miracles.

Love,

Christopher

If you would like to work with me because you’re suffering or stuck in a rut and can’t see a way out, then head over to my business page at www.mindbodyquantumhealing.com for details on what I do and how to contact me.

Guided Meditation – Relax & Restore

This guided meditation was recorded with the purpose of alleviating stress and worry in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic situation, but in reality it can be used at any time to encourage relaxation and recovery in any body.

Set aside forty minutes to sit or lay in a comfortable position, try to avoid a time when you’re likely to be disturbed.  Headphones are recommended but a speaker will work just as well.

Set the intention to relax and heal, push play, lay back, and close your eyes.

 

If you would like to work with me because you’re suffering or stuck in a rut and can’t see a way out, then head over to my business page at www.mindbodyquantumhealing.com for details on what I do and how to contact me.

Guided Meditation – Energise and Explore

Hey folks,

No lengthy discourse today – instead I have a recorded a guided meditation to positively charge and heal your body, taking you on a journey of relaxation, energy production, emotion acceptance and yet more relaxation.

It’s thirty minutes long from start to finish.  Take time to sit or lay down somewhere comfortable, free of distraction if possible.

If you wish to pursue a personalised guided tour into your subconscious, to break the chains, to find your inner light, then reach out for a one-on-one session with me.

For now, sit back, relax, and push play.

The Uncomfortable Stuff I’ve Been Avoiding For Far Too Long

This is probably the longest I’ve gone without writing something since I started last June, normally I’m tapping away on the keyboard every few days at least (a lot of stuff doesn’t make it to the publish stage).  In my defence I’ve spent the last two weeks intensely practising yoga, and learning about yoga, and mandalas, mantras, ancient Egyptian mythology, native Indian wisdom, and meditating, lots of meditation with the breath, for several hours a day.  Besides eating, sleeping and quick trips to the beach there hasn’t been time or space for much else.

“In my defence”

Poignant given the topic of this post.  Right, make yourself a cuppa, clear ten minutes of distraction and settle in to read the story of me, (I think) there’s some good stuff here.  Writing and processing the content below was an emotional rollercoaster, but I think it may be the most important thing I’ve ever written.  Children, parenthood, marriage, divorce, health, trauma, etc, touch everybody’s life at some point, so whilst important to me, hopefully there is something of value here for you too.  Here goes…

Today as I meditated in the open-sided, tropical forest-surrounded yoga Pyramid with the class (there are 22 of us) my mind went to a place it rarely goes – outside of my being. If you read either of the posts I published regarding the meditation retreat I attended earlier this year (link here), you’ll know that calming the mind is not exactly a strength of mine.  However, here I was, and I was all in.  As instructed, I circulated the long deep breaths from left to the right whilst mentally chanting “Saahh Hunggg”.  Sah on the inhale, Hung on the exhale, focusing the inhale to the West and the exhale to the East, whilst also gradually circulating up through the brain.  Sounds simple, right?  Surprisingly I got it almost straight away, two weeks of breathwork and relentless practice must be paying off.  I started with a count of 1 and imagined circling around the base of my brain, somewhere around the nose, and after 4 or 5 circles I mentally moved to level 2, slightly above level one.  By the time I reached level 15 my deep, long and ponderous breaths had turned short, shallow and rapid, and my body was rocking side to side with each tiny breath.  At level 15 I had reached the very top of my head, I was all out of brain to circle, and so there was no place to go but up and out, so that’s where I went.  I left my body behind on the ground.  By the time I was at level 17 my inhale and exhale were no longer distinguishable from each other and my sideways rocks had turned into a tiny circular sway.  I temporarily returned to my physical being and became aware that though my eyelids were shut, my eyes were fiercely active, and potentially rolling up inside my head, but the thought of this was momentary and then it was gone, and my entire focus returned to the area above my head that appeared to be increasing in size and importance.  I’m not going to lie, it felt freakin’ magical!

And then our teacher brought us back down to earth.  I could hear some of my fellow students start to write in their notebooks, but all I could muster was to collapse down into child’s pose (kneeling on the floor, bent over, head on the floor in front of my knees.  Something profound felt like it had happened.  I felt exhausted, mentally and physically, I was unable to move or say or do anything, and then it hit me like a freight train.  A huge wave of emotion came from nowhere, it was unspecific, there were no thoughts in my head at this time, no target or apparent reason for this thunderbolt of energy.  I sat bent over my own knees, my face in my hands, and as this energy rippled through me my body started to shudder.  Small little shudders to start, small, but impossible to control or stop, and then of course they grew in size.  They grew until it was no longer possible to contain them without any one noticing, and then yup, the tears materialised, shortly after the heaving sobs commenced.

Eventually I pulled myself together, I was kneeling there thinking “well that was a surprise”, then a kind soul came to give me a tissue and placed a soft warm hand on my shoulder and it all started up again.  By the time I’d ceased expelling my tears my legs and feet were completely numb, so all I could manage was lying on the floor on my side until one of my classmates came over to massage my legs back to life, which almost set me off again.  Thankfully I held it together long enough, to haul myself out of the pyramid and find a quiet place to lie in the sun.  Dazed, confused and completely spent.

In a previous post I spoke of another breathwork experience (link here) that led me to a similar outcome.  The sizeable difference between the two is that in that previous experience my tears came out of a place of compassion and sadness for my Mother, and the pain she has endured in her life.  This time around it was purely selfish, I cried for myself.  I’ll explain…

For as long as I can remember I have worried deeply about other people, and more specifically worried about upsetting them.  This evening, as I sat down in the restaurant of the little beachside resort I’m staying at, I thought one of the Burmese staff, whom I’ve become matey with, seemed off with me.  Rather than thinking “oh he’s having a bad day”, or “maybe he’s just busy and distracted”, you know, like a normal person, I started to rack my brains, searching for something I’d said earlier in the day to upset him.  I couldn’t find anything but continued to ruminate on it.  Later, he came over for a chat and was friendly as ever.  And at that point I realised something that I probably should have realised and addressed a long time ago.  This habit of worrying creates an anxiety in me, and has been doing so nearly every day, for the past twenty five years, maybe more.  Is it any wonder that my digestive and immune systems are malfunctioning, reacting to foods and common airborne contaminants like they’re the friggin’ bubonic plague, when my nervous system is in a constant state of high alert?

When my health fell apart three years ago it only served to exacerbate the problem.  My already busy mind became super sensitive to changes and symptoms in my body.  I became obsessed with finding the answer to getting well again.  I changed my diet, numerous times (link here), I started experimenting with fasting (link here), I banished sunscreen (link here), I bought a sauna (link here) I listened to hundreds of hours of podcasts on health and nutrition, I tried to build a meditation practice, I disposed of all my belongings, I gave up my job, moved out of my apartment, started to travel, and I wrote about it all (see links above).  I am in much better health than I was three years ago, but I have not found the cure.  As I cut more and more out of my life I have become more inwardly focused, more distracted, and more unhappy.  I am undoubtedly sensitive to mould (link to that story here, and here), my immune system was in a state of disarray after living in an apartment covered in the stuff and then I went and got bitten by a spider in my sleep and the cascade of brutal symptoms commenced.  The insomnia started a day or two after the bite, I have no doubt this was the very real and physical trigger, the straw that broke the camel’s back, but I’m starting to believe the condition of my mind had a big old part to play too.

Aside from all the yoga and the chanting, we’ve also been exploring the impact of stored memories, traumas, and behaviours on the body.  Western science is today catching up with the East in understanding the power the mind can have over the body.  I can not recommend Gabor Mate’s amazing book ‘When the Body Says No’ highly enough for this subject.  Yoga goes one further and teaches us that the bodily tissues can store such past experiences, manifesting in back problems, hip tightness, etc.  In the West (and now sadly also increasingly in the East) we are so in our heads (and our smartphones) that many of us rarely feel free and easy in our incredible, beautiful bodies, myself included.  How many of us truly let go on that dancefloor without substances being pumped through our bloodstreams?  How many of us carry our problems in our permanently contracted trapezius muscles?  More to the point, how many of us have poor posture, knee, back, shoulder problems, chronic headaches, etc?  Lots of us!  And as we stiffen up over the years our soft tissue turns hard, until eventually it gets so hard that it breaks or we’re left shuffling along on a walking stick.  Gabor Maté shows us in his book that carrying this stuff with you for long enough will eventually, sooner or later lead to disease (dis-ease…think about it).  I think I’m a walking talking confirmation of his theory.

But this isn’t a post on why everyone should be practising yoga, or maybe it is, only you can decide that.

As I’ve meditated and breathed over the past two weeks I keep coming back to my childhood.  Only tiny flashes of memories have popped up, that was, until two days ago when a flood of old stuff came back to me and I scribbled it all down on page after page of my notebook.  On the page it has remained, I’ve been thinking about it, it’s been at the back of my mind, but I didn’t have a clue what to do with it.  I figured it’s something I’d have to come back to process in due time.  Turns out ‘due time’ was today, the processing started in that idyllic wooden pyramid.

Aged ten or eleven I sat my Mum down and told her enough was enough, kick Dad out, don’t stay together for the sake of us children any longer.  It was a very difficult and trying time for everyone involved.  My sisters were young; four and six by my reckoning, and with my Dad’s input reduced to trips to the local pool and McDonalds on a Saturday, I glided naturally and easily into the role of looking after them as best as I could.  My Mum, bless her, emotionally broken by the break down of her marriage, financially on the edge, on her own and stressed to kingdom come put in a heroic, and largely successful effort to keep three young children clothed, fed, sheltered, and happy.  This is my blog, not hers, but I am certain in saying that she was understandably struggling to keep it together.  They say a Mother’s love is the strongest bond of them all, looking back I now understand why they say that.  Nonetheless I became the man of the house, I became her confidante, or at least one of them, and I did what I could to make her life a little easier.  I didn’t think about it at all at the time, but as I look back now on this period of my life, I’m painfully aware of how anxious I was to not upset my mother, to not cause a fuss, to do the housework, to look after my sisters, to put my childish needs to the side, to not bring her any additional problems, especially not my trivial teenage woes.  My physical needs were cared for but I kept my emotional needs very much to myself.  To the extent that when one of the school bullies turned his attention on me, possibly sensing my weakness, and then some of my ‘friends’ joined in, I didn’t talk to anyone about it.  I didn’t want to cause a fuss, instead, blinded by hormonal teenage misery, I kept everything trapped inside in a tight coil, tighter and tighter it wound around my stomach.  At one point it became so tight it was unbearable and so I sunk a few paracetamol with vodka thinking that would be less painful.  Turns out you have to take a lot more of both to actually cause any harm, thank god.

I confided to a friend what I’d done, and well, they say kids can be cruel, word got out and became a weapon against me.  If you read my sixth form yearbook the quote under my name states “never had the full bottle”.  I kid you not.  It also contains the nicknames ‘sick boy’ and ‘sick head’, referring to times when I lost control of my pent-up frustration and sadness and unleashed uncharacteristic anger and violence in response to the constant poking of the bear.

My mother talks glowingly of me as a young boy; full of zest, happy, smart, caring, interested, mature, polite.  Her friends would remark on how grown up I was and I soon found myself more comfortable talking to adults than my own peer group.  Like many of us Brits I also developed a coping mechanism of using humour to deflect and avoid saying anything of actual meaning, and also as a means of making people like me, presumably so they wouldn’t put me down and add to the bullying.  This is definitely something I still do.  I avoid saying what I actually mean or want, and make a joke of it instead, to avoid imposing on someone, or risk upsetting them.  I identify strongly with being light-hearted, but am I really light-hearted if a lot of the time it’s really just a coping mechanism?  I avoid asking for what I actually want and/or need, which leads me to being dissatisfied with what I get.  Life is for the taking, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Down the rabbit hole of self exploration I go.

The biggest thing I’ve realised is that as a young boy growing into a man I determined that only I could satisfy my own needs, that I would not ask for help, that I could and should do it all myself.  As I approached my later teens this became a huge source of conflict with my Mum as I pulled away, desperate for independence, to do my own thing free of ties and responsibility, whilst she fought to keep me close.  That created a resentment in me that still lingers to this day.  Stripped of her marriage, my mother’s life was heavily centered on us children, for our sakes it had to be, and so as we grew up and started to fly the nest it left her with a huge hole to face on her own.  I recognise the existence of guilt in myself at leaving her.  It is no surprise that previous ‘adult’ relationships have been characterised by me carrying out acts of duty, but rarely asking for anything, or even feeling awkward when on the receiving end of nice gestures.  All past girlfriends have told me I never really let them in.  I guess I didn’t want to trouble them…  Without a strong father figure or male role model in my life I created an image of what a man should be, based on what I thought made my Mum happy.  Still feeling the pain of betrayal and divorce, “You’re just like your Father” was a common derogatory phrase thrown my way when I behaved poorly.  So it seemed that the aim was to be the exact opposite of whatever my Dad was.  The equation was deeply flawed from the start.

It’s not a rabbit hole, it’s a warren.

I think I’ve managed to maintain a lot of that young boy my mum described, but I’ve come to understand that I also became a bottled up, nervous, anxious worrier during my teenage years.  This manifested itself in numerous ways; frustration, resentment, alcohol abuse, failed relationships, self doubt, some poor career decisions, moving to Australia, and eventually in the past few years, poor health (which I’ve written extensively about in this blog).  It’s hard to say this, but I sit here typing and realise I’ve been faking it.  A lot of it.  The bullies are no longer present, my mum is in a much better place and our relationship is mostly healed, my sisters have grown into strong, independent, engaging and wonderful young women, but the habits and coping mechanisms I formed at that young age are very much still there in my behaviour.  I needed them when I was that young boy.  I don’t need them anymore, they’re holding me back.

Laura, Mum, Charlotte. Family is everything.

The good news is, that I am no longer willing to fake it.  My health situation got so dire that I could not go on as I was any longer.  Leaving behind the world of work and all of its distractions and stressors, I think it is no coincidence that four months later I’ve found myself in this school of the body and mind, in the jungles of Thailand, being guided by a kind-hearted guru who has been teaching for fifty years and has seen this all-too-familiar story many times before. That small boy is still me, he’s still in me, the zest for life still exists, I just have to remove the conditioning and external noise that engulfed him.

“Just”. LOL.

A friend of mine told me around this time last year that everything we need is inside of us, at the time I just nodded, not really understanding.  I think I’m starting to get it.

Where before I felt guilt and shame I now feel pride.  I’m so proud of that brave little boy, who sheltered his sisters in his room whilst the arguments raged.  Who physically pulled his parents apart during one fight I recall.  Who spoke up and told his Mum to break up our family.  Who put his family’s emotional needs before his own.  Who survived the bullies.  Who loathed his Dad but in time learned to forgive and eventually grew to love him again.  The circumstances were shit but he learned how to cope and how to keep it together.  How to be strong.  He achieved a degree, he made friends, he made a life, a good life.  I love that little boy.   He is a fucking star.  He is me and I am him.

When I started typing this post I was nervous (apt) about what would flow out of me given the subject matter.  I worried (apt) about what my family would make of it, would they be upset?  Will my friends judge me for it?  Possibly.  Are they really my friends if they judge me poorly for it?  Probably not.  To be authentic it needed to be written as I see it, as I feel it, I’ve cried sporadically as I’ve typed.  Nothing is embellished or dramatised.  I also worried (apt) that I am publishing this too soon, the real processing of this has only just begun after all.  I mulled it over, and came to the conclusion that this blog has lead me to this point.  I’ve never seen a professional psychologist, this is my therapy.  Writing and sharing has helped me open doors to myself, it’s enabled me to become open where I was once shut, it’s allowed me to be ok with being vulnerable where before I was terrified of displaying weakness.  I am this blog, this blog is me.  I owed it to the blog and to myself to write this now as I’m experiencing it, and to click publish. To not do so would be denying my truth, and really, that’s what this, both the blog and life, is all about.

We must speak our truth for everything else is smoke, mirrors and lies, and ultimately, just ugly noise crowding out the birdsong.  I’m dead tired of the ugly noise, I’m ready for more birdsong.  It’s time to forgive and forget.  To leave behind the victim and the worrier, become the warrior.  Our struggles are simply there to shape us into the beautiful people we were born to be.

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Fucking Hell.  Life’s a trip.  I sense this next chapter is going to be fun, perhaps tough, but fun.  There may well be more tears, and blog posts.

Love,

Chris

Ps. I’m thinking I should revert the blog to its previous title – ‘Redesigning My Best Self’. Thoughts?

Chris Talks…. Sunscreen… Again

Well that was interesting.  After 15 months and 45 blog posts, who would have thought the one that really sparked a fire in those reading it, and led to such a great debate would be the one on a topic seemingly as banal as sunscreen use (link here if you missed it).  I expected some commentary, but I certainly did not expect the reaction I got.  It was great, I loved it.  However, as I fielded questions and accusations on the day after I published the piece it struck me that a follow up was probably required.  Not everyone will have seen the many many articles and videos I posted up on Instagram as the conversation raged on.  As I sit down to type this it is Wednesday 11th September, which also happens to be Diada Nacional de Catalunya (National Day of Catalonia).  I’m currently on my 7th day in Barcelona, I opted to extend my stay to see the Festival, and then I decided I wanted to see Barcelona FC take on Valencia on Saturday, so I’ve just booked a further three nights.  This is the beauty of travelling without a plan, the flexibility, going with the flow – it felt right to stay here, so fuck it, why not hang out longer.  I might write a post about that at some point too.

It was an awesome experience, walking around the city, Catalonian flags everywhere, the people excitedly chattering endlessly (as the Catalans are prone to do), posters and yellow ribbons hanging in every shop and window.  Whilst I strolled around my phone repeatedly buzzed with comments and questions from readers of the blog all around the world, on the subject of sunscreen, vitamin D and skin cancer.  Normally I would have turned my phone off, but I’m travelling alone, and I was game for some interaction, so for once I didn’t dwell on my phone usage and got stuck in.

To address what came up in the conversation I figured I’ll take some of the comments and address them directly below.  But first let me say this:

I am not condoning or suggesting anyone go out in hot midday sun and burn themselves to a crisp.  Take responsibility for your own health.  Tap into what your skin is telling you when you’re out in the sun.  I can’t imagine anyone read the post and thought “oh Chris said to forget the sunscreen, nothing to worry about“, but I figured I should clarify just in case…  The message contained in the original post was simple, we need more sun exposure than we think we need, and we need to be mindful about how quickly we reach for the sunscreen.  And do not forget the dietary factor – sun tolerance is linked to having sufficient quantities of good quality saturated fat in the diet.  Diets high in sugar, refined grains, alcohol, caffeine and vegetable oils are inflammatory – being in a state of inflammation will reduce your skin’s ability to properly process the sun’s rays.

Ok so let’s dive into my responses:

1. Someone nominated me for a Darwin award.  For those who don’t know, a Darwin award isn’t a real award, it’s whimsical, but to be nominated for one you essentially have to have ended your own life in an idiotic, possibly funny fashion.

Response: Well first off – LOL.  But seriously, sun exposure is hellish important, and done properly, mindfully, it’s actually really sodding beneficial.  Homo Sapiens evolved in outdoor environments.  The invention of house, office, car and train are relatively brand new in the grand scheme of things, and let’s not forget to leave sunscreen off that list – it was invented in the 1930s.  For millions of years we have evolved in tandem with the natural world.  Living our lives out in the open, and sleeping under the stars.  Obviously these primitive living quarters came with their drawbacks; think weather; big fuck-off cats wanting to eat you; other tribes wanting to steal your food and women; creepy crawlies; bugs, natural disasters, etc.  You get the picture.  However, drawbacks or not, one cannot deny that this is the environment we evolved and thrived in, over millions of years, and guess what?  We got a lot of sun on our faces and bodies living this kind of life.  If you go back and re-read the original post you’ll see that the overarching theme was one that suggested we should be getting a hell of a lot more sun than we are.  I’ll take the Darwin award, he was the godfather of evolution after all, and that’s where the basis for my argument lies.

2. Someone told me that I should not be out in the midday sun without sunscreen on, because if I go even slightly pink or develop new freckles then I’m damaging my skin.

Response:  Newsflash!  Just being awake takes a toll on the human body.  Eating, shagging, drinking, smoking, walking, cranking out some burpies, taking a dump, and even yoga (gasp) are a form of stress on our physical being.  From the moment we are born we are aging and headed towards an eventual and inevitable death.  That does not mean that the above is bad for you (okay maybe smoking is bad for you).  As any bodybuilder knows, you have to stress the muscle for it to grow, and really, I see sun exposure a bit like this.  YES, of course you shouldn’t burn, but being outside, developing a slight pinkness to the skin, and maybe a few additional freckles ain’t gonna kill anyone, if anything, it’s the opposite….and that leads me to my next and primary point.

3. “Where’s the proof that sun exposure is as important as you make out, Chris?”

Response: Right, so I figure none of you want to trawl through a heap of scientific journals, but I rather enjoy it, so here’s a few snippets of what I found, (Note; if you want to skip ahead you could probably jump to #6 and read the footnote):

  • A Swedish study of 27,000 women over 20 years, found that those who avoided the sun had twice the likelihood of dying of any cause.  Not just cancer.  Heart disease, diabetes, etc. (link here)
  • The European Journal of Cancer put together a review of a whole bunch of other studies and came to the conclusion that having optimal levels of vitamin D protected against a whole range of cancers, including; prostate, colorectal, non hodgkins lymphoma and breast.  That’s not to say that it doesn’t have a preventative effect on other cancers, but it’s extremely possible that we just don’t have the info yet (speculation) (link to study here)
  • This study found that cancer incidence for all invasive cancers and for 11 of 22 leading cancers significantly decreased with increased solar radiation (link here)
  • Nearly every cell in your body has Vitamin D receptor sites, even the ones in the brain.  So I ask the question, why is that?  Is it possibly because every cell needs vitamin D to function effectively?  This study (link here) states: “Vitamin D regulates the expression of more than 900 genes involved in a wide array of physiological functions”.  and it concludes: “Vitamin D is associated with immunity against certain infections and with the prevalence of some autoimmune diseases”
  • The Endocrine Society has come out and stated that vitamin D plays a crucial role in the functioning of the immune system, enabling the normal response to infection and regulating inflammation.  It’s also important in maintaining muscle mass, and potentially cardiac function (the heart is a muscle after all) – link here.
  • Data from the National Diet and Nutritition indicated that 61.4% of UK adults have insufficient levels of vitamin D in their blood.  Now, bear in mind that fair Caucasian people like myself need considerably less sun exposure to optimise vitamin D, our fair skin and light eyes are optimised for making the most of the diminished sun on offer.  Darker skinned people require three to five times more sun than their lighter skinned compadres. (link hereand I thoroughly recommend reading)
  • The endocrine society’s levels should be considered the lower end of the required levels. If you’re sick, loaded with toxins, depressed, overweight or ‘metabolically challenged’ you may well want to be aiming for much higher levels of Vitamin D in order to facilitate healing.
  • We should not rely on vitamin D from food or supplements.  A decent portion of wild salmon (not farmed) will give you approximately 1/6th of the minimum daily dose of vitamin D.  Not many people I know are eating wild salmon once a month, let alone 6 times a day.  And remember, that’s the minimum dose, if you’re already deficient you need much more than the bare minimum.
  • Sun exposure has been shown to protect against digestive tract disease and inflammation, specifically IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) and diverticulitis (link here).  It can also reduce eczema (link here)
  • SPF30 Sunscreen blocks around 96% of UV rays, SPF50 blocks 98%.  If you’re wearing it all day it’s going to be preventing your Vitamin D production dramatically.

I could go on and on here, but I don’t want to overdo the science.

4. “Everyone knows sun exposure is important, Chris, but that’s not a reason to tell people not to use sunscreen!” . Interestingly, the author of this even admitted in the same message that sunscreen is toxic, but said we should still use it.  To me it’s evidence of the power of marketing, that these companies have been able to persuade us that something toxic is good for us….comparisons could be drawn with cigarette smoking, and Guinness…).

Response: Ok, so firstly, hopefully we’ve established from the evidence above that sun exposure and vitamin D is VERY important to the healthy functioning of a human being.  I’m also cognizant of the fact that prolonged sun exposure, especially in midday sun, and especially for fair-skinned people is damaging, very damaging.  It’s 12.30pm here in Barcelona, it’s 28C outside and so I’m sat inside working on this until at least 3 or 4pm when I’ll head out to soak up some of the good stuff.  At no point, and in no way am I suggesting that anyone go out and burn.  If you live in Australia and are reading this I recommend a weather app called OzWeather, it will give you hourly UV rating updates.  Anything over a rating of 6 and I’m keeping my exposure to short bursts.  Arm yourself with knowledge.  Knowledge is power.

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5. Do you also believe in ‘Flat Earth Theory’

Response: HAHAHAHA.  No.

Right, finally….

6.  Three people wrote to warn me of the risk of melanoma, one was personally affected by a close family member suffering from the disease, one works in the field, and the other’s parent was a dermatologist who spent three decades cutting skin cancer out of people.  These people have made me appreciate the sensitive nature of what I have writing about, for them my piece was ‘triggering’.  This follow up was largely motivated by their words to me, it made me realise I needed to dig deeper and maybe clarify some of what I had proposed.  I am sorry if I caused those people any mental anguish.  But I’m also writing about something I believe in, and I make no apologies for that.

Response: This study (link here) is quite frankly, incredible, I’m just going to pull out the bits about melanoma first:

“The only identified risk associated with the amount of non-burning sun exposure needed to achieve serum 25(OH)D levels of 30 ng/mL is some possible increased risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer.” 

So, non-burning sun exposure is not seen as a risk for melanoma.

“the relationship between melanoma and UV radiation is 2-sided: non-burning sun exposure is associated with a reduced risk of melanoma, while sunburns are associated with a doubling of the risk of melanoma.  It has long been observed that outdoor workers have a lower incidence of melanoma than indoor workers”

In fact it’s seen as a positive factor in reducing the chance of melanoma

“The incidence of melanoma in the United States has increased dramatically from 1 per 100,000 people per year in 1935 to 23 per 100,000 per year in 2012. Various explanations for this phenomenon have been suggested, including diagnostic drift, depletion of the ozone layer, the widespread use of artificial UVR devices (sunbeds), and the proliferation of large windows in office buildings. None of these explanations is particularly satisfactory for the reason that none explains the steady increase in melanoma incidence since 1935″

A more plausible explanation for the rise in melanoma incidence since 1935 may be the continually-increasing insufficient non-burning sun exposure and related increasing vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency

This is mad! Everyone thinks the sun causes melanoma, but in fact it appears that not getting enough sun is the culprit.

It’s also worth sharing this:

This review considers the studies that have shown a wide range health benefits from sun/UV exposure. These benefits include among others various types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer disease/dementia, myopia and macular degeneration, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. The message of sun avoidance must be changed to acceptance of non-burning sun exposure sufficient to achieve serum 25(OH)D concentration of 30 ng/mL or higher in the sunny season and the general benefits of UV exposure beyond those of vitamin D.

Final Word

I make no money from this blog, it’s merely a hobby.  Regular readers will know that I share my thoughts on all manner of topics, some theoretical, some deeply personal.  The blog has provided a creative outlet for me, which in retrospect was missing prior.  The blog is not an ego piece, but at the same time I cannot claim it to be entirely intrinsic, I can’t deny feeling a rush of pride when someone tells me that I’m a good writer or that they’ve enjoyed a particular piece.  Primarily though, I write it for the enjoyment of the writing, and the subsequent engagement of my friends in lively debate and conversation.  As I delve more and more into the topics of health and ‘wellness’, inspired and motivated by my own periods of poor health, I feel the urge to share this newfound knowledge, in the hope that my own suffering may bring some light or assistance to someone in need (for instance a friend of a friend just moved out of her mouldy apartment having read my piece on that – hearing that almost made my heart burst).  The blog may be written by me, but it is not just about me, it comes from a place of love, for everyone, for the world.   The last thing I want is for people to be upset by the blog, so please always bear in mind that the opinions written here, and the experiences described, are mine alone.  That does not mean I am right, and yes, it’s remotely possible that I’m wrong on certain things <insert winky face>.  Like the rest of us, I am on a journey of life, unlike most of us I’ve opted to start sharing some of that journey with anyone who wishes to read, and this leaves me somewhat vulnerable.  I am human, I am (relatively) young, I will make mistakes, and my inexperienced writing will sometimes get the tone wrong, sometimes it will offend.  BUT to censor myself, to not write from my heart, as I always try to do, would be a disservice to me, and to you.  When I try to polish and structure my posts too much they fail, they lose the relatable nature of which people often comment positively.  The fact that Tuesday’s post created such a response, some supportive, some challenging – is great.  I welcome the discourse, it means people care, that they’ve taken the time to read what I’ve written, which in a world of work stress, mortgage stress, changing nappies, netflix, instagram, and god knows what else, is an incredible complement, one for which I’m very grateful.

I’ve started ending my posts with the signature:

Love,

Chris

I mean it.

Now go get out in that sun, BUT FOR GOD’S SAKE DON’T BURN 🙂

Chris Talks…. The Nonsense That Is Sunscreen

I’m currently in Barcelona, and it’s raining, so what better time to bring up the topic of sun protection.

I’m going to just say this: Sunblock is one of the cruelest jokes that has been played on an unsuspecting population, seemingly globally.  The sale of suncream/sunscreen/sunblock has been pushed onto us through a campaign of fear mongering, with the goal being commercial gain.  Who wins from the creation of a fear of the sun?  The companies producing sunblock and the taxman who claims VAT receipts from those sales.  Who loses?  Us.  On multiple counts.

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Eh?! Chris, what are you talking about?  Keep reading.. I’ve been wanting to discuss this for some time now, but I needed to test the theory out on myself before I went ahead and started recommending to all of you out there.  But before I dive head long into this subject I’ll provide a bit of personal background.

As a twenty-four year old man I will always remember my first day in Ibiza. Accompanied by two mates, we checked into a budget two star hotel in the not-so-classy resort town of San Antonio.  We dumped our bags, donned our swimming shorts and headed to the pool.  Upon removal of my T-shirt I will never forget the words that came from a Scouse pleb sat on the poolside table next to us:

“Fucking hell, mate, you are the whitest motherfucker I’ve ever seen”

I’d always been aware that I was quite a fair-skinned human up to that point, my face and arms have always been adorned by freckles, but I’d never experienced much in the way of external commentary on the fact before, and certainly not in the derogatory fashion in which this came my way.  I’d always been told my freckles were cute, if anything I was proud of my complexion.  When I meet people who have freckly faces these days I’m often quick to point out how much I like them.  For some reason this chump’s comment drove a dagger into my seemingly fallible confidence, and for years after, everytime the sun came out I found myself on a ridiculous and futile campaign of attempted tanning.

This campaign invariably looked like this:

  • Go on holiday to a hot place
  • Lie out in the sun
  • Attempt to judge when I’d had enough, apply sunscreen and then lie out in the sun some more

Sometimes I got lucky and timed it right, but at others I got it terribly wrong and burnt to a reddened crisp, enduring two to three days of discomfort at best, downright agony at worst.  After years of failed campaigns, I changed my tactic to one of proactive self defence, and I started applying factor 30+ sunscreen before I went out in the sun.  And then I’d lie out in the sun for hours on end, safe in the knowledge that I was protected.  Except I’d always miss a bit and end up with ridiculous white finger marks across my torso, or a patchy red streak across my middle back where my stretching, straining hands couldn’t reach.  On more than one occasion I forgot to do my face and ended up looking like a red tomato on a white spear of fancy asparagus.

After years of trying I simply could never get it right, after I moved to Australia I upped my campaign of smearing on the lotion in the face of outrageous UV levels and constant reminders from Aussies to “slip, slop, slap”.  For the most part this ensured I stayed close to my baseline of ghostly white, but occasionally the sunscreen wouldn’t work, overpowered by the scorching Antipodean rays it just failed and I burnt worse than ever.  In short, I was in a never ending game of cat and mouse with the giant fiery ball in our sky, and she always seemed to be winning.  Either I was smearing myself in toxic goo, or I was burning my epidermis clean off.

So what changed?  EVERYTHING changed.  Midway through last year I stumbled across the madass writings and recordings of an outlandish American Neurosurgeon called Jack Kruse.  Jack talks about many topics, but the overarching theme is that we must try, as hard as we may, to return to our ancestral ways.  His early works and theories talk about the sun, light, and diet a lot.  Today it is estimated that on average, in the West, we now spend 90% of our time indoors.  Jack is quick to point out that this is not normal, nor natural for human beings, whom for millions of years have lived predominantly outside.  Jack argues that the various types of light which we receive from the sun are important in modulating the human body’s systems; hormonal, circulatory, neurological, nervous, etc.  If you go back far enough the realise that all of the modern religions were founded on one basic concept, that the sun is god.  The sun brings the light, it brings the new day, and as winter wraps up and spring emerges, it brings life, both plant and animal.  Without the sun this solar system we call home is nothing, and our planet would become a cold, dark lump of rock and ice.

Yet here we are in the 21st century, and us white folk are literally quivering in our boots at the thought of being outside in the sun’s beautiful healing rays. The corporate wankstains, driven by the corporate need to increase revenue and turn a profit, have effectively, and successfully campaigned for decades to create a culture of fear when it comes to getting outside and soaking up some UV.  I’ve just been back in Ibiza last week with a group of mates, and was aghast to see a fellow fair-skinned mate applying the sunscreen before we even left the hotel room to go down to the pool.  Here he is, an office worker, living in England where (Surprise!) the sun ain’t that common or strong, with his best opportunity in months to get a massive dose of vitamin D, yet he’s been so brainwashed by the overriding theme of “THE SUN IS BAD FOR YOU”, that he won’t even contemplate going out at 10am without cream on, when it’s not very strong, or even remotely damaging.  I didn’t put it on me even once.  I don’t carry any with me.  This is what prompted me to write this post.

Last October, as Aussie winter turned into Aussie summer (As a Brit I can’t quite work out when Spring is), and spurred on by what I had learned from Jack, I made the conscious decision to forgo all sunscreen.  What proceeded has blown my mind.  For seven months through the hot season I sat out on my sun-scorched balcony. I laid out on Bondi beach, I frolicked in the Tasman sea, I walked in Sydney’s parks, and then I also spent two weeks floating around in the Philippines. You know how many times I applied sunscreen in that year-long period?  Once.  You know how many times I got burnt?  Twice.

On one particularly hot day in the Philippines, towards the back end of the trip, I had been out in the sun for quite a while, and the opportunity for shade was lacking.  This is the only time I have thought this in the past year, but it felt prudent to spread some cream on my face.  My face flushed red shortly after applying it, and the next day it was still red.  The second time was last week, I fell asleep on the top deck of the ferry from Ibiza to Barcelona, exhausted from a night of raving my tits off and zero sleep.  I slept for four hours in the blazing midday sun, and my nose received a minor case of sunburn, which was gone after three days.

I have not developed some incredible olive skin complexion, I am still fair and freckled, and I still turn pink after a prolonged sun exposure, but what happens next is that I feel no sunburn, no pain, no itchiness, my skin just turns slightly darker, and a few more freckles appear.  It’s crazy!  Before I was in a cycle of apply, stay white, burn, peel.  That cycle has seemingly been broken.  But how?

I think the answer to this is mult-faceted:

  • Skin health: Sunscreen is not good for your skin, and neither are all the other nonsense creams and potions we apply to ourselves in this modern age.  I hypothesise that my skin is free to breathe and do it’s thing properly, which includes absorbing the sun’s rays in a healthy manner
  • Regular exposure: The Brits won’t like this one, but I honestly believe that getting outside and exposing as much of your skin to the UV light is powerfully healing, regardless of season.  At lunch time, if it’s dry I try to get to a park, I take my shoes and socks off, I roll my trousers up, and if I’m feeling it, take my shirt off.  For those in darker climes, I’m going to say something controversial, I don’t think sunbeds are the devil they’ve been made out to be.
  • Fear: I no longer approach being in the sun from a position of fear.  Instead I am grateful for the opportunity to be outside soaking it up.  The power of the mind is not to be understated.
  • Diet:  I’ve written in the past about my shift towards a predominantly meat-based diet.  I can’t claim this to be original thinking, Jack Kruse’s ramblings inspired me to experiment, but he claims that the low-inflammation state that a meat-heavy, plant-light diet creates, coupled with the insane levels of nutrients obtained from organ meats such as liver (which I eat regularly), enable the body, and primarily the skin, to function as it was meant to, to absorb the light from the sun and convert it to Vitamin D.  Who knows what other benefits it has that #science hasn’t yet figured out.

But there’s the thing, why would #science figure it out?  The studies are funded by the suncream companies, who have absolutely no interest in proving that their product is superfluous, or dare I say it, dangerous.

Final Word

I am not an idiot, I do not think I can lay out and bake in hot midday sun for hours upon end.  Instead, I am now in touch with my body, and I can tell when my skin has had enough sunlight.  When it sends me the signal I take note and move into the shade.  I also wear a wide-brimmed hat a lot of the time to protect my face.  I am not condoning long sun-baking sessions, but I am suggesting that maybe there is another way.  And applying sunscreen to babies?  Just no.  God no.

Footnote Rant

Whilst in the Philippines I spent 5 days and nights on a boat tour of paradise.  On this boat were two semi-famous Spanish actresses, both vegetarians.  Both who claimed to be revolted by the pig that was cooked on the spit on our final night.  And yet, both seemingly had no issue with covering their dark Hispanic skin in sunscreen before diving into the pristine waters home to incredible corals and fish.  How is not okay to eat a pig that has been raised humanely on a local farm, but it is okay to pollute the home of the stunning marine life.  I theorise that coupled with their dark complexions and some good quality meat in their diet there was zero need to smear that dross all over themselves and leach it into the water.   Christ, I wasn’t wearing any, but I did eat the pig, and it was Delicious!

Edit: a number of people messaged me to say this post is dangerous in its message, so I add this: It is only dangerous if you do not take responsibility for your own health. I am not a doctor, nor am I qualified to dish out health advice. The words above should be taken as a description of own experiences only. Doctors get it wrong sometimes, they only know what they know. Doctors told me I had arthritis when I was 24, and suspected Lupus when I was 25. At 27, chiropractors and osteopaths told me that my spine was degenerating and that I would need weekly treatment for the rest of my life. They were all wrong. Inflammation was the cause. Reduce the inflammation and eat the right nutrients, and you reduce the disease. If I had listened to the doctors and not experimented with my health on my own I dread to think where I would be physically and mentally right now.

Love,

Chris