I was fortunate enough to have two getaways this week: Adelaide, South Australia and Kilcunda, Victoria. Adelaide was for work but I got to see one of my best friends which was lovely. It had truly been too long.
Kilcunda was an adventurous weekend getaway. It’s located in Victoria, Australia, just about ten minutes from Wonthaggi.
It’s a quant little town with a pub and a general store that serves a great breakfast and were very willing to accommodate my annoying eating requirements (thanks so much – that’s rare in the country!).
We rented the best place at the Kilcunda Ocean View retreats: the Ocean View Cottage. Three bedrooms, sleeps up to eight, really well equipped kitchen, amazing beach views. The sunset was an absolute ripper. Electric blankets, reverse cycle, a one person spa bath and lots more. I can’t rave enough about this place. It was just stunning.
There’s a few great hikes along here, including the 2-2.5 hour Punchbowl to Kilcunda.
Well worth a visit to the area. The sunshine was a really lovely bonus.
I take some weird things for my various ailments like pig thyroid extract. I consume zillions of different vitamins. But still feel shit a lot of the time. I’m hit by some pretty hard hormones which lead to PMS. I also am battling fibromyalgia and hypothyroid. A really, really cold Melbourne winter has made me chilled to the bone and it was time to do something about it.
I was on a search for a GREAT doctor who would bring all of my symptoms together and find solutions. This took a long time – doctors leaving Melbourne, being on waiting lists etc. And then I got recommended to Dr Frederick V.C. Spittel at the National Institute of Integrative Medicine in Hawthorn, Melbourne.
He’s not cheap – almost $1,000 for the first session including supplements. But that session goes for two hours. Finally. Someone who is taking the time to be thorough. I know all the things people “should” and “shouldn’t” do to stay healthy but I wanted a personalised program.
He was born in 1939 but seems about thirty years younger.
I really had to fight my urge to get up and walk out when he was almost two hours late (actually instead I burst into tears on him as I was upset, my plans for the day were disrupted). But I had a feeling I needed to stick it out and see him.I didn’t really know what to think. I knew he was 74. I knew he was a GP for a long time before retraining in wholistic and alternative therapies. He’s fairly anti-system now – and for good reason, believing that it can’t afford to keep people healthy. He feels he works on a health model whereas the others work on a disease model.
He sees I have borderline chronic fatigue syndrome, oestrogendominance, hypothyroid, IBS, fibromyalgia, leakygut and lots of other hormonal issues and vitamin deficiencies. I thought he was going to cry when he saw my past vitamin D results (I only got fresh tests this week and I won’t find out it all for a few weeks).
He knows, like I do, that all of these health issues begin in the gut and therefore is going straight to that source to eradicate them. He also goes deeper into the cells, with mitochondrial dysfunction being a prime suspect for woe.
He’s put me on a gluten, lectins and saponinsfreediet which is pretty paleo + I can eat white rice and its derivatives like rice vermicelli. No quinoa or cacao, boo hoo. This is the 4R program involving Remove, Replace, Reinoculate and Repair. This takes time, effort and cost. But as he said, “people who come to me, they’ve tried everything else haven’t they?”. Amen.
He said I’m not overweight despite the medication I’ve been taking to sleep for the last five years, so I must be doing something right. Those same tablets have apparently been causing some of my other symptoms and now I’m weaning off them…
But still this is pretty good as summer is on the way. I’m only allowed plain water to drink, hot or cold, too. This is as some teas have very high levels of salicylate. And so do oranges, dates and lots of other things I love. Banned.
Functional, or integrative, medicine looks at the person as a whole:
Sometimes, you meet someone you wish you’d met a lot earlier in your life. Dawn was one of those people.
I’ve known her daughter Fleur for eight or more years. I can’t remember when I met Dawn, only a few years after that when her husband Nick was alive.
Dawn was almost 40 years older than most of us, but she was just one of the girls. I remember so many brunches, dinners, shopping trips, days out to the Yarra Valley. Her health, grace, beauty and kindness stood her apart from the rest. I quickly came to call Dawn my second mother – she had four children of her own but she was just that kind of woman. She was always eager and supportive to hear what we were up to.
I have the odd psychic reading here and there; each time since she passed a couple of years ago, she’s appeared with some good, straight talking motherly advice. “He’ll never marry you” re an ex. Or, “you need to learn to control your emotions more“. Sorry Dawn, I still haven’t. But I’m working on it.
Today is Dawn’s 76th birthday – I’m very excited to be spending the day with her daughter and niece (as well as some of her other children and grandchildren) remembering the amazing woman that she was, visiting one of the places we used to take on our road trips…
I don’t speak to my mother as often as I should. Sure, we email every day, but rarely speak on the phone (truth is I rarely talk on the phone, I hate it). And I don’t get to see her in person that often too. Yes, my bad.
But when I called mum up a week or so to tell her my side of an experience that happened to me recently, it made me remember all the support she’s given over the years.
We haven’t always seen eye to eye. Let’s face it, I was a bit of a terror as a teenager even though I was good at school (those who know me probably aren’t surprised). I told her not to bother taking school holidays off as I didn’t want to spend them with her. I drank her booze and refilled it with water. I refused to walk around with her. It goes on.
She had a hard life. Married to a violent, cheating, emotionally abusive gambler. Having six miscarriages. Getting divorced amidst a lot of death threats and little child support. Working two jobs to support us. Was held up in a bank robbery at her workplace at gunpoint. It’s no wonder she took up smoking. These stresses led to tumours on her thyroid and she also survived lung cancer.
Never once has she stopped being anything other than the positive, happy, loving, supportive person through all of this.
Thanks mum you’re a really positive influence in my life – even though I probably don’t say that as often as I should.
You may have worked out, I’m very interested in mind, body and spirit – and emotional healing. I’ve invested many, many thousands of dollars as well as hours of my time, I thought I’d share some of the things that have worked for me so far (like everyone, I’m a work in progress).
What can I say – this is the big one for me it has really changed everything. It can work out hormone issues, identify and clear experiences from the past that’s influencing your present, identify food intolerances, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, stuff like parasites, radiation and other heavy metals in your system. I find that each kinesiology practitioner is totally different – some are more spiritual than others. Try a few out and see how you go. Note: you’re on a massage table and the practitioner is touching your hand and various points of your body.
Network contacts allow for increased communication between your nervous system and body. Your chiro helps your own body initiate change through these very light touches that you don’t really notice while you’re lying on the massage table. Your body then integrates and reorganises itself – releasing tension from a combination of physical, chemical, mental and emotional stresses. They have some whizz bang analysis tools to help you see where you’re out of alignment with the aim to allow the nervous system to begin to reorganise itself and heal. SRI is where you’re taught breathing techniques that help settle the nervous system. You can get SRI lessons or learn yourself. Network is done on a massage table with minor adjustments you’re not likely to feel.
Wow, I can’t believe I put this third. It has totally changed my life. It makes you appreciate your body as being able to achieve so much. Constantly progress. And it is a really good way to connect with the present. Wake up. Wind down. Heal. Chill. Do it.
I’ve been told about this quite a lot but I hadn’t actually tried it until this year. Louise Hay posted a recommendation by a Hay House author Jessica Ortner. I signed up for one of her programs. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique – great name) combines ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology for a full description, read this. I signed up for a seven week course and it was such a nice way to re-connect, destress and make sure you’re as positive as you can be. For some free content, see Brad Yates or Nivedita Mehta.
I’ve always been a big reader. I do try and read as much self improvement as I can. My life is a learning and healing experience. Remember everything you consume (read, watch, interact with) affect your thoughts and your life. I’m all up for mindlessness but you need to nourish your brain, too. Some of the books I’ve loved are:
Self Compassion by Kristin Neff PhD
ANYTHING by Byron Katie or Louise Hay
Seven Life Lessons of Chaos
Obviously I have this blog to air my thoughts. You don’t have to publish it, but journalling is a great way to heal the past and work through your emotions. Give it a try.
Meditation and affirmation
People over complicate meditation and never do it as they think it’s too hard. It isn’t. I use a lot of visualisation, mantra and affirmations. Things like “I love my job, I love my body. I am healthy and free. I’ll have a great day today.”
All sorts of toxins overload your body. Especially your gut. This then influences your mind. Detoxing clears away and makes you think clearer. You don’t need to go overboard.
This is very therapeutic and you can read about it here.
Around Easter time, I gave up coffee (I’ve largely stayed off it) and ended up in a bit of a funk.
Unfortunately, the adage about careful who you associate with as they may rub off on you had also taken a bit of a hold and brought up some stuff I thought I’d already dealt with. But that’s the beauty of it – time to deal with it for good.
I went to my Kinesiologist but I was also open to trying other things. One of them I came across on Instagram was Tapping. I’d seen it before but not really paid attention. I was looking for something fast, doable that would go deep. I’d watched one podcast and was debating getting into it myself.
And, synchronistically, an offer popped up on my Facebook for a comprehensive, seven week course that has all videos and recordings for you to use.
With something like this, I find it so much easier than books. I also find it so much easier to do to a video rather than to and see someone and do it in front of them. So, I signed up and began.
Usually there’s an hour long video to watch once a week and a ten minute meditation you do once or twice a day.
Within four days, I’d already noticed how I was focusing on the good parts of my body a lot more.
By the time the seven weeks had passed, I’d totally transformed the way I think about food, my body and myself. There’s so much online about tapping. I encourage you that if you want to clear something in your life, give it a try.
After my unexpectedly different first half of my Ubud yoga trip, the second part was the part that I enjoyed the most. Probably because I was able to do what I wanted with my time (freedom!).
My friend Emily was also staying in Ubud at that time, which is partly why I’d booked the trip for June. We were staying about four hotels down from each other which was great – someone to hang out with when needed, yet loads of chill out time too.
I’d been planning to visit the yoga institution, Yoga Barn, for quite a few years, so it was only natural that I dropped my bags at the hotel and went straight there. It was pretty amazing and I was very surprised to discover that it was a lot larger than I expected, with around five yoga rooms (some open air), the Kush Ayurveda rooms and other holistic treatments, the Yoga Barn Kafe and a shop. I did three classes while I was there: Anusara (my favourite! I loved the teacher and the style not too fast and not too slow with a focus on alignment too), Laya (hmm what to say here….a Kundalini derivative, borne out of the jungle. You need to prepare for animal noises and multiple orgasms – unfortunately we just got to observe others do both and not ourselves!!) and a Morning Flow class (this was a close second. Enough movement to feel like a workout without feeling like you’re smashed).
I spent many an hour at the Kafe: I had two lunches and a breakfast there, and everything was delicious. I loved the Ayurvedic options, the Sunday vegetarian lunch buffet, the juices and smoothies and the raw desserts. My only request to the staff is to display whether items are dairy, gluten and egg free.
I’d wanted to stay at the Alaya Ubud for some time. It won the “World Luxury Spa Awards” this year. It was a blend of traditional Balinese and Western for people like me. My friends had recommended staying at the Alaya Hotel and I wasn’t disappointed.
Right next to Yoga Barn, I loved being able to walk to some amazing food and yoga opportunities. I got an upgrade which was unexpectedly nice (that keeps happening to me – thanks universe, can you please make it a flight next time?). The room’s size and fittings were amazing. I made sure I had a bath when I had the opportunity.
The Dala spa is also a beautiful, relaxing centre with great teas and practitioners. It’s probably the most tastefully decorated spa I’ve ever been in.
The dinner at the restaurant was brilliant (I didn’t eat any other meals there) Jimbaran Bay tuna with sweet potato mash.
Ubud really is the place to be for wholesome food, I was in heaven at every meal. From the Atman café to Clear Café Ubud, Alchemy and Yoga Barn, I ate vegan and gluten free for all but a few meals where I included fish. Everything was superb and I love that I got to come back from a holiday feeling fantastic from daily yoga and good food (if it’s raw chocolate or pie, it’s healthy right?).
There was a reason I was looking forward to getting home, but really I was very wistful at leaving Ubud, and I plan to come back again very soon.