Category Archives: cancer

Finding oneness in dual health paradigms


I’m struggling to reconcile the health worlds I have my feet in. There is a wide chasm to bridge and I’m stretched like in Upavista Konasana.

I set out two years ago to upgrade my academic qualifications with the intent of becoming a better practitioner and retaining my lecturing work. The Master of Wellness course through RMIT achieved both those goals and also allowed me entry into the mainstream in unexpected ways. Now that I’m full bottle on evidence-based interventions and I have something of a handle on constructing both qualitative and quantitative research, my base qualification as a Naturopath has lost it’s importance and doors are opening for me as a cancer researcher.

For example at the end of this month I can look forward to a week where I will be lecturing to undergraduates in the Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy) courses at Endeavour College of Natural Health ( , the students of Holistic Counselling and Mind Body Medicine at Life Academy ( and speaking to GP’s about self care and spirituality in cancer survivorship at a GP Education event. It’s all very exciting and I am so grateful to be able to do my life’s work in this way.

But I have no idea what I really believe anymore. Some 14 years ago I was able to wax poetic about spirituality and health to my peers at naturopathic college with the supreme confidence of the 22 year old. My mind and arms were wide open to all manner of trippiness and I was clearly anti the establishment. These days I wear shoes to work (mostly) and sometimes comb my hair (no dreadlocks in the office!) and I put more faith in science than the subtle realms of spirit. Yep, I’ve been brainwashed. Not into believing in gurus and siddhis, but into the opposite form of dogma – the scientific model.

From my office window I see nature but barely feel her effects. I got my mind blown though when the Masters was complete and I ventured outdoors to put my hand over a newly blossomed Pincushion Hakea. Woozily I allowed the flower to alter my consciousness. My legs shook as my intellectual overcoat dropped away and the structures of reason collapsed. The experience has stayed with me and stimulated  fresh contemplations of what my spiritual life might feel like. Perhaps there’s no way to reconcile the two paradigms in the current health discourse except through direct experience. It doesn’t matter a jot if there’s no recent academic articles to support it, the flowers deliver their message in their own language, no spell check required. This is all I can pass on to my listeners – the conflict inherent in the two views is part of the oneness of everything, there’s strength in diversity, nature is amazing and human beings are part of nature, the walls of the mind are transparent and the heart sees all.