Driven by Soul – what is that?

Happy New Year everyone!
This year, I thought it may be worthwhile starting by simply explaining our logo – in part because after some reflection (yes my mid-life crisis) – I think I understand it myself!

As many people would know, I’m a father of 5 children and it is said that children teach you more about yourself than you teach them. I’ve found this to be true. And so, whilst trying to teach them along the way, I stumbled across something. Spirituality.

Basically – we all “think”, that is, we all have thoughts. Thoughts come to us all the time –
automatically. So, the question is – how are they then different from breathing and digesting food? That’s to say – are they really under our control? In fact, the more difficult thing to do is to stop thinking. To have pauses between thoughts. And basically then – who is that “you” behind your thoughts. That’s who/what I found to be the best description of a person’s “soul” or spirit. The more conscious presence which has an awareness of the fact that our thoughts are just another thing. An impulse of the brain. Yet, we’re able to look from behind that impulse to question it and realise that those sophisticated thoughts are again, much like breathing – subconscious and not all chosen. Our thoughts are programmed, habitual and affected by all manner of prior conditioning and therefore don’t always lead us to the best conclusions in the present.

Hold on, don’t switch off and call me a crackpot just yet!

Going on from that – our thoughts are rather obsessed with a sense of ego – “my life”, “my car”, “my job”. I am this, I am that. This isn’t something to feel “guilty” about. That’s not the point. We’re all basically built like this (me included) and much of our life is then driven by our ego – that precious sense of self which wants to carve space out in a big world through thoughts and material possessions. Trying incessantly to define “my life”. Yet, there is an inherent goal of “disconnection” in how our ego operates to achieve this. One way or another, thoughts about “my” life/”my” anything leads us to stand apart – separated from the world around us, and always wanting more.

Our egos are very fragile, worried about what others may think of us. Worried about how to protect and defend what is “me and mine”. For example – complaining itself can be a purely ego driven activity. What we’re basically saying is “that person or thing is wrong and I am right”. Essentially in complaining we prop up our ego. But again, the ego is fragile. It’s scared by nature, easily threatened, fearful of insignificance, oblivion and ultimately fearful of death. All sorts of modern day vultures pray on this, our fragile egos – selling us things we just plainly don’t need, yet we buy…in a futile mission to satisfy our ego. But it can never be – satisfied that is.

Yet behind that ego lays something deeper – something that knows that the actual truth is that
there is no “my” life. There is only – life. There is no “my land or property” – there is only the earth, beyond which lays an incomprehensible and amazing space called the universe. And in all of that, in life – we actually stand completely connected, as one. With plants, animals, rivers, mountains, stars and one another (the next time someone calls you a “star” – remember – you literally are J!). If that thing which connects us all, which is much deeper than the ego, can be tapped into, then we can carry about our functions in this world in a much more harmonious and peaceful way, surrendering to life for its unfathomable divine beauty, eternal nature and therefore function without fear. In this sense, we are at our best and most creative when we are, in the present moment – “Driven by Soul”.

Now it would seem to be a contradictory thing, on first inspection to name something “Atticus Health” and yet dispel the value of “I”, the value of self. After all, what about treating everyone as “individuals” and that quote by Atticus Finch on the back of our business cards

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view”

Doesn’t that rely on caring about “I”.

Yes it does. However, the point is –Atticus strive to treat everyone with utmost respect and attention because we value every single life. For every single life, in being part of “life”, is precious, significant and worthy. And, if it means that we need to treat you as an individual, to fully empathise, to allow us to help you as best we can (which is true) – then that’s what we’ll do. Driven by an unconditional love of “life” – Driven by Soul.

Ok – it’s cool to say I’m a new age crackpot NOW.  Kum ba yah!

Acknowledgement: Thanks to the teachings of Eckhart Tolle for some of the inspiration for this article. Also, sincere apologies to anyone who draws any religious inferences or takes religious objection to all or any part of this article. Definitely not at all my intention. Yet it just didn’t feel right to avoid writing it for the sake of political correctness! So please do forgive me. The only intention is to explain, humbly, my thoughts on a matter that’s lead me to find a sense of increased peace in my personal life, and hopefully by sharing, may help increase the amount of collective unconditional love and peace in this world. And, of course, to explain – Driven by Soul!

Community Art Initiative

Somerville Community House – Atticus Health Somerville

Now when you now step into our Somerville Clinic to visit our fantastic staff, you will see we have moved our beautiful drawings from our younger patients to bring more colour towards the back of the clinic. You will also see some new art pieces! Intricate and colourful work from Michele Cleaver, the Arts & Crafts program coordinator from the Somerville community house.

We are so please to have the Somerville community house on board for this initiative, they are an incredible community resource that provide so many of our locals with such wonderful activities and support. The Somerville community house offer a wide range of programs and are such a lovely bunch of people and we are so pleased to be strengthening our connection with them. All of the work on display in the clinic are available for purchase. The money from which will go toward supporting Michele, the artist, as well as the community house and all the wonderful opportunities they provide the community.

We hope you all get a chance to appreciate Michele’s work in person, it was definitely time for some spicing up in the clinic! Always nice to keep things fresh and exciting.  If you would like to see more of Michele’s work you can check it out on our Facebook page or in our Somerville clinic and contact Michele through the Somerville community house website!


Creative Makes – Atticus Health Hastings

The second participant of the community art initiative that is getting involved with our Hastings location, is Creative Makes  a wonderful local art studio on High Street in Hastings offering some incredible art workshops to the local community. Creative Makes is ran by the wonderful Mel, whom is getting to do what she loves while helping spread the joy of art and the increase the fantastic opportunities available in Hastings.

Mel will be supplying art pieces from particular workshops she will be running over the coming months, below is a sneak peek of one of the pieces that will be going up in Hastings. This piece was created by 4 local families and their kids. These 4 families worked together, rotating to create this piece by following the workshop instructions.

We think the did an insane job! Creating something abstract and wonderfully colourful. The parents stepped outside of the box with their kids, got creative with some paint, and the kids got to have an amazing experience with their parents, all fully engaged and having a great time together, what could be more beautiful?

This MASSIVE piece, will be split into two and framed. Once framed it will be displayed in our Hastings clinic. This piece will have a price on it and if sold, the profits will go towards an Australian charity, chosen by Mel, Kids Thrive, a Victorian charity that helps kids lead creative change.

Kids Thrive is Victoria’s leading arts and community development organisation committed to child-led social change. Their vision is for all children to thrive and be empowered to lead creative community change. Nourishing connections between children and their local communities, developing children’s leadership skills, building their resilience and foster their capacity to drive positive change.

Their purpose is to foster positive outcomes for children and their communities by developing innovative arts and social justice programs in collaboration with specialists in children’s education, health, welfare and cultural diversity. Using the arts to tackle issues that children experience arising from trauma, disadvantage and cultural conflict, and to expand children’s creativity, communication and social skills.

Their programs are delivered in schools, community health centres and other safe and supportive, child-focused community settings throughout Victoria. They prepare children for a lifetime of self-determination, creative problem solving and community connection.

A beautiful charity that we are so excited to help Mel support.

We can’t wait to see what the rest of 2019 has in store for our community art initiative in our other clinics! Stay tuned!

How are you going with your New Year’s Resolutions?

New Years Resolutions

Its nearing mid January, and that has all of us here at Atticus Health considering our New Years resolutions. The ones we made and have kept, the ones we have already broken, and the ones we wish we started but really never thought we would, no matter how pure our intentions were.

New Years resolutions are great in theory, but at the end of the day don’t they really just make people feel bad about what they didn’t do? Rather than good about what they did?

What were your New Years resolutions?

We have come up with some that we think are the only ones that really matter and are actually doable!

  1. To enjoy life more.

We all deserve to be happy. But what does that mean to you? Taking more trips? Trying new things? Spending time with friends and family? Be clear about what you want to do and go from there. Some of us have decided to just try make some more time for ourselves. Be it a relaxing bath once a month, 30 minutes a week where you finally get to read that book you’ve been thinking about for ages. Making that long overdue phone call to a dear old friend. Do what makes you happy and DO MORE OF IT! If you need help reducing stress so that you can relax and focus on the things that matter, book in with your Atticus Health GP and we’ll get you started on a plan for you to ENJOY your life more, you deserve it.

  1. To eat better and exercise more.

Let’s be realistic for a second: you’re probably not going to go to the gym every day and eat only vegetables. Not only is that setting the bar a bit high, but it’s unnecessary. Start with something a bit easier, a walk every other day instead of the bus, or instead of meeting friends for a coffee, go for a walk instead? When choosing your food, just try and maintain a healthy balance, and not overdo the sugary stuff. You feel better when you eat better, and you’ll eat better when you feel better. Make one good choice every day and it will get easier each day. Just look after your health, and if you decide you want some help along the way, book in with our GP and our exercise physiologist, we believe in you, its time for you to believe in yourself too.

  1. To learn something new.

Choose something different, something you’ve had your eye on FOR AGES, or something that’s just a little bit out of your comfort zone. Set aside some time each week to work on it, and remember that learning something new is a gradual process. Even if you try it, and a few weeks in, you realise its not for you? Amazing! You tried it and you now know, rather than always wondering! Now you can try the next thing with no regrets. Or maybe there was an element of a new hobby you like, but not the whole concept of it, so just take pieces of it that you want to continue with and work them into your life slowly, just make sure to enjoy yourself.

  1. To quit smoking.

Something A LOT of the doctors here would be happy to hear you getting on board with., you want There are lots of ways to go about it. Find out what works for you and put some systems in place to help you give this habit the flick. It can take a while to quit successfully, so don’t feel too bad if your first attempts don’t work; just stick at it. You can ask your Atticus Health GP to help you quit smoking and you can work out a plan together. Good Luck!

  1. To manage money better.

It can be so hard to keep tabs on your hard-earned cash. One minute it’s there, the next it’s gone. Try out apps that track your cash, so you can see where it is you’re spending the majority of your money, and figure out ways you might be able to cut back on that.

These are just some of the things we’re keeping in mind for the continuing months, so feel free to hop on the bandwagon with us! Just DON’T be too hard on yourself if you don’t stick to them, we’re all only human. Just take a break and try again, tomorrow is always a new day, you do not need a new year for a fresh start.

The below are some amazing snippets from a GREAT New York Times article:
Click here to read the article in full https://www.nytimes.com/guides/smarterliving/resolution-ideas

“A lot of resolutions fail because they’re not the right resolutions. And a resolution may be wrong for one of three main reasons:

  • It’s a resolution created based on what someone else (or society) is telling you to change.
  • It’s too vague.
  • You don’t have a realistic plan for achieving your resolution.

Your goals should be smart — and SMART. An acronym coined in the journal Management Review in 1981 for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. It may work for management, but it can also work in setting your resolutions, too.

  • Specific. Your resolution should be absolutely clear. “Making a concrete goal is really important rather than just vaguely saying ‘I want to lose weight.’ You want to have a goal: How much weight do you want to lose and at what time interval?” said Katherine L. Milkman, an associate professor of operations information and decisions at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “Five pounds in the next two months — that’s going to be more effective.”
  • Measurable. This may seem obvious if your goal is a fitness or weight loss related one, but it’s also important if you’re trying to cut back on something, too. If, for example, you want to stop biting your nails, take pictures of your nails over time so you can track your progress in how those nails grow back out, said Jeffrey Gardere, a psychologist and professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. Logging progress into a journal or making notes on your phone or in an app designed to help you track behaviours can reinforce the progress, no matter what your resolution may be.
  • Achievable. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have big stretch goals. But trying to take too big a step too fast can leave you frustrated, or affect other areas of your life to the point that your resolution takes over your life — and both you and your friends and family flail. So, for example, resolving to save enough money to retire in five years when you’re 30 years old is probably not realistic, but saving an extra $100 a month may be. (And if that’s easy, you can slide that number up to an extra $200, $300 or $400 a month).
  • Relevant. Is this a goal that really matters to you, and are you making it for the right reasons? “If you do it out of the sense of self-hate or remorse or a strong passion in that moment, it doesn’t usually last long,” said Dr. Michael Bennett, a psychiatrist and co-author of two self-help books. “But if you build up a process where you’re thinking harder about what’s good for you, you’re changing the structure of your life, you’re bringing people into your life who will reinforce that resolution, then I think you have a fighting chance.”
  • Time-bound. Like “achievable,” the timeline toward reaching your goal should be realistic, too. That means giving yourself enough time to do it with lots of smaller intermediate goals set up along the way. “Focus on these small wins so you can make gradual progress,” Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit” and a former New York Times writer, said. “If you’re building a habit, you’re planning for the next decade, not the next couple of months.”

If you’re trying to form or break a habit, Mr. Duhigg suggested breaking down that habit into its three parts: a cue, a routine and a reward.


For example:

Bad Habit: I check Twitter too often.

Cue: I feel isolated.

Routine: I check Twitter.

Reward: I feel connected.

Way to change the behaviour: Instead of checking Twitter, get up and talk to a colleague.


Bad Habit: I smoke.

Cue: I’m tired.

Routine: I smoke a cigarette.

Reward: I’m stimulated.

Way to change the behaviour: Instead of smoking a cigarette, replace the stimulus with something else, like coffee.


Bad Habit: I don’t get enough sleep at night.

Cue: I feel like I need time to myself in the evening.

Routine: I stay up too late watching TV.

Reward: I’m entertained.

Way to change the behaviour: Instead of staying up late to watch TV, carve out special time each day to spend by yourself, even if that may mean asking for help with your children or taking a break from work each day.


But while your plan should be realistic and encouraging, it should also allow for inevitable hurdles that are going to crop up. Pauline Wallin, a psychologist and author of “Taming Your Inner Brat,” said any resolution plan should include room for mistakes. “You’re there for the long haul. You have to expect slip ups,” she said. “There will be times when you will say, ‘I’ll make a mess of things and I’m just going to start again tomorrow.’ Don’t berate yourself. Focus on what you’re doing good for yourself rather than what mistake you made,” she said.

So before hurdles get in your way, make sure you have a plan to jump over them. Here are a few common problems people face in achieving their goals:

It’s too much and I have so far to go. A perceived lack of progress can be frustrating. Dr. Wallin suggested focusing on whatever the smaller number it is: your progress, or how much you have left to do.

This “small number” technique is based on a 2012 study published in The Journal of Consumer Research that found that focusing on the smaller number in reaching a goal kept people more motivated. So, for example, if you want to run five miles, which of the following thoughts is more likely to keep you going?

  • I’ve already run one mile and in another mile I’ll double it
  • I’ve run just one mile and I still have four more to go

Try to be positive, but realistic. Yes, imagine the goal or positive fantasy, but then look at what obstacles are in the way and how to get over them. Dr. Oettingen calls this technique W.O.O.P. — Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan.

  • Wish: What do you want?
  • Outcome: What would the ideal outcome be? What will your life look like when you hit your goal?
  • Obstacle: You know yourself. What will try to stop you? What has sidelined you before?
  • Plan: How will you get around it?


You may find online support groups and forums (on Facebook or not) full of people who are reaching for the same goal. But real life groups can help too. Mr. Duhigg said that one reason Alcoholics Anonymous (and other Anonymous groups) works for a lot of people is, first because it’s a community, but also because there’s a belief in something else that isn’t necessarily God. For example, people have used a belief in a general higher power, even in nature, to help them achieve their goals.

“Belief is a metaphorical muscle that with practice gets strong and easier to use,” he said. “Ultimately people who are looking to change a really alluring and destructive behaviour like alcoholism need to believe in the capacity to change.” Support groups can help because it’s a group setting with a lot of social reinforcement and features examples of people who have changed.


Want to try again? Remember, new years resolutions doesn’t need to be tied to New Year’s. “It can be following a weekend, following a birthday,” she said. So if you missed your New Year’s goal, you can start again tomorrow, on a Monday, after Valentine’s Day or any marker that means something to you, just as long as you’re ready to give it another go. It won’t guarantee success, but you don’t need to wait until another year comes around on the calendar to give it another go.

And be kind to yourself. “We talk in much harsher tones to ourselves than we would to other people,” said Dr. Wallin. “We wouldn’t say to a kid trying to learn something ‘that’s so stupid’ but that’s how we talk to ourselves.”

When resolutions run off the rails or fall apart but you still want to try again, talk to yourself like “a child who’s feeling discouraged. You wouldn’t say ‘that’s because you’re an idiot.’ You would say ‘come on you can do it.’”

Best of luck with all of your New Years resolutions that you still have going and those you still have a chance to make. REMEMBER IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A NEW YEAR TO MAKE A CHANGE. You can do this, just look after your health, and be happy.