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

“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.


Fitness apps for the new year


I started using this app a few years ago to improve my cardiovascular fitness, and can personally vouch for its success. With gradually increasing interval training, this app guides you through an 8-week program to get you to your goal of running 5 kilometres. There is voice prompting that tells you when to run and when to walk, and it can be used in addition to your favourite playlist or podcast.


Strava is great for the more competitive athlete, so perfect if you’ve set goals with your friends and want to motivate each other to push further each workout. It is a GPS app for various forms of exercise, where you can compare times and distances with friends for some friendly competition and motivation. You can select the type of workout you’ll be doing, with options ranging from running to cycling to ice skating to wheelchair activity. I have just downloaded this one myself, and look forward to trying it out! You can expect a blog review from me in the near future.

Down Dog

This is another app that I have had great personal success using. With Down Dog, you can personalise your yoga practice from anywhere you want, by adjusting the level, time and style of yoga each time you use the app. There are voice instructions, as well as a video guide. You can elect to have music playing along, and can even choose which instructor’s voice you want to hear. Whether you’re after a short, beginner-level practice to unwind after a long day, or a longer, more advanced practice, this app is adaptable for your needs.

Nike Training Club

Nike Training Club is very versatile. It provides training opportunities from strength and endurance to yoga, which makes it great if you’re after an all-rounder app. When you first sign up to the app, it suggests some workouts for you, based on the frequency of your exercise. I am a particular fan of the variety of bodyweight strength workouts – there are 98 No-Equipment Workouts to choose from!

7 Minute Workout

This app offers high-intensity 7 minute workouts for fitness and weight loss. I think this one looks particularly appealing for those days when you just don’t have time to commit to a full workout. It promises weight loss in 30 days, which isn’t really a good selling point to me, as we all know the key to weight loss is a balanced diet and exercise suitable to your personal needs. However, I am willing to give it a shot and see how it improves my health over a 30-day period. Stay tuned for my review!


Good luck with your fitness goals, let us know if you give any of these apps a go!


Spring Into the Garden: How Gardening Keeps Us Healthy


The Queensland Government recommends gardening due to the ways it keeps you active. Gardening can encourage the use of many motor skills, improve endurance and strength and keep you moving. Whether you’re mowing the lawn, weeding the garden beds or just planting new seedlings, gardening provides a range of movement that you might not even recognise as exercise since you’re having so much fun.

Getting Outdoors

If you find yourself stuck inside all week at work, a spot of gardening on the weekend is perfect for your dose of Vitamin D. 15-30 minutes of sunlight is recommended to get the standard amount of Vitamin D, which is easily achieved by daily watering of your plants. However don’t forget to slip, slop and slap if you’re planning to be out for an extended period of time.

Time Together

Gardening is the perfect activity to do as a family. Everyone can get involved, and the kids will love seeing what they can grow. Marigolds, cherry tomatoes or snow peas are great starter plants that will give them something to enjoy soon after planting.

Healthy Ingredients

After putting all the love into your plants, there’s nothing better than taking them to the kitchen table. Fresh produce is the best thing to add to your diet, and it doesn’t get fresher than when it comes from your own backyard! To see which plants you’ll need for which vitamins, have a look at this guide:

Best Things to Plant in Spring

If you’re just getting your garden started and want some tasty treats, it’s not too late. The best plants to begin with in spring are tomatoes, strawberries and leafy greens such as spinach, silverbeet and lettuce, which provide quick reward. Just be wary of snails and slugs, who will want to munch on your leaves as well!

For a more thorough list of plants to start in spring, check out this Bunnings guide.

I hope this has encouraged more of you to get out into your yard this spring. Why not share some of your growing pictures with us? 🙂

Happy gardening! Saana

Sun protection tips!

Welcome to summer!

With such a beautiful start to our summer weather, I thought I’d share some tips on how to keep ourselves protected from the sun. We all know the adage “Slip, slop, slap”, but did you know it’s been upgraded to include two new recommendations? Let’s see how we can keep ourselves safe in the summertime.

Slip – on protective clothing

A tshirt with a high neckline, long sleeves and thick fabric is the best protection from the summer sun. A rash vest is a great way to stay protected if you’re going in the water as well.

Slop – on plenty of SPF 50+ sunscreen

Remember, even on a cloudy day, the sun can still reach you by refracting through the clouds. Daily application of a facial moisturiser with SPF 30 or higher is a great practice to get into. Don’t forget to reapply after swimming or strenuous exercise.

Slap – on a wide-brimmed hat

Whether you prefer a nice straw sunhat or a sensible legionnaire’s hat, you should always have your hat ready to slap on your head before leaving the house.

Seek – shade

When out and about, seek the shadier option to walk along. Check which direction the sun is coming from, and choose the side of the road that the trees are best protecting you. However, if you’re having a picnic or barbeque in the park, be aware that dappled shade does not fully protect you, and you should take precautions to thoroughly keep yourself sun-safe.

Slide – on sunglasses

UV sunglasses are essential for anyone who spends time outdoors. Be sure to check that the sunglasses you purchase have UV protection to get the complete benefits.

If you want to be extra vigilant, the Bureau of Meteorology website includes in its forecast hours when sun protection is recommended, as well as the predicted UV index rate for the day. Sun protection is recommended when it is UV 3 or more. It’s always worthwhile to check out the BOM when planning a day out – you never know what to expect in our changeable state of Victoria. You might need sunglasses in the morning and an umbrella by midday!

So keeping these tips in mind, we can enjoy our glorious summer weather with confidence that we are all doing the best to protect our skin. Enjoy a sun-safe summer!


Pet Stories

I recently met a fellow GP at a dinner.  I hadn’t seen him for a long time and so he asked me – “Hey Floyd, how you doing?”.  And my response – “Yeh not bad, just trying to get through my mid life and not become an arsehole”.

A bit harsh?  Maybe but true.

When I was a kid I did some dumb things.

I passed out and got dragged home in the back of a divvy van, to sleep it off in the bathtub.  Etc.  You know the drill.  Not perfect.

Then I reached midlife – mortgage, kids, career, responsibility, politics… status?  I gotta fend for myself in the madhouse man.  It’s a dog eat dog world.  Right?  Maybe.

Pet Stories:

Story 1 –

Last year we made an ambitious trip to Noosa.  My wife had a wedding which she was in the bridal party.  We all decided to drive.  We left Melbourne on Wednesday, headed for the wedding at Noosa on Friday, to get back to Melbourne by the Sunday, ready for work/ school on the Monday… right?  I know – a bit full on.  But all was going well.  We made the wedding, stopped off to see my bro in Brissie, had great Chinese food in Goondiwindi on Saturday night… brushed our teeth even on the main street, hopped in the Kia Carnival and started to drive.

There were lots of things to see crossing the road, including little fur-ball mice, which amazed me.  And of course, kangaroos,  as you’d expect.  I got pretty good and looking out for them, yet keeping going.  At about 6:30am, somewhat just after dawn there were a group of roos.  I slowed down, they watched, and then a crazy one with seemingly a death wish jumped straight onto the road and bang (a small bang mind you) – I hit it.  And the kids knew it.  They looked back, to see it limping away and they said “dad, go back, we need to take it to the vet”.  I said, “I can’t, hopefully the car’s ok and we’ve gotta keep going.  It’ll be too hurt to live”.  And of course, in the throes of receiving my moral critique I didn’t see the temperature rising on the dash gauge.  Not until smoke started to pour out of the bonnet .  Yep, the radiator was cactus and I quickly pulled over.  We were in a “no network” zone.  Fortunately the GPS worked, so I quickly took a screenshot of that to capture our location.  I called triple 000 and thanks to the very helpful police officer, organised a tow truck and we finally made our way to Jerilderie, NSW.  Fortunately, with some of our left over Chinese food.   The car – eventually a write off.  The kids in the tow truck, me with the copper.  The kids, almost in tears, explained to the tow truck driver how we’d very sadly hit the roo.  Stuart, the driver, said, “roos, I hit about 5 a week.  Glad I got a big grill in front, so I can just keep driving”.  After they told me the story, I said, “yeah, the next time we drive, we’ve gotta have a big bull bar”, and the kids said – “but dad, that’ll hurt the kangaroos even more”.  Hmm.


Story 2 –

I grew up with crazy pets, and in keeping with what my wife would tell me in during any real “fight/ argument” “Floyd, you’ve always been trying to recreate your childhood in our house!”.  So – we have some crazy pets at home, I admit.  Presently a dog, a parrot, guinea pigs and now a “pet” ringtail possum who walks the house as if he pays the rates.  But anyway, about the parrot “Skittles”.  Now I wasn’t meant to buy a bird, because my wife was a bit anti caged birds.  So, of course, after years of depravation I cracked and took the kids to a pet shop one day.   We looked at all the options and came home with – you guessed it, a parrot, cage, bell, swing and anything else they wanted to up sell me.  My wife is a beautiful person and stayed with me none the less, realising I’m still a kid… who she loves and hates all at once!  (Nat – you do still love me despite the bird right???)  Anyway, as a compromise about the “cage”, we didn’t clip Skittle’s wings, instead we let her fly around the house, then into the backyard at times, and we’d be able to coax her back.  But one night, we all came home entering the front door, and within a flash Skittle’s flew out.  It was dark.  My kids pulled out every torch they could, and looked in every tree they could.  Their hearts were broken….almost.  And my response, after remembering the galah I’d bought from Vic Market all those years ago which flew away and never came back, “Skittles is gone guys, she’s probably been eaten by a cat, she doesn’t know how to look after herself/ himself” (you know the issue about never quite being sure with birds).  I tried to get my kids to “accept the real world”.  But they didn’t.  They hopped on their iPads and created posters – “Lost, Parrot – Skittles, $100 rearward”.   The next day they put those posters up everywhere around the neighbourhood.  I kinda felt sorry for them, but shut up, knowing that I’d been such a sad sack the night before.  I went to work.

I got a call that afternoon from my son, “Dad, someone saw Skittles at the corner of Edward Street.  And, someone else called and said that they were walking their dog and she sat on her shoulder for 10 minutes before flying into a big tree”.  They were on a wild orienteering trip around the streets, following all the clues they had gathered.  But nothing.

The next day, late afternoon, we got a call from an animal emergency centre a couple of suburbs away – Skittles was alive and safe (and quiet and scared)!  A family was playing in a park, she played with them, they caught her and handed her in.  Good souls.  I was flabbergasted.


Story 3 –

The other night there was a big storm – funny that in the middle of summer.  Reminds me of living in Queensland.  We had just put the kids to bed, and I was sitting upstairs when on the outside of the window – I saw 3 baby ring tail possums hanging on the window frame.  I had no idea how they got there, not many trees around.  But, I could only think that they fell off their mother’s back.  We woke the kids and brought them up to see.  Two of the possums crawled away, heading towards mum who was on the flat roof nearby.  The third one sat on the window frame, curled up like a field mouse – almost round. It didn’t really move.  Fear? Sickness? Just the runt?  The kids watched, I got a bit bored so turned away.  Then I heard a loud “Dad, there’s a cat!”.  I looked back.  It was true.  There it was – orange and white, all stealth and ready to pounce.  It was about to unfold.  Survival of the fittest, no David Attenborough, but 5 kids and 2 confused parents.  Right, I had to stop the bloodshed.  I couldn’t just watch this happen.  Sorry David.  So, I opened the window and tried to get through.  My sternum stopped me. My wife tried the same – her boobs stopped her.  I got out onto the balcony, climbed onto the roof and grabbed the possum.  That all sounds more heroic than it is – I’m a failure at coping with heights – it was a simple job really.  But effective.  The possum had been saved from Cringer/ Battle Cat (He-Man fans will appreciate).

We unwrapped the thing to see that it had one blurry looking eye and one good eye.  Ok, it’s name was born “pirate”.  Pirate’s been eating pears, and more pears, and more pears.  His eye cleared up, but he’s still Pirate.  He’s a he – it’s easier to tell with possums.  But the question was – how would Frozbie, our rather large Australian Shepherd dog react?  After all, he’s basically a cattle dog – surely killing anything that looks like a mouse is in the breed/ job spec.  We tentatively watched Frozbie sniffing Pirate.  The jaws of life or death – nearby.  With a bit of training – some progress.  Again, the kids kept the faith throughout.

Now of course possums are nocturnal.  So Pirate basically sleeps all day, and comes out at night, raids the kitchen (mainly pears) and eats all our previously aesthetically pleasing indoor plants.  One funny thing – there’s a delicious pot plant near the piano and at night  you can distinctly tell what Pirate’s up to because there’s a “ghost” who plays the piano sometimes!

Anyway, so we just had to “trust” everything.  And so, we went out the other night and came back late.  What did we find – Pirate saturated in dog saliva.  Possum dreadlocks.  Yet, he still chooses to sit on the dog bed with Frozbie.  Snuggling.   Best buddies.  Again, I’m flabbergasted.

So, going back to my thoughts.  When I was a kid, I was optimistic, trusting, and put life and love before “practicality”.   Then I grew up, and life experience jaded me at times.  Repeatedly.  And, more worrying, I started to buy into the notion that life was about survival, underpinned by having enough money.  Money is important, don’t get me wrong.  I don’t want to be frivolous.  But when you’re a kid – you don’t live to survive and make enough money etc.  That’s not the point of your life.  You’re born too wise for that.  You really live man. You love. You laugh. You cry.  You believe in Santa.  You shed a tear for road-kill.  You play with your friends and family.  You draw, you paint.  You sing.  You imagine.  You believe in the good of mankind (dog kind, possum kind).  You’re there for the people around you. You wish up on a star, and so put up posters to find your lost pets, even when the odds are one in a million.  You don’t start wars for the sake of the economy.  You’re oblivious to status.  Admittedly…you also do some dumb things along the way, and sleep it off in the bathtub.

So, going back to my rather random comment to my GP colleague about becoming an arsehole as an adult.  I meant it.  Remember, each one of us was born cool.  We turn into “survival machines”, but we were born free and cool.  Don’t ever let go of that.  For Skittles sake!


Merry Christmas everybody and may your New Year be something truly special ?

Atticus is an award winner!

An award!

We are so very proud to announce our team received a Teaching Excellence Award from Monash University recently, including a win by our superwoman Practice Manager, Samantha Allen, whom took home a well deserved award for her work in support.

Thank you to Monash University for entrusting the teaching of students to our care. Thank you to all the Atticus Doctors involved in the 5th year program – Dr Clement Lau, Dr Jeet Patel, Dr Shadab Fallahtafti, Dr Hardik Solanki and Dr Sai Andey, as well as our nurses – Helen, Clare and Sheridan.

Thank you to the students for being so motivated, and last but not least, thank you to all our patients for being so willing to allow the students to be a part of your care, so they may learn.

Atticus Health GP clinics continues to forge a positive relationship with Monash University, and very much looks forward to partaking in the training of medical students in 2019.

Yours sincerely,

Department of General Practice, GP affiliate Awards Dinner, 2018

What do you want your children to remember?

Your chest is swelling..

You feel like it’s going to burst, you take a deep breath that enables the expansion, while your smile breaks across your face like a sunrise breaking over the horizon. Your eyes light up and glisten with unshed tears. You’re so proud…

You are so unbelievably proud. That’s your child, and you love them so much. They haven’t done anything particularly amazing, they’ve just stopped and told you they love you, given you a hug when you needed it most, helped their sibling, cleaned up after themselves or you’ve just spotted them sharing and playing with another child who looked lonely. Just something small, an everyday thing, that makes you appreciate all those little things that make life worth all the chaos.

These small fleeting moments of life are our memories that we carry throughout our journey, shaping us as humans – the only thing we truly own. We cherish them and actively seek out ways to create new or recreate old memories.

Our children’s memories matter to us even more than our own. We want them to experience all the good things life has to offer, we want them to feel and see every ounce of pride and love we feel for them and to always remember that we do, no matter what the future may hold. We want to provide them with the best and most efficient care possible. To be able to trust in a healthcare provider who will genuinely care for them, and not see them as just as a number but as an actual person, with memories and feelings that we want to preserve, maintain and continue to grow, learn and expand for years and years to come.

Make sure your child’s memories are in the right hands, by making sure their health is in the right hands. What do you want your children to remember when they look back across their life? Ensure it was of healthy happy years.

This coming year, make sure your health and that of your children’s is in safe hands and book in with an Atticus Health GP so you can look after your children’s and your memories for the long-term.

Happy Holidays, with love from Atticus Health.


Do you remember your first kiss?

Do you remember your first kiss?

The butterflies in your tummy, the nervous excitement? A moment in time that was just about that moment, that experience, how you felt and all you were focused on was the present. As time goes on these moments of pure excitement can unfortunately get lost. As we grow we have other different and beautiful moments throughout our life that can pass us by, if we’re not focusing as they’re happening. We are not present.

Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the demands of life, and unfortunately during the upcoming holiday period that can increase significantly. The pressures of Holidays, Christmas, family trips away and back to school costs can be overwhelming. These feelings of stress can prevent us from appreciating important things, like your family enjoying and savouring a delicious meal you cooked. Sadly stressful thoughts such as “When should I start dessert, did they like the meal, I hope everyone likes dessert, clean-up will take forever” can cloud these moments, we’re always thinking ahead.

Four A’s Stress Management Technique:

*Avoid – Simply avoiding stress is a great management technique, though not always applicable
*Alter – Take inventory and try to change your situation
*Accept – Sometimes we can’t change things, accept, forgive, talk to someone, practice positive self-talk
*Adapt – Adapt your expectations, reframe an issue or look at the bigger picture

This year, during the upcoming holiday months take some time for yourself, for your health and your stress management, don’t wait until stress damages your health, relationships or quality of life. Start stress management with an Atticus Health GP so you can enjoy your life in the present. You may not experience your first kiss again, but you can learn to stop, breathe, enjoy and experience the present during a memorable moment, just like you did during your first kiss.

Happy Holidays, with love from Atticus Health.