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Diamond Kind – With Zamil

Diamond Kind is a movement started by Atticus Health. Through this movement, we are dedicated to connecting with people of all walks of life, sharing their moments of personal adversity and learning together from those stories. The movement’s metaphorical title refers to how “pressure makes diamonds” and coming through that pressure with kindness.

Today Dr Floyd Gomes and Brett Thiedeman talk to Zamil. Zamil talks with us about ways he has managed to overcome adversity in his own life.

TRANSCRIPT

Dr Floyd Gomes 0:02
We all have pressure in our lives and pressure makes diamonds. And yet, in the heat of a moment, that pressure can lead to various ways that we handle a situation, either aggressively or bringing out some degree of kindness. And that’s what Diamond Kind is about. Welcome again. So we’re back here at our podcast Diamond Kind series. Today we’ve got a guest who is an acquaintance of Brett’s and his name is Zamil. So I’m gonna hand over to Brett to make an introduction and go from there.

Brett Thiedeman 0:41
Thanks, Floyd. And it’s obviously good to be back again after we had a great first episode with with Rory, so that was a really inspiring episode. And as Zamil is the National Sales Director at Virtusa. He’s got a passion for connecting organisations with their customers. He’s also a devoted and loving father, has spent the last 35 years serving and supporting marginalised communities, so I look forward to talking to Zamil about that. And now we will call him in.

Zamil 1:20
Brett, How are you?

Brett Thiedeman 1:21
Zamil, how are you going?

Zamil 1:23
Well, mate, good. How are you doing?

Brett Thiedeman 1:25
Good. Good. Good. I’m going very well. Very good. Very well. Thanks again. And we’ve got Dr. Floyd Gomes with me as well.

Dr Floyd Gomes 1:34
Hey Zamil.

Zamil 1:34
Hi. Hi, how you doing?

Dr Floyd Gomes 1:37
Good. Good. Good. Yeah. Thanks for joining us. So where are you at the moment Zamil in space?

Zamil 1:45
I’m in my bedroom at the moment.

Dr Floyd Gomes 1:48
That sounds like a nice place to be actually. A lot of people would be isn’t it. Pretty much that that’s what’s happening around the country.

Zamil 1:56
Look, I’m in Perth. And…we’re very fortunate not to have the whole lockdown situation, and COVID to be as full on as it is in other states. So we’re very lucky. I’ve had a beautiful morning. I got my citizenship, my Australian citizenship last night and i’m so grateful for being in this country and making that move, so I’ve taken a day off just to celebrate that all actually. And as a part of it this is one of my gifts for giving back.

Dr Floyd Gomes 2:34
Wow, congratulations. That’s awesome.

Zamil 2:37
Thank you.

Dr Floyd Gomes 2:39
There you go and what did you have to do as part of the ceremony? Just remind me what the present state of play is with becoming a citizen.

Zamil 2:50
You have to obviously go through the whole proving why, which took about a year. And then the actual ceremony, you go to the local council offices of your local constituents, and you by the mayor, stand up with 90 people that were there from 52 different countries, and you pledge your allegiance to the Australian way of life. And you get a certificate. I took my son, we took a photo with the mayor in front of the flags under the queen and we celebrated ride sharing food and the food that they put on. And that’s it. You’re in.

Dr Floyd Gomes 3:38
Nice. Nice. So that’s good, so the whole family’s involved with that then?

Zamil 3:44
Yeah, exactly. Me and my son.

Dr Floyd Gomes 3:46
Yeah. Do you want to sort of let us know a little bit about yeah, where you’ve come from, and you know, where you find yourself now?

Zamil 3:57
I’ll start just in the beginning, because this is in terms of kindness, which is what this podcast ultimately is leading towards and how I, you know, continue to practice kindness and why is what was given by my mother and father. So my father’s from Bangladesh, my mother’s English – Irish. I was born in Birmingham, in England, which during the 70s, and 60s and 70s, was a, you know, the heart of the Industrial Revolution, was also the time because of its…where it’s placed in England, it’s the heart of the country. It’s the second largest city. So you have a lot of immigrants. You had Jamaicans, you had Indians, you have Pakistanis, you have Bangladeshis, big Irish contingent as well as the, you know, the British, but very working class. And yeah, as a part of that, my mum and dad, they owned a… they owned a cafe, an Irish cafe. And in this Irish cafe, the reasons why they bought it was because of all of the Irish and the people looking for work. It was the old days when the trucks used to rock up and used to get literally picked from a group of people on the back of the truck, and away you went. And so the cafe was right there. And so they used to get a cup of tea in there. And so mom and dad bought that. And that was really, Mom and Dad getting together was around, you know, English and Bangladesh and, you know, coming together, and that way, there was a lot of racism back then. But my mom and dad were both leaders in the community. So this cafe turned into a bit of a community hub for everybody and this particular area that I was brought up in was Bohemian. And so it was all about people helping each other. And my mom and dad were the catalyst towards paying it forward. So if there was somebody that needed something doing, we’d always know somebody within the community that could do that. So it’s very, very self sustaining. We had people staying with us, we fed people. And yeah, they were very fair, very strict. And my dad had a saying that, you know, if you’ve got a problem, I’ve got a problem, if you’ve got no problem, I’ve got no problem. And it was a beautiful place to be brought up in so yeah. I’ve spent the most part of my life in the UK and, and then I came over to Australia about 21 years ago. And I.T is always predominately in my, my area of work. And I’ve worked in that, and I love what I do. And I love what I do, because in technology, technology helps so many people and helping people because of the foundations that my mother and father set and community and bringing those people together and networking and working out who can do what, where and how we can bring that as a collaboration forward with a quality and right you know, lifting people up. It’s just a natural thing that I did. So technology is what I moved into, and came over to Australia because of wanting a better way of life. I was sick of the whole, we’re just fed up for the whole dark nights, television culture. Yeah, that’s what it was like for me in England. And so me and my now ex-wife decided that we’d come and we’d land in Melbourne. So we came to Melbourne on a working holiday visa, and pretty much within the sort of first three months got picked up by some, some IT companies, large IT companies, and that began our path and the way forward. And so I just spent, I spent sort of 19-20 years in Melbourne, and that community, and again, just forged a relationship with my community, my peers at work, other organisations and continued that same approach of bringing people together. So that’s that part of it. The other part of it was…I had some health challenges. So I had a son, my son, six years ago. And, you know, I was working for an organisation a fantastic organisation called Datacom and we just landed the largest technology, digital transformation deal. And yeah, about a year after my son being born, I got cancer. And during that time, it was it was really challenging because I wanted to control everything. I always wanted to manage stuff. And here I am being in a situation where I couldn’t do any of that. So I had to quickly come to a point of surrender, and acceptance, and get through it and got through it I did the first time around. So from getting through it, that first time I just…after chemotherapy and… it was really challenging. It changed who I was as a person. And so coming back into the workforce, I came into remission. And coming back into the workforce, I was just riddled with anxiety. And so I was doing a little bit of work on it, but not too much work on it. And I just thought I could just continue to push on through because a large part of me was to provide for my family at that time, I was still young. And about a year later I got re-diagnosed with cancer, this time worse. It was non Hodgkins lymphoma and it spread to a couple of other areas and I…they had to take a more aggressive approach towards treatment. So this time around, I really brought my community and my friends together to help me support me during that, that next part of that journey. And so I had a stem cell transplant, intensive chemo, isolated for a month at a time in hospitals. And yeah, went to some really dark places but managed to somehow get through but during the process of all of that, I was having some neurological episodes and when they check that, as well as the lymphoma, they found that I had a low grade glioma, which is a small brain tumour, and they didn’t know what to do with it. So that really shook me up, even in the process of what chemotherapy does to you, which is strip you of everything. And it’s undiscriminative in terms of what it does, and what it sort of kills. And so, you know, that was really hard on my, on my on my partner, and, you know, pardon everybody, really. So anyway, I got through it, I got a stem cell transplant. And then at the end of treatment, my partner, she decided that she couldn’t take it anymore. The last sort of two years of, of what we’ve been through was just too much for her. So she decided to leave, and she decided to take my son, and relocate to Perth, which is where her family was. And it was at that moment, I thought to myself, well, I might as well end my life, because I literally just had focused everything on getting through for my family. And now my family wasn’t there, what am I going to do? So at that moment, I decided, you know, let’s, let’s end my life. And then I thought about it. And I thought that if my son ever gets into a difficult moment in his life, and he thinks, “well, my dad, checked out, I can do that.” So I took it off the table. It was no longer an option. And from that moment forward to this day, and every single day, I plant myself into self help, no matter what it was. Psychiatric help, counselling, cancer counselling, you name it, I did it. And as a consequence of that, I’m here today. And I fast forward with, there’s a lot of stuff that has gone gone by but I’m the best version of myself. And a large part of that that journey was building a faith in a higher power, was working through all the challenges and the resentments I might have had and laying them to rest, and truly being grateful for every moment in every day. And helping others and, changing my way of thinking, my way of being, so one of love, compassion, kindness. It is a way of being that I that I live by. And so from one aspect, which was potentially the worst day of my life, which was saying goodbye to my son in a park was actually the catalyst to make me the best version that I am today. So in that, I’m always guided by my practice on a daily basis and my daily basis, my daily practice is, you know, morning meditation and prayer and handing over to something that’s greater than myself, which is God, you know, and that might be nature, it might be the ocean. And so therefore, I’m not running the show and it’s always been focused of how can I be of service to others? And being of service to others gives me a great, you know, motivation in life. So first of all, it was I needed to get with my son and I needed to be with my son. So I got back on the horse in terms of my career, I now work for an organisation called Virtusa, and they are a huge, global organisation that provides technology services, and I look after the healthcare, life sciences and insurance, which is just so close to my heart with what I’ve been through. And they gave me the opportunity to go out there and provide technology to those types of organisations to help people like you and me. So I did that. And during COVID whilst I was in Melbourne, the best thing happened. And it might have been bad for a lot of people and it is bad for a lot of people. But for me what it gave me the opportunity was to be able to relocate to Perth, and relocating Perth and being with my son was the… that’s my North Star. So I managed to do that and get over to Perth about a year ago. And so now really, that really completed me as a human and as a man. And as a consequence of that, as a consequence of my practice, bringing it all back to what I do on a daily basis is i’ve been just gifted with so much love and kindness and compassion off others and my higher power and I pay that forward. I pay that forward in every moment and every second that I possibly can, I can. And I have a wonderful relationship with my son, we have a great co-parenting relationship with his mother. And, you know, life is amazing. So that’s where I am today.

Brett Thiedeman 15:18
Yeah, thanks so much Zamil for, for sharing that. I mean, you know, for myself, you know, I already know a lot of that story. But I guess you’re the perfect example, Zamil, really, of why we’re doing this show. And, yeah, I think both Floyd and myself, we’re just sitting here and we know, we just listened to your talk. And just, um, it’s just really inspiring and, you know, like, how you have got through, you know, so much adversity in your life, and, you know, withstand those pressures and come through, you know, with kindness.

Dr Floyd Gomes 15:53
Yeah, look, thank you for sharing your story Zamil. I was listening, when you were talking about your, your childhood and the environment that that was there as a child. How important do you think that was for you, as an adult, as you sort of went through this journey?

Zamil 16:16
It’s intrinsic to, I think, survival. You know, how people survived and people did what they needed to do to survive was a was a big, big, yeah, a big part of it. You know, nobody’s really ever asked me that question. But in terms of a context to why I do what I do today, there’s no doubt that the job that I do, and how I am as a human being within my community, comes directly back to the lessons that my mum and dad taught me, with how you bring together a community and a community, you don’t discriminate between black, white, yellow, green, disabled, non disabled, gender, whatever. You’re all equal, and everybody can be a part of that community. So inclusivity was a huge part of it, because I always felt…I never felt separate from my community. And that’s, that’s big, because there were some incredibly lonely times in, in that latter part of my journey that I talked about.

Dr Floyd Gomes 17:17
You’ve come through this in a resilient way and you described getting a lot of self help and having that hunger, and you sort of talked about as a man in particular, you know, that, that you feel complete at this point in your life, but reflecting on that, yeah, how did you get to that point of getting that self help?

Zamil 17:41
It was really quite simple. It was a gift of desperation. I’m not one of these people that go out there because I controlled for so long. I had a, you know, there were other parts of my, my childhood growing up. And this is obviously an abbreviated session about, you know, kindness. But there was there were some challenges I had, you know, Mom and Dad getting divorced, was one of them, some abuse stuff that happened during that childhood. So really, what I did in my life is I controlled everything. And when I had to come to a point of letting go of control, that’s when other stuff started to come up. And it was when I was actually desperate, on my knees, and nowhere else to go, and I wasn’t going end my life, I opened myself up to something else helping me. So when other people you know, it’s different, you know, that they know what they want to do, and they want to get there. For me, I had to reach a point of, there was nowhere else to go to and that was the gift of desperation for me. And from that gift of desperation, and a clear line of sight, to be the best version of myself for my son, was the catalyst to then go into all of this work. And it’s kind of been there intrinsically, for a long time. I’ve always been open to help or support, whatever aspect that might be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. I’ve never actually gone into with the level of commitment that I did, until that moment.

Dr Floyd Gomes 19:20
I could only I could only think from from hearing your story, you know, to get back on your feet all of those times, takes a lot of resource doesn’t it.

Zamil 19:34
You know, I because I live in the moment, living the day, you know, it was just that moment. I just had to move through the moments. You know, and when I look back at it, my higher power, which I call God really was there for me. And somehow that inner resource was just there you know, it’s just there. And do I look back at it now and say, Oh, that was really hard, or that was really this? Well, no, I don’t. I definitely don’t want to go back there. But no, I don’t. I see that as an opportunity for growth. It gave me an opportunity to be here today. And I suppose that’s my message.

Dr Floyd Gomes 20:23
You know, you’ve talked about God in that sense of that higher power. Growing up, were you a religious person?

Zamil 20:31
My mother was Christian, my dad was Muslim, and they both practiced, and they never said you had to be this or had to be that. So I went to church, and I went to mosque when on special occasions. And in the community, we had Sikhs, we had Hindus, we had Buddhists, we had a real broad cross section. And so I’ve been exposed to it all my life. But I didn’t know how to practice it. I didn’t know how to practice spirituality, I didn’t know how to practice a process of connecting to a higher power until the last five years really.

Dr Floyd Gomes 21:15
Yeah, definitely. And Zamil, when you describe God, I remember you talking about nature in some of those descriptions.

Zamil 21:25
The first part of recovery from cancer, there, I was seeing a psychiatrist, amazing psychiatrist, and that was assigned by the hospital because of the neurological stuff that was happening. And in it, we started to use metaphors. And a metaphor that was really quite strong for me with a tree and the tree represented…you know, when you can burn a tree, and it grows? And so you’ve got one part of the tree, which is burnt, and you’ve got this beautiful part of the tree, which is growing? That’s what I thought would happen to me and in that became a connection to nature. And in that connection to nature, and connection to my environment, and something that was greater than me, was the connection and the pathway to what, what God is for me. You know, is that we’re all connected. It’s not just down to me. I am connected to everything and everybody, including nature. And therefore I don’t have to try to do this by myself. I can rely on a source that’s greater than myself, so spending time in nature gives me that connection. For when I connect in, I feel connected to everybody, and it’s often when you feel disconnected, it’s often when you feel alone, that, you know, you separate. You separate from something that’s greater than me, you know, which gives you an understanding of this podcast and what you’re trying to put out there, which is about kindness. You know, I’m not thinking about others when I’m in that state. And sort of then that that state of self, you know, isolation and self obsession, becomes you, becomes your body. So when I look around me and just remind myself of nature, in those aspects that I’ve talked to you about, it, it presents an opportunity for me to go “okay, I am connected to all this.” Animals, for instance: A dog that we had, you know, the kindness and love that this and unconditional love that this dog used to show me is just extraordinary. Absolutely extraordinary. So I take inspiration from a number of aspects of, of nature. Sorry, I interrupted you.

Dr Floyd Gomes 23:45
No, i’m just thinking a lot of people would would resonate with that isn’t it. There are a few dog lovers out there.

Zamil 23:53
Well, you think of what dog spelt backwards is.

Dr Floyd Gomes 23:56
Oh, wow. Yes, yes, there you go. Yeah, yeah. And Zamil, I’m just thinking then, and, look, I mean, you’ve you’ve gone through a lot in your life, people presently, in their own ways, and perhaps not right now in Perth, but in general through COVID, having their own challenges in terms of their lives having to change, what would be there to really help them at this time?

Zamil 24:33
Can only talk by experience, and that’s the only thing I can offer, in terms of hope for others is my experience. And in that experience, I started to do something on a daily basis. And so a good daily practice of for me, I’ll just tell you what it was for me. It was prayer and meditation. It was a routine that was non negotiable before my feet, hit the ground, prayer and meditation was, is the thing that started it all, and then exercise. So going for a walk in the morning because you’re only allowed an hour because I went through this in Melbourne, I went through the first long lockdown. And that’s actually what gave me a really good platform to sort of level up in terms of my wellbeing. And so that was a walk in the morning before sunset, and that walk in the morning, seeing the sun come up and going no matter what the weather, really energised me, absolutely energised me for my day, got me sorted, and then having the right nutrition. So I saw a nutritionist that would help in my particular recovery around, recovery from cancer, or what my body needed. And so I had my fixed meals for the day and the nutrition that needed…needed to get me going. And then I put it in place a little bit of an exercise plan. Say, I wanted to achieve 10 push ups today 10, press ups, 10 sit ups today, squats. And I’d say I’d have a list on my desk, which I ticked off through that day. And then I had somebody I needed to call. So I needed to call some people that were not doing so well. And I wouldn’t tell them about what was going on to me, I would actually call them to ask them about them. And see if they were okay. The flip side of that I’d also reach out to somebody and let them know what was going on for me. That was huge. And the repetition of that meant they were up to date with me, I was up to date with them and it began with me starting that process. And then in the middle of the day, I would have a walk. Just a short walk. Just a connection to nature that would get me out of that home. And this was trying to do the the hour per day that that was…that was prescribed by the government in terms of this lockdown approach. And then at nighttime, to switch off my day, I would have a walk at sunset and…that just completed my day. Just seeing the sun go down, rising with the sun, setting with the sun, having an early dinner and getting a good night’s sleep. I think sleep is so underrated. So that getting that sleep at a certain time because I rose so early, you’re tired anyway, so your body naturally, you know, eight, nine o’clock at night, I’m ready for bed. And sort of that set me up for good serotonin levels, good chemicals being induced into me. I then discovered a hobby. I discovered a hobby that I had no idea I had a talent about which was photography. So i was taking a sunset and sunrise photograph. And I started sharing them with my community or the community Facebook page that I started sharing with and people that couldn’t get out of the house were saying, “Ah, that’s beautiful.” And that was a daily and sort of…I use technology and Facebook in this particular instance, to connect with my community. So even though we’re isolated, we can still do stuff in our community. And that goes back to you know how I was raised again, you know, and and that community aspect. So that’s that act of kindness, you know, is knowing that we just don’t have to do this alone. And that’s what I did. I don’t know if that helps people, but that’s what what I did.

Brett Thiedeman 28:34
That’s awesome Zamil. Thanks for sharing that. I think. I think Floyd, I think there seems to be a common theme from the from the first episode as well and that’s meditation. I think it’s time you had a go.

Dr Floyd Gomes 28:48
I get restless when I try to meditate, but nah look, I think, yeah, there’s definitely something there. It’s Zamil, look, thank you so much for joining us today.

Zamil 29:01
Thank you for the opportunity.

Brett Thiedeman 29:02
Yeah, nah definitely, thanks again Zamil and yeah, especially these times in Melbourne, you know, listening to these stories and some tools and listening to other people about how they, I guess moving forward through it is going to help a lot of people and, you know, obviously a lot of the stuff that you said, you know, resonated with me Zamil and, you know, from, you know, the meditation to the exercise. And we’ve recently started a running club, which is, which is really exciting, which have just started yesterday actually. And that’s just yeah, to help people to, to go out and to move and to exercise and get into nature and, and to connect with people as well, so we’re really, you know, trying to do our part, I guess to to connect people together in these times as well. And yeah, just give people something to look forward to in a day and and hopefully, you know what you’ve said as well will help to give people a little bit more structure in their day as well. So, yeah, I really appreciate your time again.

Zamil 30:15
No problem. Thank you guys. We’ll speak to you soon. Thanks.

Dr Floyd Gomes 30:19
Alright bye Zamil. Well, they go they go, what a story. Yeah. There are like you rightly pointed out, Brett, some common threads there, reflecting on on last week with Rory, that idea of going for a walk i’ve been sort of mentioning to patients along the way. Since talking to Rory and maybe before but certainly these simple things can be helpful, isn’t it?

Brett Thiedeman 30:47
See Zamil was able to have some perspective about about where he was to help him to keep moving forward in those, I guess, dark times that he was going through.

Dr Floyd Gomes 30:59
And he’s come through that, and you can hear that strength in his voice presently.

Brett Thiedeman 31:04
Absolutely. So that’s it. So that’s the second second podcast.

Dr Floyd Gomes 31:09
Yeah, Brett. We’ll be back doing another one, I’m sure. And yeah, look, maybe just think about that for everyone. There’ll be a lot of pressure happening out there, for sure, and just try to tread gently as you go during those moments and come through being Diamond Kind.

Brett Thiedeman 31:32
If you go to www.atticushealth.com.au and you can sign up to the newsletter and you’ll be able to access next editions of the Diamond Kind podcast as well.

Dr Floyd Gomes 31:45
I gotta do that Brett. That sounds pretty good. I gotta clock off here and have a go. So yeah. Thanks for joining us and we will talk to you soon.

Brett Thiedeman 31:55
Thanks, everyone. Talk to you soon.

Dr Floyd Gomes 31:57
Bye for now.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Diamond Kind With Rory

Diamond Kind is a movement started by Atticus Health. Through this movement, we are dedicated to connecting with people of all walks of life, sharing their moments of personal adversity and learning together from those stories. The movement’s metaphorical title refers to how “pressure makes diamonds” and coming through that pressure with kindness.

Dr Floyd Gomes and Brett Thiedeman are joined with our special guest, Rory who is the wellness coordinator/facilitator at Peninsula Hot Springs in Rye. Rory talks with us about meditation, overcoming lockdown, philosophy and how to manage your mental and physical health in these hard times.

 

TRANSCRIPT

Dr Floyd Gomes 0:02
We all have pressure in our lives and pressure makes diamonds. And yet, in the heat of a moment, that pressure can lead to various ways that we handle a situation, either aggressively or bringing out some degree of kindness. And that’s what Diamond Kind is about. All right, G’day, G’day, so we’re here at Dratticus Labs. We are on the air. We are starting our podcast series. I’m Dr. Floyd Gomes. And I’ve got Brett Thiedeman with me here today.

Brett Thiedeman 0:35
Hello, hello.

Dr Floyd Gomes 0:36
Oh wow, what a voice. I told you this before. Jeez, it gives me shivers there, Brett. Welcome.

Brett Thiedeman 0:47
Thank you. Thank you. Very excited, very excited to be here. And to start, this podcast. This is the first podcast on the Diamond Kind. So yeah, really excited to be involved with it as well.

Dr Floyd Gomes 1:01
Yeah, look, I think that it’s just great to be able to podcast at the moment people are at home. And hopefully, if they have a moment to listen, well, this is a way to stay engaged. And yeah, come come out and keep moving. Which is pretty much what everyone needs to do these days, isn’t it one way or another.

Brett Thiedeman 1:27
And Floyd, I do want to tell us tell us about the concept.

Dr Floyd Gomes 1:31
As a doctor, I have seen people struggle with aggression and things like this. And it really comes down to moments. Moments in their life where you’re under pressure. And indeed, in my own life. I didn’t shy away from pressure because it made me focused and there’s a saying that I reflected on, that pressure makes diamonds and that made it worthwhile and justified as a consequence of that pressure. It’s a question of, can you move through that with kindness? And that’s where we got this title for the series called Diamond Kind.

Brett Thiedeman 2:09
Yeah. And I guess it’s really exciting now to take this to the streets, I guess and to hear from other people.

Dr Floyd Gomes 2:17
That’s what it’s about.

Brett Thiedeman 2:18
And how they have moved through times and come through with kindness.

Dr Floyd Gomes 2:25
That’s right. It’s always good to talk to people. So without further ado, I might make a call here and today we’re going to call up Rory and Rory is someone I met pretty recently and immediately I thought “Now, here’s an interesting guy.” I couldn’t quite pinpoint it except for the fact sure, he did look like a Viking and evidently, worked at Peninsula Hot Springs. So putting all that together, let’s have a chat with Rory. Brett, you ready?

Brett Thiedeman 2:56
Let’s do it. (Phone rings).

Dr Floyd Gomes 2:58
Hopefully Rory is ready.

Rory 3:02
Hello Dr. Floyd, how are you?

Dr Floyd Gomes 3:04
G’day, Rory. Yes, I am. Well, I’m well. Yeah, thanks for taking the call. Rory, I’ve got Brett with me and we’re actually on the podcast now.

Rory 3:19
Fantastic.

Brett Thiedeman 3:19
G’day Rory. G

Rory 3:20
G’day Brett. How are you sir?

Brett Thiedeman 3:21
Yeah, I’m well, thanks. Thanks for your time today.

Rory 3:24
Oh, my absolute pleasure, my friend. Absolutely my pleasure. Thank you.

Dr Floyd Gomes 3:27
Yeah, and look, I was trying to tell Brett, our A.V Wiz here, James about, I suppose we met and indeed what you look like and I was saying Rory pretty much looks like a Viking. Just to be sure, that was my apt description without divulging anything further. That’s absolutely fine with me, my friend. Most people do describe me as a Viking.

How long have you been Greg that red beard? Tell us.

Rory 4:06
It would be since February 12th of this year, I decided that I wasn’t going to shave until November 1st. And it actually ties in with something a little bit tragic and sad. My cousin unfortunately committed suicide and as a means of fundraising and whatever else, myself and one of my other siblings decided that “oh, well, we’ll grow beards for Movember and we’ll shave them at our respective works.” So yeah, as of the 12th of this year, I haven’t bothered to shave which drives my partner absolutely insane.

Dr Floyd Gomes 4:37
Yeah, yeah, yeah. But you know, if you’ve got it, flaunt it, that’s a pretty pretty, pretty striking beard you’ve got since the 12th of, what is the January isn’t it?

Rory 4:49
February.

Dr Floyd Gomes 4:49
February, February, 12th of February. Well, that’s a very positive cause and sorry to hear about your cousin is it?

Rory 4:59
Yeah He’s my cousin.

Dr Floyd Gomes 5:01
That is something that that happens isn’t it, in our in our community and it’s something to ask for. And I think Are You Ok day is coming up soon as well Brett, isn’t it?

Brett Thiedeman 5:12
September Yeah.

Dr Floyd Gomes 5:13
September.

Rory 5:14
Yeah. Yeah, Are You Ok day is most definitely coming up relatively quickly, which is, you know, Are You Ok day, is an absolutely fantastic thing as well for everyone to get involved in for anyone that listens to this podcast, by the way.

Dr Floyd Gomes 5:30
Yeah, yeah, definitely. And I think we’ll be hopefully doing some work with Bluescope Steel at Hastings on that day as well. So yeah, but Rory, look, I mean, I’ve left this as an as an open sort of mic situation, really to say. Do you want to just introduce yourself and let people out there know, what sort of things you do? And anything that you’re willing to share here Rory?

Rory 5:57
Okay. Well, for those that are listening, my name is Rory William Carr. I’m a wellness coordinator/facilitator at the Peninsula Hot Springs up in Rye. My day to day activities include taking people through our fire & ice activities, which is hot cold therapy, a lot of research done by a guy called Wim Hof and another guy called Mark Cohen, who’s an Australian. My days pretty much consists of taking people in and out of saunas and checking them into a freezing four degree plunge pool, which is absolutely fantastic for the mind and the body. It’s very invigorating and rejuvenating. So that’s my work life. In a sense.

Dr Floyd Gomes 6:38
Sounds like a party. I remember a long time ago in Greensborough. Sorry, brought back some memories there.

Rory 6:46
Oh, good, memories are a fantastic thing. So my work life is relatively stress free, which I absolutely love. It gives me an amazing platform for everything else I do in my life, which predominantly is a lot of weightlifting, a lot of music, a lot of, I got two Labradors. They occupy a vast amount of my time as well. Yeah, just absolutely enthralled with life. I want to do everything I possibly can in the time I’m allotted on this earth, in a sense.

Dr Floyd Gomes 7:15
Nice and Rory, you mentioned Peninsula Hot Springs in your workday, obviously, the moment that will be closed down, so what are you doing at the moment?

Rory 7:26
Yeah, we are unfortunate closed because of the dreaded C word we dare not say. Yeah, at the moment, I’ve, well, apart from studying counselling and looking at doing psychology in the future, I’m actually working on a project. I received an email a few days ago, from a very reputable game company. I can’t actually say who it is, it’s still in the works. And they’ve actually asked me to contribute some music towards one of their projects they’re doing. It’s nothing official yet, but if they like the things I send in, I will be working on the soundtrack for the video game, which is to me, it’s very exciting. Very, very exciting.

Dr Floyd Gomes 8:02
That is cool. Yeah, I don’t play games. But if I did, I’d probably like to listen. It’s such a big part of the game.

Rory 8:11
Yeah, it’s a huge part of the experience of playing video games. It is most definitely the the music especially in the last maybe four or five years soundtracks for games have really, really stepped up a notch especially from, I don’t know, like the classic game doom?

Brett Thiedeman 8:26
Yeah.

Dr Floyd Gomes 8:28
Oh, Brett. That’s a yes from Brett! Oh, and Wagner has just given a thumbs up.

Rory 8:33
Yeah. Awesome. Yeah. So because of that, the the remake of 2016, a really amazing guy worked on that and it’s just projected and propelled the entire music industry for video games into that next sort of level, which is, again, very exciting for people like me.

Dr Floyd Gomes 8:51
Cool. And just to ask the question, I suppose intrigued, what do you use to create that music? Because you mentioned you play the piano and the guitar and what do you what do you use?

Rory 9:06
So, for this current project, this is gonna show how much of an absolute nerd I am in sense of the things I use. I’ve got this massive tower…

Dr Floyd Gomes 9:18
I’ll worked that out a long time ago actually, despite the the big red beard, I thought, “What’s with this guy?” So yeah, keep going.

Rory 9:31
Yeah, I’ve got a PC here. That’s you know, it’s roughly 5 – 6000 dollars worth of parts in it just for processing power alone. I’ve got a piece of gear that a lot of guitarists will know and they’ll probably you know, eyes will burst out of their skulls when they hear this, it’s called an aciphex 3. My piano skills have fell by the wayside and it’s shocking because I rarely get a chance to practice but if I feel like adding piano or synthesiser and assign notes to every letter, essentially.

Dr Floyd Gomes 10:00
Yeah, that’s, that’s really cool. You know, you’ve been able to, I suppose, keep busy that way, in effect. You know, there are a lot of people out there at home and so forth, working more from home, as you are. What have your challenges been in that?

Rory 10:21
Oh, okay. So this is this is fantastic. My biggest challenge is holding myself accountable to completing my day to day tasks. So, you know, my big lot of work, which is Peninsula Hot Springs, that’s not happening. So this is my small allotment of work. And because it doesn’t require too much focus, too much time and too much energy, I found when I first started working on these little projects, I deviate off. I’d say, “Okay, I’m just gonna go outside for half an hour, get some fresh air” and before I know it, four or five hours and pass by very, very quickly because I get distracted as we naturally do. So the the big challenge I found for myself in this is holding myself accountable and saying, if I’m going to do something, I absolutely have to do it, you know, especially for myself. I think it’s really, really important to keep the promises that you make yourself. So…

Brett Thiedeman 11:13
Rory, sorry to interrupt, I guess for the listeners, are there any any tips that you could, that you know, that you do that you could share with the listeners as well?

Rory 11:23
Absolutely, absolutely. I can, I was about to jump onto that. I’m glad you pointed that out to me, because I sort of waffled off a little bit there. My biggest tip is, and this is gonna sound strange to some people is keep a journal, keep a diary. I know, a lot of people go, “fully grown 30 year old man keeping a diary? That’s a bit strange.” But it is your best tool, and it’s your best friend. So for the listeners at home, I try to keep a schedule, regardless of I’m working or not working. And usually wakeup time for me is about 430, 5 o’clock in the morning. I’ll get up, I’ll go straight to my office, I’ll sit down in my chair, i’ll pull out my diary and I will just start dot pointing all the things I want to do for my day. And then when I go throughout the day, I’ll tick them off. And I’ll give myself little timeframes with them. You know, 10 minutes of meditation in the morning, 10 minutes of meditation at night, and I’ll tick those off as I complete them. When it comes to my projects, the same thing, I allot the amounts of time. And again, it’s going to sound very bizarre to some people, but I broke my day down into percentages. So one hour out of a day of 100% is about 4% of your day. One out equals 4%. If I can’t give something just 4%out of 100% there has to be an underlying issue there. I always look and go what am I doing?

Dr Floyd Gomes 12:34
Wow, Rory, you are making me feel guilty.

Rory 12:38
Don’t don’t feel guilty, trust me. There’s a lot of trial and error and whatever else. And you know, a lot of my friends think I’m a sociopath in the sense of like, “are you breaking it down to percentages?”

Dr Floyd Gomes 12:48
I must admit I’m starting to feel that way. No, I’m Joking. I just think this is this is great. Yeah, keep going.

Rory 12:57
So yeah, I break it down in percentages. And always my little internal dialogue is, this is only 4% of my entire day, this task is 4% if it’s an hour. That’s nothing, I can do this very easily. So it’s for me, the biggest thing is having my journal, having my timeframes, and keeping myself accountable, accountable. And the big thing that makes me keep accountable is those in my internal dialogue. Questioning myself and saying I can do this. So I might as well just do it.

Brett Thiedeman 13:27
That’s great. Thanks for sharing that, Rory.

Dr Floyd Gomes 13:29
Yeah, there’s a lot there. And what of the upsides being on the flip side of that? You know, what have you got out of working from home that you didn’t expect? You know, you found to be beneficial?

Rory 13:42
Well, for me, the big, the big, big benefits is one, I get to spend more time with my two Labradors, which, to me, that’s like, that’s the biggest blessing in the world, they bring me so much happiness and joy, it’s not funny. So that’s a huge thing. The other thing is that I’ve actually been able to commit myself more to things I want to study and learn about, I can’t learn about this unless I go to school. Well, the internet is the most powerful tool we have. You know, instead of sitting there and looking at cat videos and dog videos for 12 hours of the day, I try to sit here and you know, say I want to learn some German, I will Google some German words, you know, and teach myself German, whatever it might be, I try to really utilise my free time right now to learn as much as possible. So that’s been the biggest thing for me because I love information. I love learning new things. I’m highly, highly excited by those things. So that’s been the biggest uptake for me is that free time at home. Again, because of my schedule, everything’s within a timeframe. I’ve freed up more of my time later on in the day. One day to have to myself, one day with my partner. And the other big thing is to learn new skills, new new new habits I can integrate into my day to day activities in my life.

Dr Floyd Gomes 14:54
Wow, It’s really good. You know, you mentioned going to the gym. Obviously, that was a part of your life as well. How are you overcoming that bit? It’s sad, difficult that gyms are closed. Yeah, well, what do you do?

Rory 15:10
Well, okay, so again, a lot of my friends would freak out, because in my past, you know, early on in my life, I was heavily into competitive bodybuilding. I used to train, you know, I’d eat my seven meals a day, I would do all the things you have to do, you know, it got to the point where I did step on stage, I think the leanest I’ve got was about 3% body fat, and again, like it just comes down to being diligent doing all the things you have to do. For me, when it comes to the gym, I can easily just switch it off and say, “That’s alright, I need a break, my body is tired, my body needs this time off.” A lot of people fall into the trap thinking they have to train 365 days of the year. Whatever else it might be, rest is your best friend, because you know, it’s not the time in the gym that makes you grow, it’s the time outside the gym that makes you grow, that’s where cellular repair occurs. That’s where your body is able to, you know, grow new cells, hyperplasia of a cell, and it’s where it’s able to recover your central nervous system as well. So you know, two weeks off, that’s fine by me. I just substitute my gym time with, i’ll take my dogs for a walk. The beach is maybe a two three minute walk from my house. I’ll usually go for a run down there and jump in the ocean, have a paddle around Jog home, jump in the shower, crack on with the rest of my day. So I just try to substitute it with something else that’s just as meaningful for me.

Dr Floyd Gomes 16:27
Yeah, nice, nice. There you go. That’s very good to sort of reflect on isn’t it, that you can have that break and it’s the long long term that really matters that way isn’t it?

Rory 16:42
Oh, definitely, most definitely. A lot of people look at the short term goals for things and say, “Oh, I have to go to the gym today. I have to do this have to do that.” And they might be absolutely exhausted, but they they push themselves through, and it compiles on to the next day. The next day, they wake up, they’re exhausted, they’re tired. You know it just stacks on stacks on stacks on. Time away from working out, time away from the gym is a relatively healthy thing. By no means am I saying that you know time away from the gym, you should sit on the couch, watch bulk amounts of Netflix and eat packets of chips.

Dr Floyd Gomes 17:12
Aw damn it. Rory .Yeah. Yeah, keep going.

Rory 17:17
Yeah, definitely, definitely fill it in with something else just as healthy. You know, your heart health is just as important as lifting weights. So go for walks, runs, whatever it might be. Swimming is just as important, if not more important, in a lot of ways.

Dr Floyd Gomes 17:31
There you go, you know, I am a doctor and I reckon I should just take your piece in there. I’m going to take that recording, I’m going to shut up in some of my consults and say “Look don’t listen to me, I don’t know what i’m doing. Listen to my mate Rory, cuz I reckon he’s pretty fit.” I really think that actually, but that’s great. I didn’t mean to set you up that way but given we are health enterprise, that’s really helpful information.

Brett Thiedeman 18:01
And Rory, before we go on, you mentioned a little bit earlier in regards to doing meditation.

Dr Floyd Gomes 18:07
Aw Brett you captured that one. Brett loves a bit of meditation. I get breathless thinking about it.

Brett Thiedeman 18:16
And I just wanted, I guess, to hear your thoughts Rory, because you mentioned 10 minutes at the start of the day, 10 minutes at the end of the day. And again, like just for the viewers just to talk about some of the benefits that you get from doing just you know, from the 10 minutes in the morning and the 10 minutes in the evening.

Rory 18:34
Okay, awesome, too easy. By the way, awesome that you meditate. That’s absolutely brilliant. Absolutely brilliant, I think there’s huge, huge benefits there. So for me personally, I find that when I when I get up in the morning, and I sit in my office, I put my chair back I chuck my headphones on and I have my 10 minutes of meditation be like, probably visualisation, so I have someone guide me through meditation. Total silence, whatever it might be. I find that I am calmer. I’m so much more calmer, relaxed and you know that there’s a million things that attribute to it. One is it relaxes our central nervous system, a parasitic nervous system, and I believe it’s our Vegas nerve and suppresses that fight or flight response that we naturally have a lot of the time because modern society, you know, you’re bombarded with blue light, you’re bombarded stimulus all the time. You know, allowing your body to relax. So I find that my, my, not that I was ever a super snappy person, but that knee-jerk reaction to things, is just completely gone. I’m completely relaxed all times. You know, I just, I find that i’m so much more calmer, and regulated in that sense. The other thing that I’ve found is it makes me make better decisions, calmer, more logical decisions. I’m able to step back and go, “well, is this an emotional reaction? And do I need to react to this? No.” So I just won’t. Probably the biggest benefit I’ve found for nighttime is my sleep. It’s greatly improved my sleep, it has greatly improved you know how I can relax and unwind after you know. I don’t even have a stressful day but if I did have a stressful day, I find that meditation is really great for me to you know, just relax, unwind, go within myself, just focus on my breathing, focus on calming my body down and whatever else. I usually find out about half an hour after doing my meditation at night, I’m ready for bed. I’m falling asleep on the couch, lying heavily onto my partner’s shoulder drewling on her, driving her insane. So yeah, that’s that’s the real big benefits and believe it or not, my digestive tract, my stomach is improved greatly from doing meditation, because it’s just stressed out.

Brett Thiedeman 20:47
Yeah, yeah, I’ve found that over time as well. Interesting. Interesting. I haven’t heard that one before. But yeah, that’s interesting, because I thought the same thing to.

Rory 20:55
Yeah, well, there’s this significant proof. I remember a friend of mine, Ben had sent me an article, I read over it. I believe it was the University of Denmark had conducted studies on people that meditated every day for a month and not only did they find like, new neurological pathways and healthy regeneration, and other parts of the brain getting activated and whatever else, they also found that alot of them had significant improvement in their stomach health. Yeah, So it’s something to be investigated and definitely read into. I think it’s fascinating.

Brett Thiedeman 21:27
Thanks again. Thanks again for sharing that, I couldn’t couldn’t go past it.

Dr Floyd Gomes 21:31
Ah Brett and Rory, I’ve got the double trouble here. I must say I still get breathless when I think of meditating. I don’t know what that means for me. I don’t know if I’m ever gonna get there, but you’ve given me some, certainly some reasons to try and maybe we’ll push on with that Brett and see if anyone else wants to try some meditation because it seems that it’s certainly helping you guys and maybe I need to stop getting breathless. So…

Brett Thiedeman 22:03
Give it a go Floyd.

Dr Floyd Gomes 22:08
I’ll try. I’ll try. But alright, so now we’re gonna drill down here a little bit Rory to you know, our show, as we sort of talked about. It’s Diamond Kind and talking about pressure, and how you recollect a moment or a time when you’re under pressure and were able to move through that with kindness.

Rory 22:33
Absolutely, I can. It’s actually quite recent for me, in terms of my place of work. You know, unfortunately, because of the dreaded C, we have to mandate and really follow the restrictions and regulations on mask wearing indoors and outdoors. And long story short, we had a lady that just refused to wear it and it is part of our point of entry that you have to keep an eye on all times and she just exploded up myself my work mate. My work walked off and I was just basically left to be exposed to this tirade of abuse in the sense of this lady was just saying everything and anything she could do to try and hurt me to sort of inflict any sort of pain onto me through her words. And I just remember standing there and just keep my calm collected, focusing on my breathing, not really paying attention too much of what she was saying, more of how she was saying it. And I just remember thinking to myself, “you just must be an absolute pain or frustration, so much so that you’ve just snapped at a stranger that’s just trying to do the right thing, or what’s deemed is the right thing that you’ve just absolutely blown up and me.” And I just remember very, very softly saying to her, “It’s ok, I forgive you, I forgive you for you know, saying all these horrible things to me, because you must be in a lot of pain right now and you must be really upset. So I don’t hold anything against you. I just want you to know that, you know, when you’re ready, we can talk about this and I just want you know, I forgive you, and I’m not gonna hold this against you, because you must be really vulnerable right now. Very, very mad.” And you know, of course, she just kept swearing at me. I ended up staying where I was she walked away. About half an hour later, she came back sobbing and apologising to me and saying, “I’m so sorry, I snapped at you like that. I’m so sorry I went off at you. Sorry, sir, etc.” You know, so the the thing that I continuously thought there was, “how would I want to be treated in this situation, and would I want someone to react to me if I was acting that way.” And I want them to try and treat me with as much love and compassion as possible. And that’s how I generally try to treat people as well as well. This person is having a nervous breakdown, and they’re upset about this. I can either add fuel to the fire or I can just try and be as calming and as kind as possible and just say “it’s okay. It’s alright. You’re just you’re, you’re exploding because you’re stressed. You’re afraid. This is a fear reaction. That’s okay. That’s alright, I understand.”

Dr Floyd Gomes 24:55
Wow, that moment, that space between an action and a reaction is really that that moment to make that choice, isn’t it and to pause, Yeah?

Rory 25:10
Yeah, absolutely. Because it’s you know…I don’t know if you guys have ever heard a form of philosophy called stoicism? It’s a…

Dr Floyd Gomes 25:20
Yes, I do. I do. I’m a friend of Diogenes the cynic. He didn’t really like Plato and was a little bit with Socrates, but not a fan of Plato.

Rory 25:33
Yeah, yeah, that’s right. So in this form of philosophy, which I encourage everyone to read a book by a guy called Marcus Aurelius, it’s called meditations of his own personal journal. He was a Roman Emperor for 20 years, you know, he’s the exception to absolute power corrupts absolutely. And in this book, and it’s something I’ve always taken away in my life, it speaks often have that moment in between reacting and in the moment of reacting to what’s happening to you. And, you know, he speaks often that that is the most powerful moment because you can choose justice, kindness, and compassion, or you can give into your your urges, your anger, your frustration, and you can make a mockery of yourself, you can make your name a terrible thing. So what do you choose to do? Do you choose to take that step back, hold yourself accountable for how you’re going to react to this and choose to be as kind as possible to the other individual? Or do you get upset, get angry and match them? I think that’s really important to be aware of that as well that like, you don’t have to be upset and angry, you don’t have to match the other person’s emotions, you don’t have to lower yourself to that level, you can be kind, you can be genuine in that situation.

Dr Floyd Gomes 26:45
It’s good to know that some of these thoughts have been reflected on over the ages. And I think when I see patients, I must say, just thinking about this, that it can be a release, especially when they have thoughts that they don’t really want to own. And it’s very hard to sometimes know where a thought comes from. And it’s only by giving us that space to at least reflect on that feeling that spontaneously comes and choose something else, kindness?

Rory 27:18
Oh, absolutely, absolutely. That that first reaction that’s often not the real you, that’s that’s your emotions, that’s. It’s a very, as I said, very primal thing. You know, it’s the decision that you make after, so I agree with you 110% on what you just said.

Dr Floyd Gomes 27:37
And yeah, Rory, I’d like to say the fact that you’re able to hone into a moment is very helpful. And sharing that I think is right on with our movement here at Diamond Kind and you know, well done on moving through your moment and coming through. If you’re here right now, I’d give you a drink or give you a 15 energy drink, but I think I had a go at it when I saw you in person last time. I can’t remember.

Rory 28:09
Yeah, we were looking at the Comic and you were mentioning the drinks as well. I’m pretty sure.

Dr Floyd Gomes 28:13
Oh but I didn’t bring one out to you. I think that’s, it either had finished or I had a bad lot that I didn’t want to I didn’t want to give you.

Brett Thiedeman 28:23
We’ll have to send Rory a case. Maybe a T-shirt as well.

Dr Floyd Gomes 28:28
Yeah, but that’s why and oh, yeah, you did mention that you’d wear the T-shirt if I gave you one. I do remember that. As you’re leaving. Which is nice of you. But yeah, look, Rory, thank you very much for joining us here.

Rory 28:45
No, no, thank you, you and Greg for allowing me the space and platform to hold this conversation. I really appreciate it. I really do.

Brett Thiedeman 28:54
Thanks Rory, that was great to talk to you.

Rory 28:57
I’m glad if I can give anything to anyone, I’m really happy to do that, even it’s just a small bit of what I said resonates someone.

Dr Floyd Gomes 29:04
Including including your hair. Your beard. You like giving away your hair, I remember that bit. And your secret identity stays secret with me Rory.

Rory 29:19
Fantastic mate, thank you very much.

Dr Floyd Gomes 29:21
That’s ok, thanks again and great to chat. And, you know, I think loosely mentioned the mall to you as well. So maybe one day we’ll we’ll catch up there.

Rory 29:32
Definitely, mate. I’ll absolutely love that. Thank you so much.

Brett Thiedeman 29:35
Thanks, Rory.

Rory 29:35
All right, great to chat guys, i’ll talk to you soon, bye.

Brett Thiedeman 29:40
Wow,

Dr Floyd Gomes 29:40
Rory, what a champ.

Brett Thiedeman 29:42
Yeah, He was

Dr Floyd Gomes 29:43
Serious gamer, serious geek, serious heavy.

Brett Thiedeman 29:48
Meditator like myself.

Dr Floyd Gomes 29:49
Meditator like yourself.

Brett Thiedeman 29:51
Straight away.

Dr Floyd Gomes 29:52
Yeah, I could. I could sense the vibration, going through the you know, the calm mood. Look like so that’s that’s pretty much it from us. Thank you for joining us for our first podcast. Hopefully, you know you got something out of that. We’ll be back here and hopefully others will join us.

Brett Thiedeman 30:12
If you go to www.atticushealth.com.au and you can sign up to the newsletter and you’ll be able to access next editions of the Diamond Podcast.

Dr Floyd Gomes 30:25
We will talk to you soon.

Brett Thiedeman 30:26
Thanks everyone. Talk to you soon.

Dr Floyd Gomes 30:28
Bye for now.

In the garden at Highett with Bob

After 18 years working at the County Court of Victoria, Bob retired and put his spare time to volunteering.  In particular, he loves gardening and gardening loves him, helping him to stay fit.  On this episode of Diamond Kind, Bob tells his story.

Smoking cigarettes and running a marathon – what’s with that?!

Life is very random, and there’s one simple fact that helps me to grasp that – I did not choose where and when I was born.

As a doctor who works as a generalist, I’ve found myself in so many different settings and places and from all of that, I’ve come to realise that there are so many different ways to live, and what we determine as “normal” is dependent on where and when we randomly were born.

As a junior doctor I remember working in a paediatric ward, meeting a mother who thought it was okay to blend Big Macs into a bottle to feed to her baby.  Shocking?  Not for that mum.  I remember working in a secondary school as a GP and learning of the shocking daily abuse and poverty some kids were experiencing.  “Couch surfing” as a school kid; coming to school asking people for lunch money.

I reflect on my own life, and when we got here from overseas, we couldn’t believe there was a McDonald’s.  I still remember my Dad being responsible one day for taking us to Macca’s in the city, where he let us pretty much order anything thing we wanted, so we really did – and vomited in the toilets straight after.  Good times.

As a medical student, I remember smoking cigarettes, particularly after a run.  Crazily, I even completed a marathon at the time.  Additionally, my then girlfriend/now wife would stay over at my place for a few days, and every time she left, the first thing I could think of doing is heading straight to KFC.

Sometimes these were my own “choices”.  Nevertheless, somewhere along the line, I realised there were particular influences in my life that had one way or another affected me, and where and when I was born had a profound impact on my choices.

If I was dry about it now, I’d say this is “generational”.  Generational health, education and wealth, in this case, using the term generational to describe the chronological era as well as the influence of one’s own family and upbringing.  Nurture.  It’s just so powerful though isn’t it?  You weren’t so smart to choose it.  Your birth was completely random.  It was, put bluntly, your most powerful moment of good or bad luck, perhaps something in between.

The ability of an individual to reflect on their life and appreciate the impacts – both positive and negative – of any “generational” effect, is a pivotal stage to allow them to gain greater self- determination.  It’s a stage that some people will never pass through.

Note that none of this has direct reference to being happy.  My finding is that you can be healthy, wealthy, educated and miserable.  And conversely, you can be unhealthy, poor, uneducated and happy.  And of course, there are all the combinations and permutations in between.  With reference to health at least, in general, being healthy can help.  Having a more functional and responsive, pain-free body, with senses intact, gives you more of a platform to enjoy your experience of the world.

Coming back to the point, the education you received as a baby and beyond about health, and how to best control it; the imprinting you have been given by the generation before you, none of which you initially chose – is a massively powerful force that potentially impacts your entire life.  Judgement or blame about any of this is pointless.  However, if you can pick out the good and reject the bad from that which has likely influenced you, you go down a path of increased freedom.  Not easy, and yet we are relatively and absolutely very fortunate in Australia to have societal structures that can support people who have the inclination to change.  The Quitline for smokers is one such example.  Another would be free parenting classes, potentially so helpful.  And from my end, I can say, that as a doctor, it is truly a privilege to be involved in supporting an individual’s plight to challenge any negative generational health influences affecting their present life.

Atticus Mall

Staying at home and for some, working from home, has its ups and downs.  The challenges include loneliness, a lack of accountability and a lack of structure.  We want to help our Atticus community on that journey of change, forced on us as it may be.  So, we’re setting up a Zoom weekly calendar of various free events that you can participate in.  Our first one is called the Atticus Mall.  From 12pm – 1pm Monday to Friday you can log in and just hangout.

We’re not sure exactly where this will go, but the idea is a space at lunchtime to see a few new faces, perhaps a busker or speaker or two, maybe introduce yourself and just have somewhere to “visit” in your lunchtime.  It’s totally fine just to sit and relax, soaking up the atmosphere in the background, like any mall.  Sure, going for a walk once a day at lunchtime is also great.  But if you can’t or don’t want to do that, feel free to cruise by Atticus Mall.  Here’s the link.

Stay for as little or as long as you like.

There is only one golden rule at the Atticus Mall – it is a COVID-19 talk-free zone.  There’s enough in the news about that.  Let’s find other fun things to chat about and enjoy lunch.  See you there!

Celebrating our nurses – the unsung heros

Over the past year and a half, Atticus Health nurses have been on the frontline of the COVID-19 response in our clinics, aged care facilities and workplaces, providing quality, professional care under extraordinary conditions. In recognition of this vital contribution our nurses make to the care of our patients, we have expanded our nursing team significantly in recent months.

Our general practice nurses play a critical role in delivering continuity of care to all of our patients across our ten clinics. They are a key part of the day-to-day procedures and immunisations in clinic and also support our doctors and patients in many other ways, including;

  • Risk identification, screening and triage
  • Implementing and overseeing quality and infection control measures
  • Coordinating flu clinics to ensure safety of staff and patients
  • Care planning and chronic disease management with GPs, including telehealth
  • Health checks
  • Identifying and contacting at-risk patients, to ensure ongoing routine care
  • Staff education and support

In recognition of their fantastic work in such unprecedented times, we’re inviting the Atticus community to thank our nurses by sending them messages of appreciation and support.

Show your support for nurses on our Atticus Health Facebook social media page. 

 

What power do you really have to make it through COVID-19?

Earlier this year, we did a great deal of work defining our brand as Atticus Health.  After being in business for 9 years, we thought it was time to reflect on what the point of our existence really is.  After many sessions and hours, we didn’t get all the way, but we did get so far as honing in on three values – Kindness, Empowerment and Creativity.  These guide what we do.  I’d like to focus on Empowerment as far as it relevant in our current environment.

To digress for one moment, have you ever thought about your DNA – what is it? It is really a code, containing information.  How amazing it is that you can take a substrate, in this case the nucleotide bases adenine, guanine, thiamine and cytosine that are the building blocks of DNA, order them in the correct sequence and create various lifeforms depending on that ordering.  There is an intellect captured in your DNA.  Some even fathom that intellect may be derived from outer space, since meteorites are similarly found to contain amino acids.  So, you could say that information and intelligence is quite literally what we are made of – it IS our DNA.

Moving on, as a company that provides primary health care services, we view a key part of our mission as optimising our patients’ health and well-being, with prevention of illness being a large part of this.  That’s real empowerment.  Vaccination is an integral form of preventative healthcare.  Now, this is where it gets intriguing.  A vaccine works in part by inoculating our body with a substance that ultimately sends messages to our DNA to create an immune response in the form of antibodies to that target disease, in this case COVID-19.  I just find this so mind boggling and interesting that we, as a human species have learnt how to communicate directly with our very own innate intelligence – our DNA which could be derived from the stars.  Sorry to be obscure, but WOW.

From a practical standpoint, the more information your body has, which is what a vaccine provides, the more power you have.  And, by being vaccinated, you prepare your body for any dreaded potential negotiation with COVID-19.  Information is power.

If vaccination is one important way to increase the power you have over COVID-19, consider the other preventative health activities – typically diet and exercise to be important others.  They sound simple, but since the rare metal of motivation is the key, they’re not so.  Yet, if we can muster up sufficient motivation to care about such things, without a doubt, our lifestyle stands to have a profound impact on our immune system. And so take heart, that along WITH vaccination, by caring about your lifestyle and adopting an educated approach to hygiene and social distancing, you will maximise your power to make it through these times.

Let’s turn now to a saying that springs to mind – “live and love like it’s your last day, learn like you’ll live forever”.  What I think that means is that randomness is still a bigger part of life than we ever give it credit for or are able to accept.  We need to realise that we’re not guaranteed anything, not even tomorrow.  Still, education and intelligence, down to our very core, our DNA, is critical to our being.  If there’s something immortal about life, it’s that – learning – the continual acquisition and capture of knowledge.

On that note, I’d like to congratulate my esteemed colleague Dr Shishir Malgwa (Shish) for accepting a position as a University Lecturer within the faculty of General Practice at Monash University.  There is a short video below featuring Shish and one of his medical students here you may care to watch.

Shish will continue to work at Atticus Health four days a week, with his commitment as a lecturer occupying one day where he’ll be based at The Alfred Hospital.  Professor Leon Piterman, who works at Atticus Health William Street, has also been significantly involved with education and Monash University over the years, having previously been the Vice Chancellor of the Frankston and Berwick campuses.

Once again, I implore our readership that addressing lifestyle factors and education, delivered in all its forms, including by vaccination, is a major pillar towards the empowerment we all collectively seek to make it through COVID-19.

Atticus Health doctors inspiring the next generation of GPs

Atticus Health recognises the importance of education in shaping and progressing our society.

Dr Shish Malgwa is passionate about educating medical students and has recently accepted a position as University Lecturer within the Faculty of General Practice at Monash University.
He also regularly trains medical students in the clinic, and this interview with Roxana, his current medical student, really demostrates the value of learning from our dedicated GPs who share a common desire to understand and treat the entire person.