Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The London Marathon 2015 – the highs and lows of a long distance runner

Today's post is by Nick Rose who will be taking on the London Marathon on the 26th April 2015 to raise money for Yes to Life and help us continue to support people in the UK to take an integrative approach to cancer. Good luck Nick! If you would like to sponsor our marvellous Marathon man please click here.

This will be my 7th London Marathon! 26.2 miles pounding around the streets of London with 30,000 other runners, cheering crowds, blisters, copious amounts of Vaseline, and being overtaken by runners dressed as rhinos, Elvis, fairies and the occasional superhero! There is certainly something very special about the London Marathon.

There is the crowd mentality of the runners at the start line with shots of “Ogi Ogi Ogi” belting out across Greenwich Park. Your nerves are buzzing and there is a certain amount of trepidation (some even say fear!) at what is to come. Then at 9.15 – you start!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Mindchoice: On silence

Today's post is from Clare McLusky who provides us with an insight into her experience with cancer and the popular practice of Mindfulness. 

Clare has a Masters degree in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy from University of Oxford and teaches Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy to people living with cancer. Clare is also a qualified Occupational Therapist, Yes to Life Helpline volunteer and one of the founding members and facilitators of Oxford Sangha, practising in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. 

Clare will be running a 'Mindfulness for Living Well with Cancer' Course in Oxford for 8 weeks starting on the 23rd April, for more information please see her website.

I am teaching MBCT or Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy to a group of 10 friends.  This has been a very rewarding and enjoyable experience.  Each week my friends arrive in a flurry of activity and chattiness and there is a real cocktail party atmosphere at 10 in the morning, with everybody chatting at once.

Last Thursday I led a silent day of practice and after we had come out of silence gently and slowly and reflected on the experience, the day was then drawn to a close with the bell.  However, we continued to sit and chat for a while.  The difference between the beginning of the day and the end of the day was striking – one person spoke at a time, people listened and then the next person spoke.  It was wonderfully calm and peaceful and nourishing.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Inspired Nutrition and Yes to Life take on Brighton

Today’s post is about our recent Cookery Well-being workshop which took place at Brighton Cookery School last Saturday. The morning was hosted by the wonderful Jenny Philips and Jeraldine Curran of Inspired Nutrition who brought a whole load of tasty recipes, years of expertise, a sunny vibe and plenty of jovial flair to the kitchen. If you missed it we are running two more workshops with Jenny and Jeraldine this year, keep up to date with our events calendar for more info.

Think of that person in your life who has cooked for you, gathered fresh ingredients, laboured over chopping boards and stoves with the passion of nurturing you: a mother, grandmother, sibling, friend, partner…then you have some impression of what it felt like to walk into Jenny and Jeraldine’s kitchen. These women are not professional chefs but they are something far more important, cooks who understand the power of food to heal, support and protect.

Although they are both qualified nutritional therapists, it is Jenny and Jeraldine’s personal experiences as much as any qualifications, which make them both such incredible fonts of knowledge.  Jenny recovered from breast cancer ten years ago and Jeraldine has been a close support for family members with cancer so they both understand the topic inside out and were happy to share their stories. The selection of dishes they prepared were designed to support the body through any stage of cancer diagnosis, and it was possible to tailor each to specific requirements…they were also delicious!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The Desert: Mike 'The Bike' cycles West Africa - Part 2

Today’s post is our second from Mike ‘the Bike’ McLellan, cycling enthusiast and long-time supporter of Yes to Life who is cycling from Italy to West Africa to embark on the adventure of a lifetime and raise lots of money to help us support people with cancer along the way.

The so called gateway to the Westernmost Sahara is Guelmim in Southern Morocco. As we approached it I could see a completely different landscape to anything I have seen before looming before me. Long barren mountains ran South from that city and were present for several days as we rode South-west to Tan Tan,  and then disappeared as we went on to Tarfaya and then to the border with Western Sahara.

Desert cycling is challenging in many ways, but probably mostly psychologically,  in that very little changes. To the mind this can be a big challenge, gone are the usual things that stimulate us; different landscapes, people, places to rest, cafes, shops. But changes there are. Hills appear and disappear,  the colour and texture of the sand changes, at times fine and almost white, at other times yellow or red, sandy or rocky. Sometimes huge dunes appear majestically in the distance and then are gone.