Cancer, Thinking and Laughter in Mallorca!


Me and Noah SwimmingHello Again Everybody!

This second post would have been longer but I’m on holiday in Mallorca right now and I’m more interested in going swimming!

I think you’ll agree that it’s sometimes a good idea to have a break and switch off from things. I know everybody has concerns, and I don’t presume my own to be any more or less important than anyone else’s, but whether it’s which school to send the kids to, how much weight we need to lose or whether our team is going to win the league, it’s good to maintain perspective. Sure these thoughts, feelings and concerns are all important in their own way, but I always have to remind myself they are not what make me who I am. Actually, it does me good every now and again to try and observe my thoughts and see whether I am getting a little too caught up in them. To illustrate this idea I’d like to tell you a little story.

A couple of months ago I was walking my dog Tilly across the moorland that forms the Eastern fringe of Cheshire. We had set off on our walk after an afternoon of climbing at ‘Windgather Rocks’ near the town of Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire. I was hoping to reach my home town of Macclesfield by evening but as we were nearing the Cat and Fiddle Pub, still some way from our house, the weather started to take a turn for the worst. We were about an hour from home, the rain was pouring down and I had no mobile phone signal. This wasn’t good. I was hoping to use the phone at the pub to call for a ride but to make matters worse, when we got there we found the pub to be shut due to ‘ongoing building work’. I realised we had no choice but to continue in the rain and semi-darkness along what is well-known to be one of the most dangerous roads in the UK.

As you can imagine I was feeling pretty rotten. It was only a few weeks since I had been discharged from hospital following my second operation and whatever I did I could not stop thinking about ‘the brain tumour’. It was getting me down big time and in an effort to try and stem the negative emotions that my ‘tumour-thought’ was bringing up I found myself repeating, like a mantra: “this is just thought, this is just a thought, it has no power over me except the power I give to it.”  I figured that if I kept repeating this again and again it would make me feel better. Guess what? It didn’t.

Struggling over what to do next I started to experiment to see whether there might be something else I could try and do to stop the repetitive thoughts about my illness. I was fed up of feeling emotional so I said to myself, “What possible thought can I think of that I will not be able to attach any emotion to?”  If I could come up with a “non-emotional-thought” then perhaps I could then associate it with my “tumour-thought”  and in doing so reveal and make real the essential truth of the matter: that all thoughts are equal, they come and go of their own accord and only assume the level of importance that we ourselves attach to them.

Sounds like a good idea right? Do you know what thought came to me? No word of a lie, the thought that came to me was that somewhere in the world there was a Chinaman eating a hamburger. I was so busy laughing at this idea, and the fact that out of all the potential thoughts that might have occurred to me it was this particular thought I had somehow created, that I forgot all about my brain tumour. Like a monkey at a typewriter, busily tapping away into infinity, my mind could just as readily think of Chinamen and hamburgers as it could cancer and brain tumours – Wow! – and when the tumour-thought did eventually came back, I was suprised to find it didn’t have quite the same power as it had done previously.

I hope that whilst reading you are now laughing a little. If so then I have achieved my aim. I may be on holiday in Mallorca now but isn’t laughing itself like having a small holiday? I don’t know about you but after a good laugh I always feel refreshed, like I’ve had a little mini-break without even going anywhere. My theory is that perhaps the human brain is unable to generate thoughts or contemplate thoughts-about-thoughts when the body is laughing it’s head off.

I’ve heard it said that laughter is the best medicine … I don’t know about that but it’s certainly cheap!                  It didn’t cost me anything to create the image below, and I won’t charge you anything for looking at it.

All the Best,   Greg  x

Soul Nutrition

Soul Nutrition is inspired by all the lives touched by brain tumours, and donates to brain cancer research into the potential use of the ketogenic diet as an adjunct therapy for brain tumours via the UK based charities

 Astro Brain Tumour Fund and Matthew’s Friends

Soul Nutrition provides 3 interactive online tools to help people find their own path to a happier, more balanced life. This unique website invites you to enjoy a 30 day free trial so that you can take your time to explore The Happiness Calendar, the life coaching model SHIFT, and the reflective, photographic food diary ‘Nourish’.

inspiring Soul Nutrition tree

The image of the Chimpanzee Typing is in the public domain and can be reproduced with Source and Author details.
Date   1907
Source   Picture on Early Office Museum
Author   New York Zoological Society

5 Responses

  1. Zoe Taylor says:

    Hi Greg,

    I have been following your light, witty and insightful blog with a lot of need to feel that there is someone out there in a similar situation to me, with a precious family, youth (i like to think of myself as youthful…?) and trying to cope each day, whilst maintaining positivity, strength and self.

    I’m not quite ready to join you in blogging, because to be honest, i can’t think where to begin…? Also I not sure i can keep up with your humour. I love to read your posts and feel the trauma of a brain tumour, but still end with a smile.

    I hope you are having a great holiday and look forward to your next post! I’m sure i’m not alone! Hopefully i’ll join you soon!! Maybe to compare recipes? I feel very lucky that my favourite food is cream!!!! :O)

    Take care,


  2. Greg says:

    Hi Zoe,

    Thanks so much for your comment. It’s good for me to know there are people out there facing similar challenges too. It’s more than this though – to hear from individuals with their own unique experiences, and to find in them something you can relate to; it’s a special thing no?

    I’m back from holiday now and will be writing more about Mallorca in my next blog post.

    All the best,


  3. Rahima Ali says:

    Love it, you always have been and will be awesome. much love. Rahima

  4. San Sharma says:

    Greg, I had a burger for lunch – so, please think of an Indian man having a burger next time. Cheers, San 🙂

  5. Greg says:

    Hey San, I’ll go one better – How about a burger eating an Indian man? 🙂

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